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

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A Hawk bites the bullet.

Gameplay Details
IMG: It seems every release introduces new capture rules. Are you guys moving to an ideal capture situation or are you responding to player feedback?

Chris Sherland: Both. The only way we can effect map play is with capture rules right now. We are redesigning the way the strategic system works, and ultimately supply and control will be a huge factor. Until we get that new system on line, we are limited to pulling the strings we have available to keep the map stable enough. Player feedback all points to more strategic involvement and that's were we are headed design wise.

IMG: Will infantry ever be able to jump?

Chris Sherland: Yes, and fall as well.

IMG: The climbing bug (where players can climb objects by crouching) has been in WWIIOL for a while. Do you intend to make it a feature or remove it from the game entirely?

Chris Sherland: When we get real jumping and climbing we'll remove the ability we have now to climb stuff. But for now it's fairly cool. I've seen guys take the time to learn how to climb the most amazing stuff, we don't plan on stopping them until we can deliver a better system.

IMG: Many people have requested that you centralize some of the massive calculations your game requires; in particular, an oft-requested feature is a dedicated ballistics server. Do you intend to keep WWIIOL as a distributed-computing platform or will you be designing supercomputers to take the load off of the players' CPU's?

Chris Sherland: The load of the player's CPU is not that drastic right now. Far more intense is our memory footprint, which we are working on reducing all the time. However a weapons server is critical, but not in the way you suggest. The CPU can handle more physics and ballistics than we are sending right now, but what it cannot handle is transferring delayed resolution. For example: If player "A" drops a bomb but gets disconnected before it hits the ground, that bomb is gone. What a weapons server will do is take long resolution-time weapons (like artillery, bombs, topedoes etc) off of the client and track them for the player base.

IMG: Are there any plans to get rid of the player visibility bug, where only 64 players can be shown in one immediate area at a time?

Chris Sherland: Only to make it work better and expand it.

IMG: Are there plans to model vehicles as separable components (for instance, tires coming off of trucks or wings coming off of planes)?

Chris Sherland: Yes. We have a design for visible damage but it has not floated to the top of the priority list yet. It is a lot higher than it's been and we are planning to show turrets fly off, wings, you name it. Once we get that system to the development table we'll also be adding structural limits as well. This will enable us to throw tracks, blow tires, and lose wings etc.

IMG: At the moment, vehicle systems functionality is sort of a lowest-common-denominator affair: all tanks share gas, brake, and clutch controls, push-button engine startup, and not much else. Are there plans to model the more personal aspects of each vehicle (for instance, requiring a unique startup sequence for each aircraft)?

Chris Sherland: Not really. We've talked about a "grognard" mode that would offer a player the ability to monitor his own fuel mixture in an aircraft, and perhaps force him to map his clutch to an axis, but in testing that kind of stuff we found that lots of folks just blew their vehicle up. While that's "cool" in a way, we'd have to balance out the cost of adding that type of feature set with foregoing "other" features.

IMG: As of now the GHC (German High Command) and AHC (Allied High Command) are a very separate entity from the game. Are there plans to integrate the two command structures into WWIIOL in the future?

Chris Sherland: Yes. We have a feature list that is directly related to HQ needs and wishes. Some features on that list are dependant on getting strategic and supply functionality reworked. But some command / control features will be coming on the heels of 1.7.

IMG: Are there plans for a more intricate mission system; one that will offer more options than simply "defend" and "attack?"

Chris Sherland: Yes. Right now there are 4 types, defend and attack for both point and area. Other mission types in the design are escort, recon, rescue, and resupply. The ability to set waypoints for mission takers, as well as more dynamic goals are all in the strategic system redesign.

IMG: Allied air pilots often complain that, by the numbers, they are outgunned by their German counterparts. Will the Allied air forces see a resurgence of better aircraft in future expansions?

Chris Sherland: We build them like they did in the forties...we don't have much choice in that. The 1941 vehicle set sees both the French and British air forces getting cannon equipped fighters like they did.


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