@Julian I have included unseen concept art from the Winter Army update. Grab a drink and get comfy, this is a long one!
New Camera, Old Guns.
During the development of Winter Army we designed a large number of new firearms for the game. You still have not seen them all! We initially intended to release more with every minor update during the Winter Army cycle, but we knew the camera was going to change and chose to hold back the new guns to take advantage of the extra range of the new camera. With the old camera Long Rifles were especially hard to make stand out from the normal Rifles. That said, with the new camera there will be tweaks to some of the existing guns in the game too.
Rifles, only longer!
The Long Rifles were kind of a no brainer. We figured there was room for rifles between the standard ones and sniper rifles. Something with more range and a slower firing rate. These felt natural to include despite being hard to place at first with the old camera.
Volta Repeater and Revolving Rifle.
There was a choice made to turn the relic rifle into a fully fledged producible gun. This was in part so we could give the Wardens a ‘relic’ gun of their own. The Volta has gathered such a following with the community that we wanted more people to get a chance to use it. Based on the size of the asset in game we did not think we needed to update the existing model, however if we have the time in the future I would love to give it a new coat of paint. Same gun, just matching the quality of the newer stuff up close for the fans.
The Warden Revolving rifle was my pitch for what a Warden relic might be. I wanted to make the gun different than the current era Warden rifles and ended up making a gun that uses revolver ammunition. I figured this would be a fun one since Wardens don’t have a faction specific revolver… yet.
The ‘Relic’ rifle now fills a role of ‘Heavy’ rifle. Something with more stopping power then the normal rifle but not much more range.
The Warden Automatic rifle was intended to come out with the Winter Army update. The original idea was to have the Assault mini update with the ARs and SMGs, then have a rifle update. I envisioned it to be the Warden trench clearing gun. I wanted to continue the Warden storm rifle style of two firing modes. A unique close range powerful gun with a small clip. This would be the guns trade off to the Colonials Dusk and its massive drum of ammo.
Bonus, Assault Update.
Here are the concepts for the Assault mini update during Winter Army. Most noteworthy was the Booker storm rifle. The Booker was originally conceived as a slow rate of fire AR. Matt even had a custom SFX for it, however in testing Mark did not like the feel of the gun and suggested it become the Warden burst rifle. On top of that, the original concept file for this gun got saved over, and I had to recreate it. Oddly enough, this is one of my favorite designs because it’s unique. If we ever get to a point of adding weapon variants (no plans yet), I would want to bring back the Booker full auto.
We have been chipping away at uniforms for a long time at this point. Over the past few years we have tried a few tests with block in test models. We explored larger alterations to the basic soldier and more simplistic ones. Mark retained his strong sense that he wanted the look of one unified army. Everyone is still a cog in the war machine, no stand alone heroes. The next major step was figuring out what uniforms do in the game. Many meetings between Mark, Max and Myself happened and everything from D&D style stats to ‘cosmetics only’ was discussed.
Eventually we landed on having the visuals match to what you can stack or what makes sense for that class to carry was decided on. There are a few exceptions however, some leniency was made for things like Scouts being less visible on radars. This is a new frontier for the game and much like the first time we added tanks this feature will refine over time and find its place in the complex web of Foxhole.
We knew the Soldiers were going to lose the big backpacks. This led to designing the back straps for the basic Infantry. We did a number of variations and narrowed it down to what we liked. The Engineer we actually tried a number of different options including adding shovels to their backpacks (not like the original models from 5 years ago). This changed when shovels got added to the game as a tool. We ended up liking the simplicity of keeping the backpacks as the look of the Engineers. We updated the 3D models and joked about HD remastering the backpacks, also adding a few extra items onto their belts.
Medics, Scouts, and Specialists.
The Warden Medic and Scout we hit on designs we liked early and kept them to the final. The Colonial Medic took a lot more variants before we found what we liked. I was partial to giving them a WW1 style cap but Mark wanted the white helmet. The Colonial Scout actually didn’t have camo patterns on it till late in the game. It was not until Mark figured out exactly what the Scout would do before we thought it needed to look the part with proper camouflage. The Ammo specialists were easy once we decided which faction got which. The Warden ordinance tubes are one of my more favorite backpacks.
I actually just sketched them both without thinking about them while working on tank designs. They were just for fun as the ‘scale guys’ standing next to tanks in those concepts. Then when we came to finalize the looks Mark and I said, yup these work great!
There was almost a time when the Colonials were not going to get a snow uniform at all. When planning Winter Army we decided to try to add weather uniforms, both snow and rain. When I started the promo art, that was still the plan. The Warden snow uniform and Colonial rain uniform were finalized first. It was later decided that we didn’t want to add just one uniform into the game and make uniforms a fully fledged out feature. I think we made the right call to hold them back. It gave me time to convince Mark that Colonial’s would have some kind of snow jacket.
The Warden jacket was meant to look more like an entire outfit. The Wardens are used to blizzards. The Colonials are meant to look like they layered up in what little the Legion provided them with while keeping the look unified. What made it work was the removal of the shawl for the arm band. Until we did that, it always looked too close to the basic Soldier. I assume the shawl is under the layered light coats or on their person.
The raincoat was actually the first uniform completely finished. Mark, Adam and I all liked it right away. How Wardens fight in the rain is yet to be seen….
Here is a fun look at some old art back when we were trying to nail down the factions and started chipping away at uniforms from years ago. To me this feels like a different era. Sadly some of the early art was lost in a hard drive crash a while ago.
There are still many uniforms to come.
For years now Mark has wanted to bring the town halls in line with the safe houses and bunker bases. It was never a major priority but with the completion of the full hex world it moved up to the front of the list. Mark, Matt and myself had a number of meetings to figure out what we wanted out of them. This boiled down to: more visual variety/theming, Garrison defenses, Interiors. So we looked at photos and brainstormed ideas of what would be the most important buildings in small towns. We decided on 4 (for time, they were cut down to 3 later on) and I started to draw.
At the same time as the town halls we were also doing the new southern garrisons. Again, Mark Matt and I worked out the Mediterranean look through meetings and photo references. Then I got to work designing the new set. As well as the new trees. Adam took charge on the modeling of the new biome including some new grass textures for the maps.
The Intelligence Center has been in development in some form for a long time. It started as a small communications building but was never taken any further than some line drawings. Next the idea that it was a massive array built in the era of the Bulwark was proposed. This would see it being static in the world like the bunker bases. This idea went all the way to a block in model by Anthony back when we were also working on the bunker bases. It was not until the trench system and the storm cannon that Mark finally found the correct home for this as a player-built ‘super weapon’. The interior was particularly fun to design. I researched a lot of naval radio equipment.
The idea for the listening kit came after the intelligence center was finished. Mark liked the functionality of it so much he wanted another way for players to intercept information. The idea to add a ‘spy game’ snowballed: adding another battlefield role, supporting the use of tripods, a fun game of keeping a lookout for enemy listening kit. The design was also a lot of fun to work on. We toyed with making them work like landmines but the tripod won out. Mines might have a different function in the future.. we’re excited for the potential of this and have more ideas for different spy tech.
The new AI defensive structures needed to fit in with the bunker and trench system but look identifiable and independent, since they don’t actually connect to the trenches. Since bunker bases have square footprints and trenches are rectangles I pitched that they should be hex shaped. This worked and the designs are all pretty simple. Mark spent more time figuring out what ‘tier’ they should be than I did drawing them.
The concept for these were simple. The original idea for the tier 3 was to reuse the look of the old ‘shy boxes’ that were taken out of the game a long time ago. Once we got the model in the game no one liked the look of it. The dome of metal was too large and just looked plain. We told Leon to just model the tier 2 concept but make it concrete. Leon did almost all the bunker upgrades for this update without me drawing any concepts. He had a list of what was needed and he got to work.
For the Bardiche we did not want another tank the size of the Falchion and started to think bigger. I wanted a close range brawler that could take hits but 35m ranges are a tough sell. I pitched a fast reload to the main gun to compensate. The large turret would give the gunner lots of room to move. The tank didn’t really come to life until the introduction of the machine gun in the turret. After I did some initial sketches I found inspiration in the turret of the Hungarian 40M Turan Tank. This was our first coaxial gun and the Bardiche’s massive turret was perfect for it. We wanted armour that looked heavy and thick. The Sherman Jumbo was the initial inspiration for the tanks angles and disposition, but the armour needed to be even thicker so we drew on things like the Jagdtiger, M10, Australian Thunderbolt and the good old Colonial Battle Tank.
Unlike the Falchion line of tanks, where the chassis is mass produced and different turrets are swapped on, the Bardiche is meant to look like one tank that can house any gun it wants. There are variants that I can’t show off just yet. (You have not seen the last of the Falchion variants either.)
Giving the Wardens a medium tank that could move was a bit of a tough task. The original pitch was from Max, he wanted something like a Panzer. After some sketches we liked the idea of something like the British Crusader or Covenantor. A goal of mine was to make something that looked Warden but independent from the rest of the Warden tank line. In my head this would be a tank the Wardens used a lot outside of their home territory. Mark was sold on the exposed wheels and I am particularly happy with the sardine can turret shape. Originally there was a different load out for the tank. I ended up drawing five different complete variants till we found the correct one. (Some yet unseen variants might come in the future.)
Bonus, Winter Army tanks.
The Winter Army devblog was missing its tank art. This was due to the tanks not having been shown off yet (except for a tease in the promo art). So here they are!
The Widow started out life as the Wardens siege tank, this was back when we were still doing symmetrical factions. The siege tanks were actually the last tanks designed before we made the jump to asymmetry. The Widow sat on a shelf for over a year before we chose to turn it into a tank destroyer. It was not until Mark wanted to create high velocity variants of guns that it was given a full sized barrel and came to life.
The Silverhand Chieftain
Many Silverhand variants have been drawn and this idea for a 250mm actually sat on the shelf for a long time cause I thought it would be a bit boring. But Mark thought otherwise! It originally had a 20mm gun in the turret.
King Gallant and Ixion
The King Gallant almost had a 20mm gun instead of the 30 but it looked too close to the King Spire so we changed it. The Ixion was almost open topped but Mark and I like the closed variant better.
The Scorpion came from the idea of making a mobile bunker. A slow infantry support tank that they could walk behind or alongside. Late in its production, Mark wanted to try having people sit on the outside, something we hope to bring to other tanks in the future. It was also meant to emulate the Heavy Infantry Carrier of legend. Inspiration came from the much smaller marmon-herrington tanks.
If you have read this far, Congratulations! Now enjoy the process for the promo art. Inspiration came from The Bovington Tank Museum’s Tank Chats.