Interview EECH2
by Black Wolf

Uros Rogulja (head producer for EECH2) from G2 CES accepted to use some of his time to answer to our questions.

Check-six : The first thing we noticed in the screenshots is that you have improved the graphic engine. What can you tell us about it (features, graphic effects) ?

Uros Rogulja : One of our main tasks was to improve the playing experience and the priority was on visuals. That meant that we had to make significant changes in the graphics engine. The original EECH graphics engine, from 1998 (ndc6 : released in 1999), was based on DirectX 7.0. Our task was to translate it into DirectX 9.0c version, with support for Pixel shaders v2.0/3.0, reflection, specular, normal and environment maps. To solve so the called mega-terrain problem, which happens when you make more than 100.000 square kilometers of terrain, we had to make totally new terrain engine as well with very specific texturing. Also, we have improved the particle system and implemented dynamic shadows.

C6 : Except for the graphic engine, what were the priority enhancements made to EECH1 ?

U.R : Improving the graphics engine was the priority, and that is why we have made completely new, more realistic, models and textures for all objects. We have also made certain improvements in the game engine, fixed some of the bugs, and increased the overall stability. In addition, we have implemented the voice control for easier commanding of your gunner and wingman.

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C6 : What version of the source code did you start working from ? Did you use some works made by the community, and if the answer is yes, which works did you use ?

U.R : We used the latest mod version of the source code (version 1.6.1 build type W5C) dated May 2, 2005 - which included most works made by the community.

C6 : Did you keep the dynamic campaign ? Did you improve it (fewer vehicles amassed at crossroads) and, if the answer is yes, what are the improvements ?

U.R : Yes, we have kept the dynamic campaign. Nonlinear mission plot and non-predefined unit behavior make the game unpredictable, tense, and out of the ordinary. We have also solved some of the AI technical problems inherited from the original, and therefore ended up with a more stable and, we hope, interesting game.

C6 : What will be the battlefields ?

U.R : The battles are situated in three different countries. Two of them, Lebanon and Taiwan, are very similar to those in the original but with changes and improvements. The third, Korea is completely new campaign. We are hoping to put out one or two bonus campaigns in the next few months, after the game has been released.

C6 : What helicopters will we be able to pilot ? Were Apache and Havok kept ?

U.R : For now, you can pilot Comanche RAH66 and Hokum KA52. We are hoping to enable through add-ons, at the minimum, Apache and Havok. Again, this will become available after the game has been released.

C6 : In the last screenshots, cockpits are not shown, what can you tell us about them ? Will each aircraft have a 3D cockpit ? Will they be clickable ?

U.R : We do have 3D cockpits but they are not clickable. Each cockpit has four MFD's showing all crucial information, from the radar screen to tactical map. Also, all indicators react on command. Throttle and stick are animated, and move as your joystick moves. We have a first person camera in the cockpit, which can move in all directions, using mouse movement and can be locked on target, if you choose so.

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C6 : Was the avionics of the helicopters enhanced (radar, IR and TV sensors or engine startup operations) ?

U.R : Helicopter avionics have undergone small changes, mostly visual, such as engine starting. In the original the engine started automatically after you board the helicopter, we have made it so you have to start it yourself.

C6 : Were flights models enhanced ?

U.R : The flight models remain unchanged, for now.

C6 : As for the multiplayer mode, was it improved compared to EECH1 ? How many players can it cope with, and does it still enable to fly online campaigns ?

U.R : The multiplayer mode has undergone some changes, although nothing radical. The maximum number of players in LAN and online multiplayer is 16. We are aware that this is a limited number, but the accent was on simulation not arcade, although it s important to note that the game has both of these characteristics.

C6 : What hardware does EECH1 support (HOTAS, Track-IR, 6DOF) ?

U.R : The code has a built-in support for Track-IR but not HOTAS. However, in many cases the driver itself is enough to make it work.

C6 : What will be the modding possibilities (new terrains, aircraft, textures, etc.) ?

U.R : Currently, it is possible to change textures, campaigns and skirmishes with already existing tools. However, we will release a set of new tools for the custom terrain import, if there is enough interest from the community.

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C6 : What can you tell us about EECH future ? Patches, add-ons, EECH3 perhaps ;) ?

U.R : There are several interesting options we are exploring together with our publishers. We certainly hope that the community will show a lot of enthusiasm and therefore force us (jokingly) to come up with something new. This is one of the best flight games ever and as all fans of the genre we are excited about its future.

We have already mentioned that we will be putting out add-ons after the game is released. This will too depend on how well the community received the game.

We would like to thank you and all the fans who have shown great interest in our game!

C6 : Thank you for having used some of your precious time for us and we look forward to flying your simulator.


Check-six Team