Gunner, HEAT, PC! – Beginners Guide

The player-controlled units in Gunner, HEAT, PC! share common controls and gameplay – you can learn them once and then switch to a new vehicle and already know most of what you need. This guide will explain these universal concepts. 

Note: There is a control reference list in the game. Press F1 during a mission to show or hide it. 

Getting Started in GHPC


Vehicle movement is controlled via the traditional WASD key setup. W and S control throttle (as well as brake and reverse), while A and D control steering. Gear shifting is handled automatically by the AI driver.

In vehicles with separately aimed turrets, you can monitor the orientation of the hull and turret via the indicator on the lower left of the HUD.

Camera Views

There are two categories of camera views: free look and fixed. Typically, a vehicle will have fixed views in the form of gun sights and optics, as well as free look views including the commander’s unbuttoned view.

To switch between the two modes, use the left Shift key. You can select the preferred view within each category by cycling through them with the C key.

Basic Aiming

The mouse controls the currently selected weapon system (you can see which one this is in the lower left corner of the screen, and you can cycle through all available weapons with the square bracket keys [ ] ). From exterior views, such as the chase cam and the commander view, you can direct the gunner’s aim in the direction you’re looking by right-clicking. There is no crosshair for this kind of view, as the gun sights are the preferred method of aiming.

The primary purpose of exterior views is to scan the surroundings and spot targets. There are no enemy markers in your HUD, so you will need to find targets using whatever visual methods are available, from commander view to magnified optics or thermal sights.

Above: While in the commander view, you can use the mouse scroll wheel to zoom in and observe

The gun sight is accessed with the Shift key, as noted above in the section on camera views. While in this view, you can aim the current weapon system smoothly by holding the right mouse button and dragging the mouse in a direction.

Note: this is not a traditional free aim system – you do not drag the mouse to your target. Instead, the mouse is turned into a control stick. The distance and direction you move from where you clicked will determine how your aim response moves. To aim faster in a direction, move the mouse farther in that direction; to slow down the motion, move the mouse back toward where you clicked. If you let go of the mouse button, or move the mouse back to the exact place it was in when you clicked, your aim will stop adjusting.

An arrow will appear on your screen below the center of the gun sight to show your aim intensity. Once you get used to the system, you can toggle this indicator off in the Options menu’s Input tab.

Gun Sights: Zoom Levels and Night Optics

Certain sights have extra features. To zoom in, use the mouse scroll wheel. To switch to the night sight, press T. Some optics (such as the night vision sight on the T-55A) are covered during the day and will appear solid black while covered. This is not a bug. To use these, play a night mission, or advance the time to night using the period (.) key.

Many day sights also have a low-light illumination feature. To illuminate the reticle, press I (i).

Gun Sights: Reading and Adjusting Range

Many of the vehicles in GHPC have the ability to adjust the range setting of their gun sights. Setting the correct distance to a target will allow you to aim the reticle directly at the target and score a hit, even at long range. In GHPC, the default range controls are PgUp and PgDown. The currently set range is displayed in the weapons HUD in the lower left corner of the screen.

Above: The weapons HUD in some of its possible states

Many reticles have numerical labels to show which distances the markings are for. These numbers are typically given as multiples of 100 meters, so a label that says “6” means 600 meters.

Above: the gun sight reticle of the BRDM-2, showing labeled range markings from point blank range to 2000 or 1500 meters for the KPVT and PKT respectively

Gun Sights: Laser Rangefinders

Modern armored fighting vehicles often have the ability to quickly measure range via a laser pulse. The distance detected by the laser rangefinder is automatically sent to the fire control system (FCS) and used to correct its range setting. The action of measuring range in this way is sometimes referred to as “lasing”. In GHPC, you can lase with the E key by default.

Above: The M60A3 TTS is equipped with a laser rangefinder. Placing the reticle’s center dot on a target and pressing E will feed the correct range to the FCS.

Gun Sights: Lead, Dumping Lead, and Delta-D

Fire control systems often include features intended to automatically adjust the gunner’s aim for certain situations, such as moving targets. Lead (pronounced “leed”) is the horizontal shift in aim direction required to shoot where a moving target will be when the shot reaches the right distance, so that it hits the target despite the travel time. In GHPC, vehicles with automatic lead typically activate this feature automatically when you lase. An example is the M60A3 TTS, which applies the last 1.5 seconds of aim movement as lead when you lase.

Above: Lead offset applied to the gun sight of the M60A3 TTS. This lead was applied by traversing and lasing in quick succession and will need to be dumped.

Sometimes you will not want to use a lead offset anymore. To straighten out your aim again, you must “dump” the lead. This is accomplished via Ctrl + E, or through the quick menu (Q). Other FCS features can be found in the quick menu as well, in case you forget their key shortcuts.

Occasionally, an FCS will have the ability to automatically adjust your range as you drive toward or away from your current aim point. This adjustment is called “delta-D”, where “delta” means “change” and “D” means “distance”. In GHPC, delta-D is usually automatically applied after a lase. An example of a vehicle with this feature is the T-72M1. You can cancel delta-D via the same shortcut as dumping lead.

Ammo Selection

Some of the vehicles in GHPC have standard ammunition loadouts that include a variety of ammo types. You will start missions with the first type loaded. If your vehicle has more to choose from, you can access them with the number keys (1, 2, 3, etc.), along the top of the keyboard. Selecting a new ammo type does not immediately load it; instead, it queues it up for the loader to select next time the gun is fired and emptied.

Ammo Transfer and Restocking

After you fire several shots, you may find one or more ammo types depleted from your ready rack. To solve this, you will need to move more ammunition in from the reserve racks throughout the vehicle. The restock command is accessible via the quick menu (Q).

During the restock, your crew will be busy moving ammunition. The turret and stabilizers will be locked for crew safety. If the transfer completes, or you cancel it manually, full control will be restored.

Choosing the Right Type of Ammunition

With so many types of ammo to pick from, it can be hard to decide what to use at what times. Here is a brief and oversimplified summary of ammo types.

APFSDS (a.k.a. sabot, KE, fin, dart, or subcaliber)

The Armor Piercing, Fin-Stabilized, Discarding Sabot design is a dedicated anti-tank munition. It consists of a dense metal dart held in place by a breakaway collar (the “discarding sabot”) to allow it to fill the gun barrel’s full diameter. After firing, the sabot falls away, and the dart is left to fly at high speed directly into the target. It relies on sheer overpowering energy to break through armor, and its kill mechanism is shearing off pieces of debris (as well as its own remnants) that spray the inside of the target in a cone shaped area.

In GHPC, you should select APFSDS ammunition when you are engaging enemy tanks, or when you want to take advantage of its short flight time and fairly flat trajectory to help you score a hit. You should not rely on it against infantry or other small targets that require a weapon with an area of effect.


A strong choice for medium duty, High Explosive Anti-Tank (Fin Stabilized) combines decent anti-armor capability with a respectable amount of blast damage, and sometimes even a fragmentation sleeve for extra punch against light targets. This type of round works by detonating an inverted cone liner (usually copper) in such a way that it focuses into a thin, extremely energetic stream of superplasticized material. This “jet” is nearly instantly accelerated to high speeds, boring deep into whatever armor is in its way. The jet functions much like a kinetic penetrator after that, creating dangerous “spall” fragments from the entry point. Due to the fact that the penetrator is created by combustion (a chemical reaction) rather than the kinetic energy of the round, HEAT rounds are sometimes referred to as using chemical energy, or CE.

In GHPC, HEAT-FS is a strong choice against tanks that lack composite or reactive armor, as it can pierce a substantial thickness of ordinary armor steel. You can also use it against lightly armored or unarmored targets effectively. Of special note is the fact that HEAT-FS does not rely on the speed of the round to be effective, making it an ideal choice for very long ranges if you can hit the target.


Perhaps the simplest kind of contemporary tank munition, the High Explosive round relies primarily on its explosive charge and fragmenting case to cause damage to lightly armored or unarmored targets. HE rounds unleash dense fragment clouds, strong concussive overpressure waves, and plenty of heat and noise. They come in a wide variety of specific configurations, including HE-Frag, which is designed to produce maximum fragmentation debris, or APHE (armor piercing high explosive), which is built extra sturdy to defeat a certain amount of armor before exploding. HE rounds often also have impact fuses with a tiny amount of delay, so if they punch through an obstacle, they can fly into the protected space before detonation.

In GHPC, HE rounds are the weapon of choice against infantry, emplacements, buildings, and unarmored vehicles. In addition, their strong blast force can destroy sensitive equipment, like optics and lamps, on even the strongest tanks. And last but not least, APHE can be devastating when used against weaker armor that it’s capable of defeating.


The Anti-Tank Guided Missile is a staple of modern combat. Packing a strong HEAT warhead into a tube launched missile, this weapon system is a dangerous threat to targets of all types. ATGMs are steerable, often by simply aiming a weapon sight at the target, which makes them much easier to use than other compact anti-tank systems. With a clear line of sight and a safe firing position, ATGMs have a very high chance of hitting and disabling their targets.

In GHPC, ATGMs are a feature of both vehicles and infantry emplacements. If you’re moving through open ground in enemy territory, you’ll need to keep a sharp eye out for these, as even one hit can ruin your day.

Battle Damage and Losing a Vehicle

Combat in GHPC is unforgiving. Damage to your vehicle’s systems is evaluated in detail, along with its consequences. At times, those consequences will make it difficult or impossible to continue the mission. Vehicles in GHPC are considered neutralized when they are combat ineffective or on fire. If the crew are still alive when this happens, they will attempt to evacuate. This is represented by the vehicle stopping and the hatches opening.

If your vehicle is neutralized or heavily damaged and you still wish to proceed with the mission, simply press Tab and switch to a new vehicle. There are currently no repair mechanisms in GHPC.

After-action Review (AAR)

It would be a shame to simulate the interaction of munitions and armor in so much detail and never show it off. Thus, we’ve provided the AAR mode, activated by pressing the End key. AAR mode permanently ends a mission, so only use it when you’re finished and want to see what happened. You will be able to use the on-screen controls and information to view and understand each shot in depth. Spall fragments are color-coded: yellow for strong, red for weak. Main shot paths are marked in alternating white and light gray segments to show time steps. You can use the indicated keys to focus instantly on the shooter or the first target, or “ride” the shot path freely.


This demo is still in early development and does not yet have all the game modes we would like to add. For now, you can play several “instant action” skirmish missions. These are organized by which map they take place in. You can play them as any unit by switching units with the Tab key during the mission.

There is also a “proving ground” map where you can drive different vehicles around a course and shoot at range targets. This map includes some preview vehicles that are not yet complete, and as such they may lack things like armor models or some of their weapons and optics. You can drive them here to get an early look at what they’ll become.

Additional Features

Using the quick menu (Q), you can control several minor features of some vehicles. These include spotlights, convoy markers, and FCS features.

If you wish to change the time of day during a mission, try using the developer cheat shortcuts (comma and period keys)! You can try day, night, or anything in between, in any mission. The AI will even adjust their vision to match.

Time scale can be adjusted using the plus and minus keys on the top of the keyboard. This is best paired with “free cam” mode, toggled using the F3 key while in any exterior view.

Free cam has the following controls:

  • Movement (always level with horizon) – WASD
  • Rise/sink – Space/Ctrl
  • Flight speed – Mouse scroll
  • Field of view – Shift + Mouse scroll
  • Reset field of view – X
  • Fire current weapon – Shift + Left click
  • Smooth pan – Hold right click

To manually assign a waypoint to the current vehicle, look at a point on the ground and press F4. Add more waypoints to the path with F5. To set a direct waypoint with no pathfinding, use Ctrl + F4 (but note that this could result in odd AI behavior or getting the vehicle stuck). Setting custom waypoints will erase all mission-related waypoints for a vehicle.

You can toggle the HUD using a hidden key combo: Ctrl + F1. This is intended for debug or development use and may break some mouse interactions, so use it with caution.

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 3012 Articles
I love two things in life, games and sports. Although sports were my earliest interest, it was video games that got me completely addicted (in a good way). My first game was Crash Bandicoot (PS1) from the legendary studio Naughty Dog back in 1996. I turned my passion for gaming into a job back in 2019 when I transformed my geek blog (Re-actor) into the gaming website it is today.

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