Woah, February went fast! It’s time for service week 5. In fact, the week 5 update is NOW LIVE FOR ALPHA TESTERS and is coming the next Tuesday for everybody else. So, March 7th is the date to get back on duty.
This changelog is rather short since our focus has been on finalizing the week 5 content which has included a lot of bug fixing & gameplay improvements. Almost all the game modules are already in place but they’ve needed some extensions and improvements.
Major feature updates:
Gym and Sauna implementation.
KVKES and Frag Grenade implementation. We are planning to get these more involved in the future updates. The week 5 KVKES and grenade training is rather short.
Military Oath and related military drill commands.
Lots of new dialogue and story content.
We are progressing with some “side quests” as well which should provide replayability after we get the first 8 weeks done.
As you already might have noticed, Finnish Army Simulator was released in Early Access on 13 Jan 2023 on Steam. Since that date we’ve been very busy optimizing the game and fixing all sorts of bugs. Fast iteration cycle has also caused some new bugs that are constantly being fixed as well.
Huge thanks to all streamers & YouTubers who have either streamed or created videos of the game! We hope your saga continues as we create additional content.
In the meantime we have started prototyping some mechanics related to various educational branches (Signaller, Driver, Artillery Observer, Grenadier) and implementing story content for week 5. The forementioned educational branches are not guaranteed to ever get released. If we feel like the mechanics work well, we start integrating them into the main game and release them probably as separate DLCs with additional story & military training related content.
We’ve also started to create a public roadmap regarding the development. It’s not ready yet but here’s some target milestones (not set in stone, anything on this list may get cancelled or delayed):
Week 5 (incl. grenades, bazooka, story content) – 28th February 2023
Week 6 (incl. NBC alerts, napalm track, soldier’s skill test track) – 31st March 2023
Two weeks until Early Access begins on Steam! That is just 14 mornings!! Holy cow… Put the date – 13 Jan 2023 – on your calendar. The first Early Access version will feature 4 weeks of military service starting from the day 1 as you arrive to the army.
Game features many different military activities, such as
rifle shooting practice,
grenade throwing practice,
and even eating!
Not to mention the free time activities, such as
playing payazzo or slot machine in the canteen,
watching news on TV,
exercising in the gym,
getting to know your platoonmates,
and exploring the open-world!
Things still missing in the Early Access:
Weeks 5-8 of the basic training period.
Different educational branches (i.e. signaller, scout).
Military leadership training.
Depth in some minigames.
Some unlockable Challenges.
Most of the storylines do not finish within the first 4 weeks so there will be sort of a “cliffhanger”.
Feel free to add more information to the wiki as you learn more about the game while playing. A large knowledge base will most likely make the game easier to grasp for the new players. Please also use the Photo Mode in the game to capture those unforgettable moments in 3rd person mode!
Here’s what we did in December:
[FEATURE] Added Challenges Menu and unlockable Challenges to the game to allow competitive replayability for some activities / minigames using Steam Leaderboards.
[FEATURE]: Thermometer UI is now available during Tent Watchkeeping (“Lähivartiovuoro”).
[FEATURE]: Player now gets sanity penalty for staying in the rain or for wearing dirty clothes.
[FEATURE]: Player can now change dirty clothes to clean ones in the Equipment Warehouse.
[FEATURE]: Player is no more allowed to leave the barracks without outdoor equipment.
[FEATURE]: Implemented 3rd Person Photo Mode to allow players to take beautiful screenshots!
[FEATURE]: Added 3 difficulty levels and implemented permadeath support.
[FEATURE]: Added effects when sanity is low.
[FEATURE]: Added a voice over dialogue for the day 1 bus trip.
[FEATURE]: Enlarged the player inventory and closet box size from 8 –> 10 slots.
[FEATURE]: NPCs may now go to the Sports Center or Canteen during free time.
[FEATURE]: Draftee Market in TV Room is now functional.
[FEATURE]: Input Mapping UI.
[FEATURE]: Dynamic (area-based) Gain, Gamma, Lift, Shadows, Midtones & Highlights controls. This allows us to create more immersive experience by changing these parameters depending on the time & place!
[FEATURE]: WIP: Sauna mechanics.
[FEATURE]: WIP: Log Splitting mechanics.
[FEATURE]: Flashlight support for the player.
[FEATURE]: Overall weeks 1-4 are now ready. Just some bug fixing to do for days 26 and 27.
[ART]: Band T-Shirt for Satanae Virgines (Lord Apollyon’s metal band).
[ART]: Story related items.
[ANIM]: Some new animations & improvements to the previous ones.
[LOCALIZATION]: Added some German translations.
[LOCALIZATION]: On-going English translations for weeks 1-4.
[VOICE]: A ton of new voice-over lines for weeks 1-4.
[WRITING]: New free time dialogues for NPCs.
[WRITING]: New story content for week 4+.
[CODE]: A lot of story specific implementation for weeks 3-4.
[CODE]: Implemented Game Over UI for permadeath.
[CODE]: Implemented the rest of the missing skills.
[CODE]: A lot of bug fixes here and there. QoL improvements.
[CODE]: Split navmesh into multiple smaller navmeshes for optimization.
[DEV]: Tool to detect missing voice-over lines.
The visualizer plugin seems to be broken so we could not updated December 2022 Git commit count. However, it seems to be around 240! A new record for sure. 🙂
Steam Early Access WILL START IN JANUARY 2023 – FRIDAY 13TH! 🤩🤩🤩 (we’ll do our very best to make sure we’re ready to launch at this date 🙏)
Why not in 2022??? Because we still have things to polish and finalize. We wanted to enrich the story content, create more depth, ensure that most features will work as intended… This has required a lot more effort than what we thought. We’ve also had some sick leaves etc. that has affected our effective monthly hours. We would’ve loved to release the game on the independence day of Finland which is December 6th. Unfortunately we cannot reach it… But what could go wrong with Friday 13th?
What will the Early Access release have? Four weeks of military training from the day one to day 28, including two forest exercises. There will also be plenty of story related content, optional dialogue and stuff to do on the free time etc.
What will still come? During H1/2023 we will extend the service to contain the full basic period (“P-kausi”, 8 weeks) and even more story related content. There’s also many things that we wish to polish but haven’t had time yet. We’re also already planning for extras that should come after the basic period, incl. other educational branches.
We want to include some media highlights here as well. Huge thanks for making videos, articles etc., it means a lot to us!
This update may feel short since we are putting all our effort on the Early Access release which is scheduled for December 2022. Early Access version will most likely have the first 4 weeks (easily over 10 hours) of playable content. And we promise that there’s a lot more to come!
List of things done:
[FEATURE]: Players can now select difficulty level when starting a new game.
[FEATURE]: Added permadeath for harder difficulties.
[FEATURE]: Decrease sanity when being in the rain. (“Hajottaako?”)
[FEATURE]: Cooper Test.
[FEATURE]: Morning Comb (“Aamukampa”) can now be purchased from the canteen.
[FEATURE]: Some inventory items can now be inspected up close.
[FEATURE]: Players need to purchase a padlock from the canteen & lock their closet to prevent others from stealing their stuff!
[UI]: Revamped settings menu and added some new settings.
[CODE]: Fixed some hand item presentation on NPCs and on FPS hands.
[CODE]: Lots of optimizations & bug fixes.
[CODE]: A lot of new achievements implemented.
[CODE]: Players can now get orienteering, running and shooting medals according to their score.
[CODE]: Implemented some of the player skills that were not yet implemented.
[CODE]: Implemented support for Steam Leaderboards.
[CODE]: Grenade Throwing exercise (“Kranaatinheittoharjoitus”) is now working.
[CODE]: Added localization support for many parts where it was still missing (for example Handyman’s Soldierbook (“Kätilön Sotakirja”)).
[CODE]: Implemented a lot of camp related activities a bit further but many parts are still in progress.
[STORY]: A lot of new story content written & implemented into the game.
We also participated in Pocket Gamer Connects (PGC) 2022 @ Helsinki. Here’s a proof, look:
Unfortunately, most of the time was spent making various optimizations, gameplay feel improvements and bug fixes. This will continue in October as well but we’ll do our best to create new content as well in the meantime.
Our current target is to get at least 4 weeks of content ready for the Steam Early Access version which we will hopefully be able to put on sale during December 2022 for around 30 euros! Development will continue after this of course and the major goal is to create the full 6 month experience for the full game release.
Here’s what we’ve done in September:
[FEATURE]: Implemented all the capabilities for the free three event demo.
[FEATURE]: Ability to climb ladders. Obstacle course is now mostly functional.
[FEATURE]: Added ducking for music when a voice-over is playing.
[FEATURE]: Added a lowpass filter that is affected by wearing earmuffs.
[CODE]: Changed navigation system to a “better one” which caused a lot of new issues.
[CODE]: Did a lot of performance optimization. The game world is now loaded and unloaded mostly dynamically based on the player’s current location. Still some players with 16 GB RAM experience the game crashing on load. We are investigating this issue.
[CODE]: Improvements to save game file handling.
[CODE]: Added support for Korean localization (fallback font).
[UX]: Some gameplay improvements, player feel improvements, more tutorials, etc.
Woah, August went quickly. Playable demo is coming out in almost one month on Steam. We’re currently implementing content for weeks 4-5 and fixing bugs and improving gameplay for the earlier weeks in the meantime.
Let’s see what we’ve done in detail:
[DEMO]: October 2022 demo is mostly ready!
[FEATURE]: Equipment check & packing for camps now work properly.
[FEATURE]: Changed NPC navigation with a new better implementation to prevent any major bugs and annoyances from happening.
[FEATURE]: Added some new wakeup and morning shouts.
[FEATURE]: Implemented a lot more service tasks for weeks 2-4. Sorry, not going to open up much this time since we want to keep some secrets!
[FEATURE]: Basic camping activities (tent building, sleeping, eating at the camp, warming up the tent) now mostly work.
[FEATURE]: NPCs and player now cause footstep effects depending on the surface.
[FEATURE]: Added support for viewing canteen products up close.
[FEATURE]: New playable card game in the TV room!
[CODE]: Zoning, Intoxication, Athletics XP are now being given correctly.
[CODE]: Implemented support for some more player skills.
[CODE]: Implemented support for some Steam Achievements.
[CODE]: NPCs can now properly take various shooting positions, and military drill rifle holding poses.
[CODE]: WIP: Implementing grenade throwing and M72 Law shooting functionality.
[ART]: WIP: Achievement icons.
[DIALOGUE]: A lot of new dialogue added for various events & free time.
[DIALOGUE]: Translated demo related content to English.
[VOICE]: A lot of new voice overs for many characters.
As of today, Jeri has temporarily reduced his working hours (at his day job) from 100% –> 60% so that he’ll be able to work more on FAS during July and August. This is a huge win for the project since we are all working on the project on our free time (which is getting short from time to time).
Our Steam Early Access release target is still within 2022 and at that point the game should include Basic Training Period (“P-Kausi”) meaning 10 – 40 hours of gameplay content. Content creation and improving the experience in general will continue after the release. We aim to give more info on the release schedule in the upcoming changelogs as we see how we start to progress with the new allocation.
What comes to the progress made, June was again a bit quieter than usual since the weather in Finland has been surprisingly nice and warm. Our team members have also had some holiday trips during the last few weeks.
Target for July is to completely implement Weeks 2 and 3. We already know that Weeks 4 and 7 will take more time to implement since those weeks include a lot of yet unimplemented tasks. Hopefully we are able to implement also those during August. After that the rest should be quite easy. 😎
Here’s again a list of things done:
[FEATURE]: Implemented Missing Material Notification (“Häväri”, “pienvahinkoilmoitus”).
[FEATURE]: Player can now eat during breakfast, lunch & dinner if a dialogue exists for that event.
During May, we had some testing & demo sessions with our friends & at Nordic Game 2022 @ Malmö. While the feedback has been 99% positive, we feel like we must add things to maintain player’s motivation when doing some of the repetitive tasks. This is a real problem in the army as well so, yeah, we kinda simulate that part well, too! But FAS is a game after all and should entertain the players at least 70% of the time.
Here’s once again the things done:
[CODE+SCENE]: Fixes in canteen. Player should now be mostly able to interact with the canteen vendor, NPCs can queue properly, music has been added, missing colliders have been added, payazzo is working again etc.
[FEATURE]: Blank firing adapter can now be attached & detached from the inventory window.
[FEATURE]: Fetching weapons tasks have now been implemented.
[FEATURE]: Rifle dismantle tasks have now been implemented.
[FEATURE]: Cleaning service tasks have now been implemented.
[FEATURE]: New load game menu.
[WRITING]: A lot of new dialogue written.
[ART]: Plenty of models for various items.
[BUG]: Fixed some problems that were breaking save game files.
[BUG]: Fixed some problems when loading save game files.
[BUG]: Fixed NPCs not being able to interact correctly with some interactables. Also fixed NPC interaction chaining.