The Art of War will feature a healthy array of maps and environments, and Middle Eastern maps are definitely included. One important aspect is that TAoW will also upgrade ZH's graphic aspect and lighting, the following images show some of the current lighting improvements.
Map and Scenery Changes
A new, "Alpha-based" test map - 'Desert Urban Simulation' - was used in order to test new units, vehicles, lighting and other assets in an urban, street and CQB / CQC (Close Quarters Battle / Combat) based scenario, as you'll see in the following images the map was based on a Middle Eastern town.
The US Base Camp, the starting point of the US Anti Insurgency Operation:
New, alternative grass (Type 2) has been added (some lighting issues on older grass patches were also fixed):
This image was taken with ZH's standard lighting (looking less "sunny"):
The following images are using the modified lighting in order to better simulate Middle Eastern sunny conditions:
Numerous "desert variants" of the main vehicles were prepared (coded) and are currently rolling in game, specially:
- Desert Strykers (all Stryker versions);
- Desert M1A2;
- Desert Humvee (including brand new full firing animations and effects on the machine gun, this also applies for the M1A2's Commander's MG);
- Insurgents (main opposition in this operation).
New / Modified Effects
New effects were created, just as it was previously mentioned, the M2 heavy machine gun (used on the Humvee, Abrams and Stryker) plus the coaxial machine guns now have a randomized tracer projectile, the tracer randomizer works based on a specific "formula":
- 2/3's of the time a tracer will appear;
- 1/3 of the time there won't be any visible projectile or tracer (this is made so tracers are fired on randomized intervals and not just "disappear").
- New spark effects:
The old ones used to look like fireworks (since in Zero Hour a machine gun could destroy a tank, but that's not the case in TAoW), these effects appear every time an armored vehicle is hit by small arms fire.
- New SABOT and HEAT round effects:
This is what happens when a Sabot tank shell hits a building (note that the round actually penetrated the building so it detonated inside it):
Firing a HEAT round:
- New smoke and dirt effects:
The smoke / dirt effects are much larger on tank shells and it takes a longer time for the smoke to disperse.
The coaxial machine gun rounds "detonation" effects were also enhanced.
- Machine guns were greatly enhanced in terms of sound, accuracy and range (to make'em more realistic and deadly).
- Every soldier will have a magazine with a certain number of rounds (depending on the weapon), after the magazine is empty they will reload (reloading animations are included), in this particular case the insurgent had a 30 round magazine.
- Please note that some of the previous buildings and map objects are receiving TAOW's "Cosmetic Treatment".
If a ZH building / map object is included in The Art of War then it will be eventually realistically resized and receive new skin and texture upgrades in order to look sharper and overall more realistic (such upgrades will occur in large scale after the main vehicles and units are complete, and the focus shifts to TAOW's Mapmaker).
- Vehicles will move more realistically in urban environments.
In case a tank runs over a concrete wall then it's movement will be affected a bit (depending on the wall type, size and property). Walls are overall more "solid" and rounds will impact on them (depending on the round the wall can be damaged or destroyed).
- All units (even infantry) will need a line of sight in order to engage an opponent (even when garrisoned), if they can't see they can't hit (this also means that players can sneak units without the fear of random attack of an enemy which hasn't even sighted the unit).
- Weapons now collide with walls and structures:
Depending on the weapon's caliber a round may or may not damage or destroy a wall.
Let's suppose an insurgent is hiding behind a wall, in Zero Hour he could attack and hit anyone hiding on the other side but in The Art of War not only does he can't spot who's behind the wall but the weapons won't just "go through" it (or "over it"), soldiers equipped with explosives can "clear a path" in order to increase their mobility or to surprise/kill who is behind a wall.
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