The translated version of my experiences with the producer tour in The Netherlands:
To prepare the world press for Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, Bo Andersson, co-founder and CEO of GRIN, the development studio of this game, made a producer tour to all corners of the world to show a beta version of the game. GRAW.nl was there when Bo was in The Game Syndicate in Rotterdam and asked him questions about specific features which will appear in Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter for the PC. No well-known facts or questions about the number of levels or polygons, but detailed information about the game, and specifically the multiplayer part.
While playing the game it would crash every now and then. Bo wasnâ€™t surprised and told us that it should crash, otherwise it would have been the final version.
Bo used to be in the military, and his contribution to the game is found in the military aspects and the artificial intelligence for team-mates and enemies.
Differences and similarities
If youâ€™ve played one of the console versions of Ghost Recon, youâ€™ll on the one hand recognize locations and material, but on the other hand youâ€™ll see differences.
The PC version was developed separately from the console versions, but is based on the same image and video material from Mexico City and of course on the same city map. The resulting game is much larger than the console version, resulting in longer missions.
Weâ€™ve received emails from worried people with questions regarding the stability of the game. Stability has a high priority at GRIN, because missions can last for several hours and you donâ€™t want to crash just before a checkpoint. Using the official internet forums GRIN will try to stay in contact with the community, especially regarding problems with the game.
This brings us to the patches. Every program contains bugs, even GRAW, something which Bo doesnâ€™t deny. Patches will be released which will contain bugfixes as well as additional content.
Another point of frustration with the community is cheating. GRIN chose to develop their own anti-cheat solution, instead of using third-party tools like Punkbuster. The anti-cheat functionality will be updated with patches as well.
Now the most important aspect of the game for hard-core gamers: multiplayer. You can play with and against each other over local area network and internet, because cooperative play is also included. Together with your friends and optional AI players you can take on the singleplayer missions, with the difference that the enemies are much more difficult and there is no save option during missions. When a human player dies, he cannot respawn, but it is possible to take over an artificial teammate, when there are any alive. When the last human player dies and there are no more artificial teammates left, the mission is failed.
You can start a server from within the game, where youâ€™ll find the option to host a dedicated or listen server. If a separate dedicated server will be available during launch is unsure, it might be developed and released later. GRAW will be using Gamespy for its internal server browser, and you donâ€™t have to memorize IP addresses, because a favourite server save option is provided.
The server will be managed using the internal game menu, and there is at this moment no intention to create a remote console option. When you run a dedicated server youâ€™ll need a computer comparable with a computer you need to run the game, with the exception that a server doesnâ€™t need a high end videocard, and needs more memory and bandwidth, depending on the number of players.
Something which was previously not possible is possible now: joining a running game. No more waiting until the game is finished, you can join whenever you want, something which is quite normal for less tactical FPS games. For people who want to stick with the old behaviour there will be an option to switch this.
Features which might get added in a patch, but which are not included in 1.0 are demo recording and ingame content download, so youâ€™ll be able to join any server, even if you donâ€™t have that map. There will be no ingame voice communication, a decision which I support. There are enough good external tools available, something which GRIN has correctly taken into consideration.
The last item we discussed was the availability of modding tools. There will be a mapeditor available, and other aspects of the game will be changeable using the XML based configuration files.
Bo wanted to stress that GRIN will keep listening to the community after the release and that features might get added or changed based on the response.