Project Reality is a Battlefield 2 mod which is based around realism and teamwork focused gameplay, many (if not all) Battlefield 2 components have been overhauled, re-worked or otherwise completely removed.
PR:BF2 features base building, 100 player servers, integrated custom VoIP with local 3D positional speech, over 40 maps and 12 factions with a variety of weapons at their disposal.
As of May 2015, Project Reality is completely stand-alone and no longer requires a vanilla BF2 install.
Project Reality aims to bring realism to the Battlefield formula, the factions and equipment are modeled after real world armies - the game features everything from Vietnam era battles to the modern day civil war in Syria. This means that movement physics, bullet ballistics, missile systems and armor have been altered to fit the the tone of the game. Heavy vehicles need to be manned by both a driver and a gunner.
PR includes many new features such as deployable assets, adjustable tank sights, back-up iron sights, thermal imaging, laser guiding and suppression effects when under fire.
Many vanilla BF2 elements have been deemed unrealistic and therefor removed, this includes portions of the HUD (such as the mini-map, name tags and ammo counter), external view for vehicles, automatic spotting of enemies via Commo rose and the commander spy camera (this has been replaced with a proper UAV).
There are no kill indicators and score board points are delayed, the players have to visually confirm if a target is down.
The key to success in Project Reality is teamwork and coordination, there are several ways for the commander, squad leaders (SL) and grunts to communicate over VoIP (Mumble):
- Global squad leader channel where all SL & Commander can talk to each other.
- Squad leader channel where SL & Commander can talk to a specific SL using Numpad 1-9.
- Squad channel where SL and his members can talk to each other.
- Local positional speech for talking to teammates in close proximity.
Local positional speech can't be heard by the enemy team, it was featured in earlier versions of the game but was quickly removed because it resulted in trolling.
Deployables, logistics and spawn system
Unlike vanilla BF2, players can no longer spawn on their squad leader or the flag they have captured, instead the squad leader can deploy a Rally point anywhere on the map for the whole squad to spawn on, if there are enemies nearby however, the rally point will disappear.
Unique to Project Reality, players can also spawn on a Forward Operating Base (FOB). FOBs can be deployed by a Squad leader and then built by his squad. After the FOB is completed, the squad can also build stationary assets such as:
- Anti-Air emplacement
- Anti-Tank emplacement
- Barbed wire fences
- Fox holes
- Machine gun nests
- Mortar pits
A FOB can only be set up if there are supply crates nearby, supply crates can be transferred to any location on the map with the help of Logistic trucks or Helicopters. Whereas the Rally point is squad specific, the whole team can spawn on a FOB unless it has been overrun or damaged by the enemy.
Since the players are controlling where the spawn points are located and where to place the stationary assets, they are essentially creating dynamic, secondary objectives. Both teams will want to disrupt the other's spawn capabilities, defenses and supply lines.
Kit role system
Project Reality features a class system for players to select specific roles, called Kits. The most common kits can be selected from the Spawn menu and specialized kits can be requested from supply crates, Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) and some Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV).
Kits can be dropped and picked up by both friendlies and enemies, however the latter can only use the kit for a limited time before the screen will go completely black, forcing the player to drop it. Without a kit, players can use hand signals and fight with their fists.
Players not in a squad will find that they can't pick any other role than the basic Rifleman kit.
These are typically found in standard Infantry squads.
Leader, can build Deployables, mark enemies and laser guide for Close Air Support (CAS).
Indirect fire support.
Versatility, can hand out ammo bags, Unlimited kit.
- Automatic rifleman (AR)
Direct fire support.
Close combat specialist, can use a grapple hook and place C4.
Revives and heals, each squad can have two of these.
- Rifleman AT (Light Anti-Tank, LAT)
Neutralize light armor, such as Armored Personnel Carriers & Infantry Fighting Vehicles.
These kits are typically used for very specific purposes or to augment standard infantry squads, they are limited and will be unavailable for some time if lost.
- Anti-Air (AA)
Neutralize air threats.
- Anti-Tank (Heavy Anti-Tank, HAT)
Neutralize heavy armor, such as Main Battle Tanks (MBT).
- Combat Engineer
Construction and Demolition, can place C4 and Anti-tank mines, repair vehicles.
- Machine gunner (MG)
Heavy, direct fire support.
Medium range fire support.
- Rifleman AP
Can place Anti-personnel mines.
Long range fire support.
Reconnaissance, can use a grapple hook and laser guide for CAS.
Required to use heavy ground vehicles such as APC, IFV and MBT.
Required to use any type of aircraft, it is the only kit with a parachute.
Assault and Secure
AAS is a conquest style game mode where certain areas (flags) have to be captured in order by each team. The maps in PR feature several different AAS layouts for increased re-playability, this includes various capture orders, vehicle limitations and more.
The status of each flag, if one team has a cap advantage or if it's neutral, decides which areas are in play.
Insurgency is an asymmetrical game mode where a conventional force tries to track down and destroy the unconventional force's weapon caches, the location of these are randomized and the conventional force have to gather intelligence (by arresting or killing the Insurgents) to find each one.
Project Reality features several different factions, most of them based on real world armies. This means that they all use standard-issue gear and because of this the gameplay might be asymmetrical as one team has got access to modern weaponry and vehicles while the other is using older equipment.
- British Armed Forces
- Canadian Armed Forces
- Dutch Armed Forces
- French Armed Forces
- German Federal Defence
- Israeli Defense Force
- Middle East Coalition
Note: MEC is the only faction that's not based on a real world equivalent.
- People's Liberation Army
- Russian Armed Forces
- United States Army
- United States Marine Corps (Modern & Vietnam era)
- Viet Cong
- African Resistance Fighters
- Chechen Militia
- Iraqi insurgents
There are several other community factions in the works, such as Finnish, Norwegian and Polish.
How to get in to Project Reality
A common misconception about PR:BF2 is that you need to be in a clan or play with a group of friends in order to get a functional squad going, this is not the case. PR is designed to be accessible enough for anyone to jump in and play in the middle of a round, there are some things worth knowing however:
- Communication is key, you will need a microphone. PR does not use vanilla BF2 voice keys, instead you have to set up Mumble keys in the Project Reality launcher. It is also useful to lower the in-game sound so that you can hear your teammates more easily. Tell the squad you're new and they will help you out.
- Start with the easy kits and vehicles, work your way up. Since many kits are limited in PR, it is recommended to start playing with a basic Rifleman kit to get a feel for how the game works. When a team looses heavy vehicles it costs a lot of points so it might be worth driving around on a training map before using them in live games.
- Stay with the squad, follow the squad leader. PR is a teamwork heavy game and squads need to work together in order to achieve their objectives. When you join a squad, ask the squad leader where you should spawn and what kit he wants you to take. Follow his lead and check your map.
Project Reality is at its most fun when you're working together with other people, even Snipers get more out of the game when they're paired with a Spotter.
Since its inception just prior to the release of Battlefield 2, development on Project Reality has been an ongoing project. PR started out as mini-mod, changing only a few select components of BF2, it has since grown to be a complete overhaul of the entire game, the mod is now more than twice the size of vanilla BF2 itself and more content is added each year. The actual 1.0 version of the mod was released in 2013.
Very little of vanilla BF2 remains in Project Reality, the mod has custom models, textures, animations and sound for almost everything. Since the game is pushing the outer limits of what is capable with Refractor 2 (the Battlefield 2 engine), the PR team has had to create their own executable and separate launcher to manage updates and their custom version of the VoIP software Mumble.
When GameSpy shut down the official Battlefield 2 master server in 2014, the PR team created their own custom work-around (patch 1.2) to solve the problem since EA did not provide an official solution.
In May 2015 the game was made stand-alone (patch 1.3), PR no longer requires vanilla Battlefield 2. The primary reasons for this was that the official BF2 master server is offline and that EA is no longer selling BF2 on Origin. Regarding the legalities of this action, lead PR:BF2 developer "Ancientman" stated:
It's about the only thing we can do to keep PR:BF2 alive at this time. We're not as ready as EA/DICE were to let our game die and all our hard work go to waste. And like others have said in the thread, abandonware, etc, I don't think EA will care too much. Of course, if they actually do care, their legal team is more than welcome to send us a cease and desist order, and we'll simply revert back to the way things are at the moment. Naturally, that'd do wonders for their public image.
But anyway, it's not like we've ever followed the EULA. Ever since we included the BF2:SF content in PR (when was that, 0.6?), we've been breaking the EULA. Add to that the 100p servers, the new master server, things like PRMumble, BUIS, and a whole bunch of other stuff... The list of things we've "illegally" done is actually rather large. I'm still yet to ever receive a single message from EA or DICE, so, well, shrug...
Project Reality requires a better PC than vanilla BF2. Since the engine only runs on one CPU core, it's even taxing on some modern systems.
With its active community, PR has spawned several sub mods such as World War II, Vietnam and the Falklands war. Whenever mods, maps and/or factions reach a finished state, they are quality controlled by the PR team and integrated in to the normal game via automatic updates.
Project Reality is frequently among the top entries on ModDB's Mod of the Year awards and is often recognized as one the best mods of all time.
Several developers who previously worked on the PR:BF2 mod are making a commercial game called Squad, which is a spiritual sequel to PR.
There was an official sequel in production, Project Reality 2, but the development was poorly managed and the game has been canceled.