One of our first developer blogs after announcing the project was the reveal of the French Republic and the German Empire. With those models being the foundation of our in-game characters, this article will be showing some of the progress on the 3d art for our character models, with new equipment and gear that represents more accurately the challenges and requirements demanded by the frontlines of the Great War.
With multiple player roles utilising many different types of equipment for their task ahead, player models in-game will need to reflect these loadouts. Continuing to consult media and documents from the period our authentic character design will ensure players get the most accurate WW1 experience possible.
The difficulties of trench warfare and the slow years of conflict forced advancement of not just the weapons of armies, but also the equipment and uniform of the frontline soldier. Prolonged engagements, stuttering supply chains and environmental hazards meant the modern soldier had to be much more extensively equipped than earlier.
France entered the war with slightly archaic ideas about modern combat, and this is clearly seen in what the soldiers wore. From afar, the French shoulder equipment resembled a pile of junk barely secured by the tight straps. However, it was based on the proven design of the Havresac Mle 1893 (or the Mle 1893/1914 "as de carreau" backpack variant), which was used until the Second World War.
In addition, the Poilu usually carried with them a spare pair of boots and a fabric, semi-rigid pouch in the shape of a bucket which was used to carry bulk goods. This Seau en toile was useful in trench warfare and was often used as an impromptu sandbag.
The German soldier met the beginning of the war with a standard backpack and a lot of equipment that he carried with him on the march, but in the trenches or on the offensive, this kit was too bulky and heavy. Later, German soldiers began to use the Sturmgepäck (“assault pack”), consisting of the greatcoat or a blanket, covered by a tent and rolled around a mess tin. This was the minimum necessary equipment used on nights in occupied territory.
The waist belt usually held ammo pouches and auxiliary gear, such as a water flask and a gas mask container. However, the soldiers sometimes changed the location of these things for more comfortable use or wear. The long handle of the Stielhandgranate caused difficult carrying but the slings wrapped around the neck allowed for the grenades to sit against the body and under the arms. The grenades were now within easy reach while still being unrestrictive.
Combining this equipment with the weaponry from each army, Soldiers will be visibly equipped to handle life on the harsh frontlines of the war! We'll be livestreaming later today Friday, 9th October at 11 AM PDT / 6 PM UTC for discussions on our character models with Art Producer and Character Artist Juan, and Creative Director Bruno!