A few months have passed since our last MoDDb piece, so we figured it was time to give you all an update on where we’re at, and also giving you a bit of a different article than you’re used to.
The past few months have mainly been spent on polishing the project and getting the last remaining art in-game and working. While we originally slated the project to have a late summer/autumn release, this turned out to be a bit unrealistic with every member of the team having real life responsibilities that had to be prioritized over the project. While we couldn't maintain this goal, the work we have put in in the weeks leading up to this article has been substantial, and the project is now very close to a first release. Therefore, we expect to have a first version released within the end of 2017, most likely sometime in December.
With that out of the way, we feel like it’s high time we get onto the actual article! As mentioned previously, this article will be a bit different. This time we won’t be focusing on art and eye-candy made for the project, but rather what makes our project different from vanilla Day of Infamy. We felt that going over some of the key differences could be both interesting and necessary to write about so you know what you’re getting into when joining a server for the first time! It’s also worth noting that many items discussed in this article are subject to change, and might undergo tweaking and adjusting before or after release.
WEAPONRY - CHANGING THE META
Perhaps the biggest change compared with DoI is the combination of weaponry and the average combat distance in our maps. While the DoI meta is focused around close range and hectic combat with automatic weaponry in urban settings, Screaming Steel is wildly different. The battlefields are far more open, and the weaponry is more limited. While there are a few options intended to be used for close range fighting, the most dominant and common weapon you’ll find are bolt-action rifles.
The rifles excel at medium to long range fighting, and they are the backbone of any offensive or defensive combat in Screaming Steel. The rifles can also be made more versatile depending on your playstyle, with stripper clips, bayonets, rifle grenades and telescopic sights being attachments you can use.
The rifleman and his weapon was the backbone of every army that saw action during the real war.
This is also represented in Screaming Steel.
The statistics of the bolt-action rifles have been slightly changed when compared with DoI. Seeing as rifles in DoI need to stay competitive against lots of powerful automatic weaponry, they have extremely good stats all-around, especially when it comes to bolting speed and long range accuracy. Both of these stats have been slightly nerfed in Screaming Steel, with the accuracy being changed in order to prevent them from being overly powerful at extreme ranges, not making every single rifleman a static sniper. The bolting speed has also been reduced in order to make you think twice before rushing into large groups of enemies, instead relying on the combined firepower of all your team’s riflemen. This also has the effect of making the bayonet a more necessary and viable attachment for the riflemen when you’re up close and personal with the enemy.
While the rifles are extremely important in Screaming Steel, the light machine guns are also a vital part of a team’s weaponry - especially when you’re on the defensive. Indeed, the light machine guns in Screaming Steel are supposed to be used in a very static manner, with the gunner keeping his team covered from longer distances during both assault and defense. While a machine gun can be very effective in close range engagements in DoI, this is not the case in Screaming Steel. All light machine guns have got a relatively low rate of fire, and none of them can be fired from the shoulder when undeployed. Perhaps the most noticeable difference between LMG’s in DoI and Screaming Steel lies in the actual functionality of each factions machine gun, both of them being very asymmetrical.
The Lewis Gun should be a familiar sight for any DoI player, and in Screaming Steel it takes the role of being the only fully automatic weapon for the Commonwealth faction. While it comes equipped with 47-round pan magazines by default, it can be upgraded to take a 97-round pan once the player has earned enough supply points. The Lewis Gun was a relatively lightweight machine gun for WW1 standards, so we have decided to allow hip firing for this weapon with extreme penalties to accuracy and stability. Hip firing is not a very viable option, and should only be used for close range self defense - assaulting enemy positions in this manner is absolutely not recommended.
Laying down suppressive fire with the Lewis Gun. Players with keen eyes will notice we have
swapped out the vanilla rear sight for the more historical flip-up sight.
The German counterpart to the Lewis Gun is the much bulkier MG 08/15. It boasts a more impressive ammunition capacity, feeding from 100-round belts by default. 200-round belts can be used instead if the gunner racks up enough supply points. Due to the weight and size of the weapon, it can not be hip fired. The gunner must deploy before engaging the enemy. If you find yourself in trouble at close range, switching to your sidearm is an absolute necessity as a German machine gunner. Hope all you MG-Schütze spent time practicing at the range!
The machine guns for both factions have also had their frequency of tracers reduced, making the gunner more difficult to spot at a distance. Another minimal change has been done to the movement speed of the MG class, and they now move a tad slower than other classes. This was done in order to simulate the truly heavy equipment these guys are carrying, and at the same time it reinforces our idea of the machine gunner being a static and defensive class.
CLASSES AND THEIR LOADOUTS
While quite a few of our classes are similar to ones you’ll find in DoI, some of them have seen some major changes. The most notable change we’ve done is related to the Officer class and his abilities. In Screaming Steel the number of officers per team has been reduced to one. This has been done in order to highlight the importance of keeping an officer alive. If a team loses their single officer, they’ll be unable to call in fire support for quite some time. The playstyle of the Officer has therefore been changed drastically between DoI and Screaming Steel, with it becoming a much more stationary and “behind the frontlines” class. The officer is one of the few classes who have also received a drastic change in terms of weaponry; he’s only able to carry a trusty sidearm and a smoke grenade, in a way making his ability to call in fire support his primary weapon. Indeed, being a responsible and careful player is very important when playing as the Officer in Screaming Steel, and old time players of the WW1: Source mod should feel right at home with this change.
A German officer gesturing for a Signaller in order to call in fire support.
It is also worth noting that we have slightly increased the cooldown between fire support strikes to prevent artillery and strafing runs from constantly raining down due to how “fire support-focused” our version of the Officer class is.
We mentioned earlier that the Officer is only able to carry a sidearm as his personal weapon, and we’ve done similar restrictions to several of our classes. There are now very few classes who can carry both a primary and a secondary weapon, something we’ve done to highlight the intended role and playstyle of the different classes. This prevents them from being a jack of all trades in every combat situation they’ll come across. As an example, the Rifleman, Assault and Signaller classes can only carry their primary weapons in addition to grenades. Another example is the Bomber class unique to the Commonwealth, only able to carry a sidearm and a large amount of grenades.
We have also decided to reduce the amount of grenades in play during a match, instead giving firearms more breathing space in combat situations. The way we’ve done this is to limit how many grenades the different kits can carry. While a light kit in vanilla DoI is able to take 2 grenades, in Screaming Steel it can only take 1. In addition, equipping a heavy kit in vanilla would give an additional grenade automatically, while in Screaming Steel it simply gives you the option to equip a second grenade. In order to get an additional grenade in Screaming Steel you therefore need to spend a few more supply points than you’re used to: 2 in order to get the heavy kit, and then an additional 2 or 3 points for the actual grenade. This should also be pretty reminiscent for any WW1: Source old-timers, with a single grenade being part of your standard loadout.
The Mills Bomb is the standard fragmentation grenade of the Commonwealth faction
A few of the game modes from vanilla DoI has seen some significant changes, these being Liberation and Frontline. Liberation has been turned into a more attritional mode with less focus on wave counts and careful tactical play, instead aiming for grander action and longer lasting battles. The round timer has been increased to 15 minutes, and the wave count per team has been increased to 50. Some other changes we’ve done include; decreasing the time it takes to capture territory, decreasing the spawn wave timer, disabling the wave and supply point-gain on territory captures and also making some of our maps use a 5-territory layout for the game mode. The overall feel of the gamemode should now be closer to old WW1: Source, making it more forgiving in a sense but at the same time making the action feel bigger, more attritional and longer lasting.
A perspective shot of our smallest map “Somme”. The map uses a 5-territory layout with two trenches per side and the No Man’s Land in the middle. A fan favorite from the WW1: Source days.
The Frontline game mode has seen similar changes, with the wave count per team increased to 15, the round time increased to 15 minutes, but with territory capture time and wave/supply-gain from territory captures untouched. The goal here is the same as with our Liberation changes, turning the focus away from the spawn waves, instead letting the players fight bitterly over territory for longer periods of time.
The Offensive and Invasion game modes from vanilla DoI fits our project pretty nicely, and their settings remain untouched. It’s worth noting that all of our maps supporting Offensive also supports Invasion, something we’ve seen some of our community members request.
A CONCLUSION AND A BEAST
This sums up some of the largest changes we’ve done to the game, and there’s still more we haven’t went over yet! We will however be saving that information for later articles and blog posts, as this one is starting to become quite lengthy. Before we wrap up this article completely we want to show you a nice piece of eye candy. The Insurgency/Day of Infamy modder Spycer asked us kindly if he could contribute a bit to our project, and we obviously couldn’t turn him down! He has been working on making us a new British tank model, and its a really nice upgrade when compared with our older model. Another person who yet again helped us out is TKAzA who made the textures for Spycer’s model. The model is based on the Mark IV, the most numerous of the British tanks built and used during the war. It first saw service in 1917 and was produced in two main variants; the Male version armed with two 6-pounder cannons plus three Lewis Guns, and the Female version armed with 5 Lewis Guns.
Spycer made both of these variants in addition to a wooden fascine to go with them. While the fascine looks a bit bizarre, there was a clever idea behind its real life use. If the tank had to cross a very wide trench, the crew simply cut the mounting cables and let the fascine drop into the trench, effectively turning it into a very simple and effective bridge. Keep in mind that our models will simply function as static props ingame, they will not be driveable.
That’s all for this article! We hope we have managed to give you some sort of idea on what to expect when jumping ingame for the first time, and we’re also open for any input, additional questions or suggestions regarding the changes explained in this article. We would also like to suggest joining our Steam group if you haven’t already. In here you can partake in discussions or simply catch up on smaller bits of development we haven’t posted about here on MoDDb. Click the banner below to be taken to the page: