Hi everyone! Julian here. Inferno is our biggest update yet and there were a lot of anticipated features we were hinting at for a long time. It was a lot of heads-down work but we managed to hit most of them for the 1.0 launch. This was a massive effort, for a small 14-person indie team that works on Foxhole (There are additional team members at Siege Camp that work on other projects). Please enjoy the concept art of Foxhole Inferno.
By far the largest portion of work for Inferno, facilities went through a few iterations early on. In the first iteration of the plan, the idea was to have fewer larger buildings sparsely placed with long oil pipelines and power grids to connect vital components. There would be a single large facility per every one or two maps. With this in mind, I did a few fast basic paint overs of what the facilities might look like.
The visual language of ‘red brick factories’ already exists in our preplaced industrial towns. It was important the new facilities' asset sets were visually separate from those to define what a player built and what isn’t. Referencing various images of real-world refineries and metal works factories, Mark and I settled on something we liked: ‘Old, well used, all metal factories’. The joke ‘Midgar in Foxhole’ was said a few times. The world-building and lore theme is that these buildings are made out of recycled metals from previous battles and the great war. They are ugly and made out of the metals at hand.
After the first set of concepts were completed our concept of facilities changed. Shifting from a few large facilities to many smaller facilities. This meant adapting the designs to a smaller scale. This was the time when Mark and Max came to me with the idea of modifications which meant a lot more industrial designs. This was fun but definitely a marathon of work. It was also a marathon for all the modellers as we all worked together for a long time to get to the final look. In terms of the sheer volume of art production, this was by far the most challenging project the team has ever worked on.
The plan for player-built cranes was to have a separate model from the preplaced cranes in the world. This got pushed past 1.0.
The Devblog Tank:
Time to rip off a bandaid. At the end of 2021, Mark wanted to put together a devblog post to hint at the coming facilities and he needed some art. These paint overs were meant to be internal art only. At the time I warned him that ‘we will never hear the end about that tank in the sketch’. There were no meetings or plans about that tank before I sketched it on a whim. The idea of a colonial tank destroyer is something we want to explore in the future but it won’t be that devblog tank.
The large crane started out as a pitch when we first added the stationary cranes in the world, the idea of a crane for the preplaced docs. Something that would not get in the way of the logi trucks. This idea was shelved at the time but came back around when Mark wanted more end-game goals for logi players. There were a few ideas pitched: Could it be immobile? Could it operate on the large or small gauge train tracks? Could it be a train car and attach to a train? After we settled on it being its own unique vehicle with its own set of tracks, the coolest option, in my opinion, It was fairly easy for me to take my old sketch and update it to a working concept for Leon to model.
Trains have been in the works for a long time now. A lot of planning went into how players use them, like how or even if players build tracks. These plans also had to integrate with the new facilities. Many elements were discussed by Mark and Max about the train ecosystem. My first task was to figure out the scale of them in the game. This involved working with Casey who did the programming work for them. We needed to figure out the scale of the tracks and first cars, making sure the train felt substantial while fitting into the unique proportions of Foxhole vehicles. This took a number of block-in model iterations and some very buggy first tests of driving them. A key discussion was about how sharp the turning radius of the track could be, and we ended up with turns much sharper than real trains are capable of. This was to accommodate players building them from our top-down camera. This ultimately informed the final designs of the locomotive's drive wheels and bogies.
After that, it was my job to design the visuals. I pitched that we keep logi trains faction neutral, and adhere to the logi yellow visuals. Also, armoured and combat trains become faction specific. We also knew that the trains in 1.0 would be the ‘first offerings. Going forward, there is a lot of potentials to expand the train game. Things like faction-specific armoured locomotives, armoured passenger cars, 68mm, 75mm and 94.5mm cars, and more artillery. Also lots more room for logi yellow crane cars, custom heavy cargo cars, gondola cars, cabooses etc. This is only the beginning.
When designing the colonial combat car, I knew I wanted it to be a close copy of their relic medium tank. I have had this idea in my head for the combat car since I first designed the boxy relic tank. Just a train car on tank tread.
Leon was the modeller for all the train assets in the game and by the time we got to the small gauge trains, he was so good that we didn’t actually do any concepts. Together we gathered reference images and sent him on his way. Similar to the large gauge trains there is tons of potential for future small gauge train cars going forward.
It was a pretty easy choice to make faction-specific emplaced weapons. Mark, Max and I all wanted them, it was just a matter of when. Something that actually held these up from coming in the Entrenched update was the 75mm ammo. Plans to make these ‘heavy’ items and how producing 75 and 94.5mm ammo would work in the facilities pushed back the new heavy emplacements, the heavy field guns, and the Talos tank. That in turn started a conversation about holding off on adding all the faction-specific emplacements so it could be a unified addition in Inferno. Wardens keeping the old emplacements was my choice because the precedent had been set back when we first added the colonial 150mm artillery. Before then, all the emplacement weapons were faction neutral. I thought the Colonials would paint their defensive weapons like their vehicles and the Wardens would take on the dark metal look of the existing stuff to accentuate their lighter, blue-grey vehicle paint.
There were meetings on what weapons would go on each emplacement. The MG turret was pretty easy. Mark picked his favourite design based on old British naval AA turrets.
Using the ARC RPG rounds for the AT option was Max’s pitch. He wanted to give the Colonials their debut ARC RPG weapon platform. The visuals for the MG emplacement informed the final AT choice. Mark liked the theme of Colonials standing at their emplacements with a slanted front shield.
The multi-rocket battery was my pitch. The idea was to give the Colonials a more interesting counterpoint to the Warden 120mm. This final design came from the British Z batteries.
The 75mm and 94.5mm heavy emplacements took a few meetings to figure out how we wanted them to play in the game. In the end, the trade-off was very powerful ammo for an exposed gunner and teamwork to keep firing effectively. We want 75mm and 94.5mm ammo to have a more dynamic impact on the game, with the trade-off being ease of use and production effort.
The field guns were intended to come out a long time ago. Back when the contentious HV40 and HV68 field guns were added, the 75mm and 94.5mm were fully designed and modelled. The catch was that Mark, knowing that facilities were coming, didn’t want to add in the ammo types yet. So we accelerated the plans for the HV40 and HV68. It created a short-term design puzzle to solve, but we knew what faction got the 75mm and 94.5m based on the heavy emplacements. That led to us trying out the HV40 as Warden and HV68 as Colonial, a choice we are swapping with Inferno.
Even older than the 75mm and 94.5 field guns is the field rocket launcher. This dates back to when faction vehicles were symmetrical. Both designs were fully modelled by Leon and had been sitting in a folder for about 3 years. When we finally figured out the implementation, I broke Leon’s heart about the Colonial version and we removed the shield for the rule of cool. Like the emplacements, the Warden field rocket launcher is meant to be a counterpoint to the Colonial 120mm field gun.
Tank Advanced Variants:
With the addition of facilities and the new ways to produce vehicle variants, the idea to have ‘advanced variants’ came up. The idea was simple: rarer variants of existing tanks which had more upkeep and production costs were more specialized and were powerful force multipliers. We picked our first two, Talos and Gallagher Thornfall. Similar to everything else, ‘advanced variants’ will be expanded upon post 1.0.
Also affected by plans to hold back the 75mm ammo, the Talos was intended to show the adaptability of the Falchion's mass-produced chassis. My original pitch for the Falchion was that the mass production element was the chassis, and different countries in the Colonial legion would adapt different turrets on top and that it would be easy to transport by rail. This means that you can see it everywhere, but sporting different, locally made turrets. This was my idea behind the Colonials being a mobile faction. The Talos was the ‘bad idea’ tank, meaning designers stretched the limits of the chassis to mount the battle tank cannon on it, trading its mobility for armour and offensive power. While working on it I refer to it as the ‘baby battletank’. I thought Colonials would enjoy the ability to transport a battle tank by rail. There were many concepts made for the Falchion chassis, and there will be more post 1.0.
The Thornfall was the second design I did for the Gallagher chassis. Believe it or not, the very first pitch for the chassis was the Highwayman. The Thornfall was second. I wanted to pitch a tank that didn’t have another 40mm cannon. Mark wanted a more straightforward tank because for him the Silverhand was already the ‘unique’ tank. So I did a few 40mm cannon Outlaws before we got to the one with the extra range cannon. Once we had the idea for the advanced variants I knew the Thornfall had its home. Scary as 8 ARC RPG launchers are, I wanted to push the envelope and make something dynamic while trusting the rest of the team's abilities to end up with a sought-after but costly addition to the Warden roster.
A note on the Highwayman:
The original pitch was inspired by the British ‘Medium T1’ tank. Originally it had a third AT rifle instead of the commander's MG. After a playtest, for better or worse, we changed the commander AT into an MG.
We have always planned to add flamethrowers to Foxhole. They are an iconic visual of WW1 and WW2. Mark and Max had to figure out how the mechanics worked in the world. Matt did the VFX. Krzysztof, who programmed everything, had the hard part. Designing the visuals was easy. For the torches themselves, I leant back to WW1 when they looked more like fire hose nozzles.
Early on I wrote up a pitch as to how flame weapons should work in the game. More specifically how flamethrowers on tanks should have the longest range, infantry the shortest, and armoured cars that should act like infantry flamethrowers that survive some small arms fire. I also pitched some post 1.0 variants and infantry weapons you have not seen yet, plus one in the Inferno trailer. This went over well, so I took the lead on which vehicle variants should get flamethrowers. Designing them was a lot of fun and very straightforward.
Rocket Artillery Vehicles:
Rocket artillery vehicles are our first step into mobile artillery. We knew we wanted them to be distinct from the artillery we already have in-game. We also wanted to differentiate the two factions’ rocket specialty. Max first pitched the idea of incendiary rockets and HE rockets for the coming fire features of Inferno. I pushed for initial faction asymmetry for the rocket ammo. This led to the idea of letting rockets do less direct damage than shell artillery with a chance to catch structures on fire. Using that as a starting point I sketched up a number of options and presented them to Mark in pairings to simplify the choices, with the caveat that we didn’t have to stick to the initial combinations. After we picked the ones we wanted, I refined them.
For the Colonial Retiarius, I ended up going with wooden brackets around the launch rails to clearly define a square, hard-edged box on the back of the truck, made from wood to break up the all-metal look as well. These brackets are also used in a few of the facilities that revolve around rocket ammo production.
The Skycaller was inspired by the Reihenwerfer, a half-track of French design that was captured by Germany. I wanted to do something with the idea of a flatbed of mortars, and it ended up working with the rocket artillery vehicles. We scaled up from mortars to incendiary rockets. I wanted this to look like a very specialized, purpose-built vehicle, while the Colonial truck was an easy modification of the dump truck.
To visually identify each type of rocket ammo (or rather, which ammo your vehicle loads), I chose to have HE rockets load onto launch rails, and incendiary rockets load into launch tubes. I plan to adhere to this design language in the future as we introduce more variants that can fire rocket ammunition. Similar to other ‘unique’ ammunitions, in time I expect both factions to utilize both rocket types, but Colonials primarily use HE and Wardens Incendiary.
Super Heavy Tanks:
The idea for super heavy tanks has existed for as long as I’ve worked here, about 5 years. Mark and Matt described a scenario where an alternate ww2 never ended. The factions didn’t get smarter, rather armour got thicker and guns bigger. A great war preceded the current era and after long periods of quiet, not peace, peoples' grudges still remained. This great war saw vehicles of unprecedented scale engage in battle. In the current era, where much of the former resources are lost, war is escalating and larger vehicles are starting to be seen again, in comparatively limited amounts. The idea is that the technology of old is not produced anymore due to a lack of resources and skill. The factions however still try.
Mark had a really clear idea of what he wanted for the Colonial super-heavy tank: a twin-barreled behemoth. We had previously tried adding a super heavy APC during a relic war but decided it wasn’t ‘super’ enough. I didn’t want to give up on the chassis just yet so when given the chance, I revisited it. Originally the idea for the APC was to show how the Colonials would have moved en masse against the Bulwark during the Great War. Like the mass production Falchion, they would have had a super heavy tank in large numbers that were easy to produce (at the time). So I expanded that to the Colonials making variants of the super heavy APC with armoured combat roles. The turret looking similar to that on a battleship or dreadnought also seemed appropriate. A number of designs were tried and Mark picked his favourite. The super heavy APC has not been forgotten.
Contrasting to Mark having a clear idea for the Colonial super heavy tank, no one had any initial ideas for the Warden super heavy. I drew up a number of ideas. I tried to cover a bunch of possible roles it could play. C, the mobile storm cannon was first to go, since we had the Tempest train cannon in the works. E was my favourite for a time: the idea of a giant mobile fortress with lots of smaller calibre guns. If I developed it further it probably would have had even more 40mm cannons on it. Mark was the one who suggested trying something amphibious which led to D. The shape stuck out to him immediately. Later the amphibious feature was removed. Thanks to the placements of the turrets, we ended up with something akin to a battleship on land. This fit the historical idea of landships perfectly, and everyone was happy.
Throughout this process, the idea stuck in my head that the Wardens would have fewer, larger super heavy tanks, each one a work of engineering art (to them). Whereas the Colonials would have many smaller super heavy tank variants and chassis. It is my hope to explore this idea in the future. However, we do not want to have a flood of superheavy tanks in the game. These will be VERY few and far between.
A note on Battle Tanks:
Those new to the game won’t remember that we tried adding a few Battle Tank variants in the past before we decided to temporarily remove Battle Tanks to balance out Medium Tanks first. For this ‘reset’ of the Battle Tanks we are introducing them as if they are new, the original two first. Going forward we will introduce new Battle Tank variants for both factions. Now we have more tools and support to make each more distinct and exciting. Expect to see more varied battle tanks in the future of Foxhole.
The Future of Foxhole:
I hope I have imparted that the work is only just beginning for the game. There are many features to expand upon. New vehicle groups to explore, new tanks, new vehicle variants, new infantry weapons and gear. Every area of the game has room to grow: combat, logi, medical, battlefield intel gathering, firefighting etc. Even new theatres of war to submerge into.
As is tradition here are the work-in-progress steps for the promo art, enjoy!