Exclusive interview Caen
For the release of the last extension of Theatre of War II - Kursk "battle for Caen", we would like to review this game and ask some questions about its development.
Interview answered by Andrey Dineev, QA for the ToW series, development and
testing, PR manager of the series. Battlefront questions answered by
Martin van Balkom from www.battlefront.com.
1/ 39-45strategie.com : (question to battlefront)
First, what does "theatre of war" represent for Battlefront ?
Martin: We do not disclose sales figures, and never have. But financials aside, Theatre of War has always been what we think is an extremely nice addition to the Battlefront product lineup. It fits very well what our customer base likes, and it complements our other games nicely. Theatre of War has always struck us (unlike a number of other games that were submitted to Battlefront for publishing and rejected) as extremely detailed, a work of love for the matter at hand so to speak, and we are always more than happy to support fellow developers in this way.
2/ 39-45strategie.com :
What was the most difficult thing to develop with this extension ? (historical research, houses...)
Andrey : The most time-consuming thing is map design and mission scripting according to historical documents. Creating new models, while time-consuming as well, can be done in parallel (you can create draft missions using ‘dummy’ new units, which have correct capabilities, but use different or approximate 3D model, then insert correct model when it’s ready).
3/ 39-45strategie.com :
Andrey : Can
you reveal us some surprises that you have probably included in this
extension ? (or one or two main points of this extension)
It’s an open secret already i guess, but Germans employ some historical Normandy tactics here, for example hiding AFVs or even 8.8 Flak guns inside buildings. We wanted to create as authentic Battle for Caen experience as we could, from maps to tactics.
4/ 39-45strategie.com :
TOW is very detailed WWII simulation. Are you satisfied with level of detail achieved with TOW 2 - Kursk ?
Andrey : There are very few games simulating WWII platoon-level combat with comparable attention to detail, but there always is a room for improvement. We would like to make infantry behavior more life-like, which would require giving them different personality traits and possibly make their decisions more random.
5/ 39-45strategie.com : (battlefront&1C)
There is a small community around TOW and some modders. What is the general feedback of players ? Would you like more interaction with the community ? (if yes, do you plan to do something to promote such interactions ?)
Andrey : ToW requires some time to get into (not so big compared to some operation-level wargames that ), but this still prevent more lazy folk from playing:) Of course, one need to be interested in WWII history and tactics in the first place to get into, but if you do and you have patience to learn the controls and basics (and you should, like for any serious game) you’ll be rewarded with thorough battle simulation. It can be said that we faced many “fun or realism?” dilemmas and we chose realism in most cases. Some people don’t like it, but some do and we know this from users feedback.
We always try to make the game better depending on community feedback, for example, difficulty was lowered compared to the original Theatre of War considerably. We always try to implement new features that most players want and that are possible to do using time and resources at hand.
Martin: The close interaction with our fan communities at Battlefront is key to our continuing success, and certainly one of the main reasons why Battlefront is still around, more than 10 years after its inception, while many competitors are not. One of the reasons why we work with 1C’s developers on this series is because we know that they understand this, too, which is why you will find the very people who made the series interact with fans on our forums, in the helpdesk, and across the net all the time.
6/ 39-45strategie.com :
Modding is a hard work, but contribute to maintain a game alive. Will it be possible to have some tools to ease the community work (like a tool to create automatically filelist...) ?
Andrey : Developers create a filelist using special java class which is he part of game project itself, so there is no separate tool for this. Tools that could be made available were given to community already (3D Max plugins). For example, creators of Caen itself used them, an array of editors already shipped with the game, a community SFS extractor to create this expansion.
39-45strategie.com : Some players would like to have bigger maps. Is it
planned ? Or do you think that the actual size is a good compromise ?
Andrey : It would be interesting to try bigger maps, but large-scale battles on existing size maps strain average modern CPUs already. For example, going from existing 2000x2000m map to a bigger 4000x4000m map would mean fourfold increase in number of objects, pathfinding cells and such, which would overload the current engine. Having bigger maps would require rewriting the engine almost from scratch and getting rid of last bits of IL-2 code unsuited for large land engagements, so this won’t be possible in immediate future.
battlefront and his english forum
8/ 39-45strategie.com :
Is Caen the last extension for Theatre of War II - Kursk, or will you continue with other battles ?
Andrey : Currently no more expansions for ToW2 are planned.
9/ 39-45strategie.com :
Now we would like to talk about the future : TOW 3 - Korea.
Can you give us some news about this new opus ?
Andrey : Stay tuned, we’ll post some news regarding the worldwide release soon. In short, Russian release is already available. We’re currently working on the localization and plan to release the English version of the game early next year.
10/ 39-45strategie.com :
Do you plan to develop new add on for TOW 3 - Korea (like it was for TOW 2) ? Will you come back to the WWII with this new game ?
Andrey : There are plans for such expansion, but it is currently unclear whether it would be set in WWII or Cold War era. We will see
Thank you very much for this interview !