07-05-2012, 03:08 PM
One Man Ostfront Band
Join Date: May 2009
Rapid Assault Q&A w/ CRS Exec Producer Al "Rafter" Corey
As I stated in my prior post I had the opportunity to send some questions based upon reactions here and my own personal concerns. Reason being was I saw Red Orchestra being mentioned as an inspirational piece in CRS's new title and figured the community of said game would naturally have some inquiries about Rapid Assault.
Rapid Assault Q&A with Executive Producer of Cornered Rat Software, Al "Rafter" Corey.
Comrade: Thanks for responding via Twitter and giving the opportunity to quell some concerns and inquiries about RAPID ASSAULT.
Rafter: Happy to do it. We appreciate the community's interest.
Comrade: These questions are generally based on the gameplay bullet points featured on your Kickstarter page. I felt the individual details for the plethora of features touched on were perhaps a bit vague and in turn can shy some potential players/backers away.
You mentioned ArmA as an inspiration and have implemented a Third Person option similar to said title. Arma is a more methodically slower paced game and mostly consists of large groups of players taking on scenarios against mass A.I. driven troops/assets - Therefore the potentiality of third person camera manipulation for PvP advantages is less prominent and those who do run PvP servers turn it off by default.
Can you tell those who haven't experienced RAPID ASSAULT how the third person mechanic is balanced for online PvP gameplay? Can we unfairly peer around corners from the safety of detection and cover? Can tanks/vehicles traverse the battlefield with the "all-seeing eye effect" most realism enthused players despise?
Rafter: Let me break it down into two categories; We've spent a lot of time studying games like Arma and World of Tanks and compared them to the AFV game play we've offered in WWII Online and we've come to the conclusion that the design of WWIIOL was probably more suited to the era of simulations that were being produced in the late 90s and early 00s. With WWIIOL, a player is forced not only to deal with the historical accuracy of views and positions of the actual vehicle but was expected to manage all those positions in real-time by moving from one to another. This "hyper-realism" really turned on a lot of hard core simulation players but has turned away factors more due to the complexity and a simple lack of a fun experience. The majority of gamers then and now aren't attracted to games where you are forced to look out of a tiny opening in a virtual cockpit while swapping from commander, loader, gunner, driver etc etc. The lack of S.A. in that type of simulated game play is no more "realistic" than the approach we're taking with Rapid Assault- meaning while WWIIOL might be looked upon as "hardcore", it's simply not very realistic to be severely limited in capabilities and situational awareness. With Rapid Assault we're saying, "Let's keep the simulation aspects that make game play unique and realistic and let's find new ways to make it fun". In RA your "Command" position controls all aspects of operations (driving, weapons, etc) giving you a more balanced approach to S.A. with an external camera (supplemented with aim views for the gunner) but all the components from ammo boxes, fuel tanks, engines, oil tanks, crew, etc etc are still modeled and part of the critical component make-up of the model.
As for infantry, being locked into first-person is something we've had a tough time coming off of in development of RA. It actually came as a result of writing the new command system for vehicles and so we've been testing it for infantry in closed beta. There's no denying that have a third-person view takes away some of the advantages of concealment but the other side of the coin is that there's a lot less "hide and seek" play going on. In our experience of more than a decade of development and operations for WWIIOL, one lesson we've learned is this; if given the opportunity, players will actively avoid combat engagements in order to achieve a goal. That might be shocking to hear for some people. With Rapid Assault, we wanted to make a game where players are engaged in combat early and often. Having said all that we are looking at the possibility of allowing game creators (at the UI) to flag any new game as first-person only for infantry. With that feature we can offer whatever is preferred and hopefully appeal to a wide range of players.
Comrade: Most of us are aware of CRS's previous (and ongoing) work on Battleground Europe (WW2OL), therefore can one safely assume the Ballistics/Damage Model system of WW2OL is the same template for RA's Ballistic/Damage Model system or are there any enhancements/refinements we might be unaware of? Can you give us a brief rundown of what level of ballistics/Damage model we can expect to see in RA for both Infantry/small arms and Vehicles/Emplacements? On the topic of damage - Is there a Medic system?
Rafter: For RA, we haven't removed, replaced or "dumbed-down" any of the ballistics/damage modeling in RA that you get in WWIIOL. If you have never seen the video that reveals our damage modeling, check out this Youtube video (Below). Note this video was made quite a long time ago in the WWIIOL client and doesn't represent the look and feel of Rapid Assault.
WWII Online: Battleground Europe- Damage Model - YouTube
Rapid Assault infantry also includes the component-based damage model and is built on our A.T.P. system that monitors stamina and blood loss (Adenosine triphosphate). So there's no hit table or artificially modified "power-ups". We've looked at the medic class or supplementing other classes with a medic function but for now we just don't see it as a priority in a game play environment where the action is fast and furious. That doesn't rule it out but it's just not on our short list.
A few things that are being added in this area to Rapid Assault that you don't see in WWIIOL revolves around a totally new in-game HUD. We're actually taking a lot of the data that's under the hood and exposing it to players that provides more feedback on what's happening to your components and systems. The HUD will provide you real time indication of damage (dynamic & cumulative), location & severity. We're also exposing the actual damage logs that the client and host use for vehicle states and letting players see it on the HUD. We've always had difficulty explaining the differences in our damage and ballistic systems from other games that claim to be "realistic". We hope that exposing all this data in the HUD will let players see for themselves just how complex our systems are.
I'm giving you guys the first public screenshot of the new HUD (still a work-in-progess)
Comrade: Combined arms operations seems to be a focal point in RA's public pitch. Are there limitations to the presence of tanks and armored vehicles on the field and can anyone jump into these vehicles at any given time? Do they require certain classes or prerequisites to operate or can any soldier commandeer one and get right into the fighting?
This might also stem into another inquiry - is there a class system and how does RA determine who plays what role in the war (i.e. machine gunners, rifleman, snipers, engineers, squad leaders, etc.)? If so, are there limits to these assets to avoid having an entire team of machine gunners toting BARs and Brownings. Is it based on real formations from the era? Can players be promoted due to their in-game feats?
Rafter: Eleventy-billion questions in one paragraph!
There are limitiations. Every scenario is population restricted and side balanced where the scenario demands. For example, "Dog Green" is a great scenario for 64 players in one instance. One of our capture objective scenarios where there's a fight over a bridge is better suited for 24 players as a max. Side balancing is being managed through play testing. For example, the side population for "Dog Green" is looking like 2:1 favoring the Americans.
Weapon limits are also a part of each scenario design. These limits take into account the historical setting plus play balance. So there might be a lot of semi-autos available to both sides in "Dog Green" with far fewer LMGs and sniper rifles etc. This is also applied to which/how many AFVs are available in any given scenario.
Of course the other part of weapon/vehicle availability is whether a player has unlocked them by buying the DLC pack. For example, there might be 3 bazookas available when a scenario starts but unless you have purchased the "D-Day armor pack" (yes shoulder-fired weapons are part of the armor pack) then a player can't spawn that available bazooka until they unlock it.
We have the beginnings of an achievement and rank system in RA but for now that is more about reputation than anything else. We have a really deep currency and permission system designed but we had to cut it for this release. In the future this system will be more about special abilities within a scenario- yes, that's a teaser
Comrade: How does RA determine which instance and gameplay is loaded up for the player? Is it dynamic and dependent on the conditions met from results of previous matches or is this chosen by the player himself/herself via server filtering. How do the single scenarios work and tie in to the bigger picture of the campaign?
Rafter: RA's UI lets players join or create an instance of any scenario assuming they have unlocked it with the bonus pack. There will be one scenario as part of the game that anyone can download and play for free. These instances are scored as stand alone games with points being awarded for wins (fewer for a loss), achievements and other score related actions. Linked scenarios will form "mini-campaigns" that are scored as a set.
So we could have both "Dog Green" and "Up the Draw" (more info coming on that later) linked as a mini-campaign where the results of each stage trigger which stage is played next. We will have several mini-campaigns available that let players choose based on appeal and also time required to complete. In the future we'd like to allow players to create their own "mini-campaigns" where they select which scenarios are linked for play.
Comrade: If by unfortunate chance the Kickstarter goal isn't met in the coming weeks, how would this effect the development and progression of RA? For example, will the aesthetics and art assets still be upgraded in the future to match the visual presentation other WWII PC games provide today? I'm personally a gameplay-over-graphics guy and many of us here are as well but collectively the first impression was that RA looks visually dated and the textures are washed out. How are you guys prepared to overcome and provide these upgrades and features if Kickstarter funding doesn't fall through?
Rafter: It's tough. We're trying to fund this project without the support of a big publisher and our team is stretched to the max with this development and supporting WWII Online at the same time. If we don't get the Kickstarter project funded it means that the features and upgrades to models, etc aren't going to be included in the first release. We know RA doesn't match up to a lot of modern engines but we also think it is on par with some other very successful games recently brought to market. We know that the game will be more successful if we can get those upgrades done so we need help to make sure that happens.
Comrade: Are they any forums dedicated to RA where people can register and inquire further about RAPID ASSAULT?
Rafter: We're not hosting any public forums yet but there's our Facebook page and Twitter (@rapidassault). You can also leave comments on the official webpage.
Comrade: Why choose Normandy as the backdrop for Rapid Assault? Seeing as it is often over used for the standard WWII genre, why Normandy and what is CRS doing to break the monotony of this oft used theater of war?
Rafter: Honestly as we have a very small budget at the moment, we decided to re-purpose as many assets as we could from WWII Online (infantry, weapons, vehicles). The obvious choice when we completed modeling U.S. units for WWII Online was take those and put them in one of the most iconic WWII battles. We're currently in the pre-production cycle for a follow-up set of scenarios which will certainly feature different units and battles.
Comrade: Hopefully with the answers you can provide us, more and more potential backers/players will be willing to take the plunge and donate on Kickstarter and/or simply spread the word to others who often populate our forums regularly and beyond the forums itself. I appreciate and like to thank you ahead of time for taking the time out and looking into the questions/inquiries enclosed in this email.
Thanks and good luck on the Kickstarter project.
Rafter: Thanks for the opportunity to communicate. We've finally taken the risky step of taking some of the best parts of WWIIOL and creating a new game. I say risky because we aren't financed by any publishers and we still own all our own I.P. but the cost of trying to launch a new product puts major stress on our studio. We've launched the Kickstarter project to help us push Rapid Assault over the finish line but we are in need of serious support to get it done. Ya we know the engine doesn't look like BF3, hell maybe not BF2 but we are serious gamers who do other good stuff like physics-based, component modeling in our tanks and model realistic ballistics for all our weapons and huge combined-arms maps. We've been dedicated to supporting our community for more than 12 years. Even without the size and resources of a lot of other studios, this team of less than 10 guys kicks some serious *** and we hope there's a large group of players who want to keep seeing independent studios make games.
A $25 Kickstarter pledge will actually get you the game and our first map and weapon packs so we hope all of you like enough of what you see to support CRS and Rapid Assault.
Rapid Assault Kickstarter Page
Uman Kessel - 1941 Series
Last edited by Comrade Kaizer; 07-05-2012 at 07:30 PM.