VBS3 Call for Fire module is a feature that’s released for VBS3 military training game that simulates an artillery strike for forward observers and call for fire teams. The module comes with a fire direction center to enable forward observers and fire support team members to train on call-for-fire procedures, following the military standard.
To define what actually a call for fire is as a term used in the military:
” A call for fire (CFF) is a concise message prepared by the observer. It contains all information needed by the FDC (fire direction center) to determine the method of target attack. It is a request for fire, not an order. It must be sent quickly but clearly enough that it can be understood, recorded, and read back, without error, by the FDC recorder. The observer should tell the RATELO (radio telephone operator) that he has seen a target so the RATELO can start the call for fire while the target location is being determined. Information is sent as it is determined rather than waiting until a complete call for fire has been prepared.”
Genre: Military Simulation / FPS / TPS
Engine: VBS3 Engine
Team Size: 8
Duration: March 2018 – December 2018 (I joined the team at the end of September 2018)
Roles and responsibilities:
Using in house engine scripting language SQF, I helped the design and the implementation of the gameplay systems under the guidance of senior game designers;
- Spawning the guns and units at the given coordinates
- Gun loading delay and implementing the animations
- Based on the UI feedback, changing the fire team alignment, gun types, shells, and particle effects after the shells explode
- Calculating and drawing the ascending and descending trajectory of the shells on the mission map
- Implementing shot trajectories and the impact on the target
UX design and UI implementation:
Using in house Webview technology that allows Angular projects to layer on top of the game viewport, I helped the implementation of the UI systems that supported the feature, working together with senior UI developers and UX designers. ;
- Implementing frontend features following the style guides.
- Connecting the UI OnClick actions to in-game mechanics using both Typescript and SQF.
- Reading in game properties via engine calls, and showing the relevant information on the UI panel.
Working for me as an onboarding project, I couldn’t ask for a better way to deep dive into the systems and in house tools used by BISim. Being new to the military terms and technologies, the heavy start on VBS3 Call for Fire feature allowed me to catch up quick and learn from senior designers while seeing how a feature is finalized and shipped.
To better implement the feature, we had to understand as a team how a call for fire procedure works. Or to be honest, by the time I joined the team it was already well understood so I just needed a good amount of explanation. However, for people who are not familiar with military terms and how different methods are used in combat, it can be somewhat hard to grasp. You can check out the tutorial video explaining the whole feature briefly to better understand what was done, and also see how the responsibilities I mentioned above have contributed in the final product.
Finally, the feature was re-visited and reworked during the development of VBS4 to be compatible with the latest full game release of Bohemia Interactive Simulations.
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