24th May 2003
The following is an exclusive interview for GaminGodz.com with America's Army Developer "Ezekiel"..
Loki : What role do you play in the Development of America's Army: Operations?
Ezekiel : I am officially titled Associate Producer / Designer. It is really several things, mostly consisting of designing upcoming features, such as Medics; but it also includes a lot of level and game play scripting. I will be working on scripts for many of the upcoming training levels for Medics and Stryker, among others, and have done some minor Unreal script coding for the upcoming map, Radio Tower.
Loki : We have heard rumors of Mortars being implemented in the near future. Is this true? And if so, do you have an estimated time frame before mortars are indeed part of the game?
Ezekiel : Yes it is true. We are looking at Mortarman being a new class in the future. Although it is unlikely to be implemented before E3, there’s a chance it’ll be in by the end of the year. There will be some game play changes that need to be implemented to make it work properly. Mainly, we are adding a new game mode, which allows respawning of players in the same round for certain maps. Powerful weapons like the mortar would only shorten the amount of time a player is in the round under the current “die and wait ‘til the round ends” model.
Loki : Whats this new engine drop we have been hearing about? And what do you suspect it will improve?
Ezekiel : We are hoping for frame rate as well as network performance improvements. Other than that, we are expecting bug fixes, and some improvements that may allow us to put bullet impact decals on mesh objects. Right now you will notice that many props in the level have impact effects, but there is no “bullet mark.” We are expecting this to change with the latest code, but it will require some implementation work on our end so it may not show up right away.
Loki : Since your in the "new feature" part of the DEV team, do you plan to add sidearms in the near future? And if so, who will be using them, and will there be an additional qualification for this? (such as the M16 range)..
Ezekiel : There aren’t any near future plans for sidearms, mainly due to the fact that Infantry squads do not typically use them.
Loki : Have you guys (the AA:O DEV team) discussed having an elite special forces group for gamers to aspire to be in (Such as DELTA). Maybe a minimum amount of honor with a set number of confirmed kills to be eligible for the training?
Ezekiel : Yes! We are making plans for Special Forces additions as we speak. These will be added throughout the year, and being SF will definitely require, at the least, for players to be of a certain honor level before they can even start the training. In addition, we plan to add training maps for Special Forces that will not be easy to pass. SF is not an easy organization to get into, and we plan to reflect that in the training and requirements of players. I can’t give too many details, much of it is still being decided.
Loki : A lot of gamers have been experiencing a starting glitch (usually gamers on dial up connections). It's almost as if the game round has started without them. They basically sit at the spawn point and don't see a gun and arent able to move. Have you heard of this? If so, are you planning on attempting to fix it?
Ezekiel : This bug is logged and we are looking into it, but it is difficult to reproduce. This means it is also difficult to fix. We are expecting some of these bugs to be resolved with the code merge, but we will have to wait and see.
Loki : We have heard rumors of America's Army: Operations being featured on the "National Geographic: Explorer" TV show. And that the Army is using AA:O on the Radio Tower map to test the reflexes of point leaders? (* I persoanlly don't think this is true, but if you have heard something about this, would be cool to know the truth *)
Ezekiel : In regards to the National Geographic show, I have not heard about it specifically, but our game seems to get a lot of media attention for various reasons, and it would not surprise me if there was at least a segment on Explorer. As far as the Radio Tower map being used to test reflexes, I couldn’t rule it out completely, but it has the sound of a rumor.
Loki : Are there any other upcoming features that you would like to tell the gamers about??
Ezekiel : Over the next year, there are many things we would like to add, most of them will probably get implemented. Among these are: a new interface, looking and functioning much better; a planning stage where plans can be created and edited to aid the teams in completing objectives; a personnel jacket, which will show stats, medals, etc; better training maps; the Stryker Brigade; civilian A.I. to make training and multiplayer maps more interesting; enemy and squad A.I. to expand the AA:O experience; a new game play mode that will allow for players to respawn more than once in a single round; Combat Lifesavers/Medics; Karma rag doll physics on player models; and more…
Loki : Combat Life Savers.. Going to happen in the near future? If so, do you have an estimated time frame?
Ezekiel : This should be in by E3--Combat Lifesavers/Medic in multiplayer with a few single player training maps.
Loki : Are there any new maps in the making (besides Radio Tower)? If so, what type of maps and what type of terrain?
Ezekiel : Besides Radio Tower, we are considering the possibility of additional SE maps, which are reworked versions of existing maps. After that, we will continue to work on and release new maps, and we’ll probably decide as we go. There is a lot of planning going on for E3 so the discussion of maps is thin right now…
Loki : Has the thought of a jungle map been discussed among the DEV team? What is the likelihood of a jungle map being released?
Ezekiel : This has been discussed and would probably accompany some of the Special Forces additions that we will be doing throughout the year. However one of the problems associated with jungle maps is the extreme amount of vegetation and other high-poly props, so there has been no definite decision as of yet.
Loki : People have been complaining about the realism of the game (not me of course). The amount of hits it takes to kill someone, the amount of blood, the way soldiers fall after being shot, etc. Is there any kind of major change in the "death system" planned for AA:O?
Ezekiel : As far as realism goes, there are always sacrifices to realism for the sake of game play. As an example, it is not realistic to die and be resurrected every round. If we wanted to be ridiculously strict about realism, when you died in a round, you would have to go back through basic with a new character. It’s an extreme example, but it illustrates the point. The reason you don’t go down after one shot is that many players would spend very little time playing and too much time watching. Having a damage model that allows for some reprieve from the realities of combat means that more people can enjoy playing, hopefully for the majority of the round. We will always be looking for ways to balance fun with realism, but it is a game, so going too deep into “reality” sometimes results in a game that is no fun to play.
There are no major changes planned for the damage and death model, but in order for Medics to work, there will be damage system changes that affect how we deal with health and combat effectiveness. For instance, currently when you are shot, you take a hit to your combat effectiveness meter. With the new damage model, you will “bleed” combat effectiveness at a steady rate, instead of losing it all at once.
Of course rag doll physics are on the way. We hope to have them implemented in the next few months. This will allow for more realistic deaths, instead of dead player models poking through walls and sticking out of stairs.
Loki : What happens when a player reaches 99 honor? Will there be anything else to aspire towards??
Ezekiel : AA:O is a fast-paced multiplayer online game, so the majority of the fun will be in playing, winning, developing strategies, etc., rather than the accumulation of Honor. That being said, we will be adding features to the game that only the higher honor players will have access to. Much of this will come through the addition of Special Forces. What will be worth aspiring to after reaching 99 honor? 100 honor :).
Loki : How many more upgrades (patches) are planned, and how long will this project be funded for?
Ezekiel : We plan on being funded for at least the next several years, so we will release as many patches, maps, feature additions as we can cram into that amount of time.
Loki : Any thoughts of adding weapons such as claymores, or mines?
Ezekiel : Yes. We are looking into/planning for the addition of an Engineer class that could deal with such weapons. That would mean Engineer training, and the ability to deploy and disarm mines and such.
Loki : What is being done to prevent cheaters?
Ezekiel : Although I won’t go into the details of what is being done specifically, we take cheating very seriously. We want a game environment that is free from the types of players that would cheat to gain an advantage over their peers. One of the advantages we have is registered accounts. If a player has to work to increase their honor, they are less likely to squander that effort by risking cheating, especially if a certain honor is required to access features like Special Forces. What you can be sure of is that we will work tirelessly to prevent cheating as well as determine who is doing it and ban their accounts. There isn’t a patch that goes out where we don’t make some efforts in the area of cheating.
Loki : Any thoughts of having GameSpy Arcade add an America's Army: Operations "ladder lobby/tournament lobby"??
Ezekiel : We are looking into such things.
Loki : How sick of answering questions are you?
Ezekiel : I’m seeing darkness all around and a tunnel of white light. Grandma, is that you?
Loki : Can you change my honor to 99 ;-) ? (joke of course)
Ezekiel : I was thinking $100 should do it ;-)
Loki : Thanks for all your time. And doing this interview for GaminGodz.com. It's greatly appreciated!!
:::: End Of Interview :::: All questions and answers have been approved and validated by the America's Army Development Team.
Happy to be back
8th August 2002
Dude there are newer interviews.
24th May 2003
i posted it for the ppl (n00bs) who didn't know already
Whoopin azz with the 203
11th December 2002
huh, thats from february? i think if people wanted to find out about stuff they would go to a newer insterview, also that has near to nothing with 1.8.1, cept the stuff we already know
Moderator of AA and Halo
11th January 2003
why is that here? all you did was copy and paste from the americasarmy.com website, you could have just given us a link
HAHAHAHA!!! look who's talking. plus, mine's new
I take what n0e says way too seriously
1st March 2003
News such as this would normally make me happy, but...it's old! Therefore, i'm saddened by you getting my hopes up....
Addicted to GF
19th April 2003
old interview!! but mortars seems cool!
I want to be like the Admins
12th April 2003
WHERES THE DANGED PATCH!
I want to be like Revenge
15th November 2002
will come in MID june i really wonder how many times i must say this :rolleyes:
I take what n0e says way too seriously
1st March 2003
Sorry, double post....