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'World War II Frontline Command' - Developer Interview

by Thomas on May 10, 2003 @ 1:04 a.m. PDT

World War II Frontline Command is an action strategy title set within the era of World War II that will appeal to all levels of PC gamers and war enthusiasts. The game opens with the player dropping paratroopers into Europe to disrupt the entrenched Axis forces ahead of the main invasion forces set to land on D-Day. Players must take command of their forces and turn the tide of Axis aggression while conquering fortress Europe, using a vast amount of authentic infantry, vehicles and weaponry. Here’s a quick look at World War II Frontline Command with Neil from the Bitmap Brothers.

1) How realistic is the armor model for the vehicles?

Each vehicle in Frontline Command has different armor values for front, rear and sides, all of which were based around real data we collected from various sources. We made some modifications to reflect other parameters such as the slope of the armor (a shell hitting a tank hull that is sloped backwards is going to do far less damage than if it hit it straight on), and made some more slight alterations for gameplay purposes - we weakened the rear of the tanks a little - but essentially the details are still correct.

2) Do the two sides play differently or do they essentially play the same?

You can play either as the Allies or the Axis forces in multiplayer mode (singleplayer allows you to play Allies only), but it does show the major differences between the two sides. You choose which units you take into your multiplayer battle - you have a budget, and a screen to buy your units. Most of the Axis tanks are much more powerful than the Allies, and this difference is reflected in the unit prices. So you get a choice between having a large numbers of tanks which are relatively vulnerable, or fewer tanks which are much more dominant. The two balance each other out quite well. There are other differences as well - the Axis tanks tend to be slower than the Allies, but they also have longer weapon ranges.

3) What kind of missions will the player be asked to perform?

The missions start off infantry-based, where you get dropped into occupied France on the run up to D-Day to take out some strategic structures and secure some important routes. This leads up to the day of the invasion itself, where you take part in the actual beach landings - very frantic! From then on the missions open up as you go through Northern France, Belgium, Holland and into Germany itself. You'll have tanks, support vehicles and field artillery at your disposal as you take on missions based around the Battle of the Bulge, the Siegfried Line, Operation Grenade and the Eagles Nest in Berchtesgarden.

4) What do you feel is World War II: Frontline Command's greatest strength?

Probably the interface - it's pretty powerful and incredibly intuitive, yet everything is available on the mouse. The camera is controllable without pressing any bizarre keyboard combinations, and you can zoom around very easily to get the best view of what's going on in the battlefield. Orders can be given to units by just pointing-and-clicking, with advanced options available from the pop-up order ring. Everything is available right where you need it, without cluttering up the screen all of the time. This has a huge effect on the game as a whole, making it very easy to get into without having tons of interface controls to learn first.

5) On an average mission, how many units will be under the player's control?

It all depends on the mission, really - it doesn't just linearly increase in scale as you progress through the game, we like to throw in lots of different scenarios along the way. Some missions you may have to go in with only two dozen infantryman, some support vehicles but no tanks. Other missions may be predominantly tank-led with two or three heavy tanks, a group of medium tanks and lots of support units. This is pretty realistic, as Commanders in the war didn't always have large numbers of heavy tanks available to them for their particular mission, and it makes the game more interesting as the challenges change as you progress, rather than each subsequent mission being "the last mission plus a little bit"

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