Down the Barrel with Super Joe #3

The third Down the Barrel with Super Joe has a whole bunch of media for you to enjoy. I don’t want to talk too much before we get into the meat of the post, but if you like our screenshots this week, why not request some? Head to the forums and let us know what guns you want to see and with which attachments – if we can make it happen, we’ll make it happen! First off, I’d like to send off to DysPatch as he has a lot to tell you about in relation to the development of Firearms: Source. I’ll be then taking the helm once again to give you some treats as a reward for your patience. Enjoy!

“For the past 2 years, Firearms: Source has been undergoing big changes and a lot of experimentation. I felt that, given it’s a whole new year now, I should let you all know what we have been working on. We’ve experimented with new technologies, as well as a bunch of new features. Some were discarded and others are still in this game. We are still experimenting with new features here and there, but for the most part, we are really comfortable with FAS gameplay. In fact, we are so happy with the gameplay that we are waiting on doing any more major changes until we bring you – the community – in for some feedback.

Some examples of new technologies that we have been playing with are FMOD and Awesomium. You may be familiar with FMOD, but for those who aren’t, it is a sound engine with a toolkit that allows us to redesign the audio in FAS, to better suit our needs. Don’t get me wrong, the Source Engine has a great sound system, but unfortunately the Source 2007 mod support doesn’t give us the access we need to mix the music and sounds the way we would like. Additionally, the inclusion of Awesomium is a User Interface library that allows us to create our HUD and UI menus using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript rather than using standard VGUI (Valve Graphical User Interface). This means that we can more quickly create menus and HUD elements with web development tools and use animations from JavaScript libraries. It’s all really cool stuff, but unfortunately has required a little bit longer of development time making it all stable. In the end it will provide an awesome game experience not found in most other Source games.”

“When adding new features, one of our biggest focuses has been on trying to make the game more intuitive for our community. We really wanted to make FAS more fun by making it easier for new players to understand what’s going on. FAS 1.0 had a high learning curve, and not really for a good reason. We have added simple changes like dynamic crosshairs allow players to learn the mechanics of the weapon they are using. However we have also added things like larger impact particles so you can see where your bullets are hitting along with subtle tracers showing where your bullets are traveling. Players are able to grasp the accuracy and stance mechanics a lot easier with these changes. We’ve also added bullet miss sounds so that you can hear when bullets whizz by your head, informing you that you are under fire. These features may all seem really simple, but they are all features that are easily missed or put on low priority when you consider game design from a broader perspective. We have also added more blatant notifications like hit indicators with hit sounds to notify you if hit registration decided to play nice with you. There are also bigger features that we are playing around with like weapon scavenging, which allows you to temporarily pick-up a dropped weapon. I can go further into detail about the balance of weapon scavenging for another news post, but I mainly wanted to use this as a way to catch you guys up to date with everything we have been working on. There are also some new skill features that we have added but we will save that for another time.”

“We are working hard, and some of us having actually been working full time on FAS so we can get this mod out to you guys as soon as we can. However, I am not going to mislead you and say that FAS is about to release, because quite honestly, there is a lot that still needs to be done. I am comfortable saying that we will release this year, but that’s because the game is very solid from a gameplay standpoint, and we are mainly working on the game stability and making sure these we get the game as polished as we can to make everyone’s first experience with FAS as mind-blowingly awesome as possible. This does mean that you may also see more attachments and weapon in FAS than what was originally planned. The nice thing about weapons and attachments is that they are fairly easy to add when compared to what we have been battling recently. Rest assured, as we will get this all settled and we hope to bring in more testers soon-ish as well. As always, we are looking for talented self-motivated developers to help us out. If you are interested, please apply on our Jobs page. We could use a hand in finishing this game and make sure it’s released to you all this year. In the next coming weeks we can also get back to our skill showcases and show off the last two skill tiers we have planned for Firearms: Source 2.0.”

You’ve heard it from our development director himself, and now you’re up to speed, how about some eye candy? Everything we’re showing you today is from a map called Caliber, an Assault map which I’ve just adored playing on. However, overhead shots of a map would be pretty darn boring – so how about we throw some guns into the mix? So far you’ve seen the Silencer attachment but you haven’t seen our Aimpoints which have, until now, only been talked about. Though ironsights are definitely optional in Firearms: Source, fans of the feature are definitely going to want to look into the Aimpoint attachment. Get it?

Our Aimpoint is the best you’ve ever seen, and I say that strongly without a doubt in my mind. You’ll be able to use it on a whole lot of our weapons, too, so if you want the power of an AK-47 with a little more precision then you’ve got it. In combination with the silencer attachment, you can turn a simple assault rifle into a beast that’ll take targets down from range before they even see you. Eat your heart out, snipers.

The EOTech 553. Sat atop the rails of our lovely M4A1, the EOTech is a nice alternative to those who may have an aversion to the Aimpoint. Though it’s only just been added and is still in its infancy, the EOTech is great fun to use and just as awesome as our Aimpoint. That’s great news for all you rifle fans, but our sidearms are feeling a little left out and I’m guessing they need some love. For anyone who loves a Glock 20 like myself, you’ll be happy to find that Tritium Night Sights are an option for free. With no credit cost, they’re always available should you need that help in the dark; same for the Desert Eagle – see below!

Though Down the Barrel didn’t turn into the once a week feature I was hoping for, I hope what you’ve seen today has put a smile on that face. After all, Firearms: Source will be playable this year, and you’re able to see it as development progresses. As always, feel free to private message me on our message boards or even just join in the conversation with other FAS fans. Until next time, I’m Super Joe, and Firearms: Source continues to be fantastic.

Down the Barrel with Super Joe #2

Super Joe here, coming at you from the busy virtual offices of the Firearms: Source development team. My last post talked about many of the new features arriving in 2.0, but I did neglect to mention one of biggest:

Gun Game.

That’s right, the ever-popular Gun Game deathmatch mode is coming to FAS 2.0. Stop and think about that for a moment – you won’t just be playing with the piddling 24-weapon arsenal of a game like Counter-Strike, but a full showcase of every weapon in Firearms. That’s over 40 unique implements of murder with more coming every update! In classic Gun Game style you’ll dig through our mountain of guns a kill at a time, from sidearms to sniper rifles, finishing the round with nothing but an M67 grenade and your trusty DV-2 combat knife. Rise up the ranks by scoring a kill with each weapon in order, and if opportunity knocks and you trust in your blade, take a stab at a knife kill to steal a level from your victim and knock them down a peg. But be careful if you do, however – one misjudged slash and they might do the same to you.

We’ll be adapting existing maps to properly suit the total anarchy that is Gun Game, as well as featuring several levels designed exclusively for the mode, giving you even more reasons to dive into the chaos on a regular basis if ever you grow tired of the more evenly-paced Assault, Territorial Control, or Push levels. This mode will be available in the beta that’s coming on… wait for it…

Alright, alright. The first wave of 2.0 beta invites will be being sent out next week, commencing Monday 6th. If you want a chance to get a beta invite, head over to the forums! Follow this link to be taken to the public beta testing forum, and be sure to ready the sticky thread which contains everything you need to apply – it’s as simple as answering a few questions.

Firearms: Source is also looking for an experienced sound designer who will assist through the development of weapon handling sounds, like reloading and deploying. As a team member, you’ll have access to custom sample libraries recorded specifically for Firearms. It’s also recommended you come equipped with your own samples, although not mandatory. We will be accepting applications starting today, and will be conducting interviews on our “Mumble” voice communication channel February 6th through March 1st 2012. Have some previous work ready to show us, and check your email for a reply regarding an interview date. You or someone you know can apply here at our Jobs page.

If beta applications being open wasn’t enough to make you scream at your monitor with glee, then the following video may well do just that. Our very own Sab0t has recorded gameplay from various Gun Game sessions we’ve had during our play testing, and at just under eleven minutes in length, it’s a definite watch for any Firearms fan. You may notice the introduction of backstabs in the video, which are executed simply by approaching an enemy from behind and waiting for your knife to be raised. Once you’re in a position to strike, a single click will bring down your opponent; but if you’re not quick enough, things may get messy. Speaking of messy, you may also notice some ridiculous gibbing – don’t worry, this isn’t typical of Firearms. We were simply having good fun screwing around with some of the game settings. Laughter ensued. But without delaying it any longer, here’s that video:

I hope you’ve enjoyed this instalment of Down the Barrel. We have more coming next week, and I wish you all luck when applying for our beta test. As always, feel free to message me on the forums with any questions you may have – or just for a nice chat! This is Super Joe, signing off.

Down the Barrel with Super Joe #1

The number one question on all of your minds is, undoubtedly, “When will we be able to play Firearms: Source 2.0?” – the answer? Well, at this time we honestly can’t give a proper estimate of when the game will be thoroughly tested, balanced, and 100% content-complete for a Steam release. However, what’s certain today is that a closed beta for FAS 2.0 will be launched either late this month or in early February. We’re not giving an exact date as a contingency for any last-minute issues which may arise, but we will definitely be putting out a playable beta version within that time frame.

The number two question you have is probably something to do with what Firearms 2.0 has in terms of new content. Now that is a question I can answer! How does a new game mode, new weapons, significant map changes, weapon attachments, and a completely rebalanced arsenal sound? Oh, and we’re also working a new user interface for the game as well as improving upon the in-game ranking system.

Since the last version FAS 1.0, we’ve temporarily removed the Search and Destroy gametype – why? In its current state we feel that even though the basic concept is sound, it isn’t done justice by the existing maps and mechanics. For the time being we’ve stripped it out of FAS 2.0′s official levels until a later update when we can dedicate time and resources to developing it to the same standards as our other gameplay modes. This allows us to focus on other objectives such as the new Assault levels in the mean time, bringing you the best experience possible on release day. If you missed last year’s update and are interested in learning more about Assault mode, you can read all about it here.

As Firearms is naturally all about the guns, it’s only fitting that we stick to them and bring you even more of what you like. Version 2.0 will add no less than fourteen new weapons to the arsenal. Featuring everything from pistols to sniper rifles, come release day you’ll be able to play with the following new additions:

-Raging Bull
-PP19 “Bizon”
-L2A3 Sterling
-Dragunov SVD

But that isn’t all! You may know from a previous blog post that we’re adding weapon attachments to the game, so not only will there be a wide variety of weapons to choose from, but also you’ll be able to customize them to fit your unique playstyle. 2.0′s system will include suppressors and aimpoints for all firearms which can accept them as well as tritium sights available for certain weapons, with many more options planned for future patches.

Without going into absolute specifics, there are some big changes happening to our roster of levels in terms of both visual quality and design. These reworked (sometimes almost completely recreated) levels aim to bring you improved, fluid combat as well as a wider range of engagement distances to accommodate all styles of play. We want every weapon and every strategy to be covered; we believe every option should have a proper and challenging role to fill in each level.

Finally – the ranking system. We’ve received comments lately in relation to the score system looking ‘CoD-esque’. The truth of the matter is that mechanically FAS’s ranking system has remained largely unchanged from version 1.0, with the only major alteration being an exponential curve to the points required for each consecutive rank. This means that new skills are easier to obtain at the beginning of a match but more difficult by the end as you amass more of them, with each increase in rank requiring more points than the last. As this naturally requires larger numbers than 1.0′s linear “score” value to function properly, we’ve replaced it with a more flexible three-digit field labelled “exp”.

Though the way our new heads up display shows XP gains may appear similar to a modern shooter’s progression system, that’s where the similarity ends. The only progression of power in Firearms: Source takes place inside of each individual game, as is the Firearms way.
I think I’ve sufficiently tickled your taste buds for now – feel free to let us know what you think on our forums, and as always you can PM me there too with any queries you might have. Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page, as we make fairly regular posts there as well.