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At this point we take gaming’s power as a filming medium for granted. Machinima and other forms of footage are intertwined with games themselves, and from the moment new games are released, we expect folks on YouTube and other talented capture artists to break them open and explore their creative power. Just last week we learned that “Animation” was the most-watched form of Minecraft video in 2021.

Each year I’m reminded of the staying power of Arma’s visual spectacle when I sit down to watch Shack Tactical’s annual “Year in Review” video. No scripted game cutscene produces the authenticity of dozens of players sprinting across an open field, the clicks and pops of radio traffic coming and going, or someone yelling out “RPG!” with sincerity.

The hour-long video collects dramatic, funny, stupid, and occasionally heroic moments from the more than 400 missions that ShackTac played this year. Sixteen years into the Arma community’s existence, film editor and ShackTac founder Dsylecxi has got his method down. Moody atmospherics, like a sunrise over a field or an amphibious landing, blend to dicey helicopter evacs, CQC massacres, and goofy squad chatter. The variety of footage gets help from the amount of custom content that the group uses—Arma is mad for modding, after all.

Dslyecxi has uploaded more than 1,600 videos to his YouTube library, which includes a lot of full-length sessions, if you’re interested in extended looks at some of these missions, all of which happened in 2021.

In other Arma news, last week Bohemia Interactive showed off some work-in-progress screenshots of its Enfusion engine, the technology that will be the basis of “any potential new Arma game.” 

And if all this military fun looks like something you’d like to take part in, you can read more about how to apply to ShackTac on shacktac.dslyecxi.com.

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