Ground Branch News and Updates
What’s up, everyone?
It’s been a hot minute since our last Intel Update, and although we have been patching V1032 for a while now, work on upcoming release V1033 has been ongoing for several months behind the curtains. Before we start teasing the goods, however, we need to talk about a couple things:
Summer Sale: GROUND BRANCH is 40% OFF until July 7th!
That’s right! GROUND BRANCH is currently a whole 40% OFF, which we think is a pretty dang good deal and our highest discount yet.
You can grab your discount copy directly on Steam, or you can…
CONSIDER BUYING DIRECTLY FROM OUR STORE Buying the game from our Store ensures that we get the full cut of the purchase, as opposed to Valve taking 30%. Use code GBSUMMER at the checkout to apply the 40% discount. Please note the GB Store has no regional pricing — it can only use the base USD price tag!
You have exactly 2 weeks (until July 7th) to think about it or get that one friend (you know the one) to pull the trigger on this fantastic opportunity. Let’s get the word out and make sure to welcome the new players in!
We’re hiring: VFX Artist wanted for particle effects
This one is for any industry pros that might be lurking: BlackFoot Studios is looking for a VFX Artist to create awesome, realistic particle effects in GROUND BRANCH. For more details, click here.
Also, the Senior Gameplay Engineer/Developer position is still open. So if you know any Unreal Engine & C++ wizards out there (or happen to be one yourself), get in touch! Full job details right here.
So how’s V1033 coming along?
That’s what most of you are here for, so let’s move on to those sneak peeks we promised. Here are some of the exciting things currently under development.
New sky and weather system
GROUND BRANCH V1033 is being setup with a new system that allows for dynamic sky and weather effects, which means clouds, the moon and stars will be making a return.
We’re still assessing performance, but if it proves to work well, we may soon also be able to choose not just the time of day, but also whether the sky is clear, cloudy or overcast; whether there’s a moon out at night or not; and even if it’s rainy or foggy. The whole system is also being rigged up to inform the player of lighting and visibility conditions, as well as to allow a specific mission date to be set in order to emulate the real-life weather conditions of a certain area (where the map is set) at a given time.
This early prototype for the more advanced settings should give you an idea of the depth of the new system:
Although we are not yet sure how many of these options will be available to players (at least initially) nor exactly how it will all be displayed, the back-end to support it is already in place. Just keep in mind that it’s early days, and if the plugin’s performance hit during regular gameplay is too big, then we might need to pull it until we can make it all play nice.
Updated night vision effects + incoming GPNVG-18
One of the most requested items in GROUND BRANCH history — the famous (and sometimes infamous, particularly if you ask a GB dev) GPNVG-18 “quad NODs” panoramic night vision goggles — is finally making its way into the game, along with a number of enhancements to the overall night vision and IR laser effects.
Among the improvements, you may notice how the goggles take up a larger portion of the screen. Instead of simply expanding the NVG overlay mask, which would grant players an unrealistically wide field of view, this was done by switching the FOV (that is, by “zooming in”) in order to make the realistic field of view display at a larger size. This effect will likely be made optional as it might disorient some players.
Have a quick demo video (remember it’s all WIP!) from Fatmarrow to see it in action:
As you may be able to spot in the video: the noise speckle effect has being reworked; mask movement and lens shading have been added to give the camera a more natural feel; and the goggles now appear to bounce when running/sprinting (this will definitely be tweaked/toned down). The goggles are also using a white phosphor overlay, which will be available on the dual-tube NVG too (as will green be available on the GPNVG-18), and the IR laser has also received an update.
What do you think of these updates so far? Let us know in the comments!
Patches, but not the kind we had a bunch of for V1032
We’re talking velcro patches that you can place on your character’s shoulders, headgear and (eventually) vests. Like so:
Patches will be making a comeback from the pre-Early Access days, and they should not only make customization more fun and authentic, but also start making IFF a little easier.
Another cool feature of patches will be a tint selection: in addition to the full-color version of each patch, 3 types of subdued tints — tan, green and grayscale — will also be available for those who don’t want no flashy colors spoiling their drip. Or their camo, sure.
You have probably already spotted the MK17 SCAR-H in one of the screenshots above, so that cat is out of the bag. Modeled by the talented Cody Cudmore (aka ParallaxGameStudios), the MK17 will initially come in two versions: “CQC” (with the shorter 13-inch barrel) and “DMR” (with the standard 16-inch barrel and Midwest Industries handguard rail extension).
Cody has modelled several extra parts, however, that will be available when the ability to swap stocks, handguards and barrels is implemented. You can see most of the parts (along with some beautiful renders of the new MK17) in his ArtStation page.
Other upcoming weapon updates
Several of Cody’s models are being continually upgraded, so expect remasters of various attachments (including the AN/PEQ-15 and optics like the PRO, RMR, AccuPower and more) to have made their way into the game by the time V1033 hits.
Another new asset you may have spotted earlier is the new M1911A1 by Bakr Asaad aka Raider3D:
This modernized M1911A1 features a Picatinny rail for lights and lasers and a threaded barrel for suppressors, as well as 8-round and 10-round magazines. Aesthetically, it combines elements of various iconic 1911-style pistols used by American SOF over the last couple decades, retaining much of its classic look.
The update will also include plenty of AK-74 and AK-105 platforms (both with and without Zenitco parts), new SVDs, a PMM pistol, the suppressor for the MK46 machine gun… But hang in there, we’ll be unveiling more of these in the future.
As those spoilery screenshots earlier showed, character assets will be getting some new additions as well. Namely, we’ll be adding a new character head, and beards will finally make their comeback. That’s not all, but since we’re not sure at this time just how much will make it to V1033, we kindly request that all readers exercise caution with their hype levels.
Let’s take a look:
Hair color selection may not make it to V1033, but the assets have all been created to allow it once we get the functionality in.
Lastly for the character art department, another commonly requested item since V1032 has been tucked-in tops. Pau Peñalver is making the adjustments, and we’ll see how they end up in the game as far as selection goes.
Audio and animations
Among other things that we’ll be discussing in a later update, Mikson and Mike have been busy getting the new weapons to sound and move nicely, respectively.
Mik has also been working on environment-specific “tails”, which refers to how the gunshot sounds reverberate differently depending on the type of environment. So in addition to sounding different depending on whether you’re outdoors, in a small room or a larger room, shots in V1033 will have distinctive tails for urban, marine and generic outdoors, with the possibility of a woodland-area tail in the future too. Here’s a little demo:
New unsuppressed gunshot SFX for the MPX, 5.45 mm AK platforms and other weapons will also be in the update.
This is it for today’s Intel Update, but before we sign off: we are also working on AI features, modding, map updates, a new map and game modes for V1033 that we’ll be showcasing at a later date.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!