Steam keys for those that supported development by purchasing Pre-Order keys should be seeing an email with their keys(s) in them. The automated process is sending them a bit slow so give it an hour or two to make sure it makes it. Also, if you don’t see it make sure to check your spam folder as well. If you purchased a Pre-Order key and an email does not show up in the next 12 hours then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it sorted out. Please be patient over the next few days as we get things setup in the forum and our build update information sorted. We are also going to be bringing a couple more BFS servers online as well in addition to the one we currently have running. Anyone with the build can run a dedicated server so feel free to start your own!
I’m sure all of you will have lots of questions as well so feel free to ask away in our forums. There are plenty of people that have been playing the Operator Edition builds for a while now and have a good grasp on how things work.Here is a good Quick Start guide to help you get going: http://www.blackfootstudios.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=8445&#entry155268
The online store is also setup to use our new provider and should deliver a license key upon purchase by email. So if you purchase a Pre-Order from now forward you won’t need to wait for a key.
We hope you enjoy this early look at things while we move towards our Early Access release. Also, please be fully aware of the current state of the project and that not all of the features that will be in the Early Access are in yet. With so many new people using builds now we fully anticipate some initial issues for the first week or so. There will be lots of additions and revisions over the next couple of months to get us there.
A quick note to let you know that tomorrow (03/25), we will start to send out Steam license keys for those that have supported our crowd funding with buying Pre-Orders. They will go out by email so keep an eye on your spam folders just in case. It will be mentioned a few more times, but be aware that we are not to Early Access yet and the builds are still missing some key features that will be present in the Early Access release. Think of the current state being Early Access Alpha. 🙂
Also, at some point in the next 24-48 hours we will be switching the Pre-Order process over to a new storefront provider that will allows license keys to be distributed at time of purchase (in an email) as well as hopefully provide a smoother buying experience for those that have had issues completing transactions with the current provider.
I’m sure there will be bumps along the way, but bare with us and hopefully things will go relatively smooth.
Its time for an update on our progress!
Things are going very well with many new features added and stability getting better with each new build. We just introduced the first pass at 3d positional/proximity VOIP that allows players to talk globally so everyone can hear if within appropriate distance as well as a radio channel that allows teams to communicate when out of hearing range. There have been lots of UI additions and fixes including the ability to change a full array of graphics settings to help fine tune performance. Networking and multiplayer has been getting a lot of work and is pretty stable at this point. Multiplayer matches now feature a full game loop (minus an after action review screen… that is coming) so players are enjoying playing Ground Branch with others and are starting to really see the potential of the game!
So when is the Early Access? Well we still have not set a firm date because we must get it right. There is only one chance for a first impression! We don’t feel it is to far off though, so we have decided to distribute Steam keys to those that have and will purchase the Pre-Order of Ground Branch. This will happen within the next 2-3 weeks and you will get an email with instructions. As mentioned, the game is not ready for Early Access and therefore still missing some key components, but we feel there is enough there to include more people in the process. Once we send these keys out then any Pre-Order purchases from that point on will automatically get a key upon purchase… no more waiting.
Those that purchased the Operator Edition have been enjoying playing Ground Branch for months now and have provided valuable feedback and bug reports. Here are a couple videos and some screenshots from a recent playtest…. thanks to Pepperbelly, WaderTheGamer, Jeza, jankovic and those playing.
Still VERY much pre-alpha but enjoy!
Hey everyone, welcome to a new year! Lots going on with us here, especially with Ground Branch. We’ll get to that but first I would like to draw your attention to something we have partnered on with FragOut Studios named Sniper Tactical.
As some of you may know we partnered with FragOut Studios to help with the Weapons and Animation work for Ground Branch. Through that relationship we decided to lend them a hand in bringing some smaller less hard-core titles to market. The first of those titles is Sniper Tactical, a lemmings type puzzle game with sniper shooting mechanics mixed in. The gameplay revolves around bringing hostages to safe-zones which in turn is done by shooting enemies in correct order. Your job is to clear the path for your allies on the ground by taking out targets, bearing your own safety in mind. As enemies display various behavior types, it is up to you to learn how they will react and find a solution to each level. Hostages will move after you fire a shot so delivering accurate hits on the bad guys is not optional. Act quickly or slowly – depending on the situation.
Sniper Tactical is available as a Steam Early Access title on January 8th, 2016. While the experience isn’t the same as Ground Branch, the price is right for an enjoyable experience that is easy to pick up and play, but still takes skill and patience to master. Give it a try and let the developers know what you think.
Now for some Ground Branch news…… Things have been moving along quite well recently. We have closed out sales of the Operator Edition and are getting some great testing, feedback and collaboration from those who decided to make the purchase. Multiplayer connectivity is finally getting to the point where matches can be played and even in its very rough state people are enjoying the experience. Tremendous work has gone into the UI and the work needed to make our unique customization systems work as needed in both a single player and multiplayer environment.
Gameplay is still very rough and there are lots of bugs and graphics glitches, but here are a couple videos of some Operator Edition owners giving the latest build a go. Please remember you are watching a VERY early development build with LOTS of known issues and unfinished stuff. 😉
This one is played on a small developer test map that is used for various systems development/testing so the graphics are pretty basic. Its not a pretty map, but the video actually does a good job of showing off some of the fun gunplay you can have in small spaces. The players in the video seemed to have fun at least!
And last but certainly not least we have had some nice work going on AI recently. Zoombapup made a news post in the forums this week that I think warrants a news post. http://www.blackfootstudios.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=8310
The latest video shows the current progress on the Ground Branch AI, specifically the basics for movement, cover and engagement. Lots to do still, but its good to finally get things to a point where they are actually working in the Ground Branch main branch. Hopefully we will be able to get a first pass of our Terrorist Hunt style mode out to the Operator Edition users soon.
So hopefully everyone has a great 2016 and we hope to see you playing Ground Branch soon!
We would like to try posting regular updates in between the more major news items, giving you all a feel of where we’re at. So here is a small update!
Phil (zoombapup) is currently busy with the cover system for AI as some of you might have read in the dedicated AI discussion forums. It’s on the edge of being usable at the moment. Next step is implementing a cover spot reservation system, to make sure several NPCs don’t try to take cover in the same spot and start arguing about who was first. This cover system is an important milestone as it’s needed to further develop the squad code.
So when the basics of the cover system are implemented Phil will focus on squad behaviors and give them some love soon. Right now the squads have no concept of actually being in cover. An NPC for instance doesn’t know if the guy he is firing at is in the open or not. Hopefully we will see some interesting squad behavior in the next months. Phil hopes to get additional squad code written and have the first pass terrorist hunt ready for the New Year, but we’ll have to see how it goes. The day job is demanding so Phil’s slammed for the coming weeks with Uni related work and development is mostly done during the weekends.
Kris has been hammering away at multiplayer issues in order to create a smoother MP experience. Improving the Steam integration, providing a better server browser and better loadout & appearance replication. So yeah, lots to do on the multiplayer side of things!
The new UI developed by Costa (Scopey) is being implemented step-by-step and is coming along nicely. Besides the technical challenges, real life catches up as well, so Kris might go back to his system of waking up at 2-4am to work on Ground Branch before the day starts *shudders*. Plans for next weeks are to get some good night’s sleep, fixing that annoying bug causing client side items to detach from dying players and debugging everything else like crazy. And shoot at John some more.
That’s it for today. We’ll try to give you a new update soonish, thanks for reading!
Things are moving along slowly but surely. We have been working hard to resolve some networking bugs that have been a thorn in our side for a while, and are very close to having everything resolved in that area. That should allow for much smoother online play and hopefully more public showings of actual gameplay.
We have a new contributor to the project that has been working on some UI concepts (He actually did the main GB logo as well 🙂 ). His name is Costa and goes by ‘Scopey’ (Used to be SAF_Night Scope) on the forum and has been doing a wonderful job coming up with the direction of the Ground Branch UI. The next release of the Operator Edition will include the start of moving to this new design.
Here are a few concept images showing the new direction
Since we are getting a lot closer to an Early Access release we have decided to stop selling the Ground Branch Operator Edition on November 15th. We have 45 Steam keys left in our initial run so lets get them all sold in the next week or so!
The reason we are cutting off sales is to make sure those that purchase the Operator Edition get their money worth. We want them to have time before the Early Access release to provide valuable feedback and to feel as though they have been an important part of the early development.
So lets get these last few Operator Editions sold!
I was working on lighting for the Tanker Ship map and decided to do a screen grab. This is straight from the editor, pasted into PS and saved out. 🙂
We have been doing a lot of work on networking and AI lately and that stuff is kind of hard to show off until its done. Though Phil has been doing a good job of posting AI progress in the forums. 🙂
So why not show off some weapon work we have been doing!
The sniper rifle that will be in the Early Access is the M14 EBR and here is the current progress on the high poly version:
And for the Light Machine Gun in the Early Access we will be including a Mk46 MOD 1. Here is the in game asset rendered in engine:
The Mk46 will also make its debut in the official 1009 Operator Edition build coming soon. Thanks for all the support we have received to this point… it is GREATLY appreciated!
About a month ago we showed off one of the early stages of the TankerShip map that is currently available in the Ground Branch Operator Edition. The map is massive and will allow us to actually utilize 3 unique playable spaces, each with various day/night/weather combinations making for a map that provides lots of replayability over various MP/Coop modes. The goal for Ground Branch is to get as much replayability out of our content as possible and this is a step in the right direction. Over the last few weeks, the engine room area of the map has gone through an initial art pass so we thought we’d share a few screenshots!
We are working hard to get us closer to Early Access, but while you wait why not pick up the Operator Edition and help support the project! www.groundbranch.com/store
We have been pretty busy since launching our Tech Preview and opening the groundbranch.com store just over a month ago so its a good time to give an update on where things are at.
The biggest news is Ground Branch is playable with a simple multi-player deathmatch game mode(more modes coming soon) using a dedicated server, direct ip connect or over a LAN! We have implemented our first pass of the Server Browser using Steam for our online connectivity and we already have plenty of current Operator Edition users hopping on 24/7 dedicated servers and having a good time. Videos of play sessions are coming soon.
If you want to join in the fun and see how Ground Branch is shaping up, all while helping to fund this awesome project, then hit the store and buy into the Operator Edition and get access right away!
Its still early and multiplayer is in its early days, but Operator Edition players are really enjoying themselves and fully embracing where Ground Branch is heading. Its a game where people find themselves just hanging out sometimes. Here are a couple forum comments that jumped out at us:
“We were just hanging in the ts, watching e3 coverage and walking on the map.
at some point we figured out we could launch each other by jumping into one another. so we worked on our technique for a while.
there were actually 8 and probably more people on the server at times.
again it was fun” ~ MissVerstanden
“….. I had a blast. It is a bit like Arma, but smoother and less clunky and controls that make sense. The lean works better and more natural than I expected. You’ll see me leaning on every corner.” ~ Psychomorph
At BlackFoot Studios we pride ourselves in our community involvement and are getting valuable feedback from those that have downloaded the Tech Preview as well as those that purchased the Operator Edition. It’s always great to see players do things in the game that weren’t specifically thought of, but yet fully support and validate the core concept of what Ground Branch is all about………..
“so… i somehow killed myself by shooting my guy in the foot” ~ chicken_slayer
Something like shooting yourself in the foot doesn’t usually happen in games, but its a realistic side effect of how Ground Branch is built. You better keep muzzle awareness and trigger discipline or something bad might happen!
Now to show the Early Access map #2 from the Trello board… Its a giant tanker ship! Lots of area to cover and a design that poses some unique tactical challenges is sure to test your skills.
It is currently in the “blocking out” stage to define the overall space and is getting some decent playtesting time by our Operator Edition users. One of my favorite quotes from the forums:
“That tanker ship! That’s exactly what we need for early access, good work. Looks wide and dense at the same time, can’t wait for the interior compartments. RS tanker ship pales in comparison to it.” ~ Psychomorph
So that’s it for now. Things are moving along nicely so why don’t you join in the Operator Edition fun!