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Tuesday, May 1, 2001
Hands-on WWII Online Preview
9:46 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Intelgamer has produced an in-depth preview of the upcoming massively-multiplayer combat game World War II Online in production at Cornered Rat Software. The preview, which recounts an actual trip to the Bedford, Texas HQ of Playnet and Cornered Rat, is handicapped by a somewhat folksy, personal style, but still manages to uncover some information about this quite ambitious project.

Among the many topics discussed are the impressive depth of the actual simulation itself, which contains an amazing amount of detail even down to the varying thicknesses of armor on a tank or the areas on a plane which would cause it to explode when hit (such as the fuel tanks). One impressive description of a tank model reveals that even though the outside armor is invulnerable to normal bullets, a skilled sniper could still kill the driver through an observation window the size of your average mail slot. Even the actual health of your virtual trooper is modeled with a degree of accuracy; unlike a typical shooter where you have full abilities until the moment your health counter reaches zero, troops in WWII Online will be subject to fatigue, will have trouble aiming if they were just running (due to their pounding heartbeat), and can suffer oxygen deprivation (in the case of pilots with shattered canopies).

Also included in the preview is a play-by-play description of an actual combat session, which will be quite revealing to those of you who are interested in this game but are having trouble visualizing what typical gameplay will be like. Here's a description of what it might be like to pilot a tank:

Now to the actual operation of the vehicle itself in the safe environment of the debugging program. First he showed us how the vehicle drove. Sitting in the driverís seat, it was an interesting feeling to being able to only see out of the little driving slot as you bounced up and down on the European terrain. Itís not the only place you can look though; there is a 360-degree cockpit view for everyone no matter what position you are occupying. This will be useful for checking to see if your mates are still alive. Showing us the outside of the tank, you could see the lines (these lines are only used in the debugging program to show how things are working) in each single tread and wheel directing movement as the tank maneuvered over the small dips and hills in the terrain. Bringing the tank to a stop, we brought it back to an internal view. One of the personnel in the tank popped his head up to man the machine gun. This would leave him partially vulnerable to snipers, but the observational area there would be surrounded by bulletproof glass. Ambushes may be interesting as the point was made that a grenade could potentially be tossed in while that hatch was open.
Many other aspects of the game are discussed, including the difficult task of balancing realism vs. "fun" in a large-scale environment. Be sure to check this one out if you are anticipating this venture into the first full-scale online battle simulation. It will be released for Mac and PC by the end of this summer, if all goes well.

Playnet/WW II Online
WWII Online Preview at Intelgamer

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• Hands-on WWII Online Preview9:46 AM
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Archives  News  Hands-on WWII Online Preview