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Developer Briefing #87 - Patch Date, Bullet Penetration and Hurtgen Overhaul!

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Hey everyone,

Welcome to Dev Brief #87!

We hope you've had a great week. Today Lead Developer Max is back with a locked in date for the second Update 7 Patch, as well as some exciting news on Bullet Penetration and Hurtgen Forest!

I'll hand you straight over to Max now who has all the info:

A Message From Max

Hi everyone,

In the wake of the free weekend and the huge expansion of the playerbase, we’ve been hard at work looking at the fundamental issues affecting players. The key ones we’ve been focusing hard on are:
  • FPS dips and drops
  • General performance issues (CPU and VRAM)
  • Crashes
We want to acknowledge that while these are our top priority issues, we have collated vast amounts of feedback around the new meta, as well as every other issue in every department.

While in the last six months we’ve often separated our releases into hotfixes and huge updates, we’re bringing back the patch style release. For those of you who have been with us since our Early Access launch, you’ll recall that these releases strike a balance between applying urgent fixes, while batching larger bug fixes at the same time.

We’re excited to announce that we’ll be patching on Monday, 3rd of August. This patch is designed to fix a large number of issues you’re seeing, including the top three mentioned above. We will be releasing granular patch notes on the morning of the release so you can see the full scope of what has been fixed.

We’ve opted for this style of release now, as we needed a larger portion of time (approximately 5 days) to profile, isolate and fix the above issues. That portion of time enabled our broader team to also apply fixes relevant to your experience within their department.

We want to give a single caveat - that a particularly aggravating PhysX crash remains.

This crash is a very unusual one, in that it is happening as data leaves our code and enters the PhysX black box within the engine code. We’ve attached a huge amount of debug to replicate this. We’re also found that some players may never experience it, while some players may experience it frequently. Some players have found that deleting their PhysX cache has solved this issue, while some find this doesn’t help. For the last two weeks we’ve been working with our QA team to try and isolate any fix reported by the community, and A/B testing it. During this time, we’ve worked our way through the majority of other issues affecting the game.

We love watching all the conversations about the game that occur across all our channels. Something we felt may be useful would be to explain the timelines of the development and QA process with the community.

We’re keen to be as transparent as possible about this in order to assure you that we’ve identified and are tackling core issues, while also balancing a proper QA testing cycle and sign off to make sure we don’t rush to race out a patch that could make things worse.

We’re also aware that the past several Dev Briefings have been quite dry in nature - due to us prioritising and fixing the largest issues affecting the community.

While these are our top priority for our programming and QA team, the rest of the team have been hard at work on new content and features that you can expect to see in U8 and beyond.

This week, several new features have been completed:

Bullet penetration

We will be breaking down this system in a detailed way in a coming Dev Briefing, but we’re very excited for the implications this will have on gameplay in the future.

Initially, we felt this was a critical step in allowing us to handle penetrating soft skinned vehicles correctly, and while that’s the case, it has also opened up huge gameplay opportunities when it comes to balancing the power of different firearms within the game, as well as the specific power of different weapons.

Stay tuned as we’ll be taking you through this in detail in the coming weeks...

Map Overhauls: Hurtgen

With map overhauls, we often don’t release huge numbers of work-in-progress images of the work we’re doing. However, we thought you may be interested when it comes to Hurtgen.

The overhaul process on both Sainte-Marie-Du-Mont and Hurtgen are really “make new”. Instead of touching up the existing maps, we’ve imported the terrain height data into an entirely new map. From there, we’ve set about concepting the different gameplay aspects of the map - with better separated biomes within the map that will give you a very different experience each time you play.

Previously, Hurtgen largely felt like a very dense forest map, with some open (and ugly) wasteland full of floating tree stumps and objects (whose main purpose it felt like was to block you placing a Garrison, or to totally trap your vehicle). Armour was really difficult to play effectively, and while the forest was dense, it wasn’t dense enough to make any area properly defendable. Nearly all engagements took place at 50-100m ranges - except at the scar.

With our Hurtgen rework, we’ve separated out the different biomes to match the battlefield of the day - but far more clearly and with greater separation of gameplay styles. Hurtgen now has the typical dense European pine forest, but the trees have been scaled correctly and more light is let through the canopy to the floor. There is a greater density of built fortifications (trenches, bunkers, foxholes), as well as much larger usage of blocking elements (like barbed wire). This now better emulates the defences in the forest during the battle, and will provide defenders with the ability to better create choke-points and tactical challenges the attackers will need to overcome.

The second biome is the most unique to the overhaul so far, and that is the destroyed forest. Burning trees, ashen earth and shell holes litter the ground to create a WW1-esque wasteland for you to fight your way across.

Thirdly, a grass mountainous plain biome has been added on the North Western side of the map where the Siegfried line dragon's teeth are. This area provides huge vertical gameplay and will be a key location for armor to control in the push back and forth across the map. Prepare for long ranged firefights from peak to peak as you assault uphill.

Lastly, the riverbed in the center of the map is now a functional river, requiring each team to consider the necessity to own one of the three crossing points in order to make any sort of push.

Hurtgen will have Offensive mode added for both teams - with separate weather conditions each time to truly widen the experience and replayability.

Below you can see some very work-in-progress images of the map, as we consider layout and sight-lines for armour, as well as infantry pathing and strong point locations. You can also see some of the references we’ve gathered to define each specific biome - in both appearance and playstyle.















See you Monday!

That wraps up this week's Dev Brief!

Thank you all so much for your support and patience whilst we worked on your feedback and bug reports since Update 7 dropped, we're looking forward to the patch going live Monday morning (BST/CEST).

See you on the frontline!

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