Welcome to the March Recap! It's been a busy month at home and abroad as some of the developers attended GDC, and others welcomed the Air Assault winners to Vancouver! We're happy to report they kicked some mocap butt. The rest of you can kick back, enjoy some Squad, and enjoy the fruits of March.
A special shout-out to the pros at Animatrik for hosting us at their top-notch motion capture facility. Our veterans have never felt sexier than when donning Mocap Formal.
AAS Ticket Bleed TweaksWe're doing a number of different changes to AAS in order to promote a more varied style of play and to positively incentivize flag capture. These include dramatically reducing the ticket bleed on the middle flags, as well as increasing the ticket win/loss when an actual flag area is captured or lost. Neutral flag captures will now also include a ticket gain for your team. There will still continue to be a very heavy "mercy" ticket bleed on the end flags.
Our intention with these changes are to increase tactical variability and creating the dynamics for a more open-ended approach to strategy. The neutral flag ticket gain should still retain the incentive to capture middle flags quickly for your team, to deny the enemy team that initial ticket advantage.
These changes are in the testing phase and ticket values may fluctuate and are subject to feedback from community gameplay testing sessions.
Alpha 10.2 Bug FixesA number of key bugs have been identified and are addressed in the latest hotfix, including these 3 big ones:
- Spawn over-run mechanic for FOBs has not been working correctly since the v10 release. When enemy players get within close range to a FOB, the spawn times for that FOB should increase. This is based on the ratio of friendly to enemy players in the radius. We shall be monitoring these changes, expect more tweaks coming to this area, as the spawn massacres around compromised FOBs is not the intended gameplay outcome. We value your feedback here and welcome more discussion on the topic of FOB spawning.
- Squad kit roles that were being force-switched has been corrected. When squad members left a squad, kit roles were being force switched if the squad dropped below the min players for that kit requirement. This has been modified so that it will only force switch a player upon respawn. A less pervasive method to protect against players exploiting kit requirements has been implemented.
- An exploit that enabled players to load Logistics Trucks with additional supplies above the 2000 limit has been fixed.
Name Tag and Squad Leader 3D HUD UI UpgradesWe know name tags have been a hotly debated topic, especially when it comes to them showing up when you don't want them to (e.g, blocking your vision when there are many incapacitated players in the area, or when there are many players inside a vehicle, etc). We feel name tags are necessary for team/squad cohesion and situational awareness. Our goal is to make them as unobtrusive as possible while giving players the necessary fluid contextual situational awareness.
We have reduced the number of Name Tags shown on the 3D HUD. It will now display only one name tag at a time (the one you are directly looking at). We have also tightened up the viewing angle for the name tag to appear.
We understand that players have a large variety of different display setups and may want to customize the UI. We have added 2 new slider bars in the options, one to adjust the name tag opacity and one to adjust the name tag size. There is also an on/off toggle for 3D HUD name tags (Default is on), and an on/off toggle for 3D HUD kit role icons. (Default is off.)
The Squad Leader Icon on the 3D HUD has now been simplified. The SL icon is an important passive tool that allows for instinctive cohesion and spatial awareness of a squad, especially when it comes to newer players joining the squad. The SL Icon will now be displayed on the 3D HUD persistently, but it will fade when the SL is out of range.
Map Screen UI UpgradesThe Map screen will have a new feature: players inside a vehicle will have their name tags displayed when mousing over the vehicle. The nametags of all players inside the vehicle will be listed according to seat position, as well as the squad # and kit role of each player.
Names displayed are test machines for demonstration purposes.
Additionally, the Map screen will also have a new indicator for vehicles showing the squad number of the driver. The new indicator will be discreetly displayed next to the vehicles map icon. This enables Squad Leaders to better assess the battle situation on the map quickly and efficiently.
British Forces UpdateThe British have undergone more work and polish since we have shown them initially in January. They are from a gameplay point of view, almost ready, and will feature a unique array of small arms to make their infantry a considerable threat on the battlefield.
Improved Vehicle Damage ModelOne massive upgrade we're doing to our vehicle damage model is the development of a localised damage system and the ability for us to model different armor thicknesses and angle of attacks in order to determine the effectiveness of projectiles against armor. Currently, all vehicles have a very simple health system that does not respect the location or angle of a hit, making anti-tank and vehicle play undesirably shallow.
One example is the Stryker, where with this new system its frontal armor is completely impenetrable by 14.5mm rounds whereas its side and rear armor are more vulnerable. Another important upgrade is to include the angle of the projectile to the armor when calculating the penetrating capability.
For example, hitting the armor on an angle means more material thickness the projectile must go through, which determines whether penetration is made or not.
We also plan to have the impact effects and audio reflect whether penetration has occurred and you are actually doing damage to an armored target.
This is the beginning of a deeper system that will be later expanded into damaging critical internal systems on vehicles, such as engines. In addition damage on separate components like tracks, wheels, and turrets.
BGM-71 TOW Guided Anti-Tank Missile LauncherAs part of upping our anti-tank defenses, we are introducing the addition of anti-tank guided missile systems for all conventional forces. Initially, we will be implementing the BGM-71 TOW missile launcher for all factions while the artwork for the 9M133 Kornet ATGM is still being done, but this should provide a very good analogue for the kind of anti-tank capability FOBs will be able to deploy going into the future.
The TOW missile is a wire-guided missile that follows the target commands via a very long wire attached to the launcher. The player can effectively steer the missile while in flight onto target, and it is extremely effective against stationary or slow-moving targets.
Weapon Emplacement Optics Upgrade
In an effort to improve the fire support capabilities of FOBs, optics have been added onto the emplaced Russian NSV, British & American M2 Brownings and both emplaced and mobile versions of the SPG9 Kopye. Both the M2 Browning and SPG9 have completely functional reticles that allow for precise shooting at range. The intention is to make these weapons even more of a threat and further allow a FOB to lock down an area.
Update: Kamdesh HighlandsWe managed to pull our mappers out of the SDK for a few minutes to see what the latest updates are looking like on Kamdesh and they sure have done us proud.
We expect fighting from building to building to be fierce, much like the terrain surrounding the point. Squaddies should be ready to practice their bounding cover tactics if they expect to survive.
The road in is rarely the road out, but with armor thickness coming in the near future, you might survive a few seconds longer. Be on your guard for anti-tank support!
Update: Kohat Expansion
the opportunity to invite a few veterans from the community to join Stack-Up.org and the Squad team for a mocap session!
Our winners were in Vancouver, British Columbia over a recent weekend at Animatrik. We're just getting some of the pictures and video in, so stay tuned for a full-fledged article in the near future. In the meantime, a huge thanks to the winners AND Stack-Up for making a once-in-a-lifetime event possible. Bonus points for making sure it goes down in gaming history!
Stay sharp out there, Squaddies: April is upon us and has a reputation for being tricky!
We'll see you in the next recap and on the battlefield! Did you see something you want to talk about? Something you want to see next month? Sound off to your next favorite squad leader in the Squad Community Discord. Until next time, squaddies.
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