"WWIIOL: BATTLEGROUND EUROPE" UPDATE
RAT CHAT #4 DEVELOPER Q&A
Senior Producer Dana "Gophur" Baldwin took some time to chat with the Battleground Europe community on April 29th to answer questions about upcoming game developments.
Many of the questions were about the progress being made with Unity II, CRS' new game engine:
"The back end work (for Unity II) is largely done, but there's still a ways to go. (We're) currently evalutating a piece of middle-ware to possibly be adapted to a terrain editor that would be useful for us. The name of it is TRIAN GRAPHICS. They produce a terrain editor called TRIAN 3D. It uses geotypical and geo-specific data to produce very large scale terrain."
There were some more specific questions asked about the new graphics and the expected enhancements, including increase in poly-counts, building upgrades and the possibility of a new sound engine:
"We're talking about going from a few hundred to 10,000 triangles"
"We're talking about a dramatic increase (in poly-counts). We're talking about going from a few hundred to 10,000 triangles possibly. We're also talking about adding normal maps and adding specular maps. As you can imagine, that's a big process when we have over 100 vehicles."
"All buildings are slated to get re-done. All the old 2D (buildings) with the alpha-collider doors...are getting re-done. They won't all be as enterable as they were before, but we'll make up for alot of that with external play features. Stairs here, doorways there...more places to duck around a corner. TOTO (Artist Bruce Patnaude) has just gotten done with a set of urban buildings, he's going to go in and populate all of those... All those big buildings are now going to be clumps of buildings that you can run around. Alleyways that are too small for tanks, all that kind of groovy stuff."
"Yes/No/All things possible..."
"The primary goal here is a new renderer. But because of that new renderer, some of the other systems needed to be "de-spaghettified" in coder-speak. This really sweeps alot of the table clean, it cuts alot of the interdepencies...alot of the systems were completely re-written to work with the new renderer. Things like the collider...and terrain loading. It should allow for easier upkeep on the code base and easier implimentation of new features."
The discussion then moved on to questions about brigades, plans for the Navy, changes to airfield Early Warning System and the possibility of adding new victory conditions in 1.29:
"We want to make sure they're balanced fairly..."
"Technically (opening more of the brigade divisions and adding a flag) doesn't have to wait for 1.29 but it is slated for 1.29 and that will depend on how it plays out in intermission. The first thing we want to do is take the non-standard ground brigades ...and make them universal. That's an underlying key balance mechanism...We'd like to have brigades that are more favored towards armor and more that are favored towards infantry.(But) we have to make sure we have these things balanced...so when they go up head-to-head, they each have their own special way of winning."
"The first part of the Navy plan, the part I can sell to the guys that write the checks, is that (Navy) guys need landing craft to further them in the game. We're not exactly sure how we'll use landing craft...(navy ground troops) could spawn into a landing craft, or a landing craft could be used like a truck. We really need to find a way to incorporate army brigades into that, too...There's still some heavy lifting to be done design wise, but it's certainly on our minds."
Infantry are supposed to be sneaky!"
"(On EWS at airfields) Ya, that's something we're going to have to review. Airfields (EWS) used to have to work off of the town marker...The airfield has a marker, but it's always off in a corner somewhere, so maybe we'll just have to increase the range for infantry EWS a bit for them to set that off."
"The premise is to get it away from a full land grab"
"We have talked about (new victory conditions)... but we have to flesh it out. The primary goal is to get the game so that's it's no longer just a land grab. (We'd like to go) to where different objectives have a point value. (Maybe) you give every town a point value then award points on a daily or hourly basis to whoever is holding those. (Maybe) you can use player score to be like victory points. So, you kill a tank and you've earned Victory points for your side but you've also earned victory points for yourself and maybe those gain you a new rank."