We know that you have been expecting the 2017 annual report from us, since we promised it. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), since the beginning of the year and to this moment, we are exclusively focused on development. Creating an annual video requires the diversion of a large number of developers from their current tasks; therefore, the report was suspended. In the annual report, we usually also talk about our plans for the next year. Therefore, we have decided to present these plans at least in the form of a text so that you could gain an understanding of what shall come to Escape from Tarkov in 2018.
First and foremost, we are preparing the launch of the Open Beta Testing. To make sure everything goes smoothly with this launch, we are now polishing the game’s technical aspects above everything else, namely:
- Fixing all possible errors that break the gameplay or game
- Errors that cause drops in performance
- Errors that make the game crash
- Errors that prevent you from playing further (all sorts of inventory and weapon-related hang-ups and freezes)
- Other technical errors that rarely occur but don’t allow playing either.
- We are optimizing and fixing the network code, striving to eliminate the cases of desync, reduce delays and get rid of disconnects.
- Part of the works has already been done, significantly reducing delays, but the process is ongoing.
- We are also working on matchmaker adjustment, increasing its accuracy to ensure the minimum latency for players.
- Servers get optimized as well in terms of CPU use, memory and traffic, allowing to use the resources of server machines with more efficiency, improving the overall quality of online play.
- Fixing server-side errors that lead to significant drops in the performance of the server application, resulting in consecutive desyncs and disconnects.
- Optimizing game performance
- Investigating and repairing all possible causes of abnormally high CPU load. EFT is putting CPU under quite a stress, and the main causes of low performance are the following: physics, animation system, in-game logic, CPU-based graphics processing. The first two reasons take up more than a half of overall game performance, so we are focused on fixing and optimizing these components. We are refactoring physics, optimizing animation system and simplify the animation events.
- We have introduced new additional means of optimizing locations. For example, the new Interchange location is done with full employment of the new methods, and after its release we’ll be sure to optimize all the old maps as well.
- In general, we can say with confidence that there is still considerable potential for optimization.
Beside technical preparations for OBT, we are balancing everything there already is in the game, add new content and key features. The Open Beta is to feature the new Interchange location, new quests, weapons, equipment and other items. All this will be uploaded as part of few upcoming patches prior to Open Beta launch for additional testing.
It’s also worthwhile to note that we have already started the preliminary preparations for transition to the new version of Unity 2018, and the engine developer company specialists are providing us with prolific support on that matter.
And now, a little about the new features, which are planned to be included in the game this year.
Most importantly, I want to emphasize that EFT will continue to go down hardcore the road, with ceaseless improvement of realistic component. In other words, the game will be becoming more realistic and hard. The desired degree of immersion and realism will be achieved through introduction of various features to complement the current system. Let’s review just some of the features that are on top of the planned list.
Time-consuming magazine loading.
This feature is already being implemented. When in raid, you will not be able to instantly load the magazine with cartridges. Loading every cartridge will take time, and it can only be done in the inventory. Same goes for unloading of ammo from the mag (though time required to unload one cartridge is less than time required to load it.). Later on we will add special animations of loading and unloading ammo. This feature is closely connected to another innovation: - the exact values of remaining ammo will be removed from inventory -- you will need to use the option of checking the number of rounds left in the magazine and in chamber.
Loading or unloading rate will be affected by the character health condition, skills and/or weapon mastering. Outside the raid, ammo will be loaded/unloaded immediately, and its number will always be determined precisely.
Animations for medical supplies, food and other consumables.
Such items are now used "in the background" while you can keep firing, which is, of course, absolutely not realistic. In the future you will not be able to use weapons while getting treatment or eating.
Off-raid treatment and parameters recovery.
A very important innovation which will get rid of magical full recovery of health and other parameters after exiting the raid. Now the health will have to be improved after the raid, either by waiting a certain time to regenerate or by using medical kits, food and water. Health rehabilitation rate will be connected to another major feature -- the Hideout.
We already have prepared models, animations and effects of smoke grenades, both Western and Soviet/Russian. They will be useful for creating smoke screens in dangerous situations. The smoke is physically adequate and great at filling up indoor premises.
Under-barrel grenade launchers.
It’s a long-announced feature that turned out to entail a lot of difficulties while adding it to the game, especially on the part of network logic. Nevertheless, UBGL are getting be added to the game before long.
Troubleshooting -- dealing with jamming, misalignment and misfires. Ammo quality.
Introduction of this feature will make the players pay attention to tracking of the ammo quality and weapon state. Who knows, maybe out-of-commission AK will jam dead or even explode in your face, ending the raid prematurely. This feature is also related with weapon overheating.
Improvement of medical supplies. Stimulants. Addiction, overdose and side effects from medicines.
Stimulants will be sold by the Therapist and will improve your skills (even beyond the maximum level) for a limited time. Beware of side effects, though!
Ongoing introduction of new skills.
In particular, faction-specific skills that will be available only to particular PMC.
We are now actively adding new PvE enemies -- Scav bosses, each with unique appearance, gear and behavior. Every such boss will be surrounded with an escort of hardened thugs who would desperately defend their chief.
Personal investigations that immediately uncover the pieces of game plot. Who are the Unknown? What the Cult is all about? What is the Ticket? Why has the fall of Tarkov even started what will it lead to?
Feature that lets you put your own goods up for sale. It is also related to the Handbook (all examined items will be recorded there), search system (that will make possible, for instance, finding all the sales associated with AK-74N) and Kits (saving customized weapon kits, ability to share them and to quickly purchase missing parts)
The ability to communicate with voice in the raid, with positioning and range of hearing.
That’s how Radios will work later on.
Changing the character appearance.
A special service provided by traders will allow to change the appearance of the character’s upper and lower body parts. At this point, we have 5 sets of apparel prepared for each faction. Thanks to this, you will have the opportunity to pick the camo more adequate to the particular task, daytime and terrain.
New types of exits from locations.
There will be locations with no permanent exits, where you will need to use the flares to enable the extraction, thus attracting attention of everybody in the vicinity. Pre-purchase special exits in advance, before the start of the raid.
A huge feature that adds the building and management of your own hideout. It’s upgrade and outfitting will increase the stash, speed up rehabilitation, add the possibility of crafting different items, including homebrew liquor and omnipresent bitcoin farm. All content assets are already complete - now it’s turn for programming logic and interfaces.
A separate game mode, full of interesting innovations. Competitive and exciting. Extensive coverage on the Arena will be out later.
As mentioned above, this is just a part of the list of all the features that are going to be in the game.
It’s also worth pointing out that this year we’ll have another iteration of graphics improvements without affecting performance -- updated lighting, vegetation, shaders, post-effects. Also, the testing of updated character animations is already underway.
Moreover, on top of that, we will add new weapons and a load of customizations for them, including functional two-barrel shotguns and revolvers. New equipment is going to include 10+ helmets, body armor, new tactical vests, other headgear, glasses, balaclavas, headsets.
And, of course, new locations -- after Interchange we are going to continue with Streets of Tarkov. On a parallel track, we’ll start building an indoor location with the same CQB spirit as Factory -- the TerraGroup Lab. This year we are expecting to finish all the locations necessary to release.
As you can see, the plans for 2018 are rather formidable. With your support, however, the work goes faster. Thank you for being with us! Escape from Tarkov for life! MORE FEAR -- MORE GEAR!