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Developer’s Corner: Asset Streaming

As was mentioned already in the last few blog posts, a lot of the work that we have been putting into the upcoming Manstein build of Heroes & Generals is aimed at improving performance. One of these improvements is asset streaming.

Lock & Load

In all the previous builds, the game would load all of its assets (geometry, textures, sounds, etc), every single time you launched a FPS match, using up a large amount of memory, preventing some of the lower-end graphics processors from running the game at all. Starting with the Manstein build, textures will be loaded on the fly (i.e. streamed), as they become needed.

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Feature Friday: Destruction

No war game would be complete without some destruction effects! With the upcoming Manstein build, we can at last announce the first iteration of our destruction physics: now wooden fences can be blown up and plowed through. Even gunfire damages them, if you’re ready to waste a few bullets!

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Intelligence Bulletin Vol 3 * No 31

Textures streaming in. Bugs getting reported and fixed. There is not much to report in this Intelligence Bulletin as most of our efforts are focused on fixing bugs. Improving the build stability. Measuring performance and a lot more all related to the new Manstein build. We have been playing around with the new MG34 and as you might have noticed we are in the process of locking down the next steps in the light tank structure and the lively discussion is providing a lot of valuable feedback, and (I think) some people are discovering that creating a list that is both fun and balanced is not an easy task and opens a lot of interesting bits to think and talk about. We are also aware that some players are experiencing higher pings than usual; this is due to a broken switch at our Amsterdam hosting center that made two of the larger servers unusable. The provider are still working on getting their hardware fixed, but we’ve had to take the two machines behind that switch offline until our hosting center gets their stuff fixed. Hopefully they can get spare parts for their switch soon as it is getting REALLY annoying.

The resource system is also being put through its paces before we roll out the texture streaming in the Manstein build. We built a couple of machines identical to the ones we got reports on and used that for tweaking performance variables. This, combined with the texture streaming should provide a performance boost on both low-end and mid-range graphics cards.

Stay tuned for more sneak-peeks of incoming features and behind the scenes stories, and now I will spend the rest of the day driving various vehicles through poor farmers’ fences.

That is all from me, have a great week everybody! :-)

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Dev Q&A – Fall 2013 – Part 4

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You can now read Part 4 of the Fall 2013 Developer Q & A. Quick recap for those of you who just got here: last month, in a chat session moderated by Reto.Vashu, the players submitted 20 pages worth of questions concerning the future of Heroes & Generals. We then poured some truth serum in the developers’ coffee machine and questioned them in a dark cellar. Fun times!

Here is a random selection of your questions and developers’ answers:

Q: Is some sort of terrain destruction planned, if so on what scale? Fences and small trees, or all the way to buildings and bridges?

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Developer’s Corner: Partial State Update

One of the key features in the upcoming Manstein build is the complete opposite of the Matrix: you cannot see it for yourself — you have to be told what it is ;-) I am talking about a very useful, yet invisible, improvement in the way the action game client interacts with the server hosting the battle: the partial game state update.

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Feature Friday: The MG 34 Mounted Machine Gun

Achtung history nerds! You will be pleased to learn that the infamous Maschinengewehr 34 will be making its appearance in the upcoming Manstein build, replacing the MG 42 as the standard mounted machine gun for all German vehicles.

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Manstein Feature: New Sounds

That’s right, cool new sounds! Sure, graphics may be the most immediately noticeable aspect of video games (ever wondered why they’re not called “audio games”?), but most players will agree that sound plays a huge role in creating a truly immersive environment. A squadron of Messerschmitts wouldn’t be quite as scary without the roar of engines and the whistling of bombs dropping over your head. The reflex to duck behind cover comes much quicker when you can hear loud gunfire crackling from a nearby window, and bullets ricocheting way too close for your taste.

In the coming Manstein build we will bring you more of this adrenaline-inducing audio assault, with new stereo gunshot effects and new armor model impact sounds.

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Dev Q&A – Fall 2013 – Part 3

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In September we held a Q & A session on the chat. This yielded 20 pages worth of questions, and we are releasing the answers in a series of forum posts. Part 3 is now online!

Here is a random selection of your questions and developers’ answers:

Q: What is the progress on the resource system that will allow you add more content, and are there any plans for something like monthly weapon additions?

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What are you waiting for soldier? We need heroes on the battlefield and generals to lead them!