Less than two weeks (wink-wink) have passed since the previous update and we just released another - 4.503. It doesn't contain so many changes, but it adds a new aircraft to the Battle of Normandy Early Access - Bf 109 G-6 late. With the MW-50 injection system engaged, it was a formidable machine capable of confronting the Allied fighters of that time. Normandy map and Battle of Normandy Career are still in development according to the development plan, but you can already use the new addition in the Rheinland career - we've added it to the five groups that have been using this Bf 109 during the Rheinland career timeframe historically.
Also in this update, 4K external texturing for the German heavy fighter Bf 110 G-2 (Battle of Kuban) is added. As with other updated planes, this change is a big visual improvement. There are several improvements for Tank Crew as well in anticipation of its official release. The full changelist follows:
1. German fighter Bf 109 G-6 Late is available for Battle of Normandy owners;
2. Bf 109 G-6 Late added to the following Rheinland Career mode (Battle of Bodenplatte) groups the player can join: I./JG 3, II./JG 11, III./JG 26, III./JG 27 and II./JG 77. It is also used by AI-controlled groups III./JG 1, III./JG 4, III./JG 53, I./JG 76 and III./JG 300;
3. German heavy fighter Bf 110 G-2 has 4K quality external textures created by Martin =ICDP= Catney;
4. Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.M player controllable tank now has a lower armor plate under the rear overhang modeled;
5. All player controllable tanks now have bulkheads (made of regular steel) between the fighting and the engine compartments;
6. M4A2 tank commander animation corrected (due to an error he could be wounded by enemy MG fire when inside the tank);
7. AI-controlled ground vehicle tracks are resistant to combat damage similarly to player controllable vehicle tracks
8. Combat damage resistance has been corrected for several player controllable tank tracks;
9. The maximum speeds of the simple AI-controlled tanks now correspond to the detailed ones;
10. Tracked and wheeled vehicles move up the hills faster and more realistically;
11. Recently released Tank Coop missions were improved;
12. Tank gunner AI prefers APHE ammo when it estimates that the target armor can be penetrated with different ammo types at the current relative position;
13. Tank driver AI has been improved, resulting in less jerking while driving backward;
14. Oxygen mask breathing sound has been toned down a bit;
15. Bf 109 G-2, G-4, G-6, G-14 and K-4 wheels texturing has been improved;
16. Hurricane Mk.II compass now has fluorescent needles;
17. A rare issue with generating a new day in the Career mode has been addressed.
We would like to congratulate you on the very important holiday - 75th Anniversary of the Victory in Europe! On this day 75 years ago the hard and long road to peace, that cost millions of lives, has finally come to its end at the European theater of the world war. The people of all nations got a second chance to live. Let's remember the heroic deeds of our ancestors and be thankful to them - even though that today's crisis and problems are significant, they can't be compared to the gravity of the situation and the hardships of those years of war.
The life that was given to us by the heroic deed of our ancestors continues. Coincidentally, this is a small anniversary for our project, which is entirely dedicated to the World War II events, as well - you're reading its 250th Developers Blog. Our work on the sim also continues - in 2 or 3 weeks we plan to release the next update 4.006. It will bring not only the new player controllable machines - Yak-9 and Yak-9T Collector Planes and SU-152 assault gun for Tank Crew - but also the fundamental changes in the graphics engine: the renderer will be switched to Deferred Shading. At the moment this update is already in the beta testing and our team is working on debugging and finalizing it. The changelist will be a long one once again, it already includes more than 50 changes in different areas of the sim. To illustrate what these renderer changes add to the visuals, we want to show you the in-game screenshots of Yak-9T, which is a good aircraft to display the new graphical capabilities:
Another pic we want to show you the WIP model of the early war German pilot which will be used in BoM, BoS and BoK timeframes. It's going to appear in the project a bit later, but it won't be a long wait:
225 Dear friends,
The Summer is in full swing and we're working on finishing the Bodenplatte project. P-51D, P-38J, B-25 and Tempest 3D models are nearing completion, their textures are being made right now. Today we can show you the cockpit of Hawker Tempest Mk.V:
As we announced before, all Bodenplatte planes will have 4K external textures. Here are Bf 109 G-14 shots that show the texturing made by Martin =ICDP= Catney:
In addition to the models, we're working on the important features like more detailed pilot's physiology effects. Fatigue caused by a high G stress, (in)ability to bail out and other such things. After that, we'll get to repairing, refueling and refitting the aircraft on the ground.
At the moment we're moving to a newer FMOD version and our sound designer converts all the sounds to the newer sound engine. The main result of this work should be a fix of the disappearing sounds issue after playing for a while that was caused by having too many of them. We also started the research on making the aircraft and ships visible from several times farther distances. This task is very complex since it involves many various parts of the project - we can't make it at the cost of a significant performance loss in the graphics and network subsystems.
The work on the Bodenplatte map is nearing completion and we'll be able to show you the screenshots showing the result of this tremendous work soon. This also means we started the work on the Career mode for it that will be called Battle of Rheinland. Starting on September 17th, 1944 and ending on April 1st, 1945, it will include several new mission types characteristic for this timeframe on the Western front. All the required information - squadron histories and emblems, pilot biographies, awards, news, etc. - was accumulated with the help from our community members and we're very grateful to those who participated in this task.
Another important thing we must tell you is that American, British and German infantrymen models for Bodenplatte project are finished - they will man the guns, drive the vehicles and appear as airfield personnel. And here's the model of the Royal Air Force pilot for Summer of 1944:
Now let's talk about other our projects. For Tank Crew, the next update will bring Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.G that has autonomous electric turret turn mechanism for instance. And in September we plan to release the two scenario campaigns for Tank Crew - Breaking Point and Last Chance, telling about the fighting near Prokhorovka. Players will be able to participate in the battle from both sides. Today we can show you the title art for these campaigns that were created using in-game tank models and the screenshots of Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.G in the sim.
The next update is planned to include two - actually four - new aircraft for Flying Circus - Halberstadt CL.II, Halberstadt CL.IIau, Bristol Fighter F2 Falcon 2, Bristol Fighter F2 Falcon 3. After that, to complete this project we'll have to release Amiens-Arras-Lille map that will come with improved visual models for ground vehicles. Here are the screenshots of the coming planes:
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While, as you know, we're working on several projects at once, today we'll tell you about our the current main one - Bodenplatte. The most important new tech we're developing for it is the FM improvement to take into account the air compressibility and its influence on the aircraft stability and handling that is noticeable at high speeds. The late war aircraft are a pinnacle of the piston engine technology and they can approach the sonic barrier, especially in a dive. And of course this new tech is paramount for our first jet - Messerschmitt Me.262 'Schwalbe'. You may have wandered will the new tech work for the existing aircraft released before - it certainly will, we always update all aircraft to take advantage of the new tech so they all have the same modeling fidelity.
Meanwhile, our artists are working on several 3D models simultaneously (some are nearly complete and the work on others has just begun): Bf 109 K-4, Me 262 A-1, P-47D-28, Fw 190 D-9, Hawker Tempest Mk.V and P-51D-25.
We also decided to improve the recently released Fw 190 A-8. It will be able to carry 1000 kg SC 1000 bombs with reduced ring stabilizers and "M8 Panzerblitz 1" HE rockets and you will be able to remove the nose-mounted 13 mm MG 131 machine guns, resulting in four different modifications of this plane:
Fw 190 A-8 (fighter)
Fw 190 A-8 Sturmjäger (better armoured interceptor)
Fw 190 F-8 (attack plane)
Fw 190 G-8 (fighter-bomber)
So, while it may appear we have only one Fw 190 A-8 in the sim, in fact, you'll have 4 different modifications. This is also true for many other aircraft - in one of the coming Dev Blog releases we'll compile the complete list of aircraft including the possible modifications.
Since the words are best followed with visuals, today we can show you the WIP screenshots of Messerschmitt Bf 109 K-4 'Kurfürst', Republic P-47D-28 'Thunderbolt' and Focke-Wulf Fw 190 D-9 'Langnasen-Dora':
Our map designers also have something to show you today. In Dev Blog #193 we presented the early European map prototype. At the moment, th designers are working on the road network and settlements. The total amount of settlements will be around 300 including so many towns we have never modeled on one map before. To be able to finish this work in time while modeling the general layout of the cities and towns the special settlement block designer tool has been created. This is a small teaser, a Western European town made using this approach (this is not a particular historical town, but a test layout):
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Dear Pilots and Drivers!
We start this Dev Blog with a somber reminder that 77 years ago, on June 22, 1941, German troops, under the control of the Nazi regime in Berlin, launched the largest invasion in the history of warfare. They crossed the Soviet Union border in a surprise blitzkrieg attack obliterating the non-aggression pact signed between Germany and the USSR. This escalation of WWII would forever change the history of the USSR and the rest of the world. Modern history still to this day is divided into 'before' and 'after' the war. The German war machine was powerful, effective, modern and technologically advanced. Its soldiers were highly motivated and exceptionally trained. Operation Barbarossa was planned by the best minds of the German general staff. The plan was for three army groups, 'North', 'Center' and 'South' to smash the USSR in just 5 months with the help of the cavalry of the new age - the air force.
This outcome may have seemed inevitable if not for the tenacity of the Soviet people and military. Surprisingly for the German High Command, as Barbarossa rolled on and early victories showed Soviet unpreparedness, the Soviet resistance began to stiffen and harden with each passing day. The Soviets withstood the initial, most powerful impact of the enemy with grim determination. This determination and composure turned into a shield and spear that would eventually stop and kill the enemy. We all know the price of this victory - there was no family untouched by the war, countries were destroyed, cities turned to rubble, tens of millions of people killed and millions of children became orphans. The price was hideous and we can't forget it because our ancestors live in our memory. We hope such an event never happens again.
This price wasn't paid in vain - the modern world as we know it comes from the great joint victory over Nazis. The victory which wasn't possible without the blood of the Soviet people, which begun on this day, June 22, 1941.
This new project of ours - Tank Crew: Clash at Prokhorovka is our tribute to this memory. We tell about the machines of WWII and the fighting in the skies above its battlefields. And starting this year, we'll also tell you about the fighting on the ground. We'll begin with one of the most famous and critical battles of the war - the battle of Kursk. In 1943, the Wehrmacht gathered all available forces, which in 1943 were still considerable and far from defeated and attempted to turn the tide of the war after the setbacks in 1941 and 1942 in one coordinated all-out assault. It can't be said that this attempt was entirely hopeless, the German forces nearly broke through the last lines of defense, but the Red Army held and counterattacked. And with that, the final outcome of the war became clear. The symbol of that battle, of course, is the armored combat machines that defined the battlefield – TANKS! Tanks alone are little more than expensive metal heaps without their human crews. This project is dedicated to the crews who bravely went to battle in them.
The action in Tank Crew: Clash at Prokhorovka will take place in 100x100 km area around Belgorod, including the place where the greatest tank battle of all time was waged, near Prokhorovka village. You can see that the map size is smaller than in our other projects, but we made it smaller on purpose to use our recently developed landscape detail scaling technology. This tech will make the landscape wireframe 16 times more detailed than our usual maps that are designed for aircraft engagements. While being smaller than our other maps, this map size is still unequal among tank sims. We don't do this just to boast about it either - the size of our map makes joint multiplayer with tanks and aircraft possible on the same multiplayer server.
In addition to 16 times more detailed landscape, we also implemented the knock-over-trees tech which in some aspects is more advanced than in competing titles. The terrain texturing has also been improved to make creating believable settlements and villages possible.
The settlements also required new tech advances because this project is focused on tanks, so we have implemented more detailed building damage modeling. Of course, we can’t get carried away, because populating all settlements and big towns with detailed damage model buildings won't be feasible from both development resources and sim performance standpoints. The bulk of the map will be populated like on the regular maps while the historically important areas where the major tank engagements happened will have the new detailed buildings. This will make ramming the buildings possible by the way. As you can imagine, the area of the Prokhorovka battle will be one of these highly detailed areas. The size of just this area is comparable to the full size of the map in some tank games.
Now let's list the tanks that will be made for the project, it is called Tank Crew after all. There will be 10 armored vehicles and two Anti-Aircraft vehicles:
1. T-34-76 model 1943
6. GAZ-MM + 72K
7. PzKpfw III Ausf.M
8. PzKpfw IV Ausf.G
9. PzKpfw V Ausf.D "Panther"
10. PzKpfw VI Ausf.H1 "Tiger"
11. Sd. Kfz. 184 "Ferdinand"
12. Sd. Kfz. 10 + Flak38
For this project, we performed historical research on the construction of these tanks and their equipment and weapons for exterior and interior 3D modeling and texturing. Part of our team is working on improving the engine, making the physical tank models and their damage modeling, creating the map and improving the user interface for the tank crews. We've managed to set up the joint workflow with our development partners so Tank Crew development doesn't affect the progress we're making on our other big project – Battle of Bodenplatte.
We can tell you a bit about the gameplay already. The player will be able to occupy one of the four stations:
- Tank commander
- Radioman/MG gunner
The required support for drivable tanks and vehicles has been created in advance. All our customers should try the existing two tanks, T-34 and Pz. III. Now we're improving and expanding this support, and one of the most important directions of this improvement is making the damage model of the tank and its systems more detailed.
We'll also improve the ground vehicle AI so it will be capable of controlling detailed tanks, the ones that human players control. This is required for single player - you'll be acting as part of tank squads or companies.
For each side we plan to create a Scripted Campaign consisting of several missions connected with a single story, telling about the historical events of this battle.
As we see things now, the Tank Commander role is shaping up to be the most interesting one - you'll be able to command your crew, give orders to your unit as a whole or any particular tank under your command. On Expert difficulty level, you'll do all this from your seat inside the tank relying only on the visual information which has been possible to obtain in real life.
Players assuming the role of a driver will notice the realistic tank movement physics that includes the complex interaction of the tank tracks (or wheels for a car) with the ground, engine and transmission, resulting in realistic dynamic characteristics of a given tank or vehicle. Since we are not only a simulator, but also a game, it will be possible to control this complex dynamical model with simple input devices.
The gunner will operate the realistic optical gun sight. We have performed significant research to model the ballistics of all the rounds used in these tanks. At the moment we plan that it will be possible to use 5 round types: AP, APHE, APCR, HEAT and HE (it's likely you know what these mean if you're interested in tank warfare). The types available will be historically accurate, for instance, the 76mm HEAT round was forbidden to use in 1943 because of the many cases of its premature bursting in the barrel, or there were no solid AP rounds for German guns, they used APHE. All MGs installed on the tanks will be accurately modeled as well.
The Radioman/MG gunner will operate his MG most of the time but losing a radioman will prevent you from talking with other tanks of your unit. The loader will be also modeled, but he will be controlled by AI.
We plan to start the Early Access program for Tank Crew: Clash at Prokhorovka as early as this July. Of course, we'll have only a small bit of the final product available at the start. The official release date is more than one year ahead in the future, but early adopters of Tank Crew will have something to play with:
- Highly detailed (exterior and interior) KV-1s and PzKpfw VI Ausf.H1 "Tiger" tanks;
- Nearly complete physics model of these tanks;
- Detailed ballistics model for 50mm, 76mm and 88mm rounds;
- Ability to occupy any tank station (tank commander functionality won't be ready, but you'll be able to take the commander seat);
- Numerous improvements to other game functionality which will improve a ground vehicle gameplay.
Well, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, but here is a bunch for several thousand words!
You can discuss the news in this thread