One week has passed since our previous Dev Diary and we have something new to show you once again. The rate of development is truly fantastic. Today we won't have so much text but will compensate it with WIP screenshots of two 'stars' of our Bodenplatte project.
The first star of today's Blog is the British fighter Hawker Tempest Mk.V series 2. These planes played a significant role in the events of January 1st, 1945 - the units managed to take off in time when Luftwaffe attacked the Allied airfields during Bodenplatte operation. Tempests were equipped with some serious firepower - four 20mm Hispano guns - and achieved good speeds at lower altitudes, which was handy for a dogfight near the ground.
The second aircraft we want to show you today is USAAF North American P-51D-15 Mustang, the most famous American fighter of WWII that was widely used in different theatres of war. To a degree, its exceptional range and altitude capabilities made the deep bombing raids over Germany possible. Mustangs had good overall maneuverability and climb rate, while their six .50 cal M2 Browning machineguns allowed them to engage any air targets. A Mustang could also carry bombs and rockets, making it a fighter/bomber.
It should be noted that while many Mustangs still exist around the world, including airworthy ones, most of them are combinations of different modifications, including post-WWII ones. Therefore we're spending a lot of time researching tech schematics, spare parts catalogs, and similar documents to make sure the final result will be as authentic as possible.
And to finish today's blog, here are WIP screenshots of the next Flying Circus plane - Fokker D.VIIF. This Deutsche Luftstreitkräfte late WWI fighter has been equipped with a great engine for its time, BMW D.IIIa, that gave it an advantage over Allied fighters at high altitudes. Coupled with good maneuverability, it made Fokker D.VIIF a very dangerous adversary.
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The Spring has come and in today's Dev Blog, after some delay, we're returning to our main project - Bodenplatte. This delay in the news has been caused by the fact that during the Winter all the work on this project was made at a deep level - it was hard to make a screenshot of something - but it was a hard work nevertheless. This was known beforehand and planned this way. If you were following us for some time, you may recall that such visible pauses in the development news in the middle of a development cycle happened in all our previous projects and are a result of the effective work and division of labor. But today we finally have some intermediate results to show, and there a lot of them.
First, we can disclose more details about the map of the project. Previously we mentioned only its size and location, but today we can tell you more information.
There will be more than 200 settlements of various sizes.
Air forces of the opposing forces will take off from more than 100 airfields.
The total length of all roads will exceed 20000 km.
The reachable zone of the map is 129859 square kilometers (400.8 x 324 km) while the entire map is 176947 square km (460.8 x 384 km).
The preliminary list of the cities we plan to have ready at the time of release follows:
Frankfurt am Main
Again, if you have followed our development before, you may notice that the parameters of the new map are breaking the record once again. This is also the first map to be released with all four seasons simultaneously - a hard challenge for the entire team. To be able to complete the project before the set deadline without compromising quality, our Lead Map Artist Evgeny Isaev has found new methods of development and large cities creation. Also, Evgeny has designed artistic approaches that will not simply repeat the visual quality of the previous maps but will also give players a new visual feel that is characteristic for flying over Western Europe. But enough words, it is time to show you something new - on these screenshots you can see the central areas of Bruxelles, Liege, and Köln:
But these map development news are not the only ones we have. We can show you the progress we have made on the three coming planes: P-38J-25 heavy fighter, B-25 heavy bomber (AI only), and Me 262 A jet fighter. For the first one of them, P-38J-25, we have used a new approach of creating the exterior and interior 3D models in parallel, not subsequently - at the early stage the model is divided into exterior and interior parts and the coordinates of their seams are stored, then both models are being worked on simultaneously to be connected back at the final step. This aircraft, of course, is unbelievable, what can we say - it's a legend:
The B-25 bomber will be AI-only in this project, but we'll try to make its exterior 3D and physical model at the same quality level as our player controllable aircraft. First, this is important for those who will be attacking or defending these planes in the Career mode, campaigns, single scenarios and Coop multiplayer. Second, who knows - perhaps a possibility to make it flyable will reveal itself in the future:
The exterior 3D model of Me 262 A "Schwalbe" is completely done, including the official skins. The interior (cockpit) model is almost done (currently the artists are working on its texturing), while our engineers are working on its FM and the physical model of a jet engine. When you look at this legendary aircraft, you can't help but think that it was ahead of its time:
To finish today's Dev Blog, we would like to congratulate the beautiful half of humanity on the coming holiday - International Women's Day. Dear girls, be happy!
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Before we return to telling about the Battle of Bodenplatte and Flying Circus in our DDs, today we'd like to tell you more about Tank Crew. The most important thing is that we prepare the next big update that will include two new tanks, M4A2 "Sherman" and Panzerkampfwagen III Ausführung M, that were used in Kursk area and the map of the southern part of the Kursk salient made for joint ground and air warfare. But of course, we work not only on the new content.
The main areas of the Tank Crew development at this moment are:
1. Improving the damage and armor-projectile interaction model both for the player controlled tanks we're making for Tank Crew and the other objects. Several consequent updates for the sim we released this month contained most part of this work, but this was only a part and we continue. Ricochet modeling will be improved and 'simple', non-player controllable, vehicles will get even more detailed armor (which will be noticeable especially when you attack them from the air). We're beginning the work on the detailed systems of the player controllable tanks (fuel, electric, transmission, cooling, etc.) which will allow for more variable and realistic damage of Tank Crew vehicles. We also plan to make them repairable in the field.
2. Developing and expanding the tank and tank platoon commander functionality. The basic commander functionality is done - a commander can give all the orders we planned for this stage of development in relation to the current position, target, firing, maneuvering and some additional commands that make the playing experience more diverse. A commander will be able to give orders to other players in his tank in multiplayer and to AI crewmen alike. It looks like the commander role will be the most interesting one.
3. Developing AI for crew members. Again, the basic functionality is done and now detailed tanks controlled by AI can follow the orders that can be specified in a mission like the simple AI vehicles always did. This means that detailed tanks can be fully used in a mission scenario. Now we begin the work on implementing the functionality that will make possible for a player to give orders to crewmen of his tank and other tanks in his platoon. We hope to have this functionality mostly done by the end of Spring and release it into Tank Crew Early Access.
4. Developing the scenario campaigns which should carry out the main idea of the project - let you experience not the fictional gladiator-like balanced tank duels, but the tank warfare of July 1943 with its balance of power and technical characteristics of the armored vehicles involved. Moreover, we'll try to show the historical events since the scenarios will be based on the tour of duty of the units that participated in these events. Later we'll tell you more about these scenarios.
All this - detailed, true to history tank models including interiors with crews, the historical map with variable detail level, buildings with detailed damage modeling, realistic movement kinematics, improved tank damage modeling, detailed weaponry, all important crew roles, especially the commander one, acting as a part of a tank platoon, history-based and educational scenario campaigns telling about the major event of WWII, ability to control one tank with several people in multiplayer - all this combined should give you the new experience and impression you can't get anywhere else.
To make this DD less dry, our studio and our partners Digital Forms prepared several WIP screenshots for you that show what will be released in the next big update:
The map of the southern part of the Kursk salient you'll see in the game. The zone containing detailed buildings developed for tank warfare and scenario campaigns in the historical events of Clash of Prokhorovka project is marked inside (106x106 km, the detailed zone is 19х23 km):
PzKpfw III Ausf.M impact shot demonstrating the improved damage modeling with certain parts detaching:
M4A2 "Sherman" interior renders:
PzKpfw III Ausf.M interior renders:
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