Hey everyone,

We figured this would be a good time to introduce and dive into an intro of Sustainment Roles in the Burning Lands. These are one category of roles to play in Burning Lands. You can check out a full diagram of playable roles in our last developer brief. Here we will reveal and discuss their tasks and purposes on the battlefield.

Before we begin, we’re also proud to announce that we’ve received support from NaturalPoint, to implement TrackIR and its features into the development of Burning Lands! We anticipate TrackIR will be an especially helpful tool to those who will be dedicating themselves to piloting roles in the game. We’ll follow up on our progress working with TrackIR in the future.

Finally, we have a friendly reminder that our Official Steam Page has launched, and you can add Burning Lands to your wishlist now!

What Are Sustainment Roles?

As their category name suggests, Sustainment Roles keep their team in the battle by fulfilling critical tasks. The three tasks we’re emphasizing in these roles are Logistics, Communication, and Unit Health. Since the Vietnam War was fought between conventional and unconventional forces, each role and their equipment will vary per faction. In some cases (particularly with Logistics), this variance is more akin to a fundamental difference in delivery.

The Medic Role:

The Medic Role is one of three Sustainment Roles in the battlefield. Each of these serve a critical task to their Squad Leader and the rest of the players in the unit. Like any other member of the squad, a medic will be armed and serve a combat purpose when their medical skills aren’t required. However, a Medic’s primary job is to keep the rest of the squad alive, preventing their team from losing valuable tickets during combat.

Some components of the Blufor Medic kit.

A Medic will be equipped with a critical tool to heal other players and keep them in the fight: the IV Kit. While all players (including the Medic) will have their own bandages to stop bleeding and to stabilize, the IV kit will be the most important part of a Medic’s toolbag. Players who are in various wounded states will need treatment from an IV Kit to be returned to full health. To those who missed the previous Dev Brief showcasing the Medical System, here it is again:

The various stages of player health in the Medical System.

In Summary:

  • Any teammate can use their bandage to address: 
    • Minor wounds (players that are bleeding out). Wounded players will not be immobile if bandaged by yourself or any teammates. The effects of being wounded (Blurred Vision, Lowered Stamina) will be more noticeable depending on the severity.
    • Major wounds (players that are down and incapacitated).
  • Only the Medic can both revive and fully heal players after taking any kind of damage, bringing players back to full health and movement speed.

Spawning (A Quick Brushup)

Before presenting the next role, we should offer some context for anyone who hasn’t played a tactical shooter before. This genre of game is defined by teamwork and communication, to fulfill the orders set by a team’s commander.

Typically these orders or tasks are broken up at the squad level, with each squad needing to move somewhere and attack/defend objectives and supply others. This requires spawn points each squad can use on their way to these objectives. 

In most tactical shooters, you’ll see Squad Spawns and Team Spawns. As their names suggest, Squad Spawns are for members of a certain squad to use, and Team Spawns are for the entire team to use. In Burning Lands, we will be calling these Squad Spawns a Rally or Rallies, and we’ll be calling Team Spawns a Depot or Depots.

The Pack Mule Role:

The Pack Mule role is an important logistical unit for the Opfor team. Their ability to carry and place backpacks that function like physical crates allows them to transport supplies on foot and provide a source of supplies for their team. However, there are some limitations to their abilities, such as only being able to place two backpacks at a time and having to interact with a depot or crate to resupply their own backpack whilst on the battlefield.

The Pack Mule role provides the Opfor team with an additional means of resupplying their infantry on the front line, which can be crucial for maintaining momentum in battles. Pack Mules can use their backpacks to transport supplies directly to the front line, eliminating the need for troops to return to the main base or a distant depot to resupply.

Furthermore, the Pack Mule role allows for more flexible resupply options for the Opfor team. 

For example, if a particular area of the battlefield is experiencing heavy fighting, Pack Mules can be dispatched to deliver additional supplies. These supplies can include ammunition, grenades, or medical supplies to that area to rearm those in combat. This can help bolster the defense or offense in that location, increasing the chances of success in that particular engagement. Depending on how well the Opfor logistics chain is set up, the Pack Mules could resupply their frontlines even faster than their helicopter-flying opponents.

The Pack Mule role also provides the Opfor team with a backup supply option in case their main supply sources are compromised. If an enemy team manages to destroy the Opfor’s closest depots or supply crates, Pack Mules can still deliver supplies to the front line and keep their infantry fighting.

Players spawning at a depot will need to be mindful of their limited supplies until they access the depot’s supply pool. Players using a Rally point will need to ensure that their Pack Mule’s backpack has been resupplied before relying on it for additional supplies.

One unique ability of the Pack Mule role is to steal supplies from enemy depots/crates from the Blufor team. This is an interesting dynamic for gameplay, as stealing critical logistics supplies from your opponent could change the nature of the frontline battle. Blufor players will need to do their best to protect their supply sources from enemy Pack Mules.

Stealth and cunning are great skills for a Packmule player.

In Summary:

The Pack Mule role in the Opfor team can provide a valuable logistical asset for the team’s infantry gameplay. This can provide the team with more flexibility and resilience in their supply chain, allowing them to keep their troops equipped and fighting on the front line. Ultimately, the Pack Mule role can be a useful addition to the Opfor team’s arsenal and can provide a unique gameplay experience for both players and strategists alike.

The Radio Man Role:

In terms of the Radio Man’s role, they will help ease the pressure on the squad leader by providing support in a number of ways, enhancing communication within the squad. By being responsible for call in and requesting firemissions for the Squad Leader to approve, which will then go up to the Commander for final approval or denial. 

The Radio Man ensures that the squad leader remains relatively safe and allows attention to be focused elsewhere within the squad. The Radio Man is also critical for map visibility for the squad, as all friendly units will only be displayed on the map to the remaining squad members if the Radio Man is within a certain radius of the Squad Leader.

This radius is a Fog of War (FOW) bubble around each player, which limits the radius at which all teammates will be displayed on the map. If the Squad Leader and Radio Man are too far apart or one is dead, map visibility will slowly decrease from 100% down to the personal (FOW) visibility. All friendly icons will fade out and the only remaining icons will be FRIENDLY operated/non-vehicles and your Squad Leader. 

The same thing will happen when leaving the main base, rallies, and depots as they are important areas for map visibility, as all friendly icons will be displayed to players within a certain distance of these points. Players in vehicles will also have all friendly units displayed on their map.

Always keep your Radio Man close!

In Summary:

The Radio Man is a crucial role in a squad that enhances communication, map visibility, and takes some of the pressure off the squad leader so that he can focus on leading the squad. Without the radio man, the squad may experience a lack of map visibility and difficulty communicating effectively with each other. Which is especially important in large, complex battles where communication and coordination are essential for success.

What Map Visibility and FOW Look Like:

As Squad Member:

  • Without a Radio Man near your squad leader, you can only see your own squad leader, friendly vehicles (playable and empty), depot spawns, the commander and their orders on the map. You cannot see any other friendly units on the map.
  • If your Squad Leader and Radio Man are within a shared radius, you can see all friendly units, and orders on the map, no matter your position.

As Squad Leader:

  • Without a Radioman, you can see all friendly vehicles (playable and empty), depot spawns, additional squad leaders and the commander.
  • With the Radioman in your radius, you can see all friendly units, and orders on the map.

Since we’re on the topic of map visibility, we should share another exciting mechanic we’re introducing: Vehicle Capture. This is a feature we feel has been missing for quite a while in the tactical shooter genre and something we’re excited to introduce to the Opfor factions.

Captured enemy vehicles can provide a significant advantage to a team in terms of mobility and firepower. If the Opfor player who captured the vehicle exits it, the vehicle will still appear on their teams map as an empty vehicle, but it will no longer be visible to the Blufor team. This means that the Blufor team will not be able to see the vehicle’s location or status. For all they know it’s been destroyed and will not know that it has been captured until they encounter it on the battlefield!

In the coming months, we plan to tease more exciting features and how they will work to shape the Burning Lands experience.

Make sure to stay tuned by checking out our Social Links below and join our Official Discord Server.

The Burning Lands Steam Page has launched, and you can add it to your Steam Wishlist now!

See you all in the next one!

Date posted: 24/03/2023