As version 4.0 nears its final shape, it's time to spotlight the things we've been working on. For the enthusiasts who really like to delve into the nitty-gritty details and stats of the update, you can find the full changelog linked right here. The changelog is 665 lines in total, so that is a lengthy read! We've also prepared a more focused feature for you today highlighting and explaining the most important changes in an easy to read article.
First of all, we decided to redo infantry combat, allowing for smoother and more consistent firefights. Range tables have seen large reworks, the damage on each weapon is generally increased, the new weapons take 3-5 hits to kill an entity instead of the previous 4-8, while overall damage output is slightly lowered on range and kept the same upclose. On top of all this, all small arms, including heavy machine guns, now have historically accurate magazine sizes. Small arms have thus seen changes in their damage model, range tables, accuracy, rate of fire, reload time, cooldown time and scatter.
We already fixed the infamous 5% health bug in v3, but this turned out to be incomplete, where for example rear armor hits could still endlessly stack critical hits without destroying the target. All of this is fixed now, vastly improving the consistency of vehicle combat. Besides this, we experienced that certain critical hits happened way too often or too early during combat and some were overpowered.
The new vehicle critical system works as follows:
- Frontal Armor Hits:
- 100-40% hitpoints: 100% none
- 40-5% hitpoints: 40% none 42% engine damage 10% detrack 8% gun damage
- 5-0% hitpoints: 75% vehicle destroyed 25% out of control
- Rear Armor Hits:
- 100-40% hitpoints: 90% none 10% engine damage
- 40-5% hitpoints: 20% none 50% engine damage 15% engine destroyed 15% detrack
- 5-0% hitpoints: 75% vehicle destroyed 25% out of control
Another important gameplay change is the complete rework of ballistic weapon scatter angles. What we wanted to achieve is that tank damage output would be more reliable and be dealt more through splash damage when engaging infantry rather than having it kill infantry mostly by direct impacts. The old scatter values were quite disproportionately large, resulting in shells sometimes firing completely off target, or, due to high accuracy, flying through cover and terrain. Changing this results in tanks hitting much closer to their target thus applying the area of effect damage more consistently, as well as respecting cover and terrain more, destroying cover around infantry when they miss. Attack ground can be important now as well, allowing you to maximize the effects of the splash damage as best as possible. Tank battles also become more consistent and more reliant on the size of the target as well as their movement.
Talking about vehicle combat, we felt that light and even some medium vehicles underperformed in all situations. They were neither effective against infantry nor against other vehicles. We sought a design where they are viable to get throughout the entirety of a game. So expect a massive performance increase to vehicles such as the M8 Greyhound, T17 Armored Car, Staghound, Stuart, Puma, Anti-Tank Halftrack and Hotchkiss.
Area of Effect weaponry has been overhauled for nearly all ballistic weapons. We noticed that there were massive inconsistencies to the performance of artillery and mortars. Regardless of our efforts, these weapons would still at times wipe entire squads of infantry while at other instances barely deal damage to units even in the inner blast radius. This had to do with a before unknown bug where splash damage wasn't a homogeneous area but had certain ‘accuracy' tests. On failure of this pass, no damage would be dealt. This of course leads to high performance inconsistencies, thus significantly decreasing the reliability of artillery and mortars. Other ballistic weapons have also seen similar changes in area of effect, which tied with the mentioned scatter changes, allow for more consistent performances.
The income has been reworked completely. You will now receive a slightly larger amount of manpower early on, meaning your first core squads come out faster to the battlefield, however there have been large adjustments made to upkeep and on-map resources resulting in a much more fluid tech progression and feeling for unit recruitment decisions.
Last but not least, we tweaked some of core gameplay parameters. Back to Basics, like vanilla Company of Heroes, is primarily balanced around the Victory Point Control game mode. We changed the possible choices from 250/500/1000 to 500/650/800, as these amounts correspond better with Back to Basics gameplay. Capture rates of all strategic points have been significantly increased:
- Manpower strategic point revert time reduced from 15s to 10s.
- Fuel and Munition strategic point capture time redone:
- High 40s/35s -> 25s/20s
- Medium 30s/25s -> 20s/15s
- Low 20s/15s -> 15s/10s
Sturmpioneers are tough combat troops equipped with Kar98k rifles, bundled grenades, wire cutters, repair packs and have the ability to salvage wrecks. They can be upgraded with STG44 Assault Rifles.
Panzerfüsiliers are heavy assault infantry capable of dealing with any threat type. They can be equipped with MG42 Light Machine Guns or Panzerschrecks.
Combat Pioneers and trained Marksmen armed with Gewehr 43 rifles, capable of constructing advanced field defenses. Utilize Sprint and Vital Shot to effectively take down Infantry at range. Jägers camouflage in cover.
Combat engineers armed with M1 Carbines, trained to protect vehicles from infantry attacks. They are equipped with wire cutters, grenades, sticky bombs and Advanced Repair packs.
Improvements to the AI
Continuous improvements are being made to AI, spanning all across its functionality spectrum. The highlights of AI improvements include:
- Completely reworked AI targets file, once again improving its ability to flank and create frontlines. This rework was focused on making AI much more versatile for different types of maps, utilizing corners of the map much more and creating much stronger frontlines, utilizing all the information for defense as well as attack calculations.
- A completely new pathfinding and tank control script, making AI retreat its damaged tanks, face its armor towards the enemy, and stay away from danger.
- Completely redone old scripts of British HQ setup and Team weapon setup scripts, improving performance and decision making. MGs should be much better at always pointing towards the enemy rather than taking fire to the back.
- Large improvements done to AI capture priorities and fixed issues of AI capturing under fire. AI can now make decisions to capture unconnected territory.
- Continuous improvements to AI unit purchase priorities.
- Significantly improved weapon pick up and team weapon capture logic.
- Across the board small improvements to most of other AI functionality such as retreating, build orders, tech purchase logic, ability use and more.
When it comes to graphics, we always strive for the highest quality while still allowing for good framerates. In this version, we significantly improved several graphical aspects of the game, most importantly all craters and tracers. Craters now look much better when stacked and once again have more depth to them, while having a much better rate at which it'll seem that the map gets covered in craters completely. Battlefield destruction is much more progressive and late game battlefields should feel much more realistic.
Some terrain textures have also been changed; some HD textures were removed as they made certain maps look worse than before, while decreasing framerate on low-end systems.