T-72: Balkans on Fire! is a groundbreaking new tank simulation by Russian game developers IDDK/Crazy House and published by Battlefront.com.
Set in the violent period of Yugoslavian civil wars from 1991 to 1995, the player, as a fictional Russian volunteer tank commander, is put right into the turret of three of the best tanks the Russians ever built the T-72B, the T-55A and the T-34/85.
The focus of the game is the control of the your own tank, but the ability to command a number of attached units (armor, vehicles and infantry up to platoon strength) is given through the use of a command and navigation map. Artificial Intelligence (AI) controlled tank crewmen can man any station and be ordered by the player via hotkey’s, or you can take the seat as tank commander, gunner, or driver yourself at any time. Internal and external free motion camera views provide an exciting and dynamic overview of the battlefield.
The game provides scalable realism settings, giving you a lot of flexibility to adjust the game to your own liking and system capabilities. Newbies can set the realism to lower levels to allow them to get the hang of modern armored combat while the armor grognards will want to tweak weapons performance to their realistic, and lethal, levels and enable all the nitty-gritty details like barrel wear, engine stalls, restricted internal viewing angles, full collision damage and even engine and transmission management and starter battery failures! More details on many of the these features can be be found in the Features section of this website.
The simulations main focus is on tank combat tactics on the modern battlefield. The inside of the playable tanks is simplified in an easy to use game user interface (GUI) for playability reasons, but it has no impact on realism – all aspects of the tasks of a tank crew are simulated in extreme detail from hand cranking a broken turret to manually shifting gears and applying the parking brakes.
All environmental factors are simulated in mind blowing detail with the advent of a powerful and flexible 3D world engine. The powerful physics modeling provides deformable terrain which leaves realistic shell-holes after impacts of high explosive rounds and allows buildings and other structures to be partially or fully destroyed. You can even watch as trenches are dug out of the terrain in real time with the BTM-3 engineering vehicle. Vehicles damage is detailed and various internal and external components can be damaged and destroyed even including tracks getting sheared off.
A full ballistics and armor penetration physics engine produces realistic combat results including after-armor effects based on precise hit locations, ricochets and glances, damaged and destroyed combat systems and crew, realistic weapons effects, wide assortment of available ammunition types, accurate laser and manual range finding procedures and much more. After each mission, players can explore the battlefield and even review every shell impact with a handy vector overlay display which shows the precise shell hit angle, penetration amount and effect!
Other graphics features include a powerful particle engine, ultra-realistic shadow and optical flare effects, intricate simulation of weather (cloud shadow effects, fog, haze, snow, rain drops obscuring optics, even rainbows), detailed simulation of water surfaces and amphibious vehicles and much more round out the simulation.
The core of the game is a fictionalized 18 mission campaign following the combat experiences of a Russian tank volunteer unit fighting on the Serbian side. View the Background section of the website for more details. Single missions as well as LAN and online multiplayer are available also. The game ships with a fully featured mission editor as used by the game developers. Although the editor was not originally intended for the public, the developer has included it with some introductory documentation and for those willing to dive into it, it provides an insane amount of options to create your own maps and scenarios.
Three tanks are playable the T-72B, the T-55 and the T-34/85. Other vehicles and units include: Leopard 1A4 MBT, M50 Super Sherman, SU-100 tank hunter, MTLB Prime Mover, BRDM-2 Armored Personnel Carrier, Mi-8 Helicopter, BTM-3 Entrenching Vehicle, BZO B-11 and PTO 2A45M Sprut-B Anti-tank Guns, 9K113 Shturm-S Anti-tank Guided Missile Vehicle and the KrAZ 265 Fuel Truck.
Additionally, a number of other military units and weaponry are modeled including infantry squads and anti-tank teams. See the Vehicle List section of the website for more details. Some of the equipment included was not historically employed but is included purely for the sake of gameplay.
Disclaimer: While set during a real-world conflict, this game is not intended as a political statement or to imply any support of the various factions involved. The Yugoslavian civil war has been, typically for civil wars, a bloody and violent struggle which left no side innocent, cost civilian lives on both sides, and in which there rarely was a right or wrong side.