Fit for the weather
Today I would like to show you all what the FAS team has been working on with regards to our player models. A frequent issue in Firearms: Source 1.0 was the choice of camouflage patterns and hue on either team's uniform remaining the same regardless of the environment of the level itself, often granting an unfair advantage or disadvantage to one side. Aside from the lopsided balance this creates, it also breaks immersion to see soldiers dressed in comically ineffective camouflage such as desert or forest patterns in a primarily white snowy village. While this may seem obvious, the choice to separate the teams based on the pattern of their uniform in the past was one made for the easiest possible team identification. Allowing both teams to be quickly and easily identified is of course the first priority for any team-based shooter, and certainly not one to be sacrificed purely for the sake of immersion. However, with the inclusion of overhead icons and our newly remodeled players with their more distinct silhouettes carrying most of the weight, we have decided to tie armor camouflage patterns to the environment of the level they are used in. These change automatically and are split into desert, woodlands, and snow variations, with both teams using distinct yet setting-appropriate patterns and colors to help you discern the difference between the two sides.
Dress to impress
In addition to the new environment-based camouflage, this coming version will also feature the ability to personally customize your character in a number of ways. In Firearms: Source 1.0, characters' accessories and appearances were already randomized to make each member of a team look unique, so the natural progression of this is to put the power in your hands, allowing you to choose custom eyewear, headgear, and head types. All of these options will be selected through a character panel in the main menu, and will be saved so that you can load out with the same character each game. Other alterations are also made to the player model based on your weapon selection and skills. For instance, choosing a shotgun will place pouches of shotgun shells on your character's vest, picking the Artillery skill will yield a radio on his belt, and likewise Medic grants a medical backpack.
Developers tell all
As a way to increase transparency and maintain a steady stream of updates, we will be moving our developer blogs to the website itself and also regularly posting them on ModDB. These will be organized in such a way that they are staggered between news posts. Official updates such as this one will come every two weeks, and between each will be a developer blog giving you insight into the ideas, methodologies, and techniques used to develop Firearms: Source. In our first developer blog, Vunsunta, FAS Audio Lead, will take you on a tour of the sound department and give you all a feel for the direction our sounds in FAS 2.0 are moving towards. He will be focusing on how the audio team is reworking the gunfire sounds to consider the caliber of the round fired, as well as the barrel length, while still taking artistic liberties to make immersive gunshot sounds. Additionally, he will be discussing our new distance fire sounds and how they, along with our soundscapes, immediately draw the player into the Firearms: Source universe. Be sure to tune in next week for his blog post, as it will also be supplemented with sounds already in FAS 2.0.
As you may have noticed, the Jobs page has recently been updated and we are pleased to say that we have filled all of the weapon animator positions and also been fortunate in welcoming a new environmental artist. We are still on the lookout for a particle artist, more environment artists, and any level designers interested in plying their trade with us. The requirements for each position are available on the Jobs page. If FAS strikes your interest and you fulfill the requirements, I strongly recommend applying. We're always looking for fellow developers to play an integral role in the development of a Steamworks supported Half-Life 2 modification.