A couple of weeks ago Hungarian developer Mithis announced a new 3D tactical/strategy title called Midway: Naval Battles where players will be able to take control of the mighty American, English, German and Japanese fleets. The game promises to bring the historical sea battles of WWII to our PC screens. With the game still quite a way from release, it’s due 2003/early 2004, we managed to catch up with lead designer of Midway, Zsolt Nyulaszi, to find out a little more.Can you give us a bit of background about the development team working on the game and also Mithis.
Mithis Games was founded by the creators of Imperium Galactica 3 – Genesis after they left Philos Labs this spring. So, the team (including the lead designer and the maker and lead programmer of the 3D engine) stayed together and we decided to launch a new project, that is, Midway – Naval Battles.
How long has the game been in development?
It’s quite a fresh project, it was started only a couple of months ago.
What type of research has the development team been undertaking to bring these historical battles to life in the game? It must be a lot of work with 40 vessels, 100 weapons and 20 scenarios spanning the American, English, German and Japanese fleets.
Reading relevant literature, several members of the team were involved in making the models previously. We have a WWII expert and, of course, we are continuously discussing with historians and military experts.
Will players be playing through a historical time line with the vessels and units reflecting the change and advancement in naval warfare during WWII?
Yes, that’s right. It’ll be up to the player how truly he/she wants to stick to history while playing the game. If he/she chooses to leave the path of real events, the campaign will be complemented with hypothetic battles as well, you may even bring about decisive turns in the history of WWII. On the other hand, the development of the environment and military technology remains true to history throughout the game.
The first info we have mentioned resource management. How exactly will this work and what sort of resources will gamers be expected to manage?
We invented an innovative, really intriguing and simple resource management which will give the players a very interesting game experience. To protect the innovation, we’d rather not talk about it in details. In order to still give you some clues as to how it will work, I may say that the resource management will be somewhat similar to the prestige-point based systems, only it will be much more realistic and in-depth 🙂
What can you tell us about how the ‘RPG elements’ and how will they work in the game.
This is another feature we really wouldn’t like to give away at the moment. Some hints: a unit doesn’t only consist of the technology but of the entire crew, too. Every crew is different to each other and it’s a decisive factor how they behave in critical situations.
How does the ‘team management’ feature fit into the gameplay?
Each leader character has his own crew. HR management is a serious profession. An admiral, for example, doesn’t only have to be a skilled military person but a good psychologist, a good communicator as well. It’s our goal to make the players believe this 🙂
As the game is called Midway: Naval Battles, we expect players will primarily controlling a fleet. Aircraft are mentioned but how much control will gamers have over airborne units?
The airplanes are groupped into squadrons and so they are not that different to e.g. a ship. Of course, they are flying and not swimming but it’s “only” a technical issue, they are “plain” military units from the player’s point of view.
You mentioned the game will contain submarines, how will gamers be able to interact/control the under water units?
As if they were ships. Certainly, the submarines have special offensive modes and some drawbacks. We have numerous genuine ideas for these features, which we will not tell yet 🙂 Perhaps, we seem to be secretive…but we don’t want to unveil our huge ideas yet.
What can you tell us about the game’s engine, the two shots that were released last week look fairly impressive especially the water effects.
Did you find the sea impressive? No wonder, it’s the most important element in a naval game 🙂 If it wasn’t waving, if it didn’t reflect the sky, if it didn’t rock the ships, who would be interested in the title?The key requirement of the engine is to be realistic. This is not a cartoon-like world, nor some outdated 2D visualisation. We don’t like little lies, we prefer extensive, deep, and serious things 🙂 We pay attention to quite a lot of small details so that the players first fall victims of the illuision, then begin to admire it. The devil is in the details even if these details are so minor that they cannot be noticed alone.
How will the units be controlled and what perspective will players be using to command their fleet? Will there be various different tactical screens players will be switching to or can we expect a more point and click affair?
Generally, there are two levels for the controls: the operation map and the battles. The operation map is the scene of managing strategic scale movements, so it is obviously abstract in a certain sense. The latter focuses on the battle itself, where the camera moves freely in 3D, rises above the clouds with the squadrons or dives with the submarines. The ships can be controlled by a point’n’click-like method.What have Mithis got planned as far as multiplayer is concerned? Will games be simple head to head games or can players team up and hold massive sea battles?Both are planned. However, the “massivity” of the battles has to be restricted due to the very detailed visualisation. Still, you can do so many things with a ship, the players will sometimes feel that managing a single battleship is as difficult as managing 100 traditional RTS units 🙂
Will you be running a Beta test for the game as it gets closer to release?
We really don’t know at this early stage of development.
Can players expect any editing tools to create their own battles?
Yes, editor will be integrated. Luckily, it won’t be too difficult: you’ll get some ships, divide them into two opposing sides, and the battle is almost ready, for the scene is obviously predefined 🙂