Progress Update No.7

Welcome to Progress Update No.7 of the Bundeswehr Mod for SQUAD and happy new year at the same time! This is LieutenantK, i am the project manager of the Bundeswehr Mod. It has been a productive 2022 for us and we have great progress to show. The best news comes first: We are nearing the V1 Release. Most V1 3D modeled items are ready or in texturing right now, but more about that later. Topics of this Progress Update Blog:

  • Team & Staff changes
  • General Status Update
  • New Subfaction: Seebrigade
  • Progress in Weapons & Vehicles
  • Progress in Leveldesign
  • New Sounds
  • We are looking for talents!

Team & Staff changes

First things first! Our project would be impossible without its volunteer based modder team and advisors. We unite people of very different backgrounds – from students, hobbyists, mechanical engineers, ship engineer (sic), architect, graphic designers, sound engineers, game designers, animation specialists, programmers to 10 military advisors from different branches of the Bundeswehr. I am grateful for all of you and i appreciate you, incl. the former team members! I am proud about the level of detail we are capable of delivering today and it should be more widely known, thanks to Cpt.Brotzeit, we developed a CAD based workflow, which is very unique in the world of game design and movie set design. It allows for an insane precision for our weapons / vehicles and it helps tremendously with creating level assets with architecture software, utilizing pre-made construction elements of these programs – so yes: We have actual engineers and architects creating weapons, vehicles and level assets for you.

In other news, we have to announce a couple changes in our team structure from 2022, going into 2023. Our friend Lynx is stepping down from its role as lead 3D artist for our team, due to uncertainties with the Ukraine war (repeated power outages in his home city of Odessa) and at the same time a lot of work for his current freelance jobs in the game industry. He will however stay a part of our team as 3D artist and a honorably member of our lead discussions. Lynx is a professional game designer, working for Indie and AAA studios in various kinds of genres. He joined our team, back when he was still a student. His first works for us were the KM2000 and the grenades of the faction. Afterwards he mainly showed dozens of modders for two years the ropes in 3D art and brought them up to higher standards with his knowledge, including modders for the Dutch and Brazilian mods which we cooperate with. The level of quality in our assets originates in no small part from his involvement. Thank you for your service Lynx! I am sure the community appreciates you as well. From the bottom of my heart, i wish you well and the war to be over as soon as possible. Luckily for us, he will continue his work on the SPz Puma, so expect something great here!

The role of 3D Lead Artist is being taken over by our friend Saber Rider, you might remember him from our incredible HK G28E2 DMR. He is a professional in 3D design as well and is already helping our modders with their projects, including taking over the texturing in some cases. For example, check out our amazing FOB radio with digital radio antenna, modeled by Lenni and textured by Saber Rider. Looks just like the real life thing, doesn’t it? His next thing is to finish up the Wiesel TOW for our V1 Faction Release.

Other changes in our team are:

  • 2 of our 3 animation specialists are busy with other projects at the moment, having no time to aid us with the V1 release in 2023, which is creating a bottleneck currently. We are looking for new talents here, to speed up the process! More about that at the end of this blog article.
  • We have a new sound engineer in the team, ArchRevenant, bolstering the sound team up to 4. His specialty is field recording of weapons. We backed his crowd funding project originally and when he found out about our Mod he was all “gung-ho & hell ya” about it and immediately joined us, helping with the integration of his amazing weapons sounds – more about ArchRevenant’s work a bit further down in this Blog including some video of his recording work.
  • Holy Lord Jesus is back! He is the original creator of our HANS 5 T GL, he began our Character models and is currently reworking them. He will include our new AI generated realistic faces and items we modeled in the mean time, like a new helmet, new personal radios and so on.
Pre-rework character models

General Status Update

Where are we at the moment? What still needs to be done? My favorite questions in this projects. As project manager i kept track through my lead artists, a kanban project management software and of course my head. But since you can’t look into my head most of the time, i made these Update Boards, so everyone can keep track better of what is going on! Let’s dig in:

We are happy to announce: Our V1 weapons models are nearly finished and most of them are already working within SQUAD. They are waiting for their new gun sounds provided in February by ArchRevenant and refined animations. New to the lineup are the HK G3A3 DMR and the C4 satchel with remote detonator! The first was ment as a stop gap for the G28E2 and is based on the existing G3. We went through with it anyway, so you may have the pleasure of choice with the DMR role.

Bridge destruction on our Narva+ technology demonstrator Mod (available and playable in the Steam Workshop of SQUAD)

The C4 with remote detonation is especially made for our destructible bridges / building structures, since stopping the Russian advance into the heart of Germany through the famous Fulda Gap can be aided by blowing up Autobahn bridges. You will be able to just time it right until the enemy spear head crosses the prepped bridge! Let’s check our general vehicle progress:

As you can see, our V1 vehicles are also close to being finished in terms of modeling. The top 5 vehicles (2x HANS 5T GL variants) are already working in game, except for some smaller bugs to iron out. I believe we can balance other factions in SQUAD, once the Wiesel TOW and the two NH90 variants are game ready. Once these three are finished, our V1 release is possible! The Panzermörser and the Dingo can come a bit later with a smaller iterative V1.1 update, once they are ready too. So it looks damn good already!

The SPz Puma (Heavy IFV with tank like Armor) and the wheeled SPz Boxer (IFV with Bradley level Armor) will complete the basic capabilities of the mechanized infantry subfaction “101. Panzerbrigade, 2. Panzergrenadier Company” and the infantry subfaction “101. Panzerbrigade, 3. Jäger Company”, according to the basic concepts of the Bundeswehr structures. They are scheduled for our V2 Faction Update – from our former experience with vehicle development, these could be ready within a year – just to give you a general idea. But as per usual, we are not communicating fixed release dates, since our volunteer modders real lives tend to influence the development in various ways regularly – so let’s hope the best i guess!

Bundeswehr Mod Faction Emblems. Visit https://bwmod.com/faction/ for more details about vehicle setups!

Completely new in our schedule are amphibious capabilities. While we knew for a long time amphibious warfare would come to SQUAD, we didn’t know exactly when it would arrive. We were a bit surprised (in a positive way) by OWI’s move to add it recently. We therefore chose to postpone our work at a new Leopard 2A7+ with RWS and heavy logistics vehicles, in favor of amphibious vehicles first. We are adjusting the transportable FOB supply points of our logistical vehicles (HANS 5 T GL and NH90) to include more logistical points and less troop transport capabilities in the mean time.

New Subfaction: The “Seebrigade”

Greet our new subfaction, the “Seebrigade”, a marine infantry brigade, inspired by the smaller German “Seebattalion”. While the Seebattalion is tasked with specialized tasks such as sea born special ops, counter mine diving, guarding of Bundesmarine facilities abroad and boarding of enemy / suspicious sea vessels via RHIB or helicopter, our “Seebrigade” will additionally take over the job of offensive amphibious landing operations for the Bundeswehr in SQUAD.

It will be armed with generally the same infantry weapons, as these are standard through out the whole German armed forces. But they will use different vehicles to fulfill their amphibious role accordingly. The Fuchs family of APC’s are originally all amphibious! We will introduce three variants of “Transportpanzer Fuchs”, based on the same base vehicle.

Photo: Combat Camera Europe
  • Fuchs TPz 1A4, with FLW200 remote weapons station, but with no additional armor packages like the 1A8 variant, since it wouldn’t be able to float with the extra weight. It can transport 10 soldiers (8 dismounts plus driver and gunner) and some spare ammo.
  • Fuchs TPz 1A4 LOG, with an armored open top MG3 turret for self defense and plenty of supplies for your bridge head FOB’s! It can transport 4 troops, including driver and gunner.
  • Fuchs TPz 1A4 AT, with the same open top MG3 turret and an additional open top MILAN launcher, to battle heavy armored threats and beach camping vehicles for the D-Day landing task force. It can transport 8 troops, including driver, MG gunner and MILAN gunner. Two seats are blocked by the MILAN reloads. It also carries some spare ammo for FOB’s and the dismounts.
  • Bundesmarine RHIB, a boat with four open weapons stations (M2 Browning cal. 50 HMG, automatic grenade launcher GMW or MMG’s, like the MG3) and the capability of transporting up to ca. 9 soldiers and some FOB supplies.
  • NH90 NTH “Sea Tiger”, our NH90 will receive a marine grey paint job with the iconic Bundeswehr iron cross, to fit the style of the Bundesmarine helicopter type. We will also try to include other type specific changes in the model, according to it’s original version
Photo: Wikimedia, Boevaya mashina

The armor level of the TPz Fuchs 1A4 is on par with the Russian BTR’s and the USMC LAV’s. The FLW 200 RWS can operate a 50 cal. or a automatic grenade launcher, with mixed HE/AT belts (We will focus on the already finished M2 50 cal. for the V2 release). This modified variant is not in Service with the Bundeswehr as of today, but is within the realistic possibilities of the vehicle platform. We accept being not 100% correct here, for the benefit of giving you more variety in SQUAD. After all: While OWI can introduce a CTAS Warrior IFV, which never served with the british army, we can put our FLW200 on our amphibious TPz Fuchs 1A4. 😉 We will release the first TPz Fuchs incrementally as soon as possible, to give you more amphibious options as fast as possible, while the more specialized vehicles will follow up with the V2 release. Until V2, we will use the SQUAD standard RHIB’s and our standard NH90.

Bundesmarine RHIB. Picture from this Website: https://kommandosoldat.com/festrumpfschlauchboot-der-kampfschwimmer/

Progress in Weapons & Vehicles

Let’s have a closer look at the asset development for the Bundeswehr Faction for SQUAD. Below, we present our progress of Q3/Q4 of 2022:

The M113A2G Panzermörser (Mortar Carrier) with 120 mm Tampella mortar made incredible progress. Inovationsr used 4K reference photos i made at the Military History Museum of the Bundeswehr in Dresden. He got it right, down to mold markings on lamps. The Panzermörser comes with complete interior, including the driver position – no more dark box with openings in this case! The M113A2G got a open turret with MG3 for self defence purposes and can take up to 4 soldiers (driver, commander, gunner, assistant gunner).

You might have liked our finished Wiesel MK20 with 20 mm auto cannon in a previous blog post – then you will definitely like our Wiesel TOW! The model is nearly finished, apart from some details in the interior. Saber Rider is taking the project over and will also texturize it in the coming weeks. The Wiesel TOW is a thinly armored tracked weapons carrier, with incredible speed and nimbleness. It got a three men crew: Driver, TOW Gunner and Assistant Gunner with mounted MG3 for self defense.

Update: Speaking of the Wiesel Weapons Carriers – Knoblauch Knut finished the gunner optic of the Wiesel MK20!

The ATF Dingo 2 (German MRAP) is one of our oldest vehicle models. Our friend Toby began it many years ago as a hobby project and it was one of his first 3D models. Time has passed and we took another look at the model. The decision was made to revamp the outer hull (new bottom part in picture), to add more details and fix some issues to get to the level of our most recent vehicle models. Mr.Chulo is half way through the hull remodeling after roughly one month. The detailed interior was made with guidance by Lynx and is technically in a good place. The Dingo will be able to carry up to 6 troops and will be armed with our FLW200 remote weapons station with M2 cal. 50.

Art0mis finished more G36A3 variants with incredible detail and great textures, including Cpt. Brotzeit’s transparent mags with working animated visible bullet count. The G36KA3 is the carbine (K=Karabiner) variant with shortened barrel for better use in CQB environments.

Magazine Test (never mind the other animations)

The shorter barrel means a worse long distance accuracy, but it’s compact size and the front grip offer exceptional control in full auto fire mode. The G36 carbine will come with iron sides for players without squad and with double optics (red dot and scope) for other roles as alternative option to the standard length G36A3.

Another G36A3 variant is equipped with the HK AG36 under barrel grenade launcher for the grenadier role. It can shoot 40 mm smoke rounds, HE grenades and – a German specialty – HEDP or High Explosive dual Purpose grenades with armor piercing capability. It will be able to damage thinly armored vehicles like MRAPS, MTLB or BTR, especially piercing through armored glass and engine covers.

Our HK G28E2 DMR looks awesome! It’s quality is near production grade, same as our G36 variants, and it offers a unique long range scope with a top mounted red dot without zoom. This optic setup is standard in the Bundeswehr, allowing the DMR role to engage targets in CQB scenarios with this select single fire weapon. The switch between the optics will be done via the game built in ranging function. The bipod and the foregrip offer increased stability for accurate long range shots.

The HK P8 is the service pistol of the Bundeswehr and Lennis second model with us. You did great with this one, despite difficult rounded shapes all over the place. Saber did an amazing job with the texturing here as well. Guys, keep this quality up, you are doing a good job! I am sure players will love the P8 side arm.

The Panzerfaust 3 is the main anti tank weapon of the German infantry. It is accurate up to 600 m and has a optic with ranging scale and distance markings. The optic with trigger piece is detachable from the spent projectile tube and can be re-attached to a fresh tube. The ammunition types vary from DM12 HEAT (“LAT”), DM22 Tandem HEAT (“HAT”) to DM32 Bunkerfaust (“HE-Frag”) for building structures. The Team will get one HAT with 1x HEAT, 1x Tandem HEAT and another one with 1x Tandem HEAT, 1x Bunkerfaust.

Our surprise for you is the HK G3A3 DMR as an alternative marksman rifle with select single fire. It is based on the standard G3 of SQUAD, equipped with foregrip, bipod and a magnified german scope, similar to the HK G28E2. Take it as a late Christmas present! Great job again by Cpt. Brotzeit.

The latest gun model of Lenni looks awesome too! He made a completely new model. The HK MP7 is a PDW or personal defense weapon. It was created for rear echelon forces like loggy drivers and helicopter pilots. Accordingly, our vehicle squad leaders and all pilot roles will receive this weapon additionally to their service pistol and combat knife.

Progress in Leveldesign

Welcome to the progress update of our level design department! Our map Fulda Gap is coming along just fine. We finished our basic map optimization, including new 3D scanned plants, our own german roads with bridges, german traffic signs, light posts and so on. We are currently flashing out the points of interest for the map and possible capture points. We are also creating unique German level assets, so the details work out as well and the look&feel of the map is where it should be.

These hunting seats or “Jägerstände” can be found at bigger openings in forests and the edges of forests, but sometimes also in the open fields. We managed to create high corn plants, to give the infantry the possibility to cross the big open areas of the map, without getting constantly obliterated by vehicles and enemy forces. Below you get some more detail impressions of our unique level assets:

Construction Fence in the wind
Autobahn traffic cones with blinking lights

With our last blog update we gave you some insight into the way we conceptualize POI’s on our map. With this update i want to share another POI concept sketch, for the village of Zillbach on Fulda Gap. Mind, it’s made for working at the map and not for presenting originally, so never mind the quality of the hand writing or symbols. You can see vehicle firing positions, tank ditches, tank trap lines, trench lines (thick yellow), destroyed buildings and buildings used as fighting positions. Zillbach is built up as strong point at a alternative route parallel to the Autobahn running south towards Munich from Fulda. If you destroy the Autobahn bridges and viaducts with explosives, the Russians will be forced to move over the Zillbach plateau. The defence of the village fortress is organized in two main lines and with several strong points. The surrounding heights and hills will provide overview and will have their own defensive structures. Later on we will show you how we turn this sketch into a playable battlefield for Squad. As announced before, you will be able to experience “real” modern trench warfare with our map. All standard trench modules can be crossed even by 4×4 vehicles (don’t drive too slow though) and are wide enough for two infantry soldiers to walk past each other.

Battlefield Sketch “Battle for Zillbach” (Village section)
Picture: Northern most edge of the village of Zilbach with various defensive emplacements

Below you see a short fly through over the central area of “Battle for Zillbach” (WIP october of 2022). Also this video wasn’t ment for presentation purposes (low resolution), but i believe most of you will enjoy it anyways:

New Sounds

The last content related topic of this Blog post shows some progress in sound creation for our faction and map. A very popular reddit post from us already presented to a part of the community very interesting scenes from the recording of our high definition weapons sounds and some other weapons included in the “Master Gun” collection of our buddy ArchRevenant (it will be available for other game and video projects soon). The recording setup includes an array of microphones at multiple distances from the fired weapons, so even at long distances our weapons will sound amazing!

We are also adding various ambient sounds, such as bird / nature sounds and old radio songs playing in radios all across the map, remastered by our friend [ODIN] Hangrath some time ago. We are adding more ambient sounds of various kinds soon!

Example Sound: Preussens Gloria

Example Sound: Lili Marlen

Example Sound: German Forest Ambient

Ambient German Forest sounds (Disclaimer: Video was made with the old map version. The map and vegetation got remade since the video production.)

We are looking for Talents!

If you are interested in helping us speed up the development process, join our Discord and show your work in our recruitment channel. In case you know someone who could help us, please feel free to share our call for Talents! We want to release our V1 as soon as possible and definitely in 2023. We are looking for talents in the following departments:

  • Animation
  • UE SDK integration of Assets
  • Level design
  • UE Trailer production & presentation screenshots

If you want, you can also send a donation via PayPal our way. It would help tremendously with server costs and with software licence costs.

Thank you for your attention and continued support! You are making a difference for us. If you want to get more frequent updates, join our discord. I hope you enjoy this Progress update as much as me!

Happy new year!

LieutenantK out O7