Gunplay in Isonzo
We’ve always worked hard to make guns feel authentic in the WW1 Game Series, not just in creating accurate 3D models and using sound effects recorded to actual guns where possible, but also in how they function in-game. We wanted to take it to the next level with Isonzo.
First up is a greater connection with the world around you…
Animations and the Environment
For Isonzo we decided to take a new approach with how the player's weapons animate on screen. One main goal has been to keep the weapon looking consistent in world space and prevent sudden snapping between animations. You’ll probably notice this most when you’re close up against some part of the environment, be it a wall or a cliffside, where you’ll now see your weapon lifted out of the way rather than potentially clipping through. But we go a step further, and ensure animations (like reloading) work with this dynamic weapon positioning, so reloading up against a wall can use the same animation as reloading in an open field and it still looks natural.
Reloading while sheltering behind rocks. The GIF above cuts some frames,
you can also watch the full video on YouTube.
To achieve a smooth effect when handing your guns we mix partial-animations on the gun itself, some other tech tricks, and overlaid procedural animations on top to account for other influences such as recoil or movement. The player's arms are driven by Inverse-Kinematics which ensure they remain correctly positioned, no matter where the weapon is currently on-screen.
This also has the effect of making things look more fluid when you combine weapon usage with other systems like movement. For instance, going into a sprint while still bolting your rifle, or aiming down sights from sprinting. These situations with multiple animations in quick succession will be smoother now.
In Isonzo we’ve built on the complex reload and weapon clip state systems of the previous games. We already modeled weapon quirks such as guns which couldn’t reload until empty, weapons that reload differently when you add individual rounds instead of a full clip, very slow revolver reloads where individual rounds need to be expelled one at a time, and more. We even keep track of whether you’ve worked the bolt on a rifle - sometimes in the heat of battle you might fire and then use your bayonet before bolting, for instance. These details matter in combat, where that extra half-second to work a bolt could be the difference between life and death…
Taking cover while using a rifle.
In Isonzo we’re building on this with even more reload states for various weapons. Weapons with visible bullets in their clips update in accordance with your ammo count, chamber states on certain weapons remain open if the weapon is not closed, cocking pins respond to the firing state, and weapons that have their magazine reloading interrupted will find their mag slot is left empty until they complete the reload!
This really comes into play with some of the more idiosyncratic WW1 weapons like the Villar Perosa. This LMG (originally an aircraft mounted machine gun) has two magazines which are reloaded separately - therefore the gun can have a variety of states of reload and interrupted reload. The Villar Perosa alone has three different reload animations relating to these various states. As well as more accurately recreating how these guns worked, it also gives you more gameplay flexibility in combat by making it less punishing to cancel reloads with these weapons.
After hip-firing the Villar Perosa, only one magazine will need replacement.
On the subject of the deployable machine guns like the Villar Perosa, we have completely reworked the system we used in Verdun and Tannenberg for deploying to be far less rigid, and more fluidly integrated with gameplay. You can now auto-deploy an LMG on any valid surface in front of you if it’s the right height, which then provides greatly increased accuracy and stability (and in the case of the Villar Perosa, the use of its second barrel). You can of course still hip fire LMGs in an emergency, but doing so comes at the cost of greatly reduced accuracy.
The new auto-deploy system with the Madsen.
Another influential part of the weapon handling which has got some love is weapon sway! The new more tactile weapon sway better mimics how actual breathing affects your body. But more than that, it affects your shooting more precisely now - bullets come from the barrel of the gun, which is affected by the new more natural weapon sway. Therefore there's no need for randomness on the bullet itself to simulate other factors affecting accuracy.
Bullet drop is also a factor in Isonzo, but given typical engagement ranges and the high muzzle velocities for most of the weapons in the game, you likely won't notice it very often. For you snipers at the back of the map, you may need to adjust your sights to hit the perfect headshots over long distances!
In addition to these ‘big ticket items’, we’re also paying attention to the small stuff! We’ve gone the extra mile to distinguish weapons with different muzzle flash FX, more animations in general, and more. All of these details come together to create a more immersive experience that better captures the feel of First World War combat.
To watch the full videos behind the gifs in this blog, check out our WIP Clips Playlist on YouTube!
You can wishlist Isonzo already! Not so long to go before release… the battle for the Italian Front begins on September 13th!