Welcome to the third week of our pre-release news updates!
This week, we'll be revealing some of the changes that have been made to our tank system. Our recently acquired vehicle coder Shurek has been hard at work over the last few months implementing a complete overhaul of our entire range of vehicles, as well as huge behind the scenes restructure, a rewrite of the armour and penetration systems, and somehow he has even found time to add a few new vehicles!
We'll be officially revealing the first two of those vehicles this week and another two next week. For anyone who's a regular forum visitor, this week's vehicles should be no surprise!
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Wacht am Rhein
- This map has been shunned undeservedly in the past as a direct result of our poor tanking system, but with the changes to our tanks mentioned below and a few enhancements and optimisations, we think that's all about to change...
*New German Tank – Panzer VI Ausf. B – The King Tiger*
Bearing a massive 150mm of sloped frontal armour and a long 88mm main cannon, the King Tiger was one of the most feared armoured fighting vehicles of the WWII era. However, the King Tiger was far from invincible and if not properly supported was susceptible to well-organised flanking attacks by enemy armour and AT weapon wielding infantry units. In addition, the King Tiger’s 70 kilotons of weight limited its manoeuvrability. Mechanical strain on its engine and other operating components could occasionally lead to untimely failures on the battlefield.
*New German Vehicle – Volkswagen Type 82 ‘Kübelwagen’*
The famous Kübelwagen comes to Darkest Hour! The Type 82 model was cheap and simple to produce and offered excellent handling, good off road performance (its rear wheel drive configuration outperforming its four wheel drive counterparts) and a comfortable ride for up to four passengers. It has a decent top speed, however it carries no armament and is extremely vulnerable to small arms fire, so it is recommended as a transport only. Make no mistake, this is no “clown car”. Attempts to use it as an assault vehicle “Arad style” will only end in tears.
Our Kübelwagen model and textures were painstakingly created by Foo'Bar and very generously donated to the mod. We're very grateful for his support.
*StuG Mounted MG*
The StuG III Ausf. G now comes standard equipped with a mounted MG34 or MG42. This weapon occupies a new, seperate crew slot in the tank and is excellent for clearing the path of enemy infantry and light vehicles. Players occupying the MG slot will find it similar to that of a half track, but with the added ability to be completely buttoned, protecting the gunner from small arms fire and HE shells at the cost of being unable to fire until they unbutton. This new weapon makes the StuG a far more versatile and deadly opponent.
*Gun Sight Optics Texture Redux*
New textures have been created for all Allied gun sight optics taking into account real FOV and true position of range marks.
German gun sights have also seen several small revisions in FOV and marking accuracy.
All tank gun sights now feature a thin layer of dust and debris to enhance player immersion.
*Enhanced Vehicle and Weapon Damage Behaviours*
Extensive work has been put into completely overhauling the core of our armoured combat. It has been months of effort, however the pay off is a system that not only is no longer broken, but is in fact more realistic than we'd ever originally hoped it could be.
- The Armour penetration calculation system has been completely reworked taking into account known ballistics characteristics such as Overmatching and Shell Shatter Gap.
- Tanks now use their actual armour thickness values rather than arbitrary numbers.
- Armour multipliers are now based on the design slope of the armour, diameter of the incoming shell, and the angle of obliquity of the shot. Unrealistic bonuses for angling tanks have been reduced significantly as a result.
- Gun sight optics can be damaged by hits to critical points on the tank turret.
- Turret rings can be damaged by penetrating hits thereby disabling turret traverse.
- Engine hits have the potential to set the engine on fire which can lead to the eventual disablement of the tank and ultimately the cook off of the tank’s ammunition over time.
- Track destruction now works properly and disables movement of the tank. Any attempts to drive forwards on a single track will result in you doing circles, but not much else. Destroyed tracks are no longer visible as an indicator to other players that your tank is going nowhere fast.
- Nearby or direct tank shell impacts cause blurred or shaky vision for infantry and opposing tank crews.
- Resolved the tracer/bullet separation issue with the Sherman/Firefly co-ax MG’s
- Added missing collision meshes for Sherman, Firefly, Stuart, Achilles and Wolverine – this should solve the problem of shells sometimes passing straight through them without registering the hit
- Fixed misaligned collision meshes on M3 HalfTrack, Cromwell and JagdPanther – they should no longer take damage from misses and ignore direct hits like nothing had happened
- Fixed grossly misaligned collision boxes on ALL DH developed vehicles – this should eliminate the majority of unusual driving behaviour, bizarre physics, impossible collisions and should also prevent the ability to park halfway inside a tree or other solid object
- Corrected lod scaling for Stuart, Sherman, Firefly, Achilles, Wolverine and M3 Half Track, which should improve performance on aging PCs
- Fixed all of the missing, misplaced, misaligned, and otherwise completely screwed up location damage hit zones in the Allied tanks, which should remove the luck factor from combat and return player skill to the equation. There were very few unbroken zones in any Allied tanks, which goes a long way toward explaining why they were sometimes invulnerable, yet other times could be killed by nothing more than a near miss
- Added hatch sounds to all Allied tanks during button/unbutton animations
- Fixed Panther and Jadpanther hull MG traverse ranges – these are now actually useful
Next week, in addition to the two new as-yet-to-be-announced vehicles, we'll also reveal the final few vehicle changes, as well as a summary of some of the little things that don't deserve their own section, but show the dedication and attention to detail that Shurek is displaying in trying to make our tanking system one of the most realistic ever seen in a first person shooter.