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"The devil is IN the terrain!" -Doc, 2001.

World War II Online is the first game to use real-world geography in gaming history. It is played on a 1/2 scale map of Europe, which has accurate terrain and is geographically correct. The map is 350,000 km² large, with most play occurring in a 30,000 km² central area in which capturable cities, airfields and ports have been placed.

Terrain I

The current terrain engine uses a tessellation set at 400 meters. The textures are applied to one triangle set (a square made up of four triangles) so each texture square is 400mx400m. It is populated by trees using SpeedTreeRT and has a weather system implemented in the 1.24 patch.


As seen above, there have been several changes throughout the years.

Originally planed to span 2.92 million sq km, it soon became clear early in development that building the world of World War II Online was going to be difficult. Doc, Corn, Hatch, Ramp and Bloo started working on the game world just before Christmas 2000. They started on what was a blank terrain with absolutely nothing in it but the first 5 "beta towns" and a piece of the Muese river valley about a couple of km each side north and south of Dinnaat. A "beta town" was an AB (wire fence style) and maybe 4 un-enterable buildings and a couple of depots.

Rivers were then laid while Bloo plotted towns on the “big grid”. Every river had to be manually replaced as a tile in a series of tiles laid end to end. Then they had to be “flattened” to drop from source to sea in a logical and progressive fashion. Originally estimated to take 6 weeks, it actually took 6 months.

After a few weeks of development Corn, Hatch and Ramp had to work on other projects, leaving Bloo and Doc. Bloo plotting out the map while Doc built the terrain. Mo also helped during this time. It should be mentioned that Mo and Kango (the original graphics engine creator) where the two that developed the terrain editor. This editor proved problematic as it crashed often (almost hourly) and cause the group to begin anew several times. Stress was also added as the developers found out that the game was going to launch six months ahead of the expected date.

Gophur was brought in to assist with the terrain. The group was put through much stress as they worked long hours to meet the deadline. Doc especially felt the strain as he had to spend three months working like a lunatic to build the terrain. During the worse period he logged in 300 hours a month of 30 hour terrain sessions. The final terrain merge was done at 5:00am the morning the team had to ship the gold CD to Strategy First in Canada by FedEx at 4:00am that morning. Because of this, the first 100 megabyte download patch contained the final terrain merge which contained about 26 towns.

Terrain II

The next terrain engine that will be used will incorporates a new scene graph and the ability to handle much more efficient and higher resolution terrain. It will most likely have a tessellation set at 90 meters resolution. Every city, river, bridge, RR track, etc. all have to be rebuilt for newer terrain. It is currently being worked on by Rickb who is also working on a new version of the game engine.

What terrain looks like with 400mx400m resolution.

What terrain looks like with 45mx45m resolution.

Dinant as is now.

What Dinant would look like with an increase terrain resolution.

Dinant (in wire) as is now.

Dinant (in wire) after an increase in terrain resolution.

External links