As expected, I haven't been able to make much progress on Operation Remembrance in the past week, but I HAVE added a new vehicle, the BTR-50, an APC variant of the PT-76, as well as all of the new weapons that will be required to implement the changes I mentioned last week. At the moment, I also have all of the new kits created (in a basic sense), but I still have to rework all of them, give them the correct titles (showing what's in each kit on the menu screen), and make sure each kit has the correct weapons and equipment. To put it simply for anyone who's wondering how long it's going to take: editing a single kit can take anywhere between 15 seconds and 2 minutes, and I have over 450 kits. Great! So far things have gone faster than I thought, but now I'm into the hard, slow part. I'm still hoping to make fairly good progress over the next week or two despite that. I don't know if Operation Remembrance will actually be released in October or not, but I'd like to get it out by then. If not, I'm hopeful for November unless something major comes up.
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Since I haven't made much progress on the mod itself, I've decided to give all of you a closer look at one of the most important parts of the mod, and the subject of the current changes: kits and classes. I've even managed to throw together enough kits from the nightmare of partially-finished kits to make some maps work enough to get some screenshots.
All kits include a handgun and either a knife or machete in addition to their different equipment, so they won't always be mentioned in the class descriptions, but are guaranteed to be there in-game.
The kits and classes for Operation Remembrance are:
Anti-Aircraft: Exactly what the name says. This class is equipped with a submachine gun or carbine and a shoulder-fired heat-seeking missile launcher: the SA-7 for the NVA, and the FIM-43 Redeye for the United States. The ARVN and the VC don't get the Anti-Aircraft class at all, while the factions that do get it will only get it on maps set during or after 1968, when the SA-7 and Redeye were both brought into active service.
Anti-Tank: Again, exactly what the name says. This class is equipped with a rifle or carbine and a rocket launcher, recoilless rifle, or anti-tank rifle grenade. It will serve adequately against infantry, but not nearly as well as some of the other classes, and its true specialty is knocking out enemy ground vehicles.
Crew-Served Weapon: One of my favorite kits, simply because of how it works. For a long time, Operation Remembrance had two types of kits in the "Support" class: one that was equipped with a deployable mortar, like the base game, and one equipped with a deployable machine gun. Mortar kits were issued to attacking teams and machine gun kits to defending teams. But now, the "Support" class has been removed and replaced with the "Crew-Served Weapon" class. To fit the needs of a changing battlefield, this class provides the user with a rifle, carbine, or submachine gun, a deployable machine gun, AND a deployable mortar, but... You have to make a choice between the two deployable weapons. You can't deploy the tripod-mounted machine gun and set the mortar right next to it, for example. You can only do one at a time. If you set down the mortar and want to switch to the machine gun, you have to pick up the mortar (using the pick-up key, which is "G" by default) before you can deploy the machine gun, and vice versa.
Above: An NVA crew-served weapon operator during Operation Hastings, showing the standard loadout for the class. Note: the image of the tripod-mounted M60 is simply a generic icon denoting a deployable machine gun, which will likely be replaced in a later patch. This particular kit is actually equipped with a deployable MG42 as well as a Soviet RM-41 50mm mortar.
Engineer: The Engineer is a fairly obscure class simply because it only exists as a "pick-up" kit found lying around maps. This is because the functions it performs are very specialized, and if everyone could select this kit, it might become a bit overpowered. At the moment, the class contents are somewhat up in the air, but will include a shotgun or submachine gun, a wrench, wirecutters, and possibly one other piece of equipment. Unlike the base game, the wirecutters aren't used for deploying booby traps onto vehicles, they're used for defusing landmines. If you detect the presence of a landmine while using an Engineer kit, stay back about fifteen meters from the mine, aim your wirecutters at it, or as close as you can, and "fire". This doesn't simply make the mine disappear, unfortunately, but it will detonate it safely as long as no one else is around. Bots can't use the wirecutters, unfortunately.
Flamethrower: Yet again, just what the name says. Unique to the United States. Apart from the knife and pistol, this kit provides the user with only one piece of equipment: the M2A1-7 flamethrower. It excels at clearing buildings and combatting machine gun emplacements and infantry.
Grenadier: Do I need to say it? This class is unique to Allied factions. There are three types: Rifle Grenadier, M79 Grenadier, and Underbarel Grenadier. The Rifle Grenadier is provided with a rifle that can also fire high-explosive and smoke grenades over a signficant distance. The M79 Grenadier carries either a submachine gun, XM177, or an M79 with buckshot rounds, as well as variants of the M79 with high-explosive, smoke, and flare rounds. The Underbarrel Grenadier gets an M16 or XM177 with an XM148 or M203 underbarrel grenade launcher with high-explosive, smoke, and flare rounds. Unlike the CAR-15/XM148 combination in the base game, where the primary fire button fires the rifle and the secondary fires the underbarrel launcher, in Operation Remembrance, the rifle and launcher are completely seperate weapons. This allows each to be used with the zoom function. Some of the coding for this change was taken from BfV: Arsenal.
Gunner: A cross between Operation Remembrance's earlier "Machine Gunner" and "Support Gunner" classes. In addition to the standard knife and pistol, the Gunner is equipped with a heavy automatic weapon, ranging from a heavy automatic rifle like the BAR to a light machine gun like the Type 99 or DPM to a medium machine gun like the M60 or PK. The Gunner class is most effective against infantry, but can engage unarmored vehicles and aircraft with some success. The Gunner class can't directly go up against tanks and heavy armored vehicles, although Allied Gunner kits equipped with only a relatively light weapon (BAR, M14E2, etc.) are also provided with grenades fitted with impact fuses, and Communist "light" Gunner kits get grenades with ordinary delay fuses, while all Gunner kits for both sides get "marker"-type smoke grenades useful for marking enemy targets, particularly armored vehicles. Playing as a Gunner and got no Anti-Tank troops around to deal with that enemy tank? Toss a smoke grenade at it and hope a friendly aircraft sees the smoke and takes care of it for you!
Medic: Another one of my favorite kits because of a feature I'm extremely proud of. Most people will be surprised to hear that the Medic class doesn't have a medkit to use. That's because it isn't necessary. The medic now has a healing "field", where everyone (including the player themselves) in a 15 meter radius of a player using the Medic class will be automatically healed regardless of what weapon the medic is using. To prevent this from being overpowered, the rate of health recovery is fairly slow. Other than this, the Medic is identical to the Rifleman class, apart from having fewer, less powerful grenades. And best of all, the 3D map will show nearby Medics! Just be warned, if you pick up an enemy Medic kit, you'll heal enemy soldiers you get close to, and there's nothing I can do to change this.
Three Medics in action at Landing Zone Albany, with the 3D map showing the medical icon over their heads.
Minelayer: Yet again, a self-explanatory class. The Minelayer is provided with a rifle, carbine, shotgun, or submachine gun along with anti-personnel and anti-tank mines. One thing to note: in order to allow the bots to use both types of mines, they are now "thrown" rather than placed, and will travel 20-30 meters when deployed with left-click. If you want to place a mine at a shorter distance, simple press and hold the right mouse button to adjust the range, just like the grenades. To place a mine directly at your feet, simple press and release the right mouse button. Be careful when placing an anti-personnel mine right at your feet, however. Once it's placed, you only have 2-3 seconds to get out of its 5 meter activation range or when you do move, it'll detonate and kill YOU!
Non-Commissioned Officer: This was one of the kits that prompted the massive changes over the last week. I won't go into what the NCO class used to be equipped with, but it felt redundant alongside some of the other classes. The new NCO class is provided with a rifle/carbine/SMG, an anti-tank weapon, screening smoke grenades, and binoculars. The NCO is meant to fill several different roles in a unique way: the anti-tank weapon gives the user a limited ability to engage enemy vehicles, but has less ammunition than the anti-tank kit, and sometimes is only an anti-tank grenade. Most Allied NCOs, for example, get two M72 LAWs, while Communist NCOs get four anti-tank grenades (usually the RKG-3T) and late-war Communist NCOs get two RPG-18 rocket launchers. This means that NCOs can support friendly troops against vehicles to a limited degree, but not nearly as well as a dedicated Anti-Tank Kit. The smoke grenades allow the NCO to blind enemy emplacements and defensive positions or screen the movement of friendly troops in battle. The spotting function of the binoculars has been entirely removed, and they are now used strictly for observation purposes. An effective use of the binoculars is as an artillery observer. An NCO can remain hidden or back from the main battle and use their binoculars and either the in-game text chat or an external voice chat to observe and direct another player's long-range artillery fire. Overall, the NCO class is best used for supporting friendly infantry, either by aiding in the battle directly or by helping them to deliver more effective artillery support.
A Non-Commissioned Officer at Landing Zone Albany, showing the standard loadout for the class.
Officer: The Officer class is a very special class available only as a pick-up kit. Allied and Communist Officers fill similar roles, but in different ways. Allied Officers carry a carbine or SMG, and can call for two types of aerial reinforcements. The first deploys a crate of medical and ammunition supplies high above the battlefield, where it slowly floats down to the ground by parachute, while the second airdrops an armored vehicle, which also descends to the battlefield by parachute, where it can be crewed by any nearby players. Just be careful when you call for an airdropped vehicle; it could wind up being captured by the enemy team and used against you! Communist Officers also have a resupply command, which causes a tunnel entrance to appear nearby which provides ammunition and medical supplies to nearby troops. Instead of calling in vehicles, Communist Officers can also create a temporary spawn point for friendly troops that lasts for thirty seconds. This is a good way to provide a spawn point near a combat zone for dead NVA/VC troops to respawn right by the action, or to infiltrate an enemy position. If a Communist Officer sneaks into an enemy base and creates the spawn point, dead NVA/VC troops can respawn out of thin air right in the middle of the base!
An M551 Sheridan being deployed onto the Ho Chi Minh Trail by parachute after an Officer called for it.
Pilot: This kit can sometimes be found with an SMG, but mostly only provides the user with a pistol to defend themselves with. So why take it? Because the Pilot kit can be found as a pick-up kit near helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, and provides a wrench and a means of signalling for rescue if you get shot down. If your aircraft is damaged, you can find a place to land and fix it with the wrench. If you get shot down and bail out into enemy territory, you have two options: As an Allied Pilot, you can deploy a marker smoke grenade to signal your location and hope a friendly helicopter or other vehicle can come pick you up. As an Axis Pilot, you can fire your Type 90 flaregun into the air and hope someone sees the yellow flare going up into the sky or hears its loud whistle. Pilot kits that only provide a pistol as a weapon also include the same binoculars as the NCO kit, but this is only to fill the primary weapon slot and prevent a game crash.
Rifleman: The standard infantry class, the Rifleman's specialty is combatting enemy infantry and light emplacements at a variety of ranges. The Rifleman class is equipped with a rifle or carbine, grenades, and a personal medkit. Unlike the Medic's healing field, the Rifleman's medkit can only be used by the player or to heal nearby troops one at a time. Although this medkit is argueably less useful than the Medic's healing field, overall the Rifleman class is more effective in battle, partly because the Rifleman has additional, more powerful grenades compared to the Medic.
Saboteur: The Saboteur can perform frontline combat, but is best used for sneaking into enemy bases and sabotaging vehicles and important buildings. All Saboteur kits are equipped with a rifle/carbine/shotgun/SMG, explosive packs, and booby traps. The explosive packs (C4 for the Allies and TNT for Communists) are special: in singleplayer, they act as ten-second timebombs so that bots can use them against enemy vehicles. In multiplayer, they must be detonated by right-clicking to switch to the detonator and then left-clicking to detonate. The booby traps are placed on enemy vehicles to make them explode when someone gets in the driver's/pilot's seat. Lastly, Allied Saboteurs get a blowtorch which can be used to gradually destroy enemy vehicles from up close in battle or to quietly damage or destroy unoccupied/unguarded vehicles or buildings at an enemy base, while Communist Saboteurs get satchel charges, which are much more powerful than standard TNT and are useful for destroying multiple enemy vehicles or emplacements at once, but are time-detonated only, like the singleplayer explosive packs, and only two can be carried.
Shotgun: Formerly called the "Close Quarters" class, this Allied-only kit provides the user with a shotgun, Mk3 concussion grenades (which have a lower blast radius than other grenades but are more powerful within that radius, making them excellent for combatting infantry inside buildings at a lower risk of hurting yourself if you don't throw the grenade far enough away, as well as having limited use against vehicles), screening smoke grenades for a quick disappearance if you get pinned down in a building or alleyway, and Claymores for setting up traps that can either be detonated by approaching infantry or on command using the right-click detonator.
Sniper: Once again, this class is exactly what its name implies. Sniper kits provide the user with a sniper rifle, anti-personnel mines for fortifying a sniper position and protecting your back from enemy troops sneaking up behind you, and screening smoke grenades for covering your movement in battle or sneaking away when your position is discovered.
Spotter: The only class unique to Communist forces, the Spotter is equipped with a rifle/carbine/SMG, marker smoke grenades, and binoculars that are used to call in a mortar strike. These binoculars do NOT work like the spotting binoculars in the base game. Aim at your target, press the fire button, and in a moment, mortar rounds will strike the ground where you aim. For the best accuracy, always aim at the ground at the feet/base of your target, not at the turret/head/etc. This is the Communist equivalent to the Allied Grenadier kit and is more powerful per shot, but has fewer shots overall.
Tanker: Provides the user with a carbine/SMG, the same type of observation binoculars used by the NCO kit, screening smoke grenades for covering your tank's retreat, and a wrench.