Helicopter simulations and games at E3 2004
Los Angeles, California May 12-14

Check here for hourly updates starting May 12 at noon PST.
12/08/2007 07:52 AM -0600

US Army display


Soldner: Secret Wars

 I spoke with Udett Schaffrath, JoWooD Producer. He gave me a rundown on Soldner (German for mercenary). Soldner differs from Call of Duty and Battlefield in many ways, primarily it includes a unique resource management system. In Soldner, you "buy" your weapons and your performance permits you to purchase upgrades, fought in some of the biggest maps we’ve ever seen. The game features five distinct classes of soldier with battlefield integration in mind: commander, demolition, infantry, medic, and engineer. Each class will contribute to an overall tactical ability that, if played wisely, can make a team formidable.

There is a lot more room for customization. You can choose from over 20 faces, camo schemes, and uniforms. Players can add their own logos or clan symbol and it will appear on the soldier’s uniform and any vehicle he commands. The environment is very interactive with the player, buildings can be blown up, driven through in tanks, etc. Tanks also can run down trees, even breaking off individual branches.

The game is geared more for multiplayer than single player. It looks like a good military action game, with fun emphasized over realism.

Battlefield 2 - By EA Games: A demo trailer of EA/Dice’s sequel to the blockbuster Battlefield series was played on the large screen overhead display. The first glance confirms that BF2 will benefit from a dramatically improved graphics engine, the detail and texturing is truly next generation stuff. We were invited to a private showing of the game by PR manager Steve Groll. The setting shown was an Iraqi city. The dev team went through various aspects of the game and improvements to the interface and gameplay. In a nutshell, it appears Dice is aiming to elevate the gameplay by making it more sophisticated, requiring the player to do a little more than mash the fire button.

For example, they showed us how the player can man a SAM station and if he tracks an enemy helo for several seconds before firing, the missile can get a lock on the heat signature. Consequently, the helo pilot can also take actions to avoid being toasted by reacting to a lock warning and ejecting flares, which will work under the right conditions.

There is also a dramatically improved tactical communication interface. Now a player can designate a spot on the map for the other players to defend or assault, with fewer keystrokes. The player ranking system is enhanced—now mechanics will get credit for fixing vehicles and players will get credit for healing other players.

"When you think of the Gulf War, you think of desert," said the EA spokesman, "but Iraq has a lot of mountains and rivers, so the desert will not be the sole map type." A lot of the fighting will take place in the cities and BF2 will introduce more distinctive object mapping. Some materials will be penetrable by bullets so a player won’t get away with hiding behind boxes or corrugated metal walls. The BF2 player will need to know the difference between concealment and cover.

EA told us they are setting up to support 100 players and the maps will automatically adjust in size for smaller games so you won’t be marooned and far from contact in 15~40 player games. Mark your calendars for early 2005.













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