I recently was given the opportunity to ask a few questions of Jim "X_VanTagE_X" Van Camp of the Battlefield 1918 mod team. If you haven't played the mod, it combines stunning historical accuracy and incredible models to provide an immersive World War One experience. The team is very close release 1.5 soon to be followed up by their massive Major Release 2. I am very proud to help promote this mod as it reminds us of a time in history that should never be forgotten. Read on,
[b]1. Considering all that this mod has gone through in the year since it was
started, how would you describe your experience working on a project that
covers such an important time in our history?[/b]
For me it has been and still is a great experience. I'm very interested in the first world war as a whole, the battles that took place, the history behind it all, the politics that caused it to break out. Ever since we went on a school trip to the Ypres region I've been wanting to find out more about this war. So it's a very interesting experience for me to work on a project that tries to bring all this to life on the Battlefield 1942 engine. As a historical researcher and by bringing in new ideas for gameplay and maps, I'm able to influence the development of Battlefield 1918 at the source. It's also a very fun thing to do, we're a joyful bunch of people, all interested in the same thing.
[b]2. It seems that the First World War has been more or less forgotten about
with video game and entertainment industry. Your mod team is known for
their history lessons in your updates, did you plan on using the mod as a
sort of educational tool mixed in with the gameplay?[/b]
Not entirely, although we do pride ourselves on providing the needed history with our updates, as well as our elaborate history database at our website filled with history articles. We value history of great importance in the development of our mod, and we feel that those who play our mod should know atleast something about the first world war. It's true that WW1 is largely forgotten in the gaming scene, and we hope to change this with Battlefield 1918. In time we plan on building a full blown WW1 community around our larger project, Frontline18, of which Battlefield 1918 will be a part, a community not only interested in gaming, but also in history and the first world war as a whole.
[b]3. What would you consider the hardest part in bringing this mod to the
Getting the mod made in the first place. A tremendous amount of work goes into creating everything the players can see and play with when playing Battlefield 1918. Research and such is only a small part, the biggest amount of work goes into modelling and skinning everything, not to mention getting everything to work as it should ingame. That being said, we're always on the lookout for some extra modellers and skinners to help us get this mod done in time.
[b]4. In your opinion, how far has the mod progressed from Release 1.0 with
your new release 1.5?[/b]
Please don't think of version 1.5 to be a big release, it's the final addition to our Major Release 1. Let me explain how our release system works. We release the mod in several big stages, called Major Releases. These Major Releases are big releases, including new armies and equipment and all that. In between these Major Releases we have several Minor Releases, which mainly bring bugfixing and some balancing, as well as maybe some new maps and/or smaller equipment. The coming 1.5 release is a Minor Release which will bring you a new map, 'Deulemont' with gas masks, as well as some bugfixing and balancing. After that, next stop will be Major Release 2. Personally I don't think we've progressed all that far from MR1 to version 1.5. Since then we've been fixing a lot of bugs and balancing, as well as include some new planes and rework the class system a little bit, including the Officer and new Pioneer carbines. Compared with what we have in store for MR2, this isn't that much really.
[b]5. How far did you and the mod team go to ensuring historical accuracy? I
know many games ignore the accuracy part in favour of the playability. Were
you able to establish a good mix of both?[/b]
I think we managed to get a good mix of both. Indeed we pride ourselves in our historical accuracy, but we don't lose the gameplay out of sight either. You need a good mix of both to make the mod enjoyable for the larger public, because not everybody likes total realism that much. First and foremost, a game must be fun to play, or else it won't be played. We try to keep history in mind as much as possible, especially when creating maps and all that. Although right now our mod largely features 'funmaps', we are hard at work on creating realistic maps depicting some of the well known battles from the first world war, such as Ypres, Somme, Cambrai, Verdun and Gallipoli. Historical accuracy is of a high importance on these maps and battles, and so we'll try to include as much of it as gameplay permits.
[b]6. What new features can we enjoy in Release 1.5? I know I'll be trying
out the gasmask first.[/b]
Besides the gas mask and the new map 'Deulemont', there aren't many new things to try out really. As I said, release 1.5 is largely about bugfixing and balancing, combined with this new map and gasmask features. This alone however makes the new version well worth the effort, because believe me when I say that these gas masks truly are a unique experience for this game and it's entire modding scene. We might have some other things in store for release 1.5, but at the time of this interview they remain still undecided, depends on if we can get them to work in time for the release.
[b]7. You've hinted in past updates about new maps. How many and what type of
maps can we expect?[/b]
We're still hard at work on maps for our Major Release 2. Exactly how many will eventually feature in it I cannot tell, depends on how many we can get ready in time. Don't worry though, you'll have plenty of new playgrounds to play on. Those maps that we cannot get ready in time will definitely be added in Minor Releases after Major Release 2. 'Helles Landing', a map based on the landing opperations at Gallipoli, will probably be one of those maps that are added in a Minor Release. We hope on getting 'Ypres 1914' ready in time for the release though. 'Cambrai' will also most likely be ready by then, I hope. We've got plenty of other maps planned, but I really can't say anything about those just yet.
[b]8. You've also hinted at Naval units before, what can we expect concerning
sea based vehicles?[/b]
A lot, that is if our naval nutjobs can get their ideas to work and be realised in time. We're currently discussing the naval part of our mod in detail. We want to make it a completely new experience for this game, very different from the standard BF1942 naval gameplay. The naval battles of WW1 were known for their 'grandeur', the last war where these 'all-big-gun' dreadnaught battleships duked it out against eachother. We've got about 6 or 7 different ships planned for each side, ranging from Dreadnaughts over Cruisers and Destroyers to Submarines, Minelayers and PT-boats. Plenty of toys to play with as you can see. However, creating all this requires a great deal of time and efforts. We're all equally excited to see all this realised I can assure you.
[b]9. With the mods planned transfer to the Battlefield 2 engine in mind, what
preparations/plans has the team made for the switch and the future of the
Right now, we have the luxury that most of the equipment that we have at the moment is very much suitable to be used on the BF2 engine. We checked the requirements for BF2 models and such, and most of it meets these requirements. At the moment we try to build everything we make with BF2 in the back of our mind. Things such as the fort we recently showed you should definitely find their place in future versions of our mod. We also keep in close contact with EA about everything, following the BF2 development from up close. There isn't much else we can do really, other than having a first hands experience of the game itself once it comes out. For now, most of our attention goes into BF1942, but we keep a close eye on BF2 that's for sure.
[b]10. Do you have a more exact timetable set for Release 2 yet?[/b]
When it's done. Seriously though, no exact time of release just yet. I can however tell you that we really do plan to release Major Release 2 before the end of the year. There's still a lot to be done on it, but I hope we can manage it, atleast we try. Just keep an eye out on our website while we keep everybody up to date about the latest Battlefield 1918 developments.
BF1918 Team Member
You can be rest assured that i will be playing this release on it's release day and I'm sure many others will be as well. This is an incredible feat this team has achieved not only with the next release, but the last one as well. I'd like to thank X_VanTagE_X for his time in answering my questions and wish him and his mod team the best of luck in the future.
You can find Release 1.5 on this site as soon as it's released to the public. If you wish to try out Release One, you can find it here