Mailbag 07-15-09

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Q: Whats the deal with 1.5? Is it going to change anything at all?
 
A: Well we’re still working hard on the upgrade and it’s not done yet. We’re building dev. versions for preliminary testing and we’ll be telling you about this as progress is made towards features solidifying. We’re hoping to give the game an improved, more modern look and feel, and maybe include some other features we can’t mention yet. You’ll be hearing more about this soon. We can’t really talk performance until we get to debug all the new stuff and see where it goes and can be configured to work as seamlessly as possible, ie: it’s too early to tell. Certainly improved performance even with a much more intense visual environment is our goal here.

Q: Why don’t we get new equipment anymore in patches?
 
A: Oh we will add more equipment in future patches. We have just been through a rather extended overhaul of some very critical core aspects of the game engine and in addition to this altering some of the hooks we can hang much better or enhanced gameplay features onto, things that would never have been possible without some serious overhauling of the game engine core. All of this work has meant that “equipment” had to take a back seat to other developments or we’d never have got those developments completed. Certainly we can’t give you any timelines but we do want to do some new equipment for the game and we will, it just has to fit in around other needs, which just recently, couldn’t really accommodate any serious new equipment modeling.
 
Q: Are we ever going to do anything about the sappers? And what about bazookas?
 
A: We plan on adding the RPAT (bazooka/PIAT/Panzershrek) to the infantry game for tier 2 or tier 3 (not decided yet) and when we do those weapons, we also have a plan to alter the functionality and purpose of the “sapper” unit. The ability for infantry to use a demolition charge against tanks (yes even a HEAT based on like we have now) will always exist for the earlier part of the war as it remains one of the only viable ways for infantry to counter tanks, and without them they would be unable to help add to the combined arms aspect of infantry/tanks working for and against each other which the game demands in order to function properly.
 
Q: Could we get a 1st person visible damage model like in IL2 or would that not work in the current game engine?  What I am talking about is visible holes in the wings, canopy, and other areas of a plane you could see from the 1st person view. Is this at all even possible with the current graphics engine for this game?
 
A: We can’t do this effectively in the way the game is configured currently because it would require loading in a new cockpit model to display any functional changes to you as the pilot. There’s a possibility we could do some “decal” rendering say, on your wings, but that’s never been a high priority because it’s a fair bit of work for what would be not much “visible to the pilot” damage rendering that would mean anything much. Yeah it’s eye candy I guess, but we’ve just been too busy doing other things to get around to adding some bullet hole decals, and that’s about the limit right now of what could be done along these lines. IL2 was written from the outset to fairly easily display that kind of dynamic art change on their models but our game was not originally written to do this 10 years ago when it was created. I’d like to think we’ll be able to do this in the not too distant future but we’re certainly not at that point right now.
 
Q: Would these be hard to implement:

-To better improve flight duties, map checking, text chatting and many other aspects of a daily operation, would it be feasible to add some extra features to the fly boys world: Autopilot on speed and or on pitch. To do stuff on map, while climbing.(ex: A+S/A+P)

A: Requires a total rewrite of how the flight envelope is managed, to include “automatically”. Currently this isn’t managed automatically (ie: this function does not exist in the game engine at all) which is why you have to retrim the aircraft after your airspeed settles at a higher or lower state than when you originally set the autopilot. See, it’s not really an auto pilot at all … it merely holds your current state of control input instead of your hands/feet doing it. As your airspeed changes due to acceleration or deceleration, your trim has to be changed to match it, like how real trim works in a real aircraft. Our system is all manual just like the planes in WWII were. That isn’t to say that a better autopilot (like a modem “auto-set your controls and trim” style of autopilot) wouldn’t be good for gamers, because it definitely would, but we have to create that before we can add it to the game. There is no autopilot in the game as it stands right now. What you have in the game that you call “auto-pilot” is really just a computer “clamp” on your planes stick inputs available as long as you can keep the plane leveled on trim, allowing you a few minutes to leave and get a beer or whatever. We never actually created a true modern autopilot, fighters in WWII never had those. Will we in the future? Probably. It’s not the highest priority we have right now but we know why you want it, and we’ll get around to it at some point in time.

- EWS like FMB's/DD's on bombers to give you time for position move into gunners seat.
 
A: probably a good idea. Can’t give you a timetable for it however. I think we’d choose to do it when we overhaul how multi-crew/no –crew works in multi-seat aircraft (and boats) with defensive gunners.

- Option to salvo bombs, typing .salvo xx for one at a time or all at once drop on target.
 
A: A nice touch, but not an essential one. We’ll put this in the wish list for when we’re not real busy sometime down the track.

- And ... last but not least ... the nightmare of all fighter pilots ... auto-gunners till you get there on bombers. In RL a tight formation of bombers was a moving armada, covered in all directions, taking skill and soft spot areas of breaching the formation, dead six shooting was nearly impossible. Might be very hard to code this one, me thinks.
 
A: We'll see. We’ve had a lot of discussion on that subject here at the office.
 
Q: It's night in game and there arent any ea flying around, RATs can we pweeeeze have some strategic tgts to bomb?!?!?! like factories and stuff? Could we at least get a time frame of when they will be implemented? so we can go ahead and start organizing our party now.
 
A: It’s in the plan to get onto more variety as well as greater numbers of targets for bombers, and to include a greater range of rewards for bombing stuff. Sorry we cannot give you any timeframe for features not currently in development this cycle. When such things are in dev. then we are much freer to talk about “timeframes” … apologies if this makes your party planning difficult but thank your lucky stars you don’t have to plan game development, it’s infinitely less friendly than party planning.
 
Q: When are we getting ap rounds for bofors? From what I was reading the ap round they used had similar penetration to the 2pdr.
 
A: Probably for that very reason, never. We don’t see the need for a 40mm auto-cannon anti-tank gun, and AP isn’t very effective against aircraft at high velocities. We used HE because in the AA role it is a much better loadout for the job it is intended to perform. We did an abstracted model of the “several crew to feed the chutes” auto-loading because in the AA role this was essential to be effective against fast flying aircraft. That would be overkill in the anti-tank role, so no plans exist to give the Bofors AP rounds.
 
Q: Are there any plans on increasing the time before you can spawn in a spawnable after capture? This will create the need of actually controlling the spawnable area and not having just 1 ninja sneaking in and cap. And then because of spawning being possible so fast, before defenders can recap, attackers can make a mission, quickly spawn and rush table while defenders are trying to recap.

A: We have no plans to force you to wait to spawn in any longer than the balancing spawn delay we currently have … and then only when it is needed to balance uneven numbers on each side. If a “flood” of attackers is preventing you holding what you just captured/are defending then you don’t control the zone. We plan on some changes we’re redesigning that will mean you will need to have more control over what you intend to capture or defend than the lone “ninja” you mention. We’ve always liked the idea of grouping players through timed spawning in dedicated groups instead of “on demand” but every time we trial that kind of a system, it works as intended (timed grouping control) but players just end up pissed off and angry with it, hunting around for the first available spawn anywhere they can find it. Once spawned in they go their own way with little regard for they spawned in with. If we hit upon a system that isn’t hated by the vast majority we will trial it again I’m sure.

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0 #9 Maxminus 2009-07-20 09:25
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