We recently kicked off Beyond the Wire’s developer blog series with an introduction to some of the iconic weapons you will be seeing Beyond the Wire. For this second instalment we are going to dive into more areas of our weapon mechanics and systems! Below you can see some footage of these systems in our development testing range. Please bear in mind these features are early development implementations and are subject to change!
The turn of the 20th Century saw vast advancements in technology and strategy that would change the landscape of war forever. With the introduction of heavy fire support systems, gas attacks and rapid-fire weapons, soldiers should become familiar with these systems before stepping out Beyond the Wire.
Note: These videos were generated inside our development testing range and are not from in-game
With bolt-action rifles being the most commonly deployed firearms during World War 1, our primary goal has been to deliver satisfying gunplay and authentic weapon handling. Players can choose to operate the bolt handle manually allowing you to dictate the pacing of your engagements, which is especially useful when tracking targets.
Additionally, you will be able to reload from a stripper clip or load each round individually, depending on the weapon. This is critical in moments of high tempo when you may have to cancel the reload process and only load one or two bullets before the enemy is upon you!
Beyond the Wire features an advanced ballistics system that takes muzzle velocity and gravity into account. Be sure to adjust your aim to compensate for bullet drop when engaging at a distance!
A huge part of World War 1 was the impact that portable machine guns had on the battlefield. The ability to bring suppressive fire without losing mobility was key to taking strategic positions. However, those machine guns and automatic rifles are hard to control when firing from the hip. In Beyond The Wire, you can deploy your weapon's bipod on nearly every surface to improve the accuracy of your weapon. Whether flat on the ground, on sandbags, or any other object that can serve as a makeshift firing platform.
Usually equipped by leaders and assault troops, pistols and revolvers are among the most effective weapons at closer ranges due to their superior fire rate and mobility compared to bolt action rifles.
Bayonets are a great offensive and defensive alternative to firearms in close-quarters scenarios with faster attack speeds than a rifle. If you run out of ammunition, affix your bayonet to increase your chances of taking out enemies at closer ranges.
Additionally, players will have the option to do a bayonet charge while sprinting, which will strike fear and terror into the enemy, especially if done with a larger group of players.
Beware though, the additional weight of the bayonet will decrease the stability of your rifle, affecting your aim.
Fire Support Systems
One of the systems we haven’t discussed much is the off-map support actions that leaders can call in.
As the introduction of industrialized artillery was one of the significant advancements during these times, we have developed off-map support call-ins that leadership classes are able to activate. With a variety of options like high explosive, smoke, and chemical barrages, your team has different tools to obliterate defensive positions and clear dangerous trench systems.
GAS GAS GAS
Part of the significance of The Great War was the development of chemical warfare. The first large-scale chemical assault on the Western front was 170 metric tonnes of chlorine. And as such the chlorine gas attack will be available on Early Access Release, with the potential for more to be added in the future!
The immediate impact of a chlorine attack on your troops will be disruption as the equipping of your gas mask robs you of fighting capability. If you’re stuck in a firefight and don’t reach for your mask in time, you'll suffer a horrible, gasping death.
The gas mask will protect you from the effects of the gas but will reduce your combat effectiveness. A small price to pay considering the alternative!
Perhaps the most recognised aspect of World War 1 was the unprecedented amount of artillery barrages that laid waste to land, beasts and man alike. Strike fear into enemies and create holes in defensive positions with heavy artillery shells that rain down and saturate enemy strong points.
The final support feature available is the use of smoke barrages which can be called in to disrupt the enemies' lines of sight and screen assaults. Whether you're neutralizing the effectiveness of a machine gun position or providing cover to a mass attack across no man's land, smoke cover will be an effective tool for infiltrating enemy lines.
That’s all for this instalment but we have so much more to show! Keep an eye out for further developer blogs as we head towards Early Access!
However if you’re still not feeling satisfied then join us tomorrow for our second developer live stream!
Kicking off at 10 AM PDT / 2 PM EDT / 6 PM UTC we will be sitting down with Beyond the Wire Producer Mitsu to answer some of the questions we’ve seen across the community since we announced!
Tune in live tomorrow!
Hot on the heels of last week's first look at the German Empire is the next instalment of our developer blog series. Standing directly opposite the German Empire was the French Republic, who were crucial in the defence of the Western Front, and so we now take the spotlight across the lines and present La Troisième République.
Initially, the French met the start of the Great War with enthusiasm and patriotic impulse, wanting revenge after the failure in the Franco-Prussian war. But soon the bloody reality of World War 1 had broken their expectations and hopes. Having entered the war in an outdated uniform with overly bright or contrasting colours, the French Army became ideal targets for the Germans. Due to this bright colouring, France experienced tremendous losses. Their hand was forced to reconsider the colour and the horizon-blue standard for the uniform was approved. The military went all-in with their war effort, following the old doctrines and ideas of a quick war expecting that the situation was about to crack and the French spirit would break the enemy advance.
However the Germans thought exactly the same and therefore, they too did not weaken the onslaught despite large losses. When the manoeuvring phase of the war ended the French command became intrigued by the modernization of equipment and armies as a whole. They began investing large resources into the renewal of their forces, betting on technological superiority and the first to introduce many innovations, such as a steel helmet or tactics of trench raiding with assault squads. From these innovations, the French infantry became the most experienced and trained force among the armies of the Entente.
Equipment and Uniform Models
M15 CASQUE ADRIAN
The Adrian helmet was the first helmet designed in the 20th century for a new era of industrial warfare. August-Louis Adrian, who served during the Great War as an Intendant-General was analyzing the statistics of losses during this new era and noticed that the common cause of heavy injuries and deaths was shrapnel or shell fragments. This was the first steel helmet to be issued to modern infantry units that were better suited to protect against shrapnel. The value of the helmet was quickly appreciated by the soldiers and Adrian’s helmet was adopted by many other countries - Russia, Italy, Romania, Spain and many others. Even after the war, many soldiers gratefully remember General Adrian and his grave was not forgotten.
The army entered World War I wearing a kepi with a red tulle for both soldiers and officers. Later, the officer kepi’s were modernized and changed to horizon blue.
After the first gas attacks, in fear of an “invisible death”, French in-field workshops began producing primitive masks from improvised materials. Launched in early 1916 the Masque M2 was a good compromise between protection and simplicity. Such a combination allowed 29 million units to be produced during the war! Perhaps it was not the most comfortable gas mask, but it was cheap. The M2 mask was used not only by French troops but also by American and British soldiers.
BRETELLES DE SUSPENION M1892/14, CARTOUCHIÈRES M1905/15 & CEINTURE M1903/14
At the beginning of the 20th century, the French preferred to go their own way and were not afraid to make unusual solutions. So their soldier's harness' were a bit different from the harness used by British, Americans or Germans. At the heart were the same set of connected leather strips and belt called Bretelles de suspension, on which bags and pouches with additional equipment were attached. Riflemen forced to carry large ammo bags (Cartouchière) were grateful of the extra carrying capability.
Like most military uniform of the time this coat was made of wool due to the varying weather conditions across the country in France, therefore the greatcoat had to suit differing climates. The officers in blue could be seen sporting the recognisable horizon blue greatcoat as they patrolled the line. However, during the Great War, the attitude of ordinary soldiers towards the officer class was volatile. After mass rioting in 1917 nearly collapsed the front, the French officers became more attentive to the soldiers entrusted to them to rebuild the trust and morale within the infantry.
When the conflict became stuck in entrenched warfare the soldiers had to experience inhuman conditions so the uniform had to protect from more than just weapons. Weather, disease and environment all contributed to the daily battle of each soldier and the uniform did its part in bringing some protection against the elements.
See you at the next briefing, soldier. Stay posted!
WISHLIST NOW ON STEAM
We continue our developer blog series with a first look at the German Empire faction which will be featuring heavily in Beyond the Wire. After investigating some of the mechanics we will be seeing in Early Access we shift over to the first showcase of Beyond the Wire character models.
When the German Army entered the war, they were relying on its superiority in heavy artillery, strategic speed and overwhelming firepower. The Germans were pioneers in the use of flamethrowers and chemical weapons and spent large resources on weapons and high-quality uniforms for soldiers, including excellently designed gas masks, and one of the most effective helmets of the first half of the 20th century.
Due to limited human resources, much attention was paid to protecting soldiers and so the Germans actively used metal cuirasses’, sniper shields and additional armour brow plates on helmets - all in order to save the life of a soldier. However, despite the rapid onslaught and initial successes in the war, the German economy was too dependent on external supplies of scarce resources, and so many of its technological advances were not made in sufficient quantities to turn the tide of the war, as the High Command had hoped.
With a range of equipment being necessary when heading out Beyond the Wire, your unit will be visibly equipped to tackle the hazards and obstacles of trench warfare.
Inspired by the real counterparts, our diverse loadouts have allowed us to bring unique character models for each squad role. Being able to identify critical teammates such as medics and leaders quickly by assessing their character is a huge bonus, especially when attempting to navigate across the undulating shell craters of no-man's land.
Hand & Head Models
To make our character models as believable as possible we have decided to use photo scanning technology for the head and hand models. This speeds up the process significantly, as the photo scanned data already includes surface information, which we use as a base for our texturing process. We use simulation software to make uniforms and other equipment look more organic. Additional details like folds, rivets, seams, buttons and stitches are sculpted in other 3D software.
Further details such as surface wear and tear are added during the texturing or painting process. Higher-resolution models and textures are included on the 1st person view that makes the soldier’s sleeves, hands and weapons sharper to the camera. Given that we’re utilizing a fully modular design, all our head models, arms, uniforms and equipment are possibly interchangeable for added flexibility, which allows for quicker iterations.
Lastly, we’ve created a custom skin shader for the hand models which adds a sense of softness to the surface, making the skin look more realistic.
Equipment & Uniform Models
The famous German helmet, which has become the main reference for many post-war helmets due to its efficient design. A noticeable visual feature was two protruding “horns” served as the basis for many propaganda images. But these “horns” were actually air vents and mounts for an additional armor plate called the Stirnpanzer.
During the Great War, several modifications were released. The Stahlhelm had the same small “horns” which were used to attach an additional armoured brow plate. Such reinforced Stahlhelms were not very comfortable due to the increased weight and the centre of gravity shifted forward. But snipers, sentries and stormtroopers preferred to endure discomfort for the sake of even a small chance of survival.
The Germans were leaders not only in protective equipment but also in chemical warfare, being the first to use poison gas for military purposes near the Ypres. To use chemical weapons the German Army needed reliable respiratory protection and the german design was excellent, but as it was made from rubber it was expensive to produce.
As one of the bonus' of being in a leadership position officers were issued with more durable equipment and uniform. With a greatcoat made from wool and rubber trench boots, they were protected well against weather and the conditions of prolonged trench warfare.
The rest of the army needed protection from similar hazards but their uniform lacked the same standard. With hard-soled ankle boots and leg strappings known as "Gamaschen" protecting against the muddy bog, the uniform allowed the soldiers to move freely no matter the circumstance.
Stay alert soldiers as these dev blogs are going to start coming thick and fast as we continue on this exciting development process together!
Check out our latest livestream where we had a developer Q&A session with our Lead Producer where we went into more detail on the future of BTW!
WISHLIST NOW ON STEAM