Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gear Up & Roll Out - Paramilitary and Tactical Armas Release!

As announced in our earlier posts we will be releasing the all new Paramilitary Pack along with a revamped re-release of the Tactical Gear Pack. When will you be able to get your hands on the new Gear?  This weekend starting Friday!

For those of you who remember, the Tactical Gear Pack first made its debut on the Armas Marketplace during Thanksgiving Weekend for a Limited Release.  The first rendition of the 'Tac Pack' had a very limited release as it was only available for purchase for that weekend only.

Five months later, we're bringing the Tac Pack back. While this release will not be quite as "Limited" as the first time we released the Tactical Gear Pack, we do have a limited offer some unique Bonus Gifts and suped up bundles that will only be available for the first couple of weeks for the release.  Here is what's in store for you:

  • Paramilitary Gear Pack + FREE Paramilitary N-TEC 
  • Tactical Gear Pack + FREE Tactical CR-5
  • Paramilitary Urban Warfare Pack 
    • (Includes Paramilitary Gear Pack, FREE Paramilitary N-TEC and Nulander Nomad Q134)
  • Tactical Urban Warfare Pack 
    • (Includes Tactical Gear Pack, FREE Tactical CR-5 and Seiyo Citadel V4)
  • Seiyo Citadel V4 (4-Slot Vehicle)
  • Nulander Nomad Q134 (4-Slot Vehicle)
  • Combat Helmet
  • Elbow Pads
  • Knee Pads 

New Gear, new Vehicles, and new unique Weapons are here for you to gear up and roll out!

And because we want to share a little look behind the scenes of the making of this new release we have our Lead Character Artist, Peter Andersson, sharing with us the process and back story for our latest Armas release.

(Written by Peter Andersson - Lead Character Artist)

With 1.7.0 we’re seeing both the release of the Paramilitary clothing and gear pack and the re-release of the Tactical pack. I wanted to give you guys an insight into some of the thought processes behind making them and also a hint at where we will be looking in the future when it comes to making more character assets.

To get the full picture I’m going to jump back to when G1 and Reloaded first took APB on. When we were asking ourselves what we could improve in our respective areas I had some pretty clear ideas of where I wanted the character assets to go. The biggest issue in my mind was that, for a game that primarily uses combat as its core game play element, there was a noticeable lack of character assets to support that notion. Work therefore started on a set of gear that was aimed entirely at pushing the combat aspect of APB. This eventually led to the release of the Tactical pack. Most of the inspiration came from professional combat units; tactical vests and webbing, ammunition pouches, Kevlar helmets, knee-pads, elbow-pads etc.

Combat gear inspiration

Upon the first release of the Tactical pack there were two things that stood out in the feedback we received. Firstly, people seemed to like this choice of a pack of gear revolving entirely around the combat aspect of the game. That part obviously made us happy and feel that we were somehow taking this in the right direction. Secondly, they seemed to think it was much more useful for kitting themselves out as an enforcer than a criminal so that for criminal players, the pack felt somewhat lacking. When I saw this feedback I felt that the players very much had a point. Knowing that this pack had drawn its inspiration heavily from combat units which was the main idea, I also knew that those units were mainly elite police and army divisions. These professions obviously have a much stronger connotation to law enforcement than crime out there in the real world so this reaction felt natural and justified.

Too similar

We decided that even though the direction seemed good enough, some tweaking of the plan was in order to better support the idea of the criminal/enforcer factions. We therefore started looking into a set of assets that would serve the criminals better, which led to the creation of the Paramilitary pack. This pack features some assets similar to the Tactical pack like the idea of an ammunition vest, separate pouches and additional webbing, only for the criminals we have gone in a different direction with the style. Their version looks more like it would have been obtained from an army surplus store or some other unofficial source, maybe dug out from a dusty attic somewhere and appropriated for urban warfare. We’re looking at the same underlying idea but executed differently for each faction.

Same thing, different look

In my mind this strengthens the perception of factions in APB and will hopefully help players feel more unique in the game world. Whatever you decide to do with your character customization, this prevents someone from the opposing faction turning up looking just like you. Not only does it feel inappropriate that somehow an opposing faction member has been able to kit themselves out exactly like you, it tends to confuse game play quite a bit too. As we have seen already in internal play tests, introducing these rather distinguishing faction-specific items has meant that all of a sudden it’s become that much easier to see who is friend and who is foe in frantic fire fights. Having the art content support the game play in that way definitely constitutes a win in my book.

A clearer faction representation

There are indeed other areas we want to support too, such as the many fashion styles and subcultures of the real world you can draw inspiration from when you’re designing a full video game wardrobe for a game like APB. More fancy clothing is definitely on the agenda, not just bulletproof vests and ammunition pouches. Exactly what they are will remain undisclosed at this point but I’d like to let you know that work has already continued in both areas: cool clothing as well as more combat related gear. We are definitely not short of ideas. On the contrary the idea list is massive and the challenge we’re facing is rather determining exactly how and when these ideas will best manifest themselves.

I hope this provides a little insight into what lead up to this asset release and some clue as to what direction we’re planning to take it in. I’m looking forward to the next time I’ll be writing an announcement of new exciting stuff for the game.

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