Technical kick-off

Time for another blog post. Martin, Erik and I have been busy again with the game design these last two weeks. We've worked out the exact ways in which soldiers will be controlled in the game using your mouse and keyboard. The way the chain of command ties in with other game components (like line-of-sight) has also been decided upon and written down this week. I think we've made some exciting changes compared to how this was in the original game! But this blog post will not be about that ;). I am sure we'll reveal details about the chain of command, line-of-sight and controls in future blog posts though!

This week I'd like to talk about our first steps into the more technical aspects of making a game. As such, this post might be a bit more technical than you all have been used to so far. We realize this might not be everyone's cup of tea, so we have set up a separate 'technical mailing list' for future use. In the future, whenever we make a bit more technical post we will be just posting it to that mailing list rather than to the main mailing list. So if you are interested you can sign up for that mailing list as well on the right side of this page (or through your profile).

Anyhow! We've been researching and experimenting with different game engines these last few weeks. Essentially a game engine provides all the basic tools needed to create a fully functional game. This includes things like a 3D graphics engine and convenient ways to load 3D models, animations and skins into that engine. Some of the more advanced game engines also provide ways to, for example, create maps or more easily built the game to be multiplayer. Inventing the wheel by building everything ourselves from scratch would have been very educational, but it would simply have taken too much time.

There are a bunch of open-source game engines out there, but they did not quite qualify for us for a multitude of reasons. For example, some are no longer being maintained or lacked some basic functionality. We are making the next Call of Combat to last another 10 years here, so we need to choose an engine which is feature complete and which we know will not end up as vaporware anytime soon. Also, some other engines simply did not match well with our personal development backgrounds (I am not much into Python programming language for example!). In the end we decided to go for Unity3D, a engine particularly popular among independent ('indie') developers. Unity is a very complete game engine, with all the bells and whistles needed to make a modern and professional looking game. Exactly what we need for the new and improved Call of Combat!

Here is an example what Unity 3D looks like (note: this does not show the game!):

Note that Unity3D is a commercial engine, so we will have to personally investment some money for this. However, we really feel this can help us produce a more professional and polished game. Many thanks for those that donated so far, as these funds help make this possible. There is only so much we can pay from our own pockets after all!


Foggy Dewhurst's picture

Good choice, some of my favourite Linux games use Unity3D and they look as graphically nice as any Winblows game :)
Foggy Dewhurst's picture

Oh and I think we only need a forum on the site really.. I mean CoCv2 will have chat anyway won't it? Still have a lobby and chat function?
Erik's picture

CoCv2 will definetely have a chat! A 'lobby' as well, but very different as we are likely to implement an automatic match-making serivce as opposed to a list of servers/rooms. The idea right now is to have a quite prominent chat (ie auto-join+auto visibility) in the early stages. But as/if the player base grows, this will move more towards the background because its simply not feasible to have a chat room with hundreds or thousands of players. My only worry about this is that it will downgrade the community aspect. We still need to carefully think about measures to fill that gap ;)

Looking at the poll, the majority would like an on-site chat until the game is up. So i'd say lets give it a try :)
Foggy Dewhurst's picture

Like the old saying, "nothing ventured, nothing gained". I'm game for anything and will support you guys 100% on all decisions and do my best to help out in anywya I can :)
Kaibutsu's picture

Have you thought about opening a ventrillo or a team speak?
Or say if one of the community wants to open one up for the CoC members to keep in contact with each other and talk about the progress of CoCv2 among other stuff aswell.
Just an idea.

Side note. Things are looking amazing. Cant wait for the next progress report from you guys. Hope to see you lot in May.
Erik's picture

For now we decided to launch an on-site chat feature as well as open up a forum. If anyone wants to make a TS or Vent server available they are very welcome of course!

I saw you signed up for the meeting, awesome!

You could always make different channels with different game rooms like I've seen several other popular games have. Ex: Channel 1 has ten servers and Channel 2 has ten as well. But that's if we ever get that popular ;)
PFC4LIFE's picture

We will be able to add our creativity to the mix the users submit things you could use for the game? With unity there is that possibility isn't there? What does the team think about that?
Erik's picture

It sounds like a very interesting feature. I'll make sure its looked into/discussed in our next meeting later this week.
Florian's picture

We are very much open to receiving help from the community in making this game! However, we can of course not guarantee we will use it and integrate it into the game. Obviously we'll need to do strict quality control to ensure the retains a professional look. This means we also need to make sure that whatever is submitted fits with the rest of the game, both as far as content and style are concerned :).

But any help is of course welcome!
hotwheel300's picture

The new C.o.C is lookin great!
Erik's picture

Hehe, thats not a screenshot of CoCv2.
I can understand why you thought it was though. KAding has edited the post. Hopefully there will be no more confusion in this matter ;)
nick's picture

What language are you guys using with unity? C#?
Florian's picture

Yes, I personally have experience with C# (and Java), so C# will be the language of choice. The same is true for Jovan. Tijmen is more of a Javascript guy, but I doubt he'll be that much involved on Unity. Being consistent is important here of course, so mixing languages is not an option.
Delta2k17's picture

AG games gotta stay the same, AG games are the reason of CoC. I dont want the AG games to be some search AG game and you join in with abunch of ransoms. It's gotta be hand picked AG Games not just computer choosing.

I'm afraid we won't have the old AG systems due to the large community we may have. I honestly prefer the 100-200 players over abunch of players, the CoC players majority come for the community not the game.
Costas's picture

Don't worry Delta. Old 2am CoC had thousands of people with AG actives in the hundreds. Large size AGs used to have 4 XOs. I'm sure the new CoC is designed around a concept to support more rather than less players.
pyro's picture

Hi Costas how are you? You must hate snow by now it's been bad this year on east coast :p
Costas's picture

***off topic***
HAHAHA you know it pyro!
Erik's picture

The AG system (both the AG organization as well as the AG ranking system) is a feature which we will be working out in the following weeks. We'll make a post about it as soon as its ready. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it.

By also implementing the automatic matchmaking service for AG games we tackle several serious problems the previous system faced: 1. Being unable to play because there are not enough players online (read: players willing to play the team that is asking/ready for a game). 2. Being able to see at all times who your opponnent could be, and basing your decision to play on that (which is what happened a lot) creates unfair competition. As players are for example likely to wait until they have a team online which in their mind is able to beat that enemy team, especially when the stakes are high.

These have been problems which CoC faced for many years. Even more so, a reason (long waiting times for AG games as a result) for many players to leave. The way I see it an automatic matchmaking system is the perfect solution.
dooiefries's picture

This game is made to be commercially viable. I can understand some people's hope for small scale and integrated community, but the goal is to make a profitable game.
Colethemole69's picture

Oh so very true haha
Erik's picture

I would like to add some nuance to that statement. We have not started this project to make a billion dollars. We have started this project because we thoroughly love this game. We don't see CoCv2 as some cashcow which we want to milk until its empty. We see CoCv2 as a fantastic opportunity to make an even better version of the game which we love so dearly. If that comes with a billion dollars, you wont hear me complaining. But the correct sequence is trying to build a great game and perhaps making a profit if we succeed. Not trying to make as much profit as possible and building a game based on that. One could argue the two are closely connected of course..
Florian's picture

And of course, the only way to pay for continuous improvements and all the hosting is for there to be some revenue.
Foggy Dewhurst's picture

Well said. Of course it needs to be commercially viable. If it wasn't commercially viable then how would the people who are working so hard on creating it going to get paid? How are the servers going to get paid? Web hosting? Maintenence? Upgrades? Improvements?

Despite popular belief, money does not grow on trees and creating, launching & maintaining a MMO is not cheap.

However, it is my understanding that the game will certainly be free to play with optional payments for certain things, that are entirely voluntary, and I'm sure it will be balanced out enough so it doesn't become a "pay2win" game.

I can't wait for this awesome game to be released, and I wish Florian, Erik, Martin & co the best wishes for success and I sincerely hope they DO make some money out of it.

I'm not rich, but I'll always give what I can when I can.
Costas's picture

Actually although I understand and appreciate Erik's comments regarding what drives this particular phase of the company, I always felt that it is unrealistic to expect more if the money is not there to drive development and support current costs. I'd prefer it if your actual goals were to try and make a succesful and profitable company by designing this game; this way if it paid off, there would be no concerns on any of you giving up because you are bored, don't have the time or can't support the costs. In other words, you need a marketing plan more than you need to figure out how to create the new game. Otherwise, it's still a hobby that can (and will) be dropped easily if "real life" circumstances demand it (whether someone gets a demanding job and leaves him no spare time or someone's personal life doesn't allow him to devote as much time). If anyone believes this not to be true is either dillusional or doesn't have enough life experience. Afterall, the average gamer knows that nothing "decent" is free online, you got to pay to be able to enjoy a good game, so it wouldn't be outrageous to expect a revenue one way or another from this game.
Erik's picture

Apart from your remark about how we need a marketing plan more than we need to figure out how to create a new game (we need both ;)), I completely agree with you. In my reply I tried to shine some light on how we are approaching this new adventure from a personal perspective. I made a distinction between personal profit and business profit.

Our goal is definitely to turn this into a succesful and profitable game. As correctly stated in some of the replies, revenue is crucial for viability and continuous development.
Colethemole69's picture

Just make sure the money is going back into the game to keep making it better and not just into your pockets :P
Erik's picture

Thats exactly what we will be doing.

I have been using Unity for over a year now. I think this is a solid choice. Does this mean we will see "point to point" movement instead of the grid movement of the past? Some invisible 'zoning' objects could handle cover, corners and LOS. What I would like to see is my soldiers with a vision cone and a smaller aim cone that drifts around inside more or less equal to their panic.

Anywho, I am signing up for the technical newsletter. If you need and help or assistance finding Unity Documentation let me know.
Florian's picture

Great minds think alike ;). We also had the idea to make the vision cone dependent on the soldiers mental state and activity. So an idle and unsuppressed soldier will be more likely to look around and be aware of its surroundings, while a soldier that is highly focused on firing at a target will have some sort of tunnel vision. The trick is to make these influences on line-of-sight subtle, seamless and, more importantly, transparent to the player. You do not want to create "WTF!" moments ;).

With regard to Unity. We are still very much ourselves exploring the best way to approach path finding and the implementation of cover objects in Unity. But yes, we will almost certainly be using point-to-point movement and navmeshes for path finding. Nice to see someone on the blog with some experience in Unity!
Foggy Dewhurst's picture

..But we'll miss the "WTF! BS! HACKAR!" moments :(

Hee hee
Colethemole69's picture

This is oh so very true haha
Colethemole69's picture

I love hearing about progress! Keep up the good work :D

SgtSlaughter's picture

Just wanted to drop a line. Great to see some old names on here. Hats off to the development team for giving this thing an honest effort. Look forward to being a part of a new game. If I can be of any assistance don't hesitate to ask.

Reese's picture

I have been waiting for this for many years. I'm sure hundreds of us have. It is truely fantastic to see development on by far the best strategy-teamwork oriented game I've ever come across. Granted, somewhat simplistic, but that's what makes it greater. I wish you smooth programming and development and a speedy deployment. I look foward to this like a fat kid at thanksgiving. Hooah!
Erik's picture

Hey guys! Thanks for the support! Hope to see you stick around :)
Walrein's picture

I'm WALREIN from old CoC and who might you be?
Shortyforever's picture

Im SHORTYFOREVER from even older CoC i think ive scene you before in the mists of combat!
Walrein's picture

NO WAY! What clan were you on? I WAS IN BIA (Brothers in Arms)
Shortyforever's picture

I Didn't really give a shit i was a AG hopper and i fucked everyone over at the last second its what im known for:)
Walrein's picture

Then you made me AG Hop with you ...
Shortyforever's picture

Bro, Bro, Twineys for life, no matter what happens, will you take this ring pop in my honour?
Walrein's picture

Of course i will, We fight together, we die together Brothers for Life
Shortyforever's picture

Tbh... i hate you... your the bad brother that mom always slapped.. its okay tho.. you deserved it!
Shortyforever's picture

Inception.. i think i saw this movie.. WERE ALL GANNA DIE.. RUN AWAY!!! TITTANNICCC
CookiePanda's picture

That was weird.