Battleground Europe - The Weapons of War
The folks over at Battleground Europe are celebrating their astounding seven year anniversary and have been kind enough to provide us with this developer journal talking about what go into creating a new armored vehicle for their game.
As soon as you log into Battleground Europe, you realize that this is a very, very different game than your typical MMO. Players enter a game world that spans thousands of miles of European countryside and is populated with hundreds of cities, villages and hamlets all of which play a very important role in determining the outcome of the virtual war that rages on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
But the most critical factor in the war are the weapons: Tanks, aircraft, rifles, machine guns, destroyers, anti-aircraft guns...the list goes on. And at the core of each and every one of these weapons lie some very advanced systems which provide the basis for a game driven by realism. Battleground Europe relies on military-grade ballistic models as well as vehicle and weapon models which use actual data from their real WWII counterparts.
Geof Rey "DOC" Evans, Producer and Game Manager, explains the process of creating an Armored Fighting Vehicle in Battleground Europe:
“Once we have decided what vehicles to add based on a number of gameplay criteria that determine such things, the real work begins. First we have to heavily research the weapons of choice (in this case we are looking at tanks) to gather information on all the salient attributes we need to incorporate into the model based on its real life attributes.
This would entail:
- Caliber of the main gun and its ballistic performance profile, not just its penetration ability. Obviously secondary weapons such as co-axial MG’s are also considered and modeled to the same standards. Gunsights are researched for historical optical markings and performance.
- Layout and construction of the protective armor covering the vehicle. This includes cast versus rolled plate differentials, angles of mounting from vertical or horizontal, and the various thicknesses of different parts of the armored shell that comprises the vehicles protective armor.
- Layout and construction of the internal components like ammunition storage, guns, engines, fuel tanks, oil tanks, transmissions, radiators, and the crew itself. All of these components can be damaged or destroyed based on a wide range of consequential outcomes that rely on the ballistic performance of the weapon that strikes the tank and what kind of damage it does at that point.
- Performance profile of the vehicle, including road speed, cross country speed, turret speeds (traverse rates) and fuel range.
Cross sectional 3-views are put together with any photographs/artwork of the vehicle in question, often including a 3 dimensional model … for the 3d artists to begin creating the vehicle. The internals of the vehicle are also covered for relevant aspects to be included in the virtual cockpit which is, in fact, a separate 3D model the player views out from when they are using the vehicle, and which is contained inside the vehicle much like a real cockpit is functionally configured within a vehicle. Historic textures are used wherever it is possible to confirm them as such.
Once the producer responsible for the data or flight model and the artists have a working example, it is put through an exhaustive series of tests run in the game engine itself, to ensure proper functionality of all aspects of the model, from performance of it’s attributes (gun performance, armor effectiveness or vehicle maneuverability) all the way down to code based aspects like the visual damage and destruction model.”
This video is a graphic representation of what happens when damage is applied to a vehicle. It isn't simply a matter of a hit causing 25% damage. Physics play a huge role in determining which parts of the vehicle suffer damage, whether those parts are rendered inoperable, is there damage being caused to other parts of the vehicle by ammunition cooking off, and much more:
Ever wonder what happens when a vehicle gets damaged? This video will show you!
This is the backbone of game that delivers realism and game play like few others.