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Developer Briefing #72 – Character Customisation and Armour Balance!

    New looks, new wheels and new mechanics!
    Hey everyone!

    Welcome to Developer Briefing #72!

    This one’s a bit of a broad Dev Brief while we finalise Update 6. It’s been a huge time for the team – with March seeing:

    • Unreal Engine version upgrade to 4.24 from 4.21
    • Overhaul and re-write of ballistics system (a dev briefing on this will be dropping shortly)
    • Implementation of new Commander vehicle spawning abilities
    • Implementation of first pass of reconnaissance systems (for Commander and Recon vehicles)
    • Complete addition of Recon vehicles – including wheeled vehicle physics model
    • Offensive and Warfare mode implementation and finalising of new map – Hill 400
    • Utah Beach overhaul
    • And many more bug fixes, optimisations and customisation options.

    Character Customisation

    Customisation for us as a Dev Team is a way of illustrating the veterancy of the player, as well as offering some ability to add personality and character to your in-game soldier (in addition to enabling you to form historical units with friends). Throughout development we’ll continue to add new options to each of the three categories, as well as potentially add a fourth “accessory” category. We want to reward long-time players with interesting options, as well as create seasonal unlocks to celebrate different historical events. We’re also looking at ways of adding prizes for tournaments and other game-wide competitions.

    Specifically, we want to touch quickly on the heads. We’ve felt that many of the faces/heads in-game were quite gormless or bland. While we’re a small team, we always try and push the envelope on each aspect of the game. To that end, our amazing character artist Dmitry has done a lovely job of giving far more character and personality to each head.

    The Lineup – Battle Ready

    With the expanded options, we’ve now standardised their sizing, as well as broken them out amongst the specific forces. We’ve also staggered their unlocks to specific levels in order to demonstrate the relative climb in experience (with the later unlocks being far more grizzled than the fresh-faced rookies).

    This isn’t Mendez’s first rodeo

    In addition to this, we’ve also worked on the shader for skin – enabling them to retain far more detail without any added cost to memory.

    Finally, we’ve always wanted to implement accessories for each soldier. These range from pipes, to cigarillos, to spectacles and all the way to motorcycle goggles. As always, we’re constantly looking over reference for historically accurate accoutrements. We don’t want to create absurd appearances – but more a spectrum of different sights that a soldier may have seen amidst the fighting.

    Finally, we’re excited to show you some new headwear options coming for German forces (these will be after Update 6):

    The team took a hats on approach here!

    For those that feel helmets are overrated…

    Whilst the base mesh displays a Swastika, the final model will have that icon scuffed / disfigured so as not to fully display it. We will look at implementing un-scuffed versions per territory at a later date.

    Like absolutely everything we do – we’re always listening to feedback and continuously working to improve the current contents, as well as expand the total options available.

    We currently have several new uniforms ready to go that we’ll be unveiling in the near future.

    Armour Balance and Fixes

    We’re currently aware of several issues facing armour within Hell Let Loose. The topic is a huge one, and something we’re keen to properly deal with. At present the team has been hugely busy with continued large-scale infrastructure upgrades (ballistics overhaul, engine upgrade, animation overhaul to name a few) that we need to have finalised as soon as possible. However, we want to assure you that we’ll be returning to the topic of armour more broadly in the near future.

    Working with our fantastic dedicated communities, we have a giant hit list of design issues, bugs and feature additions or changes. We want to let you know that we’ll be turning our giant development “Eye of Sauron” to these as soon as we’re clear of the most significant infrastructure upgrades. Even in revisiting the initial wheeled vehicle physics model we discovered many aspects were able to be refined and so we’re excited to tackle many of the following issues:

    • Allied armour is very numerous given their relative power parity with German armour.
    • Barb wire should not stop a tank, a tank should be able to pass through (there is a broader note here that barbed wire should also function as barbed wire to infantry). This will also place greater emphasis on usage of mines and tank traps.
    • Vehicles generally need to be balanced (we’ll be starting to address this with the new vehicle spawning system in U6).
    • Tank tracks at the moment are too vulnerable (while conversely the solution to this needs to be nuanced as invincible tank tracks will not be fun either).
    • Revisiting the different damage levels per component and possible expanding, changing and tweaking as a reflection of community feedback.
    • Revisiting armour penetration and deflection of rounds (our suspicion is the huge engine upgrades have thrown aspects of this off).
    • Turret rotation needs to be different for each tank. (This is starting to be implemented as of Update 6. We also feel stabilisers need to be added to appropriate tanks.)
    • APCR, HVAP and other rounds should be introduced to provide an extra dynamic and a heavy hit at cost.
    • Tweaking performance and speeds of specific tanks to better fit in the game hierarchy.
      Continuing sound improvements.
    • Vehicle colliding physics improvements (light tanks bumping into heavy tanks etc).
    • Armour under tank needs to be light to allow AT to kill when we crest slowly
    • Armour on top needs to be light for AT to kill from windows
    • Revisiting manoeuvrability at low speeds.
    • Gears on tanks can bug out and end up cruising at a low speed.
    • Better camera movement in vehicle interior positions (so it doesn’t feel like your head is locked).
    • Repairing of tracks by crew.
    • Balancing of experience gain for all crew members.
    • Additional uniforms for the tank crews – distinguish between driver, commander and gunner.
    • Implementation of smoke canisters.
    • Solving rubber banding of tanks (we know what is causing this and our optimisations will be addressing this shortly).
    • Fixing any poorly zeroed sights.
    • Addition of sight zeroing.

    And more!

    That wraps up this week’s Dev Briefing, we hope you liked what you saw!

    As mentioned earlier, we’re very excited to reveal more about the upcoming Ballistics Overhaul and will be talking about it more with you very soon.

    Have a great weekend, we’ll see you on the frontline!
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