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GROUND BRANCH update for 27 January 2022

Build Update #032: V1032 now LIVE + SALE (30% off)!

Share · View all patches · Build 8098273 · Last edited by Wendy

Patchnotes via Steam Community

Build ID: 8098273 (Client) / 8098322 (Dedicated Server)
Download size: 4.1 GB (Client) / 433 MB (Dedicated Server)

IMPORTANT: CLEAR YOUR OLD FILES

If you are coming from V1031 or have not updated CTE in a while, you need to delete all contents in the following locations (copy-paste these into your File Explorer address bar and hit Enter):

  • %LOCALAPPDATA%\GroundBranch\Saved\Config\WindowsNoEditor
  • Documents\GroundBranch

⚠️ Not doing so will cause various asset and input issues in your game.

If you are coming from a recent CTE version, clear them anyway to be sure.

Roughly a month and a half ago, the first testing build for GROUND BRANCH V1032 went live on our Community Test Environment (CTE) app.

And after and a very busy holiday season, no less than 13 public test builds and well over 1,000 bug reports, V1032 is now finally available on the main branch as a stable release!

If you are among the few who decided to wait for it, we hope this version of the game leaves as good an impression as it has for many of our community testers. And if you're among those who have been waiting for a price drop, we got good news for ya:

🔥 Lunar New Year Sale: GROUND BRANCH is 30% OFF!

As part of the Steam Lunar New Year Sale, GROUND BRANCH is 30% OFF on for an entire week — until February 3rd.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/16900/GROUND_BRANCH/

❤️ Consider buying directly from our store!

Buying the game from the GB Store ensures that we get the full cut of the purchase.

💰 Use code [b]GB1032 at the checkout to apply the 30% discount.[/b]

Please note the GB Store can only charge US dollars (via PayPal) and has no regional pricing!
You know the drill: go tell that friend of yours who's on the fence, spread posters around the neighborhood, maybe grab an extra key or three to gift your buddies. Just don't let it go to waste.

Alright! Moving on!

Build highlights

A fully comprehensive list of changes would be unrealistic for such a complex update, so we're going to keep things more summarized with these release notes while still covering as much as we can afford. Let's get to it.

New Ready Room and Ops Board

Upon first loading up a mission (or into server), you will likely notice that the Ready Room has been slightly renovated and now sports a more somber and concrete-y look.

Walk into the Ops Room, and you'll se a slight rearrangement: the Ops Board screen is now much larger, and its contents a little easier on the eyes:


The Ops Board as seen during a round of the updated Intel Retrieval game mode. Note the "Intel Search Areas" field which indicates possible intel device locations (represented by the red circles on the map)

Functionally, not much has changed: you still set the game mode options and time of day, and then pick your preferred insertion point. It's all just laid out better, and the satellite/drone map images should be a lot easier to visualize.

New character assets and customization

Every single character asset in GROUND BRANCH has been updated from V1031. That's right: every asset (save for the Holster, which was updated in V1031) from the character heads all the way to the dump pouch has received a new model and textures in this update.


It's not just you: Male 02 (second from left) is an absolute dreamboat

On top of that, several entirely new items were added, such as the Shemagh (which can be worn as a scarf or head cover), the Ghillie Hood/Trousers, the Work Boots, the Flannel Shirt and the list goes on.

Keep in mind that not all of the old assets were recreated: some were replaced by a different item, while others were scrapped for various reasons (usually just not being in line with a certain generation of gear).

💡 Although we probably will not be adding new gear models for a while, we will be adding more skins as we go, and anything that we don't end up adding ourselves — whether models or skins, pre- or post-release — will most likely be modded in by the community.
For information on what is definitely planned, check out our roadmap.

Unfortunately, the new facial hair will have to wait. Due to the assets being made specifically for each individual head, they require additional logic that our programmers could not get to just yet. Beards are expected to be back in V1033 at the latest, possibly alongside some basic hairstyle choices.

Clipping is both known and expected with the large amount of possible asset combinations with several layers of animation on top. Eradicating clipping in a game like GB is virtually impossible even for AAA studios, but we hope to be able to improve particularly bad and noticeable cases as we go.> ❗ Certain pouches now use an open design, meaning that the magazine is exposed. Although the magazine may not currently match what you are carrying, making it so is on our list. As an example, the SMG/PDW pouch will always show an MP5 magazine — for the time being.> 🎨 More skins are on the way, as are tweaks for the current ones. Spotted a bad camo? Let us know.

New weapon assets


As teased in the last couple Intel Updates, we also have entirely new models for the following items:

  • MK14 EBR: Based on the Mod 1 variant, this battle rifle by Cody Cudmore is replacing the more precision fire-oriented MK14 Mod 2. Has its own suppressor too.

  • MK46 (Mod 1): A 5.56 NATO light machine gun replacing the old MK48 Mod 0. Suppressor still pending!

  • Updated M4-series and HK416-series models (all assets by Bakr Assad aka Raider3D):

    • M4A1 SOPMOD: The classic M4A1 with a KAC quad-rail handguard.
    • M4A1 Block II: The SOPMOD Block II variant with a full-length quad-rail handguard.
    • M4A1 Block II (FSP): Same as Block II, but with a cut-out for the original "A2-style" front sight post (FSP).
    • MK18: Still based on the Mod 1 variant, but now fitted with a Magpul CTR stock for some variation.
    • HK416D: One of the most widely used variants of the HK416, with a 14.5-inch barrel and "Crane" stock.
    • HK416D CQB: A short-barrel variant of the HK416D, also known as the D10RS.
    • All M4 and HK416 variants can now also be fitted with a 20-round STANAG magazine.

We have also finally added a G3 battle rifle, specifically the G3A3 variant. It's one of those weapons mainly meant as an OPFOR gun, and as such doesn't allow much customization just yet — but you can add a top rail adapter for optics (the adapter uses a placeholder model).


Top to bottom: MK14 EBR, MK46 and G3A3

💡 None of the weapons have different skins to choose from anymore, but that is only a temporary bummer — new paint jobs are under development.

New weapon attachment assets

The following weapon attachments have all received new models:

  • HWS 553
  • HWS EXPS3 (comes in both black and FDE)
  • T-2 Micro
  • Specter DR 1x/4x (currently FDE only)
  • G33 Magnifier (3x) (black and FDE)

And these new models are replacing older items:

  • The MBUS and Micro folding iron sight pairings replaced the previous iron sights.
  • The MK4 (3.5–10x) variable-power scope replaced the M-233 (12x). It features a Picatinny rail mount for red dots.

WHERE DID THE [INSERT OBSCURE ITEM THAT WAS YOUR WHOLE REASON TO BUY THE GAME] GO?
Models may need to be replaced or dropped for a variety of reasons during development. The Galil SAR, for example, was removed due to being an old and low-detail model which made it impossible to animate properly. Although not all removed assets will necessarily make a comeback, there is always a chance that they will be either reintroduced later or modded in.

Gameplay and mechanics

In V1032, we are introducing several gameplay features and mechanics to help players navigate, coordinate and fight better.

Mag Check

You can now hold the Reload key (default [R]) to estimate the amount of rounds you have left in your magazine or belt. The HUD icon indicates the status as being one of the following:

  • Fairly full
  • About half-full/empty
  • Nearly empty
  • Empty

Icons, timings and animations for the mag check are all subject to change, so let us know how it looks and feels to you.

💡 We also plan to allow the magazine to stay out (with the icon in view) for as long as the Reload key is held down, as well as automatically displaying the status icon when a used magazine is being loaded in.

Tablet (Map Device)

You can now easily figure out where you are in relation to objectives and teammates by tapping [M] or selecting the Tablet item from the Equipment menu ([4]).


The Tablet during a round of Intel Retrieval. Note the markers for players (diamonds), objectives (red circles) and extraction point (arrow going up). Players can now also organize into Team Elements (more info on those in the next section)

The Tablet is automatically equipped on all players and displays the following information:

  • Your location and bearing
  • Your teammates' location (with indicators as to whether they're above or below you)
  • Team roster and elements (more on that in the next section)
  • Objective areas and extraction points (Intel Retrieval)
  • In-game time
  • Time remaining for the current mission or round

If used well, the Tablet can drastically reduce friendly fire, as well as improve overall situation awareness.

💡 To put the Tablet away, tap [M] again or simply select a different item. You may find yourself using the Tablet most often during Intel Retrieval missions.> 💡 If your teammates are killed, their markers will disappear from the Tablet, but their names will remain listed.

Team Elements

As shown in the Tablet screenshot in the previous section, players can now also assign themselves — or be assigned by a server admin — to one of four Team Elements: Alpha (A), Bravo (B), Charlie (C) and Delta (D). Team Elements are akin to fireteams or squads.

Team Elements are displayed next to player names (in the Ready Room and when spectating), as well as on the Session Roster screen and the Tablet. At the moment, they are merely an aid for teamwork and coordination, especially by organizing and color-coding player markers on the Tablet.

Upon joining a session, players are automatically assigned to Alpha. To change to a different Team Element, press [Esc] and access the Session Roster tab in the top menu bar. Then, simply click the letter icon next to your name, and choose a new Team Element from the list.

💡 REASSIGN AND REGROUP AT WILL, BABY
Your Team Element can be changed at any time — even during a mission/round.> 💡 In due course, there will be features such as Team Element-specific radio channels.

Movement

Movement speeds for walking and sprinting were slowed down slightly but noticeably. As with most such adjustments, these new speeds are not necessarily final, but they seem to feel better to most players so far.

Recoil

As part of the animations update (more on that in a bit), recoil should now feel more pronounced both due to actual recoil animations, as well an added layer of camera shake — all subject to change, as usual.

Weapon collision (short-stocking)

Weapon collision has been reworked to use short-stocking, a technique in which the shooter progressively moves the stock over their shoulder in order to continue pointing the weapon forward if there isn't enough room in front of them to keep the weapon fully extended.

This change allows players to remain combat-effective to a much larger degree than in V1031 (where the weapon would be pointed up as soon as weapon collision was detected).

New pistol Close Ready position

The Close Ready pose for pistols has been updated to be a lot less compressed (close to the chest), ensuring that you actually know where it is if it's ready to shoot. It feels a lot nicer too.

ADS Sensitivity

You can now set your preferred aiming (ADS) sensitivity per magnification ("zoom") level under SettingsControls:

NOTE
The number value is for how much the sensitivity should be scaled for a given magnification level. For example, a value of 1.0 would make a magnification level use the same sensitivity as the Normal Sensitivity. A value of 0.5 would make it half as sensitive, while 2.0 would make it twice as sensitive and so on.

Beefed up smoke grenades

Smoke grenades have been beefed up a bit to give more effective concealment. Performance may suffer if you spam a whole lot of these, but it's a stop-gap solution until we have these effects remade and optimized.

New Wristwatch modes

Your Wristwatch has a few new functionalities related to different game modes.

  • In all game modes, a "time remaining" warning will be briefly shown on the watch at 5, 2 and 1 minute(s) remaining.

  • In Intel Retrieval, you can now turn on the "Proximity Alert" mission setting (on the Ops Board) to get a vibrating alert when within 5 meters of the intel device.

  • In the new Dynamic Take and Secure (DTAS — more on that in the Game modes section), your watch will display DTAS-specific information:

    • Approximate distance to the flag once placed (in meters). Also present in Fox Hunt mode, indicating distance to the Asset.
    • Direction of the flag once placed (yellow arrow).
    • When in range of the flag as a defender, a green alert will pulse.
    • When in range of the flag as an attacker, a yellow alert will pulse.
    • When the flag is being captured, a red alert will pulse (defenders get no warning of flag captures).

Animations

Animations have of course received the first stage of a major overhaul.

It is a massive improvement over V1031, but keep in mind that a lot of it is a work in progress and still fairly janky in a few areas. Here's the rundown:

  • Reprocessed all existing character locomotion animations for new skeleton. (Locomotion will be entirely redone over the next few updates with mocap.)

  • All weapons have completely remade animations for shooting and weapon manipulation (reloads, fire selector, mag checks etc.).

  • First pass on custom foregrip hand poses:

    • The character's support hand will grip the weapon depending on which type of foregrip is equipped (if any):

      • Angled foregrip: "Thumb over bore" grip ("C-clamp")
      • Stubby/short foregrip: "Thumb break" grip
      • Full-length vertical foregrip: "Beer can" grip
      • No foregrip: Hand pose varies depending on the weapon.
    • Some foregrips will cause the left elbow to stick up — this is a known issue.

  • Added camera recoil animations.

  • Added basic idle character animations (only visible on other players).

  • Reworked weapon positions and transitions.

  • Body part-specific death animations, including extended death animations that have a 11% (1 in 9) chance of happening.

  • First pass on basic ladder climbing.

  • Vaulting now has an associated animation (which is pretty bugged, per the Known issues section).

💡 WIP ANIMATIONS
V1032 is largely the groundwork for the animations overhaul — the first part of an ongoing process with many iterations to come.

Maps and level design

V1032 features two new maps, a map overhaul and various smaller map-related changes.

❗ Please keep in mind that map visuals, performance, audio and design are all an ongoing development.

[NEW MAP] Compound

One of the most highly anticipated additions in GROUND BRANCH history, Compound is set in an undisclosed Pakistani village with flat terrain featuring crop fields, a main road and several man-made structures from small sheds to multi-storey houses — one of which appears suspiciously fortified.

Compound can be played in any of the existing game modes.

🔈 Soundscapes (ambient audio) for Compound are not yet finished.

[NEW MAP] Rig

Rig — reliable sources claim it's short for oil rig — is likely the largest map in the game now. Comprised of multiple decks, each with sublevels, it's a gargantuan tactical nightmare.

Rig can also be played in any of the existing game modes.

🔈 Rig currently uses downgraded soundscapes and sound occlusion due to audio stutter issues we have not been able to fix yet.

Storage Facility overhaul

Storage Facility has received an overhaul to include a new industrial area at the top of the hill and a new route down into the tunnels, which have been spruced up and expanded in various ways. The dock area has also been extended.

💡 The new Storage Facility is also currently undergoing a visual update, as will all older maps eventually.

Other significant map changes
  • Power Station has a new entrance west of the Substation insertion point leading into the tunnels.
  • City's central area was changed to add a new route to the previously "unconquerable" stairwell.
  • Run Down has a new stairwell access to the roof.
  • New and improved props have been put into various maps, most notably Tanker.
  • Terrain materials have had a "de-tiling" pass.
  • New water has been added to multiple maps.

Game mode updates

Intel Retrieval [PvE]

Intel Retrieval has received a major overhaul. Here's what changed:

  • Instead of searching multiple laptops for the intel, there is now a target laptop to search and extract.
  • Approximate search areas are described and indicated as red circles on the Ops Board and Tablet.
  • By default, there will be one true location and one false location, but the number of possible locations can be changed under Mission Parameters.
  • The true laptop location and the extraction point will usually have additional AI guarding and/or patrolling them.
  • Please note that the visual search location circle is approximate, and you should treat the location text as definitive (for example: on Tanker, one search location is "Whole of Deck 3", so search the entire deck rather than just the circle mark).
Terrorist Hunt [PvE]

Terrorist Hunt has not fundamentally changed, but it benefits from the new AI placement system to ensure less predictable placement and more replayability.

Dynamic Take and Secure (DTAS) [PvP]

DTAS is an entirely new PvP game mode (actually a recreation of a game mode in the early 2000s UT mod Infiltration) where both teams spawn in a random spot on the map.

The Defenders then have a short amount of time to place a flag, which marks the centre of a capturable zone. The Attackers must capture the zone, by getting a minimum of 2 attackers in range. The defenders can block an attack by getting a minimum of 2 defenders in range.

The Attackers can win by wiping out all defenders; the Defenders can win by killing all but one of the attackers.

Our own Matt "Fatmarrow" Farrow — who programmed this game mode — created a short video explaining how it all works:

As with most game modes, admins can tweak several parameters to their liking.

Fox Hunt [PvP]

Fox Hunt is a further new game mode hidden within DTAS.

When there are insufficient numbers of players on the server to start a DTAS round (by default: 6), the Fox Hunt mode will be engaged.

  • In this mode, one Defender is designated The Asset, and all players will receive an approximate distance (but not bearing) to their position.
  • Attackers win by eliminating The Asset.
  • Defenders win by keeping The Asset safe until time runs out.

A reduced time limit is automatically applied when Fox Hunt mode is engaged.

Team Elimination [PvP]

This mode remains unchanged, but has been extended with the possibility of player and/or team reinforcements (respawns). This is still an experimental addition. When you die, the game will try to respawn you near a teammate, but will fall back to the additional spawn if necessary (this is to try and mitigate spawn camping in the reinforcements mode).

The core gameplay remains the same, but a visible search area is automatically computed (based on the laptop locations) and displayed on the Ops Board.

Deathmatch [PvP]

This very non-tacticool but classic game mode now allows you to specify a target frag limit or time limit, to allow a winner to be decided.

You can also specify a minimum number of players: if there are fewer human players than this limit, additional AI enemies will be spawned to make up the numbers.

Training

The Camp Peary Training Facility (aka The Farm) has received a few small updates:

  • Targets for the regular shoothouse were rearranged, and many more possible target locations were added.
  • The Ops Board, light switch and Target App screen were moved around a bit for better usability.
  • The Ops Boards received some basic instructions on how to use The Farm's facilities.

User interface (UI)

In addition to the Ops Board overhaul, other UI updates can be seen elsewhere. Perhaps most noticeably in the Customize Operator screen, which has received entirely new icons.

The item selection menu has also received a much-needed upgrade and now displays items on a grid, with items being directly customizable (no more selecting and then clicking the cog to edit) and custom item names being set in orange so you don't have to search as much for your builds.

Here are some of the other main changes to look out for in the UI:

  • A lot of the text has been increased in size, which should make things a lot easier to read in 1080p and below.
  • You can once tailor the AI difficulty straight from the game — no more INI file editing. To set your own values for the "Custom" AI difficulty, simply click the Advanced AI Setting button at the bottom-left of the Lone Wolf and Host Game screens and start editing.
  • Mission Settings now have an advanced settings category, which is hidden by default on the Lone Wolf and Host Game screens.
  • A brief description of the game mode type is now also given on those screens, and the map description is now displayed on each map tile.
  • If you try to select an OPFOR count over 30 (the recommended maximum), you will get a warning message and the OPFOR count itself will be displayed in red as a performance warning.
  • The After Action Report (AAR) has been overhauled and expanded. In addition to individual results, different tabs may now display team results, rounds won/attempted and more, depending on the game mode. (For the full set of AAR tabs, try new game mode DTAS.)

AI

Basic AI behavior remains the same, but some (mostly cosmetic) changes have been made:

  • Callouts are now less frequent.
  • The placement of AI on maps has been overhauled to make it more random, yet still plausible. In Intel Retrieval, AI is now spawned conditionally in some places, so that laptops and extraction zones are more heavily guarded than other areas of the map — which can give you a clue as to the laptop location if you observe carefully.
  • AI loadouts have been updated slightly to account for inventory/asset updates.

💡 A more significant AI update is planned for the next major release, V1033.

Audio

The sound department (aka Mikson) has seen a lot of work, from all-new reload SFX to dynamic range options. Here's what got done:

  • New reload sounds for all weapons to go with the new animations and assets.

  • Audio mix overhaul: adjusted levels of all sounds to make sure gunshots and explosions sound more powerful.

  • Dynamic Range presets (Settings › Audio):

    • Full: Gunshots and explosions are significantly louder than other sounds. Recommended for headphone users.
    • Medium: Recommended for speaker users.
    • Low: Gunshots and explosions aren’t much louder than other sounds. Recommended for speaker users playing at night and for players with impaired hearing.
  • New Channels option: Binaural. Recommended for headphone users for more accurate sound navigation. Not recommended for speaker users!.

  • Re-implemented panting sound for low stamina. It starts fading in when stamina drops to 50%.

  • Added crouching/standing up SFX.

  • Added water footstep SFX.

  • Added pain and death sounds for bots. These are still placeholders, consistent with current voice lines by Daeln Murphy.

❗ As mentioned in the "Maps and level design" section, soundscapes for new maps Rig and Compound are unfinished. You may also notice some sound anomalies in Run Down due to faulty acoustic portals.

Missions and mission editor

  • Almost every mission (i.e. objectives, spawn points, AI placement etc.) has been reworked and the AI behavior slightly tweaked.
  • Certain game modes now allow you to play on sections of a certain map. For example, you can now play Team Elimination on City (Streets) or City (Subway), which are versions of the original City map restricted to the areas above the ground and underground, respectively.
  • The Mission Editor was reworked to be a bit more user-friendly. To access it, type [editmission] in the console when in a Lone Wolf level.
  • New features in the Mission Editor include laptop-supporting meshes (meshes that automatically spawn with laptops when placed for Intel Retrieval or Uplink), mission meshes (additional meshes that can be placed in a specific mission, e.g. to block line of sight for spawns, or to block players from parts of the level), and mission-blocking volumes (invisible walls to block players from places where they shouldn’t be).
  • Also see the new (and somewhat invaluable) Validate Level command in the file menu.

Admin

  • New command admin motd will broadcast the server MOTD (message of the day) to all players on the server.
  • The admin resurrect command has been altered to respawn players at their death location always (rather than where they might be spectating, if their body has disappeared). A new [admin resurrect all] version is available, which does what it says on the tin.
  • New command admin resurrectnear (also accessible as admin resnear) will respawn players in the vicinity of a teammate rather than where they died. You can also add 'all' to the end of either command (e.g. admin resnear all) to resurrect all players in the vicinity a teammate.
  • Map voting is now limited by default to maps that are included on the server map list.

 

📢 This has been BUILD UPDATE #032!

We'll start gathering reports as soon as they start rolling in, so expect hotfixes and patches in the upcoming weeks.

To all of the CTE testers: thank you for helping us get to the main branch!

We hope you enjoy V1032. Stay safe and we'll see you soon.


Stay connected

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