News Update #56: Road To Overlord Part 3/3

Original Source: Traction Wars

Traction Wars is a PlayforFree WWII Tactical Teamplay Multiplayer Game.

The game brings a vivid and realistic representation of the Second World War to your screens using the stunning CRYENGINE. The game dynamics & balancing are designed to inspire a teamwork orientated tactical style of gameplay which rewards players who work together closely as a single fighting unit.

Following our discussion on some of the design behind the game in Part 2, in this update we continue our in-depth look at the mechanics which will give Traction Wars its unique and authentic gameplay experience.

Squads

Each team is divided into squads of eight players known as a “Section”. Each section is lead by a Section Leader who directs the group in the field to provide coordination and a focus to the other section members.

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The Section Leader has at their disposal several unique tools to direct and support the squad in combat. These tools include the ability to mark objectives on the map, call in off-map mortar support, and placing of rally points to act as forward spawn location for the section as they advance.

The screenshot below shows the near final interface design which will be replacing the current placeholder interface used in Internal Alpha testing. The map you can see is the internal “mini” version of Pegasus Bridge which we use for testing. The full 32-player version will be released in OVERLORD.

In-Game Menu Concept For Section, Role and Spawnselection

Player Classes

The same interface is used for the selection of the players role in the section. Once players have selected the Section of their choice they can select from the available roles in the middle column.

In addition to the “regular” roles such as rifleman, more advanced and specialist roles are available on a limited basis.

Each of the four maps in OVERLORD will have slightly different role configurations depending on the historical events of the battle.

The most specialist roles (e.g. marksman) are only available to near-full squads and on a very limited basis. Each section will almost always have more than 8 roles available to choose from (e.g. up to 5 riflemen, 3 assault, 1 support, 1 engineer & 1 marksman = 11 roles). The result of this flexibility is that players will often be able to change their role in the game without having to leave their section-mates for a different section.

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That’s all for our first look at some of the game design of Traction Wars. We are always on the lookout for fresh talent to join the team. If you think you have a skill which might be useful to us please head over to our recruitment page for details of our open positions, just like the one highlighted below.

Operation Deadstick: Pegasus Bridge

Original Source: Traction Wars

Traction Wars is a PlayforFree WWII Tactical Teamplay Multiplayer Game.

The game brings a vivid and realistic representation of the Second World War to your screens using the stunning CRYENGINE. The game dynamics & balancing are designed to inspire a teamwork orientated tactical style of gameplay which rewards players who work together closely as a single fighting unit.

At 2256hrs on the 5th of June 1944 six Horsa Gliders, towed by Halifax bombers, took off from RAF Tarrant Rushton in Dorset, starting the events of the allied invasion on D-Day. In the Gliders were 181 men from the 6th Airbourne division “D Company”, led by Major John Howard.

Their aim was to capture two bridges. Success would prevent a German counter attack on the eastern flank of the D-Day landings at Sword Beach. Failure would leave the men isolated in enemy territory and make the already risky D-Day landings vulnerable to German Panzers.

At 0016, five of the gliders landed within 50 feet of Bénoville Bridge. When Howard’s glider hit the ground, it jolted the men. Everything went black for Howard and he thought he had gone blind, until one of his men pointed out that his helmet was covering his eyes.

Travelling by glider enabled the British to surprise the German troops defending the bridge. Within 10 minutes of landing, following a fierce gunfight, the British were able to secure not only Bénouville Bridge but also the nearby Orne Bridge. Thus, 90 minutes after taking off, Major Howard was able to send the code words “Ham and Jam” to indicate the successful capture of both bridges. The victory was perhaps the “single most important ten minutes of the war”.

The swift victory gave the men two hours to prepare for the German counter attacks and to defuse the explosives that laced the bridge, placed there by the Germans in case of attack or an allied advance.

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Traction Wars Motion Capture Day - Maniche In Action

Dev Blog #17: Traction Wars in Motion

Traction Wars is a PlayforFree WWII Tactical Teamplay Multiplayer Game.

The game brings a vivid and realistic representation of the Second World War to your screens using the stunning CRYENGINE. The game dynamics & balancing are designed to inspire a teamwork orientated tactical style of gameplay which rewards players who work together closely as a single fighting unit.

Hello there my fellow Traction Warriors and welcome to another Traction Wars development blog. In previous updates we have shown some of our “Work in Progress” first person weapon animations, but today I want to talk about the third person, full-body animations such as running, crawling and jumping.

Animations are not my main task and I’m normally working on different things but once in a while I encounter interesting technologies due to my current stay in Sweden. This time I came across a room which caught my full attention. The room contained a fully operational high speed motion capture system, also known as Mo-cap. The first thing that came to my mind was: “**** ****, we need this for Traction Wars”. Using my superior seduction techniques on the person in charge I managed to get a reservation to use this fascinating piece of equipment for a full day. I immediately called up fellow developer [TWDEV] Maniche, who drove the three hundred kilometres from Norway to help me out.

[TWDEV] Maniche lurks in the undergrowth of the Mo-cap studio.

We humans are so used to body movements like walking that it is very easy for us to spot flaws in artificial animation. This makes creating full body animations an incredibly difficult and time consuming task, often taking days or weeks just for a normal walking loop. It is challenging to find the right balance and weight to make a full-body animation feel as realistic as possible. Because of this, Motion Capture is used heavily in current games and movies.

The commercial grade Mo-cap system uses eight infrared (IR) cameras placed around the subject; in this case [TWDEV] Maniche due to his military experience. Lots of very reflective dots are strategically attached to the subject to reflect the IR light back to the cameras. These dots are so bright on the captured image that they can be separated from the surrounding environment. Due to the use of multiple cameras precision of movement can be calculated to an accuracy within 0.2 millimetres, 120 times a second.

They are strategically attached to the subject enabling realistic motion to be captured.These small white dots reflect infra-red light back to the cameras around the room.

During our capture day we tried to get as close to the real movements as we could. Using weights, a full sized rifle prop and help from [TWDEV] VonMudra during a live Skype call, helping us with the correct way weapons were carried and used. From grenades to heavy machine guns, running, climbing and setting up – we went through as many movements we could think of. It was good to see [TWDEV] Maniche running around getting tired while I pressed the right buttons and verified the captured data so anything could be re-done if something went wrong.

We look forward to showing the processed Mo-cap animations on our in-game characters in the future. Until then, stay tuned for more development updates. And thanks for reading!

Interested in joining the team?
The team is currently looking to recruit 3D Artists, Particle Artists and C++ Programmers in addition to a couple of other areas. If you have experience in game/mod development and are interested in being part of our friendly and professional team then please head over to our recruitment page for full details about the team and available positions.

For the very latest media and updates follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Steam, as well as our community forum or media gallery.

Traction Wars HUD Update

Traction Wars Dev Blog #15: Heads Up!

Hello, I will be sharing some design details of the Traction Wars HUD. I’ve been working on Traction Wars since 2010 but you haven’t seen a lot from me although I like to call myself the interaction designer of the team. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s about designing experiences, how the game communicates with you and ensuring you are completely immersed in the game.

Games work in a certain way so you can’t always compare them to real life. They should be treated as two different things and you can’t just copy what’s out there in real life. For example, your field of view in the real world is roughly 180 degrees and you can’t see sharply at the edges though you can recognize movements. This peripheral vision is very handy if there is any danger, like an approaching bear or tiger. In games you lack peripheral vision and your field of view is only +/- 60 degrees. This means you have a hard time getting all the information you need because you have less spatial awareness with the result that the player needs some form of help. This is mostly done in game by graphical elements placed on your screen, which is known as the HUD or Head-Up Display.

Now it gets more complicated. Traction Wars is focussing heavily on realism. In the real world you don’t have a HUD telling you stuff so we’re looking for the right balance between the real and virtual world. HUD will have a big impact on immersion (i.s. how involved you are) and gameplay.

Traction Wars HUD Progression

Traction Wars HUD Progression

Since I joined Traction Wars three years ago there have been many forms of our HUD. It’s impossible to get it right the first time. To find the right balance we have been testing and researching a lot of ideas, from showing a lot of information to almost nothing. We are trying to show as little information as possible but as much as is needed. The more we can implement in the game itself with animations and visual feedback, the closer we can get to the real world.

Current HUD Design

Current HUD Design

So let me explain what you see here. It’s our current version of the HUD, which during play is not visible. When you press a certain key the HUD appears and when released it disappears again. HUD only shows a mini-map and compass, which are there to give you a better spatial awareness. They show your position relative to friendly players and important features of the map. Team-mates will only be shown when directly in view without any obstacles between you and them. These icons will slowly fade away when losing contact although things like objectives and orders will always be visible. To orientate properly you’ll have to pull out a physical map, so you can’t use your weapon at that moment -just as in real life. Depending on your class you’ll have a more or less detailed map.

Telling team-mates where to look at can be difficult. If someone says “Look left”, you’ll probably not look to the correct “left”. That’s why we incorporated a compass, making it easier for your team-mates to look in the right direction and not get themselves killed.

As you may notice the mini-map and compass are placed on the bottom left. This corner of the screen is mostly blocked by the player’s arm, so it is a perfect area for something like the mini-map. The rest of your view isn’t blocked so it is optimal for checking your surroundings.

On the right we have the magazine counter. This shows the total amount of magazines, grenades or belts the player has left. The amount of bullets left will not be shown as players can keep count for themselves – again as in real life.

There have been almost three years of HUD iterations and it is still work in progress so it may see changes before release. I would love to hear some feedback from you. Feel free to criticize but please try to explain your criticism. This makes it more useful.

There is much more to talk about. Stuff like squad-command order system, the soldier immersion system, suppression, health, hit orientation, moral systems, fancy menu’s with shiny buttons and more. So keep an eye open for more dev blogs and thanks for reading.

Interested in joining the team?
The team is currently looking for level designers and particle artists who have experience in CRYENGINE. If you have the experience and are interested in being part of our friendly and professional team then please head over to our recruitment page for further details.

For the very latest media and updates follow us on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Steam, as well as our community forum or media gallery.

drawingdefence

Drawing Defense

Drawing Defense is a small tower defense Android, iOS and Windows Mobile Phone.

The goal is to survive as long as possible by using three basic tools; Draw, Slice and Move. Drawing Defense will be available at the end of june on Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

Credits:
Julien Ranzijn – Concept & Game Design
Max Plooi – Programming
Callum Bigden – Music & Sounds

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Julien Ranzijn Interaction Designer
Julien Ranzijn Interaction Designer