There's been a lot of discussion around the forums about the state of the tanker game in Battleground Europe. Some of it has been quite interesting and we have been watching your thoughts pass through and taking notes. Of course, some of it has also been a little misleading as a few people have it in their heads that we wish to destroy the "tanker game". Nothing could be further from the truth.
So I'm going to outline some things in order that we base any useful discussion around fact rather than innuendo or rumor. Additionally we want to put some of the ideas we've been tossing around inside CRS to see what you think of them.
1. Yes we are adding new HEAT weapons with the grenadiers, but that doesn't mean MORE type HEAT weapons against tanks. Other existing HEAT weapons already in the game will be reduced in number to accommodate the new arrivals. In effect, more variety will exist but not more actual weapons in number. In fact we'll probably increase the number of overall tanks a little so the balance is actually going to be the reverse of what the more strident naysayers wish to promote.
2. The new HEAT grenades are actually less effective than for example, the HEAT satchel that the ATR (current anti-tank unit of the first 2 tiers) ... at 35->40 mm of penetration (with a very tight angle off requirement) it is not
going to be an insta-kill "look at a tank and kill it" anti-tank weapon. When the parameters it requires are met, it will be effective in many cases, but not always. Outside of those, it will not.
3. Additionally, RPATs that come into the game as anti-tank units are being readjusted so that:-
a: - they have less rounds in their load out requiring more frequent resupply by other supporting infantry
b: - they cannot move faster than a walk when loaded
c: - there will be less RPATs in the field after the grenadier has the new HEAT grenades, thus requiring more combined teamwork as grenadiers and RPATs have different anti-armor ability and will need to work together to meet all available possibilities with regard to armor they encounter in the field
Ok, now that we have cleared up some common misconceptions about those upcoming changes, let's look at some of the ideas we have been tossing around here to further improve the tanker experience and make the gameplay more fun for tanks.
We developed some interesting changes in how tanks function while we were developing the RA tool set and how players handle them in play. while this was originally geared towards ease of use for more casual game approaches (WASD and single perspective control) we realized very quickly there were some benefits we could or can port over (if they are popular enough to warrant that work) that would make the tank game much better without removing the more realistic approach that players of WWIIOL: Battleground Europe expect.
Situational awareness. If you were a tank commander in real life, unbuttoned to maximize your situational awareness (sight and sound) ... it is arguable you would have better situational awareness than you do now. Your peripheral vision would be far greater and your perception of approaching infantry in the open much better than the tunnel vision you have now in a computer generated render system.
What if you had a wider angle view when the commander was unbuttoned ? You would still have full magnification binocular view when zoomed in, but when zoomed right out and unbuttoned you would have a wider field of view than now, just enough that you could actually watch your suspension going up and down as your tracks cross undulating terrain. This looks really cool and is actually a lot more fun as the tanker. This also simulates far better the role of a commander giving a driver instructions on where to go and steer the tank accordingly than you get right now, since currently you are stuck in your view slit as driver with none of the commander input helping you as the driver.
Naturally, the 3 French tanks that cannot unbutton (they could in real life by sitting outside the turret) could utilize this feature by opening the rear hatch on their turrets. Thus all tanks will have vulnerabilities you'd expect in reality when using this "enhanced commander situation awareness" feature, and none of them will be disadvantaged in ways they are now. So you have an enhanced situational awareness compared to now, but it comes at a price of increased vulnerability while you are using this feature.
also allows us to finally add unbuttoned to the French tanks that cannot do this now, without rebuilding the models. We are being honest with you when we say the rebuild required to make the French commanders unbutton in the historical fashion, isn't going to happen anytime soon, using the traditional method of an animated crewman popping out of the turret and sitting on the rear hatch. This new "enhanced situational awareness" mode I speak of allows us to achieve the same goal however.
Of course, this will only work properly if you can drive the tank from the commander position, something people have actually asked us to do for a very long time. This then leads us to tank control. It really only works well (driving from unbuttoned commander view) if the gearbox is coded to be automatic, ie: you no longer have to manually push buttons to change gears. Most people are aghast at this suggestion but in fact, when you use it, the tank behaves more like a real one you might have witnessed in video than you might think. It jerks and grinds a little before it settles into smooth movement. Changing direction of travel (forwards to reverse) feels more clumsy than "automatic gearbox" might otherwise suggest to you. It actually feels more like how tanks look when you watch them being driven slowly in low gears and changing directions, on video.
You still have to be in the gunner position to shoot, looking through the gunsight. You cannot shoot from the wider field of view mode. That view is really intended to improve commander situational awareness and the commander assisted-driving portion of the tank game, and that's all it is for. It isn't available to any other position other than the commander, and only while unbuttoned (commander UP or in the case of the French tanks, rear turret hatch open) ... so in summary if you want to comment:-
1. We get enhanced situational awareness for tankers when unbuttoned.
2. We get improved driver control when driving with an unbuttoned commander.
3. When buttoned up, things remain as they are now.
4. French tanks finally get to unbutton where they could never do this previously.
Ok, well that's it really. We think this kind of thing (all of the above) is reason for tankers to rejoice in what CRS wants for the tanker game, and not to feel that we have abandoned it to the infantry. We understand that combined arms is the core of the game, hell we invented it. :)
PS: don't forget this is a discussion post, none of this has been scheduled to happen to Battleground Europe's tanks or tank game play so far. Your feedback will have a lot to do with whether it ever does, or not.