Developer Briefing #170 – Shadows In The Night

The Controlled Chaos

Developer Briefing #170 – Shadows In The Night

Hi everyone,

Welcome to Developer Briefing 170, today we thought it time to have a look at how not every day in WW2 was sunny and bright, likewise not every battle waged between morning and evening hours. In the interest of additional realism to the frontline we have been working on Night Maps for Update 12 and they are looking very promising. Our timeline focus for the “night/low light moodset” is between 6pm and 6am. Initially our thoughts were to trial the early and later ends of the aforementioned spectrum. Some maps will definitely ‘feel lighter’ than others as the timeline we have allocated may be closer to the morning or early evening. Other maps definitely will feel like the dead of night. We believe it important to spread the mood of the lighting variations across the maps involved for greater variety and in some cases enhanced playability and atmosphere.

Night Maps

The inclusion of new and existing maps with a ‘night’ or low light mood variation will provide even more diversity for the players on the battlefields. Tactics will change from day to night as previously precarious areas for infantry or vehicles to traverse may now seem a more viable option. As per any map in Hell Let Loose communicating and coordinating will remain the paramount assets a team needs to utilize in order to garner a win of the round.

The following maps are to have the low lighting mood effects applied to them in U12. We have included a few screenshots with them for context.



Hurtgen Forest

Purple Heart Lane


To create these new mood settings the decision was made to focus on low lighting in a ‘fog of war type scenario’ as having an environment where just the lighting itself was turned extremely dark would not be conducive to enjoyable gameplay. The fog effects have been carefully crafted to facilitate the low light environment mood scheme we are wanting. A more up close and personal approach to combat should be prominent in these maps with new lighting variants. This should create a greater atmosphere for all players and may even have the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end as you listen for sounds of the enemy. We urge you to note that the night maps we have created for U12 are the first iteration of the concept and subject to change if we feel it is required.

Flare Guns

To accompany the night maps we are in the process of working on animations, texturing and coding for flare guns.

Flare guns were used during WWII in situations where radio silence was important, often used by people to send signals or reveal their position, usually when they were in distress and in need of assistance. For Hell Let Loose the flare gun will primarily be of use to aid in spotting or highlighting of enemy positions. This will be particularly helpful in low light or night operations.

The 3 flare guns to be featured in Update 12 include the German Leuchtpistole 42, the Soviet SPSh-42 and the American AN-M8 which will initially be delegated to the Spotter role of each faction with only a single flare, so it will pay to use this tool wisely. The decision to assign the flare gun to the Spotter role was an important one to us as we feel that access to the weapon greatly increases the attraction of the role, something that Spotter has struggled with in the past. The addition of the flare gun will be a permanent tool for the spotter to use during both daylight and night maps accordingly. Ultimately this decision is not final and will be subject to change pending a number of PTE sessions where we will be discussing the potential for certain design choices.

Along with their ability to visually signal areas of enemy presence to surrounding allies, flares once active will also act as a reconnaissance tool, marking enemy positions within a 50 meter radius over a period of 30 seconds. This action will be similar to the current commander ability of the recon plane in daylight maps.

Players will need to be skillful in their ability to judge distances when using a flare gun as firing angles will play an important role in the weapon’s effectiveness. If a flare happens to collide with an object such as a building or terrain then the flare will promptly fizzle out and becomes inactive, this means that firing too low may result in the flare having insufficient flight time to activate or remain active while firing high will limit the distance at which it becomes active.

The shooter of a flare will also need to be aware that using one will deploy a trail of smoke and light allowing for all within visual range to see the approximate location of its origin. The tactics for successful use of the flare guns will be a skill that is learnt over time.

To assist in identifying an active flare, Allies and Axis flares are colored differently, being green for Allies and red for Axis.

The German Leuchtpistole 42 or flare gun in English was introduced into service for the axis forces in 1943 and served throughout the rest of World War II.

After many trials and tests the soviet flare gun SPSh-42 was officially adopted as the new standard Red Army signal pistol.

The Type AN-M8 flare pistol was the standard issue signal gun for the American military during World War II.

A Few Words From Max About Remagen

Hi all,

We thought we’d swing back to address some initial thoughts on Remagen.

Fundamentally, the interesting and key aspect of Remagen is the bridge dynamic. In World War Two, bridges were a key point of contention, with the entire war revolving around the capture and retention of territory. Bridges like the Ludendorff Bridge (the name of the bridge central to our Remagen map) were seen as extremely favorable strategic positions to either capture or destroy, as they offered the fastest possible way forward for forces of either side. For a bridge to be destroyed could mean the rerouting of an entire army – often through far better defended and dangerous territory – sometimes a 100 mile diversion.

Currently in Hell Let Loose, we have some smaller bridge dynamics at play (mostly in Purple Heart Lane, Hill 400 and Hurtgen Forest), but we felt that focusing the gameplay in the center of the battlefield around a single huge bridge would be a new and distinct experience amongst our current map rotation – certainly something players haven’t tried before.

We also want to say that we’re aware of the immediate ways that will change combat. Artillery will be extremely powerful, and by virtue of that so will Munitions for the Commander (these will need careful management). We expect a dash for the bridge at game open, and while the US have an almost direct drive to the bridge down the railway line, the German forces historically occupied the high cliffs and bluffs above the bridge itself, which offer perfect view over that straight line approach.

In terms of map balance, we always have to tread a fine line of recreating the battlefield as accurately as possible, while also trying to balance for gameplay. In our closed testing, the high ground is very useful for Germany infantry, but armored vehicles struggle to get the required depression to level their guns on targets easily. Conversely, US vehicles are able to easily lift their guns against the high ground, but struggle against lateral attacks from the lower land on the German side of the bridge.

Infantry are able to defend the key towers on either side of the bridge and we expect a huge rolling battle of extreme brutality over the bridge itself. There are gangways beneath the bridge that allow for a different method of traversal, but we expect this to be a very difficult battle in which Machine Guns and Snipers rule.

Many of you will already have realized that there is one tool in the arsenal that will allow for a break to the stalemate. The Airhead was designed specifically for this event (and we would not have introduced this map without this feature) – a way of deploying men behind enemy lines in order to establish Garrisons and OPs to allow the attacking team to move up behind the defenders in order to disrupt their lines and unblock the bridge.

In our testing, a well placed early Airhead can immediately establish the main force on the opposite side of the river, allowing for the continued harassment of the artillery by Recon units and the establishment of Garrisons to enable large troop presence on the other side of the bridge. If these things are able to be accomplished, your armor will be able to disengage from firing across the river and move up across the bridge, causing huge issues for the enemy.

Lastly, in the coming PTEs we’ll be testing whether or not it’s more decisive to allow or disallow the building of spawn points on the bridge (OP and Garrison). We currently feel that the best option will be the one that makes the bridge battles faster, more decisive and less grindy.

On a final note, we’ve read many of the comments pointing out many of the things described above. We want to reiterate that our approach to designing Hell Let Loose is to try to offer maps that demand a different way to be played – that require the use of many different tools in the toolbox in an effort to keep each experience challenging and different. While we could have added aspects to the map that would make it easier (ie. multiple points to cross the river or a river that was shallow enough to be forded), we felt that this would detract from the new experience we’re keen to offer and would have become another version of Hurtgen Forest or our other maps. We also felt it was critical to offer a key “bridge” style experience (in the same way we wanted to do urban combat, forest combat, beach landings etc) that was so iconic to World War Two. We’re very excited to see the creative ways in which each force tries to overcome this, as well as the way new tools will be used to forge a path to victory. As usual, we’ll be right there on the battlefield with you in the coming PTEs and will be listening to feedback and making any changes that could improve the gameplay experience.

The team and I look forward to seeing you in our upcoming PTE on Remagen soon.


Remagen PTE coming soon!

With some final polishing nearing a release state and progress coming along nicely we are excited to announce our first U12 PTE for all players to sample Remagen. We are aiming for the first PTE session to kick off within the next two weeks subject to confirmation. We are looking to have both day and low light (night) variations of the map in this initial test with the primary focus being on how the map plays. Other items like bug fixing and polish are still ongoing, but we are confident that the PTE build will be very engaging to play.

As always we greatly appreciate all who participate, whether it’s to provide valuable feedback and bug reports, or simply help out with the numbers to test server loads and other items. We’ll also be jumping into battle amongst the ranks on the day so if you have the time or are just curious, we would love to hear from you!

How To Join The PTE

If this is your first time wanting to participate in a PTE you’ll need to head over to the Discord where you can find information on how to join and get notifications on when a testing period is live. A full changelog can be viewed in the HLL official discord in the #pte-Info channel on the day.

War Correspondent, Content Creator and Community HLL Videos

Time for some more community highlights from the below creators. We highly recommend giving them a watch.
If you see a Video you like make sure to post in the Discord #hll-videos channel.

Blown Away By Hell Let Loose – Morphologis

Hell Let Loose Brutal Kill Compilation 15 – AT Shovelist

This One Is For the History Books – HELL LET LOOSE – Warfrags FPS

Don’t forget that if you haven’t checked out the other Hell Let Loose socials you should do so. Like our discord you will find them great places for information and community interaction.

Join the Discord here

Our other social platforms can be found here:


Well, it’s time for the flare to burn out on today’s Dev Brief. See you all on the frontline!

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