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Thread: Naval War: Arctic Circle – Developer Diary #1

  1. #1
    Turbo Tape Games Dev JanH's Avatar
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    Naval War: Arctic Circle – Developer Diary #1

    “Oh yes, somebody is remaking Harpoon!”

    That was pretty much the reaction we received from the honoured guests at the Paradox Convention in New York this past January. We were there for the official announcement of Naval War: Arctic Circle, due for release a whopping full year into the future. Although we had a “playable” hidden away on our laptops that was showed off only to those who begged, bribed, or asked nicely, it left a few things to be desired. We mostly showed off unit model renders and a few scenic clips of warships at sunset (a modern take on the Norwegian kitsch classic “Moose in sunset”).

    In game marketing, assets are king, and showing actual gameplay is the king of kings. Two dudes chatting away are unlikely to get a lot of attention amidst all the shiny medieval knights and zany wizards. Yet Naval War did excite a lot of people, and we received quite a bit of attention.

    Why?

    Because controlling aircraft carriers, blowing up massive warships, and launching armadas of mighty warplanes is the shit.

    And, since the revered Harpoon and the not-so-revered Fleet Command, modern naval combat has not exactly overcrowded the field of strategy games in recent years.

    In developing the game, we are in the process of finding out why. All those challenges that probably made many other developers scrap their plans and instead create yet another original take on the zombie apocalypse are ones that we have to confront head-on.

    First, there is the size of the darned thing. That is, the planet we are living on, a significant chunk of which is going to be your play area in Naval War. The playable area is 35 million square kilometres. By comparison, the 2007 real-time strategy (RTS) game Supreme Commander had maps spanning, as GameSpot put it, “a whopping 81 km-by-81 km,” which is roughly 6,500 square kilometres. So, obviously, the usual game mechanic for large maps - fast zoom in and out - will simply not work. If you don’t believe me, try zooming in to minimum elevation in Google Earth, back out to world view again, pan to a different location, and zoom in to see the ground details in the new place. It will simply not be a good solution when you’re under heavy fire in an RTS.

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    Game producer Fredrik Sundt Breien discussing user interface design with project AD Øyvind Lien.

    We are currently doing a complete redesign of our first user interface. We know that the main map is going to be the default play interface no matter what, given the nature of the game, so we are concentrating on making it beautiful, practical, and informative, though not necessarily in that order. “But,” I hear you say, “we want to watch things being blown up!” No worries. Things will be blown up in spectacular, colourful 3D. You (and we!) just have to wait and see.

    Second, there is realism. A major draw of Naval War is the fact that you will play with real ships, submarines, and aircraft. Naturally, this means we have to research and implement the cruise speed of the yet-unfinished F-35 fighter, the number of CIWS Gatling guns on a Kirov class battlecruiser (lots!), the range of the Raduga KH-22M 'AS-4 Kitchen' missile, and the detection ranges of the MGK-540 Flank Array Sonar (we can only guess).

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    Game programmer Andreas Johansen working on the network code.

    Some players will demand excessive realism, which would be fun to make and fun to play - for roughly two dozen people. For example, in real life, aircraft carriers have to manoeuvre into the wind to launch aircraft. That is simply not a very fun exercise in a game, we think. So in Naval War, you can launch aircraft at maximum take-off weight with tailwind. Totally unrealistic, but we don’t care.

    When we see a conflict between realism and gameplay, gameplay will win every time.

    Luckily, these conflicts are not very frequent. Real, modern naval combat actually lends itself very well to an RTS. Yes, the weapons have ridiculous range and power. Yes, when things start happening, they happen extremely fast. One moment you are looking at a map showing your forces in complete control of the battlespace; the next, you are on the receiving end of a game-ending volley of fast sea-skimming missiles and desperately trying to scramble your remaining aircraft.

    What’s not to love?
    Last edited by JanH; 10-10-2011 at 10:42. Reason: unstick

  2. #2
    10+ Years on the Forum Demi Moderator SAS's Avatar
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    I can see my sub now, prowling under the ice pack then...BOOM...I sunk your carrier. This game is looking better and better with each post from Turbo Tape Games.

    I see pics of three people who's the missing fourth employee?
    Last edited by SAS; 29-03-2011 at 13:31.
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  3. #3
    Sergeant sertore's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Thanks for developers diary

    Interesting... interesting: now you opened your developer diary series we are eager to see the development stage well commented, and we will not miss our remarks too!

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Turbo Tape Games Dev Seigman's Avatar
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    I am famous!

  5. #5
    Turbo Tape Games Dev JanH's Avatar
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    SAS,

    We're six people at Turbo Tape Games now. We'll introduce the others too

    (Seigman is Andreas, btw)

  6. #6
    I am Fredrik. Nice to meet you.

  7. #7
    Turbo Tape Games Dev JanH's Avatar
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    I apparently didn't take pictures of myself, either

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    I am Øyvind

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    Thanks a bunch for this devellopper's diary. this is the thread where we'll drool from now on !

    keltos
    "Honorable Builder of Sinking Ships"

    http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/9186/sig1vcopy.jpg

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    nice to "meet" the devs and interesting dev diary. Not sure yet this is the game for me (not really a fan of artica warfar or naval simulation silent hunter aside) but you sure make it sound interesting enough for me to want to learn more about it ^^

  11. #11
    Nice that the whole team drops by for introductions.
    (With 2 to go, if I count correctly )

  12. #12
    academic outlaw Moderator safferli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanH View Post
    When we see a conflict between realism and gameplay, gameplay will win every time.
    I like this approach. Gamebalance trumps history as I always say for the "normal" Paradox games, and it's good to see this here as well! Looking forward to your game, my father is a (now retired) navyman, so I've always had a soft spot for the navy!
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  13. #13
    I have a question, possibly a stupid one. with a lot of flgith sims, even PC ones, you really need a joystick to play them properly. Obviously you aren't going to say that about this game, but is joystick vs mouse play something that has been considered?

  14. #14
    Field Marshal nestorius's Avatar
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    I loved Harpoon, though only played the classic variants, ie the first win 95 and the present commanders edition. What I always loved about the game is the number of different platforms especially in the later scenarios. Will Naval War arctic circle have the number of platforms of Harpoon? or will it include a very limited amount? I fully agree gameplay should be before realism but realism needs to play a role too and it would be a shame if the number of platforms were severely limited.

  15. #15
    Turbo Tape Games Dev JanH's Avatar
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    RedRalph: This is surely a mouse + keyboard game. I can't imagine how it would work with a joystick.


    Nestorius: Surely we'll have as much realism we can feasibly make while keeping the game enjoyable.

    Harpoon included platforms from all over the world, while we in this game concentrate on the arctic region. So, while there will be a good selection of modern platforms for these nations, it will not include e.g. Chinese or Brazilian units. Also, navies are reducing the number of different platforms available; look at how many different aircraft the F-35 is supposed to replace!

    We'd want to have everything, but there are wishes, and there are budgets

    A good thing is that more platforms, weapons and sensors can be constantly added to the game after launch, by us, yourself or other modders.

  16. #16
    Can't you pilot planes? Have I misunderstood this?

  17. #17
    Second Lieutenant Grandpa Canuck's Avatar
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    Interesting game idea. As a True Canadian and a navy buff I look forward to seeing how our limited Canadian Navy and Air Force are represented in this game. Have you set any eras or time lines for game scenarios yet? ie: 1980s 2010 2020.

    This game should have great appeal to a large gaming population in Canada. Arctic sovereignty is of great interest here.
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  18. #18
    Turbo Tape Games Dev JanH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRalphWiggum View Post
    Can't you pilot planes? Have I misunderstood this?
    Afraid so. It is an RTS.

  19. #19
    Turbo Tape Games Dev JanH's Avatar
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    Grandpa,

    The game is set in 2030.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by JanH View Post
    Afraid so. It is an RTS.
    Actually I'm quite happy to hear I was wrong!

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