GGMania got a chance to talk with Game Factory's Sergey Salnikov as he talks about KOMBAT, their upcoming non-linear 3D strategy game with role-playing elements. He provided us with both pretty interesting information and three exclusive screenshots. KOMBAT is slated for release in first quarter 2005.
GGMania: Could you introduce yourself to our readers and tell them a little
bit about what you do on Kombat?
Sergey Salnikov: Hi
everybody, the most part of people knows me a Sergey Salnikov :), as for my work
in the Kombat project - that's all about the gameplay.
GGMania: Can you give us a little background on the development team working
Developers are not the recruits actually. We've gathered an experienced team
(specially for this project) and we hope to prolong our work together in the
future on the new games because right now we really enjoy our common work. As
for our past, Kombat's creators have earlier worked on projects such as
"Cossacks" & "Cossacks 2", "HoverAce", "FireStarter", and "S.T.A.L.K.E.R".
GGMania: Саn you give us an overview of Kombat, telling us what the game
is all about?
The project is devoted to the theme of WWII. It'll be a non-linear 3D strategy
with RPG elements. There planned three main playable sides in the game: USSR,
Germany and Allies. We recreate the unique world within 1939 - 1941 years
including the historical architecture, technique, different arms and equipment.
GGMania: Why was the decision made to have the game set in WWII?
First of all, we've got a lot of history fans in our team, not to mention the
fact that we're all really love to play strategy games. Our CEO Andrey Eskov has
a huge experience in the military forces and he devoted a lot of time to
researching the history if WWII. On the other hand, that sounds really
interesting to try to repeat the history of that time.
GGMania: Does it have many different locations and environments?
Yes, sure. WWII conquered the whole Europe at least! We include in the game all
main directions of the warfare actions, that's why there'll be presented
different types of landscapes - from plains till mountains, a lot of locations
including as nature as inhabited areas from villages to cities.
GGMania: Presumably you're aiming to make Kombat historically accurate? Could
give us an idea of how you're going about doing this?
Sergey Salnikov: We
have preserved the historical authenticity only in the very beginning of the
main campaign - I mean the original positions of belligerents' forces. That was
our intention - to give players an opportunity to try to moderate the history.
That's why we've refused the linear plot which would only recreate the real
actions during the whole game process. But we still preserve the exact
recreation of objects, weapon, and equipment appearance in the game basing on
the historical data. So, for example, the "king tiger" tank will never appear
before the 1943.
GGMania: What sort of missions will be a part of the single player game?
You'll be able to pass out all the way from the warfare beginning till the
moment when your army will capture the enemy's capital. (It's Berlin for USSR
and Allies and Moscow from German side). But we also include some original
special missions during the campaign passing.
GGMania: Could you give us an example of mission?
Missions in Kombat are kinda single tasks appearing during the warfare in
common. As a sample, I can call such tasks as capturing and defense of the
hostile strategic objectives till the reinforcement coming, that could be
strategic line, bridge, ammunition depot etc.
GGMania: How many different kinds of units are there?
We're going to present up to 300 unique units and up to 350 ground military
equipment units. We implement in the game all the most famous technical units
including even aerotechnics and Navy.
GGMania: What can we expect in terms of ground troops and tank units from
the three nations in Kombat?
We're proud of our banks and data of historical equipment of WWII time. You can
expect all types of armament, technique and branches and also all types of tanks
(excluding experimental models)
GGMania: How do the role-playing elements work in Kombat? Can you reveal a
bit more about the heroes in the game?
The famous WWII generals act in the game. Each of them has his own temperament,
tactical preferences and strategy features. Basing on the historical info, the
player gets the advantage - he'll have an opportunity to adapt his tactics
against the known opponent. For example, the player can use some parameters and
natures of his allies in the certain situation.
The skills and experience of characters will change and
develop during the game. Each of heroes has his own temperament and set of
parameters. You start as a small commander and develop and rise in the ranks.
GGMania: Why did you decide to incorporate RPG-style elements?
There're two reasons. Firstly, we got RPG fans in the team, secondly, it's the
interesting and innovating feature for the strategy genre. Moreover - we needed
it for carrying out the main idea of the game - the player will feel the real
responsibility on his decisions in the game.
GGMania: How is combat handled in Kombat? In terms of scale, are we looking
at massive numbers of units engaging in combat, or will it be more of a skirmish
That's probably too early for the exact answer on this question. Possible
there'll be variants of the mass battles, but that's also possible that the
battles will be more tactical. It could include the previous evaluation of the
location features, preparing some covering on the landscape but there probably
will be fewer units. We think that the first variant more interesting because we
make an emphasis on the operations control.
GGMania: How will the enemy AI function? Can you give us an example?
Sergey Salnikov: I
can show you the part of code, but I'm not sure it could help :)
Well, there're two AI systems, Local and Global. The
first steps in the game, usually make with a Local AI, but later Global AI has
more and more rights in the game.
The local AI operates actions of the units. Talking in
simple words, try to imagine:
You've got 2 tanks and you should conquer the village with their help. But your
enemies meet you in the settlement and start the dynamical attack. During the
extremely hot skirmish one of your tanks explodes, and the second loose the
patriotic parameter level (that's one from RPG parameters). The mission will
fail, because in the nearest time the tank crew will surrender.
Well, it's an example of the Local AI work.
As for the Global AI - it controls the Joint Staffs of
the countries, analyses the situation on the tactical map and gives player the
main orders and tasks during the campaign. An ultimate goal of the game for all
countries is the Capital of the opponent. When the Capital is captured the game
GGMania: What sort of interface have you guys prepared for the game?
Oh, we really pay a huge attention to interface. That's not a conglomeration of
menus and tables. We prepare two types of interface - the tradition screens
interface, for real strategy fans which like to learn all the actions and
possibilities. And the second version that binds on the mouse button for the
dynamical and fast actions. Don't be afraid about the detailed info, the
pop-menus with all details about divisions, parameters, etc., are also included.
GGMania:. How much of a learning curve do you think this game has?
Sergey Salnikov: We
try to make it clear and simple for the beginners also.
GGMania: Which engine is used in Kombat?
The game uses our own in-house graphical engine, which has never ever been used.
It guarantees the good performance as well as allows the dynamical gameplay. It
realizes a lot of special effects like smog, fire, fog, steam, weather effects
etc, day&night cycles. The engine also features pixel lighting, high-polygonal
destroying models. It supports the map up to 20x20 kilometers!
GGMania: The Kombat official web site claims that we will see scaled
battles with up to 15 000 units per a warfront sector. Needless to say it will
require some CPU power, what are the system requirements that we need to play so
Sergey Salnikov: We
count on the average and high classes of computers. Moreover, we think, that at
the moment of game release the most popular computers will be able to run this
game. The great numbers of units doesn't mean the "transcendental" system
GGMania: What multiplayer modes are you including? What does Kombat bring
to the table that the online player hasn't seen before?
Kombat is a unique project because of a lot of features, like the full
recreation of different army structures, graphical innovations etc. Sure, the
common multiplayer ideas look like the other projects, but we're going to
develop some special modes that will be adapted to the system features of
Kombat. We're just working on it and can't tell you anything in details, but
we'll do all our best in order to create really interesting and fascinating
GGMania: We've already had plenty of World War II RTS games on PC and there
are a number in production. Aside from its graphical quality, how will Kombat
stand out from the crowd?
The result should show all our wishes. But only some features - the non-linear
plot and the possibility to win for any playable sides, the new graphical
features - really unexpected for strategies, RPG elements, the real combat
system should already make something new in this WWII 3d RTS series.
GGMania: Currently what is the status of the current progress of the game
and when can we expect to see it in stores?
The planned release date is Q1 2005. As for the current stage - we're working on
the multiplayer model, modernize the engine and develop the missions in details.
GGMania: Do you plan to release a playable demo? If so, when?
That's too early to talk bout it, you know - let us survive the strongest period
of development stewing on our own juice :)
GGMania:. Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Finally
is there anything else you wish to say about Kombat?
The spring is coming up - that's the time of Expos, we'll try to show our first
achievements in several months and hope on the continuation of your interest to
our project. To all readers and to you: thank you for your attention, and have a
great time playing new interesting gaming projects! And welcome to our site: