Reality Mod Wiki

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This guide is a work-in-progress.

BF3: Reality Mod is a Battlefield 3 modification with a focus on teamplay, communication, and combined arms. Drawing most of its inspiration from the BF2: Project Reality mod, it offers a complete gameplay and UI overhaul that creates a more tactical and in-depth experience compared to vanilla BF3. The focus moves away from racking up kills as an individual, and towards working as part of a squad, creating an environment where the player must rely on other team members. It increases the value of a single life, making you feel that - in executing a smaller piece of a bigger plan - you are contributing to your team's victory.

What allows us to do this? Battlefield 3 doesn’t have any official mod support? EA said it was impossible? Enter Venice Unleashed. VU is the platform that brings mods to Battlefield 3 in full compliance with EU interoperability laws. No game files are directly modified, and having VU installed to play Reality Mod does not mean that you can’t play vanilla BF3. If you want to wind down after an intense round of RM, as long as VU isn’t open, you can play BF3 as if it was never there. There are no complex mod installation processes with VU – all required mods are downloaded as you join a server.

This guide, alongside the rest of this wiki, serves as a detailed introduction for new players, as well as an easy reference tool for players to get reliable information on some of the mechanics of Reality Mod. It will explain everything from how to join a game to the intricacies of ticket bleed and points scoring. Just like the project itself, this guide is made by the community, for the community, and is constantly evolving alongside Reality Mod. If you have something to add to it, please do! To help you navigate, a table of contents is always available - no matter how far you've scrolled down - by pressing the Hamburger.png hamburger button just to the left (above the pen button, below the rectangle button).

Whether you’re itching to contribute to Reality Mod, want to take part in the discussion, or just curious, join the official forums or Discord server. You can also join the official VU forums and Discord server to see what other modders are up to. There is also a subreddit.

Getting Started

System Requirements

To play Reality Mod, you have to run it. The good news is, that’s surprisingly easy when the base game is designed for 2011-era hardware. That said, in pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with Battlefield 3, the recommended system requirements for Reality Mod are slightly higher:

These are currently being evaluated.

OS: Windows 7 (64-bit), or newer

Processor: Quad-core CPU at 3.0GHz, or greater

Memory: 8 GB RAM, or greater

Graphics: Base frequency of 1120MHz and 4GB video memory, or greater

DirectX: DirectX 11 compatible

Storage: Greater than 20GB of free space

Internet: A constant internet connection is required for Venice Unleashed

A legitimate installation of Battlefield 3 with all DLC is also required. Both Origin and Steam editions are supported. It must have been launched (in vanilla) at least once.

Downloading Battlefield 3 (with Premium)

The first step is to download BF3, and this is done just as normal. Battlefield 3 Premium Edition can be purchased frequently on sale for 15€/$15/£10, from either Steam or Origin. The important thing to note is that all DLC are required, since Reality Mod brings in assets from a wide range of levels for its maps. The easiest way to make sure your copy of BF3 is good-to-go for Reality Mod is to have Premium. If you purchase Battlefield 3 Premium Edition, Premium will be included. If you already own the barebones or Limited Edition copies of Battlefield 3, you can buy Premium separately. If you don't have Premium but already own a couple of the DLC, you can buy the rest individually as well. The complete list, all of which you need, is as follows:

  • Battlefield 3 Close Quarters
  • Battlefield 3 Back to Karkand
  • Battlefield 3 Armoured Kill
  • Battlefield 3 Aftermath
  • Battlefield 3 Endgame

If you're not sure, it's easy to check. In Origin, you can check the Extra Content menu after you click on the Battlefield 3 tile. Make sure 'Installed' appears under all the required DLC.

Origin showing that the Aftermath DLC is owned and installed.

In Steam, right-click Battlefield 3 and open Properties. Go to the DLC tab and check that all the required DLC are in that list and ticked.

Steam showing that a number of DLC are owned and installed.

Once you're sure BF3 and all its DLC are installed on your PC, you need to launch it once for VU to recognise it. Hit 'Play', and after a couple seconds and the first-time setup process, Battlelog should open in your browser. If you're using Steam, the first-time setup will install Origin, prompting you to create/login to your EA account. If Battlelog doesn't open, you can navigate there by yourself. Once in Battlelog, go to the server browser and join any server. Wait for the game to load, and once you're in and looking at the spawn screen, you can close the game. It's time to set up Venice Unleashed.

It's worth noting again that a legitimate copy of Battlefield 3 and its DLC is absolutely required. Venice Unleashed does not and never will work with pirated and/or cracked software.

Downloading Venice Unleashed

VU is easy to setup. From, click Download VU. Once the VU installer has downloaded, open it and follow the steps. When complete, open the VU Client (you can do this from the Start Menu). We need to authenticate our copy of BF3 with Origin, create a VU account, and login. Again, this is straightforward, but if you come across any issues, the VU Discord is the best place to ask. One common problem is that the path to the Battlefield 3 game files cannot have signs 'not native to English', otherwise VU won't be able to locate it.

Once you're logged in and able to look at the server browser page, that's it: you're ready to join a Reality Mod server and start playing. If you're a first time player, however, you might want to read on and get yourself familiar with the basics before you jump straight into a game.

Setting Launch Commands (optional)

Only do this if you've been specifically told to: it might make you encounter errors in public RM servers.

Most players don't need to care about these, but launch commands are a very handy tool to tell the VU Client what parameters you want to launch with. For example, if you're helping to test updates to Reality Mod as part of the Early Access team, or you're having problems, you might need to run the development branch of Venice Unleashed and enable error tracing tools. The most common way of doing this is by adding your launch commands straight to the VU Client shortcut, whether you're launching it from your desktop or the Start Menu. Right-click the VU Client shortcut and open Properties. At the end of the Target field, add all the launch commands you want.

Client properties.png

The most common one for the VU Client is -updateBranch dev, which tells VU to update to the development branch, often used with -vexttrace, which allows you to copy an error tracing log if VU crashes. The VU Server has a few different ones.

This is not the only way to set launch commands. Some people like to add Venice Unleashed to Steam as a non-Steam game and manage launch commands through there, and some people like to create batch files. If you're working with launch commands frequently, find what works best for you.

The VU Interface

The VU interface is simple and intuitive. If you've already authenticated your copy of BF3, when you launch the VU client you'll see a login page followed by a soldier selection page - you can create up to four soldiers, each with their own name, but their function does not extend much beyond that. There are four main menus: news, server browser, credits, and settings.

The news menu.

The news menu gives you a couple links, which either show you some news about what's going on in the community or some helpful information. This is the first thing you see when you log in.

The server browser menu.

The server browser allows you to browse a list of all the currently active VU servers running all sorts of different mods, including Reality Mod servers. Servers will tell you what they're about in their names, and the mods they've got loaded might be shown as a blue tag underneath the server name. You can use the filter and search tools to help find a server, and when you find a server you want to join, you don't need to worry about whether you have the required mods downloaded: VU will manage that all for you when you click 'Join'.

The credits menu.

The credits menu is a scrolling list of all the hard-working contributors to thank for creating the incredible Venice Unleashed platform over the last long few years.

The settings menu - before the implementation of the mod settings UI.

The settings menu allows you to change basic game settings and Venice Unleashed options. These include VOIP settings and mod-specific settings. Make sure your default microphone is selected.

Venice Unleashed downloads updates automatically after you launch it. They are installed when you next restart the client, and you can see their progress in the top right of the main menus.

Venice Unleashed updating

Default Controls

Controls for movement, aiming, entering vehicles, etcetera are all handled in the vanilla BF3 settings, which you can change whilst in-game. Special keybinds, specific to Reality Mod, are handled in Mod Settings. The defaults for these are as follows:

CAPS LOCK Open squad menu and map
ENTER Open kit menu and map
T Open tac-rose
I Swap compass position (top or bottom)
B Squad VOIP
G Local VOIP
Y Command VOIP (all squad leaders)
NUM 0 Command VOIP (all squad leaders)
NUM 1-9 SL direct VOIP (squad leader to squad leader)

Custom Keybinds

This is a temporary solution, and is subject to change.

As of Reality Mod v0.1, RM-specific keybinds (such as for VOIP, tac-rose, and compass) must be changed in your settings.json file. This is located in the Venice Unleased directory, by default at "C:\Users\$$$$$\AppData\Local\VeniceUnleashed\mods". Once you have this file open, it is recommended that you 'beautify' it using a JSON beautifier, such as this one, to make it more readable - just copy the text from settings.json, paste it into the beautifier, press 'Beautify', and paste the nicely formatted result back into settings.json (replacing the old one). Find the keybind you want to change, which is named intuitively, such as "Tac_Rose_Key", and reference the 'value' field. BF3 reads keys as numeric values, which you can translate using this list from the VU documentation. Find the key you want to use, translate it into numerical form, and replace the 'value'.

That's not the most intuitive process in the world, so here's a quick example. Say I want to change the tac-rose menu key from T (the default) to Y. I beautify my settings.json and find the "Tac_Rose_Key" entry. I see the 'value' is set to 20, which corresponds to IDK_T according to the VU docs. I want the key to be IDK_Y, which corresponds to 21. Therefore, I replace the number 20 with 21. That's it.

The entry would go from looking like this:

"Tac_Rose_Key": {
    "type": 2,
    "displayName": "Tac-Rose Key",
    "showInUi": true,
    "value": 20

To this:

"Tac_Rose_Key": {
    "type": 2,
    "displayName": "Tac-Rose Key",
    "showInUi": true,
    "value": 21

It is worth noting that you cannot currently bind mouse buttons.

If you have any trouble with keys not working, try deleting settings.json and rejoining the server. This will automatically reinstall the file, and return you to default keybinds. Sometimes you may see a settings.json.bak file - you can delete that too.

Basic Gameplay

The Squad

Whereas in vanilla Battlefield the gameplay emphasis is on the individual, in Reality Mod, the emphasis is heavily on the squad. How the squad operates together and to its members' strengths and weaknesses is the difference between success and failure - the individual soldier is more or less irrelevant. Each team has up to four squads, and although some will have specialised roles - such as transport or logistics - the basic infantry squad is the backbone of any winning team. Squads must work together, spreading the team's strength across the map whether to focus on one flag, distribute pressure across several flags, or carry out flanking manoeuvres. This wider strategic picture is important, but the core focus of Reality Mod gameplay - and where most of the fun comes from - is within the squad.

Each squad must have a squad leader, or SL. Just like any team, effective leadership is crucial to the squad's success, and whilst the SL will work in the background with other SLs on the wider strategic picture of the round, their main job is to motivate and direct the squad, and this is crucial to victory.

However, as a regular grunt in the squad (which is where you'll start off), it is more important that you listen to and follow your squad leader. Your SL could be Nelson himself, but if you don't listen to him, it will not make a difference. Regardless of whether you've served 15 years as an Army officer and have zero confidence in your SL, it's always better for a squad to be poorly-led but working together than well-led but splintered and ignorant.

If you feel like you're constantly going into combat and getting killed before you've even fired a round, consider what your squadmates are doing. You might find you're running into the enemy way ahead of them, without consideration for the more general picture. A good tactic for new players is to just follow the squad leader like a sheep: ask them questions, listen to them, and do what they say, and you might find yourself learning a lot more.

The specific roles within the squad are covered in detail elsewhere in this wiki, but a variety of kits, with a healthy mix of Riflemen, Medics, and the more specialised kits is the final key factor in squad effectiveness. As a new player, or even an experienced one, never underestimate the Rifleman.

Communication & VOIP

The voice-over-internet-protocol implementation, or VOIP, has taken some time to develop, and for good reason: voice communication is the single most important thing in this game. For everyone, there are two channels available: local chat and squad chat. When someone is speaking over VOIP, a small speaker icon appears in the bottom left of the UI. If you're speaking, it will have the active channel name written next to it; if someone else is speaking, it will have their name written next to it.

Local chat is your normal speaking voice, allowing you to speak with any friendly soldier nearby to you (within 50 metres). You cannot speak to enemies, nor can you speak when you're dead; however, you can speak when you're wounded to communicate with medics. When local chat is active, the VOIP icon is coloured blue.

Left: I am listening to Leper Messiah on local chat. Right: I am speaking on local chat.

Squad chat allows you to speak over radio with all members of your squad, across the map and even when dead. It's what you should be using most often, since it's how you'll be working with your squadmates and receiving orders from your squad leader. When squad chat is active, the VOIP icon is coloured green.

Left: I am listening to FoolHen on squad chat. Right: I am transmitting on squad chat.

Squad leaders also have the HQ channel available, which communicates with all other squad leaders, and can talk to individual squad leaders using the numpad keys. NUM 1 speaks to the SL of squad 1, NUM 2 to squad 2, etcetera. If you don't have a numpad, it's worth rebinding these keys in Mod Settings. Again, these work wherever you are on the map, and if you're dead. The HQ channel has a red VOIP icon, and the direct channel has an orange VOIP icon.

Left: I am listening to Wonder, as SL of squad 3, speaking directly to me, as SL of squad 2 (Chrisdashes is also speaking on squad). Right: I am transmitting on HQ chat.

Forward Operating Bases & Rally Points

In Reality Mod, you cannot spawn on captured flags or squad members. Other than your main base spawn, you will be relying upon Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and Rally Points, especially in the Advance and Secure gamemode. These are temporary spawn points, placed by the squad leader, for the squad and/or team to spawn on. They can be placed anywhere on the map, other than in main bases or out-of-bounds. Predictably, they are an essential part of gameplay, and their positioning and defence are another fundamental element for victory.

Forward Operating Bases, usually pronounced 'FOBs' (like a key fob), are a spawn point for the entire team. They also rearm any soldier who walks in. These are very important.

A Forward Operating Base.

They can be placed by any squad leader on their position, but there can only be three placed on the map at a time. To place them, several conditions have to be met:

  • The SL must have a Squad Leader kit
  • 4 squad members must be nearby (within 50 metres)
  • No enemies can be nearby (within 60 metres)
  • The SL must be far away from another FOB (at least 150 metres)
  • No FOB can have been placed within the last 5 minutes by your squad
  • There are no more than 2 friendly FOBs already in place

A quick word of caution: don't be too near the SL when they place a FOB! If the terrain is uneven, you can get stuck in its structure.

A FOB does not expire, but it can be temporarily overrun, and eventually destroyed. The enemy can overrun a FOB if they are nearby, with a greater number of enemies able to overrun from a greater distance. Details are as follows:

No. of Enemies Distance from FOB to Overrun
1 10 m
2 50 m
4 100 m
8 150 m

When a FOB is overrun, no-one can spawn on it. If the enemy that is overrunning the FOB is destroyed or leaves, the FOB will reactivate after 30 seconds. If the FOB stays overrun for three minutes, it will be destroyed, and must be placed again. If a squad leader wishes to delete a FOB so they can place a new one, this can be done from the tac-rose (when next to the FOB) or from the map - you can remove other squads' FOBs, so be careful!

Rally Points, often referred to as just 'rallies', are exactly how their name describes. They are a short-term spawn point for only the squad, so that they can quickly rally up if they get separated.

A Rally Point.

These are not going to be your main spawn point, but are a useful tool to keep the squad together. To place them, several conditions have to be met:

  • The SL must have the Squad Leader kit
  • 2 squad members must be nearby (within 20 metres)
  • No enemies can be nearby (within 50 metres)
  • The SL must be far away from a FOB (at least 150 metres)
  • No rally point can have been placed within the last 5 minutes by your squad

Unless within 150 metres of a friendly FOB, rally points only last one minute, so don't rely on them for a sustained assault, such as respawning after dying when attacking a flag. For that purpose, a FOB is better. They can be overrun if any number of enemies are within 50 metres.

Joining a Game

Now you have an idea of the basics, you're probably keen to get into a game. If you have Battlefield 3 and Venice Unleashed installed, you don't need to install any extra mod files. Open the VU Client, login, choose/create a soldier, and go into the server browser. The easiest way to find a Reality Mod server is to use the 'filters' option at the top of the server list. Filter by 'tag', scroll down, and find 'realitymod'.

Filter set to only show Reality Mod servers.

The server browser list will now only show servers running Reality Mod. Find one you like the sound of, and join it. Pay attention to the ping (make sure it's as low as possible), and the player count (make sure it's as high as possible, but still has some space so you can join). When you join the server, VU will download the mod files and UI for you if you're joining for the first time. When you start loading the level, you will see the Reality Mod loading screen UI. Loading should take no more than three minutes. If you're not seeing the RM UI or loading is taking ages, ask for help in the Reality Mod Discord or Forums.

Choosing a Squad

The squad menu at the start of a round.

This is harder than it sounds. Firstly, you want to join a squad with the right role: if there's a squad called 'Heli Trans' (helicopter transport), don't join it, unless you want to and are able to fly a helicopter (if you've never flown in RM before, you are not able to). Squads with 'inf' in the name are a good starting point, but if a squad does not specify its role in its name, it's probably an infantry squad. Secondly, you want to join a squad such that there's an even distribution of players across the team: a team with one infantry squad of eight and one infantry squad of 1 is no good - ideally, a few people should leave the full squad to go fill up the second.

Here, SassythSasqutch should join Squad 2 ('FOX SQUAD') to evenly distribute players across the team. It might also be a good idea for them to type in the chat and ask a few people from Squads 1 and 3 to join Squad 2 as well.

When the round first starts, you might have to wait a couple of minutes before someone creates a squad. As soon as you join a new squad, you should check in with your SL. If you're new to the game, it's a good idea to let them know; if not, it's good practice to ask the squad leader what kit they'd like you to take.

Choosing a Kit

The kit selection menu at the start of a round. There are fewer than six members of my squad at the moment, so not all the kits are available.

If you're a new player, this is an easy choice: Rifleman. The Rifleman is the bread-and-butter of any effective infantry squad, especially since they are the only kit with access to an ammo bag to resupply teammates. It's an easy kit to use well, which means, as a new player, you aren't distracted by secondary roles as you're learning the basics of the game. If you have some experience, you might have your favourite kit, but your squad leader would appreciate you asking what they need: the squad might not have a Light Anti-Tank kit or Automatic Rifleman, for example, and the SL might have a plan in mind that will require one.

You have to be in a squad to choose any kit other than Rifleman, and the size of the squad limits what kits you have access to. There are also limits to how many soldiers of a certain kit a squad and a team can have. A summary is below.

Kit Required No. of Squad Members How Many Can A Squad Have? How Many Can A Team Have?
Rifleman 0
Squad Leader1 2 1
Medic 2 2
Automatic Rifleman 4 1
Breacher 4 1
Light Anti-Tank 4 1 6
Grenadier 4 1 6
Machine Gunner 6 1 4
Marksman 6 1 4

1The Squad Leader kit is only available to whoever holds the squad leader appointment as well.

The kit selection screen also allows you to modify the attachments on your weapon, such as sighting system and foregrip. This is done by clicking on the boxed illustration of the attachment you want to change (not all weapons have the same customisation options).

Equipping the Machine Gunner's M240B with an ACOG.


To be completed.

The In-Game Interface

To be completed.

The Medical System

To be completed.

Capturing Objectives

To be completed.

Scoring Points

To be completed.