The time has come to outline our important mission and objectives for 2017. Happy New Year everyone, we hope you're as prepared as we are to embark on an amazing ride. We made 2016 quite a success by achieving some big goals, and with this year and reinforced team, better tools and workflows, we're going to kick some arse and take some names. To do that, we're going to need your full support ongoing. We hope you enjoy this very informational post that covers the major parts of our plans.
We're going to break this down by each of our major objectives. These items will encompass several different teams working on them, not everything listed here requires programming effort. Near the bottom there is some information about our team and how it is organized / who is contributing if you're interested.
Please take the time to read this thoroughly, it's a lot, but very good information. Salute!
RELEASING ON STEAM
While we have been Greenlit on Steam (capable of publishing the game there) for some time, we have spent a lot of our time preparing to make ourselves as successful as possible. This has come primarily in the form of stabilizing all of our systems and game, gaining a ton of knowledge and growing our team.
It is our goal that by Summer of 2017 WWII Online will be officially on Steam as an "Early Access" game. We're choosing this route because it will provide us some grace to get things right and prepared prior to a full blitzed release, but still have the benefit of configuring everything properly and learning in a semi-beta mode.
All of our goals and objectives this year relate to making it onto Steam, it is PRIORITY 1. And we'd like to thank you all for your outstanding patience in the time it has taken, believe me, no one is more anxious than us. But good things come with hard work and proper preparations.
As you continue to read, you'll learn more about the things we're doing right now to make Steam more successful upon release.
1.36 - STABILIZING THE CAMPAIGN
You should all know what this is by now. 1.36 is in development as a major priority, and is one of our Steam preparation items.
Our primary goals here include:
- Stabilizing the Campaign map during time zone 3.
- Providing more supply for players throughout the entire theater of operations.
- Redeploying High Command's focus on cultivating great community relations and massive, coordinated battles.
- Providing greater opportunity for organization via planned operations.
- Giving squads greater value, and say in the direction of a Campaign, or battle.
- Simplification of the user interface, less clicks, better design and more user friendly.
- Restoring rear line re-supply and interdiction operations.
- Making supply associated with towns and not brigades.
- Remove the brigade roster from the UI.
- Add an easy mouse click via the theater map to join a town's available missions.
- Make the movement of supply based on change of town ownership via combat actions by players (system applies supply).
- All Air Fields will have AF and Paratrooper supply across the entire game world.
- All Docks / Deep Water ports will have Naval supply across the entire game world.
- There will always be a frontline town, regardless of how the map curves.
- There will always be a rear town behind the frontline, with a stockpile of equipment.
- Allied forces will be capable of changing ownership of their towns (US / FR / UK) via HC Options commands.
- HC officers will rally troops with side-global communication commands and initiate attack or defense objectives.
64 BIT GAME APPLICATIONS
We're currently working on allowing modern hardware to do its magic by increasing the CPU and Memory capacity. Our game applications since inception have been 32 BIT. This is in progress as we speak and is definitely a Steam pre-requisite. Users can expect much better client side performance and rendering.
INTEGRATED VOICE COMMUNICATIONS
We have determined what plugin we want to use and the basic design of how integrated voice comms will look inside of the game. Our goal is to get this before Steam's release or shortly afterwards. It is understood that game play is better for new users AND veterans. We think it's going to tie the entire in-game operation together much more efficiently and provide the most immersive World War II Online experience to date.
- Users will be able to communicate directly in-game.
- No additional download or client is planned.
- Our goal is to have 3D positional audio for local communications.
- A radio transmit function will exist (over the net).
Channels being considered include...
- Local Chat: Proximity based, how close you are to friendly or foe forces.
- Mission Chat: Be able to communicate to all participants on your mission.
- Mission Leader Chat: If you are a mission leader assigned to a Target, this channel would act as an organization / command channel.
- Squad Chat: Chat with your squad members globally throughout the Campaign.
- High Command Chat: Talk with fellow HC officers in-game.
Disclaimer: This is according to our desired designs and is subject to change.
UDP PACKET COMMUNICATION FOR INFANTRY
Our dev team is currently working to bring you the best possible infantry experience we can. While we improved close quarters combat through our "Infantry Predictor" updates (1&2), we're still not satisfied. UDP is replacing our current TCP method of communication. This will improve responsiveness and decrease latency across the board. Infantry is the core of all battles ever fought in any conflict, our game is no different and we must have outstanding performance.
This is intended to be released prior to Steam, as it is a heavy requirement for us deploying onto Steam successfully.
PREPARING INCREASE IN BANDWIDTH
After some negotiating we have been able to secure 10x the bandwidth speed and reducing our bill (amazing right?). It is essential that we have maximum bandwidth to work with for an anticipated (and massive) climb in concurrent users on our server. But it's not just the in-game traffic we need to consider, it is the bandwidth load across our entire network (downloads, forums, wiki, everything).
We'll be doing some very heavy lifting colocation work in the coming months that will require some downtime, upwards to an entire day or possibly more depending on how efficient we are (and we're planning this out well in advance).
EXPANDING CONCURRENT USER CAPACITY IN-GAME
It is our focus to have as many players be in a SINGLE Campaign cluster (cluster is a collection of servers, making up the Campaign arena) as possible. We're going to be adding some more servers in our colocation and prepare them for configuration around the same time we prepare the bandwidth increase. When we release on Steam we're planning to have the ability to house up to 4,000+ players at a single time. We will also have an entire backup cluster for overflow so we can manage 8,000+ connections simultaneously if in fact we require that. Cloud based solutions are also being explored.
Meet the Italian Soldier coming to World War II Online. For a long time players on the Axis side have been wanting another faction to work with them. They are after all going up against the British, French and now American forces, we think it’s a good time to start planning how we can roll in a little help for the Germans.
The plan to introduce Italian forces to WWII Online is on a small scale. Essentially we’re talking about an infantryman with 2-3 load outs and being embedded with the German army. History has shown that Italian forces did participate with the Germans on the western front but in a smaller capacity, not a full fledged Army as they were mostly in North Africa.
The weapons that will be brought in with them currently include:
- Italian M1891 Carcano Rifle
- Italian Berretta 1938/42 submachine gun
- Italian Berreta Model 1934 Pistol
- They will use Germany's grenades, binoculars, knife and other equipment.
NEW INFANTRY WEAPONS IN DEVELOPMENT
We have several infantry weapons presently in development. Please enjoy the following which are a work in progress.
ALLIED .30 CALIBER LIGHT MACHINE GUN
Our plan is to add this to the Allied arsenal as a shared weapon among the Allied forces. This is a very iconic weapon and can be used by a single individual. The belt is intentionally small so we can mitigate the art work requirements. It's high rate of speed and punch power will do some work. It is comparable to the German MG34.
GERMAN STURMGEWEHR 44
The German Sturmgewehr is a very powerful asset to the German war machine. It will be available in limited numbers this year in the later tiers to match the B.A.R.
ALLIED M1A1 CARBINE
We consider this to be a close equivalent to the German Gewehr 43 semi-automatic rifle. It has 15 rounds, and will have a pretty good rate of fire depending on how fast you can click your mouse. It is likely this weapon will be shared among Allied countries, that is still being determined.
FLIGHT MODEL REVIEWS INCOMING
With HATCH back on the team we've unlocked some serious potential for us to get deep into our flight models. Already we have found several things we need to work on. We are actively soliciting the community's feedback and reviewing our complete log of bug reports to ensure we get as much awareness of what aircrafts need the most attention.
To start, the BF-109 flight models have been drastically improved in terms of its handling, in accordance with historic values.
Upcoming we expect to work on the Bell and the P-38. Beyond that we're going to continue to review and ask the right questions to make sure our Flight Model remains the most realistic and enjoyable to fly, for EVERYONE regardless of persona.
This is a huge thing that the entire community is really elated to hear about! Finally the Air game is getting important attention, MAJOR WOOT!
UPDATING LEGACY ARTWORK
The game was released in 2001, which means it began development two years before hand. We've got some dated artifacts in our game that need cleaning. Here's an example of a Flak30 light anti-aircraft gun, starting with the old version and with the new work in progress version. While it is not AAA graphics it is a major improvement.
Specifically, you'll notice the crew members are being updated here in these photos at this time.
SQUAD TOOLS IN DEVELOPMENT
We're giving squads the capability to manage their squads from outside of the game, after all these years =). Thanks to our Community Development team (who specializes in community based tools) these are almost ready to go. Here is your first look at what they'll look like. Please note, additional functionality will likely be added.
Here's what else the Community Development team is up to:
- Squad Tools (Feb/Mar) Gives Squad Commands the ability to manage their Squads from outside of the game and allows players to see Squad details
- CSR Redo/Overhaul for Steam (Jun) Updates both the front and back ends of CSR and looks into adding or redoing the way current and future Stats and Achievements will work with Steam
- WireTap 2.0: Creates a totally new REST API system for providing not only Game Information but also Stats and Achievements
- WebMap: Updates the front, back ends, and adds features
ARMOR & BALLISTICS AUDIT
Over the course of the above development cycle we will be working closely with researchers and professionals to examine armor and ballistics data from a historical perspective and what is currently in-game. We want to be sure we’re doing our best to get historical accuracy as right as we can because that is fundamental to our brand and the customers experience. This has also been an important request of the players on both sides.
US AIRBORNE PARATROOPERS ENTER DEVELOPMENT Q1-2017
Now that the Italian character art work is completed, the US Airborne trooper will be developed in the first quarter of 2017. This will be added to the American persona and will come equipped with its iconic weapons.
RE-PURPOSING EXISTING AIRCRAFT
We now have the Creator Software program and HATCH back on the team to help us learn how to do this effectively. Our Lead Artist "SADGUY" has been working closely with HATCH investigating options for us to re-purpose existing aircraft. We have some irons in the fire here but we're not quite prepared to unveil what will be coming, what we can say is we do fully expect to see some new (re-purposed) aircraft to join World War II Online in 2017.
Stay tuned for more details as they come about.
If you haven't gathered by now, it's going to be one heck of a great year here at World War II Online! We have almost 50 people contributing on the game actively (not including community related volunteer programs) and we've become much more organized and efficient thanks to improved work flows and Software the community has helped fund for us.
What can YOU do to help?
Subscribe, stay subscribed, or increase your subscription. - Why? Additional resources helps increase the speed and trajectory of development by providing more consistent resources (people) work on the game.
We have an active HERO Builder goal currently underway and we need folks like you to step up and support the Rats. Having this goal helps us achieve our projected resource requirements to provide more support to our team through the purchase of software, hardware and other contract items.
Our hope with this new team is that we've earned your confidence and full support to achieve greatness and do our best to restore the game to its glory days through our current initiatives.
To see the team you are support, which is primarily comprised of volunteers, see how we are organized and who is contributing at: "MEET THE RATS."
We hope you consider subscribing if you are currently not, we need all of our veteran troops to report back for duty.
Thank you for reading the entirety of this message and although long, very informative and valuable.
ONWARDS TO VICTORY!
Matt "Xoom" Callahan
Vice President and COO
Playnet, Inc. / Cornered Rat Software
CURRENT HERO COUNT: 128 OF 300 (172 needed!)
YOU, can help all of these initiatives move faster and provide us with the fuel to do more by becoming a HERO BUILDER. It has never been a better time to HERO UP and back CRS.
As a hero you will receive a free towing account, recognition in-game, closed BETA testing access and a forum for one on one chat with Developers. Are you ready to help make this game better?