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World War II Online - News

News from the front line. WWII MMO FPS, Play For Free. www.wwiionline.com

Author: XOOM-CRS

Contributor: hyoslvr2

New HE Model, New UI and Population Climbing!

Posted by XOOM-CRS Friday July 28 2017 at 4:51PM
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XOOMIn our continued pursuit to provide the highest level of realism, Scotsman will be sharing the new High Explosive model with a screen shot and documentation that helps outline the major impact this will have on the game. We'll also show you a first look at the new "Steam" user integrated account creation and server selection screen, and outline our new "Basic Training Required" UI flow. Finally, we're encouraging Squads again this week to prepare to bring on new users, as we're already seeing a noticeable increase in population. Buckle up, the development train is moving full steam ahead!


 

NEW HIGH EXPLOSIVE MODEL

Cornered Rat Software has prioritized increasing the realism of our game and with the amazing efforts from Scotsman we are getting more realistic and efficient. We've talked a bit about the New HE model but today, we wanted to show case what this looks like to add some more context of how powerful this advancement is for all of our realism fanatics here at WWII Online! - Great job Scotsman!

From Scotsman (WWII Online Military Advisor): The image you see below is of new HE data operating in the new HE model. The new data set correctly simulates every munition in the game for proper fragment size, mass, and velocity. Higher mass or higher velocity fragments reach further than smaller, lighter, or lower velocity fragments. There is variance in each and every explosion, no two explosions are alike, so you may be wounded in one instance and killed in another depending on the size and velocity of the fragments that hit you. All these distributions are built around the physical properties of the ammunition to include type of explosive fill, the amount of explosive, and the construction of the ammunition. Original factory production diagrams of all munitions were used to generate the data. Shell or bomb casing length, width, and wall thickness etc are all accounted for in the calculations.

Data generation is complete and this is going into Q&A testing. Expect it to go live shortly after steam along with many other changes. Updates in work include changes to the HEAT modeling, armor modeling, and a complete audit of small arms accuracy for all weapons. (prompted by forum user requests) This updates small arms performance to the like new factory acceptance standard firing standard WWII government issued ammunition.

You might also add that this means that bombs, mortars and HE will finally work as they should - same calculations as used in US Govt. weapons effects testing.

 

NEW STEAM USER LAUNCH SCREEN

As part of our plan to help simplify things for Steam users, we've taken into consideration the whole UI (user interface) flow for creating your account, and selecting your server. Below is our first iteration of how this will work, users will select "Join the Battle" which will be the Campaign server, of course there's the Training Server and Offline mode. Normally these things have been controlled outside of game but we figured it's time to start integrating it in, and we're quite pleased with how simple this has made things.

After Steam's release we'll begin examining how to do something similar for our organic (existing) user base as well.

New WWII Online arena screen for Steam

TRAINING REQUIRED - PERSONA SELECTION SCREEN

Here's a look at what new users will be presented with after they create their account and attempt to join either the Campaign or Training Server. Immediately new users will go into Basic Training so they can learn the basics of, 1) Movement, 2) Rifleman usage, 3) How to chat with other players, 4) How to navigate the map and icons, 5) HUD "Heads Up Display" overview. Once a player has completed these mandatory training requirements, they will then select their persona of choice, and be prompted to join a WWII Online Squad. Training will become mandatory for both organic and Steam users (all) in an effort to better prepare users for the steep learning curve ahead. CRS believes that these basic things are an absolute necessity to give them the proper tools to be successful.

JOINING A SQUAD PROMPT - NEW USERS ORGANICALLY & STEAM

Immediately after a new player has completed their basic training requirements, they will be able to select a persona. They will be prompted with an active list of Squad recruiters who are online and in a mission at that time. We highly encourage all new users coming through the door to join up with a Squad as it will greatly improve your game experience here. This is entirely a team based game, and while we do offer lonewolf's to do their thing, organized numbers will always win.

By joining a Squad you will immediately get help with all of your questions and learn how to play the game. One of the biggest draw's of WWII Online is its scale and when your Squad is working together, on voice comms and heading towards a target, it's quite exhilarating and you can dominate otherwise unorganized forces.

We shared this screen shot last week but wanted to display it again to have context to what we're saying above. 

NOTICEABLE POPULATION UP-TICK IN GAME

We have seen that we're seeing returning and new users join back up with the game in preparation for the upcoming Steam release. Folks are looking to build rank and gain a competitive edge and the Rats are more than welcoming it! We're also receiving confirmation that through this climb in numbers just how important the game population alone can dramatically improve battles in World War II Online. We have seen some AMAZING fights over the last couple of week's and I have personally been in-game with fellow Rats along side Squads on both the Allied and Axis side, it's been seriously awesome and is an encouraging factor of what's to come.

That's all for now this week, much more activity behind the scenes in progress.

- Cornered Rat Software

 

Squads prep for Steam and Free Play Account info

Posted by XOOM-CRS Friday July 21 2017 at 12:38PM
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On the first month of our release we're expecting to get absolutely pounded by new users trying us out. Squads should be preparing right away for the on boarding of new users. We'll also cover understanding that WWII Online is a subscription based game and not micro-transactions or the standard Free to Play type game. And finally, our development cycle to deploy on Steam is getting close to completion. Friday Update audio recording from "Xoom" (click here).


SQUADS AND RECRUITMENT

We're encouraging all squads to get together as soon as possible to rally up and organize themselves as we prepare for Steam. Squads being strong and ready to bring on and train new users will result into your squads growing much larger and increasing the size of battles overall. This is a massively important thing for squads to do and it is directly related to the success of the Steam release initiative.

BADGER is leading an effort to consider new ways to increase squad visibility outside of the game via our web pages as well. Stay tuned for more details here.

ENABLE YOUR RECRUITER FLAGS - ASAP!

Already there are lots of new users coming in to get a head start and try out the game. By enabling your recruiter flag (check your Squads tab) you will be visible on our Squad Recruitment interface immediately after someone selects their persona (pictured below):

STEAM RELEASE CANDIDATE

At our current rate we'll be able to have our Steam release candidate ready for intense testing this coming week. This includes all of the changes that have been tested and fixed, wrapped up and ready to go for final approval. Which sets us to be on target as we have estimated for Summer of 2017 release on Steam.

Please note: This does not mean we will be releasing next week. We will keep you informed of our release date and give you as much advance notice as possible.

FREE PLAY ACCOUNT / SUBSCRIPTION

World War II Online is and always has been a subscription based game. Our new players coming through Steam need to know that there's a fundamental difference in what we're offering as compared to today's typical "Free to Play (F2P)" type model. 

To get right to it, we do not offer micro-transactions; in-game currency system, and you won't be nickel or dime'd to death just to select your weapon and play.

What we do offer is fair game play with no item buys that gives you an advantage over another player; massive game play battle zones with hundreds of players interacting on the land / air / sea together in a single battle, advanced historically accurate damage modeling, a mature and helpful community, a pathway to try the game absolutely risk / money free and a whole lot more.

For your first two weeks you can play the game like a premium subscriber and be introduced to the entire game in the best possible way, for no commitment or money down. And if you decide you never want to subscribe, there's an option for you to play an integral part in the capturing of territory, and movement of supplies or equipment. You will still be able to join squads and participate in missions, communicate on the forums and in-game chat, we'll track your statistics and you'll continue to be able to play the game endlessly with the equipment set we've provided.

WWII Online is a massively multiplayer online game, with a lot of supporting infrastructure / services, and our staff is from all across the world that we have to take care of. As we are the definition of an indie studio we've made very careful considerations about how we're deploying on Steam, and we're consistently evaluating feedback to make sure we're still on par.

We hope that you'll enlist and see why WWII Online has been around for over 16 years, and hopefully fall in love with the game as we have.

We welcome questions or feedback, please be as constructive as you can and we'll take all matters into consideration.

Salute!

- Cornered Rat Software

Realism, Equipment Balancing, Steam launch coming soon!

Posted by XOOM-CRS Sunday July 16 2017 at 11:03AM
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Today we'll talk about the things we're doing to make our game more realistic; our equipment balancing strategy, and Steam's deployment status. Within Steam we'll cover how subscriptions for those users will be handled, cell hosts (what they are and why they're important), training tutorials now being a requirement and other preparations underway as launch day approaches. (19 Minute Audio Update from Xoom about this article)


 

REALISM IS OUR PRIORITY

We've been having some awfully long internal discussions about the current state of the game and the things that we are working on. Particularly with the inclusion of some upcoming content that we have on the shelf and getting their deployment plan all sorted out. One of the major topics that has come up as a very important reminder for us, is the requirement to have our game be as realistic as possible.

You can see our Production team already employing a higher sense of realism through their High-Explosive audit which is not far away from being employed into the game (first content release after Steam). Next up on the list is all other projectiles (kinetic energy, non-explosive). And following that will be a complete review of all armor plating types and their thickness. As a reminder, we can model armor thickness down to the millimeter (and to even greater fractions, but that's a bit overkill ~ still cool though).

EQUIPMENT BALANCING STRATEGY

A discussion to reaffirm our position as being as realistic as possible and finding ways to balance our content standing by was very important to have. In the real war, there was not a 1 to 1 match for equipment. Two weapons standing out spurring that discussion currently includes the M1A1 Carbine and the STG44. There is a well known fact that the STG44 is a pretty amazing weapon, but we also know it was available later in the war with limited numbers, where as the M1A1 was pretty well mass produced. So how do we balance that? 

Well we can't very well hand off the STG44 to the Allied forces, or the M1A1 to the German forces. But we can reflect the total supply availability for equipment in their spawn lists as a means to provide a balance.

We think it's really important to employ this strategy as we move forward so our content pipeline doesn't get bottlenecked and we get stuck into a position with equipment sitting on the shelf for awhile, as in the case of these two weapons.

Fortunately, you will be seeing these two weapons in the near future. All content is being prepared for post-Steam deployment, as a means to maintain focus on the deployment of Steam itself, as well as provide some new content to maintain the interest and continued growth of those users, as well as our organic customer base.

STEAM DEPLOYMENT STATUS

SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE DLC'S ON STEAM

Things are looking very good here at the moment. Our Starter and Premium subscriptions are being setup as DLC's per how Steam's platform actually works, but they will be pretty visible for folks to see. Every Steam user will start out as a FREE PLAYER with a 2 week trial followed by a perpetually free (but limited) account (Rifleman, Trucks and Haulers only). As always they'll be able to subscribe right away at any time.

CELL HOSTS - HOW MANY USERS CAN BE ONLINE

We have successfully tested two cell hosts (which manage players in the campaign) and per cell host we have been able to push 1200 bots on them, so effectively at this moment we can run 2400 concurrent players. As we have been saying we are expanding that limitation and theoretically with multi-cell repaired (the process that allows multiple cell hosts to be used) should work by default for cell host 3 & 4. The development and operations team are working closely on this particular item right now. Our mission is to deploy 4 cell hosts by Steam's release to hold the maximum number of users as possible.

TRAINING TUTORIALS - NOW REQUIRED

Training Tutorials will not be able to be bypassed anymore for our new incoming users. This is an incredibly important period of time for the new users to be successful. With the complexity of WWII Online, if a user does not go through the basic tutorials they will have a much lesser percentage of knowing what to do or how to interact with other users / get into the game world.

Users will launch the game, and before proceeding beyond the persona selection screen they will be prompted to take a non-optional (mandatory) training session of the first 5 basic training tutorials, which include:

  1. Movement
  2. Rifle / weapons usage
  3. Chat
  4. Map / using map tools
  5. HUD (Heads up Display)

Once these tutorials are completed, which will take up to 15 minutes roughly depending on the speed of the user, they will be entered into the regular Campaign and officially start their career in WWII Online. Our team has invested some important time into making sure the tutorials were functioning and there were no road blocks that would cause an issue with users being stuck / unable to proceed. 

We think this is such an important development to ensure the highest levels of success not just for the user but for the game. This will get users into battle faster with more understanding, it is something that really should never be bypassed.

GAME MANAGEMENT PREPARATIONS

Our new Game Manager "OHM" is preparing for the influx of users and is deep in understanding his new toolset and responsibilities. There will need to be an increase in supply and he'll be at the ready to carefully push numbers upwards as needed. He's also trying to get a new maintenance cycle established, with the hope of making it a bit less frequent and intrusive on Campaign operations. One thing is for sure: the Campaign server must continued to be reset, at a minimum of once per week. With the Campaign coming to new hardware shortly, there may be some changes that are unforeseen, so we'll keep you guys posted as this develops.

OHM is also considering how we can improve the landscape of intermissions and making them a bit more vibrant and interesting. If special events are something you are interested in, you should really connect with him, you can do so by sending him a forum PM.

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT PREPARATIONS

KMS has been getting his mind blown with all of the stuff required for the Community Manager to do but he's a quick learner and embracing the responsibility. He's also processing a new Assistant Community Manager that will help him with the Axis High Command / Community, filling his recently held position. We'll be announcing who that is in the near future but we think he'll do a great job and the Axis community will be getting an awesome rep.

Keeping the community healthy is paramount for our CM team, so they are strategizing together about expectations and what to prepare for as Steam comes.

HIGH COMMAND OFFICERS - ARE NEEDED (BIG TIME)

We're going to need an influx of High Command officers to support game operations around the clock for both AHC and GHC. If you can devote a minimum of 3 months service right before Steam's release the Rats would be very grateful. As you know we are deploying on Steam with the brigade system and need as many capable hands in there to help things out and make sure the game stays healthy. Please see the community management team or your HC office for greater details.

OVERALL PROGRESS - STRONG

Thousands of new players are learning about our game everyday, and that's really exciting for us. Steam is continuing to show its power in terms of traffic as it is generating an impressive number of impressions, clicks, Steam group joins and folks adding the game to their Steam wishlist. 

The Rats are equally working hard to make sure that this gets done right. We're getting our Staff prepared to be all-hands-on-deck for Steam's release for a period of 48 hours. On the first day of Steam we suspect the technical team will be busy correcting things that come up suddenly (it always happens in the software development world). On the second day we suspect the dust will settle and it will be all about supporting the users and making sure everything is firing accordingly.

Our primary focus for the first few weeks upon Steam's deployment is to iron out any kinks that may have been unforeseen. That does not however, affect the timeline of development of new content via the Production team.

All in all, we're ready to get onto Steam mentally (chomping at the bit if you will) but the new server configuration and getting that all firing right, and doing some final testing are some of the last bits remaining. WE ARE ALMOST READY. We'll keep you apprised of our progress as always and ask you to get folks engaged and involved on this matter. Bring back your friends and get them ready, LAUNCH DAY IS COMING SOON. (Seriously)

That's all for now, thanks for reading, and all of us RATS thank you for your support!