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WWIIOL Battleground Europe: this week in production E-mail
Monday, 05 March 2007
With his latest letter to the playerbase, Geof Rey "DOC" Evans lists the next coming game changes that are currently in testing as also the medium term development goals.
We take also the chance to remind you that there is currently the possibility to signup for a 14 days free trial WWII Online account following this link .

 



This week in production

 

Thought I'd post a little of what's going on since we built the first internal beta yesterday since more than a month ago. There's actually a ton of stuff going to be in the upcoming patch, and this in addition to the ToE/Squad recruitment features which by themselves alone mean a long long patch cycle.

We normally spend the first month of the year concentrating on bugs and long standing "minor" issues because once the year gets under way the pressure to produce continual content development means these things take a back seat to some degree, unless they are critical issues.

Here's the bulk of what went into that beta build (which broke just BTW, part of the joys of software development B) ... there will of course be a number of internal or closed beta patches before we're ready for release, or to reveal an open beta ... which is likely this cycle as the new features like ToEs are huge and extensive code revisions and probably demand a very wide testing sample.

So there was a lot of ground work from KFS1 that we need to pin ToEs to. There are a million code hooks and dependancies that ToEs break in the current game engine, and which need ground up recreation, which is why it is a slow slog to get from design into code that is already a functioning entity, rather than built from scratch. Think open heart surgery on a patient that still has to get up in the morning and catch the train to work, do his job, come home and play with the kids before doing it all over again the next day.

We also have an enormous amount of work being tasked to Granik, Animal, Martini and RickB to some degree, which centers around Jeager's complete rebuild of object rendering and mdl handling, the vaunted "performance" patch stuff. Basically what he has done breaks everything. All our game models look better but need to be reshaded, renormaled and rebuilt because they are all broken with the new object handling and memory allocation routines. this is not difficult as a task list to perform, but VERY time consuming. We can't say how fast it will get completed but we are getting it done as fast as can be managed given that each of those now tasked with that work are still doing all their other tasks set for this dev. cycle. Which is why things seem to be taking so long. They ARE taking so long!

KFS1 is also working hard on improved networking/host stability and consistancy issues, which should begin to show their benefits after this dev. cycle ... we hope for smoother gameplay and update sequences as a result but it's hard to quantify while it's still a work in progress. ToE's are keeping him very busy recoding how strat and supply and brigades and the map all communicate with respect to the host/client relationship that this is all built on, so it's a very insanely busy period here at CRS. Everyone here is affected by this to some degree, even if they appear not to be directly related to the develpoment of such features, they will find something indirectly affected that they will have to deal with as a result of the breadth of the changes that are required to make a change from what we have to what we want to get.

In addition to redoing all the things that Jeagers work demands of us at this point, Animal has been making progress on the 3 new aircraft variants, but again with his task list split between that and the other render redo work it's been slower than it would be if he was just new 3D models. He's just one guy, and like all of us is doing the work of several people. We chose to do the H.87b3 first as it represents the most work to create compared to the Bf109G-6/U4 and Hurricane IIb conversions.

Toto and Granik have been splitting their work amongst further work on infantry animation improvements and weapons rendering. Note that Granik also had to redo every terrain and gameworld mdl, in addition to Animal and Martini working with him on shading stuff, all a result of rebuilding required for Jeagers object handling changes.

This is what I mean by "insanely busy period" here at CRS right now. You have a good team working for you here, but they are only human. B]

Of course lot's of stuff got broken as a result of this amount of rebuilding, so that only makes for a much slower "new stuff" progress rate. We don't like extended or long development cycles, preferring to push content out a little faster, but there really isn't any other choice right now.

As far as equipment changes or fixes/improvements that fell out of the January "small stuff" focus, I got the the following stuff into beta for testing/evaluation and Q&A.

  1. Bf110C4/B had it's DB601A engines swapped out for DB601N engines, so it gained a little extra performance. It's not a lot, but every little bit counts and it has been one of the longest standing issues I know of since I remember bringing this up way back in 2002.

  2. The DB7 and Havoc bombers got a new layer of damage pass on so that when the landing gear that blocks the engines is critically damaged, they don't block the engines from damage on rear aspect shots like has been frustrating some players for a very long time. This also went into the other twin engined aircraft with landing gear in the engine nacelles but you won't probably be aware of it so much as with the DB7/Havoc because only those two aircraft really totally "blocked" the engines due to the component layout of the landing gear.

  3. We finally found a way to model DeWilde incendiary ammunition for British .303 aircraft guns, something I have had on my whiteboard for a very long time and this went into yesterdays beta patch. When we get a new patch built to fix what broke in yesterdays we can see how they pan out.

  4. The Hurricane Ia has been performing below par in top speed at most if not all altititudes from the deck to 20,000 ft. This has been corrected and it picked up it's missing 16 km/h ... that's an average BTW as with all aircraft the differance will vary from one altitude to another and can't really be generalized.

  5. All the early French sourced tanks (R-35, H-39, S-35 and Char.B1.bis) finally got the vertical DoF attribute built into their episcopes so that now they can go up and down as well as around.

  6. The Fairmile had it's bow gun loadout swapped out for a Vickers 3pdr. naval gun, a more representitive weapon than the previous QF.2pdr. loadout it carried. It also got 360 degree rotation added to it's previously limited traverse 20mm Oerlikon dual mount.

  7. All naval AA guns (20mm and 37mm) on boats (Fairmile, Destroyer and Transport) had their elevation DoFs increased to 85 degrees up, which is a better representation of their true elevation ability and should help in defending against attacking aircraft.

  8. The PzKw.VIe Tiger tank had it's ammunition stowage in the turret moved to the hull where it belongs.

  9. HE rounds had a fusing audit to standardize settings where some varied outside where we'd like them to be. For example, the Tigers HE round performs very well against the thinner skinned tanks (it did previously actually, but will probably have improved a little now) as do all the 75mm and up faster HE tank rounds, where a shorter fuse helps them to function better and the previous fuse timer was actually outside historic parameters. Because of it's sheer power the 88mm gun on the Tiger makes it's HE round the most effective of any in the game, versus lighter armour like the British cruiser tanks and the French Panhard AC and Stuart light tank.

Well, it's been a very busy week, and we have another one waiting for us on Monday, so go have some fun and we'll see you on the Battlefield somewhere.
__________________
Geof Rey Evans
Producer/CRS
Game Manager/WWIIOL-Battleground Europe

 

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