As many of you may know, half of our development team is from Ukraine, and as you could imagine the Russian invasion of Ukraine, their home, has impacted development somewhat as priorities shifted from what to work on to mere survival in a matter of minutes as Kalibr missiles rained down on them in the initial blitz as the rest of us could only look on in horror as our friends were at ground zero.
Even now, over 4 months on, as Russian offences stall or outright collapse, as their forces have to rely more and more on outdated equipment such as T-62s and BMP-1s, and as their Kalibr cruise missiles have largely been replaced with Kh-22s or worse, air raids still occur on a daily basis, often multiple times a day.
As shown recently in Kremenchuk and Serhiivka, clearly non-military targets, with over 40 dead and rising in total with many more injured including children, both done with Kh-22s (which have ironically become scarier than the Kalibrs on account of their pure unpredictability derived from them being Soviet relics with terrible accuracy), civilians are still being targeted, and while Ukrainian air defence systems still do a great job in thwarting most Russian air attacks, our friends still need to prepare for the worst when the sirens sound.
So, unsurprisingly, development has slowed down a bit, but still work continues in-between air raids, and during that time all sorts of interesting stuff has been worked on!
Without further ado, here's a round-up of what we've been working on over the last 6 months!
After we posted Development Update 15 we actually had a sly last-minute addition to cap off 2021 in the form of a video showcasing the ability to directly load a weapon's chamber (within reason), specifically on the KS-23, along with the requirement to manually rechamber your weapon when necessary:
In the case of the KS-23, directly loading the chamber when it runs dry as opposed to loading from the bottom then racking the slide is a faster way to get it running again, and making sure to keep tabs on your weapon's state of readiness in combat will prevent you trying to fire a shot only to be met with a worrying *CLICK*.
In Afterconflict, as in real life, weapon familiarity will give you a distinct edge over your opponents.
On the topic of speed, especially in close-quarters, we have another new weapon handling addition in the form of point-shooting:
Known as "Aimed Quick Fire" in US military nomenclature, point shooting is useful when a split second is the difference between life and death in close-quarters, using night vision goggles, or while firing with a respirator that proves intrusive in acquiring a decent cheek weld!
In terms of things that you probably don't want to encounter in close quarters, lest it serve as an ersatz flashbang, we're now allowing players to use the AKS74U without its iconic flash hider (6P26), resulting in it belching out even more flames than usual when fired:
Who knows, in future we may even allow you to attach the AKS74U's flash hider to the standard AK74, a common feature of the Transnistrian Army's AK74s... for some reason.
For those of us that like to admire our virtual arsenal just as much as we do, we've now expanded on our in-game weapon inspection mechanic:
Now instead of simply playing a quick animation, holding the weapon inspection bind will allow you to admire your weapon from both sides at your own leisure!
...just be sure not do be caught off-guard while doing it by an enemy that doesn't even have the sense of chivalry to at least let you finish first.
On the contrary, something you should absolutely not look at if you can help it is the Sun, doubly so through a magnified scope:
As you can see, those that look at the Sun through a scope in both Afterconflict and real life are gonna have a bad time, so for peace of mind for both yourself and your ophthalmologist, we suggest against it.
Though, in combat, it pays to fight with the Sun at your back, your enemies using scopes fall victim to the Sun's light blinding them, giving you the advantage.
Besides those operating in the Land of the Midnight Sun, at night the Sun usually isn't around to blind anyone, however those using night vision may still find themselves with issues relating to visibility with objects up close due to a lack of focus:
As you can see, and as mentioned earlier, in addition to focusing issues, using night vision goggles often doesn't gel well with using weapon iron sights, especially with rifles that require a good cheek weld to use them properly, so consider this drawback carefully when considering whether to use night vision goggles over a night vision scope and/or the humble flashlight.
And now, as seen in in its untextured high-poly form in our last development update, everybody's favourite Forbidden Fire Alarm/highly explosive Soviet anti-personnel mine, the PMN-2, now fully textured in all of its green glory (also in tan!):
As mentioned before, in Afterconflict laying mines will, depending on the mine in question, be as tedious of a process as in real life (systems such as FASCAM exist for a reason), so if you are going to lay a trap for the enemy, be sure to carefully think it through before committing to it.
Speaking of untextured high-poly models, before we get to the part we're sure the Americans among us have all been waiting for since our last development update, we've got some more Soviet weaponry to show off!
Developed as a variant and complement to the AKM and a spiritual successor to the RPD, and later used as the basis for the Yugoslavian M70B1 and M72B1 rifles, the RPK served with distinction as the USSR's primary 7.62x39 light machine gun for many years, with a very robust design by nature of it sharing many parts with the AKM (sometimes being nicknamed perhaps derisively as the "AK But Long").
Of its interchangeable parts, the RPK's magazine is its most notable on account of it originally primarily using a 75-round drum as standard, however over time due to the drum's bulkiness, lack of reliability, and the large amount of time required to load it in the first place, most were put into storage in favour of 40-round magazines being made standard.
Both will be available as customisation options in Afterconflict not only for the RPK, but AKs too!
Unsurprisingly, due to the standard RPK's bulkiness, VDV units were issued a folding-stock variant of the RPK named the RPKS, which as opposed to the AKMS's under-folding stock, used a side-folding design.
When an optics mount was needed (primarily for night vision scopes), the RPKSN was used which retains the RPKS's side-folding stock, with accommodations made for a dovetail rail.
After the introduction of the AK74, naturally the RPK74 followed, which served as the LMG counterpart to the AK74 just as the RPK did to the AKM before it, and this high-poly rendition features its later-style "plum" furniture!
As opposed to the AK74 which was an entirely new design when compared to the AKM, the RPK74 was effectively a rechambered version of the base RPK, modified to fire 5.45x39 ammunition; while a drum magazine was prototyped, only 45-round magazines (a 5 round increase from the RPK's 40 round magazine on account of the 5.45x39's reduction in size and weight over 7.62x39) became standard-issue.
Once again, unsurprisingly just as the RPKS served as the folding-stock variant of the RPK, the RPKS74 is the folding-stock variant of the RPK74.
Also, just as the RPKSN was a variant of the RPKS including a dovetail optics mount, the RPKS74N is the variant of the RPKS74 possessing an optics rail, albeit with a more unified design than the RPKSN/RPKSL's various rail types.
Be sure to keep an eye out for our next development update, where we'll have all of these RPKs fully textured!
In addition to these high-poly RPKs, we also have a WIP high-poly model of our improved Soviet Obr. 1988 "Afghanka" uniform, another example of us bringing various older assets of ours up to a higher quality!
As a final interjection before we get to our M16s, though we're sure it certainly isn't an unwelcome one, and certainly not a piece of Soviet weaponry, we have a brand new Polish rifle, commonly known as the "Tantal", and somewhat less commonly as its full name: 5,45 mm karabinek wz. 1988!
Unlike countries such as the DDR which was authorised to produce the AK74 under licence as the MPi-AK-74N, Poland didn't have this luxury and had to design its own 5.45x39 rifle themselves, albeit taking design "inspirations" from other countries, with its base design being that of the AK74, its wire folding stock being a clone of the DDR's wire folding stock design first introduced on the MPi-KMS-72, etc.
Now, for what you've all been waiting for since the last development update (especially our American fans), and we're sure are in no need of introduction, an assortment of our new, fully textured M16 models!
M16A1 (Model 603):
XM177E2 (Model 629):
M16A1 Carbine (Model 653):
M16A2 (Model 645):
M16A2 Carbine (Model 727):
We'll be adding to this list over time (don't think we've forgotten about the USAF's M16, the M231, etc.), but for now, we're sure these will suffice.
For a more in-depth rundown on each of these models, check our previous development update, and if you spot any errors on any of these models that are in need of correction, do not hesitate in letting us know and we'll get to fixing it!
Recently, a LOT of work has been going on under the hood in terms of improving and expanding the feature set of our in-game editor (which we already use to build our maps) such as prefabs, a spline-based road creator, a decal system, and more!
Our intention is for anyone to be able to open Afterconflict, go into the editor, and make something cool, so be sure to keep an eye out for future updates where we'll go further in-depth regarding what our editor is capable of!
And so, to cap off this development update we thought we'd show off our new Steam Store page screenshots that those of you that've kept a close eye on it may've already seen, but we're sure you won't mind taking another look:
While any timetable for the near future cannot be that certain given the circumstances, we are still working hard on Afterconflict and intend on releasing our planned Singleplayer Firing Range Demo when possible, make sure you follow us on Steam and add Afterconflict to your Steam Wishlist to be notified whenever we release a new update!
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As Ever: Stay Tuned!