Mailbag 04-22-09

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Thanks to all who submitted questions to the Mailbag, we had a great batch. Keep 'em coming!

Is the tick-tick damage sound we hear aboard ships tied to the floatation units only or is this more complicated than that and if so just what does generate these various tick-tick alerts?

A: you’ll hear that “tick tick” sound (indicating progressive damage increasing over time) when your flotation components are flooding (so you’re sinking) or your engines are destroying themselves (boilers on the bigger boats) or your fuel tanks are on fire. The level of damage over time can vary a lot depending on how much initial damage you took starting the process, and how much more damage may be sent your way from another player still shooting you in the right places.
 
Does the list caused by taking on water, in some circumstances, lift the damaged area out of the water such that the floatation unit no longer takes on water causing the tick-tick to stop and if not can you please explain why the tick-tick stops?
 
A: Not really, once your flotation components are damaged enough to take on water, they basically will keep doing so until you eventually sink. This can be very slow, very fast, or anywhere in between based on the amount of damage you took, and how much more you may be taking if someone is still hitting you in the right places. If the ticking stops altogether before you sink, that indicates you had a fuel or engine fire that was small, and burned itself out.
 
So I’m curious to know if you guys are taking any steps to find high level investors that would allow you to build a bigger team, get more content/fixes released, and finally re-distribute/market the game and possibly begin to build on the player base.  Have you guys had any discussions with the likes of any of the giant video game publishers?  If not, why?
 
A: Yes, always. The reasons why we have not had the success you might imagine we should have, are quite complex but are in no way tied to us not attempting to do so.
 
Will you explain why the Germans have the 251c and we don't have the Bren gun carrier?  My guesses as to why:   Bren gun carrier simply hasn't risen far enough up the white board list, CRS has determined that giving BEF the Bren gun carrier will upset the delicate balance of the game.
 
A: It has nothing to do with balance. The production team has changed over the years, the team that brought in the SdKfz.251c as a unit modeled, never got around to doing the Bren Gun Carrier, and the current production team has not yet found the art time in the development schedules we have had to undertake under our watch, to include this unit. That’s really all it is.
 
Any idea how long it will be before we start seeing some cockpit updates?
 
A: As soon as we aren’t (in the art department) fully occupied with work that isn’t cockpit upgrade related. We have a huge improvement schedule in the works, as the list of vehicles in the game across all branches is quite large (one could say considering our resources, that it is enormous) … but this work will have to take place over a long period of time as we cannot ignore all other art tasks just to make it happen at a faster pace. Cockpits may or may not form a part of this entirely on the merits of the progress we make with each unit, and how that progress might or might not change priorities or schedules. We are forced to do this on a dynamic approach, as a fixed schedule covering such a huge amount of time is not a feasible approach for a small team like this managing such a huge project as it is.
 
What about a time frame for the correct cockpit in the 109G?
 
A: Hopefully when we redo the external model to the new hi-rez standard we can do the cockpit alterations from the F model that we never had time so far to commit to. We have them already mapped out but the actual work is still not scheduled until we get the hi-rez remodel underway.
 
Are there any plans to add more STOs to the game in terms of larger mortars, High Level Bombing, Artillery...etc?
 
A: Yes there is but we cannot comment specifically until we undertake that work as part of a specific development cycle. Bombs will almost certainly be the first “new” STO upgrade.
 
The tier system is said to be expanding on the ground like it did for the fighters, could you explain how this expansion will effect the existing equipment and what holes could it cause in the tiers for the armies?
 
A: First we have to create a range of equipment that “phases into the campaign” over time for the infantry before we can employ a “tiered” approach like the other stuff. AFV’s and some other ground units already employ a similar tier function to that employed for fighter aircraft, where rank and performance are directly related on a dynamic changing level as the campaign progresses.
 
While I would eventually like to shy away from capping flags altogether, in the meantime, have you guys given any thought to putting flags in farmhouses or the ruins scattered around the outskirts of various towns?  If so, what's stopping it from happening?  I would think it'd help push some of the battles out of the city and more into the countryside where the battles should be waged.
 
A: We are intending to do away with the “army-base” concept altogether eventually, and employ village and town buildings towards that function on a dynamic basis (ie: different in different instances) but this requires a ton of backend work that hasn’t been able to be scheduled YET. In addition, using a different more efficient and variated terrain asset approach requires the availability of a terrain building technology that, despite our investigating every one that currently exists to use, none of them have been able to meet the unique requirements of our game without reconfiguration that the creators of those terrain building technologies have been unable to offer us, at any price. This game has requirements nobody is building for yet. If they did, we’d probably be using it by now.
 
The Tank and Plane Graphic upgrades are fantastic.  Is there any plan to put in Motorcycles w/ sidecars?   I am sure Creed would feed you beer for a week if that would ever come to be….
 
A: Sidecar equipped motorcycles with machine guns have all been researched and are on our “wish list” but we haven’t been free of other stuff to get around to them yet.
 
I'm sure you guys have exhaustively researched all of this and you've already been over this idea, but I was hoping one of you could shed some light on this one for me, as to why it is/isn't viable. I was thinking about how are current campaigns are, and how they generally run anywhere from a week to a few months, and thought to myself "Hey, wouldn't it be cool to fight the battle further into Germany?" Or perhaps England itself? Depending obviously on who was winning.
 
A: We always want to expand the game world. However, it took 4,000 man-hours to build what you have already so it must be stated that we need to have a relatively free schedule to include additional game world building/creation in that schedule.
 
You asked for a hard one.   Why have you not come up with a universal theory yet combining quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theories of relativity etc?  What are the plans for the rest of the year development wise post 1.30?  Will we see smaller patches with little bits of more content rather than the big bang every 6 months or so?
 
A: Rocket surgery is occupying most of our time right now. As to the smaller patches, yes that would be our desire as this really long nothing forever crapshoot of a dev. cycle was really the result of a commitment to a rewrite of the game engine (to satisfy demands of the new market) that was quite a bit more extensive than it first appeared, but which once committed to, had to be completed. We never wanted to enter a dev. cycle that took THIS long. We'd much rather have kept to a "tighter smaller" schedule of several patches over this time frame but in the end we did what we had to do.

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