DISCLAIMER: All of the content below is heavily conceptual and may never be in the game. All images and text are a stand-in. Please read this before taking the images out of context!
On the eve of Foxhole's biggest update of 2019, we bring you a behind the scenes look at the art of Trench Warfare. Enjoy!
Turning one gun into three guns.
Look, everyone loves the old yellow box machine gun in the game, no one has ever said otherwise. The model was a placeholder from our other game Fortified. It was in the foxhole combat prototype before I was hired, thus it has more seniority at Clapfoot then I do. However, it was time for a simple visual update... Then things got out of control.
We like to work from the starting point of ‘What is the coolest thing we could do?’. After researching all types of machine guns during WW1 and WW2, the answer became creating three unique variants as well as a new piece of equipment the Tripod.
As we worked on the three types of machine gun we tried to enforce the real-world uses of covering fire, sustained fire, overlapping fields of fire and indirect fire. At the same time, we did not want to introduce new ammo types. We decided to focus on defining factors for each gun so they would fill different roles on the battlefield.
Light Machine Gun (LMG)
At the trade-off of ammo capacity and accuracy (when walking) a machine gun that infantry can carry easily. We decided on a platter-style ammo drum to make the gun more recognizable from top-down. You guys have been requesting an LMG for a while and we have wanted one too.
Machine Gun (MG)
With the ideal of working additively we wanted to keep the old HMG. Its role in setting up and laying down fire support is something we didn’t want to change. Even more now with the new cover and suppression mechanics.
Technically the classification is a Medium Machine Gun or a modern-day GPMG. I think the word ‘medium’ is kind of boring and I have never heard anyone say ‘Medium Machine Gun’ out loud. TLDR Caoiva prefers Machine Gun to Medium Machine gun.
Heavy Machine Gun (HMG)
Needing a second person to set up effectively, at the trade-off of mobility the heavy machine gun has significantly increased ammo capacity and an alternative indirect fire mode.
We want dedicated players to be able to plan out an attack and shoot over advancing allies, create overlapping kill boxes and recreate heavy machine gun team supporting tactics.
We discussed the idea of a gunner and loader but playing as someone who just carriers more ammo for the HMG loader was not impactful enough. The idea of carrying a heavy tripod and setting it up, then spotting for indirect fire while also carrying more ammo was exciting. Splitting the HMG and tripod into two different pieces of heavy equipment created a unique team weapon system. The person carrying the tripod is equally if not more important than the person carrying the gun. Our plan going forward is to have one tripod with many equipable weapons, as well as other pieces of equipment for it. The first weapon in the game will be the Infantry Support Gun.
A farewell to forts,
We designed the original fort to be as generic as possible. I actually started with more complex concepts and Matt kept telling me to simplify it so we could use across many locations. We knew though that forts would be placeholders to be updated later with more custom models. Visually the new ‘current era’ player built trenches, walls and fortifications will have a grey concrete and dull dark metal aesthetic. This is to mimic late ww2 construction. When it came time to update the old forts we discussed the idea that relic bases were built at the same time the wardens fortified the bulwark during the great war. The visual notes of great war structures are old tan stone and pale rusted metal with warden cylinder turrets and gun ports. I went ahead with some simple sketches inspired by the bulwark.
Mark was also interested in filling the interiors with some unique old war equipment for set dressing. I designed some interior assets that warden command might have used during the great war. These were designed to feel a little ‘out of time’, similar visually to the rocket launch sights. How advanced was the height of the great war anyway? Also, where is the Westgate cannon?
With the theme of trench warfare, I started by gathering reference images from ww1 and 2. I developed sketches based off of those in the same way as previous promo art images.
http://www.foxholegame.com/post/devblog-61 The composition of the page was designed with lots of fast-moving angles all thrusting in the same diagonal direction. At the same time, all the major elements draw your eye towards and frame the logo.
In contrast the previous promo art for update ‘War Machine’ was a slow scene of logistics on a port so stationary vertical and horizontals lines where used.
Mood and atmosphere were big elements in this new piece. The sense of a battle and gunfire was more important than any individual character in the image. This was achieved by not over rendering or sharpening any one element over the rest. If one character was over detailed the forward thrust and sense of movement would be lost.
And here she is, In all her glory. Adam made the logo. Overall I think he's a pretty cool guy.
Art Problem Solving
Thanks, Julian! that's very kind of you
For deployable weapons, we had to make sure they would work in varying heights. One of the issues we ran into was that the deployable tripod had to look big enough that it required a person to carry it as well as collapse as short as 25cm above the ground. We ended up faking the telescopic legs of the tripod by stretching the legs up and down based on the pre-set heights. We also had to fake the tripod attachment so the gun actually sits lower overall to ensure that the wrists don't bend too dramatically.
I have attempted several times to make sandbags look good, but every time I find I cannot achieve a result that I like. Here are some failed attempts. Some of these are all 1 mesh with a normal map bake, some of these are individual bags. One day I will find a good solution to this problem.
Early Wall Prototypes
Here are some early wall designs from about a year ago. We were trying to combine trenches and walls at the time. This ended up falling flat, but we thought it'd be cool for you to see!
In the Clapfoot development system, some unfinished features are considered especially heinous. In the Foxhole Office, the dedicated developers who eradicate these vicious flaws are sometimes left with images known as Special Unfinished Left-overs. These are their gifs. Dun Dun