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Our Ghosts of War - UE4 WW2 Sandbox [Dev Journal]

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Hi Guys, 
 
We're developing Our Ghosts of War, an open-world survival game in the vein of projects like Ark: Survival Evolved, Rust, and DayZ, but with a World War 2 spin on the genre. As a heads up there is no crowd funding campaign, or a storefront yet, as all we're looking to do at the moment is get the word out about our game and get your feedback on what exactly you would like for this game to be. We've already received permission from the moderation staff about being able to post about our game as long as we add no referral links. 
 
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Our Ghosts of War is being developed by Pixel Perfect Polygons. We're a 3D artdev company that has primarily operated out of the Unreal Engine 4 forums for the better part of the last 2 years doing freelance and contract work for a number of indie and AAA companies. Eventually we finally got it in our minds to begin work on our game and after laying down the groundwork for what we wanted to dedicate our time towards, production began on Our Ghosts of War. 
 
Currently there are 20 individuals involved and working on a host of development assets consisting of art and code. We'll have more about each of these individuals shortly just so you have a clear idea of who exactly is doing what on the project. We'll also be posting regular progress reports from each of these individuals so there is a transparent display of what exactly the development team is up to. 
 
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Our plan right now is to apply to Steam Greenlight later this year. When it comes to Early Access games some are some are definitely more complete than others. Others are never completed at all. For Our Ghosts of War we have decided to focus on creating a little of everything when it comes to weapons, vehicles, and characters, and put most of our efforts on creating our the most authentic depiction of Normandy, France in the history of video games heading into release. 
 
What does this mean for the average player? Well it means that due to having a relatively low starting budget we are forced to make some very hard choices about the content that we intend to launch Our Ghosts of War with. Trust me when we say we're proud of how far we've managed to stretch every single last dollar but even so there are limits to what we can achieve with our current budget. The money we make from our sales will then be invested back into the game to create weapons, vehicles, and other props that we unfortunately didn't have the budget to create at the moment. 
 
That said this is what we do intend to launch with: 
 
- The most authentic depiction of Normandy, France in the history of video games. We've already incorporated Satellite DEM data to launch the game with 78km2 worth of authentic Normandy terrain. It looks good. It feels real. As we move further into development we will work to increase our map size to an eventual 400km2 replica of Normandy, France. There's never been anything done on this level of scale in videogames. 
 
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- The most authentic placement of Normandy homes, farms, and roads in the history of video games. We've done a lot of homework already and have managed to track down aerial spy photographs that cover a large portion of the Normandy hills and roads. Using these spy pictures and cross referencing them against Google Maps we can accurately place homes and roads precisely where they were in 1944. The same goes for the roads as will make them 100% accurate to where they would have been during the war. There is no other game that seeks to achieve this level of authenticity.
 
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- The most authentic depiction of the Omaha Beach D-Day invasion ever. So this was hard but we've managed to secure official documents of the Germans with the blueprints of every single one of their defensive fortifications and measurements. This means that every anti-tank wall, anti-tank ditch, trench, concertina wire, and more will be created to the official specs of the German army. Furthermore we've painstakingly tracked down the blueprints of every single last bunker that was built on Omaha Beach and are working to create and place them exactly where they would have been in 1944 as the Allied forces invaded France in the largest invasion in history. Research matters. 
 
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- Twenty launch weapons consisting of handguns, rifles, machine guns, and shotguns. As we earn more from the release of the game we will work to create additional weapons. The currently completed weapons are: 
 
01. 1911
02. Luger
03. Thompson
04. MP40
05. K98
06. M1 Garand
07. Colt Official Police
08. Colt Commando
09. Springfield
10. Mauser C96
11. MG-08
 
The current weapons being modeled are: 
 
12. MG42
13. Winchester M12 Trench Gun
14. FG42
 
We should have renders for all these weapons added to this thread sometime this week but this should do as a start. 
 
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That's all for now. We should have daily updates for you guys starting tomorrow. We're ecstatic about the work we're doing and feel that's among the best of our lives. If you have any questions or feedback please don't hesitate to post and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. Thanks for reading!

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When it comes to WW2 I like historical accuracy and authenticity, be it in movies, games or whatever - and looks like this is exactly what you're going for. I also like tanks a lot, hopefully they will be available to use at some point (would require multiple players to operate a tank, but still). Looking forward to some info about damage model and ballistics. 

Definitely keeping an eye on this, looks promising. Good luck!

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Hi guys. So every week our coders turn in the work they've done for that week when they invoice me. Because of our limited budget we get about 30 hours of coding in every week split between two coders. Keep in mind that just because you see us working on something here doesn't mean it's actually going to implemented for Early Access.

For example, we mention menu flows for deathmatch below but that isn't an announcement of any kind. In that specific case we are setting up a UI flow in case we ever get around to adding a deathmatch style mode. We could then come back to it later if we develop anything worth revisiting. Honestly it would less complicated to not mention things like that that but for the sake of transparency I'm happy letting you guys get insight into our development.

Change Log - Alpha 0.5.12.1502
 
- Added initial classes for structural changes to UI framework. 
- Deprecated old Framework 1.0 code. 
- Worked on adding in functionality for going through Survival->Host/Join functionality. 
- Cleaned up use overuse of delegates. 
- Created menu flows for survival, exploration, deathmatch, and settings options 
- Base transitions to but not from implemented. 
- Deprecated more old UI Framework 1 code. Removal of Framework 1 code will begin soon. 
- Minor UI bug fixes and stability improvements. 
- Updating codebase to run UE4.12 with VXGI support. 
- Removed old Normandy map content and VSMap_01 content in order to clean up the content directory. 
- Fixed up loading editor errors from old removed referenced content. 
- Added hooks for Health, temperature, stamina, and leveling components to the BP Function Library. 
- Removed old wallpaper for welcome screen. 
- Added ambient audio to welcome screen/main menu. 
- Added title and press any key text to welcome screen.
- Setup new map with 2 crosses as the new main menu map. 
- Setup spawn camera position to match Alireza's adjusted camera location Known Bugs/Issues 
- Iteration on our basic AI enemy. More ways to pathfind / use the navmesh have been hooked up. First pass at "Pawn Sensing", which is a pre-existing tech from UE4.7 that helps do the baseline tech for AI sensing enemies (other AI, players, whatever) via sight OR hearing (sounds at a location, i.e. footsteps, explosions, whatever). 
- Day/Night Cycle is implemented. It's off by default, but once you're running the sample map we test things on, hit "End" on your keyboard to start it. 24 seconds = 24 hours. 
- Placeholder UI art assets for Health, Stamina, and Experience appear on the right side of the screen, currently. These are beginning to be hooked up with the back-end data from the game's systems.

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Hello. I've finished stitching together aerial spy references for what we intend to launch our game with. I've also started whiteboxing the game to get a get a general sense for scale. 

 

The plan is to start on the roads tomorrow. There's a road plug-in I purchased from the Unreal Engine 4 forums that does a great job of clicking roads into existence. The terrain gets disturbed a little bit but we have little choice because UE4 is pretty awful when it comes to roads. Alireza was begging to have the source code rewritten so we could have a better road tool created but it's simply not a priority if we want to have the game playable any time soon.  We'll do our best to not make the terrain appear as undisturbed as possible but it's more or less a limit of UE4. Sometimes you just got to roll with the punches. 

 

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Hello everyone, 
 
I've begun laying down roads across Normandy. The road plugin we're using is pretty sweet. It more or less makes placing roads as simple as pointing and clicking ((the roads follow the white dots you see in the image)). The creator of the plug-in was busy with school so he wasn't able to update it to Unreal Engine 4.12 until yesterday. The scale of the road meshes that came with the plug-in was also way too big and so we've had to shrink them down. I'll try getting that working tomorrow. 
 
My workflow involves comparing shots of old aerial spy shots and current Google satellite imagery. Neither are perfect. The spy shots are authentic but warped. The Google Maps are more accurate in regards to scale but plenty has changed in the last 75 years. I have to balance both and decide whether which I want to follow in any given area. Either way I'm happy with the results and will continue tomorrow. I'll keep you guys updated.
 
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Edited by PixelPerfectPolygons

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aleksa-dragutinovic-m12-low-poly-r7.jpg?
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Aleksa finally wrapped up his M12 Trench Gun for Our Ghosts of War. How's it look? It's been in development for the past three weeks and I'm personally very happy with the results. The MG42 and a Panzer IV tank turret were also finished up this week and I'll have renders of those soon.

I've been doing a lot of planning for the future of our firearms and I think in our final build (when we come out of Early Access) I want to have something like 128 firearms made (doesn't include things like grenades, mines, etc.). Typically it takes a good artist 40-60 hours to finish one firearm. The M12 Trench Gun was worked on part-time which is why it took as long as it did. If Aleksa was working full time it'd been finished sooner. 

My plan is that after Early Access we'd hire one weapons artist full-time (full 160 hours per month) and a second weapons artist part-time (80 hours per month). Together they'd deliver 3-4 weapons per month. These weapons would be rigged and animated as soon as possible and added to our Early Access build on the 10th of every month (along with all other updates). 

I intend to support Our Ghosts of War for a period of three years after we release on Early Access. The logic behind this is that it takes more or less any developer that long to turn out something great with enough content to justify a game's existence. After those three years have passed we would come out of Early Access with our final game. 

In that time span we can realistically create a minimum of three firearms per month. 3 firearms per month x 12 months = 36 firearms per year. 36 firearms per year x 3 years = 108 firearms over three years. 108 firearms + the 20 firearms we intend to launch with = 128 firearms total. I'll discuss how we intend to go about weapon balancing in our next update. 

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Some Q&A about our game. 

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Anyway, so I wonder; what's the actual goal of a match in this game? Are you actually invading? Having to capture points or defend them?

There's some debate in the team about this. Ultimately I will have final say however. The coding team wants to make Our Ghosts of War a straight up survival game with no end goal. Just perpetually online like Rust or Ark. The reasoning behind their argument is that because we're making a survival game, and survival games don't have an end goal, we should follow suit. Otherwise we're not making a survival game.
 
I'm not convinced that's the right path. I think appeal of traditional survival games is waning and we'll have to do something new and fresh if we're going to maintain an audience for the next three years. I've been studying games like Xenoblade Chronicles X and Grand Theft Auto Online, among others, and thinking about how we can create something unique. I'm still sorting out the final details but generally I have a pretty fleshed out outline of what I want Our Ghosts of War to be. I'll announce more as soon I'm ready to.

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Seeing as it's a Rust/ARK-esque thing, would take a long time to accomplish so your character is persistent with a single game taking weeks perhaps?

Yes. Your character is persistent so a single game could take weeks. Your character is saved on the server you make them on and you would have to reconnect to the server to access that character. It's the nearly the same system as Ark. There will be character save data associated with your character on the server and there will be player data associated with your player account. Even if you die you will never lose the player data associated with your player account.

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I can't fathom this being truly Rust-like in that you'll see some soldiers randomly building a hut somewhere, trolling about. Those games are often popular for their freedom, but being in an army really restricts that freedom.

It won't be truly Rust-like. Generally most, but not all, current survival games are more or less The Purge simulators. This is intended to be a new take on the survival genre. I'm way more interested in doing something that focuses more on community, your friends, and your companions. You can go hungry. You can craft. Those aspects will be similar. And by all means be a troll. But if you kill a member of your army there will be ramifications for those actions. The game will react.

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But I'm guessing players won't spawn in naked like in Rust & ARK, right?

They won't be naked but they won't spawn with weapons or equipment either. Limited bullets as well. They'll have to score all that stuff themselves from crafting, air drops, etc.

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So how exactly will characters be persistent?

Like in most survival games if a player quits out of a server their character will remain in the game world. If an enemy player comes across them they're liable to be killed and have their items stolen from them. I've designed things so this is less likely to happen at the start of the game meaning players will be able to get their bearings better than in other survival games. This also means that having your character killed later on will probably be more painful as you're likely to lose more progress and better items.

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You guys have a bigger scope than Battlefield. Wouldn't it be better to do a small vertical slice and build from there? 

Because we're working on landscape tiles we can always shrink the scope of the game if necessary. But so far I'd say we're about 45% of the way to getting our pre-alpha up and running. 

Edited by PixelPerfectPolygons

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Will there be factions or will it be FFA? As in, you can´t kill people from your nation (or at least shouldn´t) and you have to kinda work together to fight the enemy.

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18 hours ago, FMPONE said:

I'm impressed with the quality of what I'm seeing here, all the assets look really strong. Just hope the game is actually fun -- in my experience games that trend very closely to sim lose a lot of charm along the way :)

Our Ghosts of War will have more in common with survival games like Rust than military simulators like Arma. More accurately, it's a hybrid of the two with the overall game design veering more towards the survival genre as we hoped to do something fresh. But for those who want a simulator, Our Ghosts of War is going to be hyper customizable and easy to mod. We'll provide support to those working to make the game and do everything in our power to help them make the simulator they want including putting money into their efforts. 

17 hours ago, RedHawk said:

Will there be factions or will it be FFA? As in, you can´t kill people from your nation (or at least shouldn´t) and you have to kinda work together to fight the enemy.

Being a traitor is entirely a valid way to play and things will happen to justify that play style.

Edited by PixelPerfectPolygons

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