|World War II Online
Interview by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson
Your heart is still pounding from the discovery that Confirmed Kill was cancelled. Never fear, Playnet is here! Who says that good things are not happening in the simulation world?
Last month trouble at iMagic led to speculation that the end of the world was at hand. A large group of employees were leaving. A few weeks later news leaked out that CEO "Wild Bill" Stealey was resigning. What was the world coming to?
At the time we tried to obtain information as to what was up with the group that left. Even our most efficient operatives couldn't get squat. Was torture an option? Nah….
The good news is that a new company has been born, like the proverbial warbird rising from the ashes.. er, what was that mythical bird again?
Playnet Inc., was founded in May of 1999 by some of the former creators and developers of WarBirds. Their plans? World domination, of course! Why settle for less?
Seriously, Playnet is now developing an online gaming service providing cross platform services to gamers. Translation? You own a Mac or PC, you're in. The service will include three levels of games: free, subscription and premium games at a single online destination.
Who cares, you say? You care, because PLAYNET is the first online rival for JANE'S World War.
Playnet is developing a new WWII simulation, "World War II Online." WWII Online is a vehicle simulation allowing players to participate in air, land and sea combat using a single front end which will be available for download. In addition to taking control of vehicles, the design will allow players to access a first-person shooter model putting them in the role of infantry. Air, land AND sea in a historical theatre? Count me in!
To find out more about this ambitious project, we fired off an interview to the Playnet crew. The trajectory must have been accurate. A few days later we received this transmission back. The two Producers of WW2 Online are are Chris "Mo" Sherland and Mark "Snail" Pribe.
Q. I first heard of WWII Online only this week. How have you managed to keep the secret for so long?
Mo: Well we started out just "talking" about the idea after we left IMOL. We met every day for over a month just discussing design and technology issues with the concept. We didn't even have computers or an office, so it wasn't too hard to hide out. After we did get into an office and set up the boxes, it took a while for us to get phones in, then when we did we were working too hard to use them! We also wanted to keep the idea secret until we knew we could do it, it's the holy grail to all of us here and we didn't want to drop it.
Q. Legend has it that breaking the Grail leads to immediate and complete, irresolvable bad vibes…. Now give us a little history. When was the project first conceived and who were the principals involved?
Mo: This is a great question. I think the concept of what we are doing has existed in the online gaming community for years. We're not claiming that this idea is original, we're only claiming that we have the nads big enough to actually do it.
As far as design goes, our original dev cycle included ALL of the original "jumpers" from IMOL. This game was designed by all of us. The 12 principals are: Roger "FT" Long, Russell "Hoss" Mirrabelli, Troy "Rampage" Lowe, Jonathan "Hoof" Hoof, John "Kango" Lundy, John "Killer" MacQueen, Rodney "Hatch" Hodge, Kevin "Squirm" Rivas, Mark "Snail" Pribe, Neil "Corn" Huntly, Steven "Caligula" Evans, and myself.
Q. Give us a quick overview. What the heck is WW2 Online anyway?
Mo: It's a vitamin alternative….no wait…it's a starch supplement. Crud! What the heck IS it? Snail? Oh yeah…WW2 Online is a persistent world, multiple vehicle simulation of WW2 air/land/sea combat.
It will "unfold" as the actual war did to the extent that theatres and vehicles will become available as the timeline moves through the 40s. Players will be able to take on new and more advanced game features as they gain experience, such as supply flow, and vehicle distribution. There is SO much more that I'm afraid we'd need a lot more space and time than this interview will allow. Not to mention the fact that we want to keep some things in the background a bit longer.
Take me to Part II: Dynamic and Interactive
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Last Updated August 20th, 1999