With social networks, information travels quickly, but it is not always accurate. In addition to clumsy errors, there are a lot of deliberately misleading montages, and the war in Ukraine is no exception to this scourge. Bohemia Interactive shared a press release for denounce the videos fakes using Arma 3 images to create confusionwith a rather telling example:
Weapon 3 is a tactical shooter, a fictional war simulation in a futuristic world, but very much rooted in reality. A sandbox with soldiers, weapons and vehicles with somewhat dated graphics, but with some effects to voluntarily deteriorate the quality of the image, malicious Internet users can create videos fakes quite believable, often shared on social networks and even sometimes relayed by official media. Pavel Křižka, public relations manager of Bohemia Interactivestates as follows:
While it is gratifying that Arma 3 can simulate modern armed conflicts so realistically, we are certainly not happy that it can be mistaken for real combat images and used for military propaganda purposes as part of of an armed conflict. This has happened in the past (Arma 3 videos would have depicted conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, and even between India and Pakistan), but today this content has taken off. magnitude in the context of the conflict in Ukraine. We have tried to fight against this type of content by reporting these videos to platform providers (FB, YT, TW, IG, etc.), but it is not very effective. For every video taken down, ten more are uploaded every day. We have found that the best way to solve this problem is to actively cooperate with major news outlets and fact-checking agencies (like AFP, Reuters and others), which have a better reach and ability to effectively tackle the spread of this misleading information.
The Czech developer takes the opportunity to list a series of important points that allow distinguish if the images really come from a warzone or from a video game like Arma 3the recipe is often the same for all fakes :
- Very low resolution :
Even older smartphones are capable of delivering videos in HD quality. Fake videos are usually of much lower quality, and are intentionally pixelated and blurry to disguise the fact that they are taken from a video game.
- Camera shake :
To add dramatic effect, these videos are often not captured in-game. Writers film a computer screen with the game in progress in low quality and with exaggerated camera shake.
- Often takes place in the dark/at night :
The sequences are often dark in order to hide the insufficient level of detail of the scenes of video games.
- Most of the time without sound :
Game sound effects often stand out from the real thing.
- Does not show moving people :
While the game can simulate the movement of military vehicles relatively realistically, it is still very difficult for even the most modern games to capture the natural movement of human beings.
- Visible HUD elements :
Game interfaces, such as weapon selection, ammo counters, vehicle status, in-game messages, etc. are sometimes visible. They usually appear on the edges or in the corners of the video.
- Unrealistic particle effects :
Even the most modern games struggle to reproduce explosions, smoke, fire and dust, and how they are affected by environmental conditions, in a natural way. This is particularly obvious with the oddly separated clouds.
- Non-authentic vehicles, uniforms and equipment :
People with advanced knowledge of military equipment may recognize the use of military means that are unrealistic for a given conflict. For example, in a widely circulated misleading video, an American C-RAM air defense system shoots down an American A-10 ground attack aircraft. Units can also display badges, camouflages, etc. which are not genuine.
Bohemia Interactive is well aware that the use of mods can circumvent some points, but it also invites Arma 3 players and content creators to intelligently broadcast their videos of gameplay, displaying a title that is not misleading and stating that it is a video game. Hoping this serves to stem this new wave of misinformation.
As a reminder, the studio is currently developing Weapon 4but also Arma Reforger, a community platform in Early Access on PC and Xbox Series X|S devoted to the creation of mods. You can find Arma: Gold Edition at €1.59 on GOG.com.
Writer – Tester