Interview

War Leaders: WW2 Interview (PC)

Si: Hi, please introduce WLWW2 to our readers. What is the game all about?
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Alberto Domínguez Aguilar: “War Leaders: WWII” is a 3D strategy game based on WWII, where you assume the role of a political and military leader: a “War Leader”, and hence the control over the corresponding faction and character (USA-Roosevelt, Germany-Hitler, Russia-Stalin, Great Britain-Churchill, Japan-Tojo, Italy-Mussolini or France-deGaulle).

This already implies that high level strategic and managerial decisions will be taken, affecting directly the course of war and History, like:

- Movement of Troops
- Construction of Factories and Buildings
- Construction of new military units
- Resource management
- Economical decisions
- Diplomacy
- Research & Development
- Espionage & Sabotage
- Special Missions
- Control over propaganda
- Etc, etc,…

WLWW2 is composed of 2 differentiated parts seamlessly joined into 1 single game:

- a simple but powerful MANAGER and
- a RTS interface for dramatic battles

The general idea, and one of the strong points of the game, is that the player will be able to, literally, change the course of History, being able to take any faction to the final Victory, change its allies, or even conquer the World. All this being depicted in milestone video & narrative sequences, with a variety of styles ranging from the common and typical RKO news-report of the age, to something more fancy and innovative like a comic or manga style, etc; all of which will be based on historical pictures and documents that will be deliberately manipulated, so people can recognize most of the pictures, but find them surprisingly narrating a different History: the one we are actually creating with our actions in the game.

In a very general way, WLWW2 is pretty much like the Total War saga, to give a quick and known reference, but with plenty of differences and great additions when studied closely:

THE MANAGER:
The MANAGER interface is mainly composed of a huge spherical World map, divided in territories of different sizes depending on its strategic value (a total of 200 territories, corresponding to the 200 different RTS battlefield maps). We may navigate all around the Globe, zooming in and out, close to see the valleys, rivers and mountains, and far to see the clouds and actually the weather forecast over each region (it’s kinda snowy, shall we invade Russia next week?... :)

In the MANAGER, you, as a War Leader, have access to different Ministries (Internal Affairs, Science & Technology, Economics, Diplomacy,…) that will help you manage your faction in a variety of possible ways, also with the support of an AI guided Advisor.

This MANAGER interface is a turn based one (1 turn=1 week), which implies that you make a set of actions, like moving your troops across territories (armies represented by a small token like units) or managerial and diplomatic decisions like creating new tank factories, define your R&D technological tree to discover atomic bomb, or establish a treaty with a nearby country, etc.

When our set of actions is complete, the rest of parties will do theirs automatically, thus completing the turn and starting a new one.

THE RTS BATTLES:
When a dispute arises over the control of a certain territory, you may have the option to let the AI of the game solve the battle for you automatically, and provide the results, or go to the battlefield and control the troops and Generals yourself.

This last composes the RTS part of WLWW2, where we will take direct control of all units present on that territory, some of which can be called for special reinforcement at any given time (bombers, parachutes, naval support in coastal operations, etc…). The AI of Generals may help us approach the battle, while units will start acquiring their own experience.

The goal is simple: to either repel the attack, or to force the enemy to surrender, all with a great freedom of action.

Basically, and except for resource management that here will be just limited to ammo, morale and gas, all common actions of the RTS genre will be present, although additional and interesting features will be also included.

RTS scenarios might be incredibly huge (up to 3Km2), with varied scenarios (open country, small villages, major capital cities with recognizable elements,…) plenty of detail, and creating a rich variety of strategic situations, plus a total level of interaction with all elements on screen (…or may I say destruction (?) ;-)

In WLWW2 the player should be able to take war to the latest corner of the planet, but only for fun… :) This is why, at present time and overall, we consider WLWW2 to be the most complete WWII based game.
Si: When will it be released?
Alberto Domínguez Aguilar: The game is still in its first year of development, and is planned for a release sometime along Q3 2006. This might seem already like a lot of time ahead, but we are talking about a very complex and enriching project. I’m confident that it will be a game worth the wait! :)
Si: Being a tactical game, you haven't included any resource management of any kind?
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Alberto Domínguez Aguilar: Like it was said, the game has 2 differentiated parts, one more managerial, and the other more tactical, but both with a common denominator: the strategic approach.

The MANAGER will be used for not only resource management which is a very important part of the game (each territory has a certain amount of raw materials, like gold, petroleum, minerals,…), but also, and I would say that mainly, for moving our troops across territories, and establishing and defining different policies of our regime through the use of the 6 available Ministries:

• Ministry of Internal affairs (provides info about regime affinity, defines propaganda policy, …)
• Ministry of War (info about our current military status, sets up upgrades of units,…)
• Ministry of Science & Technology (defines the branches of our technological tree for discovery of new technologies)
• Treasury (providing all info about resources gathering, commercial treaties, and defines taxes rates,…)
• Ministry of Diplomacy (used for interaction with other War Leaders and countries to establish all sort of agreements,…)
• Ministry of Statistics (provides all sort of information in graphic charts about how we are doing on every aspect of war management)

The RTS battles are, effectively, more tactical, but still have a little component of resource management, which is the inclusion (optional) of limits on ammo, gas and morale.

We think that this combination of manager and tactical parts put into a single game is truly exciting.
Si: Seeing the aviation in shots makes me wonder will we be able only to call in support at designated destinations or will we be able to control air support more fluently? Like giving them direct orders where to move and attack. In most tactical games air support just moves in on order, unloads the firepower, and goes away.
Alberto Domínguez Aguilar: To be able to do things like controlling an airplane, just like on a small flight simulator, is obviously too much when considering that we are developing 2 games in 1: MANAGER + RTS.

Nevertheless, we intend to add interesting and sensational new features to already common options included on strategy games.

So, for instance, you may give orders to aviation for recognition of areas, bombing, cover of units, or release of parachutes, just like in existent games, but, optionally, you will be able to set a “sight camera” with a simple mouse click on any unit present in the battlefield, and get an action view never seen on a strategy game, even permitting direct interaction with the aiming of the unit. This implies that you should be able to not only see where your bombs are going to be dropped, but to fire them yourself, and actually affect the level of experience of that unit because of your direct interaction.

Aviation may also have automatic defined behaviours, depending on the type of units, so, for instance, if we fear the enemy is bringing bombers to the battlefield, we can set up the behaviour of our fighters to attack immediately if enemy bombers show up, as to minimize or repel the effect of these.
Si: Have you made an unique game engine that will run WLWW2 or have you used any former game engine and modify it?
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Alberto Domínguez Aguilar: We are currently using our proprietary technology, the “ARKANO 3D Engine”, which is on its 3rd generation already, counts with more than 4 years of work, and has been successfully used in previous productions.

It has all the latest trends and State-of-Art technological features of the best engines being used on recent action and under development games, but adapted to an engine for a strategy game (specular and normal mapping, water reflections, and all sort of pixel shaders effects in general,…).

Still, we are also integrating 3rd party technologies on our engine, so things like complex physiques, plant life and other nice visual features will be also included along development.

The result shall be a strategy game with unseen and “unheard” qualities on the genre.
Si: Graphics look really nice. What kind of system will the game need to run at optimal performance?
Alberto Domínguez Aguilar: For an optimal performance and visual representation at the highest peaks, the following specs. may be required:

- Pentium IV 3.0 GHz
- 3D graphics card: FX5950, Ati9800 or similar with 256Mb
- 1Gb RAM

Nevertheless, computers with mid and low-end graphic cards shall be also able to play the game at frames rates of 30 FPS, and still with a good level of visual quality.
Si: I don’t think we ever asked this in an interview but tell us please how did you recorded in-game sound for WLWW2? Blasts, soldier screams, just makes me wonder.
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Alberto Domínguez Aguilar: We will be using sound libraries to recreate realistic and credible ambiences, although many of the these will be retouched and adapted to every situation in the game.

Right now we are still working with prototype like sounds, but the final version will absolutely include high quality sounds like the ones used in remarkable war movie productions, which will be included and supported in the game by a 5.1 sound system.

You can really expect a feeling of “being there”, in the middle of the battlefield, while playing the RTS part ;-)
Si: Why World War 2?
Alberto Domínguez Aguilar: “War Leaders” concept was born with a clear vocation of becoming a “brand” along time (…and time will tell… :) ), with further sequels based on the same concept and game mechanics of a MANAGER combined with dramatic RTS battles, but recreating different historical ambiances, and always having that chance of taking the role of an important character and change the course of History.

WWII is a very common age being used at present time in strategy and action games, always with a certain touch of tactical. But we have decided to take this far beyond by trying to design a game that really considers all aspects of war.

Apart from that, WWII is a moment in History that has always thrilled me, and I believe that its possibilities in strategy games have not yet been exploited sufficiently.

Personally, I think there are many titles out there based on WWII, but most of them are very similar and do not really represent a novelty. And I think that “War Leaders: WWII” has really a chance to bring a lot of new features to the genre and the way WWII is perceived in games.
Si: Thank you for your time. Anything to add?
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Alberto Domínguez Aguilar: Our pleasure, and our gratitude to you. :)

And I would just like to invite all WWII and all strategy fans to participate with their ideas and suggestions in the development of the game, by sending their comments to info@warleaders-game.com. We will surely start consider and posting them in the soon to be opened forums of www.warleaders-game.com. After all, gamers’ opinion are always the most important! ;-)

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