We're the developers of WWII Online: Battleground Europe. Today is our 15th anniversary from when we originally launched the game (June 6th, 2001). We're a the definition of an indie development team with a lot of different backgrounds, and we have a pretty incredible story of survival.

History: In 2012 our final investor left and with it about 90% of our original team. It came down to 5 core members who decided to stick it out. Now we have 26 people working on the game and have just released a series of important game updates.

Joining us today is Xoom using the "CorneredRatSoftware" account, he's the Executive Producer (Project Manager). We also have Tgunr-CRS who is our CTO, Pilotmc-CRS who is our Lead Systems Administrator, Victarus who is our Lead Game Developer, Frisbone-CRS a Game Developer, Ohm-CRS our Community Manager, Badger-CRS our Assistant Community Manager, Fohdron-CRS our Quality Assurance Lead, Sniper62-CRS our Lead Community Tools Developer and B2k a Community Tools Dev.

My Proof: http://reddit.wwiionline.com/images/reddit-proof.JPG

Learn more about the game and start playing it here: http://reddit.wwiionline.com

Comments: 263 • Responses: 38  • Date: 

LatajacyNalesnik14 karma

I've played this some long time ago. Maybe it's time to go back, but...any plans for soviets? As long time PzIII driver in this one (and flashimjagger, my god that was best thing in this game) I would love to see dozen T34s with dozens of players rushing through Ukraine :D

CorneredRatSoftware11 karma

No plans for Soviets, not for this version. We just recently added the FG42 for the Fallschirmjager (German Paratroopers), and several other weapons. Right now there's a welcome back soldier going on, so if you have an account with us, it's very likely unlocked and ready to play. Go try it out :)

lostpatrol4 karma

I play a lot of War Thunder, and these types of war games seem huge with the eastern European/Russian scene. You guys may be missing out.

CorneredRatSoftware4 karma

No doubt, being the definition of an indie team we have some challenges, but we're working on it. We just assembled a marketing team to help us capture more interest globally.

scottyhp8 karma

I've heard WW2 online might make it to the Steam library in the future. Is this still in the works?

CorneredRatSoftware16 karma

Hey Scotty,

Yes we've just released game update "1.35," which stabilized a lot of important aspects of the game, like lag, client performance and a lot of back end work. This is the foundation piece for a successful Steam launch. We maintain being Greenlit and are assured that when ever we're ready, we can deploy, so there is no expiration. Our goal is 6-12 months from now.

JAGUART6 karma

What would you do with your game if you suddenly had pie-in-the-sky funding?

CorneredRatSoftware11 karma

We have plans to modernize our games graphics rendering engine. There's a lot of great stuff going on behind the scenes in our game, but there's a lot of visual stuff that holds people back. Our game play is solid but for many, graphics is the hold up. We'd look at that and modernizing a lot of our code, systems, and what we can do to introduce a new theatre of operations. ~ There's a lot more that goes into that, but that's really the base line, "how do we make it go another 15 years," being the mindset.

JammedHam6 karma

Is there any chance us Free-2-Play vets will get a bit more slack for units?

CorneredRatSoftware12 karma

As we prepare for Steam we're going to review access for free players. Our free players remain really important to us and I think we can continue to look at adding more weapons to that class type. For example, we introduced a limited submachine gun for each country, so free players can get a taste of what other weapons exist.

Because we don't do micro-transactions (which our customers prefer mostly), we have to carefully provide the access while making sure there is incentive to subscribe. At the end of the day subscriptions keeps the lights on, but we also value and understand the benefits of having as many players in game.

dt10286 karma

I was an original beta tester for the game and still pop in to play on occasion.

Are there any plans to add in some of the large complex underground bunkers that were in the original beta? I still have screen shots of them from back in like 2001.

What about adding some "behind the lines" missions? You have all these towns not being used for anything away from the front. For example a file cabinet that spawns a few towns back. A player can bump into the cabinet for a certain amount of time and "steal" the documents. If they can RTB with them then the documents are captured. Maybe have this effect RDP.

CorneredRatSoftware3 karma

Perhaps for version 2.0 for both of these items. Our terrain is currently not very kind to work with (pretty dated technology at this stage). When we look at Unreal more closely and we've been published on Steam, our goal is to start integrating a new graphics rendering engine to the game.

The behind the lines missions sound pretty neat, I've thought about them a bit. My goal right now is to make the game's population much healthier which in turn will boost morale for everyone and improve the games health as a whole. Good feedback, and glad to hear you still play S!

WWIIonliner4 karma

What do you think about my reddit username guys?

CorneredRatSoftware2 karma

Think it's pretty bad ass tbh. S!

mantomanwar4 karma

so you said in your roadmap of this game that your trying to bring in a medical system with medics that can "heal" infantry to a point. is there going to be a unit in the future that can repair minor damage to vehicles? like repairing a track on a tank?

CorneredRatSoftware5 karma

Vehicle crews way back when had the ability to do basic maintenance, and were trained on replacing treads. Two things we've thought about... 1) Engineers being able to repair tank treads with repair kits or some other type of tool, or 2) Tanks being able to replace their own treads ~ this would give tankers the ability to correct themselves, and it would be like "You can't shoot while this is happening, and it will take x amount of minutes to complete."

unpilot11 karma

Day one player here...(unpilot)...any chance we can get the ability to tow ATG's with Armour?

CorneredRatSoftware2 karma

It's on the list, we're seriously looking at it, because well yes it's historically accurate.

chknfckrww24 karma

Any plans on adding some more terrain objects to the game with the terrain overhaul? Maybe some chickens we can run over or some cows we can hide behind.

CorneredRatSoftware5 karma

Right now we're really interested in exploring more "Player Placed Objects," so we can make the battlefield a bit more dynamically generated by the players. We have a few great items currently being developed for just that, but no spoilers, sorry :).

Armor93 karma

The WWIIOL engine and graphic are very dated and controls (specifically infantry controls) feel very "clunky" when compared with more recently made FPS games. Has there been any discussion on updating the WWIIOL engine to a more modern one (i.e. Unreal, Unity, CryEngine, etc.)?

CorneredRatSoftware9 karma

Yes very much so, I just mentioned to "JAGUART" a little of our plan, but the gist of it is it will be a long and slow integration over time. We're looking at the Unreal Engine now doing some preliminary digging into it. Our more immediate focus is to get on Steam.

Our game is still really fun to play and is solid in terms of how it flows. Getting more people playing (and subscribing) will result into a healthier community and add more funds for us to bring more talent onboard to make these things happen faster.

gunnyL3 karma

So its like ww2 era planetside with tanks planes and infantry on the same map?

CorneredRatSoftware12 karma

Yeah that's actually a really great explanation, but we were here first so... who took the idea? But yes, we have a 300,000 sq km map modeled at the half scale of Europe. It is all interconnected and there is no boundaries, you could quite literally fly your plane, drive your tank, or walk across the whole map, terrain permitting.

FreezeHun3 karma

And gasoline permitting. Speaking off, when will gas stations actually be able to fill up your tank so you can keep on driving?

CorneredRatSoftware2 karma

Eh not exactly a priority atm actually, would rather us get on Steam then fill up some Gas =D.

FreezeHun1 karma

Filling up your gas tank can't be THAT hard, compared to getting a game ready enough to be on Steam.

CorneredRatSoftware4 karma

Is it worth the time investment though? These are the challenging questions you have to ask yourself when leading a project like this. Very easy to get distracted and lose sight of the big picture.

yodatbootydoe3 karma

Do ya'll have in-game voice comms or anything? not seeing any info on your page u linked about it?

CorneredRatSoftware5 karma

We have teamspeak, http://wwiionline.com/teamspeak. No integrated comms yet, but it's on our desired list for sure, would really help reduce the learning curve and get players communicating more easily.

DemandCommonSense3 karma

Can Rafter still be found hanging around the in-game sheep or has he left entirely?

CorneredRatSoftware5 karma

We see him on Facebook on occasion, maybe in OT (I never venture there). He's still an avid supporter and we appreciate all he did for the game.

Finglished2 karma

How many daily players does World War II Online have?

CorneredRatSoftware1 karma

This question always seems to come up, sadly it's our policy not to disclose numbers. I can tell you that right now our population is doubled in all time zones thanks to the free premium June promotion.

ronearc2 karma

Not being a smartass here, just curious. How did your game survive what was arguably the WORST launch in MMO history?

CorneredRatSoftware4 karma

Totally a valid question, the answer is some really great people and support. It was no doubt disastrous, the fact is without our community and our staff I'm not sure if any other team and company could've endured. That's true even as of the blow out of 2012.

FreezeHun2 karma

When are Rats going to hang out more in Axis Teamspeak as opposed to the Alliban TS?

CorneredRatSoftware3 karma

We have Rats in both teamspeaks routinely, I know myself, Tgunr, Gvonpaul and Kms are frequently in the TS3 chatting with people.

yodatbootydoe2 karma

WhaT does uR office look like? i wanna make cOmptr games me and my bro aLLways wanted to make a ww2 game

CorneredRatSoftware3 karma

Thanks to Google Maps for providing this epic (horrible) picture. We're based in Bedford Texas, we're in a suite here: https://gyazo.com/a3fc49e288504194cab80f51489bda4b

Goodluck to you and your brother, making a game is tough so study hard and start practicing programming as soon as you can.

cpz11382 karma

Many MMORPGs have at their core a levelling up system using the game XP as a 'points currency' that both drives and rewards play - do you have any plans to overhaul the current XP system, given that many players have maxed out at max rank (unsurprising given the longevity of the game)?

CorneredRatSoftware3 karma

I think as we begin looking at the next version of the game, at this time it would make complete sense. As it is now, our path is to make a successful Steam release supersede everything else.

Vasduten12 karma

Hey guys!

I have been a player since early release beta, back when you had to go buy a CD and then download a HUGE update via landline 56K modem!

A TON has changed since then. All for the best.

We appreciate all that you've accomplished in the recent push to get 1.35 implemented and the recent additions to infantry models. I'd like to know;

What plans are there for the air game? -Will the Axis finally get a bomber equivalent to the Havoc or DB-7? (Do17,) -Will air ranking be adjusted so someone doesn't go out, score an actual A2A kill and only get a few points?

How about the ballistics audit? When will that start?

Thanks, Vas

CorneredRatSoftware1 karma

We've been thinking about different variants for the aircraft we have, an example would be the 109E-4B, which has a 250kg bomb on it.

thebaronofsd2 karma

madrebel - wondering when the team is willing to talk about and or commit to larger changes that bring new gameplay into the world and or fix really old things that ... well suck.

we've had TOEs in unchanged since forever, it needs updated. RDP needs to be good, but how? Certain graphics changes made in the past have negatively impacted the airwar. Lack of mission types for the airwar.

etc etc, when can we talk about these things? new models look great, the patches, seriously commendable great job, but I'm still not resubbing.

Is there anything you can comment on that would have the new team taking off a bit larger and sexier bite soon?

CorneredRatSoftware5 karma

We're just reaching the point of starting to "work" on the game again instead of just trying to figure out how to make it (which is a great relief). I'd be interested to hear more from you how RDP could be "Good" as you coin it, there's a lot of ideas looming around but it's hard for me to judge what you're thinking without much insight on your thoughts.

Now that 1.35 is out and the game is overall pretty stabilized, we're setting our sights on going back to town based supply (hopefully for 1.36) and introducing what features we can, like a series of player placed objects.

Thanks for the words of encouragement as well.

carvsdabomb2 karma

What was your favorite part about working on the game?

CorneredRatSoftware3 karma

I was a player and a fan of the game before taking on the Project Lead spot. Having the ability to not only work on "the" game you are truly passionate about, but also guide it to success has been a real joy and dream come true for me.

unpilot12 karma

While I am thinking about it....any chance of getting the FB's to open towards the town they are attacking?? It seems like at least 90% require a 180 degree turn after spawn

CorneredRatSoftware3 karma

We don't really have any plans to manipulate the placement of the forward bases at this point. Somewhere down the road we'll likely modify them and perhaps change the mechanics behind the FB's as well, but that's pretty distant and not exactly concrete.

major0noob1 karma

concerning BE2, will you crowdfund again or are you looking for producers/partners?

CorneredRatSoftware2 karma

Our goal is to release on Steam, and Amazon Games / Apple Store when the time is right. By then we hope to have a significantly larger amount of new fans (coupled with a bunch of our old ones) and run a successful Crowd funding campaign. We're open to discussing stuff of course (with investors, producers, partners), but for us to maintain creative control and the direction we want to go it's better for us to doing as much as we can with our fan's support.

major0noob0 karma

how about completly selling out and giving the game to someone else, like DICE or anyone else with lots of money and similar games?

CorneredRatSoftware4 karma

No one would have kept the game alive this long, any other company would have shut it off and called it a loss back in 2012. Our only plan is to make every decision possible to bring the best outcome for the game and its loyal community.

OzymandiasKoK1 karma

Who's still around from way way back in the day?

bshef3 karma

SHEF, Rat Intern from 2011 - 2012 checking in! S!

CorneredRatSoftware3 karma

Dude, what's up! Good to see ya.

bshef3 karma

Couldn't resist jumping in the IAMA!

CorneredRatSoftware2 karma

Yeah it's been a good experience and we've been talking about doing this for awhile. All things considered, now seems to be the most appropriate time.

bshef2 karma

I've been following along on Facebook. You guys have been kicking major ass! As soon as I can build a new PC, I'll be back in the game.

My PC died like 2 years ago, and I've been too busy with the kids to rebuild. It's been KILLING ME not to have a gaming machine!

CorneredRatSoftware2 karma

That'd be awesome, it has been a long time for sure. We've got several new weapons, too bad ya can't get in right now because population is like double with our current WBS promo =). Thanks for the support no less, it's been a long road to getting these "good vibes" back in order.

meat_croissant1 karma

Will this game ever support HMDs?

CorneredRatSoftware2 karma

We haven't completely ruled it out, but we're not aggressively pursuing it atm. We have Track IR compatibility in the mean time.

GoozePaul1 karma

Any plans for a new game?

Edit: I was thinking in a few years a sequel or graphical overhaul

CorneredRatSoftware4 karma

Hey Paul, our general plan is to get more players into the game via publishing opportunities, 1) Steam, 2) Amazon Games, 3) Apple Store. Once we've done that we'll have many more players in game and thousands of new fans, ready to support a crowd funding initiative to begin creating the next version.

Based on some very rough discussion with our internal dev team we're thinking of replacing or really improving components of our existing engine, because we do some stuff that is really superb and unmatched.

A couple of items immediately on the list is, 1) New Graphics engine, 2) New User Interface, 3) New terrain, 4) Integrated Voice comms if we can. There's more we can go in to, but overall we have a great game, it just needs some technical debt overhauled and a lot of the "what customers see and interact with" improved.

GoozePaul2 karma

Do you know when it will have steam support? I'll definitely be picking it up, I've been watching gameplay since I saw the ama.

CorneredRatSoftware2 karma

Hey GoozePaul, probably 6-12 months. Since we've just rebuilt the team and stabilized the game, we've just kinda reached that point where we can start to go, "Hey let's make this better!" Kinda crazy how things worked out, it's been some divine guidance, luck, and great people.

Nothing stopping you from trying it now though, free premium for the remainder of June, make an account and give it a shot :).

zeroteck01 karma

It sounds like this game has been through a lot of turnover over the past 15 years between players and staff. It also sounds like this game is huge in as far as your servers and stuff go.

Would you ever consider a method making some or all elements of the game open source? So that it can be modded and ran by others? Or anything to that affect? Or is it all proprietary and the advancement and development limited to your dev team?

CorneredRatSoftware2 karma

It's pretty proprietary at this stage, but 90% of our current development team were once community members (players). So I'm probably the most open to considering community help in this regard than pretty much any of my predecessors. Some of that is based on necessity, a larger part is because I was once in the community myself so I see the potential a bit more.

We've been through a lot in general, but we have a gaming community that is second to none (biased of course :D) and together we've managed to keep it going, and now banded together to make it go further - WOOT!

TheNimbrod1 karma

What do you think as a developer about the German BPJM?

CorneredRatSoftware2 karma

We've had no issues. We don't allow any swastikas or third reich materials so it's a non issue for us. Not worth all the hoops and potential to sever a large player base.

Meathead_Mike1 karma

How much do you guys bench?

CorneredRatSoftware4 karma

We have some really strong typing fingers man, we bench code like, like a lot.

major0noob1 karma

any plans to make the air game more accessible? flying with M&KB is suicide, and even with a joystick we need to configure all sorts of stuff, then there's even more stuff like mics/pedals/trackIR.

the greentags have no chance of lifting, any plans to make it so anyone can immediately take off and fight/bomb competently in this version or the sequel?

edit: spelling

CorneredRatSoftware3 karma

Our game is considered a flight sim to many, and it is fun because it is challenging. There are some other mouse and keyboard flight games out there, but they're pretty "arcade-ish," call us old school but atm there's no real plan to factor that in to the current version.

The next version of the game may be a different story, but we don't want to make it too easy, not as a punishment, but a required skill level to be proficient.

SGSfanboy2 karma

I think one thing that has not been touched upon is that this game requires a pretty steep learning curve. That's part of the allure of this game. For new players there is a training server and off-line practice available for them to get up to speed.

CorneredRatSoftware3 karma

Yes there is both, including tutorials that were introduced around 2011. We also have this thing called a, "Host Squad," which is where brand new members of the game login and find they're in a squad where experienced players interact directly with them and get them up to speed.

Best possible thing is to get on Teamspeak 3 (VOIP), that will fundamentally improve any players game play experience as a new guy and as a veteran. Instant contact reports, easy question & answering, it's really great. One day (probably version 2) I'd love for us to have integrated voice comms, it's so valuable.