October 29, 2018

Game Update. Melee Combat! Competitive Play - 30% Off

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Holdfast: Nations At War has been updated. Sound the drums of competitive fervour as the much-anticipated melee combat update is here! Test your might in the all-new Melee Arena game mode with the improved combat mechanics. 


Expect to see an end of match score breakdown screen to boast about your standing, a whole lot of server-side and bandwidth optimisations for smoother gameplay, configurable crosshair styles, new maps, reflective damage to encourage team play and more! 


Check out our latest blog post for how we’re going to change the way we deliver updates and what’s next in line for Holdfast: Nations At War. We’ll also be going into detail about our future plans for melee combat mechanics. We’re not done just yet. 


Before you have a read of our rather lengthy blog post, take a quick look at our release trailer for this update.







Melee Combat! Game Mechanics

The 1st melee combat focused update is here! Direct improvements towards feinting mechanics, unrestrictive movement, new damage mechanics, fixes to a whole lot of glaring bugs which impacted high-level play and an unprecedented amount of underlying code-base iterations had to be undergone by the development team to make all of this a possibility.


Here’s an overview of what we’ve done for melee combat in this update.


Fluidity & Responsiveness
As we were investigating various causes of what caused a severe lack of fluidity and responsiveness in the melee combat mechanics, we discovered several instances were an extra amount of delay was being added way over and above the player’s latency. Since the engagements are fast-paced, the delay will throw off the player breaking responsiveness. We made sure to tackle these issues during the development of this melee combat update.


Transitions between going from a block to a strike and a strike to a block were also improved upon. You can find more detail about this in the section detailing feinting mechanic changes.


There are a lot of factors that play into ensuring fluidity and responsiveness whilst engaged in melee combat. Everything from optimisations, sounds, animations and the mechanics that make this system work tie into one another. We’ve already gathered a few great ideas for what we can do to continue improving upon this in future updates.


It wasn’t doing melee combat any good that as soon as you try to move backwards, you’re suddenly restricted to the walking speed. This was preventing players from being able to evade enemy strikes using this specific movement as well as ensured a very sudden death whilst engaged in melee with multiple opponents. There was no way for players to get out of a sticky situation and position themselves better before once again engaging their opponents.


Therefore, we’ve increased the rate at which you move backwards as well as while strafing. Movement still remains the same whilst moving and aiming or reloading.





Glaring Bug Fixes. High-Level Play
It’s going to be a tad too long to list all the bugs that were previously present in the other game version’s melee combat mechanics. Players killing one another without an animation, strikes blending between one another whilst blocking becoming impossible to block, inconsistencies between strike speeds from the same direction, players speeding up when feinting between melee strikes and the list goes on.


Ensuring consistency is of the utmost importance for high-level play.


Damage Mechanics
We’ve also changed the way damage works. Several modifiers that either increase or reduce your damage depending on how close the enemy is, the duration the strike stays in flight, the direction you are moving and if the other player is aiming or reloading will determine the number of strikes you have to land on your opponent before they meet their end. 


It was specifically designed to provide players with an additional mechanic within the melee that players can learn and employ to kill their opponents more effectively. If done right, for instance, a musket can kill an opponent within two strikes.


Here’s an explanation of the various modifiers we’re using to calculate damage.


Base Damage - This defines the base damage a strike deals for each and every weapon depending on the direction the strike is coming from. 

For instance, striking an opponent with an up strike from a sword to the player’s head will deal the most damage of all the strikes. Then we configure this value in a way were the right and left swings deal an equal amount of damage but less than that of the up strike and lastly, the lounge attack deals more damage than the left and right swings but less than the up strike. Up strikes with a sword are difficult to land, but if you do, you’ll deal enough damage to kill your opponent below two strikes.


Duration Multiplier - Then, the duration multiplier either increases or decrease the damage that you deal depending on how long the strike stays in flight. Slashing weapons aren’t affected as much by this multiplier.


Distance Multiplier - This multiplier either increases or decreases the damage that you deal depending on the distance between you and the other player. Don’t stay up close and ‘face hug’ other players if you want to end your opponent quickly. Stay a good distance away from your enemy as you slash or stab towards them.


Momentum Multiplier - Momentum. Striking while going forward will deal more damage than doing so while strafing or going backwards. 


Fiddling Multiplier - If you spot an enemy aiming or reloading his firearm, be sure to hit him with your melee weapon. You can very easily end them with a single blow. 


Damage by flag bearers has been significantly reduced. It is now used as a support weapon to keep enemies at a distance rather than it being the greatest offensive tool in the game. The flag bearer still retains his usefulness as a support class by buffing friendly players.


There will be several changes to balance out this new addition to melee combat as we progress forward with the development of Holdfast: Nations At War. 




Feinting Mechanics
Feinting mechanics offer an alternative way of landing a strike on an enemy by quickly changing your strike to another direction. Besides fixing a whole lot of bugs that were present in the previous version, we’ve also engaged with the community to figure out ways on how to make the mechanic feel more responsive.


One of the most significant changes is that you can now cancel a strike and change to another at any point during its ‘flight time’. There are two styles on how you can employ feinting as well.


Tap Feinting - If you tap between an attack and a block or a block to an attack to feint, you’ll get the most out of the mechanic. It is harder to get the right timing than the feinting style described below but you’ll be rewarded for it.


Hold Feinting - Players can also feint from one strike to another by holding left click then using the block button to switch from one direction to another. This is easier to employ than the style mentioned above but is less effective.


Melee Related Game Options
We highly suggest that you customize the below settings to your liking to get the most out of melee combat. As the skill gap increases, even the slightest of differences will impact gameplay. All these adjustable settings can be found by going to the game’s settings then selecting the ‘Game’ tab.


Melee Combat Mouse Sensitivity - This mouse sensitivity slider has a direct impact on how fast your turn whilst meleeing. 


Same Attack Sensitivity - This slider directly impacts the movement you need to make to switch between one block and another. We highly recommend you set this value to 1.


Melee Cam Distance - The camera distance when in melee combat. Some players prefer having this a bit further away or closer to the player whilst in melee. Adjust this to your liking from the Game options menu.


Auto Bayonet Switch - If this setting is turned on, you can go into melee mode from firing mode by pressing left click when equipped with a musket. Some players prefer having to always press the ‘X’ key to go into melee and this option allows you to do so.





Hit Reactions & Stuns. Favouring The Blocker
We’ve spent a good deal of development time in this update ensuring that blocking is mechanically responsive. There were several instances in the previous updated which restricted the player from blocking which have since been removed. It is always best to favour the blocker.

With this update’s release, you’ll notice a hit reaction animation being played when your character receives damage. This serves as an indication that the next move you should be making is to block the opponents strike. Strikes will also no longer go through the terrain, other friendly players or objects in the world map.

Latency always plays a role in responsiveness. You’re better off hopping on a server that reflects the region you’re from.





We’ve also made sure to start looking into the hitboxes issues that sometimes occurred whilst engaged in melee combat. Development on solving the entirety of the hitbox issues is still ongoing but a great majority of your strikes should land pretty much on point. 


It is highly recommended that you join a server that correctly reflects the region you are from. Hitboxes and even melee combat itself will feel less responsive as your latency (ping) increases.


This is also yet another factor that impacts responsiveness on melee combat. Due to the unprecedented amount of changes done in this area, we decided to dedicate an entire section further down in our blog post specifically for this. 


We’ve spent the last few weeks of this update’s development optimising the game server to reduce latency when a lot of players are in close proximity. Servers are now running at a solid framerate even when those glorious massive charges are happening.



We’d like to put our promises up front and once again state that our dedication towards continuing to improve upon the melee combat mechanics still stands. We’re on the lookout for community feedback. More on this up next.



Melee Combat! Future Plans

We’re not done just yet. We’ll be giving the community some time to get accustomed to the improved melee combat mechanics before once again engaging in another discussion to plan and design yet another melee-combat focused update. As always, the community will be involved in this process.


The introduction of secondary attacks to break an opponent’s block, increase the fluidity between certain animation transitions, looking into ways on how to further improve upon hitboxes, and increased damage when striking at an opponent’s back are some of the early suggestions that we’ve gathered on how we can continue improving on the mechanic.


If you have an avid interest in this mechanic, we highly recommend that you join in on our Discord. DM one of the developers or use the feedback channel to let us know your thoughts. We’ll be there listening to your feedback.






Melee Arena Game Mode! Test Your Might

Charge into battle in the all-new Melee Arena game mode! You will only come equipped with a bayoneted musket or a sword as you attempt to fend off your enemies. Come up with new strategies on how to best your opponents before the arena gates open throwing you in a single-life team-based battle to the last man standing.


As the all-new arena game mode kicks off in its popularity, you’ll be seeing more and more maps designed for this specific purpose get into the game. For now, we have nothing less than 6 maps for you to check out!



Sacred Arena



Palisade Arena



Castle Arena



Watchtower Arena



Fort Arena


Garisson Arena


This game mode will also set a great precedent for us to continue refining melee combat when multiple opponents are engaged in a group fight. We’re also open to hosting servers in other regions depending on the demand.


We’re sure that having this mode support multiple rounds will come forward as a suggestion from our community. We’ve already started developing a system that’ll do just that. It’ll be introduced in a smaller update. You can have a read on how we’re changing the way we deliver updates further down below.


Melee Arena Official Servers

- Anvil Game Studios Official EU4 - Melee Arena

- Anvil Game Studios Official EU5 - Melee Arena

- Anvil Game Studios Official NA4 - Melee Arena

- Anvil Game Studios Official NA5 - Melee Arena



End of Match! Boast About Your Standing

What greater way is there to reward those players who have been investing a lot of time and effort into refining their skills than to have their names displayed at the very top? We’ll be providing you with a damned great way to boast about your standing.


The top five players at the end of every match will find their names neatly presented in a dedicated screen when the match ends. If you didn’t do well enough to find yourself placed amongst those few, we reserve a dedicated section to inform you of your standing for that particular match.


Oh yes, indeed. You will be able to find this screen present at the end of the match of each and every game mode in the game. Army Assault, Army Deathmatch, the new Melee Arena, Naval Battlefield and all the other modes in the game. It’ll certainly become a very handy tool for competitive play.





Linebattle Maps. Various Sizes

Along with the addition of Grassy Plains 3 (L), we’ll be introducing two new other variations of plains maps in this update. The regimental community expressed that the existing plains maps weren’t suitable for regiment vs regiment line battle play due to their sheer size so we’ve designed two smaller variations to rectify this. Snowy Plains 1 (S) and Desert Plains 1 (S) are now playable in the game.



Grassy Plains 3 (L)



Desert Plains 1 (S)



Snowy Plains 1 (S)



Reflective Damage. Team Play

In an effort to encourage more team play on public servers, we’ve introduced a system that inflicts a certain amount of damage to the aggressor when hitting a friendly player with melee weapons or firearms. 


We’ve also made sure that reflective damage is configurable through the server configuration file so players can host events with the settings that suit them best. You can either completely disable reflective damage or adjust the reflective damage received to a value of your liking. 


We’re sure that players will find the chances of getting shot at reduced whilst engaged in a melee combat duel or a group fight as a welcoming addition.





Servers. Performance Optimisation

Optimisations are of the utmost importance to ensure smooth gameplay. The team here has spent an unprecedented amount of time and effort during this update’s development optimising bandwidth to improve responsiveness, solving performance issues with 3D VoIP and improved its quality while we were at it, plugging leaks which were causing server-side performance to degrade over time and re-writing various parts of the code-base for game servers to run more efficiently.


We’ve also done a lot of work to fix performance issues with servers when a lot of players are in close proximity. It’ll certainly come in handy for those maps designed with the intent of promoting closer engagements. Not to mention the glorious all melee charges during line battle events.


We’re fully aware of the importance of optimisations. Development on this will be ongoing throughout Holdfast: NaW’s full release.



Holdfast NaW - Chargeee!



Changing The Way We Do Updates. Feedback

We’ve heard time and time again that the community would like updates delivered in smaller but more frequent batches. Don’t you worry however, we’ve gone ahead and done something about this as well!


We’ve optimised our development pipeline to allow for more flexibility. For instance, while development on a time-consuming update is taking place we will fill those gaps up until its release with other updates containing new maps, quality of life and other smaller additions to keep a constant flow of content going into the game. We will also be hosting more public BETAs leading to those larger game update releases.


The content being produced by our development team will be delivered more efficiently. This was also a necessary step forward for us to make sure that we can grow the team even more so than our recent introduction of ‘Wrexial’ and ‘PingPong’ as the following behind the game grows larger.





What’s Next? Artillery Mechanics

We’re going to stick to our plans and focus on artillery mechanics for the upcoming major update. Moveable artillery pieces, a new class and additional shot types are but some of the things that you’ll be seeing introduced. It’s going to be a blast developing this update.





Here’s the entire list of additional features, bug fixes, improvements and content that you’ll find in this update.





Changelog 16 - Game Version 0.16.6874.36461


Melee Combat! Direct improvements towards this core mechanics of the game. More work will follow on this mechanic in a future update based on community feedback.
» Improvements towards feinting mechanics, unrestrictive movement, new damage mechanics, fixes to a whole lot of glaring bugs which impacted high level play and more.
» Read the 'Melee Combat! Game Mechanics' section further above this blog post for an in-depth explanation.

- Melee Arena Game Mode! Come up with new strategies on how to best your opponents before the arena gates open throwing you in a single-life team-based battle to the last man standing. Melee weapons are your only arsenal. 
» 6 maps specifically designed for melee arena.
» Input the following parameters to host these maps on your community server: map_name palisadearena, fortarena, castlearena, sacredarena, watchtowerarena or garrisonarena.

- End Of Match Screen! Strive for the very top before the match ends to boast about your standing.

- 3 New Line Battle Maps! Grassy Plains 3 (L), Snowy Plains 1 (S) and Desert Plains 1 (S).
» Input the following parameters to host these maps on your community server: map_name grassyplainsiii, snowyplainssmall or desertplainssmall.

- Reflective Damage. In an effort to encourage more teamplay on public servers, we’ve introduced a system that inflicts a certain amount of damage to the aggressor when hitting a friendly player with melee weapons or firearms. 
» Input the following parameters to configure reflective damage. Setting the value to 0 will completely disable reflective damage: damage_split 0 to 100.

- Server Optimisations! Ensure servers remain stable when a lot of players are in close proximity. Plugged several leaks which were causing server performance to degrade over long periods of run time.

- 3D VoIP Quality & Optimisations! We’ve optimised various instances which were causing performance to degrade when players used 3D VoIP. We also updated the coded being used to transmit voice while we were at it to improve its quality.

- You can now switch back and forth running and walking while reloading and aiming.

- The bullet trajectory will now originate from a correct position when firing in third-person. This will solve various instances which caused players to un-intentionally kill friendly team mates when standing in a line formation and firing in third-person. 

- You will now find a counter in the ‘Round Players’ panel that counts the number of players depending on what you input in the search bar. This will surely be of help to all of those event hosts when balancing teams before an event starts.
» Input the regiment’s tags in the search bar and you’ll get the exact number of players attending an event from that particular regiment.

- Customisable Crosshairs! This updates also bring with it the much-requested crosshair customisation. Go to the ‘Game’ settings menu to adjust the colour of your crosshair, select a crosshair style to your liking or even adjust its transparency.



- Dynamic Crosshairs! You will now find that the crosshair pulsates as you move around with your character whilst aiming. Stand still to get the most out of your shooting.

Fixed a bug which caused the crosshair to flicker when crouching.

- We’ve included a run and walk stance indicator underneath the player’s health bar. This will aid regiments keep their men in line whilst in formation.

- You will now find the Infantry Officer class being displayed with a unique icon in a different colour to distinguish it from the rest. 

- The size of the compass bearings have been increased. 

- Players will now find a latency indicator above the health bar to the top left.

- The default chat channel is now set to ‘All’ instead of ‘Team’ making it easier for new players to communicate.

- We’ve now included several messages in the spawn menu to inform players why they cannot spawn. Be it if the faction is full, all class slots have been taken and various other instances.

- Fixed a bug that was making the ‘Join Round’ button found in the spawn menu difficult to click on. This was also preventing players from selecting certain shouts in the ‘Voice Acting Panel’.

- Fixed an issue which caused the ‘Back’ button in the faction selection screen to be difficult to click on.

- An additional tip has been included in the game informing players that they can auto run by pressing the ‘Num Lock’ key.

- You can now reduce your mouse sensitivity below 0.50 from the ‘Game’ options menu.

- Download size for updates following this one will be significantly smaller in size. As we’re going to be changing the way we deliver updates, this was a necessary step forward.

- We’ve included a large and small indicator behind each and every plains map in the game so players can easily distinguish the size.

- Server administrators are now able to set a server to either use high accuracy or low bandwidth through the server configuration file. We recommend that you set your melee focused server to high accuracy for increased responsiveness in competitive scenarios.
» Input the following parameters in the server configuration file: network_broadcast_mode lowbandwidth or highaccuracy

- Changed the text used in the ‘F1’ console to make it significantly more readable. This font now also supports various languages other than English.

- New sword and hit reactions animations to compliment the melee combat update. We are open to take a look at the musket animations as well depending on the feedback we receive from our community.

- Fixed the position of the sword.

- Fixed a variety of issues specifically related to fist combat.

- Attempted fix towards an issue that causes other players to appear to be stuck in an animation.

- Changed the text style of the ‘Join Other Server’ and ‘Refresh’ buttons in the server browser.

- Palisade Arena, Fort Arena, Castle Arena, Sacred Arena, Watchtower Arena, Garrison Arena and Canyon now support all of the Army Front game modes. Conquest, Battlefield, Assault, Melee Arena and Deathmatch.

- More defences have been added on Dutch Canals, Highlands, Sharpton and Spanish Farm near the capture points on the Army Conquest game mode.

- Rotated one of the stairs on Fort Winston leading up to its walls for balancing purposes.

- We’ve introduced more ladders leading to the right side of the fort as well as other locations when Fort Salettes is being played on the Army Battlefield game mode.

- You’ll now find more defences placed near the mortars in both spawn locations on Fort Winston.

- Fort Salettes has undergone several balancing changes when played on the Army Siege game mode.

- Placed another artillery battery on Fort Imperial to cover more of its blind spots. An additional secondary capture point has also been added to the map.

- Fort Salettes have been optimised to improve frame rate.

- Fixed an issue with a texture flicker on one of the gates used on several maps.

- Attempted fix towards a bug which caused players to fall underneath the terrain on Fort Salettes when the doors open.

- Fixed issues with incorrectly placed rocks on Desert Ruins.

- Fixed several instances were you could fall through the firing slits on Fort Salettes.

- Fixed an issue were you didn’t move smoothly up the planks near the attacker’s spawn point on the Army Siege game mode whilst playing on Fort Salettes. 

- Fixed an issue with incorrect looking textures on the furnace found in Fort Salettes.

- Fixed several instances of floating props on Fort Salettes.

- Improved the looks of the main entrance area on Fort Salettes.

- Changed Fort Salettes’ loading screen to display more of the area were combat takes place.

- Fixed several errors being outputted on Fort Imperial.

- Fixed several errors being outputted when Crosshills is being played on the Army Conquest game mode.

- Fixed an instance with stretched textures on Fort Salettes.

- Fixed an issue with players floating in the air when moving above a set of rocks on Snowy Plains 3 (L).

- Fixed several instances of floating props on Fort Schwarz when its walls are destroyed.

- Fixed several instances with objects disappearing when looking through small holes on various maps.

- Optimised the lanterns present on most maps in the game.

- Optimised all the trees in the game for better framerate.

- Fixed instances on Palisade Arena were particle effects didn’t appear when hitting objects on the map.

- Players can now more easily move up the stairs on Fort Winston.

- Increased the distance players can roam around when using the free-flight camera on Palisade Arena.

- Fixed an issue with the starting position of the free-flight camera on Grassy Plains 2 (L).

- You now spawn facing the correct side on Fort Imperial.

- Fixed an issue with Desert Plains playing an incorrect set of ambient sounds.

- Fixed instances with incorrect spawn icons appearing on Tahir Desert whilst played on the Army Conquest game mode.

- Fixed errors being produced when players moved around specific areas on the Training Grounds map.

- The ‘holdfast_naw_public_servers’ folder listed in the server documentation now contains an updated collection of pre-set server configuration files. Rotations for line battle events, the new Melee Arena game mode and much more.

Once again, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all the regiments and indeed the entirety of the community for their support. It has been great listening to your feedback as we developed the melee combat update and are looking forward to more.


We’re working on the next one. Until next time, may good health be yours.


Discuss this blog post here.





Once again thank you for all of your support from all of us on the Holdfast: NaW team,

- Refleax, Rycon, Dreas, Wrexial, PingPong, Walki, Cameron & Rejenorst

Anvil Game Studios

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