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Interview: World War II Online
October 22, 2002 | IMG Staff

Click to enlarge

A ground war viewed from the air.
In preparation for the retail Mac release of World War II Online next month, IMG chatted with Cornered Rat Software about this massively multiplayer online war sim. Producer Chris "Mo" Sherland answers questions about the gameplay specifics, future plans for the title, as well as the Mac version specifically.

Mac Specifics
IMG: Tell us about yourself and what you do with WWIIOL.

Chris Sherland: My name is Chris Sherland, I'm 39 years old, have a 1 year old daughter, a fantastic wife, and I've been in computer game production for about 5 years. For WWIIOL I wear a lot of hats. We are a small development house so I am the project's producer, QA lead, project manager, and I am involved with design as well.

IMG: How has the current Mac beta been progressing? Are you happy with the feedback you've been getting from OS X testers?

Chris Sherland: The testing is going well, there are a few outstanding issues that are fairly trivial, but overall we are "ready to ship" WWIIOL as it stands. The Mac gaming community is clearly hungry for this title, and they show that in the beta by being very helpful and cooperative, it's been a very positive test overall.

IMG: Once WWIIOL is released for Mac OS X, what options will beta testers have to continue playing the game?

Chris Sherland: Beta testing is voluntary, this is for closed and public test teams. However most of the beta team assembled for the Mac version is from a public "cattle call" if you will. The closed Mac testing team will be returned to the roster that existed prior to the public test. Once the Mac version is published, all mac players can participate in future public beta efforts. There will probably be a few testers from the public test that are invited to join the closed team...we'll see.

IMG: Are the recent DirectX changes in the Windows client, which move some of the game processing onto the video hardware (T&L), also being made on the Mac side?

Chris Sherland: Oh definitely. While Mac titles use OpenGL as opposed to DirectDraw render routines, we have ported all graphic features over and there will be no difference in graphic representation.

IMG: People sometimes complain the game has low frame rates considering its comparatively simplistic 3D models. Do you see a solution for this in the future?

Chris Sherland: The solution on our side is more optimization for our render pipeline. But until we make a "smaller" game, the sheer size of what WWIIOL is makes it a fairly hefty application. I think that the main pressure is on us to keep on delivering a faster running game, but at some point we will run out of tricks. Simply put, there is a lot going on in this game.

IMG: Will it be possible for WWIIOL to take full advantage of dual-processor Macs at some point?

Chris Sherland: Tough question. Short answer is not right now, but in the future we may. Converting our core engine to run routines multi-threaded is not a trivial task, so it may be a while. We do plan on implementing multi-thread system enhancements in the future, the big questions is: when we do, will we take full advantage of multiple processors? We don't know right now.


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