Enemy Engaged 2 Q&A: Missions, Aircraft and Performance

We hitch a lift with the head producer of the helicopter combat sim to see how the game is coming along ahead of its summer release.

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When the snappily titled Enemy Engaged: KAH-66 Comanche Versus Ka-52 Hokum was released back in 2000, it received some pretty good scores and won GameSpot's simulation of the year award.

Nearly seven years after that game's release, G2 Games is applying the finishing touches to Enemy Engaged 2. In preparation for its planned launch next month, we got together with Uros Rogulja, the head producer for the game.

GameSpot UK: It's been almost seven years since the original Enemy Engaged. Why the long wait?

Uros Rogulja: That is an excellent question, but unfortunately there is no simple answer to it. Some of it has to do with the ownership of the publishing rights, some with the way the original technology was developed, and so on. We completely agree, it has been too long.

GSUK: The original Enemy Engaged won GameSpot's simulation of the year award back in 2000. How are you making sure that Enemy Engaged 2 lives up to its heritage?

UR: Throughout the development, we kept reminding ourselves how high the expectations for this game are. No doubt about it, it is very difficult to live up to the standards Enemy Engaged has set.

We have certainly tried our best to create an exciting game and also fulfil numerous fans' wishes. It is always difficult to balance high goals and fan's wishes with the technology and time constraints every developer has to work with.

Now we can only wait for the fans' reactions to determine if we have succeeded.

GSUK: One of the selling points of the original was the fact that despite being graphically impressive, it didn't need a top-end PC. Is that still the case with Enemy Engaged 2?

UR: Yes, this is still the case. It is sufficient to have an average hardware configuration to play Enemy Engaged 2 at a very high level of performance.

It is important to note that the game does require a lot from the CPU. If you like to play at the highest quality settings and performance, you will need a strong CPU and minimum of 256 RAM VGA.

GSUK: Enemy Engaged was praised at the time for being accessible to all but detailed enough to please hardcore sim fanatics. Is this a philosophy you've continued?

UR: Yes, because this recipe has worked extremely well. Although the emphasis is again on the helicopter simulation, the game has some arcade elements. We hope this combination will make the game interesting to both sim fans and a wider audience.

GSUK: What can you tell us about the campaigns the game will offer?

UR: The game features three complete campaigns. Two of them--Lebanon and Taiwan--are similar to the original campaigns but with some major changes and improvements. The third, set in Korea, is a completely new campaign. We are hoping to release one or two bonus campaigns in the next few months, after the game has been released.

GSUK: Which aircraft will the player be able to fly?

UR: For now, you can fly the improved Comanche RAH66 and Hokum KA52. We are hoping to also enable through add-ons, at the minimum, the Apache and Havok. This will become available in the near future after the game's release.

GSUK: What are the differences between the aircraft?

UR: The most important difference is their flight models. You can really notice that you are piloting two very different kinds of aircraft. Both also have their own specific technological and performance characteristics, which directly influence how the missions play out. For example, Comanche RAH66 has the stealth mode while Hokum KA52 is equipped with more weapon systems.

GSUK: Does the game have any training missions?

UR: No, we have decided not to include any training missions because the game already has the free flight mode, several skirmish missions, and a very detailed game manual. We got feedback from our testers that this was more than sufficient.

In addition to reasons mentioned above, we have kept and improved the dynamic campaign structure. Nonlinear mission plots and non-predefined unit behaviors make the game completely unpredictable, and therefore training missions are somewhat obsolete.

GSUK: You've said you'll take suggestions from gamers for add-on lists. What ideas have you had in-house for add-ons to the game, and what sorts of possibilities are there for new ones?

UR: We have started with, at the time, the latest mod version of the source code (version 1.6.1 build type W5C) dated May 2, 2005. Most improvements made by the community were included in that build, and we have kept most of them.

We hope and believe the gamers will have the same desire to mod this game. It is possible to change the textures, campaigns, and skirmishes with the already-existing tools. We will also release a new set of tools for the custom terrain import, if there is enough interest from the fans.

GSUK: Implementing voice control in games is notoriously problematic--how have you overcome the problems associated with it?

UR: You are right; usually voice-control implementation is extremely difficult and risky. However, in this case it was not as complicated because the main commands in the game are concise and simple.

If you speak clearly, the engine should have no problem recognizing and executing them. We really hope the players will enjoy using this feature to control the gunner and wingman.

GSUK: What are you most proud of in Enemy Engaged 2, so far?

UR: We are most proud of how we have improved the graphics engine. It is important to mention that we have succeeded in creating completely new, more realistic models and textures for all the objects.

In addition, we have made improvements to the game engine and increased the overall stability.

As mentioned, we have also successfully implemented the voice control--which creates a completely new and exciting way to play.

GSUK: Thank you for your time, Uros.

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