1.35 and the WWIIOL Roadmap

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GOPHURA few weeks ago we asked all of you to give us some ideas where you wanted to go with development. We were pleased to see that our plans lined up almost exactly with your ideas and have spent the last couple of weeks prioritizing the plan. Today we're going to review those plans and ask for your feedback on several items.

v1.34 DEVELOPMENT ENDS

v1.34.10 has been in beta for a few weeks now. We've been working to find and kill the last of the bugs from that release. The biggest one remaining is the crash when players, particularly pilots, cover a lot of ground or change locations. This is commonly known as the “respawn crash” or the “change brigade crash”. It's actually a terrain issue.

The good news is that while we've been hunting this bug down we've found lots of issues in the client and fixed them up. The bad news is that we haven't nailed the crash yet and fixing all of those other things means there is a lot of beta testing required. That means it is a perfect time to up-version to 1.35 and as long as we are doing that we'll try to get some of the following features into the release as well. We want 1.35 to be a short turn-around patch because we want to get the remaining bug fixes out as soon as possible.

V1.35 PLANNING

The following features are either in development or soon will be. Many of them are cornerstone features meaning they are a step towards a bigger feature. I invite you all to ask questions give ideas on these features.

New Infantry Weapons

We've already gone over the plan for new infantry weapons several times so I don't need to say much other than we're adding some new rifle grenades and some new early war rifles. These are currently in art, being produced, and hopefully we can have some screen shots in the coming weeks (*waves at Toto and Vocol). It's a pretty big project so we're uncertain if it will make 1.35. More likely we'll get these done for a quick dev cycle for 1.36.

FRU Changes

We've been talking about making changes to spawning for some time. Long term that means we want to add things like player-placed FB's and mobile spawns for boats and even landing craft as an MSP. In order to get there we need to deploy a few changes and see the impact.

webmapThe first of these changes will be to add a front line to the map. This will be similar to the front line on the web map with each side having a behind-the-lines area with a no-man's-land in between. FRU's will not be allowed to be placed behind the enemy lines.

The second feature for FRU's will be the inclusion of advancing FRU's. We've called these "daisy-chains" in the past. The system is very simple. After spawning you will have a limited range from your origin in which to place your MSP. In this case it will be an FRU but in the future it will apply to many types of MSPs. Once placed this will become your new origin and you will then have a new limited range where you can advance your FRU. Working this way you will have to advance your spawn point towards your target. If at any time your current FRU is destroyed the previous FRU will open up.

These changes will mean that there are no more instantly appearing armies in the back field and that infantry will actually have to advance their position towards the target. It also helps insure that there are more persistent infantry mobile spawns. That persistence will lead to less mission swapping which will lead to more persistent groups, which is one of our long term goals.

Side Balance Changes

Spawn delay is no one's best friend and it's time to address the short comings. Spawn delay has always been a penalty-based system and it just doesn’t seem right to penalize a player for playing on the side that he prefers. Instead we're going to focus on providing some benefits to those underpopulated heroes and provide more challenge to the side with overwhelming numbers. That fits more in line with the WWIIOL philosophy as you all come here for a challenge.

We'll start by decreasing spawn delay with an eye towards removing it in all but the most extreme cases. Then we'll adjust capture timers and AI rebuild to make those actions faster for the side with a population disadvantage. Lastly, we'll introduce a Hero Supply mechanism which will return supply a little quicker. This should help give a more even opponent to the side with a greater population without penalizing them for playing what they want to play.

Soft Caps

We want to remove soft-caps. It simply causes more grief than benefit. The game was designed to be about maneuver warfare and attacking the enemy not about spending an AO to take an unoccupied town. We'll be experimenting with a few variations through the beta system but the foundation of the plan is that an undefended town (having no enemy presence within one link) can be occupied by an enemy brigade moving into the town without the use of an AO. This clearly leaves open opportunities for faster movement of the map but not greatly so as most soft caps are just a distraction for both sides and that distraction can be completed in a very short period of time.

Unified Personas

The Axis have an advantage in some ways as their two armies share rank. We now have the ability to share ranks among the Allied countries and now that we have three, we think this is the time to make that happen. This change is important not only because it allows us to get closer to Americans in the campaign game but it also allows us to look forward to new types of mission based spawning instead of persona based spawning. That is a key part of our long term plans.

Infantry

There are two longstanding requests we'd like to get taken care of. The first is a return of more effective para steering. Now that we have no-fire-zones we have less concern about paras getting places we don't want them and more concern about players investing all the time to para drop only to end up in an unplayable position. Para steering was always an unintentional bug but sometimes bugs become features. This is one of those times. This is probably a good spot to mention that we'll be fixing the altimeter in the JU so those paras can have a bit better SA before jumping to their doom.

Grenade throwing also needs a new mechanism. Sure I'm an expert at it and can drop a potato masher into a chin-strapped dough boy's battle bowler at 50 meters. OK not so much. We need a better indicator of where my grenade is going. There's a big difference between throwing one in real life and throwing one with a mouse so we need to bridge that gap. I don't have any specifics yet on what our implementation will be but I know you guys probably have ideas ready to share and we'd like to take them into account when making the change.

Squad Missions

It’s time to bring back the squad mission. Our future grouping plans will allow for private invite-only groups so we need to start seeing how this plays out. We'll probably start with a simple mechanism that allows only one squad mission per squad at a time and build on that. We've been worried in the past about not having enough missions for the new guys but with the success of the Home Squad Program (thanks to you guys participating) and reducing the rank requirement to E3 we think we can test the waters with this.

Terrain

Doc has been busy adding and fixing content in the world. Much of this is already in beta and includes dozens of towns with facelifts. There's also a lot of fixes from your guys reports. Thanks for posting those in the bug forum. We're also going to look at new cover objects that reduce the height and volume of some of the bushes. We still want to keep the bocage feel around towns and the wide open spaces away from the roads but we also want to cut back a little of the jungle feel. With any luck we'll get some better looking foliage to boot. Part of these changes is to improve the tank game and reduce the gamey aspects of tank-infantry play. Along with foliage changes we're looking at reducing the load out for some anti-tank weapons and reviewing some of the ATP and movement rules for those infantry units.

Training

Speaking of bug forum, it is due for a name change to the test forum because we're going to be making the beta server the test server and have it available for training and testing. The training server hardware just can't keep up with the modern game and instead of spending time on that we'd rather kill two birds with one stone and get our training and testing all done at the same time. I've asked XOOM to coordinate with the trainers on tools they need and we'll be making these changes in the coming weeks.

IN DEVELOPMENT- THE WWIIOL ROADMAP

That's a pretty big list for 1.35 and I expect a few of those feature to slip into 1.36 as we're pushing for a pretty fast cycle. And that get's us to thinking about 1.36 and beyond. In this section I'd like to go over some of our longer term development plans. Several of these are fully designed and some of them are only mission statements. Regardless of status, we'd like your feedback on all of these items.

More PPOs

We'd like to spend a lot of development here. We've got minefields and landing craft to think of. We'd even like to see boats spawning from MSPs and paras spawning on a plane. Minefields, tank traps, gun revetments, resupply points... There's a big list of potential objects that you guys have added to our list. Some with more merit than others and some with more design challenge. We'll be talking about these more in the short term so we can narrow down the list to the essential items.

Bombing

We're looking at pushing live a pretty big audit of bombs 'shrapnel and concussive functionality. This is part of a massive HE audit that some friends in the community (who do this stuff for a living no less) have been helping us with. We want not only better bomb functionality, but also a better method of the bombing game impacting the campaign. In addition, we'd like to see a Command Control scheme added to bombers so that when playing a bomber you have better control over all of the crew, not just one position at a time. This will allow you to better fire multiple AA guns on a target and better direct the interaction between pilot and bombardier. That same functionality will be coming to the navy.

Speaking of Navy I forgot to add in the 1.35 section that we're looking to make DD's more accessible early in the game by lowering their rank. I bet the squidos aren't even reading this section!

US Airborne

The US needs paratroopers. It's kinda iconic don't-cha-think? Us too. We're also trying to get a deuce done for them but no time line promises on that one.

HC Leadership

Before placing AOs and moving Brigades the HC focused their time and considerable energy on developing operations for players and generally advocating for, and bringing fun to, the player base. We'd like to relieve some of the burdens placed on them and allow the HC to spend their time where they should be - Leading from the front.

I don't have any exact spec to share with you today on this one but it is something we've been talking about for several years now. When we created Brigade play we mandated that the system must work 100% of the time. It was designed to be more inclusive of all players with leadership roles for the HC. Instead it became a yoke around the HC neck with all the burden and all the blame. It's become a chore to be in the HC and it shouldn't be. We want to change that.

CONCLUSION

The road map for WWIIOL has always been grand in scope and it continues today. We'd like your feedback on our plans and we'd like to give you the opportunity to ask any questions you might have. Next week I'll be responding to your comments below so please take a moment to share your thoughts. This sim has been a community effort since the days of the orange boards and we're committed to keeping that tradition alive.

See you on the Meuse
Gophur

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+1 #39 Future 2013-02-19 11:02
I just wanted to say thanks. I have played this game since it started in 2001 and I know it has been a long road. So thanks for making a great game and for making it better.
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+1 #38 Dogness 2012-05-10 16:56
"The first of these changes will be to add a front line to the map."

Will the front line affect anything besides FRU placement?
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+1 #37 zeb 2012-05-10 15:17
20/20!!
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+1 #36 Medic 2012-05-10 14:04
Just want to see those JU88's
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+1 #35 Jokeri 2012-05-10 13:52
Awesome thanks for the Roadmap I love to see something like this! Keep them as regular update when patches have arrived when the new directions are set.

But where is my Brewster? ;)
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+1 #34 Petie 2012-05-10 12:00
All i want done for now is the 10 min loading screen, its a joke. Someone dalls for assistance, to late to spawn in and help with these loading screens
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0 #33 Vishnu 2012-05-10 09:25
Please,please please, VISABLE SUPPLY!! That would give another level of play for bombers! As well as STO bombs....from higher altitudes.
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0 #32 uc 2012-05-10 06:51
This ends navy warfare in the north if their are no softcaps. How else can we attack BOZ from Willem? Not possible and the north will be an area of inactivity. Don't do it.
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