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Hey soldiers! We're back with a recap in a brand new year! Hopefully, you're off burning those holiday feasts at the gym, but if your New Year's resolution is running out of construction points, maybe we can distract you with some Squad news! Let's hit the recap: 4.21 Engine Update Engine upgrades bring long-awaited improvements to the development of Squad. We've jumped a number of versions this time around, from 4.16 to 4.21 to be exact. A detailed list of the changes and updates in UE4.21 can be found here. Engine upgrades are always a tricky task, but the rewards far outweigh the cons and the team is making swift progress. Once we are upgraded, the entire development team can benefit from the new tools and bug fixes, which leads to improved quality of Squad overall. In fact, the Alpha 13 test last week was the first version we played in the new 4.21 Unreal Engine version, a test designed to identify all the bugs associated with the migration. Keep an eye out for more testing! Ammunition Rearm Improvement Having seen the light of day in the Alpha 13 test last week, we can confirm this is a welcome improvement to the Ammunition resupply mechanic. The update will give you the ability to pick which item in your inventory you wish to rearm. In the Alpha 12 implementation, if your ammunition requirements exceed that of the supply source, you’re unable to rearm, in addition to using ammo points greater than necessary. This should help free up "extra" ammo points for other players in need. You’ll have the ability to rearm exactly what you need when you need it. How well you use it is still up to you, of course. Track and Wheel Damage As described in an earlier development update, we’re also putting into testing the last major upgrade to the vehicle component damage model: destroying the wheels and tracks. This allows the attacking side to better score a mobility kill by giving another potential target as the tracks and wheels are usually more exposed and less armored than the engine. Ambush weapons like mines now have an additional, slightly different purpose by targeting the tracks/wheels, scoring mobility kills, allowing for some degree of counterplay on the part of the victims. We'll be keeping an eye on how effectively the new components are used, so keep your feedback coming! New Armor We have in the works a ton (pun unintended (Editor: I don't believe that for a minute.)) of new ground vehicles, including the higher tier Russian APC in the form of the BMP series of infantry fighting vehicles, the British Challenger 2 main battle tank and the Soviet-era T-62 main battle tank for Militia and Insurgent forces. The Challenger 2 and BMPs are still very heavy work in progress at the moment, but they’re definitely coming together! An extensive redesign of the Challenger 1 main battle tank, the Challenger 2 should provide a considerable upgrade to firepower and protection for the British forces in Squad. Though it looks similar to its predecessor, less than 5% of the parts are interchangeable, and it is 100% meaner. A Soviet workhorse that rolled onto the field in 1961, the T-62 became the standard tank in their arsenal. It's staying power has left it a capable vehicle with thousands in use around the world today. We will be introducing a number of vehicles from the venerable BMP series, in order to give Russia and the unconventional factions a boost in firepower. We will initially be rolling the BMP-1 as well as the BMP-2 across a number of factions and layers. Later on the plan is to upgrade the Russian faction to use the BMP-2M variant instead of the dated original version that will continue to be used by the irregular forces. The BMPs should offer a little better protection than the BTR based vehicles. The BMP-1 has a rather interesting main armament in its 73mm recoilless gun. This is essentially an SPG-9 as its main armament. In contrast, the BMP-2's main armament is the 30mm 2A42 which has an even more ridiculous fire rate than the 2A72 found on the BTR-82A. If that wasn't enough, both of them will have the option of equipping ATGMs if it is appropriate for the layer and faction. US Forces UAV We’re also working on the aerial UAV feature that is accessible by the Commander. With the ability to zoom right into the action from above, this should give an unparalleled level of observation and scouting power to the top. We’re also working on functions like target tracking and marker interactions via the UAV camera, further streamlining the experience. Fallujah We're aiming to make Fallujah the densest map we’ve created yet. The most difficult part in making such complex environment is balancing many different gameplay paths, areas, and scenarios. To achieve that we’ve implemented a new system using gameplay markers, allowing us to focus on bigger picture and leave the detailing to a later stage of production. This way we can effectively iterate in designing each flag; speeding up and streamlining the creation process. Stay tuned for more as we move into testing. We're going to need the grizzled veterans and newbies alike to test out a renewed favorite. Skorpo Progress is also being made on Skorpo, an upcoming new map based on a tranquil village on the western coast of Norway. Since the playtest last year in mid-December, work has been done to incorporate those findings into a more streamlined gameplay flow. Changes incorporated after the playtest include adding more alternative routes, making roads more traversable, and reworking the flag layout, among other gameplay considerations. A big challenge with this map has also been optimizations and, luckily, the 4.21 upgrade brings new tools for larger environments. It should help to bring a smoother experience for the players. SQUADCHAT FEATURING DRAV And last, but not least, we had the opportunity to sit down with Squad's lead producer, Dave "Drav" Mason. Drav shared his insights into Squad development, took your questions, and chatted with us for about two hours. A huge thank you to everyone who attended! (P.S. We're aware of the audio issue -- skip ahead to six minutes. We promise you didn't miss any leeks.) Sign Off Hot damn did the team come up with some cool stuff for this Recap! Until next time, keep your friends close, and your air support closer.
Hey Squaddies, Got a minute? We're back with a brand new year and we're already in the final stages of bug fixing and testing for Alpha 10. Your feedback during the Alpha 10 public test before Christmas was invaluable in making the test period for us that much less crazy. There's absolutely no replacement for those dedicated boots on the ground! The insane amount of enthusiasm and positiveness around the playtest fueled our drive to make Alpha 10 one of our most polished releases yet. Gib A10! Alpha 10 Status Since entering testing, we've squashed more than 323 separate bugs and issues with no small thanks to your bug reports! We only have a few more left before we're happy going to a full release, but rest assured the day where we can finally move on is coming soon. In fact, some of the artists are already working ahead! In the meantime, we'd like to show off development in other areas of the game that are coming after the Alpha 10 release. Unlike previous recaps, this will focus more on content that is extremely close to completion and will most likely be added in the near future. One caveat is mapping, where it is usually an area that is developed on an independent schedule, so the content shown there will vary in levels of completion and release schedules. Let's see what the future holds! Art and Modeling British Army Update A faction teased since the beginning of the Kickstarter, the Brits have been stewing away for quite some time now and they're almost ready to make war. With their own array of weapons, uniform and armament, they will prove to be another flavour on an already rich battlefield. #Melbolyfe New Insurgent Soldiers The Insurgent models currently in use are the last marketplace assets still widely used in our art library. We've been hard at work modelling a completely new set of our own. With them comes a large variety of civilian and paramilitary styles to make the faction look a little more versatile visually. Rigged up and just about good to go, they're undergoing a bit more texture polish before deployment. Technical's Improvised Armor Package One other improvement we're adding to the unconventional factions is an improvised armour set for their light vehicles. Sometimes-reluctant workhorses of modern combat, these vehicles generally sacrifice speed and handling for much greater resistance to shrapnel and small arms fire. BGM-71 TOW Missile Emplacement Also in the pipe is our first foray into guided missile systems with the BGM-71 TOW. Equipped with a high magnification day-sight, this weapon fires wire-guided anti-tank missiles over extreme distances. This should give a bit more teeth to American FOB defences. PKP Alpha 10 will see the introduction of the PKM, but soon afterwards will come its modernised cousin, the PKP. Complete with a mount for optics, this Russian weapon will make their machine gunners even more fearsome. Heavy Machine Gun Optics Conventional factions will also be getting an upgrade to their heavy machine gun emplacements in the form of mounted optics. This will allow for greater target acquisition capabilities for HMG gunners, and also make HMGs a more formidable weapon to go up against especially on maps with little cover. Mapping With a new year comes a new year of mapping! This year we will try to keep the community abreast of the current state of maps as they develop so things may be a little more work in progress than perhaps in the past. Let's check in with the mapping team! Kohat Expansion An expansion to Kohat Toi River Valley will bring improvements to the eastern and southern portions of the map, providing more variety and capturable areas. In addition, the eastern edge of the map will house a brand new United States Army FOB, complete with helicopter landing pads. Logar Valley Expansion As part of a step to revamp some of the older maps we have retrofitted the main town in Logar and replaced about 40% of the buildings with more two story and larger internal space structures. In addition, many more damaged and ruined buildings were added throughout the map as well as a few new bisecting roads to keep those vehicles nimble. Kamdesh Highlands Building on our experience with Operation First Light, we've begun work on a new map visually based on a more rugged portion of Afghanistan than previous projects. Covered in a thick pine forest, the hilly terrain will increase the risk of ambushes leaving even seasoned veterans on the edge of their seats! Checking in with Fallujah Continuing progress on the layout of our long-term project Fallujah. We have moved into the second phase of the city creation and the environment team is working through the creation of larger urban structures to populate the core of the city. Expect monthly updates on this one as it moves towards release in the later part of the year. Annnnnd that brings us to the close of the first regularly scheduled Recap of the year. We hope you're as excited as we are to see what's coming to Squad in the near and distant futures. Be sure to let us know what you think of the new models! How 'bout dem kicks? Offworld Out.