Development Blog #2: Visualizing the Battlefield

Later this year (Q2), enlisted Commanders will get the first taste of gameplay in Chain of Command. BitBunch is working non-stop to create a unique gaming experience, fueled by strong AI, an innovative unit control system and a historically accurate setting. Environment rendering is another important process taking place in the Chain of Command assembly line. After all, Chain of Command will allow players to relive the biggest battles in World War II. The tactical skills of CoC Commanders must be put to the test in an accurately depicted environment.

BitBunch co-founder and game developer, Serge van Keulen, shares his thoughts about the creation process of Chain of Command, the bird’s-eye view and the technology that will take Commanders back to the 1940s.

The landscape is generated from GIS data describing material properties per area.

What about the landscape design for Chain of Command? Trees, lakes, hills… are those different from creating tanks and artillery pieces?

Yes, very much so. The main difference is that dynamic objects like tanks will be crafted by hand whereas the static environment is almost completely generated. This does not mean that the environment is not realistic. Quite the contrary! We use real-world GIS (Geographic Information System) data that accurately describes the environment covered by the battlefield.

For example, the GIS data contains polygons describing forest areas. We will automatically plant trees on these areas. If extra data for the polygon is available, for example, telling us what kind of trees or their age, we can incorporate this to generate a forest that more closely matches the actual forest.
This approach enables us to create vast, accurate landscapes with a minimum amount of manual intervention.

Will all environment visuals be generated from GIS data?

No, not everything but the majority of the area will. We are talking thousands of square kilometers here. But don’t worry, we have much experience in visualizing environments this way. It will look good!

For key areas special attention is given to the environment. Expect well known landmarks and important locations to contain hand crafted models.

Chain of Command features realistic terrain based on a spherical grid.

Chain of Command will feature a bird’s eye view of the battlefield. Will we actually see hundreds of tanks engaging in battle? What are the main challenges in creating such an environment?

Yes! The whole idea is to feature all units that were actually involved in a battle. Our hierarchical order approach will make sure this remains manageable.

Unit counts like that are a solid challenge for both simulation and rendering. Not so much the cumulative triangle count of the meshes. Rather the fact that each individual unit is simulated and updated, then rendered according to its updated state. Combining dynamic data with fast updating and rendering. Especially since we don’t want to demand the latest hardware from the players. Chain of Command should run smooth on the average gamer’s machine.

So there you have it, Commanders. There’s plenty to expect in the upcoming release of Chain of Command. Please note, that the images in this post are “in development” graphics and not representative of the final product. This is the very foundation of the Chain of Command game environment, which step by step is taking shape to become the ultimate proving ground for CoC Commanders.

BitBunch needs your help in growing the Chain of Command community! Tell your friends about Chain of Command by sharing our Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as getting more potential tactical geniuses to sign up for our Newsletter via BitBunch.eu. Operation Early Access is coming soon.

Stay tuned, Commanders!

The material properties are also used to populate the environment.

The material properties are also used to populate the environment.

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  • CommanderAnton

    Let us know if you have any questions guys. It’s the first in-game dev footage!

  • keyers

    That looks really cool 🙂 Will there be any dense urban cities and suburban areas when the game is done?

    • CommanderAnton

      Yes, there will be cities and suburban areas 🙂 Plenty to look for!

      • keyers

        Okay that’s good to know!

        • CommanderAnton

          @keyers:disqus you’re welcome. Are you signed up for our newsletter?

          • keyers

            Yeah I am! I am greatly interested in this game. What grabs my attention the most is that the units are actually represented on the map rather than using the force markers ( I’m not sure if that’s the right term). I’m looking forward to seeing these battles in person.