Interviewed by Matt “Desode” Mooney
Recently I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to talk to Anton Yudintsev, CEO of Gaijin Entertainment, about their new in-development MMO, World of Planes.
Q. Anton, first I want to thank you and Gaijin for taking the time to talk with SimHQ about the exciting new title Gaijin is developing: World of Planes.
A. Hi, Matt, thank you.
Q. A lot of us have been expecting a Wings of Prey sequel, but a Gaijin flight sim MMO was not on our radar at all. Let’s start out with a little bit about how Gaijin came up with the idea to do a WWII MMO. How long has World of Planes been in the works? Is World of Planesthe sequel to Wings of Prey?
A. We had made the concept and started some work in late 2008 (even before Wings of Prey was released). Just because we always thought that playing with real players is fun and challenging.
For more than a year the game has been developing with most of our resources. Of course, World of Planes has some things in common with Wings of Prey, but most of the code was reworked or made from scratch. I mean Flight model, AI, ballistics, render, mission design, and missions structure, as you can see all of the main parts.
Also the game will have 4-5 times more content (on the start) than Wings of Prey does. And of course, we are going to update it and add more.
Q. Anton, the sim community has certain basic requirements they need in their flight games, so I’m hoping today we can talk about some of these important features. To start off, what can we expect from the World of Planes damage model system? Is it more advanced than what we saw in Wings of Prey? Will plane damage affect the flight characteristics of the aircrafts?
A. Yes, the damage system has been improved too. The visualization part of the damage model is still a work in progress. Working on damage models and tweaking the damage model is an infinite job. We are gathering information from players and historical sources and tweaking it. Also, we will, of course, tweak it during the Closed Beta.
Q. I know one major complaint with the FMs from Wings of Prey was the lack of aircraft shaking right before stalling. How about the flight models in World of Planes, are they the same as what we’ve seen in the latest patched version of Wings of Prey? Or are they tweaked even further?
A. Yes, we have added some shaking before stalling and in some other reasonable cases. Flight model is not the same, but we, of course, have used our WoP experience.
Q. Will it have a chat system for communication among players or will players need to use some kind of VOIP software?
A. Only one comment about VOIP — usually good teams use VOIP software just to be in touch even before they launch the game. So I don’t expect that players will stop doing that.
Q. What kind of individual pilot progression system will there be in World of Planes? Will there be separate unlocks and abilities for say a pilot and a gunner? Also, will the unlocks and upgrades be historically accurate in nature? I ask this because for a majority of the flight sim community, when we hear the words “unlocks” or “upgradable weapons”, we automatically become concerned the balance and historical aspects of the game will be lost.
A. Keeping a historically accurate feeling is one of our priorities. Of course no game can be 100% historically accurate for lots of different reasons, and most of them are not technical, but natural. For instance, this is true for so many different, but essential, parts of real life, like feeling accelerations, influence of pilots physical strengths, and even economics. For example: Planes in real life could be very good, but too expensive or unreliable, or they appeared only later in the war. All of these parts in games are either ignored or just implemented “somehow”.
We don’t want to make our game “Bf109 vs. La-7” simulation (choose any). For example, jets at the end of WW2 were cool — but they had certain flaws, which could sometimes not be easily noticed in game — and we have to balance that. And, although balance is the key to success, still immersion matters a lot. So, there will be no “upgradeable” weapons, but there will be different modifications of planes (like it was).
Q. How much depth will be involved in the persistent MMO war? Example: Say my squadron destroys a major industrial factory belonging to the axis powers, would that strategic victory play a role in the war’s overall, possible outcome?
A. Something like that. However, our Global War feature is still in development, and can significantly change before it will be released.
Q. How long will one MMO campaign last before one side wins? Is there a set time limit or will the war rage on until one sides resources are exhausted?
A. The same here. I would like to answer all questions about Global War later. Currently, it is still under development.
Q. Will we see any kind of full mission builder and quick mission builder in World of Planes?
A. Well, I think the answer is ‘yes’, at least they are already created at the moment. Not sure if we’ll release them at CBT (Closed Beta Test) as we don’t want players to test their own missions instead of balancing the game.
Q. While World of Planes is a MMO, I’m sure a lot of gamers are wondering: Will there be anything in there for the offline gamer to enjoy?
A. We’ll see. It is not our main priority. Even Wings of Prey was played mostly by players with good and persistent internet connection — and that was mostly an offline game, it was sold in retail stores and so on. Blizzard, with their Starcraft2, showed that most players are playing with Internet. But we are thinking about adding some offline play later too. This is just not our main priority.
Q. Could you tell us a little bit about what kind of DRM (Digital Rights Management) World of Planes will be using?
A. It is an online game. That means that some essential parts of the game are physically based on game servers. Also that means that the game will be constantly updated. So there is no need in any DRM.
Q. Will World of Planes also feature co-op gameplay?
Q. One of the Flight Sim communities favorite past times is creating skins for their planes. Will World of Planes give players the ability to create their own custom skins to use in the game?
A. Yes, we really loved some of the skins that were created for Wings of Prey. So we are planning to have this feature in game.
Q. What will be the player count for the online battles? 32, 64, 128, or as far up as 256?
A. We believe that the optimal number is 32. That’s not a technical question — we can support up to 256 players or even more. This is just a design decision.
Q. How big are the online maps? Are they bigger than what we saw in Wings of Prey?
A. We don’t think that for a battle focused online game we need bigger maps. However, we are planning bigger maps for the Jet planes.
Q. Does Gaijin have a list of aircrafts for the game? I know there were a lot of different aircrafts in WWII… How far will World of Planes go into the variety of available aircrafts? Or will this be a work in progress with more planes released via DLC as the MMO progresses and grows?
A. The game is going to be constantly updated. There were at least 5,000 of different planes in WWII, so we have lots of options to expand.
The list of aircraft on start-up we will keep as a secret for now.
Q. One last question, Anton, and I’ll let you get back to work, because I’m sure you’re very busy.
I saw somewhere in an announcement that World of Planes will not feature an arcade mode and everyone will start out at a Sim level? Is that rumor true?
A. No. We believe that involving new players in aviation is a very important mission, so there will still be an arcade mode.
Q. Anton, I could ask you questions all day long, but I understand you can’t let all the secrets out of the bag just yet.
I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions so the SimHQ Flight community can have a glimpse into this interesting project that Gaijin is developing.
A. Thank you for the questions and they are always welcome!
Our work (and life, as we all spend days and nights in the office) is about our players, so your questions are the main way to understand your needs.
Every flight fan should be keeping an eye on World of Planes, and from what we’re learning about this new title, it carries great potential in a genre many of us truly love.
It appears Gaijin has their ear to the community, and in my opinion, they’re very open to constructive feedback from flight simulation fans.
I have a feeling World of Planes will, no doubt, become what its players want it to be. Such is the way of a MMO, because without the players, the game dies.
One thing is for sure, Gaijin has a true love in their hearts for aircrafts and the joy of flight. All of us here know flight combat games are a niche market, so it’s great to see that an up and coming developer like Gaijin has a real passion for creating flight oriented games.
Gaijin is now accepting sign ups for World of Planes Beta testing. You can sign up for a chance to enter the Beta, when it starts, by going to the following link.
Further information can also be found at the Gaijin Forums.
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