The weather in Moscow isn't really fitting for April, but these times it doesn't make a big difference; we're continuing the work on the project. The 4.005 beta testing is nearly finished, and soon you'll see by yourself what all the latest DDs were about. So today we'll tell you a bit about the current work that will yield more distant results. We have mentioned before that we're working on moving the graphics engine to Deferred rendering and now this process gives good results. The main goal in implementing this renderer is to open new visual possibilities while keeping the current level of performance and not making it worse. Till the recent time, we could only hope that having both options is possible at all, while our Lead Programmer Sergey Vorsin was working confidently and his task is nearly finished. We have managed to keep the general level of performance during this transition intact and we already can show you one of the possibilities this technology opens for our sim.
The first visual bonus that comes from Deferred Shading is the dramatic improvement of the quality of the reflections on various surfaces. While the existing reflection system was progressive for its time, today the standards are upped. For instance, its issues include too much bloom in reflections from various aircraft surfaces, the lack of diffusion of the reflections - they should be softer and more natural-looking. The new tech makes this possible, resulting in more realistic visuals. Here are a couple of screenshots showing this:
But the improvements are not limited to the existing reflections on the external model of an aircraft. Now a feature that was requested by the community for a long time becomes technically possible - reflections in the canopy and instrument glass. In other games this effect is imitated using a prepared or generated texture which is rendered on the glass surfaces without following the laws of optics - this technique gives a cool wow-effect for a couple of times, but it quickly becomes annoying when you realize it is fake. Deferred Shading allows us to create complex and optically correct reflections in the cockpit. They depend on the external lighting and environment of course, the camera position in the cockpit and other factors. It's clear that the best way to show you this new effect would be a video, but it will be ready later - we're still working on this new reflection effect. Today we can show you a couple of screenshots that demonstrate this effect in general though:
The work on the new pilot models we announced earlier for Battle of Moscow, Battle of Stalingrad and Battle of Kuban continues as well. Earlier we published the WIP images of the new Soviet pilot in Summer uniform without textures that weren't ready, but now we have the completed models both in Summer and Winter uniforms and for early and late war timeframes as well. At the moment we're working on the animations for the new models for all Soviet aircraft in the project - and started the work on the new German pilot model of the early war.
To finish today's Dev Blog we want to present you the new work of =HH=Pauk, this time he created the new promo video for Flying Circus. We think the author has managed to the feel of the last knights' epoch perfectly, highlighting the project potential. Enjoy:
In spite of the serious events happening in the world, the time flows and it looks like we adapted to the new work conditions. The work processes are set up and we continue at the usual rate. Since we plan to release important renderer improvements in late Spring, we set the workflow to develop the short and long term tasks simultaneously. We'll tell you about what will be released in Summer a bit later, while today we'll concentrate on the coming update 4.005. =AnPetrovich= and =Jason_Williams= told you about the main feature of this update earlier - reworked, improved and advanced damage model of the airframe - but it is not the only huge change that it will include.
Speaking of the battle damage modeling, another very important change is the improved frag and blast damage calculations throughout the entire sim. Thanks to the fresh look and research input by our partners at Digital Forms, which make the visual models of the Tank Crew vehicles, we were able to bring the fragments damage calculations to the new level of complexity.
Generally speaking, the calculations of the damage incurred by munition fragments became less abstract. The new model is universal for all munition types. The calculations of the warhead fragmentation are more life-like and give the initial speed, mass, and size of the fragments. New progressive methods of modeling their speed decrease use the integration of their movement.
The calculations of the penetration ability of the combined HE and frag damage is also less abstract. Instead of using an empirical parameter, the system now uses the speed, mass, and size of a fragment to model a penetration and the massed impact in case of a near explosion is also modeled. Since the calculations of the penetration ability and the energy of fragments were changed, the excessive effectiveness of the bombs against armored targets at large distances has been reduced. The penetration ability of the fragments created by shells containing a small amount of explosives relative to their overall mass was also reduced because of the same reason.
The blast damage calculations use a more accurate power law depending on the distance to the blast center. The damage inflicted by a blast and its ability to break through an armor sheet now drops as the distance increases faster than before, but became much more powerful at very short distances. It also should be noted that engines, drivetrains, reduction gearboxes, ammo racks and other large pieces of equipment now have their own hard casings modeled where applicable and they can protect them from some damage.
The visual and audio representation of the damage is also updated. The additional causes of the unhearable hits in multiplayer have been found and fixed, new sounds were added for ricochets while the existing hit and explosion sounds were improved.
In general, the update 4.005 once again is going to be one of the biggest in the history of our project, its change list contains more than 90 items already. It will bring not only the damage model improvements of course - the new content we told you before, many improvements and fixes for the aircraft and player controllable tanks, audio improvements for various in-game objects and more and more. The sim will be more accessible to the larger audience thanks to the additional language as well.
Our team hopes that the update 4.005 will be welcomed by you, our players, and will raise the quality level of our sim to the next level. To finish today's diary, let's add some nice pictures to the mix - this time they are the Yak-9 cockpit shots captured in the game. Its texturing is nearly final while the development of its FM is progressing at a full speed. We hope it will be available to you in early Summer.
You can discuss the news in this thread
The progress on many parts of the Battle of Normandy project is becoming more visible with each passing day. We have placed the order on the numerous ground vehicles that will be outsourced while the design document on the buildings for the new map will be finished soon. The list of the airfields and the map borders are final and the work on the map itself has begun in earnest. The list of the squadrons that will be recreated in the Battle of Normandy Career mode and its main scenario are prepared as well. Visual models of the three aircraft and the FM of the first one (P-47D-22) are in the works. Today we can show you the current state of the visual model of the second aircraft in development - C-47A transport plane which will be manned by AI. The famous WWII legend, it was the best known Allied transport plane. Built under license in many countries, its civilian versions are still in service now, in the early XXI century. This workhorse played a key role in the airborne operations of the Battle of Normandy.