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Combat Mission: Afrika Korps Interview
Manveer 'Eidolon' Heir :: 03:00 AM @ September 22nd, 2003 :: In-House: Interviews
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Combat Mission: Afrika Korps is a 1-2 player, hybrid turn-based/realtime 3D simulation of WWII tactical warfare in parts of the Mediterranean Theater including North Africa, Italy, Sicily and Crete from 1940 to 1945.

GameGossip: What is Combat Mission: Afrika Korps all about?
What type of strategy game is it?

Martin van Balkom: CMAK is the third - and final - game in the award-winning Combat Mission series (Wargame of the Year 2000 and 2002 - PC Games magazine), covering the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, i.e. Italy, North Africa and Crete, during World War Two. The CM series is not only known for its groundbreaking full 3D engine, but also for the unprecedented realism. We're using real world physics to simulate ballistics and armor penetrations; we're using real world data and first hand research on equipment, tactics and environment; and we're using an innovative hybrid system of turn-based strategy and real-time action. CM is the most realistic tactical combat simulation - bar none. Players are leading tanks and squads of nine nations through the heat of the North African deserts, the rocky hills of Crete, the beaches of Sicily and Italy, all the way to the fortified German lines in the Alps. A full featured map and mission editor allows for endless replayability on maps up to 20 square kilometers in size, with hundreds of units engaged in fierce tactical battle. CMAK will only be available from Battlefront.com, for both PC and Mac, and will not be found in stores. It will be released November this year.
GG: Afrika Korps will have both battle maps and operational maps. What are the differences between the two types and how will players use both during the course of the game?
MVB: Battles depict the sharp firefights, usually between 30 to 120 minutes of real-time action, that are the culmination and peak of a tactical engagement, after all preparations, recon and maneuvering into position are concluded. As such, battles throw the player right into the action. A number of victory conditions is available, from the taking (and holding) of victory flags to exiting troops to dynamically assigned flags, or the mere destruction of enemy forces. Battles are great to compete against other human players in TCP/IP internet or play-by-email modes. Operations are a linked series of battles (up to 20), each played on a portion of the same large map (which portion depends on who makes progress and who is retreating, and on the type of an operation, e.g. advance, assault or static), stretched over the course of up to 10 days, including changing weather, ground conditions, day, dusk, dawn and nighttime, resupply, replacements and so on. As such, operations are the more realistic simulation of tactical WW2 combat, but they are slower to play and usually first have to develop into the climax of a battle. None of the missions in CM are linked, you can play them in any order you like, meaning that there is no scripted "course of the game", so how players use battles and operations (or make their own), is up to each one's preferences.
GG: Historical accuracy is one of the key features of this game. What type of research did you have to do to make sure that everything you put in the game was accurate and realistic?
MVB: The type of research that takes a lifetime ;-) In other words, we're wargamers at heart, so a lot of the knowledge required to do a realistic simulation comes from (combined) tens of years of experience and research, really. Besides buying thousands of books, visits to museums and contacts to leading military historians, we also have a large fanbase which is feeding us with the newest research achievements. Below the visual surface of the game lies an extremely detailed armor penetration, ballistics, small arms fire and line of sight model that we're very proud of - real life physics really. If an anti-tank projectile penetrates, bounces off, shatters, how much damage it does and so on - are all features tracked based on algorithms derived from the most recent real world information available. No hit points, no health bars. All uniforms, even each nation's voices, all vehicles and equipment are modelled in utmost detail, visually as well as in game (and battle) performance. Engine horsepower, ground pressure, turret pivot speeds, forward and reverse speeds on various surfaces, muzzle velocity, even the amount of high explosive materials contained in each type of projectile´┐Ż the level of detail in the CM series is insane. The performance of soldiers under the strain of battle, the various atmospheric conditions from freezing cold to extreme heat, the effects of fatigue, are likewise based on first-hand experiences of past and present military personnell, who happen to be part of our beta testing team. All this makes for a very vivid, variable and satisfying game experience guaranteeing endless replayability - and the player doesn't have to do or know more than how to give a tank a fire order, the rest is all happening "under the hood".
GG: What are the different regions in the game and what are the differences between the regions, besides geographic location?
MVB: CMAK features Italy (including the island of Sicily), North and East Africa as well as Crete. The main differences between those regions are the topographical features and atmospheric conditions as well as the forces and equipment available for each theater. So, using the random map generator feature, you could for example make a mission featuring German mountain units vs. American infantry fighting in the snow on a freezing morning in the north Italian Alps. Or you could pit a company of British Cruiser tanks against the german Panzerarmee Afrika in the hot and dusty desert of Libya. Or what about a rainy day in the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia? How about fog at Anzio? Each map will feature the landscape you'd expect from each theater, down to the types of houses and vegetation shown, and you will see the correct types of uniforms, camouflage and vehicle markings for each theater and unit. Featuring a full 3D environment, our scenario designers even go to great lengths to use authentic topographical maps to recreate the various battlefields, including steep hills and mountains, flat plains or rocky deserts - and of course the player will be able to use the full-featured editor to make his own maps, historical or fictional. You also have the choice to use historic settings (meaning that some units will not be available in some theaters) or unrestricted settings, to make some what-if scenarios; or even re-create battles from other theaters, like for example France or even the Pacific.
GG: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about CMAK that we didn't cover?
MVB: CMAK, as we call it, will be the last title in the Combat Mission trilogy. It will be the pinnacle of the series, encompassing all that we have learned about simulating tactical warfare so far, and including the biggest variety in units, terrain and options from all previous titles. We will release a 2 battle demo as soon as we go Gold, sometime around November this year, and up until then we will be releasing daily screenshots and other information on www.battlefront.com. CMAK will not be available in stores, you can only buy it online from us for both the PC and Mac platform, and it will be delivered via mail.
Afrika Korps is scheduled for a late 2003 release.

Latest Similar Story: Interview Round-Up (03/16/06)

#1 - ZiggY - 09/22/03 @ 03:44 AM EST
Cool interview....I got the first game(Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord) in the series when it came out for retail, and it's been purely enjoyable. I'll probably get the second game(Barbarossa to Berlin) when it goes retail and I have the money, and then this one some time after that. They've been refining and improving these games since the first though, so CMAK will probably be the best of the bunch, but really they're all a lot of fun even for someone that doesn't normally do wargames.
#2 - Bulldog - 09/22/03 @ 03:49 AM EST
check back later today and we'll have some exclusive screenies as our screenshots of the day.
#3 - ZiggY - 09/22/03 @ 03:52 AM EST
:D
#4 - Houdini - 09/22/03 @ 09:19 AM EST
-start obscure reference-

..rock rock the planet rock..dont stop.
-----
is this one of those turn based tile looking games? erm, cuz if it is.. are screenies that neat of something like that?
--im prolly WAY off
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