Arma 3 hails people of every flavor from all over the world. To get to know them a little better, we're hosting a series of mini-interviews with some of our amazing community members. These aim to give you a personal insight into their backgrounds, why they got into Arma, and how they typically experience the game. In this issue, we interview Arma content creator UselessFodder!
Location: Colorado, USA
Occupation: Space Industry
Can you provide us with one random fact about yourself?
I’ve traveled a lot, having lived in 10 different states and another country at one point or another during my life. I’ve also visited most of the US and eight other countries in Europe and South America.
So what is the origin of the name UselessFodder?
Long ago, I used to go by Cannon Fodder. I got really into a Half-Life 1 mod set in the Revolutionary War called “Battlegrounds” where that was the default player name. So, on a whim, I changed it slightly to UselessFodder and found that name was available pretty much everywhere else, so I kept it. I like that the name UselessFodder is kind of self-deprecating and does anything but strike fear in the hearts of other players because that’s a pretty good representation of my gaming prowess.
Since I’m an old man gamer, I will admit I had two other online names I went by before I used Cannon Fodder, but they’re so embarrassing that even enhanced interrogation techniques couldn't get that information out of me!
What's the first Arma game you played?
I played Operation Flashpoint for several thousand hours when it was fresh and new. In fact, I was on a team named “Roughnecks” in the very first competitive Capture the Island (CTI) League. Admittedly, we weren’t very good, but I really enjoyed my time with that team.
What is your current Arma 3 playtime?
A humble 2042 hours.
What is your favorite game of all time?
Final Fantasy Tactics. I think I wore the original PS1 disc out playing it so much, but no other game has ever let me train someone from birth to double-punch a lion to death or kill someone with math.
Outside of video games, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
I spend a lot of time hiking the mountains and trails here in Colorado with my kids, which is one of the best parts of living here. I also run a Dungeons & Dragons group set in a custom world that I’ve created with dozens of maps, a 1500-year historical record, and over 100 unique characters the players have met so far. When I have time, I also like to home-brew beer and share it with my friends and coworkers (when it turns out good, that is!).
Can you show us your PC setup?
Sure, but I have to admit I literally play inside a closet in my basement. I don’t own a very big house, so we make do where we can:
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
How and why did you get into Arma?
I started doing tactical gaming streams in mid-2017 and by late 2019 I was seeing some real success. Unfortunately, most of the other games I was playing could only accommodate relatively small groups of players at a time and we were getting a lot of folks joining the FoddSquad and wanting to play with us. Luckily, a community member named Sol (now a moderator and one of my favorite internet people) pushed to get us into Arma 3 operations. We started with a few DRO ops and when those were a hit, he worked with another community member, Justin, to get an Altis Antistasi campaign going. Soon after, we rented our own server and began creating our own custom Antistasi and Liberation campaigns, including designing custom patches and unique backstories with the help of the community members. Within a few months, Arma went from something we played every once in a while to a four-op-a-week schedule during the pandemic. Though we don’t play quite that much now, Arma is still the main way we play games together and build camaraderie within the FoddSquad.
How do you play or engage with Arma 3 nowadays?
Like many other people, the vast majority of my time is spent in the Eden Editor, either designing operations for the community to run or working on features for Malden Overrun. The limitless possibilities of Arma 3, especially with mods, means that I always have a half dozen or so projects in the queue and I think the Sun will burn out before I ever run out of things to try.
In the times that I am actually playing Arma, I usually end up as Squad Leader or Commander and try to herd the cats - I mean Soldiers - to our objectives. I’ve been really fortunate to meet and become friends with a lot of awesome creators like RubixRaptor and Liru the Lance Corporal, so sometimes I hop in with them on their amazing ops and get to be just a normal grunt for a while.
Can you tell us more about the FoddSquad?
Back in 2017, I got out of the Army after nine years and found myself living in a new place far away from my friends and battle buddies. I was lonely and missed the tight-knit feeling I had with my squadmates, so I started streaming to build a community that mirrored that online. We’re focused on being a diverse group of people from all over the world, from different walks of life, cultures, and ideologies, but with a common cause of creating the most positive and supportive community on the internet. We like to say the FoddSquad is much more than a gaming group; instead, it's an honest-to-goodness community of people who actually care about you and what you want to accomplish, on a human level, and will be there to help you up when you need a hand. The community has grown to over 900 members and we’ve run charity events raising thousands of dollars for great causes, whether it's helping wounded veterans or even just paying the bills for one of our Squadmates for a month or two to get them back on their feet. Many of us, myself included, have been through some dark times over the past 5 years, but the FoddSquad has always been there to support us when we needed it most.
I know most community leaders would talk about op schedules and the like here, but my proudest accomplishment is creating a space that is both positive and supportive for anyone who wants to be a part of it. The awesome Arma operations and content flows outwards from there.
Can you tell us about your most remarkable Arma moment?
It’s not really a single moment, but seeing my custom zombie survival horror campaign, Malden Overrun, get featured in the COMRAD and having thousands of players try it out was a really special moment for me. That success really inspired everything else I’ve tried to make in Arma 3.
What is your favorite piece of Arma 3 user-created content (mod, addon, scenario, game mode, tool) and why?
It’s really tough to choose because there are so many amazing things that this awesome community has made. If I were forced to pick, though, it would have to be KP Liberation by Wyqer and the Killer Potatoes community. Nothing is more immersive and engrossing than a long-term campaign in Arma and Liberation hits the perfect spot for accessibility, playability, and customization. We’ve run four custom Lib campaigns in the FoddSquad and all of our best memories happened during those campaigns. For runners-up, I’d love to shout out the essential 3den Enhanced by R3vo and the excellent mods by the CUP Team.
Can you share your #1 pro-tip for any Arma 3 player?
Learn to lead. Every Arma group already has 10 pilots and 20 snipers, but there are never enough people willing to stand up and take charge when the mission happens. It’s super rewarding (Also, rebind G for the love of all that is holy)!
With the release of Arma Reforger and modding tools for Enfusion Engine, what are you looking forward to with the franchise as we move along the road to Arma 4?
I’m a huge fan of Reforger and the new Enfusion Workbench! I love that it is a much more traditional workflow for maps and mods compared to other engines like Unity and Unreal, even if I am a little sad that my years of learning SQF won’t help me as much. Still, Enfusion really brings Arma into the modern era and I’m really looking forward to seeing wider adoption from the community that has brought so many amazing creations to Arma 3. I think with the new engine modders, mappers, and scenario makers are going to really take us to new heights!
BONUS: Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
A good conversation with my wife. She’s really much smarter than me and every bit of success I’ve had over the past 11 years can be directly attributed to her good sense.
To finish the interview, do you have anything you'd like to share with the Arma community?
There is no other game like Arma and the greater part of that is because of the community that this series has built. From OFP all the way through Reforger, I’ve seen tight-knit communities form that no other game’s “clans” can rival and I’ve seen volunteer modders, mappers, and scenario makers create experiences that professional game studios could never design. It's you guys and girls that make this game the special experience that it is, and I hope you feel a sense of pride and ownership over the success Arma 3 has seen for the past 10 years because it would not have happened without you. Pat each other on the back, and then let’s get back to making cool s**t!