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Officers Q&A Session 2005

Créé le : 28/9/2005
Edition du : 30/9/2005
Auteur : Zeedap

Officers Q&A Session

Nikolay Demchenko, of 3A Games, agreed to answer an exceptional interview exclusively for our web site. 3A Games gives to the readers of Jeux-strategie.com and 39-45strategie.com a vision of his future hit.

Bonus : 5 exclusives screens in our Gallery and Music (1.6 Mo)

Developer : Game factory Interactive (UA)    -    Related site : Officers

29th September 2005


(traduction française)

1. Introduction

1.1. Which function do you occupy at 3A Games?

My name is Nikolay Demchenko, PR Manager with the team.

1.2. Can you tell us few words in connection with your professional path and of your interest for World War II?

I came to work at GFI UA a year and a half ago. Before that, I used to work as a Community Manager, Localization Manager as well as managed public relations for another Ukrainian game development company. In total, I've been in this industry for almost five years and worked on four projects that were successfully released. As to my interest in WWII, I'd say it has nothing to do with the theme. It's more about quality of a project, its appeal, topicality, solid and friendly team that works on it. You can have an ambitious project and a team of professionals to develop it. But if they work in permanent discord with each other, you won't get far with them.

1.3. Of how much people made up your team?

We have 20 guys working on the project.

1.4. Is it possible that you give us an overall outline of this one?

The backbone consists of the people with a solid game industry background. Members of our team were involved in such projects as Cossacks series, American Conquest, Alexander, Heroes of WWII, not to mention outsourcing for several well-known market players. To put it simple, the team has enough experience and expertise, and even more is obtained during the development of Officers.

2. Gameplay

2.1. Can you tell us about the gameplay, in particular about the elements of RPG, or as well the operation of the hierarchy, the way of managing its troops?

Let me start with RPG elements. Every squad in the game has a number of upgradeable skills. These skills include skirmish, engineering, medic, equipment handling, vigilance and hiding. The skirmish skill influences accuracy of fire, improved hiding skill of your units takes enemy units more time to spot them; better vigilance allows your units to spot the enemy faster, engineering skill saves your units time entrenching themselves, repairing equipment, etc; medic skill influences the ability of the troops to recover from injuries. Being able to improve any of the mentioned skills, the player may eventually come up with the units effective at assaulting the enemy positions, scouting and ambushing, repairing, etc. Speaking if the hierarchy and troops management, all troops are split into squads. Three squads form a platoon; three platoons make up a company. The player may have several companies at their disposal. At the same time, you can control either a squad, or one platoon or a company. In this way your structural units have to stick together instead of scattering all over the map. Hence, for example, you may have the first company assaulting the factory, the second company moving towards the enemy airfield, and, say, remains of the third company defending the HQ.

2.2. To do it simple, can you say what you would like that the future players know about the gameplay of Officers?

Unlike many WWII RTS games, Officers will make the player take into consideration distances, day time and weather as they directly influence abilities of the units. For example, units have reduced visibility range and accuracy of fire at night, in the fog, during the rain, etc. The damage of the projectile and accuracy also reduces with the distance. So, it may be wise sometimes to let the enemy come closer and then unleash your lead storm on them. Particularly, the distance trick can be used when ambushing the enemy units. The player disables fire for their troops and places them in a hiding zone, e.g. a forest. When enemy units are passing by, the player orders their units to open up, and here we go watching enemy tanks burning and blowing up after their ammo detonates with infantry pined down being torn to pieces by machinegun fire and HE shells. Also, the player will have to take care of resources, these being ammo, fuel and food. Being limited, they force the player to move on capturing new strategic points to re-stock supplies.

3. Solo

3.1. Which nations present in the game?

In total, the player will see five nations in the game. These are Germany, USA, Great Britain, France and Poland.

3.2. Can we finally hope to see France in a game based on World War II?

Like I said, you will. The downside is you won't be able to play it. Playable nations are Germany and Allies (USA and UK under one banner). France and Poland are marginal nations, if I may put it like this, meaning the player will play against them in the German campaign.

3.3. How many campaigns will be proposed to the players?

For starters, the game will feature two campaigns, for Germany and Allies. Events unfold in Europe, namely Poland, France and Germany itself.

3.4. Will those be made up of how many missions approximately?

In total, there will be 11 huge missions, each taking up far over 2 hours of breathtaking and mind-blowing gameplay.

3.5. Is it envisaged few single missions apart from the campaigns?

For now, single missions are not on our to-do list.

3.6. Or even a generator of random charts?

There will be no random map generator as well.

4. Ingame

4.1. How will be held the engagements?

The game features a traditional combat system that allows the player to quickly evaluate a situation on the battlefield and make effective decisions. We are not re-inventing the wheel here :)

4.2. Some official sources announce charts of 20x20km with 1500 units, but it is not the case of all the sources, can you clarify these rumors?

The maps will be huge, up to 25 sq. km (5x5 km) with up to 1500 units deployed on a battlefield. Bragging aside, that's a lot. That's far more than most 3D WWII strategy games can offer.


5. Units

5.1. Which types of units will be included in the game (tank, plane, infantry)?

You will be able to make use of over 70 types of different weapons and equipment including planes, artillery, tanks, half-tracks, self-propelled guns, jeeps, trucks etc. There also will be infantry units armed with rifles, sub-machine guns, machineguns, bazookas and grenades. And of course, engineers. The latter are very good at repairing vehicles and equipment, building and destroying objects, laying and disarming mines. However, unlike usual infantry, they are less effective as combat units.

6. AI

6.1. Can you summarize about the AI, and its overall running?

You are forcing me to go technical on this one :). AI operates information about hiding, opaque and impassable zones, relief, unit parameters, subdivision templates, quadtree (fast analysis of the environment and selection of the zones and objects necessary for calculations). AI running is based on such algorithms as path-finding in continuous space based on the information about impassable zones, behavior of a single unit (probabilistic rule of detection based on vigilance, hiding, distance and relief; probabilistic damage system based on distance, local armor, weapon and shell parameters; target selection based on threat, vulnerability and distance; reaction to a situation (close explosion, dangerous unit proximity, etc.) and several others. Together, they form a powerful mixture making AI actions natural and appropriate.

6.2. At the time of the great battles, will one be able to entrust our men to warrant officers controlled by the AI?

There are no special units on the battlefield that would command other units during the battle, if that’s what your question is about. Nonetheless, your units can more or less decently fight the enemy without being guided all the way through the battle. We have created a special target-selection algorithm I mentioned above that allows units to make effective decision on what target to engage first of all. This algorithm is based on distance to a target, its threat, vulnerability, and possibility to damage it. This feature allows the player to leave his troops unattended in one sector without fear of being overrun there immediately.


7. Multi

7.1. Which modes will be available for multiplayer?

In terms of multiplayer, we plan three different modes – cooperative, capture the flag and battle for resources. Coop mode offers single missions taken from campaigns with respective objectives. CTF offers several customized locations with flagged strategic points. Teams must bring the flags to their respective bases. The team that manages to collect most flags wins. BFR is similar to CTF, but here the teams have to withhold strategic points for a while to obtain resources stored in there. The team that manages to obtain most resource wins.

7.2. Is collaboration with Gamespy (or other) envisaged?

We do consider third-party services as we don’t have enough in-house resources to run our own server.

7.3. How many players would be able to play in multiplayer game?

The multiplayer will support up to 8 players over the Internet or LAN.

8. Conclusion

8.1. What is the current status of the game's progress and when will it be released?

We work our butts off to finish the development by the end of this year.

8.2. Finally is there anything else you wish to say about Officers?

Well, the only thing left I have to say to your readers is if I didn't cover some aspects you, guys, are interested in, bring your questions to the official game forum. We'll be most happy to answer them.