v7 has finally been released, after nearly two years of being in alpha and beta testing. Much of the delay was due to real life issues, and also from my time being taken up by working at VOID Interactive. (Since I no longer work for them, a lot of my time has been freed up) But one of the greatest hurdles was a hard-to-resolve issue surrounding the signature feature of v7:
The single greatest step forward in v7 is the ability to share equipment between squad members. To keep things simple, only items from the TACTICAL tab can be shared between team members - this includes grenades, wedges, pepper spray, the optiwand, and C2. It also includes lightsticks. (Do note that officers can only have one optiwand at a time, and that you cannot share something with someone if they are carrying too much weight.)
A piece of equipment can be shared by pressing the B key (default) while holding the item and looking at a team member. Both the giver and the receiver will get a message notifying them of the transfer. If you don't want this to be the same key as the Melee and Check Lock buttons, you can now bind those on alternate keys. (You can now bind Shout and Interact to different keys too, in case you find yourself shouting a lot by accident)
This also works with the AI-controlled officers. A new menu just above the DEPLOY >> menu (called the REQUEST>>) menu allows you to order your AI officers to give you a piece of equipment. Speaking of the AIs and commanding them...
AI and Commands
One of the most common complaints about SEF is that the default command for doors is changed from "OPEN AND CLEAR" to "TRY LOCK." I changed this because OPEN AND CLEAR places more of an emphasis on speed, while stacking up on the door makes the game a bit slower. However, it definitely becomes annoying that you can't quickly issue an OPEN AND CLEAR if you know that the door is locked. Therefore, I compromised. When a door is encountered for the first time, the default command will be "TRY LOCK":
But, once the lock status of the door is known, the default command will change to OPEN AND CLEAR:
It's little things like this that can have a big impact on the gameplay itself. But how the AI behaves is something else entirely. Some major complaints about the AI have been addressed, and they've been made smarter:
- SWAT officers will no longer stop to engage suspects. Instead, if you have issued a FALL IN or MOVE TO command, they will continue carrying out the order while also engaging the target. This makes playing on custom maps a lot easier.
- SWAT officers will better cover each others' backs while carrying out a FALL IN or MOVE TO action. They'll actively search for things like blind spots, corners, and doors while moving, and tend to avoid looking in the same areas if they can.
- Suspects are a lot more dangerous. They can now flee if they are compliant but unrestrained (kneeling) and they are much more prone to investigating loud noises, making surprise encounters much more common. Gas and pepperballs are much less effective now, as suspects will flee when affected by them. Keeping the situation under control is now a fairly integral part of the game, rather than something that isn't a concern.
Lots of equipment has been added, including:
- Colt Model 635 9mm SMG
- H&K MP5K PDW
- FN SCAR (with aimpoint, suppressor, and aimpoint + suppressor variants)
- FN FAL
- Springfield Armory XDM Pistol
- Glock 18
- Glock 19
- "No Weapon" option (at least one weapon must be taken)
And some equipment has been improved:
- The Desert Eagle has received a remodel.
- The M4A1 now uses Brettzie's popular M4A1 model. This includes aimpoint, and aimpoint + suppressor variants.
- Several vanilla models have received reskins to correct mistakes.
If you want to give all of this new equipment a try, there are now Weapon Lockers at the beginning of the training mission which allow you to change weapons.
Quick Mission Maker
The first thing you'll notice when booting up the mod for the first time however is that the main menu is completely different:
The "Play Quick Mission" option has been removed. Why? Because Quick Missions are now accessed through either the Career option, or through multiplayer. Quick Missions can now have unlocks, progression, and custom maps. They appear as a new career path option, meaning you can now use Permadeath and stat tracking for Quick Missions. And as a bonus, there's a new mode available: Hardcore Mode. Hardcore Mode is a bit like Player Permadeath in that your career ends once you die, but your career ends once you have any kind of mission failure, such as civilians being killed, bombs exploding, etc.
The Quick Mission Maker in general is a cool concept, and one which I want to expand upon further. Unfortunately in the vanilla game, the tool is very underbaked - you couldn't even rearrange the missions in a pack. I've also added the ability to write custom briefings, to disable certain tabs (such as Civilians, Suspects, etc), to have traps and mission scripts appear, and I've also added an ADVANCED MODE for civilians and suspects, to allow serious fine-grained control over the spawning of them.
This has been only a small snippet of the numerous changes that v7 provides. If you want to see the full changelog (please do, it's pretty massive), you can view it in the downloads section, or by going to the mod's GitHub page. You can also view the full source code for the project there, but it is provided as a ZIP download as well with this release due to popular demand.
Thank you everyone for the support in developing this mod. I have received hundreds of emails and private messages with nothing but kind words and ideas for where to take the mod further. I kind of consider the mod to be in a complete state, but I still have my own ideas for where to go next. As always, the mod is open source under the GNU GPL license, and anyone can contribute to the development of the mod.
Recently, the North America server has been shut down due to a lack of funding. PayPal has put my account in collections for the server funds, and I can't get it out due to their staff being unavailable because of COVID-19. The server will be restarted once PayPal is up again, and I can use previous donations to get things sorted out. In the meantime, if you are interested in donating to the cause, I would recommend using Patreon for monthly and one-time donations.
Once again, THANK YOU!