Almost 2 years after the release of Screaming Steel we are ready to reveal details on what will be our last major update to the project. In this article we’ll show off new content and features as well as detailing our plans for the project going forwards.
Hello Screaming Steel players! It’s been a year since our last big update for the project, and we figured you deserve a new article where we lay out our plans going forwards. The past year has been spent on creating new content for the game in form of a new map, new weapons, new upgrades as well as a ton of updates to our existing art and gameplay.
As the title of this article implies, we as a team feel that we are in the homestretch of the development for the project, and we therefore want to make it clear that this final update will be the last major content update for the mod, in a way being the “endgame” of development. We are planning on having this update out sometime within the next few months. This does not mean we are completely shutting down development, only that you should not expect additional major content to be added. Any issues or bugs which are discovered will be patched accordingly.
With this important announcement out of the way, we feel it’s time to reveal some of the things which will be included in this final update:
“I made my way to the next trench. The place was swarming with British soldiers, and it was almost like witnessing a sinking ship. Some of them threw eggs at us, some of them fired their revolvers, but most of them simply ran away. Now we had the upper hand. I pulled the trigger as if I was in a dream, despite already having ran out of ammunition. The man next to me hurled grenades at the fleeing soldiers. A bowl-shaped steel helmet went spinning into the air. The entire ordeal was over in less than a minute.”
- Ernst Jünger recounting an attack during the German Spring Offensive of 1918.
Bailleul is the second urban map in our roster, and it represents the fighting taking place in the town with the same name in April 1918. Standing in the middle of the German advance during Operation Georgette, itself a suboperation of the massive Spring Offensive of 1918, the French town of Bailleul became a fierce battleground between British and German troops on April 13-15. While the British put up a tough defense delaying the Germans for several days, the town eventually fell in German hands after repeated attacks by elite Stormtrooper units.
Ingame Bailleul offers a mix of long-range and close-range combat, with the Germans having to force their way into the town suburbs and subsequently capturing vital buildings and a final trench system inside the town. The map is available for all gamemodes in both PvP and Co-Op. We would like to give a special shoutout to our good friend Radu for donating the map to be used in our project, allowing us to finish it and giving it the playtime it deserves. The images above are some work in progress screenshots of various areas.
THE SENTRY ENTERS THE STAGE
After adding body armour in the Wintersturm update last year, we wanted to give this mechanic more attention. At the same time we felt the need to add a new class with a more static playstyle, being able to support his teammates at range and defending against mass attacks with rifle fire and defensive gadgets. We decided on adding the Sentry, a class fulfulling our design goals. The Sentry has permanent body armour, a rifle as his primary weapon and special defensive grenades to shut down enemy attacks. He is also able to support wounded teammates by sharing first aid kits when needed. The first aid kit is planted on the ground, allowing the sentry or his teammates to heal up when needed. We expect this feature to be especially useful in co-op modes where resupply crates are few and far apart. Encouraging communication and teamplay between players was a big goal for us when creating this addition.
While the Sentry excels at defense, his aggressive capabilities are limited. The armor weighs a lot thus reducing movement speed, and without access to a mounted bayonet the player is vulnerable in close quarter combat. The blast radius on his defensive grenade is also very large making it dangerous to use at anything but long range.
SHRAPNEL FOR DAYS
The already mentioned defensive grenades are exclusively available to the sentry, with each faction having access to a grenade with some differences. Compared with normal hand grenades, both of the defensive grenades will produce a large amount of shrapnel in a larger radius at the cost of less blast damage. This makes them ideal for damaging several players spread over a larger area, either killing them outright or severely damaging them for your teammates or yourself to finish them off with firearms.
The Commonwealth Sentry gets access to the “Jam tin grenade”, a crude looking grenade designed before the introduction of the Mills bomb in late 1915. Troops would improvise these grenades in the field by filling tin cans with explosives and massive amounts of shrapnel before attaching a primitive fuse. This design eventually became so widespread that factories started manufacturing more refined versions, mounting a proper fuse and using safer explosives. Ingame this grenade has a timed fuse, allowing you to cook it before throwing. Enough practice will make you able to have it explode mid-air, creating a very dangerous airburst grenade hurting enemies behind cover.
The German sentry has the “M13/15 Poppenberg”, also a field modification where armorers would couple the regular M13 Kugelhandgranate with the handle and percussion fuse of an M15 Poppenberg grenade. While the fuse system proved problematic in real life, ingame this grenade will detonate on impact wherever you decide to throw it making it a quick option for shutting down enemy attacks.
The update will also introduce a couple of new melee weapons, one for each faction. Some Commonwealth classes gets access to the Dudley Push Dagger, a private purchase item which was popular with trench raiders and assault troops.
Some German classes get the Böker Trench Knife, a small and swift knife which was renowned for its quality. The Böker company still produces the knife to this day, a testament to its design.
Ingame both of these melee weapons have very quick attacks compared with other melee weapons, but they deal less damage. This makes them ideal for taking down unsuspecting enemies very fast, or for outpacing other players in a melee battle. Like other one-handed melee weapons they will cost you zero supply points.
One of several rifles making its way into the update is the German Karabiner 98AZ, the WW1 carbine variant of the larger Gewehr 98 rifle. Adopted in 1908 this carbine was intended for soldiers serving with the artillery, cavalry and logistical roles due to its more wieldly size. As the war dragged on, an increasing number of these carbines started seeing frontline use, especially with elite Stormtrooper units. The experiences earned with the weapon during the war would contribute to the German Army adopting the more famous Karabiner 98k leading up to WW2.
Ingame this carbine is available to certain German classes, and it has better bolting and handling speed compared with the Gewehr 98. It does however have increased spread and recoil, and it also costs you more supply points.
The Ross Mk.III rifle will also make an appearance for some classes in the Commonwealth faction. This was a Canadian sporting rifle design which eventually became the standard issue rifle for the Canadian military. While it performed in its original role very well, as a military issue rifle it was plagued by several problems which became apparent in the trenches on the Western Front when the Canadian Expeditionary Force first saw action in 1915. The rifle did not handle dirt very well, it did not pair well with a lot of British issued ammunition, and with especially rough use the bolt could end up deformed. These issues were never properly fixed, and the CEF instead adopted the battle-proven SMLE rifle in 1916. The Ross did have a reputation for being extremely accurate however, and some Commonwealth marksmen preferred this weapon over any other.
Ingame the Ross has a quicker bolting speed than the SMLE due to its straight-pull design. The rifle has slightly better spread values than the SMLE, but the handling times are longer due to its weight and size. The 5-round magazine is also a straight downgrade from the SMLE, something to keep in mind in the heat of battle.
Although this rifle is not a new one, we have decided to give our older SMLE asset a makeover. Our new model was completed not long ago, and the textures for it are currently in the works. You can expect the SMLE to look much fancier ingame than it ever has! With this visual update we also decided to include the historical wire wrappings which were often used when launching rifle grenades. In real life the wrappings reduced the chance of the wooden furniture splintering from the immense recoil of firing grenades. This visual detail will appear on the rifle whenever you choose to go with rifle grenades in your loadout.
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
A much requested addition which we’ve actually tinkered with since before our original release is the Pritchard-Greener bayonet for the Webley Mk. VI revolver. Lacking a proper way of implementing it without running into modding limitations, we eventually settled on a solution we think will work quite nicely. The Webley with the bayonet attached is now a seperate sidearm available to the Commonwealth Officer and Bomber, with the melee bash attack doing more damage than any other sidearm in the mod. Two quick stabs and your opponent will go down. This version of the Webley costs an extra supply point, but there are no drawbacks apart from this and a slightly obstructed sight picture.
In real life the Pritchard-Greener bayonet was made in limited numbers, and there’s little to no documentation on this blade ever seeing actual combat use. Still, it was available for private purchase at the time, and we simply couldnt pass the chance of adding this completely wild weapon to the mod.
NOT QUITE UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
With this update we decided to rework our marksman optics. While there was previously only one optic available for each faction, we’ve increased this to two. This new “class” of optics has a 2.5x magnification power compared with the old power of 4x. These new scopes are a cheaper alternative and they’re a better fit for mid-range engagements than the 4x scopes.
The Commonwealth Marksman now has access to 2.5x “Neill” sights. These low-powered optics produced in Belfast worked on the Galilean principle with two lenses on each end of the rifle working together to magnify the sight picture. The front lense had a small targeting dot painted on it. In real life the “Neill” was one of several Galilean optic models purchased by the British military, with over 14 000 of these optics being ordered in total - twice the number of regular telescopic sight orders.
The old German Glasvisier 16 sight has been downgraded to serve as a 2.5x sight. The new 4x sight replacing it represents a real life scope produced by German optician Dr. W. Gerard. This scope is mounted on an offset bracket making it possible to use the regular straight bolt handle of the Gewehr 98 rifle. While this optic was more uncommon than the centre-mounted scopes often used by German snipers, scopes like this one did see use especially in the early part of the war.
UPDATING THE OLD - CHARACTERS
With this update we decided to update a lot of our older art assets. These assets include some weapons, environment assets and character models. As a start we want to focus on some character art. While we lack the resources to make completely new character models, we did our best to update the textures, various gear and shaders on the characters we’re using. During the process of updating these assets we realized this was a nice opportunity to introduce some new playable units for both factions. What follows are screenshots of some of the new units available in the upcoming update, with a bit of the updated art being visible as well.
The 4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers Regiment was one of the first British units to see serious action during the war. During their first and perhaps most famous engagement, they defended the bridges across the Mons-Conde canal in August 1914 against a numerically superior German force for several hours before being forced to retreat. During this action two soldiers in the unit earned the first Victoria Crosses of the war. Ingame the unit carries the Royal Fusiliers title as well as the battalion colors on the upper sleeve. They also have a unique cap badge.
The 19th (Western) Division was created shortly after the outbreak of the war and was formed up of volunteers, being part of the new “Kitcheners Army”. They first saw action in 1915 in a supporting attack during the battle of Loos and went on to endure brutal combat during the Somme and Passchendaele battles in 1916-17. During the Battle of Lys (Operation Georgette) in April 1918 they suffered heavy casualties defending against multiple German attacks. The division earned the nickname “The Butterfly Division” for their divisional sign often applied to uniforms and vehicles. Ingame the unit has a pink butterfly on their upper sleeve and helmet, as well as a battalion marking on the front of their helmets.
The Garde-Reserve-Pionier-Regiment was formed in mid-1916 and was made up of several battalions of Garde-Pionier units which had previously operated independently. This feared regiment frequently had its battalions and companies attached to other army units during breakthrough operations. The Garde-Reserve-Pioniers became infamous for being main users of flamethrowers in the German Army, often using these weapons en-masse combined with machine guns and grenades to break the enemy. The Regiment was one of very few German units to be awarded their own unique emblem for their impressive combat record: the Totenkopf. This Deathshead emblem was worn by all personell, and gained them the nickname “Deathshead Pioniers”. Ingame this unit has a special canvas covered stahlhelm as well as collar tabs and the deathshead patch on their left arm.
The German Jäger-Bataillons had a long tradition in the German Army, being made up of soldiers who were often foresters or hunters in the civilian life. The Jägers were light infantry utilizing speed, marksmanship and an independent command structure to complete their missions. Scouting missions and long-range skirmishing were typical Jäger tasks during the early parts of the war, but as the front turned static in late 1914 the unique skills of the Jägers were rarely needed and they soon became similar to regular German infantry.
Ingame we have chosen to represent the early war Jäger battalions, and the soldiers wear a unique Jäger shako as their headgear. Their uniform also has a greener tone, and the piping on their uniform is dark green instead of red.
For the update we decided to give the primary German headgear a much needed makeover. Our old M16 Stahlhelm model will be retired and replaced with the new helmet shown above, the new asset having a higher polycount and texture resolution than the old one. Unlike our older asset this new helmet has the chin strap modeled, and we also decided to implement this for all of our other helmets! While updating a piece of headgear might seem like a subtle change, it does make a surprisingly big difference ingame.
To complete our German armor set we decided to create a piece of back armor which we previously did not have. Germans wearing armor will now have their backs covered by the Schützweste, a metal vest made of linked steel plates. Previously we had no visible coverage for the back of German players wearing armor, resulting in some confusing moments when firing at these players from behind.
UPDATING THE OLD - RIFLE GRENADES
We decided to rework our rifle grenades assets for this update. The old Commonwealth rifle grenade has been replaced with a No. 20 Hales grenade which fits the animations we’re using very well. Our older asset was way too oversized and also had very bad clipping during animations. This is all in the past now though! The German rifle grenade has also had some very nasty texture errors fixed, and its been downsized to match it’s real life size.
UPDATING THE OLD - MOVING FORTRESS
The German A7V Sturmpanzer tank used on some of our maps is by far our oldest asset, dating back to 2005 (!). In the next update we are finally retiring this asset and replacing it with a much better model. While the A7V simply serves as a static prop, we felt we needed to give this beast some much needed attention, and the progress on the new asset is going very well. It will for sure be a real piece of eyecandy when we get it ingame.
This marks the end of new things we want to show off, but stay tuned for a future article going into even more detail on the last update. We’re not quite done with information just yet though:
To mark that it's been almost 2 years since Screaming Steel was released, we think it's fitting to celebrate it with an ingame event! This Friday and Saturday (July 24-25) at 6PM UTC we invite you to join us in PvP matches on the "Screaming Steel - WW1:Source 2.0 [gameME Stats]" server hosted by our good community contributor Shoubi. Below is a link to Shoubi’s website with a countdown for the event as well as some information on his various servers which are a much appreciated addition for the Day of Infamy and Insurgency 2 communities.
While we dont usually ask for favors from our community, we want to make an exception for Shoubi and his servers. Hosting quality servers is a big expense, and we would really appreciate it if you could toss Shoubi a dollar or two in order to help with his server costs. You are not just helping Shoubi in this case, but also the Screaming Steel team and a lot of other modding teams with the servers he’s managing and continually updating. Below is a link to a donation page with various payment options.
That’s it for this article. We’re looking forward to seeing you at the 2 year event! Make sure to spread the news around, and join our Discord Server and Steam Group where development updates are shared as well as events being announced and arranged. Simply click the banners below:
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