2012: Land & Armor Combat
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Armor Combat

Steel Beasts Pro PE

As most of you know a recent upgrade was released for Steel Beasts Pro PE, v2.640 which added a ton of updates, fixes, improvements, and new vehicles. The biggest thrill was probably the inclusion of a user controlled T-72 along with 3D infantry models.

Speaking with Nils "Ssnake" Hinrichsen, Director, Marketing & Customer Service for eSim Games, this is what he told me about their 2012 goals:

“Well, it's no secret but not widely announced that we are currently working on a patch that will fix a number of issues that came to light since the release of 2.640 in December. Our holidays were short, we knew from the start that for the DVD production we wanted to have an improved version, so they'll be a patch for 2.640 users and an updated version for everybody who will order the disc version soon.

What I haven't made public anywhere else, yet: Furthermore, there will be a "mid-stream" update probably in summer 2012 where we hope to beef up the visual engine. It's too early to say how much we can put into it, but it's supposed to give a bit of a hint of further visual improvements down the road until spring 2013 when the next major upgrade is scheduled for release. We have now basic support for shader effects activated, so there'll be a number of improvements. Very high on the list are shadows, obviously. There will also be a limited application of depth-of-focus effects.

We don't want to apply it everywhere. It makes for good-looking screenshots but is often functionally detrimental (at least in those shooter games where I have seen it). IMO, the problem is not that the player decides where his view should be focused, but a dumb computer which tends to focus on near-field objects in the scenery. Arguably, for a tactical game, the player would usually focus on threats that might emerge in the medium or far distance. I'd rather let the player decide on which parts of the scenery he wants to focus.

But of course, where sensors have an autofocus function — e.g. a remote weapon station — it makes sense to use it because it would be there in real life.

New particle effects are on the list, some lighting effects as well. I think that in about six months the Steel Beasts world will look substantially different from what it used to look like for a couple of years now — hopefully a change for the better. I also think that we will add the one or other feature that came a bit too late for the 2.640 version in December, even though they were originally planned for it — provided that the beta testers consider it mature enough for a release.”

Steel Beasts Pro PE

Steel Beasts Pro PE

Steel Beasts Pro PE

Steel Beasts Pro PE

Steel Beasts Pro PE

Steel Beasts Pro PE

Graviteam Armor Series

Graviteam has been on a roll lately. Probably the most underrated developer in gaming right now, they have done and are doing a ton of great work for armor simulation and tactical gaming.

One of the Graviteam team members, "andrey12345", is a great guy and very helpful in our forums. I asked him to clear up our confusion and explain what may arrive from Graviteam in 2012.

Magnum: What games can we buy right now, to support Graviteam?

Andrey: "Right now it's Achtung Panzer: Operation Star and of course the two download content packs for AP:OS, named 'Volokonovka' and 'Sokolovo'."

Magnum: "What does Graviteam have planned for 2012?"

Andrey: "We have many DLC packs planned for AP:OS, and maybe for Steel Armor: Blaze of War (but these are very optimistic plans). There will be new patches for AP:OS and SA:BoW. We want to do new project — an add-on for AP:OS. But it all certainly plans that can be adjusted and changed."

Achtung Panzer: Operation Star

America's Armor

And just when you thought that eSims had the only modern armor game to date, just recently a new member registered in the SimHQ forums, "All_American". He entered the General - Armor Forum and started a thread about a modern armor game he’s working on. It is in the very early stages and most likely won’t make it in 2012, but he seems to be on the right track (pun intended). He answered members questions about his game / simulation. We will keep an eye on American Armor's development and when he gets closer to actual content, SimHQ will work to bring you more information.

Update (February 28, 2012): The name has been changed from "American Armor" to "America's Armor".

WIP image from American Armor

Work-in-progress image from American Armor

Genre Crossover

There are two land combat capabilities arriving sometime in 2012, both of them based in popular combat flight simulations.

First is the capability to control tanks, ground artillery, and other vehicles in IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover. Take a look at the video here.

The second is DCS' Combined Arms. Matt Wagner wrote in November 2011, "Combined Arms. This $19.99 add-on will allow A-10C, Black Shark 2, and Flaming Cliffs 3 owner to act as ground force commanders as the mission is running. Users can direct ground units, set fire missions for artillery/multiple rocket launchers, and take the role of a Joint Terminal Air Controller (JTAC). As the JTAC, players will have night vision goggles, IR pointer, laser designator, and Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR). Several other new items are still being considered. Combined Arms will work in both single player and multiplayer missions."

There is actually a third flight sim title that is considering providing controllable ground vehicle control, but the news has not been made official, and may not ever happen. We'll have to wait and see.


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