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  1. Patch Roadmap Hello, everyone! I am Boian Spasov, creative director of Jagged Alliance 3, and today I want to share with you a roadmap of our current plans for future free updates. Release day came and went and it was awesome, but our work on Jagged Alliance continues and our team remains committed to supporting the game post-release. We’ve received so much feedback that it took us quite a while to go through everything and solidify our plans, but now we are finally ready to share them with you. This roadmap includes improvements suggested by the community and some of our own previously unrealized ideas as well. We aim to release one patch per month, but with the usual disclaimers that plans may change down the road and we are also keeping a few surprises in our sleeves. So let’s get into specifics… Update 1.2 - Codename: Buns (Combat Quality of Life) The first upcoming patch will encompass various changes related to the combat aspect of the game – offering additional information in the UI, improving and deepening the bullet simulation and even providing the option to play through massive combats at a faster pace. Since this patch is close on the horizon, I can provide some of the highlights as well: Inaccurate attacks may hit other body parts of the targets incidentally Number of remaining Overwatch attacks is clearly indicated in-view Ability to salvage knives and other items that were previously unsalvageable Toggle button for faster enemy and ally turns Ricochet bullets able to hit and cause collateral damage Various improvements to melee animations Update 1.3 - Codename: Vicki (Bobby Ray’s Guns and Things) As Jagged Alliance veterans know very well, “Bobby Ray’s Guns and Things” is the finest, and quite possibly, the only online store for merc gear. No other feature from Jagged Alliance 2 was requested as much from our community as this one! We miss Bobby Ray as well and we are glad to oblige and expand his services with delivery to Grand Chien! will allow you to purchase new and used armor, weapons and ammo and ultimately to gear up your mercs just the way you want to, as long as you can afford it! Update 1.4 - Codename: Wolf (Sat View Quality of Life) The next update focuses on improvements in the Sat View. It will enhance the Sector stash and the Conflict Screen interfaces. Both of these screens are currently somewhat confusing and we are looking into ways of organizing the information there in a more convenient way. As part of this update we will enhance and rebalance some of the Sat View operations, such as Scouting. Finally, we are going to offer a way for solitary mercs to improve their stats by practicing without a trainer. Update 1.5 - Codename: Larry (Modding Maps and Campaigns) As we’ve talked before, our second modding update will offer powerful tools such as map and quest editors. The map editor will allow modifying existing maps by adding new objects and quests or creating entirely new maps from scratch. These maps can be added seamlessly into the existing game campaign or used to create an entirely new custom campaign, complete with new quests, NPCs, dialogues and interactions. This will open the door for modding projects of massive scope such as recreating the old Jagged Alliance games in Jagged Alliance 3! And there is more to come! Stay tuned for more updates to be announced at a later date. Thank you! In conclusion, I want to take the community for their passion for the game – this roadmap is based in large part on community suggestions and we will keep incorporating such suggestions in our plans for the future, as well as marking them clearly in our patch notes. If you have your own suggestion for improving the game, don’t hesitate to share it with us either here, or in Discord ( https://discord.com/invite/jaggedalliance ) – it may even see the light of day in one of the upcoming updates described above! Next DevStream on Monday Tuesday We'll be discussing these patches also on next Monday Tuesday, Sep 19th at 17:00 CEST / 11:00 AM EDT in our next DevStream! The stream will take place on the Haemimont Games Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/haemimontgames Edited: DevStream Date changed to Tuesday, Sep 19th. View full article
  2. Patch Roadmap Hello, everyone! I am Boian Spasov, creative director of Jagged Alliance 3, and today I want to share with you a roadmap of our current plans for future free updates. Release day came and went and it was awesome, but our work on Jagged Alliance continues and our team remains committed to supporting the game post-release. We’ve received so much feedback that it took us quite a while to go through everything and solidify our plans, but now we are finally ready to share them with you. This roadmap includes improvements suggested by the community and some of our own previously unrealized ideas as well. We aim to release one patch per month, but with the usual disclaimers that plans may change down the road and we are also keeping a few surprises in our sleeves. So let’s get into specifics… Update 1.2 - Codename: Buns (Combat Quality of Life) The first upcoming patch will encompass various changes related to the combat aspect of the game – offering additional information in the UI, improving and deepening the bullet simulation and even providing the option to play through massive combats at a faster pace. Since this patch is close on the horizon, I can provide some of the highlights as well: Inaccurate attacks may hit other body parts of the targets incidentally Number of remaining Overwatch attacks is clearly indicated in-view Ability to salvage knives and other items that were previously unsalvageable Toggle button for faster enemy and ally turns Ricochet bullets able to hit and cause collateral damage Various improvements to melee animations Update 1.3 - Codename: Vicki (Bobby Ray’s Guns and Things) As Jagged Alliance veterans know very well, “Bobby Ray’s Guns and Things” is the finest, and quite possibly, the only online store for merc gear. No other feature from Jagged Alliance 2 was requested as much from our community as this one! We miss Bobby Ray as well and we are glad to oblige and expand his services with delivery to Grand Chien! will allow you to purchase new and used armor, weapons and ammo and ultimately to gear up your mercs just the way you want to, as long as you can afford it! Update 1.4 - Codename: Wolf (Sat View Quality of Life) The next update focuses on improvements in the Sat View. It will enhance the Sector stash and the Conflict Screen interfaces. Both of these screens are currently somewhat confusing and we are looking into ways of organizing the information there in a more convenient way. As part of this update we will enhance and rebalance some of the Sat View operations, such as Scouting. Finally, we are going to offer a way for solitary mercs to improve their stats by practicing without a trainer. Update 1.5 - Codename: Larry (Modding Maps and Campaigns) As we’ve talked before, our second modding update will offer powerful tools such as map and quest editors. The map editor will allow modifying existing maps by adding new objects and quests or creating entirely new maps from scratch. These maps can be added seamlessly into the existing game campaign or used to create an entirely new custom campaign, complete with new quests, NPCs, dialogues and interactions. This will open the door for modding projects of massive scope such as recreating the old Jagged Alliance games in Jagged Alliance 3! And there is more to come! Stay tuned for more updates to be announced at a later date. Thank you! In conclusion, I want to take the community for their passion for the game – this roadmap is based in large part on community suggestions and we will keep incorporating such suggestions in our plans for the future, as well as marking them clearly in our patch notes. If you have your own suggestion for improving the game, don’t hesitate to share it with us either here, or in Discord ( https://discord.com/invite/jaggedalliance ) – it may even see the light of day in one of the upcoming updates described above! Next DevStream on Monday Tuesday We'll be discussing these patches also on next Monday Tuesday, Sep 19th at 17:00 CEST / 11:00 AM EDT in our next DevStream! The stream will take place on the Haemimont Games Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/haemimontgames Edited: DevStream Date changed to Tuesday, Sep 19th.
  3. A huge Thank You It's finally here! Hi everyone, I am Boyan Ivanov and from both me and the entire team here at Haemimont Games thank you for believing in us and making the release of Jagged Alliance 3 our best release to this day. Release day is always exciting and fun. This time it was even more special as we got to share the excitement with you during our stream. We had great fun chatting and playing the game live, as well as reminiscing on the development journey with Brad, Ian and Strezov. And of course, laughing aloud as Angry Joe made his entrance. Now, a week after the release of Jagged Alliance 3, I still cannot stop smiling as I read your own personal moments with the game. I remember one of our first conversations with Ian Curry (the creator of Jagged Alliance) and his words of wisdom – “we just wanted to make a fun game first” and this has been a guiding principle for us too. Seeing so many of you having fun with Jagged Alliance 3, the combat, the characters, and the world is heartwarming. The final push before launch is always straining and a bit of a tough slog. The extremely positive reception we got from you all uplifted our spirits and inspired us. Throughout the entire day on Monday, the office was filled with people discussing feedback, your suggestions, and critiques and how to make the game even better. What’s Next The immediate future we are focusing on solving technical issues and showstoppers that prevent people from playing Jagged Alliance 3. We are about to launch our first small patch later today, the patch notes you can read on Steam once the patch goes live. We are receiving a vast amount of feedback from all of you. Both from our in-game reporting tool and on discord, forums, and social media. We are carefully reading, analyzing, and processing your comments, opinions, and critiques to assemble our priority list. In the coming weeks we will begin addressing gameplay issues, especially those that have quick and obvious solutions. We will share more as we get a clearer picture of our roadmap forward. Mods As we have stated our focus directly after release is bringing the modding tools to you. We are amazed at how quickly some of you managed to both create and publish mods to Steam Workshop. At the time of writing this there are close to 100 mods available. This affirms our hope that you will see Jagged Alliance 3 as a platform to bring your own creations and interpretations to reality and share them with each other. With the release of the modding tools you will be able to make mods easier and quicker and I am sure that the Steam workshop will continue to grow at a rapid pace. We cannot wait to see what you will come up with in the future. Future of Streams We are also bringing back livestreams. This Monday at at 17:00 CEST / 11:00 AM EDT, Pavel and I are going to play the game live and discuss what is coming in the first patches. Join us on stream to have some fun and ask us any questions you have. Again, thank you all Boyan Ivanov, Creative Director View full article
  4. A huge Thank You It's finally here! Hi everyone, I am Boyan Ivanov and from both me and the entire team here at Haemimont Games thank you for believing in us and making the release of Jagged Alliance 3 our best release to this day. Release day is always exciting and fun. This time it was even more special as we got to share the excitement with you during our stream. We had great fun chatting and playing the game live, as well as reminiscing on the development journey with Brad, Ian and Strezov. And of course, laughing aloud as Angry Joe made his entrance. Now, a week after the release of Jagged Alliance 3, I still cannot stop smiling as I read your own personal moments with the game. I remember one of our first conversations with Ian Curry (the creator of Jagged Alliance) and his words of wisdom – “we just wanted to make a fun game first” and this has been a guiding principle for us too. Seeing so many of you having fun with Jagged Alliance 3, the combat, the characters, and the world is heartwarming. The final push before launch is always straining and a bit of a tough slog. The extremely positive reception we got from you all uplifted our spirits and inspired us. Throughout the entire day on Monday, the office was filled with people discussing feedback, your suggestions, and critiques and how to make the game even better. What’s Next The immediate future we are focusing on solving technical issues and showstoppers that prevent people from playing Jagged Alliance 3. We are about to launch our first small patch later today, the patch notes you can read on Steam once the patch goes live. We are receiving a vast amount of feedback from all of you. Both from our in-game reporting tool and on discord, forums, and social media. We are carefully reading, analyzing, and processing your comments, opinions, and critiques to assemble our priority list. In the coming weeks we will begin addressing gameplay issues, especially those that have quick and obvious solutions. We will share more as we get a clearer picture of our roadmap forward. Mods As we have stated our focus directly after release is bringing the modding tools to you. We are amazed at how quickly some of you managed to both create and publish mods to Steam Workshop. At the time of writing this there are close to 100 mods available. This affirms our hope that you will see Jagged Alliance 3 as a platform to bring your own creations and interpretations to reality and share them with each other. With the release of the modding tools you will be able to make mods easier and quicker and I am sure that the Steam workshop will continue to grow at a rapid pace. We cannot wait to see what you will come up with in the future. Future of Streams We are also bringing back livestreams. This Monday at at 17:00 CEST / 11:00 AM EDT, Pavel and I are going to play the game live and discuss what is coming in the first patches. Join us on stream to have some fun and ask us any questions you have. Again, thank you all Boyan Ivanov, Creative Director
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  6. A Double Interview and a Look Back Hello and welcome to our last DevDiary before release! We thought it would be best to do something special this time, so you are getting not just one one, but two Boi(y)ans interviewed, as we are celebrating our upcoming release by taking a fond retrospective look at the great games that started it all. We are Boian Spasov and Boyan Ivanov, co-creative directors of Jagged Alliance 3 and today we will be talking about our fond memories of Jagged Alliance 1 and Jagged Alliance 2 and the way these memories impacted the development of the sequel! Question: Let’s start with an easy one – for how long have you wanted to make a Jagged Alliance game? Boyan Ivanov: I’ve been fascinated with Jagged Alliance ever since I chanced upon JA2 in the early 2000s. I played it constantly for an entire summer. I’ve been wanting to try to make a game inspired by Jagged Alliance ever since my junior designer days more than a decade ago. I’ve reached out to Jagged Alliance for inspiration multiple times over the years while working on other projects. Now having the chance to actually make the third installment of the series is still a bit unbelievable and overwhelming at times. The series is very near and dear to my heart. Boian Spasov: There is a story that my colleagues love telling around but it bears repeating. When I applied for a game designer position at Haemimont Games way back in 2006 I was asked during my job interview to name any three existing games that I would love to work on if I ever get the chance. That question turned out oddly prophetic – one of the three was Tropico, a game series that Haemimont Games successfully revived and is famous for right now and another was Jagged Alliance - our most ambitious project yet. So, for me quite literally Jagged Alliance 3 is a dream come true! I am incredibly grateful and humbled to have this opportunity not only because I always wanted to work on a sequel as a developer, but also because for many years I really wanted this game to exist as a fan of the series. And no, I am not telling you what the third game I named on the interview was just yet – I might jinx it! Question: What do you remember about Jagged Alliance 1, the game that started it all? Boian Spasov: I remember that in my eyes there was no other game quite like it. There were not many tactical games back then in 1995, but Jagged Alliance was not just a tactical game but an unique genre hybrid – there was a strategic element to it, an RPG element, as well as a humongous cast of fully voiced player characters, something unseen at the times! Jagged Alliance 1 was not the expansive and refined beast of a game that Jagged Alliance 2 turned out to be few years later, but it was a special, quirky game with its own charm identity. One thing I particularly liked was how distinctive each merc was – all of them had hidden traits and distinct personalities and hidden mini-mechanics. For example, the old mercs lost stats instead of gaining them with experience, the native guides often reveled useful information for each particular area, some mercs couldn’t swim well, others were kleptomaniac, struggled with phobias or had hidden abilities and interactions... It was unpredictable, at times even chaotic and I loved every minute of it - the game felt very different on each playthrough just depending on whoever you picked on the team. Boyan Ivanov: I became a fan of Jagged Alliance mostly through the second game but I do have some fond memories of playing JA1. Mostly of Tex and Ivan and their voice lines, mercs bantering with each other, but also of the whole team management aspect. Hiring mercs, managing their equipment finding new nifty items to use like the extended ear or the metal detector. On the other hand I loved the strategic aspect. Going through the island sector by sector and claiming all the fallow trees (your source of income). Advancing time day by day and managing your mercs over a long period of time. There were a lot of experimental games back in the 90s and JA1 felt like a very unique blend of genres. It didn’t fully click with me until Jagged Alliance 2 but I definitely have some fond and not so fond memories of the original title. Oh my god it’s full of eels! Question: Did any of these JA1 quirks and features find their way into Jagged Alliance 3? Boyan Ivanov: Definitely not the eels. The cast of unique mercs is of course the most important aspect to carry over. However, I think our approach to building the world, narrative and open world nature has its origins in JA1. We carried on with the tradition of setting the game in a fictional war torn country. A world map divided into sectors and the freedom to move through this world as you wish. Managing time and money as you pick which merc contracts to extend, when to hire new mercs and if you should let go of someone that’s too expensive to keep. Boian Spasov: One important aspect that was inspired from JA1 was the uniqueness of the mercs and the sense that each of them brings something distinct and irreplaceable to the team, enough to perhaps prompt you to start a new game just to explore new player characters. Of course, as 25 years have passed, this couldn’t work exactly as it did in Jagged Alliance 1 but it was an important design goal and the main drive to iterate on character personalities and relationships as well as their Quirks and unique personal perks. Question: Let’s move on to the most emblematic game in the series - Jagged Alliance 2. How would you describe it to a person that hasn’t seen it yet? Boian Spasov: JA2 is a turn-based tactical game and one of the most realistic and entertaining combat sims at the time, but also so much more! It has this big and immersive sandbox world, rich with surprises and moral choices to make that I associated with RPG titles. Despite being primarily a tactical game, in my eyes JA2 often felt closer to the early Fallout games than to XCom. The strategy/money management component was deepened and more developed as well – it was almost like an entire other game on top of the tactical battles. I always had a soft spot in my heart for games that try to do things in their own way, breaking genre barriers and pushing the boundaries of game development ever further and to me JA2 is a prime example of this! Boyan Ivanov: *epic trailer voice improv* In a world ruled by a tyrannical queen, one man - Enrico, will come to you to free the people of Arulco from his angry wife. Form a team of unlikely heroes. Hear them quip, cheer and bicker with each other as they mow down an entire army of red shirts. Join the vastly outgunned rebels and hear Ira complain as she misses every goddamn shot. Capture and operate gold mines to fund your small private army and don’t forget to do some online shopping. You need that extra scope for your M14 after all. Paint the map green as you capture sector after sector until you give up in Meduna as those tanks and rocket rifles are just too annoying. Also don’t forget the aliens – genetically engineered insects – slay their queen and smear her jelly to make your armor stronger – yuck! Screenshot courtesy of Lilura1, cRPG blog Question: What is your favorite feature or piece of content from JA2? Boyan Ivanov: *slap* Elliot! You Idiot! Definitely the “meanwhile…” cut-scenes make me chuckle every time I play JA2 again. And the fact that Elliot’s face gets worse and worse it really shows the attention to detail. I love many of the side quests – the chalice of chance/hope, the one with the American tourists even the hicks near Cambria. There are also many memorable locations like the military base at Alma, Tixa prison, San Mona. All of them presented a different challenge to get through and had enough interesting characters to be memorable and unique. Boian Spasov: Oh, so hard to pick… If I have to settle on just one, it would be the custom merc character and the I.M.P. webpage/test used to create it. It was such a silly, yet entertaining way to create a character and I never once skipped it in all my years of re-playing the game. Honorable mention goes to sending flowers to Deidranna – this little moment always manages to make me smile and remind me that the primary product of game development is simply “fun”. Question: You guys worked on many games through the years. Is there a Jagged Alliance trace or homage in any of these titles? Boian Spasov: One game in particular comes to mind – Omerta: City of Gangsters. It was a small tactical game we released just before the resurgence of the genre with the new XCom series. Although the core gameplay was very different, our approach to creating the characters was very Jagged Alliance inspired, even if limited by the small budget of the game… Boyan Ivanov: Oh yeah, do you remember that Omerta even had a test for creating the main character loosely based on the I.M.P. test? Even if Omerta was a small and humble title, we learned a lot from it and in a way it was our pilot title within the tactical genre. In a way it paved the road for our current, much more demanding, work on Jagged Alliance 3. Question: How did the legacy of Jagged Alliance impacted the development of JA3 specifically? Boyan Ivanov: It was a bit nerve-racking initially. There have been many that tried to take on the Jagged Alliance series and none have succeeded so far. Being fans of the series, we knew that we wanted to keep the third installment close to the originals and keep the core intact - the unique blend of open world RPG aspects, tactical combat and strategic team management. We also wanted to capture the unique atmosphere – the light hearted and fun band of misfits that have been hired to do a seemingly impossible task. The more somber and unpredictable aspect of chaotic firefights with bullets flying everywhere. The feeling that you can explore the world as you see fit and that every playthrough can offer something new. Boian Spasov: The most dramatic impact was simply setting our ambition for the title. One thing was certain for day one – we wanted to create a true sequel and not just another game in the same franchise and that immediately set very demanding expectations for our scope and features. The pillars of Jagged Alliance 3 represent our interpretation on what made Jagged Alliance 1 and especially Jagged Alliance 2 special – deep and realistic turn-based combat, a large cast of unique characters and strategic gameplay in a sandbox open world. Have we succeeded in doing justice to this legacy? The players will be the ultimate judges of that, but God knows that we tried! The above image is now also available as wallpaper, you can download our wallpapers here. Thank you for reading today’s DevDiary and for your interest in the game. We are looking forward to your follow-up questions in the upcoming DevStream, this Thursday, July 13th at 17:00 CEST / 11:00 AM EDT on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic And we are also doing the Launch Stream on July 14th starting early at 14:15 CEST / 8:15 AM EDT also on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic View full article
  7. A Double Interview and a Look Back Hello and welcome to our last DevDiary before release! We thought it would be best to do something special this time, so you are getting not just one one, but two Boi(y)ans interviewed, as we are celebrating our upcoming release by taking a fond retrospective look at the great games that started it all. We are Boian Spasov and Boyan Ivanov, co-creative directors of Jagged Alliance 3 and today we will be talking about our fond memories of Jagged Alliance 1 and Jagged Alliance 2 and the way these memories impacted the development of the sequel! Question: Let’s start with an easy one – for how long have you wanted to make a Jagged Alliance game? Boyan Ivanov: I’ve been fascinated with Jagged Alliance ever since I chanced upon JA2 in the early 2000s. I played it constantly for an entire summer. I’ve been wanting to try to make a game inspired by Jagged Alliance ever since my junior designer days more than a decade ago. I’ve reached out to Jagged Alliance for inspiration multiple times over the years while working on other projects. Now having the chance to actually make the third installment of the series is still a bit unbelievable and overwhelming at times. The series is very near and dear to my heart. Boian Spasov: There is a story that my colleagues love telling around but it bears repeating. When I applied for a game designer position at Haemimont Games way back in 2006 I was asked during my job interview to name any three existing games that I would love to work on if I ever get the chance. That question turned out oddly prophetic – one of the three was Tropico, a game series that Haemimont Games successfully revived and is famous for right now and another was Jagged Alliance - our most ambitious project yet. So, for me quite literally Jagged Alliance 3 is a dream come true! I am incredibly grateful and humbled to have this opportunity not only because I always wanted to work on a sequel as a developer, but also because for many years I really wanted this game to exist as a fan of the series. And no, I am not telling you what the third game I named on the interview was just yet – I might jinx it! Question: What do you remember about Jagged Alliance 1, the game that started it all? Boian Spasov: I remember that in my eyes there was no other game quite like it. There were not many tactical games back then in 1995, but Jagged Alliance was not just a tactical game but an unique genre hybrid – there was a strategic element to it, an RPG element, as well as a humongous cast of fully voiced player characters, something unseen at the times! Jagged Alliance 1 was not the expansive and refined beast of a game that Jagged Alliance 2 turned out to be few years later, but it was a special, quirky game with its own charm identity. One thing I particularly liked was how distinctive each merc was – all of them had hidden traits and distinct personalities and hidden mini-mechanics. For example, the old mercs lost stats instead of gaining them with experience, the native guides often reveled useful information for each particular area, some mercs couldn’t swim well, others were kleptomaniac, struggled with phobias or had hidden abilities and interactions... It was unpredictable, at times even chaotic and I loved every minute of it - the game felt very different on each playthrough just depending on whoever you picked on the team. Boyan Ivanov: I became a fan of Jagged Alliance mostly through the second game but I do have some fond memories of playing JA1. Mostly of Tex and Ivan and their voice lines, mercs bantering with each other, but also of the whole team management aspect. Hiring mercs, managing their equipment finding new nifty items to use like the extended ear or the metal detector. On the other hand I loved the strategic aspect. Going through the island sector by sector and claiming all the fallow trees (your source of income). Advancing time day by day and managing your mercs over a long period of time. There were a lot of experimental games back in the 90s and JA1 felt like a very unique blend of genres. It didn’t fully click with me until Jagged Alliance 2 but I definitely have some fond and not so fond memories of the original title. Oh my god it’s full of eels! Question: Did any of these JA1 quirks and features find their way into Jagged Alliance 3? Boyan Ivanov: Definitely not the eels. The cast of unique mercs is of course the most important aspect to carry over. However, I think our approach to building the world, narrative and open world nature has its origins in JA1. We carried on with the tradition of setting the game in a fictional war torn country. A world map divided into sectors and the freedom to move through this world as you wish. Managing time and money as you pick which merc contracts to extend, when to hire new mercs and if you should let go of someone that’s too expensive to keep. Boian Spasov: One important aspect that was inspired from JA1 was the uniqueness of the mercs and the sense that each of them brings something distinct and irreplaceable to the team, enough to perhaps prompt you to start a new game just to explore new player characters. Of course, as 25 years have passed, this couldn’t work exactly as it did in Jagged Alliance 1 but it was an important design goal and the main drive to iterate on character personalities and relationships as well as their Quirks and unique personal perks. Question: Let’s move on to the most emblematic game in the series - Jagged Alliance 2. How would you describe it to a person that hasn’t seen it yet? Boian Spasov: JA2 is a turn-based tactical game and one of the most realistic and entertaining combat sims at the time, but also so much more! It has this big and immersive sandbox world, rich with surprises and moral choices to make that I associated with RPG titles. Despite being primarily a tactical game, in my eyes JA2 often felt closer to the early Fallout games than to XCom. The strategy/money management component was deepened and more developed as well – it was almost like an entire other game on top of the tactical battles. I always had a soft spot in my heart for games that try to do things in their own way, breaking genre barriers and pushing the boundaries of game development ever further and to me JA2 is a prime example of this! Boyan Ivanov: *epic trailer voice improv* In a world ruled by a tyrannical queen, one man - Enrico, will come to you to free the people of Arulco from his angry wife. Form a team of unlikely heroes. Hear them quip, cheer and bicker with each other as they mow down an entire army of red shirts. Join the vastly outgunned rebels and hear Ira complain as she misses every goddamn shot. Capture and operate gold mines to fund your small private army and don’t forget to do some online shopping. You need that extra scope for your M14 after all. Paint the map green as you capture sector after sector until you give up in Meduna as those tanks and rocket rifles are just too annoying. Also don’t forget the aliens – genetically engineered insects – slay their queen and smear her jelly to make your armor stronger – yuck! Screenshot courtesy of Lilura1, cRPG blog Question: What is your favorite feature or piece of content from JA2? Boyan Ivanov: *slap* Elliot! You Idiot! Definitely the “meanwhile…” cut-scenes make me chuckle every time I play JA2 again. And the fact that Elliot’s face gets worse and worse it really shows the attention to detail. I love many of the side quests – the chalice of chance/hope, the one with the American tourists even the hicks near Cambria. There are also many memorable locations like the military base at Alma, Tixa prison, San Mona. All of them presented a different challenge to get through and had enough interesting characters to be memorable and unique. Boian Spasov: Oh, so hard to pick… If I have to settle on just one, it would be the custom merc character and the I.M.P. webpage/test used to create it. It was such a silly, yet entertaining way to create a character and I never once skipped it in all my years of re-playing the game. Honorable mention goes to sending flowers to Deidranna – this little moment always manages to make me smile and remind me that the primary product of game development is simply “fun”. Question: You guys worked on many games through the years. Is there a Jagged Alliance trace or homage in any of these titles? Boian Spasov: One game in particular comes to mind – Omerta: City of Gangsters. It was a small tactical game we released just before the resurgence of the genre with the new XCom series. Although the core gameplay was very different, our approach to creating the characters was very Jagged Alliance inspired, even if limited by the small budget of the game… Boyan Ivanov: Oh yeah, do you remember that Omerta even had a test for creating the main character loosely based on the I.M.P. test? Even if Omerta was a small and humble title, we learned a lot from it and in a way it was our pilot title within the tactical genre. In a way it paved the road for our current, much more demanding, work on Jagged Alliance 3. Question: How did the legacy of Jagged Alliance impacted the development of JA3 specifically? Boyan Ivanov: It was a bit nerve-racking initially. There have been many that tried to take on the Jagged Alliance series and none have succeeded so far. Being fans of the series, we knew that we wanted to keep the third installment close to the originals and keep the core intact - the unique blend of open world RPG aspects, tactical combat and strategic team management. We also wanted to capture the unique atmosphere – the light hearted and fun band of misfits that have been hired to do a seemingly impossible task. The more somber and unpredictable aspect of chaotic firefights with bullets flying everywhere. The feeling that you can explore the world as you see fit and that every playthrough can offer something new. Boian Spasov: The most dramatic impact was simply setting our ambition for the title. One thing was certain for day one – we wanted to create a true sequel and not just another game in the same franchise and that immediately set very demanding expectations for our scope and features. The pillars of Jagged Alliance 3 represent our interpretation on what made Jagged Alliance 1 and especially Jagged Alliance 2 special – deep and realistic turn-based combat, a large cast of unique characters and strategic gameplay in a sandbox open world. Have we succeeded in doing justice to this legacy? The players will be the ultimate judges of that, but God knows that we tried! The above image is now also available as wallpaper, you can download our wallpapers here. Thank you for reading today’s DevDiary and for your interest in the game. We are looking forward to your follow-up questions in the upcoming DevStream, this Thursday, July 13th at 17:00 CEST / 11:00 AM EDT on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic And we are also doing the Launch Stream on July 14th starting early at 14:15 CEST / 8:15 AM EDT also on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic
  8. Co-op mode & Mod support Yo, gamers! I'm Vlad Abadzhiev-Jahn, a programmer and designer at Haemimont Games. Today, I want to talk to you about two major features - our two-player online co-op multiplayer and modding! Ticket for One That Seats Two Multiplayer brings a whole other energy to a game's campaign. It allows you to explore tactical differences with your partner and devise strategies together, experience and discuss the story side by side, and it also adds replayability. Translating the single player experience as closely as possible while accommodating two people frictionlessly was a challenge both technically and design wise. Fortunately, we at Haemimont Games have some prior experience which gave us a strong foundation to draw from. Let's start with getting you and your buddy to Grand Chien. One player is designated the “host” and the other the “partner”. The host is the one who initiates the game and the partner is the player who joins the host’s game. When creating a game the host has the option of starting a new campaign with their partner or inviting them into an ongoing playthrough. We aimed to make the co-op gameplay as seamless as possible. The host can save and load games at any time as if they were playing alone and their partner will be there along for the ride. Additionally there is no functional difference between a save made in a co-op and single player, and the host can continue the game in single player if their buddy drops out. Both players can also load any of the saves (auto-saves or manual saves) created during co-op gameplay and continue them in singleplayer. We found that in co-op games it is important for both players to be aware of what's happening in the moment-to-moment gameplay. We implemented a system where conversations with NPCs are controlled by the player who initiated them, but both players observe the conversation happening in real time. The non-controlling player can even offer suggestions for conversation options. In order for both players to be aware of what is going on, we had to make some compromises. For instance, both players can only explore the same sector in tactical view. Splitting up to tackle Grand Chien separately might sound appealing, but the majority of missions take place on multiple sectors and it can get disorienting. On top of that, there's the issue of how time advances when one player is engaged in combat in a different sector. It would be tedious for one player to spend 40 minutes in the Satellite View waiting for their partner to finish their tough fight with the Legion. Considering the technical challenges as well, having both players on the same sector made the most sense. Mercs for me, and for Thee Both players can hire mercenaries and manage squads, but since you're on the same side, you share funds and strategize together. To remain flexible the host player can assign and reassign control over individual mercs at any time. When in a sector (tactical view) players can only order their own mercs around, with both players being able to explore the sector and interact with it at the same time. During combat both players share a turn, which ends when both players click "Ready". Easy and simple! In the beginning we were focused on preventing the players from trolling each other. This resulted in a sort of adversarial system which included mechanics such as only one player being able to control a squad in satellite view, or prompts for standing conversations with NPCs. Through testing and iteration we shifted our focus to a system that promotes co-operation and flow rather than preventing trolling. I mean, you can always shoot your friend's mercs, but remember, they’re your mercs as well! 🙂 During development we discovered an interesting case where the host may take control over all mercs and leave none to their partner to control. With the partner unable to interact with the game all they can do is watch, which indirectly creates a kind of spectator mode for the game. It was initially reported as a bug, but it turned into a happy little feature. Navigating the Desync Minefield On the technical side chasing down desyncs was the most time-consuming part. For those unfamiliar with the term - a "desync" is essentially a mismatch in the result of a player's action between the two players' computers. Sometimes this can be as simple as the virtual dice landing on a different number, while other times as elaborate as a different merc appearing as hired on each person's screen. Desyncs may occur at any time as a result of any system. From the camera, through the inventory, combat, and even animations. While we fix every bug we catch, we don't want your game to be ruined because we missed one. If you encounter a desync while playing, a popup with a "Resync" button will open on the host's screen. Clicking it will trigger a quick loading screen and your game will be resynchronized, with no progress lost or rollbacks. Modding also directly impacts multiplayer. To ensure the game remains synchronized between the two players, any mods in use must be installed by both players. Mods that add content using our internal systems, such as weapons and mercs will be automatically synchronized. However, modders who dabble in scripting and coding will need to consider how to keep their functionality from desynchronizing and test their mods in co-op if they choose to support it. Your Game, Your Rules - Modding in JA3 Modding has played a significant part in the history of Jagged Alliance as community made mods have ensured the game's continued longevity. Long after its original release in 1999, Jagged Alliance 2's torch keeps burning thanks to mods such as the popular 1.13 mod. From the get-go we knew how important it was to build the game with modding in mind for players and creators alike, and enable modders to create JA3's equivalent of the renowned 1.13 mod and much more! Modders will have access to the tools we use internally to create content such as mercs, weapons, items, quests, voice responses, and can even add support for new languages. We believe that mercs and merc packs will be one of the more popular mod types. Our appearance editor tool allows modders to reuse existing game assets by mix and matching different body parts to create new models for mercs or NPCs. Mercs made from premade body parts won't be as unique as creating an entirely custom model, but they'll be easier to create. We wanted to make modding accessible and keep multiple options open. Modelers and animators can use Blender to export new assets for their mercs, weapon, or objects in the world. Adding new actions or a new weapon type such as dual wielding machetes for example, would require a whole new animation set as well. To create a fully fleshed out merc modders will also want to upload 2D portraits (big and small) and create voice responses for their mercs. We look forward to seeing what kind of mercs the community comes up with! When Will Modding Be Available? All of these tools will be made available shortly after the release of Jagged Alliance 3. We want to focus on delivering a polished version of the game, and then release modding as part of the first major post-release update. The map editor and quest editor will come later on, with another major update, which will enable modders to create new maps, sectors, and entirely new campaigns. We're excited to see creators come up with their own stories and maybe even try to recreate Jagged Alliance 1 and 2 in JA3! That's it from me! I hope you have fun in Jagged Alliance 3 side by side with a friend and join the modding community as a player or creator. Vlad Abadzhiev-Jahn Programmer and Designer
  9. Co-op mode & Mod support Yo, gamers! I'm Vlad Abadzhiev-Jahn, a programmer and designer at Haemimont Games. Today, I want to talk to you about two major features - our two-player online co-op multiplayer and modding! Ticket for One That Seats Two Multiplayer brings a whole other energy to a game's campaign. It allows you to explore tactical differences with your partner and devise strategies together, experience and discuss the story side by side, and it also adds replayability. Translating the single player experience as closely as possible while accommodating two people frictionlessly was a challenge both technically and design wise. Fortunately, we at Haemimont Games have some prior experience which gave us a strong foundation to draw from. Let's start with getting you and your buddy to Grand Chien. One player is designated the “host” and the other the “partner”. The host is the one who initiates the game and the partner is the player who joins the host’s game. When creating a game the host has the option of starting a new campaign with their partner or inviting them into an ongoing playthrough. We aimed to make the co-op gameplay as seamless as possible. The host can save and load games at any time as if they were playing alone and their partner will be there along for the ride. Additionally there is no functional difference between a save made in a co-op and single player, and the host can continue the game in single player if their buddy drops out. Both players can also load any of the saves (auto-saves or manual saves) created during co-op gameplay and continue them in singleplayer. We found that in co-op games it is important for both players to be aware of what's happening in the moment-to-moment gameplay. We implemented a system where conversations with NPCs are controlled by the player who initiated them, but both players observe the conversation happening in real time. The non-controlling player can even offer suggestions for conversation options. In order for both players to be aware of what is going on, we had to make some compromises. For instance, both players can only explore the same sector in tactical view. Splitting up to tackle Grand Chien separately might sound appealing, but the majority of missions take place on multiple sectors and it can get disorienting. On top of that, there's the issue of how time advances when one player is engaged in combat in a different sector. It would be tedious for one player to spend 40 minutes in the Satellite View waiting for their partner to finish their tough fight with the Legion. Considering the technical challenges as well, having both players on the same sector made the most sense. Mercs for me, and for Thee Both players can hire mercenaries and manage squads, but since you're on the same side, you share funds and strategize together. To remain flexible the host player can assign and reassign control over individual mercs at any time. When in a sector (tactical view) players can only order their own mercs around, with both players being able to explore the sector and interact with it at the same time. During combat both players share a turn, which ends when both players click "Ready". Easy and simple! In the beginning we were focused on preventing the players from trolling each other. This resulted in a sort of adversarial system which included mechanics such as only one player being able to control a squad in satellite view, or prompts for standing conversations with NPCs. Through testing and iteration we shifted our focus to a system that promotes co-operation and flow rather than preventing trolling. I mean, you can always shoot your friend's mercs, but remember, they’re your mercs as well! 🙂 During development we discovered an interesting case where the host may take control over all mercs and leave none to their partner to control. With the partner unable to interact with the game all they can do is watch, which indirectly creates a kind of spectator mode for the game. It was initially reported as a bug, but it turned into a happy little feature. Navigating the Desync Minefield On the technical side chasing down desyncs was the most time-consuming part. For those unfamiliar with the term - a "desync" is essentially a mismatch in the result of a player's action between the two players' computers. Sometimes this can be as simple as the virtual dice landing on a different number, while other times as elaborate as a different merc appearing as hired on each person's screen. Desyncs may occur at any time as a result of any system. From the camera, through the inventory, combat, and even animations. While we fix every bug we catch, we don't want your game to be ruined because we missed one. If you encounter a desync while playing, a popup with a "Resync" button will open on the host's screen. Clicking it will trigger a quick loading screen and your game will be resynchronized, with no progress lost or rollbacks. Modding also directly impacts multiplayer. To ensure the game remains synchronized between the two players, any mods in use must be installed by both players. Mods that add content using our internal systems, such as weapons and mercs will be automatically synchronized. However, modders who dabble in scripting and coding will need to consider how to keep their functionality from desynchronizing and test their mods in co-op if they choose to support it. Your Game, Your Rules - Modding in JA3 Modding has played a significant part in the history of Jagged Alliance as community made mods have ensured the game's continued longevity. Long after its original release in 1999, Jagged Alliance 2's torch keeps burning thanks to mods such as the popular 1.13 mod. From the get-go we knew how important it was to build the game with modding in mind for players and creators alike, and enable modders to create JA3's equivalent of the renowned 1.13 mod and much more! Modders will have access to the tools we use internally to create content such as mercs, weapons, items, quests, voice responses, and can even add support for new languages. We believe that mercs and merc packs will be one of the more popular mod types. Our appearance editor tool allows modders to reuse existing game assets by mix and matching different body parts to create new models for mercs or NPCs. Mercs made from premade body parts won't be as unique as creating an entirely custom model, but they'll be easier to create. We wanted to make modding accessible and keep multiple options open. Modelers and animators can use Blender to export new assets for their mercs, weapon, or objects in the world. Adding new actions or a new weapon type such as dual wielding machetes for example, would require a whole new animation set as well. To create a fully fleshed out merc modders will also want to upload 2D portraits (big and small) and create voice responses for their mercs. We look forward to seeing what kind of mercs the community comes up with! When Will Modding Be Available? All of these tools will be made available shortly after the release of Jagged Alliance 3. We want to focus on delivering a polished version of the game, and then release modding as part of the first major post-release update. The map editor and quest editor will come later on, with another major update, which will enable modders to create new maps, sectors, and entirely new campaigns. We're excited to see creators come up with their own stories and maybe even try to recreate Jagged Alliance 1 and 2 in JA3! That's it from me! I hope you have fun in Jagged Alliance 3 side by side with a friend and join the modding community as a player or creator. Vlad Abadzhiev-Jahn Programmer and Designer View full article
  10. Combat, Part Two Hello and welcome to our second DevDiary dedicated to combat. In case you have missed it, here is Combat Part 1. I am Boian Spasov, Lead Designer, and I will tell you about some of the remaining combat mechanics. As usual, we will follow-up with a DevStream this Thursday where we will discuss all these combat elements, and more! Combat Start Although combat in Jagged Alliance 3 is turn-based, the game flows in real time outside of combat. Internally we call this “exploration mode”, since it is most often used when exploring maps either before or after combat encounters. While you are in exploration mode, combat might start for several reasons – the enemies might notice you or one of your allies; they might hear a suspicious sound like a gunshot, explosion or a cry of pain; they might also see something alarming, like a fire starting nearby. All of these lead to a transition to the turn-based “combat mode”. Playing first grants a significant advantage in turn-based tactical games and it can often be critical for the battle that follows. Some games decide this balance issue by intermixing the turns of individual units from both teams but this limits the tactics you can use and more importantly, doesn’t feel true to the legacy of Jagged Alliance. In Jagged Alliance 3 in made sense to grant the first turn to the player team – mercs usually have the initiative in engagements anyway and it never feels good to lose a merc character before you have chance to act at least once in the battle. However, this granted a bit too much advantage to the player – some combat encounters may become too easy when you are able to focus-fire on critical enemy units before they act or take the most advantageous positions before them. To mitigate this advantage, enemies receive a short reposition phase when they become alert (unless they are Surprised – but I’ll get to that later). During the reposition phase they are allowed to move a short distance, or very rarely execute a single attack instead of moving. Note that these reposition actions are constrained by a much smaller AP limit that the enemy max AP and in no way equally powerful to an entire combat turn. Stealth While Stealth is present in Jagged Alliance 3, we didn’t want it to be dominant, turning every encounter into a stealth puzzle - there are other games that specialize in this and Jagged Alliance is not meant to provide that kind of experience. A stealth approach might make the encounter easier, more advantageous for your side or just different… Or sometimes it may go wrong, you may be discovered earlier than intended and that will complicate the encounter instead. Enemies are less alert while not in combat and you may take advantage of this by carefully setting up the terms of the engagement. For example, any merc that is out of enemy sight can start to sneak, and will become harder to detect by the enemy. The range and speed of stealth detection depend on various factors – the sneaking character stats and the enemy stats, as well as darkness, foliage and line of sight. It always takes some time for the enemies to detect a sneaking merc, visualized by the in-view UI bar under that character. If the sneaking character executes an attack before being discovered, there is a chance that the attack will result in a Stealth Kill, slaying a single enemy outright. The attack may also Surprise the others, delaying their reposition phase. Melee attacks from stealth can also be prepared in advance when you are safely out of sight – this provides you extra preparation time to select body part and aim level without the danger of being discovered at this time. The prepared attack will be executed automatically if you manage to sneak in melee range without being discovered. Approaching the target from behind will usually improve your chances to get in melee attack range, but often this is also difficult to pull off, especially when there are multiple enemies involved. Stealth tactics might be useful mid-combat as well – though in order to start sneaking, you have to be out of enemy sight. Besides, it is much harder to nail a stealth kill against alert enemies, even if they don’t see you. Interrupts and Overwatch “Interrupts” is an all-encompassing term that we use for any attacks that happen during the opposing team’s turn. Both the mercs and the enemy units utilize the same types of interrupt attacks, but our design goals differ a bit regarding each side. The mercs’ interrupts are meant to give you more options in combat, to facilitate the feeling of “executing a plan” or “setting up a trap”, then watching it come into fruition or fail spectacularly. The same skills serve a different design purpose when being employed by the enemies – in this case they are meant to increase the variety in combat situations and AI tactics and to force you to find creative ways to counter them. The most common type of interrupt action is called Overwatch. The term might make you immediately think about XCom – however our Overwatch skill is more inspired by other tactical titles like Gears Tactics. Instead of being an automated attack against any enemy in attack range, it directs the mercs’ attention in a cone-shaped area of the battlefield and lets them interrupt only enemies that move or make other actions in this area. This gives you a finer control over the action and a bigger decision space, allowing you for example to Overwatch different areas with your mercs, or shorten the attack distance in order to make the attacks more reliable. The maximum number of Overwatch attacks is limited by the number of remaining Action Points when you set up the Overwatch action. Overwatch attacks can never be aimed or target a specific body part, but they get a passive accuracy bonus from your Dexterity stat. You also lose some defensive benefits while in this stance, so all-in-all it is a tradeoff compared to the regular attacks. Personally, I tend to prefer Overwatch when the enemies are in good defensive positions during my turn, or when I want to limit their movement or make it disadvantageous in a particular area of the map. When used before combat encounters, Overwatch works a bit differently. It allows you to set up ambushes that will trigger on enemy reposition when combat starts. There are some other interrupt attacks in the game as well – some tied to perks, and other to particular weapons. For example, machine guns can be set to suppress a particular area of the battlefield, granting you a limited number of Interrupt attacks against enemies in this area, even after you’ve spent all of your Action Points. Some melee-inclined enemies and mercs with threaten the immediate area around them with melee interrupts, making them a particular nuisance when they manage to get close by. Weather and Darkness Environmental effects, such as weather and darkness, make the world more visually varied, believable and alive, but another important design goal behind their existence is to make the combat situations more varied. A combat encounter with the same enemies will feel very different when fought at night or in a thunderstorm, and these environmental effects will often force you to adapt and invent new strategies. Here is a list of all environmental effects in Jagged Alliance 3: Clear weather – no additional gameplay effects. Night/Underground - Enemies in darkness are harder to notice. Ranged attacks against them suffer a low visibility accuracy penalty, except at point blank range. Dust Storm - Movement costs are increased. Cover is more effective. Enemies become Concealed at certain distance. Ranged attacks against concealed foes may become grazing hits. Fire Storm - Visual range is reduced. Characters may lose Energy when standing close to a fire in combat, losing Action points and eventually collapsing unconscious. Fog - Visual range is reduced and enemies become concealed at certain distance. Heat - When receiving Wounds, characters may lose Energy, losing Action Points and eventually collapsing, as with Firestorm. Heavy Rain - Aiming costs are increased. Hearing is impaired. Weapons lose condition and jam more often. Throwable items tend to mishap. Rain - Hearing is impaired. Weapons lose condition and jam more often. Weather effects are independent from the day/night cycle. Sectors in one area of the global map share the same weather patterns and the weather is different in the wet and dry areas of the world. Underground areas don’t have weather effects, but they are always considered “dark” and share the gameplay effects with the nighttime encounters. Let’s take a closer look at these conditions. In the screenshot above, you will notice there are black and white dots next to the character nameplates. Characters in the dark areas (the ones with the black dots) benefit from the darkness and are harder to hit, while characters with the white dots are “in the light” and receive no such bonuses. A stealth approach benefits from darkness as well, but watch out for moving spotlights that will reveal you! Obviously, this will change your positioning strategies and encourage you to stay in dark areas, but you can also make use of this mechanic to tilt the odds even further in your favor. Shooting a flare or throwing a glowstick creates “lit” area in the battlefield – but don’t forget that the enemies will use these against you as well. A flashlight weapon attachment will reveal the enemy you are attacking, but it may negate your darkness defensive benefit as well. If you equip night vision goggles, you may gain the upper hand at night, but is it worth it to give up the opportunity to protect your merc with a heavy helmet? How about creating an entire squad of characters specialized and outfitted for night ops and timing your assaults with the day/night cycle? Of course, you don’t have to do any of this, but even so, your nighttime encounters will feel and look significantly different than normal fights in bright daylight. Combined with the other weather effects, the variety of possibly combat conditions is huge. It will surely keep you on your toes during your war in Grand Chien! Thank you for reading today’s DevDiary and for your interest in the intricacies of combat mechanics. We are looking forward to your follow-up questions in the upcoming DevStream, this Thursday, July 6th at 17:00 CEST / 11:00 AM EDT on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic We are now streaming EVERY THURSDAY at 17:00 CEST / 11:00 AM EDT! View full article
  11. Combat, Part Two Hello and welcome to our second DevDiary dedicated to combat. In case you have missed it, here is Combat Part 1. I am Boian Spasov, Lead Designer, and I will tell you about some of the remaining combat mechanics. As usual, we will follow-up with a DevStream this Thursday where we will discuss all these combat elements, and more! Combat Start Although combat in Jagged Alliance 3 is turn-based, the game flows in real time outside of combat. Internally we call this “exploration mode”, since it is most often used when exploring maps either before or after combat encounters. While you are in exploration mode, combat might start for several reasons – the enemies might notice you or one of your allies; they might hear a suspicious sound like a gunshot, explosion or a cry of pain; they might also see something alarming, like a fire starting nearby. All of these lead to a transition to the turn-based “combat mode”. Playing first grants a significant advantage in turn-based tactical games and it can often be critical for the battle that follows. Some games decide this balance issue by intermixing the turns of individual units from both teams but this limits the tactics you can use and more importantly, doesn’t feel true to the legacy of Jagged Alliance. In Jagged Alliance 3 in made sense to grant the first turn to the player team – mercs usually have the initiative in engagements anyway and it never feels good to lose a merc character before you have chance to act at least once in the battle. However, this granted a bit too much advantage to the player – some combat encounters may become too easy when you are able to focus-fire on critical enemy units before they act or take the most advantageous positions before them. To mitigate this advantage, enemies receive a short reposition phase when they become alert (unless they are Surprised – but I’ll get to that later). During the reposition phase they are allowed to move a short distance, or very rarely execute a single attack instead of moving. Note that these reposition actions are constrained by a much smaller AP limit that the enemy max AP and in no way equally powerful to an entire combat turn. Stealth While Stealth is present in Jagged Alliance 3, we didn’t want it to be dominant, turning every encounter into a stealth puzzle - there are other games that specialize in this and Jagged Alliance is not meant to provide that kind of experience. A stealth approach might make the encounter easier, more advantageous for your side or just different… Or sometimes it may go wrong, you may be discovered earlier than intended and that will complicate the encounter instead. Enemies are less alert while not in combat and you may take advantage of this by carefully setting up the terms of the engagement. For example, any merc that is out of enemy sight can start to sneak, and will become harder to detect by the enemy. The range and speed of stealth detection depend on various factors – the sneaking character stats and the enemy stats, as well as darkness, foliage and line of sight. It always takes some time for the enemies to detect a sneaking merc, visualized by the in-view UI bar under that character. If the sneaking character executes an attack before being discovered, there is a chance that the attack will result in a Stealth Kill, slaying a single enemy outright. The attack may also Surprise the others, delaying their reposition phase. Melee attacks from stealth can also be prepared in advance when you are safely out of sight – this provides you extra preparation time to select body part and aim level without the danger of being discovered at this time. The prepared attack will be executed automatically if you manage to sneak in melee range without being discovered. Approaching the target from behind will usually improve your chances to get in melee attack range, but often this is also difficult to pull off, especially when there are multiple enemies involved. Stealth tactics might be useful mid-combat as well – though in order to start sneaking, you have to be out of enemy sight. Besides, it is much harder to nail a stealth kill against alert enemies, even if they don’t see you. Interrupts and Overwatch “Interrupts” is an all-encompassing term that we use for any attacks that happen during the opposing team’s turn. Both the mercs and the enemy units utilize the same types of interrupt attacks, but our design goals differ a bit regarding each side. The mercs’ interrupts are meant to give you more options in combat, to facilitate the feeling of “executing a plan” or “setting up a trap”, then watching it come into fruition or fail spectacularly. The same skills serve a different design purpose when being employed by the enemies – in this case they are meant to increase the variety in combat situations and AI tactics and to force you to find creative ways to counter them. The most common type of interrupt action is called Overwatch. The term might make you immediately think about XCom – however our Overwatch skill is more inspired by other tactical titles like Gears Tactics. Instead of being an automated attack against any enemy in attack range, it directs the mercs’ attention in a cone-shaped area of the battlefield and lets them interrupt only enemies that move or make other actions in this area. This gives you a finer control over the action and a bigger decision space, allowing you for example to Overwatch different areas with your mercs, or shorten the attack distance in order to make the attacks more reliable. The maximum number of Overwatch attacks is limited by the number of remaining Action Points when you set up the Overwatch action. Overwatch attacks can never be aimed or target a specific body part, but they get a passive accuracy bonus from your Dexterity stat. You also lose some defensive benefits while in this stance, so all-in-all it is a tradeoff compared to the regular attacks. Personally, I tend to prefer Overwatch when the enemies are in good defensive positions during my turn, or when I want to limit their movement or make it disadvantageous in a particular area of the map. When used before combat encounters, Overwatch works a bit differently. It allows you to set up ambushes that will trigger on enemy reposition when combat starts. There are some other interrupt attacks in the game as well – some tied to perks, and other to particular weapons. For example, machine guns can be set to suppress a particular area of the battlefield, granting you a limited number of Interrupt attacks against enemies in this area, even after you’ve spent all of your Action Points. Some melee-inclined enemies and mercs with threaten the immediate area around them with melee interrupts, making them a particular nuisance when they manage to get close by. Weather and Darkness Environmental effects, such as weather and darkness, make the world more visually varied, believable and alive, but another important design goal behind their existence is to make the combat situations more varied. A combat encounter with the same enemies will feel very different when fought at night or in a thunderstorm, and these environmental effects will often force you to adapt and invent new strategies. Here is a list of all environmental effects in Jagged Alliance 3: Clear weather – no additional gameplay effects. Night/Underground - Enemies in darkness are harder to notice. Ranged attacks against them suffer a low visibility accuracy penalty, except at point blank range. Dust Storm - Movement costs are increased. Cover is more effective. Enemies become Concealed at certain distance. Ranged attacks against concealed foes may become grazing hits. Fire Storm - Visual range is reduced. Characters may lose Energy when standing close to a fire in combat, losing Action points and eventually collapsing unconscious. Fog - Visual range is reduced and enemies become concealed at certain distance. Heat - When receiving Wounds, characters may lose Energy, losing Action Points and eventually collapsing, as with Firestorm. Heavy Rain - Aiming costs are increased. Hearing is impaired. Weapons lose condition and jam more often. Throwable items tend to mishap. Rain - Hearing is impaired. Weapons lose condition and jam more often. Weather effects are independent from the day/night cycle. Sectors in one area of the global map share the same weather patterns and the weather is different in the wet and dry areas of the world. Underground areas don’t have weather effects, but they are always considered “dark” and share the gameplay effects with the nighttime encounters. Let’s take a closer look at these conditions. In the screenshot above, you will notice there are black and white dots next to the character nameplates. Characters in the dark areas (the ones with the black dots) benefit from the darkness and are harder to hit, while characters with the white dots are “in the light” and receive no such bonuses. A stealth approach benefits from darkness as well, but watch out for moving spotlights that will reveal you! Obviously, this will change your positioning strategies and encourage you to stay in dark areas, but you can also make use of this mechanic to tilt the odds even further in your favor. Shooting a flare or throwing a glowstick creates “lit” area in the battlefield – but don’t forget that the enemies will use these against you as well. A flashlight weapon attachment will reveal the enemy you are attacking, but it may negate your darkness defensive benefit as well. If you equip night vision goggles, you may gain the upper hand at night, but is it worth it to give up the opportunity to protect your merc with a heavy helmet? How about creating an entire squad of characters specialized and outfitted for night ops and timing your assaults with the day/night cycle? Of course, you don’t have to do any of this, but even so, your nighttime encounters will feel and look significantly different than normal fights in bright daylight. Combined with the other weather effects, the variety of possibly combat conditions is huge. It will surely keep you on your toes during your war in Grand Chien! Thank you for reading today’s DevDiary and for your interest in the intricacies of combat mechanics. We are looking forward to your follow-up questions in the upcoming DevStream, this Thursday, July 6th at 17:00 CEST / 11:00 AM EDT on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic We are now streaming EVERY THURSDAY at 17:00 CEST / 11:00 AM EDT!
  12. Hey everyone, my name is Pavel Peychev, Producer at Haemimont Games and I am thrilled to share with you this DevDiary on a topic near and dear to my heart - the Guns of Jagged Alliance 3! We'll go over the types of weapons, how they fit into the overall gameplay and how we managed to represent the look and feel in the game itself. Weapons are an important part of the Jagged Alliance legacy. Whereas other games in the genre use high-level abstractions, JA games aimed to faithfully reproduce real life weapons in a turn based tactical game by introducing things like selective fire, ammo types, penetration, effective range and more. In Jagged Alliance 3 we wanted the weapons to open up playstyles and feel different in the hands of different mercs while still keeping them grounded in reality. The Guns of Jagged Alliance 3 There are 7 different types of ranged weapons in the game - Handguns, Shotguns, SMGs, Assault Rifles, Rifles, Machine guns and Heavy Weapons. They have their own characteristics, different effective ranges, and special attacks. We also have some melee weapons but this DevDiary is only about firearms. For instance, Handguns are very accurate at point-blank-range. They also allow for Mobile Shot, where you can move to a new location and shoot at the closest enemy. This makes them useful even later in the game for dynamic and aggressive in-your-face builds. SMGs (submachine guns) combine the Handguns’ lower armor penetration and high mobility with burst and autofire capabilities as well as the Run & Gun special attack that allows you to shoot on the move for a considerable accuracy penalty. Nothing says “guns blazing” quite like dual-wielding. You can equip handguns and some SMGs to each hand and choose which to shoot or just pull the triggers on both at the expense of accuracy. On the other side of the spectrum, you have Machine Guns that tend to excel with a more planned approach. They are Cumbersome, which means they don’t allow free movement at the start of your turn, are less accurate when fired from the hip, but can dominate an area when set to threaten it with interrupt attacks. Spitting lead downrange at an impressive rate. Shotguns combine a regular attack with close low-damage AOE that represents the pellet spread. An accurate shot will do a lot of damage but even an inaccurate one will slightly wound characters standing close. They can be highly destructive at close range so check your friendly fire. Assault rifles are highly versatile and allow for you to mod them in order to fit many different roles. But we’ll talk about modifying weapons and using attachments later in this diary. Rifles, of course, have long range, low rate of fire… in most cases. Some rifles are very well suited for fast follow-up shots that bolt action rifles just can’t do. Heavy weapons will allow you to send some love in the form of different kinds of explosive ordinance. Nothing demonstrates the destructable environment quite like a rotary multiple grenade launcher. Choosing the lineup There were many considerations when choosing the specific weapons that made it into the game. The Location Jagged Alliance 3 is set in a country with a colonial past and leftover fortifications from WW2. It made sense to have old German weapons like Gewher 98s, MP40s, MG42s around (sometimes is atrocious shape) and being used by local combatants. War zones, especially ones with conflict resources like oil or - you know – diamonds, tend to attract all kinds of arms that can be sold on the grey and black markets. Africa has seen its number of FN FALs cross many shady borders. But it’s not impossible to see something more exotic like a contraband G36. The Time The early 2000s are an interesting time because most of the more iconic small arms weapons are widely spread. The Cold War has ended and literal tons of AKs are being traded around the world. But it is still too early for things like the FN SCAR or the HK416 to jump on the scene. The Effects on Gameplay And of course, gameplay variety is key. We needed weapons that open up opportunities for different playstyles. Players should have options to engage close up and at long distances; daytime or during night. We needed accurate and moddable SMGs, but also nimbler ones mercs can dual wield. Old and common initial weapons and rare mid-late game ones. An auto shotgun is a thing of beauty, but firing off two shells from the early game double barrel shotgun can be even deadlier. Ammo In true Jagged Alliance fashion, the ammo you use is going to be a factor during the battles you fight. Every weapon needs a specific cartridge, and there are different types that you can use. Ammo management will be something you need to take into consideration when playing your campaign and go deeper into Grand Chien. If you don’t, you run the risk of turning your favorite gun into a highly impractical paperweight. Ammo doesn’t only influence stats but also has some deeper gameplay effects. You can use AP ammo to handle armored enemies or Hollow points to inflict Bleeding and have a higher crit chance, but at the cost of armor penetration. No gunshot is really silent but if you want to be able to sneak several shots before being detected - load up some Subsonic ammo. Want to shock and suppress a squad of enemies? Try lobbing a 40mm flashbang at them with your underbarrel grenade launcher. It's all good fun until a mishap occurs and you land a grenade at your squadmate’s feet. Didn’t get any drops of the ammo you feel you need for a particular encounter? Luckily, you can assign your Mercs to craft ammo while they are not in combat. This has to be done in a sector with a repair shop, by a merc with a decent Explosives skill and you will also need some raw materials - easy, right? And speaking of materials, that's a perfect segway to the next part of the diary - Weapon mods. Modifying your weapons In Jagged Alliance 3 we’ve taken a similar MacGyver approach to crafting as in JA2. You have parts and special items that you need for specific mods. And while we are taking a more abstract direction it’s still grounded in reality, so don’t expect to use chewing gum and tape to make an LPVO. But - yes, you can make an extended barrel modification in the field. The basic resource you will use for weapon modifications are Parts. You will get them from objects in the world that mercs with higher mechanical skill notice and interact with as well as scraping items you already have. They will allow you to make many of the early modifications and attachments such as improvised suppressors, magazines and flashlights. For more advanced modifications like suppressors, scopes, UV dots and modified barrels you will need some of the rare components such as chips, lenses, steel pipes, etc. Different weapons can have different levels of customizability. But overall you can mod stocks, barrels, muzzles, mags, and attach bipods, scopes, lights and grenade launchers. With some mods being mutually exclusive. Want to engage an enemy at longer ranges? See if your weapon can be modified to use an extended barrel. Want a build for CQC? A shorter barrel will allow you to operate more freely and use less AP when attacking, but it will come at a cost. The gun might not cycle as reliably as it should, leading to more jams. Installing bipods increases accuracy, but only if your merc is prone. So put that bipod down and let the MG roar! All modifications will be seen on the model, but more on the aesthetics later in the diary. The overwatch CAR15 So you want to have a specific Overwatch merc? Here’s a roided out build for that purpose. The CAR15 is a fairly light carbine that allows for quick reaction. Let’s add to it: Reflex sight to let you see more of the direction your Overwatching (wider Overwatch cone). Light stock to not get in your way and let you point at the target faster (Max attacks during Overwatch increased by 1) but it does come at the cost of some accuracy. Since we shoot in Burst, let's add a Recoil Booster that helps cycle the weapon faster and get more shots for each burst. A UV Dot will help us with aiming those snap burst better by providing an automatic +1 AIM level to the attack. And we’ll combine it with the Vertical Grip that improves the handling (doubling the bonus for the first AIM level). And since those bursts will be burning up a lot of ammo, we’ll also add an Ergonomic Expanded Magazine. The opportunistic PSG1 This is indeed a precision marksman rifle as the name says, but let’s try and build it for fast and reliable aiming so you can land shots at enemies unprotected body parts. Bipod to give you a high accuracy bonus when prone. Heavy Stock that adds a moderate accuracy bonus for attacks with 3+ aim levels. Combined with a Red Laser Sight that adds “Marked” status to a target when attacking using 3+ aim levels. “Marked” makes your next attack against this target a crit. Quick Prism Scope so that if your first action in a turn is to attack, it counts as aimed 3 times. An Ergonomic Expanded Mag for more follow-up shots before having to take your eye off the target and reload. And a Suppressor to tone down that recoil and give you a moderate Crit chance for follow- up shots on the same target. Hollow point ammo - Armor will be a problem but then again you will be aiming at unarmored body parts. Moreover, when it lands, they will feel it. Look and feel Aesthetics were a factor even back in JA2, but times and expectations change and nowadays it’s even more important to show the weapons you’ll be using up close and in detail. We knew that JA3 didn’t only need to have interesting gunplay mechanics but also manage to translate the feel of the weapons. Each model can be seen in the mercs hands with all of the made modifications, but it is also shown up close in the weapons mod menu. Having detailed models in the game is only the first step. The muzzle flash effects are based on the muzzle device being used. For instance - Suppressors have a … suppressed forward flash. While on the opposite side of the spectrum the Barrett .50 cal with its iconic spade muzzle break has an aggressive flash with a characteristic shape from its backward vents. We didn’t aim for 100% realism as many weapons muzzle flashes in real life are barely visible during the day. But we got that action movie feel. As for the mods themselves - they also have visible effects. Flashlights and laser sights will shine to where the merc is pointing his weapon. Sound The sounds for the weapons are a big part of the feel of the gunplay and can easily have their own DevDiary. Maybe if there is enough interest we might make one… We knew that we couldn’t just manufacture them in the studio so we went out and recorded on the actual shooting range. A .338 Lapua Magnum We quickly became aware of the horror of trying to record a gunshot in an enclosed space. Indoor shooting ranges had their usefulness but we needed to go somewhere where the reverb wasn’t interfering with the recording. As we searched far and wide for ranges that rent out the correct guns or close models, shooting the correct calibers, we managed to find an impressive collection but not all. As much as we wanted to shoot a Barrett 50 cal, it was just out of our reach. While we were recording at one such shooting range, the neighboring berm by chance happened to be used by members of the Bulgarian Military Special Forces, so with coffee in hand and a big smile we walked over and introduced ourselves. Several months of official correspondence later and we got an invitation to record on their special training site. This was great since things like full auto weapons are illegal for civilian ownership here in Bulgaria. PK ammo belt beeing loaded PK burst So a very special THANK YOU to the Bulgarian Military Special Forces for entertaining a bunch of game devs visiting for a day! But recording was only part of the work. We needed to get the sound design right. Shots, casings falling, cycling, jamming, reloading and loading magazines. All had to come together to create the overall gunplay soundscape. One aspect was the mechanics of the guns. For instance, you will notice in the game that bolt-action rifles reload after each shot and drop a spent casing. Another aspect was how they fit into all the other sounds. To achieve that we classified the sounds in the game by tiers and implemented a ducking system. The system looks at what sounds should be playing and if there is an important sound it dynamically lowers (ducks) the volume of other less important sounds. For instance - since some of the most impactful events in the game's soundscape are gunshots and explosions we try to emphasize them. When shots are heard, they push down the volume of other types of sounds being heard like ambient noise. It would be weird to hear crickets while a brick of C4 goes off. C4 creating some extra windows We’re really excited for you to soon try all of this in the game and see and hear all of this for yourself. Grand Chien is waiting for you. Pavel Peychev Producer View full article
  13. Hey everyone, my name is Pavel Peychev, Producer at Haemimont Games and I am thrilled to share with you this DevDiary on a topic near and dear to my heart - the Guns of Jagged Alliance 3! We'll go over the types of weapons, how they fit into the overall gameplay and how we managed to represent the look and feel in the game itself. Weapons are an important part of the Jagged Alliance legacy. Whereas other games in the genre use high-level abstractions, JA games aimed to faithfully reproduce real life weapons in a turn based tactical game by introducing things like selective fire, ammo types, penetration, effective range and more. In Jagged Alliance 3 we wanted the weapons to open up playstyles and feel different in the hands of different mercs while still keeping them grounded in reality. The Guns of Jagged Alliance 3 There are 7 different types of ranged weapons in the game - Handguns, Shotguns, SMGs, Assault Rifles, Rifles, Machine guns and Heavy Weapons. They have their own characteristics, different effective ranges, and special attacks. We also have some melee weapons but this DevDiary is only about firearms. For instance, Handguns are very accurate at point-blank-range. They also allow for Mobile Shot, where you can move to a new location and shoot at the closest enemy. This makes them useful even later in the game for dynamic and aggressive in-your-face builds. SMGs (submachine guns) combine the Handguns’ lower armor penetration and high mobility with burst and autofire capabilities as well as the Run & Gun special attack that allows you to shoot on the move for a considerable accuracy penalty. Nothing says “guns blazing” quite like dual-wielding. You can equip handguns and some SMGs to each hand and choose which to shoot or just pull the triggers on both at the expense of accuracy. On the other side of the spectrum, you have Machine Guns that tend to excel with a more planned approach. They are Cumbersome, which means they don’t allow free movement at the start of your turn, are less accurate when fired from the hip, but can dominate an area when set to threaten it with interrupt attacks. Spitting lead downrange at an impressive rate. Shotguns combine a regular attack with close low-damage AOE that represents the pellet spread. An accurate shot will do a lot of damage but even an inaccurate one will slightly wound characters standing close. They can be highly destructive at close range so check your friendly fire. Assault rifles are highly versatile and allow for you to mod them in order to fit many different roles. But we’ll talk about modifying weapons and using attachments later in this diary. Rifles, of course, have long range, low rate of fire… in most cases. Some rifles are very well suited for fast follow-up shots that bolt action rifles just can’t do. Heavy weapons will allow you to send some love in the form of different kinds of explosive ordinance. Nothing demonstrates the destructable environment quite like a rotary multiple grenade launcher. Choosing the lineup There were many considerations when choosing the specific weapons that made it into the game. The Location Jagged Alliance 3 is set in a country with a colonial past and leftover fortifications from WW2. It made sense to have old German weapons like Gewher 98s, MP40s, MG42s around (sometimes is atrocious shape) and being used by local combatants. War zones, especially ones with conflict resources like oil or - you know – diamonds, tend to attract all kinds of arms that can be sold on the grey and black markets. Africa has seen its number of FN FALs cross many shady borders. But it’s not impossible to see something more exotic like a contraband G36. The Time The early 2000s are an interesting time because most of the more iconic small arms weapons are widely spread. The Cold War has ended and literal tons of AKs are being traded around the world. But it is still too early for things like the FN SCAR or the HK416 to jump on the scene. The Effects on Gameplay And of course, gameplay variety is key. We needed weapons that open up opportunities for different playstyles. Players should have options to engage close up and at long distances; daytime or during night. We needed accurate and moddable SMGs, but also nimbler ones mercs can dual wield. Old and common initial weapons and rare mid-late game ones. An auto shotgun is a thing of beauty, but firing off two shells from the early game double barrel shotgun can be even deadlier. Ammo In true Jagged Alliance fashion, the ammo you use is going to be a factor during the battles you fight. Every weapon needs a specific cartridge, and there are different types that you can use. Ammo management will be something you need to take into consideration when playing your campaign and go deeper into Grand Chien. If you don’t, you run the risk of turning your favorite gun into a highly impractical paperweight. Ammo doesn’t only influence stats but also has some deeper gameplay effects. You can use AP ammo to handle armored enemies or Hollow points to inflict Bleeding and have a higher crit chance, but at the cost of armor penetration. No gunshot is really silent but if you want to be able to sneak several shots before being detected - load up some Subsonic ammo. Want to shock and suppress a squad of enemies? Try lobbing a 40mm flashbang at them with your underbarrel grenade launcher. It's all good fun until a mishap occurs and you land a grenade at your squadmate’s feet. Didn’t get any drops of the ammo you feel you need for a particular encounter? Luckily, you can assign your Mercs to craft ammo while they are not in combat. This has to be done in a sector with a repair shop, by a merc with a decent Explosives skill and you will also need some raw materials - easy, right? And speaking of materials, that's a perfect segway to the next part of the diary - Weapon mods. Modifying your weapons In Jagged Alliance 3 we’ve taken a similar MacGyver approach to crafting as in JA2. You have parts and special items that you need for specific mods. And while we are taking a more abstract direction it’s still grounded in reality, so don’t expect to use chewing gum and tape to make an LPVO. But - yes, you can make an extended barrel modification in the field. The basic resource you will use for weapon modifications are Parts. You will get them from objects in the world that mercs with higher mechanical skill notice and interact with as well as scraping items you already have. They will allow you to make many of the early modifications and attachments such as improvised suppressors, magazines and flashlights. For more advanced modifications like suppressors, scopes, UV dots and modified barrels you will need some of the rare components such as chips, lenses, steel pipes, etc. Different weapons can have different levels of customizability. But overall you can mod stocks, barrels, muzzles, mags, and attach bipods, scopes, lights and grenade launchers. With some mods being mutually exclusive. Want to engage an enemy at longer ranges? See if your weapon can be modified to use an extended barrel. Want a build for CQC? A shorter barrel will allow you to operate more freely and use less AP when attacking, but it will come at a cost. The gun might not cycle as reliably as it should, leading to more jams. Installing bipods increases accuracy, but only if your merc is prone. So put that bipod down and let the MG roar! All modifications will be seen on the model, but more on the aesthetics later in the diary. The overwatch CAR15 So you want to have a specific Overwatch merc? Here’s a roided out build for that purpose. The CAR15 is a fairly light carbine that allows for quick reaction. Let’s add to it: Reflex sight to let you see more of the direction your Overwatching (wider Overwatch cone). Light stock to not get in your way and let you point at the target faster (Max attacks during Overwatch increased by 1) but it does come at the cost of some accuracy. Since we shoot in Burst, let's add a Recoil Booster that helps cycle the weapon faster and get more shots for each burst. A UV Dot will help us with aiming those snap burst better by providing an automatic +1 AIM level to the attack. And we’ll combine it with the Vertical Grip that improves the handling (doubling the bonus for the first AIM level). And since those bursts will be burning up a lot of ammo, we’ll also add an Ergonomic Expanded Magazine. The opportunistic PSG1 This is indeed a precision marksman rifle as the name says, but let’s try and build it for fast and reliable aiming so you can land shots at enemies unprotected body parts. Bipod to give you a high accuracy bonus when prone. Heavy Stock that adds a moderate accuracy bonus for attacks with 3+ aim levels. Combined with a Red Laser Sight that adds “Marked” status to a target when attacking using 3+ aim levels. “Marked” makes your next attack against this target a crit. Quick Prism Scope so that if your first action in a turn is to attack, it counts as aimed 3 times. An Ergonomic Expanded Mag for more follow-up shots before having to take your eye off the target and reload. And a Suppressor to tone down that recoil and give you a moderate Crit chance for follow- up shots on the same target. Hollow point ammo - Armor will be a problem but then again you will be aiming at unarmored body parts. Moreover, when it lands, they will feel it. Look and feel Aesthetics were a factor even back in JA2, but times and expectations change and nowadays it’s even more important to show the weapons you’ll be using up close and in detail. We knew that JA3 didn’t only need to have interesting gunplay mechanics but also manage to translate the feel of the weapons. Each model can be seen in the mercs hands with all of the made modifications, but it is also shown up close in the weapons mod menu. Having detailed models in the game is only the first step. The muzzle flash effects are based on the muzzle device being used. For instance - Suppressors have a … suppressed forward flash. While on the opposite side of the spectrum the Barrett .50 cal with its iconic spade muzzle break has an aggressive flash with a characteristic shape from its backward vents. We didn’t aim for 100% realism as many weapons muzzle flashes in real life are barely visible during the day. But we got that action movie feel. As for the mods themselves - they also have visible effects. Flashlights and laser sights will shine to where the merc is pointing his weapon. Sound The sounds for the weapons are a big part of the feel of the gunplay and can easily have their own DevDiary. Maybe if there is enough interest we might make one… We knew that we couldn’t just manufacture them in the studio so we went out and recorded on the actual shooting range. A .338 Lapua Magnum We quickly became aware of the horror of trying to record a gunshot in an enclosed space. Indoor shooting ranges had their usefulness but we needed to go somewhere where the reverb wasn’t interfering with the recording. As we searched far and wide for ranges that rent out the correct guns or close models, shooting the correct calibers, we managed to find an impressive collection but not all. As much as we wanted to shoot a Barrett 50 cal, it was just out of our reach. While we were recording at one such shooting range, the neighboring berm by chance happened to be used by members of the Bulgarian Military Special Forces, so with coffee in hand and a big smile we walked over and introduced ourselves. Several months of official correspondence later and we got an invitation to record on their special training site. This was great since things like full auto weapons are illegal for civilian ownership here in Bulgaria. PK ammo belt beeing loaded PK burst So a very special THANK YOU to the Bulgarian Military Special Forces for entertaining a bunch of game devs visiting for a day! But recording was only part of the work. We needed to get the sound design right. Shots, casings falling, cycling, jamming, reloading and loading magazines. All had to come together to create the overall gunplay soundscape. One aspect was the mechanics of the guns. For instance, you will notice in the game that bolt-action rifles reload after each shot and drop a spent casing. Another aspect was how they fit into all the other sounds. To achieve that we classified the sounds in the game by tiers and implemented a ducking system. The system looks at what sounds should be playing and if there is an important sound it dynamically lowers (ducks) the volume of other less important sounds. For instance - since some of the most impactful events in the game's soundscape are gunshots and explosions we try to emphasize them. When shots are heard, they push down the volume of other types of sounds being heard like ambient noise. It would be weird to hear crickets while a brick of C4 goes off. C4 creating some extra windows We’re really excited for you to soon try all of this in the game and see and hear all of this for yourself. Grand Chien is waiting for you. Pavel Peychev Producer
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  15. Hello and welcome to this week's DevDiary focused on the Art Direction for Jagged Alliance 3. My name is Nelson Inomvan and today I will have the pleasure of being your guide throughout the beautiful land of Grand Chien. One of my many tasks as an Art Director is to help the art team in crafting a unique aesthetic for the project and make sure the original vision is preserved throughout the development process. A Look Back One of the first things we did when we started work on the project, was to go back and play the first two games. What we quickly learned was that what made those games be what they are was not in the realm of a specific color palette nor the technical bells and whistles of the time, but rather in what I call “the fantasy” element. The concept at the core of the game, the big idea that revolves around you as a player assembling a crew of mercenaries, embarking on a thrilling adventure reminiscent of action-packed movies from the 80s-90s and that should still be key when it comes to the visuals. I still remember the rip-o-matic we put together and shared throughout the studio. It was a mash-up of scenes from some of our favorite action flicks of that time, and we used it to set the energy in the team. It was a good example of what we sought to convey with the visuals. Making that deep dive into the first two games, made us also realize and appreciate how rich and thought out those titles are. The attention to detail (e.g. crows and the fallen enemies) was on another level, and it became clear to us that we had to step up and match that standart at the very least. Maybe this is the place to express our respect for the teams who created those classics. The immense passion, love, and elbow grease poured in those games is still visible even to this day. The Road We Took Throughout the pre-production phase, the game underwent multiple iterations until the visuals finally encapsulated the initial design concept we were striving for. At one point, we experimented with a "dirty-gray" military aesthetic, but soon realized that something was missing from that picture, making the game look too generic. Thus, our search continued until one day something interesting happened, shaping all of our subsequent decisions. We went back and took another look at the design documentation, which encompassed a vast amount of information about the world, and an idea sparked: What if we make the country of Grand Chien and, more importantly, the continent of Africa at the heart of our art vision, rather than the other way around? This simple yet effective idea changed our thinking and the process led us to the concept of “contrast” or what we ended up calling it - “Wet and Dry”, those two words encapsulate the breadth of what the continent of Africa can offer and thus make it the central character in the stage of “art”. Now we had the opportunity to explore the vast array of breathtaking locations, each boasting its own distinctive weather patterns, allowing players to immerse themselves in the continent’s remarkable richness. From the always wet muddy jungles filled with mosquitos to the dry savannas or scorching hot wastelands. Furthermore, many of these elements would have a significant impact on gameplay, thereby influencing your decisions as a player. We've even taken into account minute details such as the presence of puddles in jungle areas and their potential impact on the effectiveness of your fire bombs. Key features such as dynamic movement, exaggerated weather, strong lighting and cinematic-style color grading all played a role in pushing the world of Grand Chien and achieving this distinctive art style. Additionally, the ever present signs of entropy that can be seen in all human made everyday objects added a unique depth to the world. Wet We discussed the discovery of our artistic style, but let’s delve a little deeper into the meaning of those key terms. The lush green jungles, the always foggy African swamps, and those enigmatic parts of the forest avoided by locals due to strange rumors are all part of what we refer to as the “wet” regions. Moss will cover roofs of buildings, while plants and trees will create pockets of small settlements or cities where people will go on with their lives. Winds will animate every blade of grass, bushes or trees, and during thunderstorms the whole jungle will react to the dance of Ọya, Аfrican goddess of winds. As mercenaries traverse those regions, the foliage will respond to their presence, bending and swaying with their movements. Leaves will be cut by bullets, and explosions will leave scorch marks where bushes were, connecting the world to the actions and impact of your mercenaries. Mosquitoes and other insects will be your merc's constant companions and sometimes this will show as they will try to get rid of the little buggers. Rain storms will muffle all sounds (as already described in Dev Diary 6 about combat) thus giving you good opportunities for a more stealthy approach or it will deteriorate the condition of your weapons. And all of this interconnectivity is dynamic. Cool colors with the occasional warm accent will compliment the overall picture and help create an impression of a wet, foggy part of the world where the weather is unpredictable and nature is in the process of reclaiming it. Dry On the other side of this art dichotomy we have the “Dry” regions with their wide open savanna plains and arid rocky wastelands where life still finds its way, but at a higher cost. Mercenaries will tire faster and will complain about the heat. Dust will cover everything and if you happen to enter a sector during a dust storm, you will be submerged in it, making the whole picture look almost surreal. Heat waves and flash fires will color the land in warm hues testing your team endurance to the limits. Light Presenting all of those beautiful locations wouldn’t work if the lighting of the game was not what it needed to be. We devoted significant time and effort on that aspect of the game, until our goal was met. Savannas plains are not just hot, they are burning hot, and the sun creates a feeling that it will boil the land at any moment. Similarly, in the jungles, sunlight filters through the clouds, casting reflections on mud roads, puddles, and metallic objects, creating a captivating play of light and shadows. Indeed, as you can already gather, the concept of “contrast” is prevalent here as well making different regions look quite distinct from each other. The always foggy parts of the forest will appear dark in stark contrast to the sun bathed wastelands where the high temperature causes rocks to crack. Entropy One last part that I want to mention is the “entropy” factor in all of our designs for world objects. Due to its turbulent past the country of Grand Chien and its people do not have access to new goods which forces them to improvise and repair what they already have and with time this will show. A special attention was paid to this aspect for each and every asset we’ve created, ensuring that it aligns with the general idea about the world we are trying to build. “We’ve built this city on Rock n Roll” Speaking of “building the world” I can not talk about this process without mentioning the contribution of our Level Design team. These are the people that meticulously handcrafted every small detail from the smallest structure to… well everything. The process begins with those design documents I mentioned earlier, but this time they are tailored to a specific region, containing details about the story of that particular sector and other important information. Then we prepare a mood board giving form to those ideas followed by concept art so we can better capture the essence and aesthetics of the location in question. One of the challenges we aimed to overcome was the risk of the world appearing artificially designed solely for gameplay purposes (e.g. а broken columns every x meters) and lose its organic, representative aspect. We constructed the world so it is easy to read but still retain its authentic and immersive characteristics. This process was repeated for each and every meter of the world of Grand Chien. Conclusion and an Invitation Throughout the development of every project, games go through various stages, and there are instances when tight schedules leave little to no room for what I call “the love period” During this stage, a project has all it needs, all the necessary ingredients, yet we revisit it to polish and dedicate time to all the small ideas that were previously set aside. I am happy that we found time to do that. Ultimately, my hope is that when you and your team visit Grand Chien for the first time, you will be captivated by its beautiful landscapes, ever-changing weather, and expansive world-building meticulously prepared by our design team. For more details from the design team, check out Dev Diary 5 - World Building) Two last things 1. OK, there is space for a tiny bit more text and one last gif. I have mentioned special FX and I could not pass this opportunity to show some explosions! 2. I made another small surprise for you - The 2nd wallpaper is now available! You can find both wallpapers here. That’s it from me for today. To see more of our Art in action AND to meet Ian Currie (creator of the original JA1 & 2), join us on our stream this Thursday, June 22nd at 17:00 CEST / 11:00 AM EDT on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic We are now streaming EVERY THURSDAY at 17:00 CEST / 11:00 AM EDT!
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