Thursday, April 17, 2014

War Thunder (Part Two)

In terms of gameplay, I should say that the guys over at Gaijin didn't quite do anything too out of the ordinary I guess. The available options or features are pretty much the run-of-the-mill types that you've come to expect from a game of this genre.
War Thunder - Game Menu
There's the "Tutorials", which teaches you how to play the game, like how to fly the plane, how to aim and shoot, how to bomb or drop torpedoes and how to take off and land (from airfields and carriers).
War Thunder - Single MissionsWar Thunder - Dynamic Campaigns
A mode that offers short missions with simple/singular goals or objectives. May or may not be tied in with historical events. Can be played together with friends.A mode that offers long/time-consuming, "multi-tiered" missions. An "alternate history" form of gameplay where the player partakes in historic WWII battles and their actions affect the progress of the campaign.
There's the "Single Missions" and "Dynamic Campaigns".
War Thunder - Custom BattlesWar Thunder - Custom Battles Map Selection
There's "Custom Battles" where the player can define their own "playing fields", like choose the map type, battle mode, difficulty level and various other settings.
War Thunder - Event Ruhr. Guardian AngelWar Thunder - Event Winter Biathlon
And then there's finally the "Tournaments" and "Events"...and something else called the "World War" (which has yet to be implemented).

Progression within the game is just like that of any other lobby-based kind of game. You play or grind the game for some form of currency and then use it to upgrade yourself or buy access to better equipment/gear. Or in this case, planes...
War Thunder - Choosing CountryWar Thunder - British Tech Tree
Essentially, there are five countries for you to play as and each of them have their own unique line of planes or "tech tree", to the point where the planes all exhibit their own distinct characteristics, handling and behavior as well as set of armaments.

Don't worry, your not country-locked, so you can play whichever you want, as and when you want it. You may even tech them all up if you so wish to. In fact, your strongly encouraged to do so as most of the single missions and dynamic campaigns would require you to unlock at least "certain" planes before allowing you to partake in them.
War Thunder - Hurricane Mk I Stock StatsWar Thunder - Hurricane Mk I Upgrades
Though you may not alter or change their specs, by and large, they can still be tweaked or modified slightly, via upgrades, to improve their performance in comparison with the stock ones that you get.

However, do be warned that these so-called upgrades are available and open to each and every player who flies that particular plane. So long as its the same plane, and that the players have all flown them for a sufficient amount of time (so as to acquire all upgrades), they will be flying them on a leveled playing field and everything's down to the pilot's individual aim and/or skills.

(More so if their flying different planes...which will then require them to know the quirks and fancies, advantages and disadvantages, of their own planes as well as their opponent's.)

Difficulty Mode
Perhaps the most interesting part that caught my attention in War Thunder would be this function known as "Difficulty Mode" or "Game Type".
War Thunder - Game Type
As far as I know, there are altogether three different modes, Arcade, Realistic and Simulator. Their difference, I believe, is down to how "real" the kind of combat you would get from the fight.
War Thunder - Game Type ArcadeWar Thunder - Game Type Realistic
Arcade is the most simplistic kind. In this mode, players battle with almost no regards to real-life physics.

They can fire their weapons without a care for ammo conservation. Emptied guns automatically refills itself after some time. Jammed weapons can magically fix themselves whilst even flying in mid air. Diving down from high altitudes, at extreme speeds, doesn't rip off your wings. Taking non-critical wing damage to your plane doesn't affect your flying performance one tiny bit. You name it.
War Thunder - Wing Damaged
In realistic battles, the terms work slightly differently and much closer to real conditions.

Players need to refill their ammunition, unjam their weapons and refuel at an airstrip or carrier. Wings can get ripped off if you aren't careful with your speeds, pilots can get blackouts if you do too tight a turn and damaged wings could cause all sorts of malfunctions and hindrance. (Like how my plane keeps rotating anticlockwise and I had to compensate for it in order to fly straight.)

As for simulator mode, if I'm not wrong, players get thrown into a full realism kind of gameplay. No markers will be shown on the HUD to keep track of your targets, there won't be any third person view to fly your plane in and everything that is found in realistic mode will be inherited as well.

Its "virtually" as close as you can get to flying a real plane. And according to what I've heard, players who flew in this mode highly recommended the use of a joystick.

But be warned. Compared to arcade mode, realistic and simulator modes are much more time-consuming to play. Furthermore, because of that, the population of people who actually play these modes is quite small and thus the average time taken to get into a match might be correspondingly longer as well.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

War Thunder (Part One)

War Thunder
Having just finished covering Onigiri Online, this next game that I'm planning to introduce, War Thunder, can be said to be of an entirely different genre. It is apparently some sort of MMO military flight sim that is bent on offering to gamers, a realistic feel of how aviation combat goes during the World War II era.

However, before I move on to the actual details, I would have to say that I was most unimpressed by the way they've chosen to distribute the game client. In fact, the downloading process was a complete hell for me, to say the least.

Now as we all know, there's plenty of ISPs out there that throttles torrent downloads. Mine included. So given the situation, I can't seem to get why this game company of War Thunder would then purposely choose to incorporate a torrent engine into its client launcher...let alone making it as its primary method of distributing the game client and patches. Does that make any sense? It sure as hell doesn't (to me).

But before you go off shooting that that isn't true and the game client does allow for "http" downloads, please allow me to further point out another fact.
War Thunder - Download SpeedWar Thunder - Download Speed 1
If you take a good look at the two screenshots provided above, you ought to note that the downloading speed actually comprises of two parts, the http portion and the p2p (peer-to-peer) or torrent portion.

And since, in my case, that my ISP actually throttles torrent downloads, you can say that I have shitty torrent download speeds (of about 20+ kbps if I don't limit the upload). So the only way for me to be able to download this huge game client of about 7 gigs within a reasonable amount of time, is to rely upon the http download speed, which is at best 100+ kbps. (Yea its sucky I know, but I ain't got no other choice.)

Anyway, nothing wrong so far right? Well, here's the part where it gets worse...

Just minutes into the download, some "mojo" happens and the launcher apparently goes into some kind of "bandwidth saving protocol". And whenever that happens, the launcher will immediately dump all of my existing http download speed (which is my lifeline), leaving only the p2p portion running.

The only way for me to get back or "revive" the http portion is if I close the game launcher and restart it. But even then, depending on its "mood", it will sometimes dump it again within mere minutes or it may do so after an hour or two...maybe more if its "feeling" angelic.

Now don't ask me what's the reason behind all this mess that I'm observing, cause I've got no freaking idea myself. What I can see is only the end result, which is that it causes me to sit in front of the PC, watching the launcher like a hawk and having to restart it whenever that happens.

And to give you a rough idea of the magnitude of the problem, even a simple patching of about 60 mb required me to open and close the launcher about 20 times. What should have taken 10 minutes to download ends up needing 20 to 30 minutes of my time. So you can imagine the pain and suffering I've gone through, just to download the entire 7 gig game client, right?

Oh by the way, if you think that's it? Think again...

Aside from this, there is in fact another flaw with the game launcher that you ought to know about. And that is that whenever you leave the launcher up and running, the "torrent engine" that's built into it will start to open up sooooo many "connections" that it clogs up your entire bandwidth, effectively disabling your ability to surf on the internet or do anything else that's related to that.

The only way for you to resolve this is to "limit" the number of "connections" that the launcher opens.

However, the option for you to do so isn't found in the settings of the game launcher unfortunately. Instead, you will have to do it manually by accessing a file named "warthunder.yup.resume" in your WarThunder game folder. But I will have to remind you that this file only gets created if you close the launcher while it was in the midst of a download or a patch I believe...and that it will be deleted whenever the patch or download finishes. So you might have to keep on doing this whenever there's a huge patch.

Anyway, to limit the number of connections, just use "Notepad" to open the previously mentioned file, "Ctrl+F" and look for something like "max_connectionsi16777215e11". After finding it, change the "16777215" within that line into something like "50" or "100", but do not touch the characters before (max_connectionsi) or after it (e11). This will limit the maximum number of connections to 50 or 100 depending on what you've set it as. And as a further note, you can also do the same to the "max_uploadsi16777215e15", that is found right beside it, to limit the number of upload connections that you have.

Next: War Thunder (Part Two)