ArmA 3 extra goofing - The silly speed record test

Updated: February 18, 2022

As it happens, ArmA 3, a war simulator and first person shooter, has two distinct qualities. One, it is indeed the finest computer game in its category, allowing for some really serious, engaging action. Best, most realistic shooter, hands down. Two, it is also blessed with a whole range of (potentially intentional) bugs and quirks, which lead to great merriment. Among these bugs and quirks, the quirkiest of all is the collision system.

For instance, take any two vehicles and make them touch. The end result is unpredictable. The outcomes ranges from nothing to wheel damage to players dying to vehicles suddenly exploding and flying like billiard balls all over the map. The incident angle, the speed of the collision, the type of the vehicle, and who knows what else determine the spectacular display of physics on your screen. The big question is, well, how far can one take this phenomenon?


SR-71 goes Mach 3, and so do tanks in ArmA 3

Over the years, I've collected hundreds of screenshots of these experiments, with destruction, mayhem and aerobatics of all kinds. If you're lucky, you will not die from rapid acceleration (narrate this Bruno style, yes), and you will be able to enjoy the subsequent display of grace and ballistics while inside one of the pinballing vehicles.

Indeed, you can find endless volumes of online clips showcasing the silly physics. Since Operation Flashpoint, people have entertained themselves, in between harsh, unforgiving missions, by making game vehicles collide at weird angles. Sometimes, the vehicles bounce away only a handful of meters. And sometimes, they zip across the map at lightning speed.

And we can go back to the original question? How fast?

Looking at my screenshots, 1,000 km/h is easy. 2,000 km/h, not bad ... But then ...

Early attempts 1

Early attempts 2

For several long years, a speed of a tad above 3,000 km/h remained my all time best. But now, I have broken a NEW RECORD, and I challenge everyone to beat it!

Here's how I've done it. Not that long ago, Bohemia Interactive released the Global Mobilization DLC. It features the 1980s Cold War setting in Germany, replete with FDR, DDR, Danish and Polish war equipment. Among the new armored vehicles is the engineering bridge unit BrPz-1. As part of your normal gameplay, you can use it to lay down bridges over ditches and canals. Lovely animation and fine attention to detail and all.

As part of your goofing routine, you can use it for the collision 'n' speed experiment.

What makes BrPz-1 unique (and why the previous speed record breaking wasn't available) is the rather funky shape. You get an armored vehicle with a detachable bridge platform on top of it, with lots of sharp angles. You want those sharp angles, because they help achieve the necessary "divide by zero" moments when vehicles collide.

The recipe become simple, then. Take two BrPz-1s and start rubbing them together. The idea is to touch the tips of the bridge units ever so gently, until one of the vehicles pinballs away. A friend of mine and I tried this a few times. Rub, rub, and one of the support vehicles bounces away, a hundred meters, two hundred meters. Early on, we realized there was a lot of potential for funny stuff here.

And then, we got lucky. One of the collisions resulted in my BrPz-1 flying off into the merry ether. It did not explode, nor did I die. A rare thing! I had a unique opportunity to keep taking screenshots of my flying armored vehicle from all sorts of angles. The important thing is the speed. The numbers on the screen swung wildly from -3,300 to +3,300 km/h, then the vehicle sort of stabilized itself, and continued accelerating very gently until it reached a record 3,384 km/h. Mach 3, ladies and gentlemen!


Speed record

Speed record, zoomed in

I remained in this Superman mode for almost a minute (covering one kilometer every second) until, seemingly, the vehicle touched the edge of the map box, whatever it may be, and finally exploded. Needless to say, I had flown off any known coordinates on the game's map interface. All in all, 'twas delightful.

I lied

The joke is on you, ha! Only 3,384 km/h? Well, we can do better. Again, with BrPz-1 in our hands, we spent a few long hours testing every possible collision permutation. The best thing you can do is to spawn about a dozen engineering bridge vehicles, put them all very close together, and then plow into the parked group with yet another BrPz-1, hoping for some super glitchy physics. Once again, I got ultra-lucky.

This time, my cartwheeling vehicle reached over 6,000 km/h! I may have missed taking a screenshot of the absolute speed record, but I still captured this awesome figure. The vehicle stopped tumbling at some point and began decelerating, drawing a rather lovely ballistic trajectory through the sky. While in mid-air, I could see the base objective pin and the distance to it, and every second, it grew by a solid 1-1.5 km/h. After about only one minute being airborne (and finally hitting the water at 4,000+ km/h and dying), I had flown about 120 km from the base.

New speed record

New speed record, zoomed



There we go. This is as stupid as it gets. But also so majestically fun. ArmA 3 continues to entertain, in more ways than one. In fact, its dual nature is so refreshing. When you want to fight hard, for hours, you can. The uncompromising realism is there. When you want to do silly things, you can. The physics glitches await.

Breaking the collision glitch speed record is a cool way of passing time. For years, my Ladas and tractors and tanks would zip over Stratis, catapulted from the airport sandbox over the island and into the featureless beyond. Some great numbers there. But what the BrPz-1 bridge does, and this be another feather in the Global Mobilization DLC cap, is to give you that extra edge. And so, with 6,000 km/h under me belt, I invite the rest of overgrown menchildren like me to attempt this experiment and report their numbers back. The end.