This is about our dedication to realism and history.
Call to Arms - Gates of Hell is based on this dedication, and on a desire for high quality.
As far as GEM2- engined games go, everything you see in CtA - Gates of Hell is new. This is not limited to visuals! We've introduced brand new game mechanics that are quite unique, and which contribute to the sense of realism and immersion. So how exactly do we produce what we produce? Keep reading!
Let's have a look at how we develop missions first. One of our older development updates titled "how do they do it" already described a good deal of the process. However, there's much more behind it.
What we find is that people relish the immersive combination of appropriate weather and real landscapes in GoH. After playing a mission they ask themselves questions like "What if I would have taken the high ground on the west side first?" and they will try a different approach next time. You will find yourself playing the missions in a wide variety of ways. On top of that, since the landscape is realistic, using real tactics works very well. These elements give Gates of Hell tremendous replay value.
To set the scene and to trigger the right mood - and to maximize immersion - our single player missions feature introduction videos. In each of these, we show the front line movement and the events that lead up to where your mission starts. It will give you the unit numbers and dates of the historical battle, and brief you on what you should expect. In doing so, they reveal part of the historical research that has gone into this project.
We mostly base our models on visual reference and blueprints. However, there is absolutely nothing like the real object to help get the digital version right.
For us, the starting point for every 3d model is the factory blueprint. But even if it’s good to have that, it’s even better to be able to compare a blueprint to the actual vehicle! If you have the real vehicle, you can add the details that are missing on the original drawings.
For our “Liberation” DLC, we were very fortunate to get the help of a fantastic non- profit organization called WW2 armor. They make it their business to keep an astonishing collection of vehicles and tanks in running condition.
They allowed us to get extremely close to, and even inside their entire collection of vehicles and tanks. We were able to inspect every detail on every object and vehicle we planned to model for the US faction in Gates of Hell. We found out exactly what was missing on the blueprints and added it.
We have built a huge image database, showing details from the inside and from the outside of all kinds of vehicles. From weld positions to antenna sockets, you name it - we’ve got it now, thanks to ww2armor.org.
Thanks to their vast knowledge, they were instrumental in getting our various different models of the M4 Sherman right.
We learned a lot of other things as well during our visits. However, that should be no surprise, because education is the foundation’s core business.
Actually, we have also learned about the real life tactics that were used in tank combat by checking the foundation’s amazing YouTube channel and Facebook page. Recommended for all players!
Our common ground with the organization is our passion for history and our goal to show to the world what actually happened. We know that the majority of our community shares that passion for history. If that includes you, please show them some support on their social media outlets by liking and subscribing. Theirs is an important task!
Map and level design
We model maps in Call to Arms: Gates of Hell to be very close copies of the real world. So it ought to be easy to compare them to the actual location, right?
Well yes, it is. In one of them, the battlefield location had changed so drastically we based the comparison (and the map) on a combination of 1941 recon photos by the Luftwaffe, official sources and satellite data for the height map.
This is the location for several single player missions. Glushkovo is a small town in Russia that held a key position twice in the space of just a few months in 1941/ 42. It looks like time has stood still here. No big difference between then and now. Click HERE for the comparison.
Over time, this city has changed and expanded quite a bit. For this reason, it was impossible to use satellite imagery to create the map. Our Tikhvin map is therefore based on a reconnaissance photo. This photo also reveals the actual Soviet defensive positions.
There is a vast difference between singleplayer and multiplayer when it comes to historical correctness; whereas a singleplayer mission can get quite close to re- enactment, this isn't going to happen in multiplayer. PvP action is not very likely to follow history at all. But there are several game mechanics at work in CtA - Gates of Hell that add realism all the same!
There are no health bars for vehicles and tanks, and things like damage system, ballistics and all other variables are quite refined when compared to other games on the GEM2 engine. In this game it actually matters where you hit a tank, and which ammo you use; besides that, there are many variables at play such as the modeling of internal components and armor thickness. We summarized some of these mechanics in development update 97.
Gates of Hell aims to be historically correct as far as possible. We model units using multiple sources, like factory blueprints. The battles, locations, vegetation, and architecture were researched thoroughly.
Still, sometimes a dilemma pops up that shows us perfection is probably out of reach, no matter how hard you try.
Imagine having to decide whether to exclude the Finnish faction from late war battles, or to include it for late war with 1 unhistorical unit. What would you do? We decided to make late war battles possible for Finland. A handful of smaller issues are known to exist.
So yes, we maximize historical correctness, but in any game, including Gates of Hell, it's most likely not going to be possible to make it 100%.
We started out by stating that this is about our dedication to realism and history. However, "the proof of the pudding is in the eating", as they say.
Have you tasted GoH yet? If not, maybe it's time you did. You can find it on Steam.
To find out what people say about its immersion and replay value, you could ask the community, for instance on our official Discord server.
You will find that our great community is always there to answer any questions you might have.
See you on the battlefield!