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Operation: Harsh Doorstop

Development Blog #7 [February 2021]


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Hello Drakelings!

Welcome to the seventh devblog for Operation: Harsh Doorstop. In this update, we will be reviewing the work that the team completed in the month of February 2021.

To start this devblog, we would like to take a moment to direct everyone’s attention to a video that Bluedrake42, the owner of Drakeling Labs, has made where he revisits the goals and philosophies of our projects, and answers a lot of the common questions that we have been seeing around the communities as we have begun picking back up playtesting sessions (this is a follow up to his initial video on this topic):

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We hope that this video is informational and answers a lot of the questions that we have been hearing around the development of O:HD and its associated games/expansions.

Scenario Sundays and Playtest Sessions
Now that we have covered some more general background information, we would like to talk about the playtest sessions and other events moving forward. Starting at the beginning of March, we began conducting and/or planning regular playtest sessions each week for both O:HD and Warfare 1944. As both games are nearing a state where we feel it is worthwhile to do so, we plan on continuing these for the foreseeable future so we can get some more gametime in with the community in order to not only find bugs, but also collect invaluable feedback as some of the earliest foundations of the game and OHDCore platform are being built.

Typically a standard playtest session will take place on a Monday, Wednesday, and/or Friday at around 4:00PM Eastern Standard Time (EST), as this is when we hold our internal development meetings and most of the team is around to test and collect data; that being said, we are going to try our best to host events outside of these times for those that might not be able to make it to those, so stay tuned to the O:HD Discord and Steam events so you can see when we will be planning these out.

In addition to the playtesting sessions, we are also excited to announce that we are going to begin hosting Scenario Sundays again (start date TBD—they will be announced in the Discord and/or on Steam), which is an event that Bluedrake used to put on with his community back in the early days with Project Reality, where players would participate in more unique and dynamic types of gameplay sessions that differ from the typical AAS gamemode that you are all used to seeing. During Scenario Sundays you can expect to see events such as VIP escort missions, hostage scenarios, attacking and defending certain key buildings, and more—basically whatever we and the community can think of that is possible to accomplish with the current tools that we have at our disposal (this is the beauty of having our own game on UE4, we can more or less do whatever we want!). The list of options that we will be able to incorporate into these scenarios in the future will only continue to grow, and we look forward to playing them with everyone!

Let’s get on to the work that the team completed in February:

Maps

Khafji
In the month of February, the team put the last finishing details and optimization work into Khafji to complete the first milestone phase for the map. To be clear, we are not done with Khafji yet, however, now that we are moving on to other maps and Khafji is in its first real playable form/state, we feel it is at a point where we would like to give it a more proper showcase to hallmark the progress that has been made over the past 6-7 months (from blockout to first detailing passes):

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A selection of some before and after shots:

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And a bunch more shots and angles of the level from the rest of the level design team:

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Future plans for Khafji will include further optimizations, making it feel more war torn by swapping out some of the current building models with destroyed variants (which we should have images of on the next devblog), more flag/capture layouts, as well as continuing to detail and expand on the outer areas of the map that are located beyond the central city and industrial areas.

Risala
Last month we introduced the new map we are working on: Risala, a neighborhood of Fallujah located to the southwest of the city. Risala will be 1x1km (so roughly ¼ the size of Khafji), and will be more focused on CQB-oriented combat.

In the last devblog you can see a very early layout for determining building placement locations and overall map flow. This month you can see how the level design team has taken this concept layout and started to blockout where the rest of the buildings will go, and continue to expand upon it. Here are some images of the work that went into this map in the month of February:

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As you can see, the progress on Risala is already measurably faster than what it took to get Khafji to the state that it is in. As we have stated in the previous devblogs, a big part of the creation of Khafji was also developing a lot of level design tools and systems from the ground up in order to put these maps together more efficiently and in a timely manner. You can expect to see the process of map creation continue to speed up as the team continues to build on and expand these tools.

Pro-tip: The images shown above display the work done in February, however, the map is already further along—if you have access to the Test Environment branch on Steam, you can preview this map now by loading into a singleplayer map, opening the console (~), and typing in travel fallujah.

Shooting Range
The level design team is now also working on the Shooting Range map (which will be similar to the one that was created for Warfare 1944). The map will feature two shooting lanes (50 and 300 meters), a killhouse area, a vehicle depot to test WIP vehicles (once they are available), and an airfield to test WIP aircraft (once they are available). We do not have any images to share for that this time around, but next devblog we should have a nice big batch of photos for everyone to look through.

Expansions

During February work officially began for the three upcoming expansions that we have planned: Operation: Rolling Stone (Vietnam), Operation: Overlord (WW2), and Operation: Michael (WW1). All three of these expansions will be free upon completion, and Patreon backers will have access to the WIP versions prior to completion.

Operation: Rolling Stone
Operation: Rolling Stone will be our Vietnam content expansion for O:HD, and will likely be the first in line for testing with backers.

The first map for this expansion will be Lam Dong, which is undergoing its initial blockout and planning phase (very early):

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The environment artist is already making passes as well on the jungle foliage:

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The planned factions to start will be the US and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) factions. No images to share yet of the weapons and character models, but we should have some to show off in next month’s devblog. We are still finalizing what the kit loadouts will be for each side, so we will list those out in future devblogs.

Operation: Overlord
Operation: Overlord will be our WW2 content expansion for O:HD. The first map for this expansion will be Monte Cassino, and the planned factions to start will be the US and German factions. No images to share yet of the map, weapons, and/or character models for Overlord, but we should hopefully have some to show off in future devblogs. In addition, we are still finalizing what the kit loadouts will be for each side, so we will list those out in future devblogs as well.

Operation: Michael
Operation: Michael will be our WW1 content expansion for O:HD.

The first map for this expansion will be the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which is undergoing its initial blockout and planning phase (very early):

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The planned factions to start will be the US and German factions. Once again, no images to share yet of the weapons and character models (and we are still finalizing what the kit loadouts will be for each side here too), but we should hopefully have some to show off in next month’s devblog.

That is all for the first planned expansions for now. To reiterate, all three of these expansions will be completely free to everyone upon completion, and Patreon backers will have access to the WIP versions prior to completion, so if you want to actually get hands on with these as they are being developed, and participate in the playtest sessions we will hold once they are in a playable state please make sure you check out the Patreon and consider supporting us!

Objects, Models, and Textures

World Props and Environment Assets
Shifting back to the Gulf War content for O:HD, here are some images of more world props and environment assets that the team worked on, revamped, and/or completed in February:

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Upcoming and WIP Features

Game Modes
Right now the team is brainstorming some new game modes and systems that we can use during playtest sessions, and the Scenario Sunday events we mentioned at the start of the devblog. If you have been participating in our playtest sessions during March, you may have noticed that we have been changing around flag layouts, ticket amounts, cap times, how tickets are lost, and so on, which is basically us testing out some of the limits with the current game mode system that we have available to us. In the current iteration of the OHDCore platform, we only have the basic AAS game mode, which has some flexibility on what we can/can’t do with it, so this is just us exploring those boundaries.

In addition to experimenting more with what we currently have, we have begun writing up our game design document(s) for our plans for game modes beyond AAS, and how we would like to pivot the current systems to be able to achieve the game modes we want in a flexible and scalable manner. AAS is great for early testing, as it provides us a tried and true game mode that is simple and straightforward (it just works), however, we all know everyone is getting a bit tired of the typical “go to a flag > sit on a flag > fill the meter > capture a flag > move to the next flag” gameplay loop (we know we are getting tired of it ourselves!) so we have every intention of innovating this game mode as much as we can.

Because of this, we are currently working on our own version(s) expanding on this formula to make things more dynamic and interesting. We aren’t going to divulge much more on that in this devblog, as we would like to flesh our ideas out more and actually have some solid progress on the development front working with the programming team to incorporate all of the key elements we want to see. That said, you can expect us to outline for you all exactly what our plans are for our “flagship” game mode in future devblogs, so stay tuned for that!

Warfare 1944

In February the team also began merging all of the improvements made to the OHDCore framework into Warfare 1944 to prepare for a large update. Remember that all work that goes into the underlying OHDCore framework, whether it is done in O:HD or Warfare, becomes immediately available for all games using the core framework. Because of this process, Warfare will have the following systems and elements that were created in the last milestone for O:HD in the game and ready to go immediately:
  • Suppression Mechanics
  • Tracer Effects
  • Leaning
  • Prone
  • Rework to Ammo/Med Bags and Rally Points
  • Outpost System
  • Squad and Basic Command Level VOIP and Text Chat
  • Squad Grouping System
  • Radial Menu System (for deploying rally points and outposts; the radial menu will also be used for future features as well)
In addition, the Japanese faction is now fully implemented and available to play on the Pacific Theater maps, so no more Germans on Wake Island or Guadalcanal!

Please keep in mind that many of the above systems are a first iteration/version that we will be improving upon and refining over time—the first step is always just to get it all in the game and functional in a networked/multiplayer environment.

We will have a short devblog going up for Warfare soon as well, outlining the above items and talking about future plans, so keep an eye on Warfare’s Steam pages and/or the O:HD Discord, if you are interested in reading more about that there.



This was a pretty content heavy devblog this time around, so I hope you all enjoyed it! We have a lot of cool stuff to share for March’s devblog, so we are looking forward to sharing that with you all. Until then, we hope to see everyone during our playtesting sessions for the month of March!

Make sure to join the O:HD Discord, and/or follow our Steam announcements to track updates, and if you would like to support us early on in development don’t forget you can always pick up a key for O:HD on our Patreon! See you all next time!

-Goomes, Lead Community Manager




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