Battleground Europe, formerly known as WWII Online, reached 6 years online today; as noted by one of our ongoing subscribers, indeed a member of our builders’ program: “Six years ago today I was screaming at my computer and getting ready to return the game for a refund because I couldn’t log on. Hooray!”
WWII Online has definitely come a long, long way since June 6 2001. When I flew out to meet the company Nov 14 2002, it had already changed itself into something bigger and better than the game that shipped.
We’ve added over 600 cities, we’ve added over 50 new vehicle simulations, we replaced 2d “flatland” with rich countryside bedecked in speedtrees, with berms and pits etc…
More than that – gameplay has gone from being a simulation of a person playing a game to a game that uses simulations of WWII vehicles and weapons. From the outright “duh”s: firing a gun is a simple right click instead of something involving your keyboard, mouse, ipod mini and a penis pump; the “groan”s: you’re no-longer presented with a map of Europe and a good-luck wish; and the “zzz”s: we take great pains to deliver you to your untimely death as quickly as possible.
It’s hard to pick any single thing that has changed the game most – although you’ll get no argument from me that there’s plenty of room for polish. But there are so many things to pick from – depot spawning, bouncing grenades, paratroopers, smoke grenades, lean, LMGs, deploy-on-surfaces, resupply, /wtf, destroyable bridges, contact reports and waypoints on the map, mobile spawns instead of spawn-ride-die, visible damage to vehicles… Heck, the readme just going back to 2004 is a veritable piñata of cool stuff (no, that link is not Axis biased; I fully realize the Allies had piñatas first).
The amount of evolution in this game is quite incredible, and even more so when you factor in the game’s birth. I think we have some solid, healthy plans for development into year 7.
If I had a birthday wish for the game … it’d be enough growth or new investment to allow us to address some of our development processes and pipeline and some of the long-standing “unpolish” without sacrificing the nuts and bolts, day to day development we also have to do.
I’ll be braving it with my official identity the next few days (“KFS1”) — see you on the battlefield ;)