Welcome to Dev Brief #134!
This week Max and the team have got together to give you some bitesize updates on a few different areas of the game.
From optimisation to particle FX and the addition of new audio and visual meta components we’re taking a quick look under the hood!
Make sure you stick around until the end too as we’ll be revealing some of the new, free customisation items that you’ll be able to unlock in Update 10, as well as sharing with you some more details on the Soviet inventory!
Let’s get stuck in shall we…
We would like to thank the community for jumping into the PTEs and offering fantastic feedback. It’s great to know what you’re enjoying, and the constructive notes are guiding our continued work – be it gameplay, bug fixing or optimisation. Thanks for working with us to continually improve the coming Update.
We will continue to run PTEs over the next couple of weeks to ensure that we have a stable build for U10. Bug fixing and optimization is always a key focus, and we are doing our best to eliminate as many issues as possible before launching out of Early Access.
We are also keen to reiterate that we will be running more thorough PTEs for future updates, as we feel it’s a great opportunity to iterate on fixes and identify large scale issues.
On a final note, we’d appreciate it if the community joined us in helping keep content from the PTEs under wraps by not streaming, discussing or posting photos of the PTE across any open channel and instead give their feedback in the directed locations. We would prefer to be able to keep running these testing sessions and our ability to keep this content a surprise will have a large impact on whether we continue or not.
Hell Let Loose is a tough beast to optimise! With 100 players and concurrent physics on all vehicles (as well as 10+ multi crewed vehicles per game) – it’s definitely a challenge.
That said, we’re working hard to instance, merge and build HLOD out for all maps – including our new Eastern Front maps. Alongside this, we’re reducing poly and triangle counts, as well as looking at our different settings to see if we can assist lower-end players in squeezing out the best possible performance without compromising gameplay (ostensibly by removing shadows or foliage completely).
So far, our PTE’s have shown increased performance across the board and we still have more to do. Like everything in game development, it’s a tricky balance between visuals and optimisation. As we introduce different LODs within the game we also need to adjust them to maintain as high a quality visual as we can.
Particle FX have been an area that were largely untouched since we began work on Hell Let Loose. We’re currently in the process of onboarding a full time FX artist who will work over the existing FX – including muzzle flashes, ambient fires, back blasts and more. Initially though, we’ve gone through and optimised a huge number of these elements in a way that is visually unnoticeable to the player. That said, you can expect both increased performance gains plus a visual fidelity increase over the coming updates. We especially need to nail these aspects down prior to our Fire update.
We’re doing a pass on many smaller map elements that are crucial to the meta. These have largely gone untouched for the entire duration of development, and we knew that we needed to revisit them.
Where appropriate, we’ve attached authentic radio clips from each of the forces to both OPs and Garrisons. This is to enable players to get a sense of proximity to a spawn, as well build the immersion of the battlefield soundscape.
Hell Let Loose has hugely dense maps – visually in terms of realistic battlefield clutter and also in terms of gameplay elements – players, ammo boxes, supply boxes, mines, vehicles and much more. Many of you will also know that the meta of Hell Let Loose largely hinges on the placement and destruction of the OP, Airhead and Garrison spawn points, as well as interacting with other small objects such as ammo boxes. There are many times where even experienced players will come within range of the enemy spawn point, but due to intense clutter or bad luck, will fail to see it until players spawn on it, leading to either a successful attack being thwarted due to their failure to find a small object, or a mass spawn-kill as they mow down the recently spawned players.
Instead, we have been road testing a slight shine on battlefield objects of meta significance to increase decisiveness in attack and defense, as well as increase battlefield awareness (without you needing to constantly toggle the HUD to see icons, or open your map).
The shine only occurs when within 30m of the key object, and is limited to objects that demand crucial player interaction (OP, Garrison, Airhead and Ammo Boxes). You will still need to interact with the objects as you always have – as well as learn the difference in appearance between them.
Spawn points are the bread and butter of Hell Let Loose, and their placement can make the difference between winning and losing. We’ve road tested a smaller OP size that is uniform across all forces. It’s far easier to place in trenches and much less obstructive, and the same sizing means that no force experiences a disadvantage when placing them.
We will be applying the same logic to Garrisons in future updates – both making them easier to place, as well as bearing a similar sized visual signature.
Over the next couple of weeks we will be making some changes to the Discord. This will essentially be an audit to ensure we have all the correct and up to date information, as well as designated locations for different conversations about the game.
The Discord has grown enormously over time, and as a result we’ll be restructuring elements of it so that each channel functions better and all types of player – for dyed in the wool veterans, those experiencing technical issues, those keen to provide feedback, those looking to group up or join a clan and finally a location where newcomers can feel welcome.
Here is a sneak peak at a couple of the new free cosmetics coming to Hell Let Loose. We will be following up on how these items will be unlocked/acquired before U10 launches on July 27th.
Lastly this week, here are a few more items that will be included in the Soviet inventory.
The RGD-2 was a smoke grenade type mass-produced in the Soviet Union. Visually little more than a cardboard tube, it was activated by striking the washer included in the body of the grenade against the ignition match. After a few seconds, smoke would billow from either side of the housing. It was available in a number of different smoke colors, and is still being manufactured today.
The RG-42 was a fragmentation grenade of Soviet manufacture. A simplified alternative to the complex stick-type RG-33, the RG-42 was able to be produced in smaller factories and workshops. The smooth cylindrical outer shell contained both the explosive charge and a number of steel sheets designed to fragment on detonation.
The POMZ was a type of Soviet anti-personnel mine. A simple fuzed TNT charge with a fragmentation sleeve, the POMZ was attached to a wooden stake and embedded in the ground. It was triggered by tripwire, which could be tied to another stake or otherwise attached to the environment.
That wraps up this week’s Dev Brief, thanks for stopping by!
As you likely already know we have an incredibly exciting month ahead of us as we gear up to leave Early Access on July 27th and welcome in the arrival of the Eastern Front!
Leaving Early Access heralds the next step for Hell Let Loose and we can’t wait to take it with you.
Have a great weekend everyone!
We’ll see you on the frontline!