Welcome to Dev Brief #109 and the first briefing of 2021!
To get the ball rolling we’re starting small and focused this week as we look to revealing and diving into the larger parts of Update 9 in the briefs to come.
But having said that, this week’s brief will be pleasing on the eye and your weapon firing satisfaction so without further waiting I’ll pass you over to Max!
Happy New Year everyone!
A Message from Max – Weaponry: Visual and Zeroing Upgrades
It’s our first week back into the studio and as a result of us getting busy again we’ve got a relatively low-key dev briefing for you this week before we can start to dive into the larger aspects of Update 9 and beyond.
Weapon Visual Upgrade
A key visual element of first person shooters are the weapons, hands and arms that take up large portions of screen real-estate the entire time you play the game. While we managed to overhaul our hands and sleeves in Update 7, we didn’t manage to tackle a visual upgrade of our weapons – arguably the most significant objects in the game and certainly objects that deserve to be the best quality we can make them.
The Technical Side
For Update 9, the art team has been keen to audit these areas and have rebuilt an entirely new procedural texture system in line with AAA workflows. Previously, older texturing workflows relied on several unique textures for each model in the game. You would have three textures that would make up the Kar 98k, and as a result of texture budgets, you’d need to either handle these in an extremely clever way, or simply downgrade the resolution of them in order to make them cost effective – resulting in a total loss of detail.
New Modelled Barrel
In the last three years, with the advent of much more widely used photoreal lighting and material creation processes, the philosophy behind texturing has changed significantly. Instead of creating three separate unique textures for each of the 40+ weapons and pieces of equipment in Hell Let Loose (roughly 120 different textures), the use of “smart materials” means that we are now able to create a “metal material”, “wood material” and “bakelite material” using three textures in each. We then take each weapon or piece of equipment in Hell Let Loose and set up one single very low res texture that acts as a mask. It basically let’s us tell the barrel of a gun to use the metal material, while the stock is told to use the wood material and so on.
The result of this is incredible. Instead of using 120 different textures, we’re able to look at guns like the Thompson, BAR, Garand, K98k and so on and simply use the same three wood textures and the same three metal textures – each contained within a custom material that lets us change the way these behave per gun. The first weapon to benefit from the early version of this system (that we’ve now taken much further) was the MP40.
So what does this mean? Ultimately, it offers a really significant optimisation for GPU and texture memory that will be best felt on low end machines, while also enabling us to maintain incredibly high quality detail very close to the camera. In essence, through some clever overhaul, we’re able to optimise and drastically improve the visual quality of every weapon in the game. In addition, it also means we’re able to create weapons far faster – as once the model is made and the single mask texture has been created, we can procedurally texture in minutes.
Kar98K Scoped – Current Version
Kar98K Scoped – New Version
This technology is also important because we’ll be implementing this into the way we work on other things in the game – like vehicles, props and other objects. The end result should fundamentally be a significant improvement to frames and visual quality. In addition, this system also gives us the ability to dynamically texture the weapon – adding fingerprints, blood flecks and eventually mud, snow and raindrops.
Luger – Current Version
Luger – New Version
As a side note, we’re also fixing any incorrect text on weapons while cleaning up each model. A small example is that the M1919 is now a far better looking gun with proper modelled holes on the barrel.
Weapon Zeroing Fix
We’re also excited to announce that we’ve fixed the often talked about issue of the weapon zeroing that was introduced with the ballistics systems. Each weapon is now zeroed correctly and far better models the real life trajectory. For laymen, the outcome of this is that it no longer feels like the bullet is “falling out of the barrel” – instead travelling straighter for far longer. While this has applied to all weapons, it is especially satisfying on the lower caliber weapons and vehicle mounted coaxial and hull machineguns.
In addition, we discovered a nasty bug with regard to the tank mounted machine guns that cause the bullets to occasionally not register with infantry at certain angles. We’re currently looking at fixes for this.
That wraps up Max’s post on the upcoming weapon visual upgrades and weapon zeroing fixes!
What we shared today is just the tip of the iceberg for Update 9 and we look forward to sharing lots more with you as we move through early 2021.
Now before we sign off for the weekend, can anyone figure out what upcoming weapon this belongs to?
We’ll see you on the frontline!
More About This Game