As part of update 9.14, the game is being transferred to the new Audiokinetic Wwise sound platform, which will result in some major changes to the audio environment of the game.
Thanks to the new audio-technology, tank battles will be improved, with more realistic and atmospheric sounds: switching gears, the clattering of tracks against pavement, the sound of shells flying through air—all of which adds extra immersion to the game. In addition to the atmosphere and immersion, the value of sounds will also increase.
The informational Value of Sounds
Information is an important component of victory in battle. Speed and thoroughness when processing data gives the player an advantage over opponents who are "slower" in this respect. Experienced players use every bit of available information about the actions of their opponents, such as the appearance of smoke after a shot or explosion spots from SPG shells on the ground. In other words: "One who owns the information—owns the Random Battle". Before that, the main source of intel on the virtual battlefield is visual events that players see themselves or the situation on the minimap. Sounds created the atmosphere of a tank battle, rather than informed players about what was happening.
Green part: Field of view (FOV) - area visible to the player (battle information received via both visuals and audio)
Grey part: area outside of the player's view (battle information received only via audio)
After update 9.14, the situation will be completely different. Transferring to the Audiokinetic Wwise platform will not only increase the quality of sounds, making them more original and various, but will also considerably increase the quality and quantity of information received from the audio environment in battle.
In the upcoming update each shot from an opponent heard will provide much more information: the approximate calibre of the opponent's gun, ammunition type, approximate amount of received damage, etc. Analysing the received information, you will be able to act appropriately in the current situation and make relevant conclusions.
In addition to any information about the events that take place in battle (shots, hits, penetrations, etc.), the game provides a large number of additional notifications that inform players clearly and in detail. For example, cartridge loading sounds, sounds when modules of the player's own vehicle are damaged, and also long-awaited sounds for critical hits scored on enemies, as well as sound notification for the Sixth Sense perk.
In addition to art and gameplay improvements, a surprise in the form of improved client performance—the Audiokinetic Wwise technology— allows for transferring sound calculations to another core of the CPU. Moreover, there is an option to disable sound calculation in the game, which provides a solution for owners of low-end PCs—it can increase performance up to 30% on PCs with single-core CPUs and up to 5% on PCs with multi-core CPUs.
Sets of sound configurations for various types of acoustics (presets) have been developed, both for speakers with a limited audio range (for example, laptop speakers) and for speakers with a wide dynamic range.
3. Version 9.14: Other Features
4. Version 9.14: Maps
A test of the reworked Stalingrad map (v.1) started on February 26. Below are the changes the map underwent at the test stage:
Several distinct combat zones were created: some for quick and manoeuvrable vehicles, and some for slower and more heavily armoured ones. These combat zones will determine the gameplay for the corresponding vehicle types.
Additional ways of cross-control between the combat zones (that were unclear before) have been created (e.g. open areas exposed to fire).
The visual environment has been changed - it should improve the visual perception of the map. Snow should visually separate buildings from the other terrain. Unnecessary heaps of debris in the streets, that made vehicle movement more difficult in battle, have been removed. The number of objects in the main play zones have been considerably decreased. This should indirectly affect the FPS (frames per second) rate.
Moreover, to increase the FPS rate, the size of the map was significantly decreased. Thus, players will be able to use simpler tactics. In addition, this change will intensify the combat, while also creating more distinctive combat zones, as well as also fixing the labyrinthine structure of the map.
This is the first stage of the map test. Its future will be determined after the analysis of the statistical data and feedback from the Super Test participants.