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Pendragon Interviews Cold War: Melting Point
hl2c_articles - Pendragon's Interview with the Cold War: Melting Point Team | Posted by Pendragon on Feb 20th 04 05:38 PM
I sat down with some members of the Cold War: Melting Point team, and this is what they told me. (Edited for your convenience).

Pendragon: OK. To start off, can everyone on staff introduce themselves?

SidewinderX: I am SidewinderX, project leader for CW: MP

Darg: I am Darg. Lowly artist/modeller/mapper.

Onions: onions here, lead coder for CW: MP :)

RMachuaA: I'm a 3d Artist... Modeler. . . and texture artist... all round goody two shoes.

Lobster: I am Lobster, Table decoration and occasional Sound Designer.

Lt_Fuzz: High I’m fuzz, I like long walks on the beach, and I am a mapper/concept/artist.

-Lots of spam, edited for your convenience-

Pendragon: Moving right along, can I have a brief summary of CW: MP for the few people who haven't heard of you guys?

SidewinderX: : Cold War: Melting Point is a multiplayer modification for Half-Life 2, which will feature a dynamic campaign system, which allows the players to determine what path the war moves down.

Pendragon: Can you tell me how the dynamic campaign will work?

SidewinderX: Player will play a map on either the Warsaw pact or NATO side. Depending on how they do in a mission, i.e., what objectives were completed and how, they will move onto another mission in the campaign. It's a very branching system that allows for a different experience every time you play the game.

Pendragon: What sort of objectives will a given map have and how will they influence the gameplay?

SidewinderX: Well, objectives will be different on every map. They may include things from capturing a certain amount of territory to securing certain sections of a town or village and side objective may include things suck as destroying SAM sites and weapons bunkers.
Darg: We are also discussing having several smaller non-essential dynamic objectives as well.

Pendragon: How would the game measure how much territory had been captured?

SidewinderX: We have been discussing a dynamic battle line system that changes as player distributions change but I really don't want to say more about that at the moment.

Pendragon: Similar to the terrain thing in Rise of Nations?

SidewinderX: Similar.

Onions: To give an example of how the system works, the Warsaw Pact team manages to destroy a fuel dump. This results in the NATO team being given access to fewer vehicles in the next map.

SidewinderX: Yeah, many of the secondary objectives will have stagier effects such as that.

Pendragon: On that note, can you tell me about the fuel aspect of the game?

SidewinderX: Well, each vehicle will use fuel. When the vehicle runs out of fuel, it stops moving. Players can refuel the vehicles by carrying a gas can to it, and they can fill gas cans back near their main spawn.

Pendragon: So each team has a limited amount of fuel, and they can run of fuel for a given map, right?

SidewinderX: Yes to both. On a Strategic level, the amount of fuel available will vary depending on various things, such as fuel dumps that the opposing team has destroyed/captured etc.

Pendragon: How much fuel time will the average vehicle have?

SidewinderX: That will be something that we'll have to play with during internal beta testing....

SidewinderX: Unless someone has something, they want to add :)

Onions: It's important to decide these things during testing in order to enhance the balance of the game.

Pendragon: I assume you'll have support vehicles to transport fuel, correct?

Darg: It's always a possibility.

SidewinderX: Perhaps, we don't want players using fuel trucks like mobile bombs.

Pendragon: So a player will have to walk all the way to a vehicle in need of fuel?

Darg: Or the vehicle returns to the depot.

SidewinderX: Only if the driver does something stupid. There will be a fuel gauge--the driver should probably return to refuel.

RMachucaA: there are always support vehicles he can call via radio... so there are always friendlies that can lend a hand.

Pendragon: What sort of support vehicles?

RMachucaA: Hummers...vehicles of the sort.

Lt_Fuzz: etc.

SidewinderX: LAV-25s.

Darg: Mostly light vehicles.

SidewinderX: Yup: the heaviest thing you'll probably see is a BMP-3

Pendragon: That's the case throughout the mod, correct? No tanks and stuff.

Lt_Fuzz: No tanks.

SidewinderX: Yup

Darg: This is an infantry orientated game.

Pendragon: Can you tell me more about the dynamic campaign? I'd like to hear more about how you envision the maps flowing.

SidewinderX: Well, in simple term, each map will have a primary objective and a secondary objective for each team.

Darg: Well the next map you move onto in the campaign will depend on the outcome of the current map.

Lt_Fuzz: There are several possible outcomes for each map, depending upon the outcome the campaign will progress in a given direction.

Pendragon: So will you need to create a map for every possible permutations of victory?

SidewinderX: Yes

Onions: . . . to an extent.

Darg: Hopefully some maps may be used for different missions.

SidewinderX: Correct, but perhaps with different objectives.

Pendragon: Back on the topic of combat, how will players go about achieving objectives? (beyond the obvious like destroying X objects.)

SidewinderX: Well, depends on the objective. A territory objective might depend on controlling a certain amount of territory for a certain amount of time.

SidewinderX: Another objective might be holding a defense position for a certain amount of time and/or staging a counter attack.

Pendragon: But not like Battlefield 1942, correct?

SidewinderX: No, these will be actual territory, using the combat line system, and not just flags

Pendragon: With the infantry soldiers, can you tell me what sort of classes you'll offer?

SidewinderX: Currently the ones we are planning on offering are Rifleman, Automatic Support Gunner, Medic, Forward Tactical Observer, sniper, engineer, and anti-vehicle

Darg: we are still discussing the exact classes to include but you can hope to see all your favorite weapons =)

SidewinderX: the other class is grenadier

Pendragon: What does each class offer the player?

SidewinderX: each class will have a selection of weapons to choose form, as well as proficiencies in certain areas.

Pendragon: What class would you recommend to what type of player? i.e. what gamer will like each class best?

SidewinderX: Well, Rifleman is the basic grunt, accurate fast, strong; automatic rifleman is a support soldier; sniper will be a sniper, though we plan to make sniping a difficult task; medic will be able to help troops in many ways; [Forward Tactical Observer] will be able to do a variety of non-combat tasks, such as call in artillery or air strikes (if available).

Darg: well it depends on the mood... I generally prefer to snipe but occasionally I like to have a nice M249 in my hands

Pendragon: How will the sniping be made difficult?

SidewinderX: Well, it will be very difficult to hit anything if you're not using bipods. There will be a limited amount of snipers per team

Darg: we are trying to emphasize the difficulties real snipers have.

Pendragon: And how does the medic’s healing ability work?

SidewinderX: Medic will have a variety of tools to help soldiers, such as morphine shots to temporarily relive shock, eye drops to help will vision, etc

Pendragon: How will shock and vision come into play?

SidewinderX: Well, being hit by a round, or having a grenade going off near you will blur your vision a bit

Darg: shock can occur from being wounded or nearby explosions and so on.

SidewinderX: as well as nearby artillery

SidewinderX: If you are wounded, you might experience a bit of shock.

Pendragon: What effects will shock have?

Darg: basically, it will reduce accuracy and general awareness

SidewinderX: medics will also be able to bandage bleeding troops

Pendragon: I assume bleeding means slowly losing health? Will you be using a damage potential system like AA?

Darg: something similar yes

SidewinderX: well, actually we were planning to take the system right from AA: Ops: a round carries potential damage, it does some of that on contact, and you bleed the rest out. A soldier will have 1 bandage with him, but medics will have to supply more as needed

Pendragon: Moving on, what sort of stuff will the FTO do, and how? Won't the FTO be very prone to a) confusion and b) easy team killing?

SidewinderX: Well, the FTO will be able to mark locations on the team maps for troops

Lt_Fuzz: we are discussing air strikes as well

SidewinderX: artillery and air strike availability will differ depending the map and other variable, such as effects the other team has done (i.e. capturing an airfield in previous mission)

Pendragon: How will the map system work? Will it be part of a HUD, or will it be something you have to pull up?

SidewinderX: you will have to pull it up. We are planning to include full topographical maps for each map

Pendragon: So a good player will need to be able to read maps, then, right?

SidewinderX: we will include a section on how to read them, but you'll be able to see basically what going on without knowledge of topo maps.

Darg: they should be pretty clear anyway.

SidewinderX: yup

Pendragon: Will there be any utility in maps for the other troops, and will other soldiers be depicted on the maps?

SidewinderX: well, a soldier will appear on the map as a marker if he reports in

Pendragon: But it's not a dynamic beacon thingy, right?

SidewinderX: no

SidewinderX: their marker will appear where they reported, and will fade after 40 seconds or so

SidewinderX: we were discussing allowing other players to mark locations on maps, providing they have a sufficient amount of experience for the campaign.

Pendragon: How will the campaign experience system work?

SidewinderX: The player can/will gain experience for many things.

Onions: When a player does a good job, like carrying out objectives or following orders, he will be rewarded with experience.

SidewinderX: Such as kills, assist, completing objectives, helping other teammates.

SidewinderX: Exactly as onions said.

Pendragon: What good is experience?

onions: With enough experience, he will be given access to features unavailable to the rest of the team: giving orders, placing waypoints, etc. This will ensure that the more experienced players will be able to direct the game, allowing the newer players to pick things up more quickly.

Darg: Experience will probably be a campaign only feature

Pendragon: But orders and such aren't required to be followed, right?

Darg: No, they don’t need to be, but you gain experience from them.

Onions: Right. You don't have to follow orders, but you will be rewarded if you do.

SidewinderX: Correct.

Pendragon: So, if I was experienced enough, I could set an order for others that they would gain experience from following, even if it was random and stupid?

SidewinderX: No. there will be limits set for what gain experience and what doesn't. This will be another thing we will play with through testing.

onions: Simple orders like "move here" will not give experience.

Pendragon: Well of course, but there's lots of potential for abuse nonetheless.

onions: We will have things in place to stop that sort of abuse.

Pendragon: Such as?

Darg: Taking an objective may need for that objective to already be in enemy hands before you can gain experience by accomplishing it.

onions: Such as limiting the amount of experience a player gets by the "quality" of the order, for lack of a better word.

SidewinderX: Again, this will be something that play testers will help with.

Darg: It will be quite a major issue during beta testing.

SidewinderX: and even then timing will be critical.

Pendragon: Back on the realism front, are you going for the Iron sights, no HUD approach?

SidewinderX: No.

SidewinderX: Iron sights will be available, and they will increase accuracy but there will be a crosshair on the screen.

Pendragon: Location based damage/effects?

SidewinderX: Yes.

onions: Get shot in the leg and you aren't going anywhere fast :).

Darg: Get shot in the head and you definitely aren't.

SidewinderX: True.

RMachucaA: No CounterStrike-ish childs' play here.

Pendragon: I'm assuming teamwork is pretty important here. How are you going to emphasize it?

RMachucaA: Rambo style players will be killed quickly.

SidewinderX: Well, you'll gain bonuses by being around teammates.

Pendragon: What sort of bonuses?

SidewinderX: You can gain experience from working with teammates.

Pendragon: Just experience?

SidewinderX: Accuracy, overall stamina.

RMachucaA: Not to mention you will live a lot longer.

Pendragon: That's debatable.

SidewinderX: True, depends on your teammates :)

RMachucaA: :P

onions: If a member of the team is a medic, then yes :)

Pendragon: How will each campaign you offer differ?

SidewinderX: Well, mainly they will be set in different locales: Europe, Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, etc.

SidewinderX: Also, player skins and vehicles textures will vary.

onions: Each campaign will also have unique objectives

Pendragon: Any difference in terms of objectives (beyond the minor map-to-map differences)?

SidewinderX: Well, of course there will be differences depending on where the map is located. We are basing our maps off real world locations, even down to map layouts.

Darg: For example, we are using the map of a small town in Iraq as one of our missions.

Pendragon: Will there be an overarching consistency to the campaigns, or is it a series of skirmishes?

SidewinderX: Consistency. If you pull out a map of the location in real life, you'll be able to see the progression from place to place.

Darg: You will always be aiming towards a single goal throughout the campaign.

Pendragon: I've been asked by a few people now to ask you when you think a playable build will be out.

SidewinderX: Well, that all depends on when HL2 is released.

onions: From a coding point of view, it's hard to say. Work will begin as soon as the SDK is released.

SidewinderX: We want to have private team alpha -> private beta -> public beta

onions: We will have a good bit of planning done by then. Same goes for mapping. Modelling of course has already started.

Darg: Models are still flowing in.

Pendragon: Anything else you guys want to add?

SidewinderX: umm... I don't have anything... other than I encourage you all to join our forums, it will be our active forum members who get priority on beta slots.

Darg: Yea, come check us out.

Pendragon: OK, thanks very much to the CWMP team for having me by. :)

onions: Pleasure, thanks for the interview :)

Darg: Only too glad.

RMachucaA: Pleasure to help out.

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