The war is imminent. Belarus moves it’s troops on Polish border. Poland stands alone as her allies are engaged in conflicts in other parts of the world. Nation needs it’s saviour. Are you up for the challenge?
Silent War: Polish-Belarusian Conflict is a Operation Flashpoint mod developed since 2002 by Gemenis. The mod focuses on titular conflict between Poland and Belarus – a fictional scenario, yet one which occupies minds of military planners, since both countries are allied with opposing world powers. Without unnecessary moralizing, and arguing about right and wrong, Silent War tries to show how this hypothethical conflict would look like if it was to really erupt.
Content and features
Silent War aims to realistically portray armed forces and locales of Poland and Belarus. To achieve this developers made numbers of new, accurate models of equipment used by both sides – including well-known items and vehicles of Soviet manufacture, and indigenous armament, never seen before in Operation Flashpoint. Examples of those are Polish Beryl rifles, W-3 Sokol and SW-4 Puszczyk helicopters, Honker and Star transports and Belarusian Volat and MZKT trucks or Caiman amphibious vehicle. Similiar attention is given to the new terrain developed for the mod, based on several places on the Polish-Belarusian border.
Finally Silent War is going to bring new playable content in form of both singleplayer missions and campaign, and multiplayer gamemodes such as co-op, CTI and others. The mod is still under development, having gone through several revisions, transformations and even alleged collapse. However year 2020 may finally bring the 18 years of development to a successful end!
Silent War is currently developed by following people:
- Gemenis – project leader, 2D and 3D artist, configuration and scripting
- Krzychuzokecia – 3D artist, configuration and scripting
- Karolstah – 2D and 3D artist, configuration
- [PR] Slavko – 2D artist, configuration and scripting
- Intenso Maronetti – terrain artist
- =SappeR= – 2D and 3D artist
- Guziczek101 – 2D and 3D artist
- [25DKP] (RW) KaWo – technical adviser
- [PR] Daro – beta-tester
Former developers and contributors (in no particular order): Grey, Christoph, Pawel Ryszka, MaRcin, Arika, Raddar, SeaDemon, Towarzysz Szumek, Offtime, Ofman, Devek, Smookie, Alderous, Panda, Hawk, Sejtan, TomiD, Ktos, Sigma-6, Turkish Union Mod. Read about them below.
At this moment no downloadable content of Silent War is available. If you’re interested in mod history, you may check out the 2006 Beta released publicly (requires ECP). Note that this outdated content in no way indicates the quality of final mod! Also don’t forget to read Silent War development history in a section below!
You can also check out several addons developed for Silent War in the past and released independently:
- BRDM by Pawel Ryszka (2002)
- MiG-29 by SeaDemon, Raddar and TomiD (2004)
- Krab SPH by Hawk (2005)
- SW-4 LUH by Gemenis (2012)
- Beryl rifle by Krzychuzokecia (2016)
In 2002 two Polish addon-makers – Grey and Christoph – formed a group know as White Socks Entertainment. Christoph was known for the very first Polish addons for Operation Flashpoint. Grey on the other hand was working on missions and had an idea for a mod focusing on fictional conflict between Poland and Belarus. That was the foundation on which Silent War was built.
White Socks Entertainment ranks were reinforced by talented individuals, two of whom soon took lead in creating content for the mod. These two were Gemenis, to this day main force behind the mod, and Smookie, today known mainly for his animation work in Arma 3 – a game developed by Bohemia Interactive, creators of Operation Flashpoint, in which Arma series have it’s roots. Other developers were Spider (also known as Offtime – who later created successful WP Soldiers and OFPL projects), Hawk (today known for his aircraft addons such as C-130) and Pawel Ryszka, among others.
Silent War developers were quick to release their first addons – Polish GROM special forces soldiers and BRDM published in 2002. While these were simple reskins of Operation Flashpoint vanilla models, soon developers shared the first screenshots of their original content – among those Star trucks and Honker 4x4s made by Gemenis. Developers were so industrious that in 2003 some of them branched out and joined by few other Polish addon-makers, formed Edition Center Group. With Gemenis at helm they created a spin-off to Silent War called Return to Desert – a fictionalized account of Polish involvement in Iraqi war which erupted that year.
At this time Silent War gained it’s detailed story of fictional conflict between neighbouring Poland and Belarus. Inspired by tragic Millennium Flood of 1997, fresh memory for many Poles, including Silent War developers, the first act of the story opens with border river Bug moving out of it’s bed to an old one. Belarusian president Lukashenko, regarded by many as a political loose cannon, claims that this changes location of the Polish-Belarusian border, which is defined as lying on the river. Thus Belarus moves it’s troops on the newly acquired territory, where Polish soldiers are already present, fighting the effects of the flood. A war breaks out, and Poland is left alone by it’s allies, who are more interested in Middle East conflicts.
While today this story seems far-fetched and even cheesy, at the time it was among the best scripts written by Operation Flashpoint community. Written by Grey, and later fleshed out by MaRcin, it captured hearts and minds of Polish OFP fans, who even memorized parts of Silent War lore. Silent War recognition was boosted after mod was featured in September of 2002 issue of CD Action – probably the biggest Polish video-game magazine.
Despite some changes in team rooster, Silent War development seemed to continue at a fast pace. Developers presented screenshots of new addons such as W-3 Sokol helicopters, Su-22 and MiG-29 fighters, An-26 air transport, new models of Polish and Belarusian infantry, Belarusian trucks, and finally tanks and terrain objects. However not everything was fine. Even though development team consisted of more than ten people, most of the content was authored by small group of most experienced and commited developers: Gemenis, Hawk and Smookie. To make matters worse, in the end of 2004 Smookie got involved in creation of Babylon Free – another Iraqi war themed mod by Silver Kelpie Studios (members of which were Vilas and YacieK – future stars of Armed Assault scene), while Gemenis started co-operation with Operation Carrot. Additionally, in year 2005, Silent War faced a new pretender for the title of king of Polish OFP mods.
This claimant was WP Soldiers – a minimalistic project by Offtime, former Silent War developer. While relatively small, WP Soldiers was still bringing a high quality playable content. Most importantly – Offtime’s work was released publicly, while Silent War was still available only in the form of screenshots. Naturally, this brought up many negative comments from Polish Operation Flashpoint community, which was tired of waiting. Offtime’s success sparked his feud with Silent War team, especially Gemenis, who now focused on his main project. Operation Carrot, which he left, soon teamed up with Offtime to create even more successful OFPL project. To this date it’s probably the most recognizable Polish Operation Flashpoint mod.
It seemed that impatience was also spreading among Silent War developers themselves – but it’s impact was positive. Team was working hard on improving the quality of existing content. W-3 helicopter, Star truck and Honker 4×4 were given new textures. MiG-29 was replaced by model from SeaDemon. Infantry was refaced with Llauma heads, and Belarusians were equipped with RHS rifles. Both sides were using tanks by Towarzysz Szumek – author of LWP mod. Terrain – depicting town of Biala Podlaska – was developed by Devek and Ofman (another rising star of Polish addon-making).
But the biggest bomb was dropped on 30 December 2005 when Silent War released it’s cinematic trailer, focusing on Belarusian troops. While impressive on their own rights, units and vehicles were not real sensation of the video. That title was reserved for animations prepared by Smookie – the like of which was never seen before in Operation Flashpoint. Soldiers in the video were jumping, vaulting over obstacles, climbing walls, hiding behind objects, and even in vehicles. Trailer seemed to foreshadow a completely new movement system, opening countless new gameplay possibilities.
Trailer once again captured imagination of Operation Falshpoint fans in Poland, but it was also widely commented on international forums and websites. No one knew that this was just an effect of tedious editor scripting, and new animations could not be used on the fly (first usable climbing animation was brought to OFP by Sanctuary in WW4 Modpack released in 2009). Nevertheless, it showed that Silent War developers are interested not only in making nice models, but also try to think out of the box. Years later some of the movements presented in trailer were introduced in Arma 3 movement system – designed by no other than Smookie, who became Bohemia Interactive developer.
Unfortunately in the middle of 2006 development of Silent War abruptly halted. For some new life responsibilties made it impossible to continue work on a hobby project. For others upcoming release of Armed Assault – a spiritual successor to Operation Flashpoint – meant that Silent War would become obsolescent. This was a common problem for many other mods at the time – OFPL/Operation Carrot, LWP and Silver Kelpie Studios all suddenly vanished in late 2006. For many following years the only Polish developments in Arma community belonged to triumvirate of Vilas, YacieK and Topas, who released several popular mods for Arma and Arma 2 – most notably Project ’85. Silent War swan song was beta version of the mod, released by Smookie in an as-is form in December 2006. It seemed that Silent War became a history.
Except it never did. Gemenis, who made most of the mod content, moved out of Poland, and after some time in foreign country once again started developing Operation Flashpoint addons. He released a number of screenshots on community websites in 2008, but not many were interested in obscure Polish mod for obsolete game – not when Arma 2 was just behind corner. Silent War had to wait for a new generation of Operation Flashpoint players and addon-makers, to gather new following.
That happened in 2012 when Gemenis was joined by Ktos, and two rookie addon-makers Guziczek101 and Krzychuzokecia who were developing Karbala 2004 – another mod focusing on Polish involvement in Iraq. Under Gemenis tutelage this group began working on new Silent War content – including Gemenis new SW-4 Puszczyk light utility helicopter. They also reached out to Russian Operation Flashpoint community, where they found a helping hand from =SappeR=.
Development was slowly going forward until 2015, when Gemenis had to take a hiatus from addon-making. This wasn’t however to the detriment of Silent War, as other team-members found themselves gaining experience in other projects, including WW4 Extended by Kenoxite and PR Mod – in both of which Krzychuzokecia was involved. Since 2017 Silent War development is progressing steadily, with new content and features being added thanks to help from Polish Resistance Slavko and Karolstah – a talented Belarusian addon-maker. This new Polish-Belarusian modding alliance is finally on a way to finish Silent War – mod about Polish-Belarusian conflict. A great irony, but a happy one.