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Posted on Oct 23, 2006 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Close Combat Series Redux – Interview

Armchair General

Armchair General: What is your basic game plan for the series? A bundled re-release of all of them, updated for XP? Close Combat 6 with updates and improvements in the form of a new game? Something else?

[Shaun Wallace – CSO Simtek] That’s a strategic question that I will leave to David to answer. :)

[David Heath – Matrix Games] The games are being released in series with Close CombatCross of Iron (CCIII) being the first to be released. We are considering a modern version as well. All will be updated and have fixes in place for XP and many other factors. We are going to be making a more editions as we go along but we have not made any final plans.

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Armchair General: Are there any plans to upgrade the graphics of the first two games (especially CC1) to the standards of the latest ones?

[Shaun Wallace – CSO Simtek] Each version will be treated individually, but with Close Combat 1 it was felt that given the age of the code and the fact that the series and game engine changed dramatically after the first iteration and evolved into Close Combat 2 that there was little point in releasing the first in the series. I can say that graphics will be upgraded for Close CombatCross of Iron.

Armchair General: The AI has always been one of the few weaknesses on the Close Combat series, random placement of its units, inability to coordinate its actions, not very challenging, etc. – is it going to be reworked?

[Shaun Wallace – CSO Simtek] I would argue this point. In fact the psych and morale modeling and AI of Close Combat have yet to be beaten by any other game system. This is why it’s used by the military as a tactical trainer and why the community around Close Combat is still so strong so long after the last version was released. With any AI it’s very hard to make it resemble or even try to approximate a human player, which is ultimately what AI is aiming for. Given the morale and psych modeling and other factors, the AI within Close Combat is very strong and there are many ways to make it much harder. In fact, without any coding changes there are several mods that make the AI very challenging and almost impossible to beat. (And no it’s not simply a question of arming the enemy to the teeth and giving your guys only a knife). There are ways of forcing the AI to make use of and behave in ways that were not used in Close Combat as it was off the shelf. We are hoping to provide campaigns and operations for the beginner as well as making the game challenging for the vet players out there.

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There have been some significant changes made to the already great psychological and AI model. These will show up in both Head to Head play and against the AI. We would like the gamers to find out the changes themselves but I will say this. “Commanders are even more important to your squads now.” There are also past issues that always caused problems such as vehicle pathing etc., that have been reworked.

Armchair General: You are obviously a fan of the series to have taken an interest in this opportunity. Do you have some personal requests on your wish list you would like to see improved in this series right off the bat?

[David Heath – Matrix Games] I personally would like to see a feature that allows me to beat Shaun. :)

[Shaun Wallace – CSO Simtek] LOL, I imagine that David would like a feature like that; however he will just have to work on his gameplay. Seriously, this is a difficult question as every fan of the game has certain things “they” would like to see fixed or improved, there are many things I would like to see improved, much larger maps for tank battles, a much more complex strategic layer that did not seem “tacked on as an afterthought” the introduction of civilians to further complicate tactical scenarios, improved tracking of individual units and a more complete upgrade system for units, full replay function on battles, multi-player involving up to 10 players at a time and many more. What will go into the initial rebuilds will be scaled back however and is dependant on what is possible within engine and code limits.

Armchair General: If someone has the original games, is there any upgrade path or discount for those who want to get this new game or is this going to be something totally new and separate?

[David Heath – Matrix Games] There is really no way for us to do this and these will be new titles from our point of view.

Armchair General: Do you have any preliminary release information (pricing, timing, etc.?).

[David Heath – Matrix Games] We are still working on these details but we let everyone know.

Armchair General: Any final thoughts about the CC series/this deal/etc. that you’d like to share with our readers?

[Shaun Wallace – CSO Simtek] I think the main thing is watch this space as Close Combat is far from dead. :)

Armchair General: Can you tell us which of these previous titles were your favorites? You can’t say they were all your favorites either!!!

[Shaun Wallace – CSO Simtek] Close Combat III was my personal favorite purely because of the flexibility of the play and the upgrade path and freedom of scenario design, which made it hugely enjoyable to play online.

[David Heath – Matrix Games] Close Combat II was my favorite.

Armchair General: Thanks again for your time, and we’ll stay tuned to see where the series goes from here!

[David Heath – Matrix Games] Thank you and God bless.

[Shaun Wallace – CSO Simtek] It was great chatting with you.

Screenshots courtesy of Matrix Games. See more, and learn more, on the Close Combat – Cross of Iron page.

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1 Comment

  1. the best game, no more war strategy games.

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