Mailbag 01-29-09

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Finally, some mailbag questions! The poor thing has sat there empty for weeeeeeks.  
With the unity 2 engine, would it be possible to generate weather based on historical times? I know that alot of us players want to see something besides just summer all the time in game.  Could the engine handle something like this?

There is nothing particular in Unity II that would allow for this other than that we will have better performance that we could use to make weather. We've tried some things in this area recently though but haven't quite hit on a winner. We have a pretty good handle on how we could instance weather across the game world if we can find a solution that won't kill performance. Cool clouds and thunderstorms are apparently pretty tough to simulate and we feel that we would need to simulate it since we have an air game. It would be much simpler to just paint it on the sky dome and have some lightning flash and some rain sprites though so we may look at that next time weather makes it to the top of the list. Historical localized weather though is probably not something we'll see any time soon. But to answer the question, yes, it is probably feasible though it would be a major MAJOR task.

What's the main focus for patch 1.30 ?

1.30 is primarily focused on completing the release in China. We're finishing up a new PLayGATE hat has multiple region and server connectivity. There is a tiered pricing model that we have to support for China including hourly and free play. The training system is adding new advanced and combat training scenarios which we will use to later build a new scenario and training system for the US and a :Cyber Athlete" competition system for China. Then of course we still have to support the Input Method Editor integration so that China players can type simplified Chinese into the game, rework the host and client so that type of chat can be sent around. Then we have to translate the whole thing, document all of the workings of the server and teach their GM's how to both manage the game and act as the High Command since the China game will not run on a player based HC structure. BUT, we're still managing to get a lot of production work done including new art for Unity II and Doc has been very busy knocking out vehicle and terrain bugs that have been long standing.

Is there any specific plans to remove some of the "ninja style -town capture" elements? ie after X hours of an in-active AO (no attack) it will auto shut down.

There is but not right now as we are all having to focus on the China Project. I don't want to speculate too much about what changes to AO's will happen or when but it is something we are actively discussing in the halls.

Will Track-IR be fully supported?

I assume you mean the 3d head movement. Probably not right away.

Will duo/quad-cpus be supported?

Technically they are supported now but I know what you mean. Will we move to a refactoring of the code to run in multiple threads to take advantage of multi-processor setups? Probably not. First it is a really big task that won't see much benefit. The code for the simulation has too many instances where it needs to interact with data that can't be in an update state by another piece of code. There just aren't that many systems that can be threaded off that will have any impact. What we can, and are doing, is making better use of compilers that will manage efficiency over a multi-core system much better.

Will the soldiers be more detailed regarding textures?

An infantry redo happens around here about every three years and it's starting to gain some traction at the office so I imagine that with our content revision going on now it will only be a matter of time before we get to infantry.

Will there be added (revamped maybe?) sound  effects for hitting walls/houses by ATGs/Tanks?

Hit effects are certainly on the short list but I don;t have any specific plans to redo sounds in 2009. We do have some sound guys on the beta team and we generally upgrade whatever they send to us.

Will death effects ie: Ragdoll physics(to soldiers mainly) be revamped?

We're working on it now. We've got to do a major rework on the infantry physics and the collision physics in general to make it profitable but yes, the ground work is mostly complete.

Any new (improved) effects for ambient smoke?

Yes. Fire too. Actually, all the effects are being redone and will start trickling out with 1.31.

0 #7 DEKARD 2009-02-03 15:55
0 #6 Hotjoe 2009-01-31 12:37
0 #5 Cid250 2009-01-31 05:48
0 #4 Anthony Gregory 2009-01-30 05:01
0 #3 Gunner44 2009-01-29 22:44
0 #2 Jay Zero 2009-01-29 22:12
0 #1 Uther 2009-01-29 14:08
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