Welcome to Dev Brief #130!
This week we’re taking a look at smart materials and how we’re applying them to vehicles to not only make them looking fantastic up close, but also improve performance at the same time.
If you’re not familiar with what ‘smart materials’ are, don’t worry – we’ll be explaining all that and more below.
Also make sure to stick around until the end if you’d like to take part in next week’s Kursk PTE, we’ll have further details, including how to sign-up at the end of the brief.
Right then, let’s get stuck in shall we…
This week, we’ll take you through the usage of smart materials when it comes to vehicles. We’re rolling this out with our new Soviet vehicles first, and we think the results are pretty incredible when it comes to preserving detail right up close – at LESS expense than any time before.
Many of you may have seen the process of implementing smart materials on handheld weapons. Normally, a 3d artist will bake unique texture sets to be used in-game on a weapon. In order to make sure those textures are optimised (and in a game like HLL with more than 40 handheld objects it’s a challenge), we are forced to adjust the resolution of them – often resulting in extremely blurry looking textures. Unfortunately, this was the same for vehicles. Crisp beautiful textures in renders were crunched down for performance purposes and ended up becoming a blurry mess. For example:
As we’ve grown and matured as a team, Danny was convinced that he’d be able to set up a far more robust smart material system for all vehicles.
In essence, smart materials take the idea that there are core materials (wood, metal, painted metal) and then use those over and over again for different objects or vehicles using unique parameters for wear, colour, roughness and so on. What has resulted is a fantastic visual upgrade for our vehicles. It also drastically speeds up the texturing process (going from 2-3 days per vehicle to 20-30 minutes!) while also enabling incredible detail up close – and best of all a significant performance increase as we move from using 24 low quality textures for our Soviet vehicles to just 6 high quality textures.
We feel the results speak for themselves:
Finally, many of you will be pleased to know that we’ve built a camo system into the new smart material system. While we’re beginning with what we’d consider the base colour scheme for the Soviet, we have the potential to apply totally completely new appearances for each vehicle – at no extra cost.
Lastly, while we’ve applied this system first to the Soviets, we’ll be retroactively rolling this out to all vehicles in-game over the coming updates.
Thanks to all who participated in the recent PTE we held on the upcoming soviet map Kursk. The turnout of players was great and higher than we had expected. Most of the development team was present in this PTE and even though a few anticipated bugs surfaced we were very happy with how this new addition is moving forwards.
The feedback that everyone provided was great to help us now work tirelessly on streamlining this map for the future. Thanks to everyone that played and took the time to post the issues that they found. The team is crushing bugs and already looking forward to the new build for another playtest later next week.
We would really appreciate the community’s participation again in next week’s PTE. This will be another test on the new eastern front map Kursk, including both Offensive modes. As we are still in development mode for U10, this build will be buggy, so please consider that if you are participating. We really appreciate your help in keeping all feedback to the specific channels and not streaming or broadcasting this content, as we want to build some anticipation before we reveal this to the broader community.
We will also include known issues and a changelog overview so you know what to expect. This test will be best suited for those in the GMT tz, and will take place from approximately 11am to 4pm GMT. We will look to have several more PTEs, so if for any reason you can make this one, don’t worry!.
If you want to know how to join the PTE, please join the official HLL Discord here
You will find all the details you need to join there.
That wraps up today’s brief! We’ll be sharing more Soviet goodies with you in the coming weeks. We hope you are all as happy and excited as we are with this next Update. Next week we’ll have a preview of the new overhaul of St. Marie Du Mont.
Have a great weekend everyone, we’ll see you on the frontline!