U-Boat: B128: Major update hits the testing branch

Hello skippers!

We are back with the next major update to UBOAT. We feel that this update is an important milestone towards the full release and we put a lot of effort to make it happen.

We secured additional funding from the publisher to put additional work into the game. For this reason, we decided to deviate for a moment from the original roadmap and put work into the areas of the game that are important, but were somewhat left behind before, like the in-game map. These changes were often requested by you on the game forum.

Considering the above, we now expect to release the full version of the game in January, rather than a fourth quarter of this year. We hope for your patience and understanding as it’s for the greater good in the end!

Without further introductions, let’s move on and explain what can you expect from this new update!

Map

This is probably the most exciting change in this version. The new map contains dynamic country borders that reflect most historical events of World War II. There are also major battles marked in on the map. We hope that you will enjoy this change as much as we do!

Tutorial

In this version we added 7 tutorial missions into the game. They explain most topics needed to successfully proceed with your career through the game. These missions can be started at any time from any port in the game.

Aside from that, each in-game interface now has a dedicated help system that can be toggled by pressing the question mark icon in the upper right part of the screen.

Technical improvements
Realism settings

There are two new realism settings: AI difficulty and economic difficulty.

AI difficulty affects how good enemy crews are at detecting your u-boat, which directly affects the combat difficulty of the game.

Economic difficulty on the other hand, affects the cost and availability of various goods in the ports. In this version, we introduced resource shortages in Germany at the last stages of the war and high economic difficulties make them quite dramatic and more realistic. Besieged ports like La Rochelle may often lack most of the goods needed to sustain your ship.

Pathfinding improvements

It’s no longer necessary to plot paths in ports manually as they are computed automatically around the port structures. Aside from that, there were numerous other improvements in this area, for example NPC ships can now effectively avoid collisions with each other even in tight formations and it’s much easier to avoid entering coastal areas by accident as the new paths avoid them automatically whenever possible.

Hunt-class destroyers

These destroyers along with River-class frigates, which also started to appear in this version, are used by Royal Navy and many new navies introduced in this update:

  • Polish Navy
  • Free French Navy
  • Royal Norwegian Navy
  • Royal Netherlands Navy
  • Free Belgian Navy
  • Royal Hellenic Navy

Body shape variations

Each sailor now has a different body shape. It may be adjusted at the customization screen.

Patrol changes

Patrols are now performed on smaller Kriegsmarine grid squares, which were implemented in this version. We always felt that previously patrol areas were too undefined and large.

Simulation improvements

Most of the Royal Navy escort ships are now equipped with ASDIC devices since the beginning of the war, which are later upgraded to newer, historically correct types. By the end of war, many of the enemy escort ships are also equipped with radars.

Enemy hydrophone operators are much better at detecting u-boats. We felt that they were lacking a lot since B127, as the enemy convoys started to be much more spread out since then, while escort ships balance wasn’t adjusted for that change. It’s now going to be again, much harder to stay undetected while sneaking into convoys.

Graphics
Contact shadows

UBOAT is an open world game with vast open scenes. Such conditions are not ideal for the common shadowing techniques that were producing blurry results at times. We decided to implement raycasted contact shadowing technique for that reason. It’s commonly used in the games from this year and now UBOAT also joins that party.

Screen-space reflections

Previous implementation of the screen space reflections (SSR) effect in the game was quite outdated and was affecting performance on the high screen resolutions. We updated it using the latest Unity implementation as a reference and optimized for the specific use case of our game (mostly water).

This new version is both faster and more precise, producing reflections where previous implementation was failing to do so.

8K interior textures

Most u-boat interior textures are now present in the highest resolution and use better BC7 compression that fixes various colouring artifacts that were previously visible especially on gray surfaces. This shouldn’t affect overall VRAM usage as textures are loaded to fit a set limit, but please let us know in case of problems.

Optimizations

We are optimizing the game at each occasion and this time we optimized it quite a lot! While the game may run a bit slower than before after you run it, if you disable the newly added graphic effects, it should almost certainly run faster than before and use less memory.

We also updated the engine UBOAT is built on to the latest version: from Unity 2018.3.4 to 2019.4.11. Despite the numeration pointing to a one year, it’s actually two years of progress from the engine developer as the newer version was released just two weeks ago.

Save system

Saved game state files should be at least 30% smaller since this version, while both saving and loading should be faster.

We fixed the infinite loading screen issue that was still there in B127 despite our earlier effort. If this would happen again, please remember to drop us a save and a log file and it will be our top priority.

Warning

This version is currently present on the unstable branches on Steam and GOG. It may still need some polish and there may be leftover issues from the work done.

Mods may need an update to work well with this update as most aspects of the game were modified. We will do our best to help mod authors. Please come by to the B128 discussion thread on the forum, if your mod was affected.

With your help, we are hoping to release this version on the stable branch as soon as possible.

Yours,
Deep Water Studio

 

Source: https://store.steampowered.com/newshub/app/494840/view/2877195252819396741

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