There has been a lot of interest in the HAM Trucks. More than I actually thought there would be, with lots of questions, suggestions and offers to test etc. So, I thought it would be good to do a bit of an update. People asking about the Wildcat and a few others, I’ll cover those in another post. If you are lucky enough to be part of our Test Group or managed to get your hands on a leaked version (The leaker has been found and disposed of) you may have seen some of this already.
HAM? Are you dyslexic?
No I am not dyslexic. Some people have said the name change is about Copyright (its Trademarks if i'm being picky) but this isn't entirely true. It is a long story, from a long time ago. But it came about during a research phone call with MAN trucks PR team. Partly to ask for info but to also confirm their policy on the use of MAN trademarks in non commercial ways. I had previously emailed but after a week i decided to chase it up. To cut a long story short I was asking for information on the HX and SX series trucks and the person I was talking to got very snotty with me. Very Rude, I was polite but persistent and the call eventually ended with her calling me 'an ignorant pig' and slamming the phone down. So now we have HAM trucks brought to you by an 'Ignorant Pig'.
PS I did speak to the actual PR Manager afterwards and he apologised and sent me a tonne of info and some MAN Goodies but I like the name so much I've stuck with it. By that I mean HAM not Ignorant Pig
HAM Status – What’s going on?
It’s getting there. Progress is slow and steady. The problem with making a mod is that once the visual model is done everyone thinks that’s it. Its ready to release. Sadly, it’s not that simple and explaining that is something I seem to do a lot of recently.
Once the model is done you need to animate it. Even then you’ve still got the other LoDs to do. Each LoD is supposed to be 50% of the faces of the one before it. This takes time to do properly. In the earlier lods you don’t want to go too far as you lose too much detail as that will cause obvious transitions and ‘popping’. Next is the Geometry (Collision detection LoD) and PhysX Geo, View Geo, Fire Geo and Hitpoints… and once all that is done. Testing, scripting, tweaks, reworks based on feedback… and…and…and…you release it. Then everyone finds the bugs you missed. AND if you are lucky, they actually come to you and tell you about it… if you are lucky.
So be nice, be patient and see what happens.
What different kinds of HAM are we getting?
There are four different kinds of chassis types planned and each should come with different flavours:
1) 4x4 HX60
- Troop – 14x cargo slots
- Cargo – General Cargo
- ‘Prime mover’ – Platform to form the basis of several optional payloads planned for future applications and uses.
Arguably the common workhorse, doing many different roles through the British Fleet. There will be a Troop-carrying version that will have Driver + 2 in the cab and 14x Cargo Seats in the rear. The Cargo version will have an open back with panel sides. How this is going to work is still something I’m trying to work out. Time will tell.
2) 6x6 HX58
- Cargo – General cargo not a troop carrier
- Unit Support Tanker – Refueler
The HX58 is big brother of the HX60, it uses the same suspension system but its taller, has larger and more wheels, carries more weight than its little brother. This means that its ideal for special purpose roles such as the Unit Support Tanker.
3) 8x8 HX77
- (Reserved #1 for something special)
- (Reserved #2 for something special)
The largest of the HX chassis system the HX77 is the heavy load carrier of the fleet. In the real world there are several cargo versions but since that should be well catered in game with the HX58 I’ve chosen to focus on the EPLS version. This is the Enhanced Palletised Load System, the replacement for the aging but very successful DROPS system. EPLS also allows for standard ISO Containers to be loaded without special equipment which DROPS did not. Obviously giving operators far more flexibility on operations.
Obviously, you can see the HX77 model isn't complete at the time i'm writing this. The chassis needs adding, but the reason for this is simple. Optimisation, I'm trying to get as many versions as possible, with the most detail out of the fewest possible textures. As such i'm taking my time to get the chassis right so you don't see too many odd texture matches or seams.
Returning to in-game capability, I had hoped that Vehicle-In-Vehicle would be a perfect solution to this, and to some extent it is. Unfortunately it seems you can’t animate the ViV points after Init. Which means although I spent a week making a lovely, fully animated system for it before I tested that. I probably should have proven the concept first (Hindsight is a wonderful thing) It is incredibly disappointing to find that you simply cannot animate it. @Bohemia, any chance you can fix that?
I've tried several other non-scripted methods, physX and geo cages, roadways with mixed success. Until I can come up with another solution, I’m just going to leave the VIV option in there.
Off the back of the EPLS project there will also be several objects that allows you to setup FARPs and FOBs. Fuel Racks, Repair Workshops, Medical bays etc. As well as various shelters and systems that can be carried either on the DROPS pallets or directly on the backs of the Trucks themselves. Most of these will serve a practical purpose, others may just be props. I'm Not sure yet.
BELOW : Dismountable Fuel Rack - You can see these at various places in FOBs around Afghanistan and Iraq. They serve as a semi-permanent but still moveable fuel station (Bit of an oxymoron i know) complete with pumps and hoses needed. Tankers are a limited resource. This is a cheaper way to deploy a fuel reserve into the field and not tie up a tanker. It makes sense to produce a flexible multipurpose truck and drop these 'modules' off where needed than it is to buy a tanker for every base that needs one.
I think its obvious that this is a big pack and a lot of time and effort has gone into it. So I hope you understand that not everything may be available immediately. Time constraints are a real issue here as is my ability to get everything scripted perfectly. If my free time and testing goes well everything should come out in the first release. If not then there will be a future updates.
In ArmA we have 3 types of Supply Truck: Ammo, Fuel and Repair. The Cargo variants will have the option to load Ammo resupply pallets onto them. The Unit Support Tanker and the EPLS with the Demountable Fuel Rack takes care of the Fuel option. This leaves Repair. Now I've spent a lot time talking with players asking what they want and how they want things to work. Most feel the "Magic repair truck" feels a bit like cheating...but its useful. Other want something more practical. I am going to try and cater for both. The magic option will be part of the first release. The more 'practical' option will likely come a little later.
4) 8x8 SX45 – Future addition
- SX45 Wrecker/Recovery
This probably won’t be immediately available. While is does look very similar its actually a different cab and suspension setup. And the rear structure and crane represent a lot more work.
It may take me a little longer to get this in game and working how I want. It will fulfil the role of the repair truck with a few extras if I can get it working… since the EPLS/ViV issue bit me in the arse I don’t want to commit to all the details just yet but I'm hoping to make it a bit special.
So that is it for today. I hope you liked it and it answers some questions.