Attention! This news was published on the old version of the website. There may be some problems with news display in specific browser versions.
22 August 2015

The Big Q&A with CEO Anton Yudintsev


Dear Players!

During gamescom 2015, War Thunder players had the opportunity to meet with Gaijin CEO Anton Yudintsev and to ask him about his current and future plans for War Thunder, as well as some more personal questions. Today, we want to present to you a collection of interesting questions and answers from that very meeting, as well as the answers to the questions that have been raised through our Prize Question! competition.

This Q&A is quite lengthy, so be sure to make some coffee beforehand!

Happy reading!

Thanks to MrFluffis for photo!


Index:

1. What is the current vision for the next couple years of War Thunder? Have the development team's goals changed since the beginning?

2. What is currently happening with destructible buildings? I am sure there are a lot of us eagerly awaiting its arrival.

3. How long do you think War Thunder is going to be in Beta? What after that, are we going to have many Updates after its full release?

4. When it comes to getting data for planes with a low amount of information, how do you determine the certain missing parameters?

5. How involved are you with the game? Can you describe the activities you do in your job in a daily basis? Do you mostly take care of the business parts, or do you also take a part in game decisions?

6. Why does War Thunder outperform other online games A LOT when the internet is poor? How did you guys do this?

7. What has been the most enjoyable part of developing this game?

8. What made you so committed to making War Thunder so realistic?

9. How does it feel to be working with your brother on this game? Do you guys often dispute about putting something in game or anything like that?

10. Does Gaijin have different teams for all projects ? War Thunder, Star Conflict, Crossout etc.?

11. Are there any plans for aircraft in Realistic Battles to re-arm their ordnance like bombs on maps without airfields or in similar situations, where landing is not possible?

12. How save is the future of the game? As far as I know, the USA want to widen the embargo against Russia to also include SWIFT banking procedures. Would we still be able to play the game in case of escalated sanctions? Are you worried about the political situation?

13. I am studying games development at the moment, planning to become a programmer for games in the future. Any insights? I also wonder what highs and lows are there to games development.

14. I am a PlayStation4 player and I say that cross-plattform is not working. I feel that the PlayStation4 is just not up to what the players on PC can do, so we are also bothering them while playing with all the glitching etc. going on. As an example, you are a tank player on PC and cannot move at spawn, because some PS4 player who is spawning late is invisible but blocking your path. Or while we on PS4 see all the trees at distance, PC players can just switch them off. We are playing two different games. Your game is dropping in numbers on PS4 and we need separate servers or some good solutions in compatibility to fix that.

15. Why am I not able to gift other players some of my Golden Eagles?

16. In my opinion, players on PlayStation4 have a disadvantage and serve mostly as cannon fodder for PC players with Mouse & Keyboard. Are there plans to do something against this?

17. Many players I started with have left War Thunder since then. Are you doing enough to keep the "noobs" in your game?

18. How far are you planning to do the tech trees? So far, we have seen aircraft and vehicles from the 1950s and 1960s, so would it be likely to see aircraft like the Lightning and Vulcan as well? Or are you planning in going "backwards" in time? 

19. Now that British tanks have been announced, can you tell us how many vehicles and what kind of vehicles we will see?

20. How many people at Gaijin are working at the direct development of War Thunder?

21. Any info you want to share with us about ships?

22. What about infantry? Why we don't get playable infantry units?

23. I tested War Thunder a couple of months ago with Oculus Rift DK2. As I disliked the resolution, I didn't stick to it. Alternatively, I switched to a multi-monitor setup. Will there be added multi-monitor support like spherical projection or improvements for Oculus Rift? 

24. Currently, in Ground Battles, the wrecks of vehicles disappear after a while. Why do they not remain as objects on the map, are there any plans to change this?

25. In reference to the wrecks not staying on the map, why not implement an event testing exactly that? Like you did for the points system now used in RB?

26. In the App Store, I found an App called 'War Thunder Companion', and it says it's from Gaijin Entertainment. Is it really yours? I tried it, and have some problems running it.

27. In the past, there were fun events like the Mechs and even flying Ponies - will stuff like that come back one day? Maybe something like a da Vinci event, allowing you to fly paper planes?

28. What sparked the idea to actually start developing War Thunder?

29. I'm wondering, what do you like to play? Besides as well as in War Thunder? What game modes?

30. Why are the Battle Ratings of jets generally so low?

31. Will it be, at some point in the future, possible to sell vehicles from your hangar?

32. What about indirect firing artillery or rocket artillery? Will we ever see that in game?

33. Russian Bias! A statement that is very often discussed on formus and communities...

34. About Enduring Confrontation, the mode with battles going for several hours, are there more plans to improve and implement this mode? How about Arcade?

35. The anti-aircraft weaponry of ships, especially transport or cargo ones, seems way too powerful and precise. Why did you make them so hard to destroy?

36. I have maxed many nations and currently have over 10 million Silver Lions. Recently there were packs introduced where we could spend the excess, will there be more possibilities like this or even the chance to convert them to Eagles?

37. Is it actually possible for bullets to riccochet off the aircraft structure, like wings and fuselage?

38. Would it be possible to include more and diverse bombing targets to aircraft maps? Like industrial areas or also bombing zones that are more than just one flat target? As an example, the airfield could be divided into hangar buildings, control buildings and the airstrip itself which would have to be destroyed individually to render the airfield destroyed. Or a factory target could be made out of several smaller halls and a bigger hall, for that matter, with all of them having to be destroyed to count as a destroyed bombing target.

39. In regards to the Air Forces vs. the Ground Forces economy, it really seems to be that the Air Forces are much easier to grind than the Ground Forces - meaning the latter take much longer to advance through. Why?

40. Regarding Assists - why is the difference in rewards between those who do the actual kill and those who do damage so high against NPCs? If two player do fifty percent of the damage, it feels like the one that made the last hit gets much more! Who not make it more fair?

41. Why can a Commander of a Squadron not demote himself or other Commanders (in the old squadrons)?

42. What about dynamic weather? It would be cool to see that.

43. Any plans to prevent spawn camping or cap zone camping by bombers in Arcade tank battles? 


1. What is the current vision for the next couple years of War Thunder? Have the development team's goals changed since the beginning?

Anton: "When we launched the Open Beta Test, we also had also announced our development roadmap till release and soon after. Of course, the real open beta test had introduced a lot of new challenges and tasks, but in general this roadmap has not changed. All main features that were then planned for release are either already in game or in development.

Features planned after released were including World War and a third forces branch, the Naval Forces, since Air Forces and Ground Forces are already there. Of course, there were (and will be) a lot of minor adjustments to that general plan - that's the whole purpose of a beta-test. For example, the X-ray camera was not initially planned, but introduced because a realistic damage model is not intuitive and rewarding enough if a player can't visually see and understand what's happening."

2. What is currently happening with destructible buildings? I am sure there are a lot of us eagerly awaiting its arrival.​

Anton: "We are working hard on that feature, still some polishing is required. This feature is very major and huge in terms of changes it requires in the game technology, game servers, gameplay, and of course, it is very challenging to keep performance."

If you want to know more, don't forget to check out our recent devblog on destructible environmennt!

3. How long do you think War Thunder is going to be in Beta? What after that, are we going to have many Updates after its full release?

Anton: "We are very close. Most of the planned features in the initial roadmap are either done or in development. Three years can seem to be long period of beta-test, but actually a lot of games takes much more than that in development. It is an online game and without a real test a lot of features could not be tested or even implemented at all, not even mentioning that we are an independent studio, and that it is our only revenue stream. 

Of course, after the release of an online game its way only started! We will, of course, adjust plans, but some features (third force, for example) were initially planned to be after release, in an expansion. What is not likely to happen after release - are changes in the main gameplay experience. During Open Beta we several times had changed physics, damage model, player's progression and gameplay modes. After release, those things are going to be more stable (in fact changes are already such huge changes happens much more rare), which, for example, allows e-sports teams to have fully length seasons with training period without significant changes in core gameplay."

4. When it comes to getting data for planes with a low amount of information, how do you determine the certain missing parameters?

Anton: "Not a small question. With all ways we could - including modelling and simulation, all possible data and research, etc.​"

5. How involved are you with the game? Can you describe the activities you do in your job in a daily basis? Do you mostly take care of the business parts, or do you also take a part in game decisions?

Anton: "I do a lot of things. Of course, communication with people in the team is my main responsibility, as well as business parts and decisions. The tech of the game, especially the graphics tech, is supervised and controlled by me personally. Most of game decisions are, of course, responsibility of our game designers and the Creative Director, but the most important are discussed with me as well."

6. Why does War Thunder outperform other online games A LOT when the internet is poor? How did you guys do this?

Anton: "When we planned War Thunder, we initially tried to address connectivity and networking. There are two main approaches in the industry: 1) 'client-based' (as most of multiplayer games), where even if there is a dedicated game server it has to 'trust' a client's data position (maybe with some of validation); 2) 'thin-client', where everything is happening on the dedicated server and the client is only sending controls and visualizing the data (maybe with some prediction based on control input). Both approaches have their drawbacks - the first is very sensitive to both client loss of connection and cheating (but of course, requires much less servers!) and can (depending on implementation) put clients with worse connection in a better position; the second is very sensitive to connection, otherwise it is 'laggy' or even unplayable. This is especially noticeable in fast-paced vehicles with sophisticated physics - simple extrapolation is not really working very well and controls latency is very important - let's say you are in almost-stalling plane!

So we invented a brand-new approach.

Everything is happening on the server, but each game client also fully simulates it's own physics world (but sending it's controls with certain redundancy to server). The server then applies controls and simulates the client's world _back in the past_ (rewinding it's time), so even a few percent of lost packets are not crucial, and then sending the _real_ actual position, velocity etc. The client also rewinds the time and re-applies it's more recent controls, if the past position was out-of-sync. In an ideal world, and without other player's interaction, everything would be synced even with 700 ms ping, because the server and client simulate the same state with the same controls at the same time - but any cheating is impossible, as the client can only change it's local position, which will not affect the server or other players, and the server then will resend correct position anyway. The only discontinuity (which looks like a 'jump') can happen if another player actually interacted with you (on the server) - but that is unavoidable with any networking model. So, controlling your vehicle became latency independent! You only need a _stable_ ping and a not very lossy connection to control your vehicle.

The only drawback of our approach - it requires more computing power from the servers and from clients with big latency, but the client only computes his own position, while server has to re-enact the whole world!"

7. What has been the most enjoyable part of developing this game?

Anton: "The most enjoyable and rewarding is that we can work for our audience directly, communicating with them and develop the game based on that and our own feeling and understanding. This luxury is unachievable when you make offline games with a publisher - you only get real player feedback after the launch, when it is too late anyway.​"

8. What made you so committed to making War Thunder so realistic?​

Anton: "We love it that way :). Considering that War Thunder is a PvP game, it is more rewarding to be winning  (and less frustrating when you are loosing) because of realism.​"

9. How does it feel to be working with your brother on this game? Do you guys often dispute about putting something in game or anything like that?

Anton: "Of course, we dispute a lot. While there are certain areas of expertise where one can't argue and dispute, there are a lot of game decisions which have to be proven first, where the only way to predict the outcome - is to discuss it.​"

10. Does Gaijin have different teams for all projects ? War Thunder, Star Conflict, Crossout etc.?

Anton: "Star Conflict and Crossout are developed by Targem Games and they have two separate teams for that. Gaijin as the publisher has a producer team for each game, of course, but as a developer we are currently working only on War Thunder."

11. Are there any plans for aircraft in Realistic Battles to re-arm their ordnance like bombs on maps without airfields or in similar situations, where landing is not possible?

Anton: "One possible solution that we have already thought about is to allow for bombers to re-arm their bomb load if they reach a certain point on the map, far away from the objectives. However, a big problem to this potential solution and why we have not done it yet is the fact that this would not be realistic and thus have a negative impact on immersion. There are alternatives, though, which I will discuss with the designers as soon as I am back. We will present them later.​"

12. How save is the future of the game? As far as I know, the USA want to widen the embargo against Russia to also include SWIFT banking procedures. Would we still be able to play the game in case of escalated sanctions? Are you worried about the political situation?

Anton: "We are not worried about that. Besides the fact that switching off SWIFT would not affect us directly in the first place, it is also highly unlikely that the USA or EU would enact sanctions against an entertainment company that happens to also operate in Russia; the chance of that happening is almost impossible. Well, it might be possible after the start of World War 3 - but before that, I think we are pretty safe. And after that, we most likely will not have enough time to worry about it - given the fact that the flight time after discovery of a Ballistic Missile is about 18 minutes.

Jokes aside, let's answer your question a bit more in detail. First of all, the laws of all countries are constantly changing. As an example: Since the start of War Thunder's Open Beta, two laws regarding payment have been changed in Russia, the EU has changed the way how VAT is applied and so forth. These laws, obviously, affect us as a company, besides other factors such as increasing taxes, exchange rates and the like. Our expenses, for example, especially server hosting, are paid for in US Dollars, and both the Euro and even more so the Ruble have fallen in the past year. But all this is normal when running a business. We are not at a significant risk, as we are not gambling company, betting or financing terrorism. So, we will likely not be the target of any direct sanctions or laws. We still might be affected by them in some ways, as with the recent law change in Russia regarding first time payments, but this was not a law against any entertainment company, it was a law aimed at stopping criminal activities. In short, there is no reason to be worried at all."

13. I am studying games development at the moment, planning to become a programmer for games in the future. Any insights? I also wonder what highs and lows are there to games development.

Anton: "First of all, being a game developer is a lot of fun, but also very hard. If you want to achieve something, you need to work a lot. As all related technologies, platforms, genres etc. are constantly changing and evolving, you already have to run very fast just in order to stay where you are. If you stop developing yourself and just "do your job", then after, say, three years you will already become significantly less qualified, while after five years you are basically incompetent to continue working in this profession.

That means that even after spending significant work hours in the office, you will still need to devote free time to self-education. Although I may not be a perfect example, my regular work hours per day are around twelve to fourteen hours, with eight hours on the weekend days. Apart from that, I train myself with pet projects and investigate new technologies. In Gaijin, we are investing in our developers by paying overtime hours they work, but unfortunately that is not true for most of the other companies in the industry.

So, being a games developer puts you in a strange situation. The work is amazingly interesting. I have worked on other software in the past, like accounting software for example, which was very boring. In games development, however, the world is constantly changing and you have the chance to really achieve something new, for example, by implementing a new technology first. The project we do is also very interesting - I play War Thunder a lot. I can imagine that most bank engineers are not "playing" with the banking software they work on a lot, but we, as games developers, can actually consume what we are producing, which is a very rewarding experience. On the other hand, you really need to like to work. If you rather spend most of your time with friends and family and still want to become a great game developer instead of just a mediocre or bad one, then you should probably reconsider."

14. I am a PlayStation4 player and I say that cross-platform is not working. I feel that the PlayStation4 is just not up to what the players on PC can do, so we are also bothering them while playing with all the glitching etc. going on. As an example, you are a tank player on PC and cannot move at spawn, because some PS4 player who is spawning late is invisible but blocking your path. Or while we on PS4 see all the trees at distance, PC players can just switch them off. We are playing two different games. Your game is dropping in numbers on PS4 and we need separate servers or some good solutions in compatibility to fix that.

Anton: "First: In the last four months, the number of players on PlayStation4 was increasing, just to refute the claim that we are dropping in player numbers. A lot of people in our office play on PS4 also. So not everyone feels like you, regarding the current situation. Second, which is more important: When you say that players on PC have a 'graphical advantage' over the PS4, you do understand that about 80% of the PC players use exactly the same graphic settings as the ones on PS4, yes? 80% of the people playing on PC have either the same or even higher settings than those we use for the PS4 version. 20% of the other players have lower settings, so yes, they see less bushes and trees - but also have lower visibility on distance due to increased fog. While you on the PS4 and PC players with higher settings can still see players on high distances, they cannot. They only see fog. So while those 20% have an advantage on lower distances, they have a distinct disadvantage on higher distances. Unfortunately, there is no easy way we can fix that - and it's not actually a problem exclusive to the PS4, it's the same for PC users with minimal compared to PC users with maximum settings. So why we would really love to fix that, it's hard to do, as most of those 20% really need these settings to be able to play, because they e.g. play on very low-end laptops. If we would "fix" that by forcing them to have higher settings, we would just deny them to play at all.

Another problem is that even now, the PlayStation4 does not have a high enough playerbase to be self sufficient. Maybe it would be okay to maintain independent servers a year from now, but right now it's not possible, just because of player numbers. By the way, we initially decided not to launch on XBox One, because Microsoft doesn't allow cross-play. Over time, the situation may be better though, as XBox Ones are almost exclusively placed in the USA - while the PS4 is spread much broader around the world, from the US over to Europe and Japan. And as we run a tier-based matchmaking, we need players to actually populate these tiers in order for the game to be playable.

As you know, we at the moment have 25 tiers for matchmaking (or brackets of Battle Ratings), in addition to five main different game modes, not counting events. That means we have 125 different games, and in order to populate that, it needs at least 10000 players online at the same time at all times just to enable proper 5 vs 5 battles or higher. It would be working not very good, but it would be working, with those 10 000 players active at the same time. If the game does not have that many players, we would have to switch off some game modes. If you remember, as the game launched on PS4 (before cross-play), we switched off all other game modes except Air Arcade, which made the game somewhat playable on PS4 only. While we would be happy to allow PS4 players just to play with themselves if they want to do so, at the moment there is just not enough players to support that, if we do not want to switch off certain game modes. If we would do that now, deactivate everything from Squadron Battles to Events and reduce it to only Arcade Air and Tanks, there would be much more whine about that, than there is about the current situation with cross-play. What we currently are trying to do is to make the game more comfortable for PS4 players, so let's see where this takes us."

15. Why am I not able to gift other players some of my Golden Eagles?

Anton: "In our real, cruel world, there is something called fraud. If we would just allow any account to do that, then some bad individuals would use stolen credit cards to buy Golden Eagles from us and then sell them to people for much cheaper. They would surely be banned after that, but then it is already too late and we would have to reduce the Eagles from the account that purchased it, as it would be also a violation of our terms of service. What we just recently did, however, was to allow people with about 200 days of proven payment history to be able to gift others, which is - at the moment - sadly only available for PC players, as we are not allowed by Sony to check the payment history of PS4 users. What we are trying to do, though, is to get a system that allows us to track the history of purchases for that PS4 account at least in our game.​"

16. In my opinion, players on PlayStation4 have a disadvantage and serve mostly as cannon fodder for PC players with Mouse & Keyboard. Are there plans to do something against this?

Anton: "First of all, any player on PlayStation4 has the ability to plug in a Mouse and a Keyboard and play the game that way. But even apart from that fact, none of our tests, including for the local tournaments we make, show that players on PlayStation4 are at a disadvantage.We have made a certain amount of tests in the office, we have made a certain amount of tests together with Sony before launching the game, repeated them after launching the game - and none of them has showed that any of the sides has a real advantage over the other in battle. In fact, some tests showed quite the contrary - where PC players complained that the PlayStation4 players were at an advantage. When not talking about Simulation mode, as there the flight stick is dominant, but about Realistic and Arcade, then there is really no advantage or disadvantage by using the controller of the PlayStation 4.

In my personal opinion, the reason why people think they are at a disadvantage is quite simple. If you have ever played games like Counter Strike or Doom, basically any PvP-multiplayer game out there, whenever you lose - it is not your fault. It's ping, it's framerate, it's your younger brother - in any case, any player has a perfect excuse. It may be the developers fault for even including PC and PS4 cross-play in the first place, or Russian Bias with Russian, American or German vehicles being overpowered depending on who you are talking to."

17. Many players I started with have left War Thunder since then. Are you doing enough to keep the "noobs" in your game?

Anton: "No, we don't do enough. Absolutely not, but we are only humans with limited resources and capacities. We are aware that we need to do more and definitely have plans to improve the experience for new or less-experienced players in the future.​"

18. How far are you planning to do the tech trees? So far, we have seen aircraft and vehicles from the 1950s and 1960s, so would it be likely to see aircraft like the Lightning and Vulcan as well? Or are you planning in going "backwards" in time?

Anton: "Generally, the answer is quite simple, although it can be a lengthy one. War Thunder is a very realistic game regarding physics and damage modelling, and we want to keep it that way. For aircraft, that means we are limited to vehicles not equipped with good enough Air-to-Air missiles, as that would change the gameplay completely - or rather, it would remove any gameplay altogether. You just lock on the target, release the missile, and that basically is the whole combat. There is no classic dogfighting with modern combat jets, as the individual pilot's skill is much less important here, compared to the WWII and Korean War eras. Early jets will thus most likely remain the end of the tech tree there, as later ones all come with Air-to-Air missiles.

For tanks the combat situation changed as well, but much later. Even vehicles from the 1970ies were not equipped with potent missiles that could be used without actually seeing or manually guiding for the enemy. So, with tanks, we'll probably go up to the 1970ies, while with aircraft we'll stop in the 1960ies - when missiles took over combat. And this decision is purely a gameplay one, as combat with missiles in a Realistic game is, well, boring."

19. Now that British tanks have been announced, can you tell us how many vehicles and what kind of vehicles we will see?

Anton: "Unfortunately, I do not know the answer. But I can tell you about the two possible ways we are going to release British ground vehicles.

The first way would be to split the release of British tanks by introducing Premium vehicles first and relatively soon, with the rest of the vehicles following in a later Update, maybe a month after the first release. The second way would be to release the British tanks in one with a later Update as soon as we have the minimum of 27 vehicles ready.

The problem in fact is that at the moment, we don't have enough British tanks ready. Each and every tank is a huge amount of work, not only regarding preparation of documents and datasheets, but also to do the modelling. It requires seven man months to finish a model of single vehicle."

20. How many people at Gaijin are working at the direct development of War Thunder?

Anton: "Around 80, not counting people making 3d modelling, textures etc.As we do some outsourcing there, it's hard to tell how many people that would be in total, potentially up to 400."

21. Any info you want to share with us about ships?

Anton: "We have made several gameplay tests two years ago regarding ships, even before we started working on tanks. And the reason why we decided to go with tanks first was the fact that the gameplay of ships in the realistic environment of War Thunder was too, well, hardcore. As one goal we wanted to achieve before actually releasing the game was to find out how two different kinds of forces interact with each other, like aircraft and tanks or ships and aircraft, we decided to go with tanks first, as it could be implemented faster and easier.

Now, we still have more tanks with rocket armament and also the British tanks in the queue which we want to implement, and afterwards we may start working on ships again. I cannot say any dates for when we will be able to show you something at the moment."

22. What about infantry? Why we don't get playable infantry units?

Anton: "Right now it's not possible. The first reason is that War Thunder has a 'Teen' rating, which disallows 'killing' of human characters (depending on region, it can be any killing or only blood). And the second reason is that any aircraft, tank or ship in a realistic game is much more powerful than a single guy with a gun."

23. I tested War Thunder a couple of months ago with Oculus Rift DK2. As I disliked the resolution, I didn't stick to it. Alternatively, I switched to a multi-monitor setup. Will there be added multi-monitor support like spherical projection or improvements for Oculus Rift?

Anton: "At the moment, we support up to three monitors in War Thunder with increased FOV, while keeping the UI only on the central monitor. For the great majority of users, that will be a more than sufficient solution. Not for spherical projection, of course, but at the moment we do not plan to support that, as we believe more in Virtual Reality technologies than in this alternative which requires many or really big monitors to work properly.

As you have tested the DK2 version of the Oculus VR system: We are currently looking forward to the following developments, which should offer better resolution and thus a better ability to read e.g. the instruments on aircraft dashboards."

24. Currently, in Ground Battles, the wrecks of vehicles disappear after a while. Why do they not remain as objects on the map, are there any plans to change this?

Anton: "This has been a constant discussion since the very beginning of the alpha test of Ground Forces. The problem is, in Arcade Battles, for example, each side can spawn around fifty vehicles in a single battle, not counting NPCs, which means that there could be more than one hundred wrecks sitting on the battlefield. That would cause most of the places of the map to be cluttered and unusable. So, if we are talking about Arcade mode, implementing this makes little sense. Even in Realistic, due to the respawn points system, there can be so many vehicles fielded that it will clutter the map, making it impossible to e.g. pass the only bridge because a dead Maus is sitting there. And while it can be argued that in most cases players would not wreck their vehicle in a 'bottleneck', let's even say that would be true for 90% of the cases, there are still 10% of battles left which would be immediately ruined for all 32 players, maybe except for the single guy who did it on purpose. The only game mode where this would probably not be as much of a problem is Simulator mode. At the moment, however, we do not believe a change only in Simulator would be beneficial, as it would change the gameplay experience significantly compared to the other modes, while we are trying to keep it similar, except for obvious differences.

This situation is comparable to e.g. the destruction of bridges by heavy vehicles. Let's stick with the Maus as an example. We could make it so that bridges can only carry certain weight and let it collapse under the immense weight of the Maus, which is technically easily possible and also realistic - but it's not necessarily fun. Everyone would hate the poor Maus driver for crashing the bridge, which may have been the last remaining path to the objective. And the players would not only hate the poor Maus driver for it, but also us - since we are the ones who made it possible in the first place. Exactly the same would be true for allowing wrecks to stay in 'bottlenecks' - players would immediately jump on us for making this possible.

So, there is no easy answer for this in general. May be the solution could be to keep them, and make them only disappear when absolutely no one is looking at them. Or to keep them forever, and enable the ability to either destroy or move them. Both of the latter solutions, destruction and towing away, would greatly alter the gameplay, as it's an action the player has to do, which always needs to be considered, not even mentioning the problem that towing away a Maus, for example, would not be so easy. Now, what needed to be understood is that War Thunder already a very complex game regarding its gameplay mechanics; it takes a lot of time for a new player to get used to, e.g. to the damage model, and this would be another contributing factor to gameplay complexity. So, at least for the moment, the current situation is safe for everyone and it gives us more time to think and discuss potential solutions."

25. In reference to the wrecks not staying on the map, why not implement an event testing exactly that? Like you did for the points system now used in RB?

Anton: "It's not so easy to do it just like that. We have to do additional changes, as it could lead to about 100 wrecks lying on the map, and as each of our models has around 100.000 triangles, we would first have to implement a special LOD for that to avoid having ten million triangles in one frame. It firstly would require some efforts from our side. They are not huge, but would still require time. Also physics simulation and networking should be done for all of wrecks too. They are easier to simulate and to synchronise most of the time (as they do not move), but it still extra calculations and data for both servers and clients - it can't be free for your computer. Maybe later - and of course, if we have actual plans to change the wreck behaviour, we will try it in an event first, as we most times do. But I can't say it will happen soon."

26. In the App Store, I found an App called 'War Thunder Companion', and it says it's from Gaijin Entertainment. Is it really yours? I tried it, and have some problems running it.

Anton: "Yes, it is indeed our application. Please report any problems with it to the forums, so we can take a look at fixing them."

27. In the past, there were fun events like the Mechs and even flying Ponies - will stuff like that come back one day? Maybe something like a da Vinci event, allowing you to fly paper planes?

Anton: "The ponies were our first April fools event, which we usually do not repeat. For the "Mechs" we made a rare exception because they were just so much fun to play (and because it is separate event), which is why you were able to play them in the recent Summertime Madness special series. Of course we will include more and new events of this kind on future April fools days, but they are not intended to be constant. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you anything for our upcoming April Fools event plans, as, to be honest, we don't really plan these at all. Usually, one week before April Fools, someone comes up with a cool idea and just does it. That's also why we had two events this year, rubber tanks and mechs. Two of our guys wanted to implement them, and so they did."

28. What sparked the idea to actually start developing War Thunder?

Anton: "The short and easy but wrong answer would be, that all Russians are ought to make military games, right? But for the long version, there is actually a bigger story behind it. Back in around 2006, I guess, we started to work on IL2: Sturmovik - Birds of Prey, an aircraft combat game for console, which was released in 2009. In 2008, during development, we understood that the situation on the market for aircraft games was very bad. While the whole gaming market was growing, the flight simulation genre was declining. The main reason for that was that real flight sims became too... unaffordable for newbies. While War Thunder is still may be not the best newbie experience in the world, compare it to e.g. DCS, where you have to read manuals for at least an hour before you can even think about taking off and you can only do that with an actual flight stick and TrackIR for good measure.

Because of these high hurdles of entry into the flight simulation genre, the situation on the PC market for this type of game was not good. And the reason that this situation did not change was mostly because of the simple fact that those who did develop flight simulation games, were communicating only with members of the flight simulation community,who loved and still love to read manuals and all that. And as most of the feature requests for the existing games also came only from hardcore simulation enthusiasts, ultimately the whole flight simulation community became so exclusive, that it reduced itself to a few thousand player at best.

And that was the fundamental problem. In order for a genre to evolve, it also needs the input of new players, people joining the genre. Of course you need to satisfy the already existing audience, but you also need to make it approachable for newbies. Before they will start reading manuals, they need to fell urge for that, to start love skies. Other 'arcade' games on the market were not even real flight games (not much more than side-scrollers), and really were not of the same genre, also distracting newcomers (who came to try real planes and not reincarnation of Space Invaders).

So, here we were, identifying this situation and already in the process of developing a flight simulation game for console, where practically no flight simulation community existed anyway and alternative control schemes needed to be developed to make it accessible. We had written the concept of the game (with different working title those days), pretty close to what War Thunder was 3 years ago and even submitted this concept to Sony as PS3 title (that was long before PS4) and got approval. After the release of the IL-2 game in 2009, this made it one of the core driving forces to start developing War Thunder for PC, as PS3 wasn't best fit for MMO. (Also we had to self-fund it, because publishers had not faith in military MMO). The second core driving force was the fact that the prospect of an MMO flight simulation game was... cool, frankly speaking!"

29. I'm wondering, what do you like to play? Besides as well as in War Thunder? What game modes?

Anton: "I play War Thunder most of the time, but also like mobile games. In War Thunder, at the very moment I mostly play Ground Battles with Calliope. Sometimes I play Realistic or Simulator, but most of the time I play Arcade.

As a developer, I also play other games a lot - not necessarily because I like them, but because I want to understand them."

30. Why are the Battle Ratings of jets generally so low?

Anton: "One of my favourite questions, of course. I love questions like "Why does this vehicle have such a low or high Battle Rating?". In this case, for jets, I would prefer to emphasize the recent changes we have started to introduce. In these, we fixed the amount of jets you can have in a battle, so it's no longer possible to have e.g. 7 jets and only one piston aircraft in a team. At the same time, we evened the number of jets among the teams, so if two jets are on one team MM tries to fill two jets to the other team. Before that, the matchmaking was only based on the Battle Ratings themselves, which could lead to the ugly situations where - although perfectly within the Battle Rating ranges - you could have one team made up almost exclusively of jets, while the other had none.

Now, answering a question like "Why is the battle rating so low?" is quite difficult, because someone who asks that question is most likely not interested in the actual reason. What you actually want to ask, is for me to increase the Battle Rating, in this case for jets, instead of the reason for the current value, which is already a well known fact - it's known that we base our Battle Ratings on the performance data we gather through statistics. So, now that we know what you want to know, let me first tell you that I am actually not the guy responsible for setting the Battle Ratings; their definition is not my decision. Secondly, we will change the Battle Ratings if the statistics indicate it is necessary.

Speaking about Jets a bit more in general, though - they are very different (and not necessarily more fun) in combat. I am not saying that because I don't like them - which I don't, by the way - but because it's hard to kill them when you're not in a jet. They are not awful because they are killing too much, which is why they have the Battle Ratings they have. They are actually may be not good at killing at all, according to their Kill-Death-Ratio. But it's almost impossible to kill them from piston plane, which is why everybody hates them - if they are not flying jets themselves. So, unfortunately, that's how it is. Jets are hard to kill because they are flying fast - and the only possible solution would be to remove jets entirely from the game, there is no way you can fix that with Battle Ratings.

If you increase them so high that it's only Jets vs Jets, then it's not going to change a thing - jets would just become another game, which means there would be a "jet game" and everything else below that. The ranking and matchmaking system would not work any more, making it essentially the same as removing them from the game. So, unless we make the decision to remove jets from the game, we have to live with them being part of the whole game - so there are two solutions at hand.

First solution is to buy a jet and be the guy that is hated, and the second solution is the quantitative matchmaking that has been recently previewed."

31. Will it be, at some point in the future, possible to sell vehicles from your hangar?

Anton: "That wouldn't make sense. Their price is already accounted for in our progress requirements. Take for example World of Tanks, where you are always buying and selling your tanks. You do that because you have a limited space in your hangar, and because you need the money to buy a new one. In War Thunder, you have unlimited space in your hangar and the economy is already tweaked so that you do not have to sell your vehicles for progress reasons. So, if we would do that, we would have to increase the prices for the vehicles to keep the economy working as it is, but that is actually not the biggest reason why we are not doing that. 

First of all, it's a 'lovely' idea to make gamers sell what they have, because that keeps them "hooked" - more addicted. They always have to choose between selling their vehicles or buying a new slot for real money, which would be additional revenue for us, which is cool, right:)? But adding the possibility of selling something is what we call in the industry a "destructive action", because you can spoil a users experience with it. Let's say someone gets access to your account, a bad guy, and he wants to spoil everything for you. In War Thunder, he cannot do that. He can buy some things that may even be useless for you, but since they are in the game, they are still useful for something or someone. So, if that would happen, you'd be a little bit upset about the situation, that someone spend all of your Eagles or Lions on something you didn't want in the first place. But you won't be too upset, because at least it's there - he hasn't destroyed anything.

If you can sell something in a game, that means that someone - again our hypothetical bad guy - can make a destructive action. He can destroy everything you have. So, although the idea itself is nice revenue-wise :) as it keeps people hooked and makes them spend money, it puts pressure on people. They need to control what they are doing, think about their decisions and not let anyone have access to their accounts. Right now, in War Thunder, it doesn't actually make sense to attack another's account, as the game is build around the principle that you cannot perform a "wrong" choice by doing a destructive action. Even buying something is never "wrong", as it always gives you something in return. It may not be the best choice for you, but it's not wrong to do it. It will not happen that you completely spoiled your game experience after that.

The game is already very complex. So, adding something that can potentially spoil your later game experience, like selling vehicles, may not be a bright idea. After the first time you would sell something that you didn't intend to sell because you were a newbie and didn't know what to do, from that point you would be horrified to do anything in the game. With so many choices to do and some of them potentially being very dangerous, it might lead to you avoiding to do anything. And that is what we don't want to happen."

32. What about indirect firing artillery or rocket artillery? Will we ever see that in game?

Anton: "Artillery - or rather, realistically implemented artillery - is extremely boring to play. You can't see anything, you are shooting somewhere and then you will get a radio message telling you whether this was a good shot or not. So, you adjust your fire and shoot again. That is not only extremely boring for those playing artillery, but also very frustrating for those damaged by artillery. So, we are not going to add player controlled, indirect artillery - as NPCs, that's ok.

Rocket systems are already in the game, as we have the Calliope - which I play a lot, I really love it, by the way. So, we will be seeing more rocket-equipped vehicles in the future. For the Katyusha system I'm not so sure, as we would have to sacrifice a bit of realism for it. In real life, a Katyusha had a fixed minimum firing elevation of 8° (average 22°), so you cannot shoot directly. For obvious reasons, that's not good for our game, as it's boring, remember? If we would sacrifice that realism, then we can add Katyusha as well. By the way, there have been at least two confirmed direct kills of a tank by a Katyusha in real life, and the official orders on how to use the vehicle included a situation where the crew was advised to dig a hole (or use existing) in front of the vehicle then place the front tires in that hole and shoot directly at the enemy that way. As you can imagine, that's completely not working for our game - digging holes and everything. So, in order to implement it, we would have to sacrifice realism by allowing it to lower the firing system, simulating it being 'dug in' - but we would have to allow that anywhere, even on stone, or people would have a hard time to understand the game mechanics behind it.

Anyway, there have been a lot of other rocket vehicles besides Katyusha. Not so many in World War II, only around five I think, but as we are going with tanks up to the 1970ies, there were quite a few of them which we can and will implement relatively soon."

33. Russian Bias! A statement that is very often discussed on forums and communities...

Anton: "My favourite one! There is well-known Russian Bias in War Thunder for the International community, but what is much less known for these communities is the U.S. Bias and German Bias, which are very lively in the Russian community, where people hadn't heard about Russian Bias. So, depending on the country you are coming from, Gaijin is biased against it. We are Russian biased because we are Russians, we love Russian vehicles and thus make them overpowered and everyone else underpowered. We are also biased towards the U.S., because players from the USA pay more. So, we make their vehicles overpowered as a reward for the money they are investing, and the Russian players have to suffer because of that. We are also Germany biased, for two combined reasons. They also pay more than Russians, and in addition to that - it's untranslatable, but in Russian it just means we "simply love Germans" ("Немцефилы").

So, I think if all communities would speak one language and we could combine them, the whole Bias thing would just "annihilate". But before that, we have to live with mainly three biases. Well, there is also British Bias because Spitfires are cool. The only bias we really don't have now is Japanese Bias (or we simply haven't get it translated from Chinese\Korean community).​"

34. About Enduring Confrontation, the mode with battles going for several hours, are there more plans to improve and implement this mode? How about Arcade?

Anton: "Yes, there are plans. For Arcade, I don't know. For the moment, there will be only Realistic and of course Simulator - for Arcade maybe later, not sure yet. We have one guy who is constantly working on this game mode, working on Enduring Confrontation. He is one of the game designers - he will decide what will happen there.​"

35. The anti-aircraft weaponry of ships, especially transport or cargo ones, seems way too powerful and precise. Why did you make them so hard to destroy?

Anton: "Frankly speaking, it should be even harder to destroy them, to be more close to real life. But we are a game, so we have to keep it playable, which is why the AA artillery is probably not as effective as it actually was. So, I disagree that they are too hard or impossible to destroy. I do it all the time, so I am quite sure other players can do it, too. Of course there can be something off in how we set them, but it's tricky to keep it fun, challenging and interesting at the same time. Maybe there is some unbalance there right now, or maybe it is just a personal preference. I need to check the statistics about that."

36. I have maxed many nations and currently have over 10 million Silver Lions. Recently there were packs introduced where we could spend the excess, will there be more possibilities like this or even the chance to convert them to Eagles?

Anton: "I don't know the answer, but according to the statistics, almost 20% of Golden Eagles are spent to convert them to Silver Lions. It may be correct that for some players, we are lacking ways to spend their Silver Lions in the end game. Our statistics show that about 3% of the players have way too much Lions. It's probably highly depending not only on how you play, but also what kind of vehicles you play. I know it's an ongoing discussion between the guys in the office, but at the moment it is affecting not too many players. You, for example, would be a part of these small group of our players affected for it. Of course I am not saying you and the others are not important, I'm just stating it is not such a common situation. For most of the players it is quite the opposite, they buy Silver Lions. Maybe we can utilize the recently introduced Squadrons that can be purchased with Silver Lions for something here, I have to see.

So, for now - we have some internal discussion on what to do, but no definite plans right now."

37. Is it actually possible for bullets to ricochet off the aircraft structure, like wings and fuselage?

Anton: "Of course, but it depends highly on the material. A 30 mm bullet is highly unlikely to ricochet off wood or cloth."

38. Would it be possible to include more and diverse bombing targets to aircraft maps? Like industrial areas or also bombing zones that are more than just one flat target? As an example, the airfield could be divided into hangar buildings, control buildings and the airstrip itself which would have to be destroyed individually to render the airfield destroyed. Or a factory target could be made out of several smaller halls and a bigger hall, for that matter, with all of them having to be destroyed to count as a destroyed bombing target.

Anton: "I will write down this suggestion to discuss it internally with the designers. I cannot answer it right now, as it was not really a question.​"

39. In regards to the Air Forces vs. the Ground Forces economy, it really seems to be that the Air Forces are much easier to grind than the Ground Forces - meaning the latter take much longer to advance through. Why?

Anton: "A couple of days ago I have looked at the chart describing earnings and spendings in both economies.On the higher Battle Ratings of aircraft, there is one spot which resembles somewhat of an anomaly, where the spendings are much lower than the earnings. It only applies to a couple of Battle Rating steps out of 25 we have, so I consider it as an error that needs to be fixed. Other than that, those charts were almost the same."

40. Regarding Assists - why is the difference in rewards between those who do the actual kill and those who do damage so high against NPCs? If two player do fifty percent of the damage, it feels like the one that made the last hit gets much more! Who not make it more fair?

Anton: "Good question. Of course there should be some difference between those who only deal damage and those who actually do the kill, because that's also how it was in real life. The one who destroyed the aircraft carrier got a Hero medal, while the others didn't. It also makes sense, since as long as the aircraft carrier is not killed, it is still operational, so it is still a threat. But at the same time, we are a game - so I don't know right now. I will be checking back with the guys making these decisions."

41. Why can a Commander of a Squadron not demote himself or other Commanders (in the old squadrons)?

Anton: "We had many situations in the past where someone created a Squadron by paying for it and later decided to promote someone else to leadership to leave the squadron. Then, after a while, they contact Support, saying the new leader is bad, that they don't like him any more and that they want control of the squadron, which they paid for, back. Or that it was not their doing, that it was someone else, and they want to be put in charge again. That puts us and our Support in a difficult situation, as we want to avoid our Support having to make a judgement over such matters. So, we made it hard to demote oneself from the position of Commander, but this still does not eliminate the possibility of such situations altogether."

42. What about dynamic weather? It would be cool to see that.

Anton: "Technically, it is not a big issue. It could be done immediately. But we haven't done that because it makes things... harder, especially in Arcade mode, but also in Realistic. You, for example, start to do something and die, so after re-spawning, you want to fix the mistake you did on your previous attempt. But by then, the situation in battle, e.g. the weather, has changed - and you suddenly cannot do this action in the same way again. You would have to do something else, which may feel 'less fair'. Or the other way around: Someone makes a right choice, but then e.g. the wind changed, and you cannot do the same choice yourself. People may interpret such things in a way that they get angry that the situation is less favourable for them now.

That is one thing, and the other thing is that the scale of our battles is too small, except for Enduring Confrontation. All other battles are like 15 to 30 minutes, and weather is not changing in such a small time frame. I mean, it's in the game, we can activate it now, but besides the points mentioned earlier, it's actually not that realistic."

43. Any plans to prevent spawn camping or cap zone camping by bombers in Arcade tank battles?

Anton: "Why is that a problem? First of all, you cannot kill people that just spawned in the spawn zone, as they are invincible. You can, however, kill them if they, for some reason, decide to stay there, which is a bad idea and they should not do that anyway. If you decide to shoot over long distances and you see a bomber in the sky, don't camp in the spawn zone. So, your issue is mostly with the capture zones. But that is a part of the game play. As a bomber, that's what you have to do to win the game. The only reason why you are in a bomber is to prevent people from capping zones, mostly.

Ok, let me tell you from my personal experience. I play Arcade tank battles a lot - and I can feel your pain regarding good bomber pilots. I know it's not really good for my team, but I almost never use the bombers myself, so I waste a lot of points that I accumulate in battle, as mostly I am too busy with killing people on the ground. But as much as I hate them when they do happen to bomb me, if you perform sane and reasonable actions, it is actually rare to be killed by bombs. If you remember, we introduced a delay to the bomb explosion if you drop below one kilometre in a bomber, which gives anyone, except Maus maybe, enough time to get away.

So, the answer is probably: If you see a big bomber in the sky, better not camp the cap zone at all costs and get out of the spawn zones. Maybe my game designers have different data and statistics than me on the matter, but as a player I can tell you that I kill much more aircraft from the ground than they happen to kill me. When I play together with my brother in a squad, he always picks the bombers when available - and also always drops them from higher than a kilometre. He's very efficient at doing that, so I guess that may lead people to hate him for it. He mostly bombs capture points, as that is the reasonable thing to do. So, in short: If you see a bomber in the sky, just get out of the capture zone. It's not that hard. If you are too busy to avoid your own death, that is your choice. I don't see it as a big problem right now, not only from my own experience, but also looking at the kill statistics of bombers, which have declined massively since we introduced the change with the bomb explosion delay."


Discuss on the Forums

Cookie-files

This website uses cookies. By continuing to access this website you are giving consent to cookies being used.