Community News Developer Q&A
posted on September 23, 2023
Thank Squaddies for taking part in the latest Squad Q&A, where you, the players, get to ask the people who made Squad all about the game! We were extremely excited with the number of responses to our call for questions. We have taken the time to select fourteen (14) questions to answer.
Aiding in answering the questions are four members of our development team
If your question was not answered this time around please feel free to ask it again next time.
In addition to this Q&A Offworld is seeking fellow Squaddies to help shape Squads future. We would appreciate any and all to take the time to fill out our Questionnaire form! [LINK]
With that we want to thank all of our Squaddies for their participation. To not delay any further let’s get into these questions!
Question: Can we expect a new updated roadmap? – Klav
Answer: We’ve been diligently developing Squad according to our internal roadmap and working on delivering the promises made with the old roadmap over the past two years. However, as our development priorities evolve, we want to avoid the risk of running into issues with a new public roadmap and the expectations it sets and disappointing our community. Our goal is to ensure that the community feels engaged and involved. To achieve this, we’re actively exploring alternatives to a public roadmap, which may include emphasizing other aspects like dev blogs, public testing or behind-the-scenes sneak peeks. – CANNON
Question: Will we get more communication with the dev team? Potentially reintroducing dev streams? It was a great way to stay connected with the community. – Mr.Phileo
Answer: We have recently changed our community leadership and want to take a more active role. Increasing transparency and communication is our goal as a community team. We want to continue growing inclusive communities that share our experiences together. Dev streams, Q&As, and more public play-testing at an earlier stage of development are some ways we plan to do that. – SgtRoss
Question: Is there a reason why each Infantry Combat Overhaul playtest only lasts half a week and is not left up until the next playtest session drops? – Peanut 01^5
Answer: With playtesting, we found it crucial to conduct playtests in a structured manner, allowing us to create an iteration loop essential to our development cycle. By temporarily taking down playtests, we close the loop of receiving feedback and grant our design team the time to consume and process the community feedback meticulously. Allowing us to make well-informed adjustments before launching the next round of playtests. Additionally, the approach provides safeguards in preventing player burnout, ensuring we can achieve consistent attendance for subsequent playtests. Having a dedicated player base for each test ensures we continue to receive valuable and stable feedback during different testing phases. Enhancing the overall quality and refinement of the overhaul and our game. – BaronVonBoyce
Question: In regards to mods and mod makers. Does the team have any plans for increased communication, support, and integration of Squad mods/makers into the base game. Or is the team satisfied with the current state of modding with a few minor tweaks in mind? – Jaster
Answer: Yes, modding is still very important to our studio and Squad, and we are always trying to find ways to improve not just the modding experience but our own design team’s experience. Creating mods uses a similar workflow to when we design new maps or features, but we just have direct access to the source code and the programming team behind it. While we are not currently ready to publicly share details of our plans regarding modding, we can definitely say we are not satisfied with the current state of the Mod SDK, the difficulty using our tools, and the high bar of entry when it comes to modding our game and are actively looking to improve it. – OWI_Patrick
Question: Besides the Infantry Combat Overhaul, what else is Offworld looking to do to make the game more immersive? For example, is there an interest in an armor/helmet protection system or interactive doors and props on the maps? – Pedro B
Answer: We would love to add more environmental interaction, such as destruction. The main issue Squad currently runs is the need for performant tooling to do this in a live environment, which currently restricts us to prefabricated destruction setups in our environments. The need to replicate the destruction to all players would also add stress to servers affecting performance. – OWI_Patrick
Question: How would you balance the Infantry vs. Vehicle combat when implementing the Infantry Combat Overhaul? Will suppression be adjusted as well as will the damage of Light and Heavy Anti-tank weapons look to be changed? – Vector.Kamarov
Answer: In terms of infantry versus vehicle balance, we anticipate that vehicles will gain increased potency, especially with the introduction of an effective suppression mechanic. It’s important to clarify that our intention is not to replicate the dynamics observed in the live version of the game, as we found that particular balance to be unsatisfactory. With the upcoming Infantry Combat Overhaul update, we don’t have any plans to make fundamental alterations to infantry versus vehicle combat, except for potential adjustments to some faction’s roles and load-outs. While we do have conceptual ideas for the future of vehicle combat in Squad, we’ll take a prudent approach by reassessing the situation after the ICO release, we want to ensure that vehicles don’t become excessively powerful, and we’ll make any necessary adjustments to maintain the desired balance as we move forward. – BaronVonBoyce
Question: With the new combat overhaul and changes to suppression mechanics, are there any plans to change gun sounds to more closely reflect their real-life counterparts? Machine guns specifically seem to lack power compared to other weapons. – Acepalm
Answer: Other than regular iterations on particular sound effects. There are no plans at the current time to make any mass changes to the weapon sounds. Part of this is due to the limitations we have with the custom sound system that Squad has used for many years. However, we are working on shifting to a different audio system that will let us bypass these limitations and deliver more impactful audio. – OWI_Patrick and BaronVonBoyce
Question: In the Infantry Combat Overhaul dev blog announcement, Offworld stated that they have strayed from Squad’s original vision. Are there more aspects of the game that need to be overhauled to return the game to its original vision? – Josefig
Answer: Yes, in the Infantry Combat Overhaul dev blog announcement, we acknowledged that more aspects of the game need to be overhauled to return Squad to its original vision. Apart from the combat systems, several key areas are being addressed to enhance the gaming experience. First and foremost, there will be a reworking of the first-time user experience to ensure that new players can seamlessly dive into the game and understand its mechanics. Additionally, there are plans to implement an in-game system to reward good sportsmanship, effective communicators, and experienced mentors, fostering a positive and cooperative community, as well as recognition for veteran players. Beyond that, the development team intends to rework anti-tank guided missiles to improve their functionality and balance, ensuring a more immersive combat experience. Helicopters are also slated for a revamp to enhance their gameplay dynamics and performance. Finally, certain game modes will undergo changes to align them with the game’s original vision, providing players with a more cohesive and engaging gameplay experience. These comprehensive efforts demonstrate our commitment to restoring Squad to its intended vision by addressing multiple facets of the game. – BaronVonBoyce
Question: Are there any plans to work on the game’s optimization in the near future? – MistahGG
Answer: There are! We have spent a few months looking at Virtual RAM (VRAM) usage and asset Level of Detail (LODs). Configuring both of them properly for every asset and texture in the game. This will be released with the November update. While it’s tough to say what performance gains we will get from these changes, it will certainly help overall performance across the board.
Additionally, this year, we upgraded to Unreal Engine 4.27, which came with some tangential improvements to performance, but at a detriment to other areas. We’ve spent time this year optimizing things a bit behind the scenes, such as patching times and some low-hanging fruit in terms of performance. The primary focus this year was addressing server performance to get it to pre-engine upgrade levels. This proved quite difficult as there aren’t a lot of tools available for testing server performance, especially at Squad’s scale. To solve that particular problem, we had to develop a scale testing infrastructure in which we could diagnose the problem in the first place. Thankfully, we were able to find a solution and have observed that server performance is on par to what it was in the previous engine version and more stable across the board.
Beyond addressing server performance, we’ve made significant strides in enhancing the gaming experience on lower-end systems. We’ve successfully integrated AMD Fidelity Super Resolution 2 (FSR) to provide a quick performance boost. Furthermore, we’re actively working on integrating DLSS and XeSS to offer even more performance options to our players.
As mentioned earlier, we are also diligently tackling VRAM-related issues, particularly concerning texture streaming and optimizing our textures for better performance. In addition, we’ve undertaken various optimizations to reduce overall memory usage. We’ve devoted considerable effort to untangling complex memory reference chains that had accumulated over the years. For instance, we identified a case where loading a faction triggered the simultaneous loading of all vehicles and weapons associated with that faction. This resulted in excessive memory utilization, which was largely unnecessary and has since been rectified.
Support for DirectX12 has also been added, which has delivered a substantial performance boost on graphics cards that are compatible with it. However, we acknowledge that it doesn’t offer significant benefits for those using graphics cards that do not support it. Our commitment to optimization remains steadfast, and we will continuously work on improving performance in future updates. Our goal is to incorporate at least some minor level of optimization in each update. – OWI_Patrick and CANNON
Question: Will you keep updating the game for the next 2 years? – ThaDucks
Answer: No plans on stopping. Offworld still believes in Squad and it’s future, so we plan on continuing to develop and improve Squad. We might change our development cadence as we determine what works for the team. We’ve learned a lot about cadence over the course of 2023, and we want to put that into effect going forward in 2024 and the future. – CANNON
Question: Are there any plans to add new factions? – HardentSergent
Answer: Yes! Factions are still in development, so stay tuned into the radio feeds Squaddies. We don’t have anything major we can share at the moment. But we want to let the community know that we have seen a lot of faction requests, and it is good to know we share similar ideas with the community. Although we cannot reveal the faction, we’d like to provide a very small sneak peek into what will be coming to Squad in the future. – CANNON
Question: What are the studios thoughts on adding team-balance mechanics to Squad? – Derf
Answer: Implementing a team-balancing system in Squad presents unique challenges due to the sandbox nature of the game, where player contributions to victory often go beyond what’s tracked in a traditional scoring system. This complexity makes it challenging to assess and balance teams solely based on in-game metrics. Additionally, we’re aware that it’s already a bit challenging for players to coordinate and play on the same team as their friends in Squad.
To address this issue, we have plans to introduce a ‘friends list’ feature in the near future, making it easier for players to join their friends. Therefore, introducing team-scrambling mechanics could potentially undermine this effort.
It’s worth noting that community servers have devised their own team-scrambling solutions when necessary, and we want to respect their discretion in managing team balance within their communities. – BaronVonBoyce
Question: Are there any plans to bring back the gritty nature of Squad via map atmosphere? In 2017 Squad had a lot more variety in terms of lighting. – ZackTactical34
Answer: Our current focus in level design revolves around optimizing our workflow to streamline development. While we’re excited about introducing more evocative and atmospheric lighting scenarios into our levels, our primary goal is to enhance efficiency. We aim to delve into an investigative phase to thoroughly study and standardize lighting scenarios, ensuring perfect alignment with gameplay requirements, optimization considerations, and aesthetic goals for any given level design project in Squad. This approach will allow us to seamlessly incorporate atmospheric lighting setups in the future, enhancing the overall player experience without compromising performance and aesthetics. – BaronVonBoyce
Question: Are you planning to revise or rework the tutorial anytime soon? If so, how and why? – Tank20k
Answer: We’re currently in the brainstorming phase for a new tutorial aimed at enhancing the initial player experience. Although it’s not on our immediate internal roadmap, we have a clear intention to implement a tutorial system in Squad tailored to help players understand the specific roles within the game, like LAT/HAT tutorials. Our goal is to provide players with the essential information they need before diving into their first match. While we can’t make any promises at this point, we are considering offering a small reward as an incentive for players who invest their time in learning the game. – CANNON
That’s all the questions we have for this Q&A session! Thanks again to all the Squaddies that participated even if we did not get around to your question. Your interest in Squad and its development we greatly appreciate. If you missed your chance to ask a question this time around, Keep a close watch on our Twitter and Facebook, where we always announce our latest rounds of Q&A.