E3Expo 2006 Thursday’s Report Page 4

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The AI is going to get some work and both Oleg and Ilya Shevchenko have said that already the AI on the harder levels is very difficult to beat. The AI is going to have a larger range of response and the levels of experience and are going to be farther apart. The AI gunners are going to have the ability to feel fear which should provide a more random and convincing gaming experience.

It’s very evident to this writer that Oleg and crew are moving us to “the next level”.

Hmmm… what is this? A bonus plane in SoWBoB from Oleg?

Features:

  • Flyable aircraft – At least 10-11 highly detailed English, German and Italian aircraft – including Spitfire, Hurricane, Messerschmitt, Junkers, etc. Flyable fighters and multi crew position bombers.
  • Non-Flyable aircraft – From 15 to 20 AI controlled aircraft.
  • Huge number of single missions – 20 single-player missions & 10 multiplayer missions (At least).
  • Brand new game map – The game will take place from central England in the North, to Northern France in the South (The part of map will include Belgium – area close to French border, from where Italian AF were flying, involved in BoB). The game-world will consist of a single large map and will encompass cities, towns, roads, airfields, radar stations, ports, and industrial areas.
  • Enhanced campaign system – The dynamic campaign system will be an “evolution” of the Forgotten Battles campaign engine and will include expanded pilot and squadron management.
  • Dynamic campaign system – Allows players to rewrite history (ability to set two variants in realistic settings for campaign system. One for realistic, and one for “rewriting history”).
  • Scalable gameplay – Not only appealing for sim enthusiasts, it will attract the novices too through an enhanced novice mode.
  • An even more accurate flight model – based on the IL-2 series development with advanced modules of precise calculation.
  • New weather effects – Weather conditions changing in-flight. Moving storm fronts and changing weather throughout the day.
  • Changing, moving weather- and location-dependent air masses.
  • New 3D engine – highly detailed objects and ground, including accurate coastal lines and realistically looking sea waves. For the first time in any flight sim, details like working ground vehicle suspension use our real-time physics engine. Animated weapon physics, such as recoiling tank guns, etc. Expandable with add-ons for new theatres.
  • Air-stream effects – Authentic turbulence and atmospheric circulation unique for each cloud type. When flying directly behind another aircraft, there will be a noticeable realistic prop-wash and turbulence effect.
  • Multiplayer option – 32 at minimum, dogfights, cooperative and team play modes with basic and special maps.

We would not bother asking Oleg to speculate on a release date, but it’s looking like sometime the end of this year would be a reasonable assumption. We’ll let Oleg and Ubisoft field that one for you.

– Hornit

Storm Of War: The Battle of Britain – Part 2: Your Questions

Things were hectic at the Ubisoft exhibit. The exterior was LOUD, a large overhead screen showing all kinds of coming attractions, including an interesting animated movie which I cannot remember the name of. Remember, I’m tired too.

It took a few moments, but we met up with Ubisoft’s Thomas Le Grand, Producer of Storm Of War: The Battle of Britain. He escorted us to our meeting room. On the way we met up with Ilya Shevchenko, aka “Luthier”, whom the IL-2 crowd knows well. Luthier informed us that our primary contact, a gentleman the IL-2 crowd may also know, named “Oleg”, would be with us shortly. A few moments later, Oleg Maddox arrived, we made our introductions, and settled down to discuss Oleg’s new release.

I distinctly heard a number of “Wow!”‘s “Oh man!”‘s and similar expressions of amazement from the assembled SimHQ crew as Oleg began his presentation of his newest creation. It was incredible.

Due to time constraints and in order to get everything we wanted to get done done, SimHQ decided the best way was to do a tag-team approach. Accordingly, I interviewed Thomas Le Grand as Hornit continued his discussion with Oleg and Luthier while guod monitored both on-going discussions.

The context of my interview was to ask Thomas questions you readers had requested to know. As you will see, the product’s stage of development is just far enough away that some answers are not known.

As to the target system for SoWBoB, Thomas replied that this was still not determined, however, he did emphasize that 2 GB of RAM would be a very good idea. Likewise, he was not able to comment on what frame rates a 3GHz CPU, 1 GB DDR RAM and a 6800 GT or Radeon x800 would produce. Dual Core PC optimization may or may not be implemented, but is being reviewed. However, as with the IL-2 Series, SMP will be beneficial.

Discussions are currently being held with Microsoft about optimizing for Vista. The hard drive footprint is not yet known.

We had an interesting discussion regarding software piracy and piracy protection methods. First, Thomas stressed that Ubisoft is quite clear about the seriousness of software piracy and that they are committed to reducing it’s impact on their business as much as possible. Next, and something I’m sure several of our members will appreciate, Ubisoft will not be using StarForce as their method of protection for SoWBoB, or any other new title. They are currently studying all options available to them and will make a determination in the near future.

The target release date for the new simulation currently stands at November 2006.

We talked about product development and the effects of licensing issues. Specifically, what was their position about dealing with certain aircraft manufacturers and models. Thomas indicated that their legal staff had been working on the problem and that currently, they would not be able to use manufacturer’s names, but could use model names. This may change, depending on new developments.

Finally, we talked about a common theme with flight simulation developers and producers, namely the relationships with HOTAS and controller manufacturers. Thomas agreed that there was certainly a symbiotic relationship and that it was something they would explore as to how best partnership with those manufacturers.

Continuing the tag-team strategy, guod and myself left for our next meeting while Hornit stayed awhile with Oleg and Luthier to discuss the upcoming add-ons for the IL-2 Series.

– 20mm

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