There are plenty of games on the PC that let you drive a tank, but few of them these days aspire to simulator-level realism. They might have simulation elements, or use real life as a model, but ultimately most of the best games where you're driving a tank are either a decade old or ultimately beholden to multiplayer balance.
Gunner, HEAT, PC!, or GHPC, wants to change that. It's an indie game by a new studio called Radian Simulations. Focused on the cold war era, GHPC uses the popular theoretical battleground of Germany as its kickoff point.
It's the kind of game that includes the dramatic tagline "detailed fire control systems" in the trailer, which should be enough to know whether you're interested or would like to move on.
GHPC's aim is to provide a simulator experience that's still fairly accessible and fun, something I'd describe as similar to the combat simulators of the late '90s and early 2000s. It'll include campaigns, randomized skirmishes, and cooperative multiplayer. Players will control armored vehicles like tanks and APCs, but there'll also be AI-controlled forces of other kinds.
"It's a weird time for fans of modern tank combat games," say the developers. "The straight-shooting simulator titles from the turn of the millennium are no more. As tank nerds, we need a game that gets right to the good stuff—modern tanks, realistic system and damage models, and a focus on fun over all."
GHPC touts systems like its projectile flight modeling and an armor penetration model that includes hit effects like armor spalling, fragmentation, and blast overpressure, as well as their effects on the crew. "A vehicle is only knocked out when injury, destruction, or conflagration force it to become combat-ineffective," say the devs.
As of now and its launch into early access, GHPC has a pretty basic campaign and a semi-random skirmish mission mode. There are just over a dozen playable units right now, complete with authentic gunnery optics and fire control, from IFVs and tanks to anti-tank missile emplacements.
You can find Gunner, HEAT, PC! on Steam (opens in new tab) for $30, 10% off until September 13.