The unedited transcript from Battlestate Game’s Escape from Tarkov video, Developer’s 2016 Report
“The Escape from Tarkov team has come a long way since the reveal, setting the bar for the hardcore shooters to a whole new level. Developing ideas, working on the project every day right here in St. Petersburg, we are bringing the project release closer with every new version, maintaining a high level of quality and realism.
Hello everyone, my name is Nikita Buyanov and I head the independent Battlestate Games studio that is developing a PC exclusive first-person hardcore multiplayer battle simulator Escape from Tarkov. EFT is unique in many ways, a project that, although hardcore, will be intuitively understandable for players, while remaining as uncompromisingly realistic and captivating as it was planned out.
The Escape from Tarkov tells a story of a private military company operator caught in the maelstrom of events in a fictional Russian town of Tarkov – Events, that would eventually lead to a global collapse. Trapped in the center of the city out of contact with the command, the players will have to escape from Tarkov to survive. Or escape from their past by staying in the city with a new world order. Consistently heading towards the exit, the player discovers that it’s not as simple as it seemed, and there are plenty of unknown parties pursuing their own goals.
Starting last year with the first cinematic trailer and first combat prototypes, we have now come to a full-fledged alpha version ready to become beta. Many parts of the game were undergoing constant changes, from network engine and physics to some key gameplay aspects and graphics. Regular adjustments to the development course have become a necessity in order to maintain the cornerstone concept of the game – maximum immersion multiplayer shooter. EFT is not about survival, although such elements of gameplay are more than abundant. EFT is a game about combat situations in dangerous conditions, where degree of the player involvement and knowledge play a very important role. Expertise in operation and modification of weapons, orienteering skills, tactical training, control over speed and body position, team work under different weather conditions and time of day, aptitude in non-standard combat environment and many more. All these skills and knowledge, all these unpredictable variables are involved in the creation of the EFT unique combat situations. All these variables we hone to perfection. In this video report we will tell you about what we’ve been working on this year and reveal and explain our plans for the future.
Thorough and detailed approach to weapons in EFT is unprecedented and has no rivals among other projects. Weapons are what we love – and what we are proud of, so we strive to do them as realistically as possible. Constantly analyzing and discussing various aspects of weapon handling, we came to the conclusion that adding an advanced action, in addition to the overall realism and credibility of what is happening on the screen, can also give a slight tactical edge. Thus, when using various tactical lights, we decided to make a visual display of their mode switching. In our use of sights and scopes we rely on the actual experience of their application, and from the start we were particularly fascinated with the operation of auxiliary and combined sights.In reflex sights, we do not ignore the option to switch the reticle type (Provided that this function is really present in specific models). At this stage, we implemented the ability to fold and unfold stocks,which will, in the future, affect the occupied storage space in the inventory.Folded stock changes weapon characteristics and grip. We even took care to shift the weapon center of mass. All of this affects the recoil dynamics when shooting. Our weapons are subject to wear. Weapon failure, as well as poor ammo quality, can lead to a number of consequences. Various problems like jams, stovepipes and misfires. Now we are implementing a serious bolt jamming for critically low weapon condition.The process of eliminating this problem takes a lot of time and can have a crucial influence the outcome of the battle.
Weapons in EFT work with numerous applied parameters and characteristics, some of which are hidden from the player. Absolutely all of the parameters are balanced in a realistic way, every body kit on a weapon influences it in some way. Stocks noticeably modify the recoil and weapon control factors when firing, and, as we mentioned earlier, change the weapon’s center of mass position and grip hold. We feature a lot of different stocks from different manufacturers. An equally important characteristic of weapon is ergonomics. Each kit can make changes to this parameter, changing weapon control ability on grip and the aim-to-sights speed.
Let’s not forget that weapons also have real dimensions, which may interfere with their handling in confined spaces. By using reduced barrels, folding or removing the stock, you can create a compact modification for the confined spaces combat. This is just one example – with our comprehensive modification system you can do whatever you like within boundaries of the real weapon modding.
The more we work with weapons in the game, the more we get used to it, upgrading the Mastering characteristic.The higher is the level of weapon mastery, the more professionally our character handles it – Principles and speed of reload change, player assesses the number of cartridges in the magazine more accurately. Furthermore – we will add the ability of tactical reloading while aiming at the maximum level of mastering. The more we work with the weapon, the more it wears down, appending penalties to the weapon characteristics.
At this stage, we have started working on a couple of additional tricks – Visual weapon wear and functional binding of the overheating factor. There will be many, many weapons in the EFT. We already introduce a whole series of weapons made with encyclopedic detail, after searching through a bunch of sources in quest for reliable information. Thus, everything that happens in the game is essentially an alternate reality of our time, and all weapons are absolutely realistic. No fiction.
The game has an internal economics and the plot, and that also affects the choice and availability of particular system. We often try to take on the rare special designs that were either never present in the other games or been done incorrectly, unlifelike. For example, the Kedr-B SMG is a very rare modification with special muzzle device, just like PB. In the game we can examine everything in detail, get all the information and sensations that can be compared with real feelings. In the process of implementing everything related to weapons, we often turn to manufacturers and just people with combat experience.
Frequent visits to the shooting range are also equally important for all categories of the company’s specialists – A developer should know what he is doing.We are also shooting the videos and pictures as a reference, and often get back to them in the course of development. For example, we relied on the physical model of the exhaust gases dissipation in the muzzle devices when building the system of shot effects and muzzle flashes. Every flash hider, muzzle brake or silencer has a unique pattern of smoke and fire spreading. That means that the use of muzzle devices is completely justified. Somebody may want to cut recoil, while somebody else might prefer to reduce exposure while shooting.
We’d also like to single out the job we’ve done on munitions. Right now there are already many different types of cartridges. The type of cartridge affects muzzle velocity, ammunition quality affects the chance of misfiring and jamming. The bullets have ricochet and piercing abilities. We intendedly implemented the segmentation of bullets after breaking through, to recreate the destruction of bullets after passing one obstacle or another. Now we have almost finished adding the tracer bullets, which, yet again, are implemented in a realistic way, based on the physics of the process. This type of munition will clearly showcase how the ballistics in Escape from Tarkov works. In addition to firearms, we are also busy with melee weapons.
At the moment, the game features several basic knives and a notorious Tomahawk, which will be, in the future, supplemented with a special ability to break open the doors. We are constantly adding new ways to interact both with inventory items and objects in the locations. The need to light up the dark rooms with no flashlight installed on the weapon led to introduction of ability to take the torchlight separately with hands, and use them in combination with a weapon in a free hand.
To achieve the deeper gameplay immersion we add the unique animations of using medicine like first aid kits, bandages, etc. Based on this principle, we will be able to realize the visual application of an item, which will be accompanied by animations.
For instance, lockpicking the doors with MultiTool is almost done. Generally, MultiTool is a very important item in the player’s inventory. It can be used to perform the in-depth modification of weapons and pick some of the closed doorslocks. The tool itself will also have a durability limit. Right now the doors can either be opened with keys or kicked down.In the future we’ll be able to, in addition to multitool picking, hack them with axe, throw grenades inside and perform the tactical breach. It is also worth to note the future functionality of the doors with combination lock. For such doors you’ll need the special key cards and access codes. And behind these doors we’ll hide the Terragroup stockpiles no one had managed to get hold of yet. We can now break the bulbs and use NVDs to arrange cleanup operations in the dark. In the future, when we implement the power system, we will be able to switch off the light or even cut off entire buildings or areas by hitting the switch in the substation.
We are also planning such features as mining, increased number of physical and interactive object types on locations, dragging of heavy objects and bodies. Additional character control in the game is ensured by the possibility of a smooth change in speed and stance. For your convenience, we have introduced a zone of visual display of the current stance and speed of the character. There you can also easily spot the speed penalties from various causes, such as heavy armor or injuries. After adding leaning and backstep, which are certainly useful for fighting indoors, we started researching the possibility of adding blind shooting. This will be possible thanks to a procedural animation system, which takes into account the dimensions of weapons and does not require the creation of special markers and objects, unlike other games.
Another useful innovation will be the sign system, designed to issue commands and simply for silent communication in raids. The character control system is being constantly improved as new features are introduced to the game.
Over the last year, the AI, as well as the part related to the details of the NPC, has undergone a lot of changes and innovations. The bots have become smarter, every new patch gave them new capabilities and skills. Now the main PvE characters in the game are Scavs, the local bandits who come at the sound of any noise, looking for something to loot. They are unscrupulous and ruthless marauders, surviving and plundering in Tarkov. In the raids, they come at the most unexpected moments, capable of lengthy tracking of players and working in groups.
Playing as Scav is going to be an important feature for future versions of EFT. The players will be able to fulfil themselves as the raiding marauders, not being attached to the main character, spawning on location in the most unexpected places and situations. Upon surviving in the raid, the player will be able to save everything collected as Scav for the main character. The characters in EFT in general are also being constantly upgraded, augmented with new clothing elements and facial traits for the planned appearance customization. There are lots of RPG elements in EFT, and their number keeps growing. Handling of the classic slot inventory, equipment and unloading systems, working with containers and stash, repairing weapons and equipment – We have always treated inventory management with utmost attention while implementing it.
Game character itself has physical attributes, such as health, energy, hydration, stamina, level of biological and radiation poisoning, body temperature and blood pressure. These attributes will be directly affected by skills, consumed food, ambient temperature, etc. The damage system is broken down into different parts of the body, each with its own volume of health. We can break a bone, get varying degrees of bleeding, contusion, pain syndrome. The character may become physically exhausted, die from dehydration and starvation. In the future, we plan to introduce the stress factor that will take into account the mental state of the character.
The skill system at this stage is being actively adjusted and balanced. The game will feature types of skills – mental, physical, combat and practical. Every skill upgrade will be based on repetition of particular actions. Each new level of skill gives a certain positive effect. Top level skills give an elite perk. Additionally, the player improves the character’s rank by earning experience points in raids. The player receives the experience for opening new locations and secret places, breaking the doors, by completing quests and gaining important information, neutralizing enemy, repairing weapons and equipment, using medicines. With each new level-rank of the character the game will unlock new opportunities, such as access to new locations, new range of goods at traders, their new services and jobs.
The traders themselves are tied to certain locations and have their own biography, set of offered services and trading principles. By the end of this is already in the alpha version. The trading system will be improved further with the addition of the flea market – A free trade zone among the players – and auctions. Every trader will have its own set of jobs closely related to the game story. In addition, traders will offer a set of services – Currency exchange, insurance of equipment and weapons, manufacturing and other. Just a few clicks are enough to go into the raid – Choose your character, choose your location and if you wish, gather a group for a joint venture.
Right now the game has one mode, consecutive clearing of the story locations – Raids.In the future, we will add the Arena and the Free Roam mode. Players will be able to chat, coordinate joint raids, share the gained information and just blab on any topic. We also plan to create a large-scale clan system. Storyline locations-raids are different zones of city of Tarkov and its suburbs.Industrial premises, transport interchanges, commuter districts, large patches of woods, cottage community, lighthouse and, of course, downtown city.
Everywhere, the player will have to find a way to escape from the isolated spots, consistently approaching the getaway zone. The variety of locations force the player to resort to different tactics, and a large number of objects for exploration will maintain interest in returning to this location again and again. Dynamic weather and daylight time changes have already been mentioned earlier. The server time in game runs at x the normal speed so that players could have a chance to notice the changes. Also, in the weather system you can adjust the amount of clouds, density and height of the fog, wind direction and speed, the force of rain and chance of thunder and lightnings in a thunder-storm. The weather system is being adjusted and improved all the time. We have added procedural soaking, puddles on the ground, raindrops on weapons. The weather and daylight time effects can look differently when using shades and tactical glasses, which have their own pros and cons.
Altogether, we plan to have raid locations + A few hidden extras, one Free Roam location and two locations for Arena mode. Each raid location is unique and, often, it will be necessary to return to them for performing certain tasks. Some places require teamwork, some can be ventured alone. In the latest raids, the players will encounter advanced Scavs and even rogue PMCS that have chosen the path of banditism. The location production process is now one of the main priorities for the team of modelers and level designers.
Right now we are working on the most ambitious location of them all – The Tarkov city downtown. The streets of Tarkov and buildings in them were literally designed from scratch. A lot of buildings will be made available for indoor exploration. Just imagining a -storeyed hotel complex and a -storeyed business center is enough to be impressed.
There is lot to do in the new year. The launch of the closed beta is right around the corner. Let’s not forget about such mission-critical development stages as optimization, bugfixes and deployment of the state-of-art anti-cheat protection that incorporates all the innovative offender detection algorithms. At the same time, the game community has lost no time growing and developing by several times compared to the beginning of the year.
On Escape From Tarkov Forum, we started a multilanguage section that brings together members from all over the world the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, and many other countries. In addition, we have launched the Escape From Tarkov emissaries program. Emissary is a community member endowed with special rights, who communicates with the developers directly. Emissaries hold a variety of contests, rewarding those they considered worthy with access to the game. Hundreds of thousands of players from all over the world are united by one game. Student from Ethiopia, guy from the Russian heartland or sergeant of the United States Marine Corps – Unified by one idea, one community, one battlefield, the name of which is Escape From Tarkov!
On behalf of the developer’s team we wish you the best of luck and a Happy New Year.