Offworld Industries, the indie team of Battlefield Project Reality developers behind Squad, have spent some time answering fan questions, revealing what's in store for the mil-sim early access title.
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On a Reddit AMA thread, lead programmer Garrett 'RoyAwesome' Fleenor, founder Will 'Merlin' Stahl and many more of the team threw in their hats for questions to be deposited.
What came out was hints that the next alpha version (a9) could be with us before the winter holidays kick off, and though not immediately, could see the introduction of a class that adds more to a close-quarters scenario with urban and city maps still in the pipeline.
"It's still up in the air, but we've been designing the breacher role that would basically allow squads to better traverse urban terrain by means of various things like deployable ladders," said lead animator Alastair “Chuc” Sew Hoy. "In addition we've been toying with operable doors that could present an exciting urban obstacle to players (but that's a very far off item)."
More details were also given on the potential for a progression system once the game's mechanics are all set in stone and it approaches more of a beta stage of development.
"We've talked very casually (very very very casually) about doing a system where you get some kind of "Battle XP" after every round you complete, and the amount you get is just for playing," said Fleenor. "And by casually, I mean we have no real plans for it. We wanted to work through what the issues there were, like what you encourage by having an XP system, what kind of rewards you can give for leveling up, what does it actually mean to be a higher level than someone else, and most importantly, how can we use it to make the game experience better and make you want to keep playing. It was a fun discussion, and we came up with a pretty ok set of ideas we could try out if we had the time."
However the team is aware that some common ways of rewarding long-time players, such as with gun or equipment unlocks, could deviate from the current plans for the game's tactical focus.
"We don't want to put anything gameplay related behind an unlock," Fleenor said. "Maybe something cosmetic or some kind of making your soldier a grizzled veteran."
More details were given on when to expect the next round of optimisations for lower-powered systems, with special considerations being made for CPU variations in this round.
"There will no doubt be another round of heavy optimisation, in fact were discovering more stuff we can do all the time, but it has to be balanced with time for creating new stuff too," said environment artist Dave "Drav" Mason. "At a very rough guess I'd look at early next year for another round, but that could totally change depending on what priorities are."
Founder Will Stahl specified which areas the optimisations would be focused for this update cycle, as version 8 also contained a mass of fixes for stability and quality of life. "We are planning to do some more CPU optimization work shortly," Stahl said. "In particular we are hoping to allow users to specify CPU power as low, medium, high, epic to sacrifice the expensive parts of objects that are far away if the user has a weaker CPU, so they can get higher framerates."
On the lighter side of development insight, Stahl also revealed his favourite quirk of the game's engine had also made it into the game as quite a realistic (if gruesome) clutch manoeuvre.
"My favorite is a pseudo bug that we left in as an accidental feature," Stahl said. "You can prone on a grenade and it will completely block the explosion to sacrifice yourself to save your nearby squad mates."