Exclusive Theatre of War 2 - Kursk interview - English version
39-45strategie.com : Theatre of War is probably the best simulation game for WWII battles, at a tactical level.
In the first opus, we were pleased to discover an almost complete French and Polish army, in addition to the more conventional nations.
In the second opus, in addition to the improvement of the game, we discovered a new theatre of war, the sand of Africa, and an army which is not often present in WWII games : the Italian army with the Centauro expansion.
For this third opus, what new elements will you offer to players ?
Answers Oleg Bazarnov, project leader:
There are many of them, mortars, including self-propelled ones, on the field (not just as a support call), off-map rocket artillery, new and different aircraft. We reworked infantry AI to make it more alive. New tactical map mode lets you play in a classic (top-down) CC-style. Multiplayer system was thoroughly reworked and now allows calling for support and reinforcements just like in singleplayer. Visibility system was improved much, setting up view sectors for each crewman of each vehicle was tedious but in the end we got near-life modeling of what each crewman could see sitting in the certain tank or other vehicle. New in-game scenario generator that makes scenarios that will be interesting to play since you wouldn’t place the enemy forces yourself like you perhaps did earlier. Calling for support and reinforcements now costs special victory points player must earn first, and more.
39-45strategie.com : TOW 2 – Kursk adds a lot of improvements to TOW 2 – Africa. Can you explain us a little how the work is done to have this results ? What is the more time consuming ? New models, improvement of the game engine, new campaigns ?
Oleg Bazarnov : The project was developed under rather tight time constraints, but we all were focused on the end result. I’ll say we got an excellent war game about Kursk in the end. It’s difficult to pinpoint more and less time-consuming tasks in our project since they all were tightly interconnected, but creating campaigns required much effort. Creating detailed maps and new buildings and units was time consuming too.
39-45strategie.com : Can you tell us roughly how much time is needed to create from scratch a detailed model of a tank for TOW 2 ?
Oleg Bazarnov : There are many tanks in the game, they differ much by small details amount, size, etc., so I’ll give you an average estimate. Making the model itself takes around a week, texturing requires two days more. For several days the dedicated designer sets it’s physical parameters and correct parts hierarchy so the model will be operated correctly by the engine. Testing takes another two days, so it’s 2-3 weeks total.
39-45strategie.com : In the massive modpack, we can see that armored trains were planned. Have we a chance to see these amazing machine in the future ?
Oleg Bazarnov : Currently we don’t plan to implement armored trains, because this will require new AI made especially for them. This is a complicated task that would require resources allocated to higher priority tasks.
39-45strategie.com : TOW is a very detailed simulation. But there is one element that seems to be missing : The possibility for the tank commander to open the cupola to increase his probability to spot enemies.
Is it a limitation of the game, a choice of the developers or will it be implemented later ?
Oleg Bazarnov : It’s a mix: a technical limitation that lead to the choice of the developers (implementing this will require creating a new separate animation set for each tank, which is a time-consuming process). Other tasks are considered to be higher-priority.
39-45strategie.com : The Kursk battle is a very important moment in the WWII. So it is interesting to have a game dedicated to this event. In an other hand, the choice to reduce the “theatre of war” to a small time period and a small area can reduce the lifetime of the game.
As for Africa, the centauro add on was very well appreciated, because it offers more variability to TOW 2 – Africa. Do you plan to develop an add on for Kursk ?
Oleg Bazarnov : We understand your concern, but to extend the gameplay we added new in-game scenario generator so you’ll be able to generate new missions and play them (contrary to previous stand-alone mission wizard, in this one you don’t place enemy forces yourself and don’t know exactly what you’ll face and where). In addition, addon for Kursk is already planned.
39-45strategie.com : For the future of Theatre of War, can you give us some informations ?
Do you plan to make a new opus for each major events ?
Have you a plan for the next 10 years (-; ?
Oleg Bazarnov : We plan to move on. WW2 is not the only inspiration source for us. We already have plans and ideas and hopefully will be able to announce our next project soon.
39-45strategie.com : In Lord of the Ring, there is one ring to unify all others.
What about TOW ? Will there one day one opus to unified all others ? (Kursk, Centauro, TOW 1...)
For wargamers, “what if” possibility is important. Will we be able to play tank battles between Italian (centauro) and Polish army (TOW 1) or US forces (TOW 2) against French army (TOW 1), or between British (Africa) and Russian (Kursk) (why not ?) ?
Oleg Bazarnov : Units between games, especially between ToW1 and ToW2, differ much because new features were added in each title. We would love to make such compilation, but this will require great effort to upgrade old units to modern standards, while currently we have no free man-hours to spare.
39-45strategie.com : Among the new units of Kursk, what is your preferred one ?
Oleg Bazarnov : KV series of tanks. I have some intimate feelings for them, my granddad was a KV crewman.
Thank you for your time, and we wish a long life for Theatre of War !
Screenshots (at the end of this page)