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Developer Bulletin: patch 0.4.0


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Proper_Bo #1 Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:21 PM

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Pilots!

We are very pleased to be able to present you with another World of Warplanes Developer Bulletin article.
This time, the Bulletin will include information on the upcoming, and highly anticipated, changes to the control system in-game… and will therefore be an unusually verbose one, but we will  attempt to explain everything in as much detail as possible for you.

After you read through some of the details, there is a gallery filled with some very impressive before and after shots from the latest build.

Brief Introduction

Posted Image

Unfortunately, it can be quite time-consuming and complicated for members of our Development Team to regularly communicate with players and testers through public channels, but we’d  like to use these Developer Bulletins as means for you to all hear a little more of the inner workings and thought processes of the Development Team behind World of Warplanes.

Why the Next Patch will be ‘Patch 0.4.0’: A Bit of History

About six months ago, a separate work group was created to start concentrating on an alternative flight model and control system for the game. There were a lot of controversies, prototypes,  tests, and also a lot of variants and variations that had to be thrown out, and we also entered into a number of consultations with other experienced flight simulator developers.
These works continued in parallel to the main project development, and work on new game physics and an improved control system was also included within in the main developmental  timeline. For example, over a dozen variants of the mouse control scheme were created, and most of these different schemes did not make it into the Closed Beta Test. However, our  philosophy here has been simple: we have both the time and the determination to strive to do everything well, rather than simply trying to complete everything as quickly as possible.
Around the end of October, we looked at the results of this special additional work group and we came to the conclusion that we really liked the results of their work. So, we threw all of our  resources into the completion of the new flight model and control scheme variants. And now, we’re very proud to be able to present you with the results of this long additional development  process, focus testing and further final polishing.

This new patch contains a lot of new features for both the game client and the server side architecture. Traditionally, serious and profound changes within the game code and related  systems were always reflected by changes to the numeric version designation (‘0.3.4’, ‘0.3.5’, etc.)… and that is why we have decided to name the new patch ‘0.4.0’, rather than ‘0.3.6’.

What's New: The Main Aspects

For a full list of changes, you will be able to consult the Patch Notes for Patch 0.4.0 when they are later made available to existing testers of the game.
However, we will attempt to describe the main new features here:
  • Redesigned server architecture
  • New flight model
  • New mouse controls
  • New battle interface
  • Further graphical improvements
Redesigned Server Architecture

In short, we’ve made a lot of serious changes to the engine code. These changes should be advantageous both to us, as the Developers, and you, as the players.
In order to avoid going into too much detail about “programmer stuff”, we will describe only the two major benefits. Firstly, warplane characteristics can now be much more easily adjusted  (by us) – this means that balancing the game will be easier, and that our adjustments can be more accurately applied. Secondly, the new server architecture has become faster – this means  that players will notice more responsive warplanes that react faster to all control types.

New Flight Model

The new flight model is faster and more accurate, and flight, altitude and speed elements and factors can be better sensed and experienced.
Warplanes will behave more predictably and will be more controllable – effectively, each warplane’s character will now be more complete. Generally speaking, it’s better to wait and try it out for yourselves, rather than reading a wall of text here.

The New Mouse Controls: A Wall of Text!

Control Theory

Let’s start with a theory that the mouse controls can be roughly divided into two separate groups:
  1. The point towards which the plane flies at any given moment (towards which the plane’s nose is directed) is fixed at the centre of the display

e.g. if we turn right, the background will turn left
This is how the current mouse controls function in WoWp


  2.  The point towards which the plane is headed has the possibility to be moved around the screen

e.g. if we quickly move the camera to the right the plane will start turning in this direction, with said plane’s maximum turning speed
This is another possible mode of operation for mouse controls.


The first variant requires a better understanding of the 3D situation, while the second helps players to orientate themselves more easily.

The second variant is essentially analogous to the World of Tanks controls; in that, the turret  will rotate in the direction you turn (although usually much slower). On a warplane, the guns and  machine-guns are obviously firmly fixed, and frontally directed, thus the whole plane will turn in the direction you have chosen.

Control Modes

The new mouse control system will have two different modes, both of which have been designed to serve different purposes:

‘Pilot Mode’ – this mode is most convenient for sharp, sudden and complicated manoeuvres, and also provides a very good field of view.

‘Ground Attack Mode’ – this mode has been designed for bomb strikes and for low altitude flying.

The warplane will automatically fly at a set altitude, whilst the player can focus on attacking ground targets, and the camera is fixed in a position a little under the warplane – this  should provide a great view for bombing, but it should also be fairly convenient to shoot using the regular armaments as well
Additionally, we should probably also explain that the mouse controls are built upon a certain amount of ‘AI help’.

When a player moves the mouse, he sends information on what to do, but not precisely how to accomplish it;

i.e. “fly towards the top left corner”, but not “while ailerons are deflected, list 60 degrees to the left, and start ascending at a 30 degree angle, and on reaching the required  pitching and banking angles, return the elevators and ailerons to neutral”
All of these more complicated parameters will be calculated by the built-in AI (Artificial Intelligence). Incidentally, the AI ​​did function roughly in the same way previously, but has now been  somewhat reconfigured.

So, the AI settings for the ‘Pilot’ and ‘Ground Attack’ modes are very different. The ‘Pilot Mode’ gives a lot of priority to manoeuvrability – the AI will always aim to bring the aircraft back to  the specified player course as quickly as possible, using the optimal path, even at the cost of height or speed loss. Whereas, in the ‘Ground Attack Mode’, the plane will manoeuvre more  slowly, with the AI always trying to retain maximum height and speed.

You’ll be able to feel the difference between the two, we promise!

New Battle Interface

In fact, in the new patch, we will have two of them:

  • WoT-like”
  • Minimalistic
It doesn’t make sense to give too much of a detailed description here – this is another thing you will need to try out and experience for yourself.

We can, however, focus briefly on the new speed indicator within the ‘Minimalist’ interface. This will have several colour ranges, and you will need to be aware of the colour indicators as  they each have their own specific meanings:

  • Red – critically low speed value, and players will need to beware of stalling (or may even already be “enjoying” this!)
  • Green – normal combat speed
  • Light Green – ‘optimal speed’: at this speed, the warplane has the greatest manoeuvrability
  • Orange – speed close to the maximum: at this speed the warplane will obviously not “fall apart”, but the effectiveness of the control surfaces is greatly  reduced and players will experience decreased manoeuvrability
These speed ranges will be historically accurate, and will also be calculated for each individual warplane configuration automatically.

And yes, before you ask, it will obviously also be possible to select/enable the “old” interface!

Improved Graphics

Significant changes to the in-game graphics were introduced with Patch 0.3.5, and this work has only continued with Patch 0.4.0.

It is perhaps worth noting that the new graphical improvements are based around four specific areas of work:

  • Rendering improvements: these are almost done, but we continue to work on the optimisation
  • Improved warplane models: this is not finished yet, and will be even better in 0.4.1 and further patches
  • Improved maps: these will be finished later, and are an area in which we will continue to concentrate in the future
  • New clouds: this is an area in which we seem to have finally solved the earlier performance problems, and new clouds have therefore been added (with the old ones removed!)
Again, these changes are another aspect of the game that will be better appreciated when seen with your own eyes.

In Conclusion

First of all, thank you for reading this huge text! We really are very happy to tell you more about Patch 0.4.0, and that’s one of the reasons why we’ve gone into so much detail in advance.

Secondly, please remember that this is obviously still Closed Beta. We’re continually polishing, polishing, polishing… and, even with a huge amount of work already done, we still have a long  way left to go. We cannot simply test these things internally if we hope to be able to find all the potential issues…

Which is why, thirdly, we would like to thank you sincerely for your interest in the project, and – to the testers – for all of your forum posts, your feedback, polls, and observations… as well as all the bugs you’ve helped discover.

We thank you for your patience, and we thank you for participating in the development of World of Warplanes.

Just as we promised, here's a gallery showing off some of the very impressive before and after shots with the latest build:

Gallery

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Edited by hobbstrosity, 11 February 2013 - 07:47 PM.


Lieutenant_Bob264 #2 Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:34 PM

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my question is going to be the obvious one, lol. is there an eta. on the update. Look forward to testing the changes



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fed11 #3 Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:42 PM

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This is exciting.  Thank you very much for all your efforts... can't wait :Smile_honoring:

Jiri_Starrider #4 Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:05 PM

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Very cool, thanks for letting us know. As Lt. Bob said, um, when?

MikeVictor #5 Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:06 PM

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Thanks for the upgrade. I look forward to all the improvements.

However, never apologize for the length of your posts. The information is important and I'd rather have more detail than less, so feel free to elaborate.

And besides, it wasn't very long at all, nothing for which to apologize.

Thanks for all the hard work. We appreciate your efforts and thoroughly enjoy the game.

WoWP Rocks!


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triptyx #6 Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:33 PM

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Definitely important info, length is no object to make sure we have the data we need.  :)

Thanks for the update!  I'm looking forward to seeing and testing all the changes.

Toggle #7 Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:39 PM

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Great news! I'm looking forward to testing again instead of just playing.

+1 to MikeVictor.  Any and all information you are willing to give us will be graciously accepted.  No such thing as too much information....  As long as it's game related.

theponja #8 Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:53 PM

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Great!! I can directly try to improve with the new interface. As the others say I don't care about the lenght of the post.

Tuesdaysgone #9 Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:30 PM

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Oh good grief,  please leave the mouse alone :facepalm_wowp: ,, I like it just FINE now..  Please don't do it like the other game!


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GeorgePatton #10 Posted 06 February 2013 - 06:06 PM

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Props to Pixyl from the EU side for the work on the bulletin. Thanks for putting it up here Proper_Bo!


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This information is subject to change at any moment and should not be taken as the absolute truth on the matter. Please read everythign Glenn King - GeorgePatton says with a grain of salt and realize that some things may change between when Glenn King - GeorgePatton says them, and when it is time to execute them. Glenn King - GeorgePatton is not responsible for any consequences caused by misinformation being spread by testers who read what he says and cannot be held legally responsible for anything that happens as a result of anything he says on the internet.™


GrouchySmurf #11 Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:38 PM

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This is THE ONE i have been waiting for.
I was a little concerned to see that the Joy Stick controls weren't addressed, however ill wait for the patch to make up my mind.
The idea about the colors to indicate the speeds of the plane and how they relate to "optimum" speed is a GR8 idea.
Cant wait to take off with this new patch!
Thanks for the info WG!!!!

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lostwingman #12 Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:40 PM

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View PostTuesdaysgone, on 06 February 2013 - 05:30 PM, said:

Oh good grief,  please leave the mouse alone :facepalm_wowp: ,, I like it just FINE now..  Please don't do it like the other game!
From what it sounds like there will be still be the old 'carrot on a stick' method.

View PostGrouchySmurf, on 06 February 2013 - 07:38 PM, said:

This is THE ONE i have been waiting for.
I was a little concerned to see that the Joy Stick controls weren't addressed, however ill wait for the patch to make up my mind.
The idea about the colors to indicate the speeds of the plane and how they relate to "optimum" speed is a GR8 idea.
Cant wait to take off with this new patch!
Thanks for the info WG!!!!
On the bright side anything to do with speeding up server calculations for responsiveness should only improve it.

Ground Attack, the new Arty




shwedor #13 Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:44 PM

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lol I think they just left out the flight model stuff to poke at GrouchySmurf :D

The anticipation, will he survive?
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AzraeI #14 Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:53 PM

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View Postshwedor, on 06 February 2013 - 08:44 PM, said:

lol I think they just left out the flight model stuff to poke at GrouchySmurf :D

The anticipation, will he survive?
Nope, there is a puddle of urine already forming under his chair... anyone got a rolled up newspaper? :Smile_trollface:


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stealth250 #15 Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:56 PM

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can't wait to seethe new improvements


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theponja #16 Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:24 PM

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Hey. This was a some hours ago. Where is my patch????!!!!  I'm not anxious I'm just want it now.

RocketSpammer #17 Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:38 PM

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Sweeeeet...patiently awaiting this.


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Massacrer #18 Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:44 PM

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Nice. Does the patch include WoT functions like Colorblind mode?

Alesia_Aisela #19 Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:00 AM

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Hmm, I will be awaiting for the day this arrives, I will be sure to try everything out, I just have two burning questions.

Will map design be improved in the future?
And will map size be increased in the future?


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zkyz #20 Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:02 AM

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Can´t wait to test this !!!! Any estimated date ?

WoWP labs here :playing: ...