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2023 roadmap

Our plans are shifting full force to innovation and bringing WWII Online into the modern age. This is the moment you've all been waiting for and asking us to capitalize on! This roadmap will demonstrate updated workflows to bring us the latest graphics as we pursue Unreal, while simultaneously providing visual upgrades to WWII Online 1.0. We're going to show you demonstrable progress including the game world conversion status as well, including the first work-in-progress shots showing part of our game world in the Unreal Engine. We also have tremendous news for squads and how the player base will be able to drive gameplay. 


Please enjoy this jam-packed roadmap plan which helps set the tone and expectations for our overall direction of WWII Online. As always, thanks for being subscribed and providing the fuel for Playnet/CRS to achieve these goals.


2022 ROADMAP ITEMS COMPLETED


You can view specific details for released items via the 1.36 readme and the 1.37 readme.

  1. Integrated Voice Communications

  2. Artillery + Server Tracked Arty Rounds

  3. Ju-88

  4. Mobile Airfields

  5. MG-42 (Vehicle Mounted and Infantry)

  6. Motorized Half-Tracks

  7. Free to Play fighter aircraft

  8. Enhanced Special FX (several added, and continues)

  9. Improved game audio (several added, and continues)

  10. Variable capture buildings

  11. M1919 .30 Caliber LMG

  12. One-click despawning


THINGS NOT FINISHED - BUT STILL IN PROGRESS / PRIORITY

  1. Bomber Loadouts: Bugs fixed, nearly ready.

  2. Wellington: Flight model completion is all that's remaining.

  3. Tank track repairs: Good progress made here, we estimate Q2-2023 delivery.


ROADMAP BRIEFING/OVERVIEW

This year's roadmap shows a large shift in focus, all of which are intended to accelerate innovation and benefit what the community has asked us to do.


When we set out to prepare this roadmap we had four primary considerations:

  1. Does this grow/retain new and old players?

  2. Does this create squad development and growth?

  3. Does this help generate bigger battles?

  4. Does this help us innovate and bring the game into the modern era?


We've listened to the community's feedback, discussed our available options and ideas internally, and selected what options we found to be the most valuable and realistic that we can execute. 


WWII Online 2.0 development is the overarching primary goal of everything that we do and all of these are intended to help supplement that effort. As a reminder, 2.0 remains a long-term, high-risk goal that we're working to achieve. Between now and then keeping WWII Online 1.0 healthy is essential as that's the lifeblood for us.


Timelines are intentionally not provided for 2.0 work because of the effort required, research/learning, trial and error, and overcoming obstacles. Our development team has a blueprint via 1.0 of what to do and we're not afraid of taking on challenges. But providing them the necessary grace and support to complete those objectives is paramount. All the while, just like this posting, we will aim to keep you appraised of achievements and progress.


Please enjoy the remainder of this briefing.


INTEGRATED VOICE COMMS UPDATES

The implementation of voice comms to WWII Online has forever changed the game for the better, and we're looking to expand on that. Here are some new updates coming for it in the early part of 2023:

  • Target Radio Channel

  • If you share the same mission "target", you will be placed on the same voice channel (by default) as all other participants

  • This means air, land, and sea forces can coordinate together

  • Squad Radio Channels - for each side

  • This means if your squad plays each side, you will have a separate:

  • Axis Squad Channel (secure)

  • Allied Squad Channel (secure)

  • HC Radio Channel

  • If you're in High Command, you will have access to a secure voice channel

  • You will have to tune to this manually


SQUAD MISSIONS ARE COMING BACK

Big news for everyone, squad missions will be making a comeback to WWII Online, but they'll be a little different. If you remember these, squads were able to create their own missions - exclusive to them. Our goal is to get back to squad development and provide that option for you and see organized large-scale game play.

Here's the fine print:

  • Squads are limited to 1 squad mission at any given time.

  • You must have 5 squad members online - concurrently - to unlock this ability.

  • There is no limit to the number of players online and using that mission.

  • Squads will be able to have an optional "unlock" their mission if they want others to join.


Missions are the port of entry for all gamers coming to WWII Online. The way this is designed is to provide you the capability, without starving new players coming into the game from being able to spawn in and experience gameplay. 


PROXIMITY AOs - PLAYERS DRIVING GAMEPLAY

This is a crucial change to overall gameplay because as it stands, High Command officers and SYSTEM are the only two operators for how Attack Objectives (AOs) are deployed and removed. All that is about to change.


Groups of players, regardless of squad affiliation or being in HC vs not, will have the ability to gather together and receive system-driven AOs based on certain conditions being met, primarily being within Infantry EWS range (which includes infantry, trucks and guns). EWS is the Early Warning System, which detects enemy players within a certain proximity (or distance) of a town.


The number of AOs will also be boosted a little, but managed carefully for low-pop times, to ensure AOs can transition smoothly


Here's the design:

  • 5 players are required to activate Heavy Infantry EWS (inf, trucks, guns, etc)

  • Adding an AO

  • Has EWS threshold been met for 2 minutes?

  • If No > do nothing

  • If Yes

  • Is AO available?

  • Issue AO

  • Removing an AO

  • Has EWS threshold not been met for 15 minutes?

  • If Yes > start AO withdrawal

  • System will provide alert that AO being withdrawn to RTB

  • If No > do nothing

  • If town is taken / AO bounced, AO will be removed like usual.


This means High Command will have no function in the placement or removal of Attack Objectives, and groups of players will be able to determine the outcome/consequences of certain attacks. HC will continue to drive moveable supply, calls to action via .axis/.allied commands and have additional ranks and perks like the HC officer while being in HC.


COMBINING ALLIED FACTORY DAMAGE

Right now Luftwaffe RDP efforts require double the effort to impact respective Allied countries, because they are not shared. This task combines the Allied Factory damage to be shared across their entire side, much like how it works for the Allies bombing the Axis right now. This will increase the stakes of RDP bombing and see more players working together to run bombing and intercept missions accordingly. 


HURRICANE KILL BUG

Ever notice you destroy a vehicle and get a random secondary kill awarded? We're squashing this bug and plan to clean that up within the first quarter of 2023.


NEW PRODUCTION WORKFLOW - ASSET CREATION

We're very excited to share with you that we've created a workflow to support the development of WWII Online 2.0 and 1.0 simultaneously utilizing a trickle-down effect, where we're creating a higher poly/resolution model and then baking that down for WWII Online 1.0 to use. In a way, we're following the original development of the game by replacing some of the original assets first and working our way forward. In this example you'll see what the current trucks look like, then you'll see the updated artwork in the current WWII Online 1.0 engine, then you'll see the higher poly model of that vehicle in the Unreal Engine.


Let's start off with the Opel Blitz... probably one of the oldest models in-game. Several years ago we did some minor texture updates, but no real model work or touch-ups on the UV itself. 



Next, you'll see the "new" Opel blitz model, baked down, and used for the current 1.0 engine. 


Now take a look at the new Opel Blitz built with better texture maps, Unreal Engine lighting, and a higher poly count.





The Tiger Tank in this photo is a direct important using our in-house OpenFlight conversion tool.


Now let's take a look at the Bedford truck redo. This one is equally exciting and once again offers upfront return on investment plus long-term.


Here's the current Bedford we have in-game:



Now here's the new Bedford model coming to WWII Online 1.0, marking that upfront delivery and vast improvement. Take a real good look at the wheels and overall model improvements.



Now here's a series of pictures of the new Bedford higher-resolution model within the Unreal Engine. It's stunning to say the least. 



The Char is a direct important using our in-house OpenFlight conversion tool (no updates to the model from 1.0).





This new methodology will act as the go-to workflow for our internal production team at CRS so we can start the process of enhancing WWII Online's graphics now and going forward. There are more assets already in progress and we intend to start releasing some of these throughout 2023 and subsequent patches to WWII Online 1.0's engine as they are completed.


ENHANCED SPECIAL FX

As we published on YouTube recently, here's a sample of some massive updates coming to WWII Online with both visual and audio effects greatly enhancing that experience. Making a more immersive experience is always something we're working to do.




AUDIO BALANCING

All sounds are being updated and balanced for improved immersion and gameplay. This issue was highlighted more than ever with the implementation of voice comms and every file is being updated and fine-tuned by our audio engineer for a smooth and seamless sound experience.


IMPROVED VEHICLE SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

All vehicles in WWII Online are getting an update to that the internal members can hear a little more regarding exterior sounds. That means tanks will be able to hear more of what's going on outside (without opening a hatch), and aircraft will be able to possibly hear guns firing behind you and/or the impacts on your airframe. We think this will be a huge deal for your daily gaming experience. 


TANK CREW - TRACK REPAIR

We now have a working concept of tank crews being able to repair their tracks, development continues and is approaching testing. WWII Online tankers are about to have the ability to fix their own tracks and get mobile again (up to a certain amount of times) if this occurs.



ADD RICOCHETING ROUNDS

Imagine for a moment you're suppressing an enemy position with your machinegun and you see tracers flying all over the place - how cool would that be? This is one of the really important immersion moments that help "sell" the game as being realistic. Now imagine being under fire and hearing those rounds ricochet all around you? Guaranteed to make you drop for cover! 

YES - these rounds still act as live projectiles and can kill when flying around.




WWII ONLINE: CHOKEPOINT

The road to getting Chokepoint onto Unreal Engine 5 has turned into a much larger task than anticipated and a great deal of work has been done to date to achieve this. Chokepoint serves as a fantastic opportunity for us to start training our Production team personnel in how this works and practicing world editing and refining existing assets eventually planned for 2.0. Remember, Chokepoint's entire infantry system is planned to replace what we currently have in WWII Online 1.0 and there's some cleanup work to do there.

We will maintain occasional playtests but updates will remain a bit slow for the interim. Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.


WWII ONLINE 2.0 WORLD CONVERSION

Huge things have occurred with the WWII Online game world conversion to the Unreal Engine. As we've mentioned this is one of those major hurdles that's going to take sometime, but we're equipped today with some REAL demonstrable evidence of this taking place. 


Let's stress something here for a moment... given the size and resources of our team, our priority goal is to GET into the Unreal Engine, and therefore we have to first carve a path to make that happen. We determined early on that re-creating that entire game world was not an option initially, but we can bring over what we got THEN update it and improve it as we go forward.


These screenshots do not reflect the fact that we can leverage:

  • The latest version of SpeedTree

  • Procedural grass

  • New trees and bushes

  • Animations supporting realistic movements

  • Landscape which removes all holes in the terrain

  • Splines for future road and river improvements

  • Sculpting for higher resolution and improved look and feel

They do reflect that we are getting the world in there, algorithmically, and making it happen. Please enjoy this first look of WWII Online's game world making its entry into the Unreal Engine:



This next screenshot shows the world conversion with a basic grass texture example test. This does not include procedural grass that would go on top of it, or any of the additional assets to populate it.



SUBSCRIBE TO SUPPORT THE ROADMAP & FUTURE OF THE GAME!

WWII Online is 100% fueled by player support. As Playnet / CRS seeks to build The Future of WWII Online with some aggressive goals, we need your help to make this possible. Please consider subscribing to help us accelerate game development, the future is now and your support as a subscriber has a direct impact on mission success. Go to http://account.wwiionline.com and subscribe now!


ALREADY SUBSCRIBED? Become a Hero Builder and do more!

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