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FEAR - Viper Scenario
May 2007 - Photos by Dawn Mills

paintballKerry “Viper” Rosenberry has been producing scenario paintball games since the 1990s, and Viper Scenarios is one of the longest running scenario production companies in the game. Memorial day weekend 2007 saw Viper bringing players from around the US to the MOUT site at Camp Blanding in Florida.

Camp Blanding, located near the town of Starke, Florida is owned by the state of Florida, and operated by the Florida National Guard. It is accessible to all branches of the military, state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, and even civilian groups for both training and recreation.

paintballOne of the key training areas at Camp Blanding is the MOUT, or Military Operations in Urban Terrain facility. The MOUT site consists of sixteen buildings ranging from single floors to four stories tall with roof and basement access. Building designs vary from complete with doors, shuttered windows and “fire holes” to bombed out partial buildings. Like a real city, streets and driveways connect everything, and a working storm drain system even allows crawlers to pop up out of manholes in the center of town after sneaking in through tunnel entrances along the dry canal bordering the village.

Rosenberry looked forward to the site's availability, having attended past events there and thinking about ways he could improve upon them. For FEAR, Rosenberry started by picking generals. He speaks freqently with Sean Scott, part of the Smart Parts sales staff, and the two started talking about putting together a game that would be a scenario showdown between Smart Parts and another big name company. It didn't take long to find someone who could serve as a friendly rival. Chris Serfustini, director of marketing for SpecOps Paintball was chosen to serve as opposing general.

paintballSpecOps has quickly grown to be a prominent supplier of both off the shelf and customised paintball gear tailored towards woodsball players, both with their own product lines and from other manufacturers including Tippmann, Airgun Designs and Smart Parts. Their online community has developed a large following, and their Scenario Paintball Player's League (SPPL) has shown that woods games with missions are still a viable and challenging tournament format.

While Smart Parts was founded by people who have been playing paintball in the woods since the 80s, the bulk of the company's promotion and advertising in recent years has focused on arena style tournament paintball – up until this last year with the introduction of the SP-8 and the Smart Corps – Smart Parts online community for milsim and scenario players. Through the Smart Corps, Smart Parts has sponsored a number of scenario paintball teams which it calls its Tactical Squads, including the Smart Corps team, consisting primarily of Smart Parts employees who won the 2006 SPPL national championships.

paintballFor FEAR, both SpecOps and Smart Parts rallied players to their side – members of the SpecOps Brigade on one side, and the Smart Corps on the other. Executive Officer for Spec Ops was Dwayne “Kahuna” Bell, well known in the scenario world as the supplier of Atomic Ordnance grenades, backed up by Duncan from Duncan's Games. As it would turn out, the organization and command structure the Smart Corps was able to achieve through their XO, Lawrence “TB” Wright, Sean's wife Michelle on the radio, and 8 of the Tactical Squads attending would have an impact on how quickly the Smart Corps side could react to action and changes on the field.

Off the field, in the event staging area, land was set aside for team camping, as well as the event trade show, which brought out vendors including Ragtop Video, Knights Crossing Paintball, Python Bore Sizers, Atomic Ordnance, Smart Parts with their Smart Corps player lounge, big show trailers from both Tippmann and SpecOps, Archon, and the Mayberry Marauders, with gear from their sponsors including Hammerhead and Smokin. Paintball Event Air provided the air fills, and the Keystone Heights chapter of the FFA (Future Farmers of America) had a grill going, providing food and drinks. Archon not only had the various products they distribute, but the event paint as well – a custom formulated version of Zap Cryptic.

As cleanup of the MOUT site is critical to its use, special paint was formulated for the game with a clear shell, and watered down fill. While some players grumbled about the paint's likelyhood to bounce, rather than break on target. John “Tank” Tankersly from Archon explained that with thinner fill, a thicker shell is necessary as the water in the paint fill begins softening and dissolving the gelatin shell as soon as it is encapsulated.

The story line for FEAR centered around a government contractor known as Armacham, which had been working ton enhance and isolate human telepathic abilities. After some unknown accident in the past, Armacham had sealed off and abandoned one of its facilities before moving on with another project – creating an entire army cloned from a powerful, but not entirely sane psychic. As no surprise to anyone who has read much science fiction, the clone army goes renegade, taking over the facility and killing anyone and anything in their way. With the mission of taking them out, and finding out what other secrets Armacham has hidden away, a secret army division, known as First Engagement And Recon – FEAR is called in.

paintballThe Smart Corps took the role of Armacham clone soldiers and staff, while SpecOps formed the FEAR team. Sean Scott who had not been to Blanding before, after having taken in the features of the playing field commented that it was “like Disneyland for paintball.”

While the Camp Blanding game site is known for the one through four story buildings, roads and tunnels which make up its downtown, the facility has no shortage of wooded areas, and these played prominently into the scenario. The city lay in the center of the field layout, between the two opposing base camps in the East and West. To the south, spread parallel to the south tape line were five key locations that factored in to many of the game's missions. This meant that control of the city was very important for mobility, but movement in the woods was critical to winning the game.

Getting those missions completed was where the points came in, and the weather thankfully worked well for the game. Under full sun, in Florida summer heat, Blanding can become a toaster oven, with building walls and white streets reflecting and concentrating the sun's rays. Clouds kept the skies overcast most of the weekend with occasional light rains helping to cool things off. A Cool Zone mister tent in the staging area, and parachute strung up between some of the trailers provided some additional relief.

By the end of the game on Sunday, the point difference was staggering, one team had definitely taken the game. With an 701 to 221 victory, the game went to the Smart Corps / Armacham – with players from both sides taking part in raffled prize packages and MVP and MVT awards.

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