Interview with Henrik Strandberg (Sr. Producer)
18 years ago, last updated 6 years ago
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There was an innterview with the Sr. Producer for Act of War (Henrik Strandberg). The interview is mainly talking about the new expansion pack. Here is the complete interview:
HerzZorro*: Hello Henrik, First of all thank for having time to answer questions.
Henrik**: You're very welcome, thanks for inviting me!
HerzZorro: Whats about older concetps of AoW, we saw less about it, for example the development of the game and the ideas at all?
Henrik: Some of this is covered in a couple â€œmaking ofâ€-movies we're releasing later this Fall as part of an Act of War Deluxe version, and we also did tons of interviews earlier this year where we explained quite a lot of the thoughts and ideas behind the concept. I understand not all of these reached German gamers, but some can still be found on US websites like gamespot.com and computerandvideogames.com.
HerzZorro: We haven't heart much about the further development (patches etc.) of Atari and Eugen Systems for a long time. Do you still work for it and will the last bugs be fixed?
Henrik: Too early to tell; at the moment we simply do not have the time to put together another master as we're working day and night (well, almost anyway....) to get the Expansion Pack done. Every patch is essentially a new Gold Master and these have to go through lots of very time-consuming testing before being approved for release, so it's not as easy as just fixing a couple typos in the code that caused the bugs in the first place, and then you're done.
HerzZorro: we (p-aow) and the community tells you about mistakes and bugs in the editor (language, Error messages, crashes etc.), why didn't you react to this and fixed it?
Henrik: It's always a tough decision to decide whether you should touch a piece of code or not; if it works for the most part it may actually be better to just leave it alone. As far as crashes go we aren't currently aware of any â€œfixableâ€ crash bugs left today, and the same goes for compatibility. I'm sure the game acts up on certain systems but this is unfortunately inevitable with PC games; many times it's because of bad drivers rather than bad game code â€“ should you change the code to run with a bad driver? Or should we wait until the next driver version comes out, to solve the problem? Tough one.
HerzZorro: There will be released an Addon for AoW. Can you tell us some details?
Henrik: Certainly, I'll be more than happy to! The expansion is currently slated for release in March, which means we have to be pretty much ready with everything in early December â€“ which is why it's been so quiet from us for the past couple weeks! We'll have a new campaign (of course) where we join up with Richter, Vega and Jefferson again, but we also meet a couple new â€œheroesâ€ among the good guys. You'll hear more about the story later, but it's in the same spirit as Direct Action; techno-thriller in the borderland between James Bond, Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler. We'll see the same type of spectacular cities and environments, and meet the same type of supervillains and superweapons. I can say this much though; the campaign is MUCH more difficult than in Direct Action!
It's in the gameplay though that you'll see the most of the work we've done, mainly in the main new feature: naval combat. We have about 12 different naval units, both surface ships and submarines, and plenty of support units such as anti-submarine helicopters. Each of the various ships have their own arsenal of both artillery and missiles and surface-to-air (anti-missile) missiles, which can create very interesting scenarios! We've also upgraded our technology with normal mapping and physics specifically to be able to make naval combat as realistic- and nice-looking as possible! The naval combat is almost a fully fledged new game, not just a little support feature.... Most of the missions with naval units don't have any land combat, even if there are amphibious assault landing ships among the naval units.
Secondly, probably the only consistent point of criticism we got for Direct Action was the limited number of multiplayer options and â€“modes, so this is also something we've been working on quite a lot. You'll now be able to set a number of various options for your multiplayer games, such as map wealth, victory conditions, restrictions on superweapons availability, you can set non-agression options between allies, game speed, POWs on or off, etc. Someone calculated with all the different options we actually have 75,000 different rules sets.
Also, aside from miscellaneous other fine-tuning in the interface and game mechanics â€“ healing, repairs, aircraft and artillery are for example treated slightly differently nowadays, all three side have also received some new units and upgrades to make them a little more multi-faceted. US Army for example now have Stinger SAM infantry, the Consortium have a buggy ATV with a Polaris sniper on the back, and the Task Force have two-man teams of OCSWs â€“ Objective Crew-Served Weapons â€“ that can switch between armor-piercing and high-explosive ammunition. In total I believe we have eleven new units and a handful new upgrades (GUOS mines, for example....)
Further, we have mercenaries (see more below), more multiplayer maps, and tons of tiny little tweaks and clean-ups that combined just makes it all play and look better!
HerzZorro: Will there be a 4th partie? If this is the way tell us some details about it.
Henrik: Yes and no; there's no fourth faction, but we have instead introduced Mercenaries that are available to all three sides, to be called in at a moment's notice to pretty much anywhere on the map. You need to pay them a â€œsecurity depositâ€ though that is forfeited if they're killed in action, and you also need to pay upkeep for them. They provide a lot of flexibility and dynamics to the gameplay, without complicating the game balance in the same way as a brand new fourth side.
HerzZorro: The potencial of AoW is much bigger than of C&C Generals, why wasn't it used or didn't mentioned?
Henrik: Well, we certainly tried to tell everyone this! J I think a common reaction was that you actually needed to play Act of War for some time before you started to see all the major differences that makes Act of War a â€œbetterâ€ game; at first sight it's easy to believe they're just â€œsame but differentâ€, and if you've already played C&C to bits and gotten bored with it, you might think that maybe you'll quickly get bored with Act of War, too. Of course I totally don't agree, but as said on the surface since we're in the same genre of modern war RTS, they might look a little similar.
HerzZorro: Would it be possible to make modifcation and when is it possible, this means when will the SDK be released.
Henrik: This has been #1 on our wish list for a very long time, unfortunately it's not as simple as thatâ€¦ There are several different elements and possibilities, and we hope to have something available at least by the time the expansion pack is released.
HerzZorro: Before launching the Game you promissed to make it possible making hole missions with the editor, didn't realised till today. Why you gave this promiss by not realizing them?
Henrik: Well we're still hoping to be able to do this at some point â€“ it's a pretty massive thing though and this development tool has to be developed when it makes the most sense for the rest of the project.
HerzZorro: Will it realized in future to make such missions, not with just a normal script, also all whats about a mission: group teams, base building, mission aims, Briefings, Cameraflghts etc etc?
Henrik: See above â€“ I can't promise anything but I certainly hope so.
HerzZorro: Can we hope for a continuing part of AoW?
Henrik: Yes; we'll start with the expansion pack and take it from there :-)
HerzZorro: Will AoW become a observer modus to make it possible having a esport title?
Henrik: We don't have any current plans for this.
HerzZorro: As told the work with the community is bad. Will you make it better now and what?
Henrik: Absolutely, I'm all for working more and closer with you guys!
HerzZorro: In your opinion, how is the future of Act of War?
Henrik: We have some very exciting projects and ideas in the pipe, some that fall into Act of War and some that are sligthly different â€“ so you'll definitely see more AAA RTS games from Atari and Eugen Systems!
HerzZorro: The community and I wish more commercials for AoW and a closer worktogether with the web administrators.
Henrik: Yes, I would certainly like to see more commercials, PR and general exposure too! As we all know though, this is very expensive to realize and it's not sure you'll get a good result (i.e. more copies sold) this long after release. As for web assets, some of these we can certainly make available to you, but unfortunately not everything. Just let us know specifically what you'll need and I'll look into it.
HerzZorro: What do you want to tell us in the end?
Henrik: Two things, firstly a big thanks for all your support to date! Seeing live and active communities like Planet-AOW is really what makes it all worthwhile for guys like meâ€¦ Community support and moderating the forum is something I do on my spare time, it's not really part of my job description, but it's definitely one of the best parts of working with games! Secondly, I really hope you'll check out the expansion pack, we'll release more information and assets gradually over the next couple of months so please just stay tuned!
HerzZorro: Thanks fort he interview and for giving us true and exact answers. We wish you, Atari and Eugen Systems best wishes and a continuing success.
Henrik: Thanks very much for having me! We've had over 10 million Act of War online games completed to date, thanks to you guys â€“ keep playing!
Author: *HerzZorro (*acting for Planet Act of War)
interviewed person: ** Henrik Strandberg (**acting for Atari / Sr. Producer)