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Old 09-30-2011, 07:45 PM   #1 
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Interview with the producer of World of Tanks Sergei Burkatovsky

GoHa.Ru: Tell us about the new types that are going to appear in the game.

At first, we’re going to release two of the simplest types. The first is attack/defense, where one side protects it’s base and the other has to either capture it or destroy all of the defenders. The attacking side isn’t burdened by the necessity to protect the base and can go in full offense, on the other hand, the defending side as a positional advantage. It’s a fairly straightforward game type, we’re just leaving one base at is it and taking away the other one, so we’re likely to put it in the game soon, during the next two months, supposedly before 2012. In the second type there is also a single base, but it’s located in the center of the map, meaning the first one to capture it is golden. We also want to introduce this type for the end of 2011. Some of the game types are more complicated, for example, the escort type, where there will be just one base, again, and the attacking team will appear in the opposite side of the map. However, only the three top tanks can actually capture the base, other tanks will not be able to initiate the capture when they enter the circle. It means that the attacking team must make it so at least one of their top tanks makes it through and the defending team has to prevent that. In this mode, just like in attack/defense, draw isn’t possible. The team either captures the base or destroys all enemies or loses. I’m not sure if we can implement the escort game type before 2012 but we will do our best.
The garage battle game type is even more complicated. A player can reserve three to five different tanks and, after one of the tanks was destroyed, the next of the reserved ones will be used, ready to avenge the fallen comrade. This game type is exciting and we think our players will like it. We will try to introduce it in the beginning of 2012.
Historic battles are more complicated yet. They are real massive battles, where a series of small fights form one historic battle. There is a set maps, that are made to be played one after another, both teams start on a specific map and, depending on wins or loses, the fight is moved to left or right on this line of maps. The type is called historic battle because only the tank configurations that were really presenting on the battlefield will be allowed, a classic example is the Battle of Kursk – Russians won’t even have T-34-85, while Germans will have the full zoo of Tigers at their disposal. To give every team a chance to win, balance will adjusted specifically for these maps, so all of the machines in historic battles will have their own “worth”. For example, in 1943, the Tiger was quite an expensive and rare tank, so one Tiger will be counter-balanced by three T-34, we will adjust the hard numbers later, we’re already on it. But if if the battle is taking place in 1945, the Tiger is nothing out of ordinary, just a heavy tank. Needless to say, the fantastic configuration like Tiger with 88mm long cannon will not be allowed in such battles. This approach will allow us to recreate a historic battle as closely as we can. Of course, one side will be able to only have either Russian, German or American tanks available.

GoHa.Ru: Tell us how are you going to optimize the engine for 30x30 battles and when are we going to see the results?

The answer is simple, we’re working on it. You see, the more tanks are present the greater the server load becomes, unfortunately, this load is proportional to the exact number of tanks but it’s squared number. Roughly speaking, if we have two 15x15 battles and one 30x30 battle, then the 30x30 battle will load the server not twice, but four times as heavily, meaning that the same number of players is taking twice as much resources. Our servers are critically loaded right now, so we have to optimize them for all that to work, unfortunately it’s not as easy as rewriting a few lines of poorly written code. It’s a large amount amount of work that involves creating advanced algorithms of data transferring and similar things. It’s a serious research and when such a serious work is being done it’s no use to talk about dates. You can’t just set a date and solve the problem next day, actually, you can set a date but whether you meet it or not is a big question. That’s why we aren’t releasing any time frames, we’re working, that’s all.

GoHa.Ru: What problems from a game design point have you tackled when trying to increase the number battle participants? Larger maps will be needed, so the range of radios and shots has to be changed. How are you intending to solve such problems?

It’s actually really easy. Say, a simple multiplier is included to increase the range of artillery fire and it’s all done. The same goes for radios. It’s a purely technical problem, it’s about traffic , loading of large maps and view distance. We’d had a tank with the Big World and we might find a way to increase the view distance, right now we’re restricted purely by programming in the distance at which two tanks can see each other, so we may get rid of it. So, it’s not so much about design challenges as it is about purely technical solutions. As far as designing goes, you have to just properly calculate the few multipliers and implement them. Tech, algorithms and programming is where the problems start.

GoHa.Ru: Tell us of your plans to introduce new premium vehicles.

The US will receive premium T34 in near future and we will be adding some from that point. Tank info from the archives is steadily coming out way, so we will include new things as time goes on. The thing is that premium tanks of various levels already cover all niches. Now as for the main branches, we’re not satisfied with the pace of it’s implementation so we’ll try to speed things up a bit. We’ve been delaying the Frenchmen for quite a while, so they’re the first ones on the list.

GoHa.Ru: Are we going to see new French premium tanks as well?

France will have it’s own premium machines, namely, premium AT and artillery, some tanks might make it in, but we haven’t set a date yet and can’t give you anything specific on it’s technical data. We want to take care of the main branch first and decide what exactly are we going to implement in the game, we will inform you.

GoHa.Ru: Explain us the camouflage that’s going to be introduced in the patch 7.0.

The camouflage has been finished for a long time, the problem is that it’s a part of 7.0, that has a lot of other things, that are really important to us, and cutting it out to paste in the earlier version would take too much time and resources, so the camouflage is still due for 7.0, which is, hopefully, coming out in October.
There are many camouflage types, for example, a simple historic camouflage that doesn’t grant any bonuses, so you can paint your machine in the colors of your favorite tank brigade or division, that they were using during a certain battle, are ride it to your leisure. Such camo won’t grant any stealth bonuses, if you painted your tank as if you were fighting at Kursk, say, red and green and you got placed on the Erlenberg map, that’s covered with snow, it’s evident that you wouldn’t be harder to detect. Camouflage like that will cost a small sum in gold and will be permanent. You can buy the same camouflage for credits, but for a limited amount of time.
We’re making it flexible, so you can buy camo for both gold and credits. There will also be an adaptive camouflage, it will paint your tank in colors that make sense in the map automatically. Such camouflage will grant invisibility factor, around 1% to invisibility. Camouflage purchased for credits will grant higher larger invisibility bonus, but will only be active for one battle, as a simple paint consumable.

GoHa.Ru: When are you going to place IS-4 into HT10 and replace T30 for T110?

The modification of the Soviet and US branches is delayed because of 7.0. The reason is that 7.0 will change basics of the netcode, because of that it has to be tested thoroughly. Needless to say, our QA is busy with testing 7.0, and testers just don’t have the time to for the this seemingly simple script that would place T30 into AT-SAU branch and T34 into premiums and put T110 and M103 in their stead. These replacements can’t go through untested, because these objects are from the player hangars and if something goes wrong, the consequences may be disastrous. After we finish 7.0, the testers will start working on these scripts. The replacements aren’t coming before 7.0. We’re sorry about it, since we wanted to make it all happen quicker.

GoHa.Ru: Many clans are fond of E-100, and one of the main reasons is the screen armor this tank has. Are you planning to put screen armor on other tanks?

Our screen armor takes many forms, there are screens that slightly cover the wheels, and almost all the tanks that had it already possess it in the game. Another variant is purely technical, say, we have the cannon mask and main armor behind it. For example, the mask was punctured, but the armor behind it held up, then it’s safe to assume that the tank sustained no damage. That’s why we have the special armor type, called the screen type, and behind this armor goes the one, penetration of which causes actual damage. Some tanks have these armor implemented for them and some don’t. The ones that don’t have it yet will receive it eventually. I can’t tell you the dates, it’s low on the priority list, because this armor doesn’t grant any major advantages. Another type of screen armor is hinged plates. It’s a completely different mechanic, that we will put in by introducing new equipment, such as anti-fragmentation lining that will take a slot and be visible as an armor upgrade, these plates will also count as screen armor. This delicious stuff we will include after the end of the year. It’s a great amount of work for the art team and, as you understand, not all tanks will have this armor in the beginning, for example, the first to receive it will be IS-4, then KV and so on. Gradually, we will introduce this armor for various different tanks.

GoHa.Ru: Tell us about the mechanic of acquiring trophy vehicles and when will it be implemented in the game?

I don’t think it’s coming any time soon. The feature is delayed, the modeling of trophies is partially done, but we need to complete the main mechanics first, such as historic battles. When we sort it out we will tell you, but I can’t comment on that just yet.

GoHa.Ru: Tell us more about the commander tactics, what role will they have and how strongly will their potential be reduced?

Commander tactics aren’t planned to be solely used on the global map, they might have a place in company battles too. Actually, they will be useful in all battles that have a single commander, in random fights they will be useless. It’s combat usefulness will be reduced, it’s likely that there won’t be any tier 10 commander tanks, we’ll limit them to tier 8 most likely. Even though this tank will be less useful as a combat unit, we want to make it useful for coordinating and empowering the team. Firstly, it will be possible to activate the commander pad. We all played different RTS like C&C or Warcraft, it’s the same thing, but instead of the AI controlled unit there are real people, you take a random tank and point it in the direction it has to go to and the player will see a mark that will guide him to the location he needs to defend. That’s the function of the commander pad. If the team is united and organized it will provide a solid boost, if the team is disorganized it’s likely to not do much. Secondly, we’re planning to introduce special commander consumables. Things like artillery strike, aerial strike, aerial reconnaissance. We will balance it so it becomes useful, but not overpowering. It’s all intended to be used in organized company battles, clan battles and historic battles, because they are going to involve team tactics. I think players will like these commander tanks.

GoHa.Ru: What will the commander receive experience for? After all, he’s intended to sit on the base and organize the while combat, without being involved in fighting directly.

The commander will be receiving a part of the experience accumulated by the other players in combat, we’re still balancing it. It’s one of the mechanics we’re looking into, but, either way, commanders will be rewarded.

GoHa.Ru: When are you going to put back artillery tracers?

First, let me tell you why aren’t we putting them back right now. Tracers are prone to hacking and it gives a really strong advantages to cheaters. That’s why we disabled tracers and as soon as we get rid of the hacking problem, we’ll put them back in. But it’s meaningless to talk about dates, it’s a real research, just like with large maps.

GoHa.Ru: When will the new physics appear in the game? Maybe you can tell something new about it?

As for the physics, the version with jumping, flipping and rolling tanks is ready. Everything works well as we’ve demonstrated already. But, the thing is, we aren’t making a game where a player has to combat his own tank, but the enemy. An introduction of physics will make the game much more difficult from the standpoint of controls. For example, imagine a scout or a medium tank moving at full speed, focused on the enemy and then a pebble gets under a wheel, it flips over, falls and amen, end of the line. That’s not right and will take a lot of work to make physics comfortable enough for controls. We will put the physics in as soon as we can solve this problem. In my opinion, it will happen in 2012. We’ll see.

GoHa.Ru: Sergei, could you uncover the secret of the Japanese tier 10 HT?

It’s very big. And weird. The Japanese wanted to have large tanks, but the situation they were in by the end of the war was quite strange, they were waiting when the Americans come to their islands, so they can die in a battle for the glory of the emperor, taking down as many enemies as they can. Their tank production was in bad shape, because their resources were mainly directed at maintaining the fleet, because of that their heavy tanks have distinct “naval” characteristics. In house, we’re jokingly call it “the shore defense tank”, if you remember, in the book “Habited Island” by Strugatsky, tank brigades were fighting submarines. It’s actually quite similar and considering that one of the Strugatsky brothers is an expert on Japan, maybe this whole concept is not entirely made up. Who knows what documents did he get his hands on. In actuality, this tank was intended to combat, no, not submarines, but drop off ships or cruisers. It’s a nice, sturdy tank with some distinct features. I won’t tell you everything, don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I think it will be very well received.

GoHa.Ru: Tell us about World of Battleships, what is the current state of the game?

The ships are undergoing the process of research, we’re determining what technologies are needed for us and which we’re going to use. You must understand that ships, as well tanks, have their own distinctions. If it’s a tank, the environment can be observed up close, the visuals can be complicated, yet one can stop and look at it, but a place is always moving, you can’t stop, it’s more difficult to control and you observe the land from afar. But ships are in the sea. There are islands on the horizon, dawn or sunset and lots of different looking waters, from simple surface to fin trails or breaker from underneath the stem, or explosions on the water, weather condition is extremely important, mist or, if we have a night battle, it’s important which side of the horizon is bright and which is dark. In other words, there is a lot of difference between tanks and ships, and so we need to decide which differences to introduce and which to left out, to come to an understand of how we’re going to do it and get to business. There is still a lot of work to do.

GoHa.Ru: We heard that classes of ships are already known, tell us if aircraft-carrier is among them?

The classes will consist, firstly, of light forces, destroyers, simply speaking, that are fast, unarmored ships armed with torpedoes. Secondly, there will cruisers, I’d call them destroyers of destroyers, these ships provide combat support to the main forces, they serve as guards and recon. Thirdly, there are battleship-class vehicles, that are large, heavily armored types that can evaporate several cubic meters of water or metal in one direct shot. Lastly, there are, of course, aircraft-carriers, because naval combat in the period that we’re basing the game inside of, which is around 1910-1950, was impossible without aircraft-carriers. So they are definitely going to be in our game, what’s not going to be present submarine-class ships, because submarines were never present during squadron battles. They don’t have the speed required under water and above water… well, a few shells and a submarine will stay underwater forever. There will be no motor torpedo boats, as those are near-shore ships. We might implement ships like that for port combat, but in squadron battles there will be no submarines and motor boats.

GoHa.Ru: Which nations are going to be present in the game?

Various. We take all ship-building nations and put them on the list. There is Japan, can’t do without the Yamato, it’s the US, because US is the strongest naval force that overtook the Britain’s crown, it’s the Britain itself, because we’re putting in the very first dreadnaughts, it’s the German with their Bismarck, it’s the Italian with their refined ships that never saw much combat, it’s the Russian Empire and Soviet Union and maybe Austria-Hungary will make it in. Anyway, everyone who was making ships will be present in the game at some point. We’re still thinking which countries to start with, but the US will surely make it in, as the number one marine country.

GoHa.Ru: Will the leveling of tanks be similar to the tanks? We start on a boat with a pair of oars and end up with a huge battleship?

No, we will start from a poorly adzed log, it all started with it after all. But in all seriousness, the first level of battleships will include the British dreadnaught and it’s analogues, like the Michigan of US and similar machines. It will be the same in the other classes, cruisers and torpedo boats. It’s the year of 1910, when the concept of ships was created and stayed the same up to the age of controlled weaponry, and with the start of that age began an entirely different history.

On airplanes with the produced of World of Warplanes Anthon Sitnikov

GoHa.Ru: Will the global map be implemented right after launch of the game?

Yes, we’re planning to introduce the global map soon after launch.

GoHa.Ru: Some players are concerned that clans, which accumulated large amounts of gold on the current global map of World of Tanks, will receive a serious boost in World of Warplanes that will make them able to conquer many territories on the World of Warplanes’ global map. Are you going to set up some limits in their way?

We are wary of that ourselves, since we’re planning to make the experience and gold usable in both Tanks and Planes. To let people level up in peace, without much pressing from the side of the “pros” from Tanks, we might allow transfers of gold and experience with slight delays. We will do that so Planes will have time to grow it’s own generation of great players.

GoHa.Ru: Tell about the role of heavy fighters and attack planes.

We’re currently in Alpha and already have these classes of machines available, and playing them, of course, is very different from playing as fighters. It’s clear that an attack plane absolutely can’t maneuver in combat, but it’s devastating in a frontal attack and possesses defensive armaments, so you can’t freely sit on his tail without using some tactical tricks.
Heavy fighter is a very interesting and unique class, it’s not as maneuverable as a simple fighter, but carries very heavy and powerful weaponry that deals a lot of damage, it’s also more durable than a light fighter. So we’re striving to balance them and make it so they provide their own, unique gameplay while not being overpowered.

GoHa.Ru: Which nations are going to be available at launch and how many machines will there be?

In the beginning, we’re introducing Soviet, German and American machines. Every country will have it’s own branch. Some will specialize in fighter, some in heavy fighters and others in attack planes. We might give the Americans naval fighters in place of one of the branches.

GoHa.Ru: How are you going to be introducing new planes after release?

We will be adding them as quick as we can, but I can’t give you exact time intervals yet. We’re just starting to massively model planes, we’ll see how quickly can we do this.

GoHa.Ru: Are we going to see UFOs of Ahnenerbe, maybe as a premium class for Germans?

You’ve made me to give up the secret. We will have battle mages of Vril and riders of the apocalypse, we must have UFOs to go along with that.

GoHa.Ru: The introduction of premium vehicles was the turning point in Tanks, will there be analogues of Lowe and KB-5 in Planes at launch?

We can’t give any information on premium vehicles or exact models we’re going to put in.

GoHa.Ru: There are many game types to be released in Tanks soon, will planes have some of those at the start? For example, the historic battles?

We’re setting a different pace with Planes. There will be several game types at launch.

Last edited by Garro; 09-30-2011 at 08:58 PM.

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