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Tactical Jerky

Upcoming tactical shooter from Blackfoot Studios: Ground Branch

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I started to follow this game, late last year really, thinking perhaps it would be one to watch..

I read their forum and in-fact I am on there, not really so much a member of the community there, more just an observer to see and occasionally ask about the game, with the intention, back then perhaps, of being apart of the community later.

Now that said, the video here (linked above), we have rain, some thunder, plus of course a torch nailed to the bottom of a rifle barrel and it has to be said, some pretty dodgy sound effects, this after six/seven years of development.

The more I see and read regards this game, the more it sounds as if it will never see the light of day, as it was originally intended. If it did see the LOD (that’s ‘light of day’ in this case), its going to be a pretty run of the mill shooter.

When did it actually start development 2007/2008, I'm not sure, how some have stuck with it that long, just to see this type of progress, is beyond me. This just highlights, with all its flaws, how far the Arma series is ahead of any of its rivals in this genre style, or lets say its, demography.

The arma series here, is really head and shoulders above any competition in this style of genre. Not saying they’re the same, by any means, but they are supposed to appeal to the same player base really i.e. players that like a realistic type of combat, be it close quarters or open larger style combat. Seven years should have gotten them a lot further than this, there are no real videos showing anything other than cobbled together bits and pieces, bit of movement, bit of weather, bit of training, bits of map. Its bits of everything but nowhere near a complete game. Looking at it, it will be another seven years. Of course what happens then, well what happened now, the engines change, player expectations change, the world moves on, they (the games devs) try and play catch up, but never really do.

What a shame, the premise of the game is a noble one, but I just don’t think they’re ever going to get their original vision out there in the form of a game.

Apologies to the fans and indeed the makers, if they read this. But prove me and many others I speak to, wrong, please…

Put out the game this year, as per your original vision. If you do that, I’ll be truly amazed... No, lets be honest here, it just ain't going to happen, is it..

I don’t mind longevity in development, provided its proven to be worth it at various stages throughout that development, this has failed to do that, drastically.

:(

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An ambitious SP campaign with multiplayer as a bonus? Hmm....

Anyway, I'm buying it if it ever comes out.

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http://www.groundbranch.com/

So Ive been digging in the depths of the internet and stumped on this project.

For now there is not much to see, but it seems to be a mix af the old Ghost Recon (the first one) and the old Rainbow 6 (1, 2, 3) games, which is like awesome mixed with more awesome.

For instance it seems most of the levels will be in the open like GR, but we will also see some CQB action including hostage rescue scenarios.

The level of detail they put into gear is also terrific:

http://www.groundbranch.com/wp-content/gallery/characters/charactercustomization.jpg

http://www.groundbranch.com/wp-content/gallery/characters/weaponcustomization.jpg

I hope though it wont be like in R6 games where the terrorists would execute the hostages as soon as they hear a mouse squeak. For example in R6 - Raven Shield you couldnt use flashbangs or CS gas, because the terrorists sometimes shot the hostages before the grenade expoded and the only option was to storm the room without using the fancy stuff.

EDIT: might I ask why has someone reported me? Did I break any rules? Just to clarify, this post wasnt meant as advertisement, I stumbled about a promising game and wanted to share this info.

Oh im blind, and aparrently didnt search well enough, there already is a topic about it. I apoligize.

Edited by negah

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Whoops sorry for starting another topic about this game, didnt see this one.

About the game, Im thrilled to see how it turns out. Since the first Ghost Recon and Rainbow 6 - Raven Shield the only game which came close was SWAT4, but it was more about screaming "Police, put youre hands in the air" and lees about shooting (which is not bad, its simply different). I hope youll be able to switch between teams and team members like in the old GR and R6 games. And the terrorists wont be that quick to kill the hostages unlike in the R6 games.

About team AI, I also hope it will be at least like in SWAT 4, where it was more fun to play with AI (who obeyed orders and did their job well) than with friends (who did exactly the contrary and sometimes shot not only suspects, but also the hostages and other team members :D). While Raven Shield bots where usually pretty stupid, best example is if you order them to storm a room using flashbang. Most of the time the guy, who opens the door, will stand directly in fron of that door, holding a flashbang while being shot at from the guys inside the room.

Edited by negah

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I don't know why you got reported but I'm sure there is already a thread about this game.

That many are waiting since... 2007

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@ChrisB

What Down8 said.

Well it's been 7 years, but with engine changed two times (and HEAVILY upgraded - have You seen their options menu?!) and with only few people (afair for the first few years it was like 4 people working on it, work went mainly towards the engine and the things that can be re-used\upgraded later on, like models, props) who are mainly involved in other jobs (the leader of the studio worked on Rising Storm, for example). It was always a side project and wasn't backed-up like it should. Then, there's the engine thing. It's not Unity (which seems easy to setup, but proves its hard to achieve the quality on par with at least standard UE3-based environment with it), thus... dude, ArmA? Seriously? How could You ever compare ArmA to Unreal Engine 3? Because to quote Kris (I belive): "Despite what manual says, nothing is ever ready to go in UE3". The same UE that lacks the basic anti-aliasing, IIRC (remember what kind of a disaster Americas Army 3 was?), the same that has average level-building time of 4 months AT LEAST, the same that was plagued with server browser problems since ALWAYS, the same that have proven to be one of the buggiest current-gen (Red Orchestra 2? Chivalry Medieval Warfare? TAKEDOWN?) engines... Please.

Actually yes, they have shown "bits" of this and that, but these bits are much more promising than most of what people show as finished games. That's not CoD that just needs a working gun menu, ammo counter and the gun animation. That's one of the most ambitious projects in the industry, with a total shortage of people and money put towards it. And still, at this point it seems they are getting along rather well with UE4 and within few months they should get what they had on their heavily-modified UE3:

- "real" playable entities in the game, not just magical floating camera with the gun;

- rich options menu (with much more gfx and customisation settings than any UE-based game ever had);

- rich loadout \ equipment builder (again, there's nothing like this in the market, apart from Arsenal in A3... after 11 !!! years);

- working weapon \ equipment effects, particles, ballistics;

- fully done weapon handling, including realistic ammo management, different scope perspectives (e.g. backup sights), PiP scopes, recoil, gun lowering

- no standardized anims for the guns, every gun has it's own animation

- few guns in the game (remember your Eotech isn't glued in any position and can be adjusted on the rail: do you know ANY game that has this feature?)

- sound system that takes in account even the difference between throwing out an empty mag into the mud or onto the concrete

All of this with development team of less than... 12 people, as far as I remember?

Remember. These guys started from scratch, unlike ArmA. Your comparsion is way out of place. Their progress is really good.

At this very moment it seems most of the problem is with preparing the right animation scheme \ the animations themselves, but guess what? They just got some new people to do this, the ones that worked on A3 animations. So Chris... rethink what You said. Because yes, this will actually take a while longer, but even tho some work had to be redone \ dropped, they are further than ever, and closer to releasing the "promo" alpha. And hey, you won't have to pay for the "demo" - I guess you can't say the same about Interstellar Marines... So maybe it isn't all that bad, huh?

Because, see, I actually prefer waiting 8 years for the game that is the messiah of the tactical shooters than waiting 2 and getting another Letdown: Red Sabre or 3 for another mediocore "meh" action shooter along the lines of the R.Sux Vegas... Show some faith and respect...

Edited by JonPL
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Show some faith and respect...

Absolutely not, I don't owe these guys (or any other dev) an ounce of respect that is not earned through my enjoyment of their released product.

Your attitude is the epitome of why we have developers and publishers who behave the way they do.

Now, I have no idea whether this game is going to sink or swim but multiple engine changes and delays have a track record of turning out very badly which is why there is going to be skepticism, like it or not.

I am not trying to cast aspersions on Blackfoot as they may be the 12 hardest working guys on the planet and their intentions 100% honorable.

I certainly hope that Ground Branch turns out to be as good as it sounds on paper, but as always, time will tell.

Edited by BangTail

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And Your attitude is basically why You are wrong. (mildly put)

If You think EVERY developer gets my respect or gets it for nothing, You can't be more wrong.

Then there's that UN declaration of human rights, but uhhh, who cares, huh?

There's also that tiny fact that "as always, time will tell", and thus there's no point in bashing someone just for being slow while you doesn't even bother to get to know the story behind all this. That's ignorance and how is ignorance doing at earning you respect, brotha? They DO deserve respect, as they didn't scam you or shit on you like EA, Ubi, Acti or Gearbox, or whatever AAA company you want to put your fingers on. They are not the people you can shit on just because you don't like the way the industry works in general. Until they didn't do anything wrong, bashing them is just making you look like a spoiled little brat.

And You can act like a spoiled little brat as much as You want, just don't cry later on that the only people \ companies who release games are the ones who doesn't give a shit about you or simply what's good (read as: many AAA developers, who care only about their bank accounts, which will get filled anyway).

Ergo, crying "the ambitious team tac shooters are dead!" while bashing the most ambitious project to bring those back to life, is kinda... you know.

Edited by JonPL

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And Your attitude is basically why You are wrong. (mildly put)

If You think EVERY developer gets my respect or gets it for nothing, You can't be more wrong.

Then there's that UN declaration of human rights, but uhhh, who cares, huh?

There's also that tiny fact that "as always, time will tell", and thus there's no point in bashing someone just for being slow while you doesn't even bother to get to know the story behind all this. That's ignorance and how is ignorance doing at earning you respect, brotha?

They DO deserve respect, as they didn't scam you or shit on you like EA, Ubi, Acti or Gearbox, or whatever AAA company you want to put your fingers on. They are not the people you can shit on just because you don't like the way the industry works in general. Until they didn't do anything wrong, bashing them is just making you look like a spoiled little brat.

UN Declaration, wtf are you on about :rolleyes:

Your literacy skills are certainly not up to par (mildly put) as I never bashed Black Foot, I simply said that because other devs have 'killed the goose' as it were, there will always be skepticism surrounding projects that suffer delays, change engines etc.

It's your choice to respect someone who has essentially given you nothing but equally, it is certainly not your choice to tell others who they should respect and that is exactly what you were doing in the post I replied to.

Finally, try not to resort to puerile name calling as all it does is serve to eviscerate any relevant point(s) you might be trying to make ;)

Edited by BangTail

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AFAIR, UN human rights declaration state that "every human being must be respected". Yeah, connecting the two is far-fetched, but seeing the attitude towards some studios in the past, maybe not that much.

You DO promote negative attitude towards devs, at least that's the vibe coming off from your last post (the first part of it, to be precise), so don't try to play it cool. I'm saying that until you'll prove someone to be guilty (of, for example, trying to shove a broken alpha-state product down your throat for 30 $, using typical marketing actions), You can't act like he's guilty (or at least that's not the right thing to do). Disrespecting someone's work is simply a sign of narrow, simple mind. Skepticism is one thing, saying "omg 7 years of work and no solid SP gameplay" while you didn't even bother to get to know why it's 7 years is simply ignorant behaviour. As well as ignoring how the development works, especially in the case of the independent studios.

and yeah, flame my english skills, that's sooo mature. It's your choice to act like an ass, but equally, it's my choice to agree or disagree with your or ChrisB's attitude. And I'll always bash groundless or unfair criticism and that's exactly what I can and will do.

PS: Flaming someone personally and flaming a type of behaviour is two different things. There was no name calling.

Edited by JonPL

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AFAIR, UN human rights declaration state that "every human being must be respected". Yeah, connecting the two is far-fetched, but seeing the attitude towards some studios, maybe not that much.

You DO promote negative attitude towards devs, at least that's the vibe coming off from your last post (the first part of it, to be precise), so don't try to play it cool. I'm saying that until you'll prove someone to be guilty (of, for example, trying to shove a broken alpha-state product down your throat for 30 $, using typical marketing actions), You can't act like he's guilty (or at least that's not the right thing to do). Disrespecting someone's work is simply a sign of narrow, simple mind. Skepticism is one thing, saying "omg 7 years of work and no solid SP gameplay" while you didn't even bother to get to know why it's 7 years is simply ignorant behaviour. As well as ignoring how the development works, especially in the case of the independent studios.

and yeah, flame my english skills, that's sooo mature. It's your choice to act like an ass, but equally, it's my choice to agree or disagree with your or ChrisB's attitude. And I'll always bash groundless or unfair criticism and that's exactly what I can and will do.

PS: Flaming someone personally and flaming a type of behaviour is two different things. There was no name calling.

I did not 'flame' your English skills, I simply commented that you were not comprehending what I had written and this has been proven to a certainty with your last post.

I don't debate with people who resort to personal attacks and rudeness so I'll just go ahead and put you on ignore to avoid any more of your unpleasantness.

Have a good one :)

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Or maybe You don't really understand why Your words can be understood that way and not the other. Whatever.

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It's your choice to act like an ass, but equally, it's my choice to agree or disagree with your or ChrisB's attitude. And I'll always bash groundless or unfair criticism and that's exactly what I can and will do.

Hold on, don’t bring my attitude into your arguments with other people, I wrote down, only the way I saw progress, or lack of it.

That said, let me tell you where I would stand for this game to get released, not saying all would do this, but I'm sure many would.

They obviously need help i.e. financial, so why not charge for the Alpha, and charge, say £50—£100.

Many of the players waiting to play this, will be willing, after so long, to put money in, I dare say many already have. There is a market there for this type of game again, long time since a good tactical shooter for CQB.

So I would say to them, 'think', if you say your this far along, get something out there to play, in pre-alpha form if need be. Let the players get something to see/play, then its easier and better to spread the word, get it on YT etc. Players that really like this genre, will gravitate towards it via this type of pre-advertising.

Provided they are confident that the product is some way along, then release a mini level, in pre-alpha or alpha i.e.

Mini level for players to trial it out, will help, then let interest flood in, which I believe it would when videos etc are put on YT or talked about elsewhere.

I don’t like knocking devs (well not too much;)), but they are playing a game of catch up and once that starts, its hard to break free of it.

Releasing alpha for free, then saying 'see not many devs do that', is pointless if you need income to finish it. The players will decide if its good or not and true tactical shooter enthusiasts will pay to get it done.

Anyway it is their game, but to get it released they are going to need some input, money wise I feel..

I for one would be in there and put money down on something playable, just to help it get along and finished. But this long wait, will just mean catching up again at some time, not very productive.

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You have to remember that they made a kickstarter and failed to meet their goals. After that, project lead said they wanted to have a playable build before charge anybody interested in the project.

It's understandable. People nitpicked to death their pre-alpha gameplay footage while funded concept art and empty promises from Takedown team.

I don't think I owe them anything, but we have to respect them for try to realize such an ambitious project with little funding and few people, and have patience. It's a very hard goal to achieve.

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All of this with development team of less than... 12 people, as far as I remember?

More like 2 or 3 people, in their spare time, without any financial backup from other parties and normal jobs on the side for basic income. I believe, during their "best" days of development, it was never more than ~4 people or something. JohnS could elaborate on this with the exact details, but stating the same things again and again is probably just a waste of time better spend on other things.

In general.

It has not been in development since 2007, it was announced as an idea on paper in 2007. People seem to forget that year(s) they spent trying to find investors, the year(s) spend on trying to use the Sky Gods project for military simulation to fund Ground Branch, the months spend on getting ready for the Kickstarter, the many months nothing could be done at all because of real life jobs to gain any kind of income, the switching from programmers during the development cycle, the switch/upgrade of two game engines etc.

Ah well. Game development is easy, right? :j: I actually would expect that their determination, working on this project in some way/form or shape for 7 years without any revenue being created, would at least create some respect for their perseverence. I prefer not take make this comparison, but their situation could actually be compared to a mod team in many ways (as well as some indie developers). Developing during their spare time with changing teams over the years as not everyone is suited to do this kind of work without any pay for a long time. No funding whatsoever, many setbacks and trying to keep the things also up to date with current gen graphics and models, while things are crazy slow at the same time. Add to this that it's an very ambitous project and you get the idea. Ah well. Who cares if it takes long without funding? As long as the preview build they deliver will be interesting right? Because once some funding is secured, it's finally possible to work on the game like a "real" developer, with actual MONEY that is.

Ditching the project somewhere along the way would've been the easy way out, and would have prevented many headaches for those who currently work or have worked on it. But they haven't chosen the easy way out. Just as they haven't chosen to take the easy route in regards to their features and core gameplay elements. And let's face it, they aren't doing this for the money. So just fill in the blank why they are doing this ________. Yes, PASSION. But let's bitch on indie developers who actually try to do something innovative instead of being the next run of the mill shooter...... Because more generic shooters will bring us where we want to be, right? At least they are trying to do something about it. Even if it takes one year, five years or eight years. At least they are trying to make a difference, with the limited resources they have.

If someone is building his own house from scratch, a very ambitous project with high tech features almost never seen before, and without any budget. Would you expect him to finish this house in a few years, while he works 40+ hours a week and needs to stop working on the house from time to time because of real life constraints/winter season? I don't think so. But somehow, game development is magically different, and doesn't need money and time to get things done, right?

Edited by zoog

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TeamRoom shown

TeamRoom_01-450x246.jpg

Large:

http://www.groundbranch.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/TeamRoom_01.jpg

I know we seem to be going slow (We are Posted Image ), but I thought I'd show something I've been working on lately..... Ground Branch will use the concept of a 'Team Room' as a place to start the game from. It is here where you will customize your gear, set up missions, receive and go over intel as well as hang out with teammates before, during and after MP and co-op missions. There will also be oppurtunities to customize your Team Room as well.

One part of your Team Room is the Operations Room that is shown here. This is where the Intel/Mission magic happens and every one of these monitors/screens will be interactive for various purposes. This is a clean unaltered screen grab from the editor and I'm sure you can get an idea of what some things do just by looking around. Posted Image

We are using an HTML/Javascript based UI system for the interactive screens so there are some really unique possibilities we are exploring.

We know the pace is slow... much slower than we would like, but we are still here and still committed to Ground Branch!

-John

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Everytime I hear about this game it's always an excuse as to why it isn't out. It is worse than Duke Nukem Forever. At least that was released.

This game has went through 3 engines, a failed kickstarter, an "alpha" they released to donators only (not sure which alpha because I seen in 2009 they released one so which engine is the alpha actually?)

The game has been in development so long it's insane. I mean Mod developers with just as small a team have done more. The videos they have show a ArmA clone at best and a herky jerky one at that. They claim it's the successor to Ghost Recon which is a slap to the face Ghost Recon. They get mad if you remotely question anything about this title but always telling you it's coming when it comes. Even if you go with a 2009 date do they realize that it has been almost 6 to 7 years of development? Anyone know of a game that has survived that long in development?

Second thing that gets me is Mr. Deckers involvement. Everytime you question his abilities to come through with this project you get "HE WAS INVOLVED IN RSI" like being a level maker is anything like being a game developer. Ask Christian Allen how easy it is or look at Take Down Red Sabre. His resume was even more impressive than Mr. Deckers.

I honestly think GB's time has passed (and even BFS thinks so hence the involvement in Door Kickers and anything PS4 which hopefully their involvement DOESN'T ruin that awesome title). We don't need another ArmA series. It isn't like ghost Recon despite their claims. And as a fan of FPS titles I can back a pile of crap as long as roses are growing out of it. I originally though GB was a great idea.... 6 years ago. Now it's just vaporware in my opinion. And that is my opinion. And no one is "bitching" on Indie devs, only ones who want you to drink their koolaid.

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Hi, it's 'Mr. Decker' here. My jsonedecker account was linked to a very old unused email so I can't reset a missing PW on it, so new account for me.

I stopped trying to convince people about the game or explain away the development of Ground Branch a while ago..... It is what it is and we will put something out when we feel right about it. People can try it out or not and decide what it means to them then, if anything at all. One blessing of not having people rely on me for the ability to sustain themselves or a family is we can make exactly what we want and there is no added pressure to push things, so we don't personally or professionally. However, I did want to address njmatrix on a few points.

People always seem to confuse us with a funded company that has employees, an actual schedule and that we have taken money for a product. We aren't and haven't. DNF took actual pre-orders at stores and funding from outside partners. No comparison. Honestly, if it never comes out then why worry about it? We are doing something we want to because we love to do it. If people enjoy it with us then great.

No one gets mad if our timeline is questioned. The only time I ever get "mad" is if someone questions my personal ability and history in this industry and my past accomplishments. Not whether GB will come out or not. I am very proud of my positions held and accomplishments over my 17 year career. I was much more than just a "level maker" at RSE mind you. Feel free to research it a little, but I was an integral part of developing environmental/mission design for the R6 and especially the GR series as well as Lead Artist for Ghost Recon series before leaving RSE. I'm pretty sure even Mr. Allen (with the more "impressive" resume) will attest to my place in early RSE game's history. Other forum members may feel the need to step up and defend things but that is by their own accord.... its the internet.

To be clear about DoorKickers... we don't have anything to do with it other than we partnered to develop a military simulations training application with it.

So really, if GB was a good concept 6 years ago then it still is today.

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I looked on the GB forum (I do from time to time). They have put in for this grant that Unreal are giving to devs of innovative projects, who use the engine and have a project that is advanced enough. Ground Branch is one title that should hopefully fill that requirement. It is quite a large pot Unreal are giving out so fingers crossed for Blackfoot for them to get some of that pot. It seems that lack of funds is one of the reasons for the games very long development. This of course is understandable if they are not taking in money other than donated towards the project.

I wrote a while back that many players (me included) would be happy to buy into a pre Alpha, one level, type promo. I have paid small and large amounts to get into many early access games, obviously only the ones I am very keen on. I would be happy, as I have already said, to do the same for this project. I hope that, even if they don't get that funding from Unreal, they try and push out a early access small level promo and charge players to get into the game 'very early'. They admit they need funds to get it going more quickly, so Blackfoot please consider it. Many players (I'm pretty sure) here playing this series would love a good CQB tactical title like GB to add to their game collection. Even if that cost was between £50-100 to get in early. It would help fund it more to help development costs and also get some videos out there on YT to show it off.

I hope they get their grant, if not, I hope they consider taking very early access funding from the players, many titles do it and many players invest in titles that appeal to them. I know they are quite some way along already, but that final push to get it out, maybe its needed financially, players are waiting to help with early access, I'm sure.

Good luck anyway with the grant application..

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An early access is planned for the future, after a free public tech/test build :)

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This thing is STILL in development? Last time I heard about it was in 2007.

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