When the war in Ukraine broke out earlier this year, gameplay footage of the military simulator Arma 3 was turned into actual videos of the conflict’s backdrop. Developer Bohemia Interactive has released a statement with the aim of assisting journalists and the public in identifying fake videos.
The essence of Arma 3 is a mod-friendly military simulation game that allows players to simulate or depict a variety of historical and current conflicts. According to part of a statement from a company representative, “The Arma 3 videos are said to depict conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine and even between India and Pakistan.” Bohemia has tried to support video platforms that flag these videos on platform owners, such as YouTube. However, the huge number of videos makes this censorship task overwhelming and difficult.
The workaround is to try to make sure the footage doesn’t go viral in the first place. A company representative said: “We find the best way to solve this problem is to actively cooperate with leading media and fact-checking agencies (such as AFP, Reuters, etc.) , who have better accessibility and are more resistant to the spread of fake news. news footage effectively.” The statement follows this with popular attributes of Arma 3 footage being passed on as video from real-world conflicts, as well as a video demonstrating these principles in action.
These videos are often blurred and distorted to hide their digital nature. In the daytime game, the difference between Arma and reality will be very clear, so the scene usually takes place at night. There is no sound as sound effects can detract from the artificial source of the footage. The game was set to the lowest setting and the footage was not shot in-game but with an external device. Excessive camera shake adds to the effect. Humans are also rarely featured because the human model in video games can look unnatural. HUD elements may even appear, which will be a telltale sign of the dishonesty of the footage. Incorrect weapons, vehicles, and insignia also appear, so military experts can often determine the falsity of the video.
The statement ends by urging the Arma 3 community not to share scam videos and to always mark gameplay as from a video game. With these tools, most people, not just those who verify authenticity, can identify and help prevent the spread of fake footage. Several video game developers also expressed support and give money to Ukrainians affected by the conflict.
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