After a lengthy, grueling period of bug smiting since the last UE4 engine update broke way too many things (we're now on UE4.23.1), version 1029 of GROUND BRANCH is finally rolling out.
Name of the game for this update is content: We have both added and updated several weapons and attachments, made a few map improvements and rebuilt Depot from scratch with dynamic lighting. But it's not all content—enemy A.I. sight is more complex and no longer spots players in a binary fashion, audio has been added to and improved further, and a first pass on the Mission Summary screen has been implemented, among many other smaller and under-the-hood changes and fixes that you can check out in the highlights below and the raw change log at the end of the page.
Sit tight and buckle up, 'cause there's a lot to cover.
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[h2]A.I. perception tweaked[/h2]
Previously a binary system, the enemy A.I. sight has been upgraded to no longer spot and engage players immediately upon seeing, for example, a glimpse of the character's arms, head or leg sticking out of cover from a light-year away. This new setup takes different body parts into consideration and applies an individual value to them based on distance and amount of exposure—so you may be able to pop your head out from afar and not be instantly recognized by tangos as a hostile.
On the flip side, they should now react more appropriately to loud noises and are more likely to investigate and adjust their search location if they hear gunfire and explosions.
It's all a first pass and a work in progress, but it should make things a lot less frustrating. Oh, and Kris says "[The system] is setup to allow further adjustments based on lighting, camo etc." We'll still have to figure out a good approach for those.
Mikson has added/updated gunshot sound effects for the following weapons:
- MK 25 / MK 25 (Suppressed)
- M1911 / M1911 (Suppressed)
- G22 Custom / G22 Custom (Suppressed) [model since replaced by the G19 Customs, which will use the G22 sounds for now]
- MP5 / MP5 (Suppressed)
- MP7 / MP7 (Suppressed)
- MPX SBR
- UMP45 / UMP45 (Suppressed)
- MK 18 Mod 1
- AK-74M / AK-74 MI
- MK 14 Mod 2 EBR / MK 14 Mod 2 EBR (Suppressed)
- MK 48 Mod 0
Note: the G22 Custom has since been replaced by the G19 Custom, which is using these same sounds for the time being
[h3]Footstep and movement sounds[/h3]
A first pass on brand-new, all-original footsteps has been implemented and we can officially kiss the de-synced horseshoes and clogs goodbye. Gear "rattle" from movement has also been updated and it's all sounding real nice.
[h3]Other audio changes[/h3]* New bullet impact sounds.
- Added sound for reticle brightness change on non-magnified optics.
- Fixed burst fire sound not stopping when magazine empties mid-burst.
- New grenade bounce sound (WIP!).
- New, more authentic radio squelch and filter effects.
- Decreased falloff distance for gear rattle sounds.
[h2]Depot 2.0 (aka Depot v2)[/h2]
River Bend insertion point
Northeastern area of the compound wall
Arguably the biggest deal about 1029, the rebuilt Depot map now features a completely new and expanded surrounding area, as well as several big changes to the central compound—including a new internal layout for one of the warehouses. It has a very different atmosphere, not only because of the new woods, but also because of the…
Depot 2.0 is our first map to use fully dynamic lighting, which offers benefits such as more stable framerates, uniform lighting across the map (meaning no jarring lighting scheme changes between separate sections like it happens with "baked" static lighting) and a much easier time making shootable lights in the future. But dynamic lighting is not without cons: it may worsen the "ghosting" effect that Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TAA) has, offers less control over interior lighting—which may appear bland/flat/overly lit—and may affect overall performance negatively, particularly on lower- to mid-end PCs.
We are still testing things out and will be adjusting according to feedback, but be prepared to upgrade your rig or turn video settings down if your specs are too far in the low end.
Train Bridge insertion point: the expanded map boundaries include the now accessible bridge over the tracks
[h3]Known issues[/h3]* When using FXAA, you may notice "shadow flickering" on foliage and vegetation. Using TAA instead will help blend that in, but as noted, will cause "ghosting" effect associated with it—most visible with scopes. We will be tweaking things to try and address these issues.
- Dynamic lighting can affect the appearance of reticles, night vision and scopes considerably when compared to static lighting (which is what they've all been made to work with originally). We'll be tweaking those as we move maps to the new lighting scheme so that everything is consistent.
- The map is still a work in progress, so there may be gaps in the play area, places you may get stuck in and parts that are missing collision. If you come across any of those, please file a bug report.
[h3]Other map shenanigans[/h3]
Small Town's Bravo (B) building has received a reworked staircase with roof access, a roof hatch door and a catwalk joining its roof to building Charlie's (C). You'll find some sandbags up there as well so you're not too much of a fish in a barrel for the enemy while prone isn't in the game.
More places to shoot and get shot from? Sign me up
The map now also uses dynamic lighting for both day and night scenarios, so let us know how it runs for you.
In addition to several refinements and asset updates, the map's eponymous aircraft has received an enterable upper deck with a fully modelled cockpit.
Credits: Prowlaz (captured with NVIDIA Ansel)
The previously empty pub's upper floor is now a roomy lounge…
…and you can look near the alleyway insertion point for a little workout room too:
[h3]NEW MAP: User Arena Two[/h3]
A new User Arena map is now available for quick Terrorist Hunt and PvP games.
moar cqb pls
[h3]New and updated gear[/h3]
The Platform, Primary and Sidearm item slots now have a "None" option, so you can choose to play without a vest or either of the weapons. This should aid the role-players and "custom" game mode crowds while we haven't added more official game modes, as well as allow players to voluntarily handicap their loadouts.
[h3]NEW SIDEARMS: G19 Custom[/h3]
The venerable G19 comes in two flavors, both with custom Agency Arms® slides: the G19 Custom (Patrol) has a Patrol Series slide and regular-height iron sights for a more traditional look, while the G19 Custom (Urban) is fitted with the Urban Combat slide and suppressor-height sights (taller sights to clear the added height of a mounted suppressor).
Bottom-left: G19 Custom (Patrol) with standard-capacity magazine and sights / top-right: G19 Custom (Urban) with extended magazine and suppressor-height sights. Not gonna lie, this shot took way too many attempts and it kinda turned out just okay
The G19 Custom pistols have replaced the G22 Custom as the G19 is a far more common sidearm in the special operations community, due both to its more compact size and its vastly more popular 9 mm ammunition. The models are also of a better quality, so it's a win-win.
Both handguns have a standard capacity of 15+1 rounds. If fitted with the Taran Tactical® extended base pad magazine, capacity goes up to 20+1.
[h3]NEW SIDEARM: M17[/h3]
Another new sidearm in the armory: the U.S. Army's new service pistol M17. It carries 17+1 rounds of 9 mm ammo and also has a rail for mounting lights under the barrel.
"No, you're ugly but functional" —The M17, probably
[h3]NEW SIDEARM: M9A3[/h3]
The latest model in the M9 series has also been added: the M9A3 has a 17-round magazine, accessory rail and Vertec-style thin grip.
Fifty shades of FDE version when
[h3]NEW SIGHT: Vudu 1–6x[/h3]
The Vudu 1–6x is an LPVO by EOTech®. This variable-power scope goes from no magnification (1x) all the way to 6x. Like the AccuPower 1–8x, its first focal plane reticle scales with the zoom. At 1x, you see the recognizable EOTech® reticle shape for fast target acquisition, and as you zoom in the reticle expands to reveal the detailed crosshair with MIL/MRAD hash marks.
Left: sight picture at 1x / right: sight picture at 6x. Both shown with max reticle illumination
The Vudu is equipped with the same mount as the AccuPower, meaning you can also attach an RMR (Flat) on top of it. Like the AccuPower, it also offers 10 levels of reticle brightness, including a no-illumination setting.
[h3]NEW SIGHT: Micro T-2[/h3]
Younger sibling to the T-1, the Micro T-2 can now be selected under Sights. Both Micros are functionally identical, so pick the one you feel the most tacticool with.
[h3]NEW/UPDATED SIGHT: M68 CCO[/h3]
We've replaced the very ancient CompM2 model with a CompM4s—the current red dot sight under the U.S. Army's M68 CCO designation.
New M68 CCO (CompM4s) seen here alongside the also new Tac Light (WMLx) model
If you had any saved loadouts that included this item, make sure to re-equip it. It's an entirely new item entry, so the previous version will be gone!
[h3]NEW SIGHT: EKP-8-18[/h3]
The EKP-8-18 is a Russian optic from the Kobra series of red dot sights. This particular version is meant for Picatinny rail mounts. Although the real thing offers 4 reticle patterns that can be changed on the fly, we'll be sticking with just one option until we can work that functionality in.
[h3]UPDATED SIGHT: HWS EXPS3[/h3]
The EXPS3 holographic sight has received a worthy model with EOTech® branding and all. Farewell, "V3 NavTech".
[h3]NEW ACCESSORY: Tac Light (M300C)[/h3]
A new compact light has been added and it looks damn good. Look for Tac Light (M300C) under Accessories.
Tac Light (M300C) seen here mounted on an Offset Rail alongside the new AN/PEQ-15 (read on) and Stubby Grip (keep reading, keep reading)
[h3]UPDATED ACCESSORY: Tac Light (WMLx)[/h3]
Another model that was updated is the Tactical Light (Compact), now called Tac Light (WMLx). It was an old model, so we replaced it with a much more detailed one, complete with Inforce® branding.
If you had any saved loadouts that included this item, make sure to re-equip it. It's an entirely new item entry, so the previous version will be gone!
[h3]NEW/UPDATED ACCESSORY: Tac Light (X300)[/h3]
The handgun light is a brand-new model: the Tac Light (X300) has replaced the Tactical Light (Pistol) attachment.
[h3]UPDATED ACCESSORY: AN/PEQ-15[/h3]
The trusty "PEQ box" also has an updated model, which you've just seen. You can also check out the tan/FDE version if you select the Snakeskin camo on either the MK 18 Mod 1 or the M4A1 Block II carbines.
Attachments will have multiple skins you can select individually in the future.
Also, the IR laser now shoots out of the correct
hole orificeaperture. It was previously projecting out of the IR illuminator lens, and now emits from the right-hand side (from the shooter's perspective), next to the visible laser.
[h3]NEW FOREGRIPS: Vertical Grip (RVG) and Stubby Grip[/h3]
Two new foregrip models are available in the Underbarrel category of weapon attachments: Vertical Grip (RVG) and Stubby Grip (pictured a few items above).
Tac'd out M416D CQB: Vudu 1–6x + RMR (Flat), AN/PEQ-15, offset Tac Light (M300C) and Vertical Grip (RVG)
At round end, a Mission Summary board will now appear upon being transported back to the Ready Room. It displays a randomly generated codename for the mission, as well as map name, time elapsed and a few individual stats (from left to right: player name, status, number of kills, hit percentage, shots fired and number of hits) along with the team's average stats:
The Mission Summary board is a first pass in every sense: the overall appearance, as well as which stats are shown to whom and in which game mode are all subject to change.
[h2]Miscellaneous fixes and updates[/h2]* The different versions of the RMR red dot sight have been renamed RMR (Flat), RMR (Short Rail) and RMR (Tall Rail).
- Only the RMR (Flat) can be mounted on the flat RMR mounts available on the ACOG 4x32, Specter DR 1x/4x, AccuPower 1–8x, Vudu 1–6x etc. The other versions are fitted with Picatinny mounts and can only be mounted on Picatinny accessory rails.
- Enlarged the interaction box around dropped items so that they're easier to interact with.
- Lots of map cleanup (collision, textures, gaps etc.).
- No more doing a slow 360° when mounting certain ladders like an awkward square dance move.
- A.I. should now leg it if reloading out in the open, as well as look down sights when engaging beyond 15 meters.
- Adjusted the scale and texturing of a few items.
- Renamed the "Risers" tab of weapon attachments to "Rails" as it included rail covers, offset mounts and other items that weren't risers.
- Attempted to make night vision a bit more consistent across maps and sections thereof.
- A whole lot of stuff you can check out in the raw change log.
Other known issues
Here are the main known issues introduced in this version. Most should be fixed or improved in an upcoming hotfix:
[h3]Audio[/h3]* When playing online, gunshot tail sounds sometimes don't update properly and result in the external (outdoors) tail being triggered inside buildings.
- When playing online, the sound effect from magazines dropping to the ground is missing.
- Occlusion for the grenade bounce sound effect is faulty.
[h3]Cosmetic and customization[/h3]* The Offset Rail cannot be mounted over the receiver portion of weapons, only over the handguard/fore-end.
- The stupid holsters have gone invisible (online).
- When accessed via the Ready Room lockers, the operator customization screen will display a weird background.
- The Watch Cap is not accepting the Headset attachment, but you can still use the combination from previously saved loadouts.
[h3]A.I.[/h3]* The perception tweaks can cause varying degrees of unresponsiveness and odd behavior from enemy bots. Please bear with us.
A hotfix patch or two in the upcoming weeks should hopefully take care of most of the issues that slipped and/or weren't worth holding back the release for.
In the meantime:
Toadie has been working on animations for 1030 (here's another WIP one); Mikson's shortlist has a few sound bugs to fix and some dedicated weapon sounds for newly added weapons to implement. In the longer run, he'll be restarting work on ambient sounds; John will keep working on optimization, tech, maps and new content (we've got a few more pieces of gear in the pipeline); and Kris will continue to assist everyone in implementing stuff while code-slashing his way through all the nasty bugs we keep flinging at him.
[h3]This has been Build Update #020![/h3]
Stay in touch with us and the GROUND BRANCH community via Discord, the Steam® Community Hub, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook—hit us up and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. For those with a lot questions and not enough answers, we’ve also put out an official FAQ that is well worth checking out.
As always, we’re extremely grateful for all your patience and support. See you on the next update!
—The BlackFoot Studios Team
Version info & change log
Game version: 1029
Steam Build ID: 4479668
Size: 4.3 GB
Steam Build ID: 4479675
Size: 199 MB
Change log too long for Steam! Check out the full, raw list in our Dev Blog post.