In my second-round interview with Karl-Magnus Troedsson I got to cover some of the more behind-the-scenes aspects of Battlefield 3. We started off chatting about the inclusion of the comma rose for PC. From here, I picked Karl-Magnus' brain about Battlelog, the attention-to-detail of Battlefield 3's sound design and the subtle but important class juggle from Bad Company 2 to Battlefield 3.
Atomic: Can you tell me a bit about how the command wheel [commo rose] works? Is it exactly the same as before, has it been streamlined?
Karl-Magnus: I mean, it’s coming back on PC first and foremost, that’s what we have committed to, and it’s a feature that the community requested, so it’s actually not done yet. It’s going to come in very hot in the process of getting it done. But it’s going to be very similar to how it worked in BF2.
Atomic: Is that going to be available on launch or is it going to be a patch?
Karl-Magnus: Well I don’t know, actually. But I mean we’re committed to getting it into day one, if we can’t get it into the game. Maybe we’ll try to patch it in or something like that, but we'll get it in there.
Atomic: Lately, I’ve noticed there are other games that are sort of starting to borrow your ideas, even though Battlefield 3 is not out. Call of Juarez: The Caretl had a certain level of physicality, and even Ghost Recon has this idea of suppression. What are your thoughts on that? Are other games borrowing before your release?
Karl-Magnus: I mean, y’know, they probably might say that they haven’t borrowed from us, because everyone comes up with ideas, either from real life or game designers have crazy ideas. In an industry like this, looking at what the other people are doing is a natural thing. I don’t look at it with any kind of critical eye. What is it they say? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So we look at that and say yeah, why not. And if it comes out there and people play the game and they like it and, of course, they want to try and get something into their games. Naturally, I think all game developers have a sense of pride that they want to come up with their solution and I think what usually people do, an idea that somebody else might have had, but they look at it, and then they say, ‘I would like that idea in my game.’ And then they take it and they change it so it fits their style of gameplay or something like that. I’m just glad to see that people are interested in our game and we are groundbreaking in some areas. Like, we have vehicle and infantry warfare at the same time in gameplay. So it’s natural that people will want to look at what we’re doing.
Atomic: And it’s a sign that you’re doing something right.
Atomic: Battlelog was another one of the bigger announcements of late. What sort of things are you hoping to achieve with that, maybe even outside of just connectivity for gamers outside the core game?
Karl-Magnus: Well, I mean, one of the key ideas behind it is to connect the players and to have the social interaction and communication in between the players. And some of those things have been there before, either people have organised themselves on separate sites or people have used their own VoIP systems or we have supplied them with VoIP, whatever it might be. But we really want to bring all of that together now to almost, like, unify the community around our game. And like I mentioned before, we want to do this as a free service that comes together with the game when they buy it. It’s not something that we’re forcing on people. It’s like, if people want to build their own fan sites and do this as well, they can still do that.
Atomic: You mentioned the VoIP system, going back in time a bit, the Battlefield 2 system when it originally launched was quite delayed in its responsiveness online. Can you talk to me a bit about the VoIP system in Battlefield 3 and its responsiveness?
Karl-Magnus: I can just say that we’re not using the same technology. We have a different technology now. We have tried and tested this a lot. I think that people are going to be much more happy with this. If they don’t fancy it, they can use whatever they want: any kind of third-party supplier or something like that. Naturally we want them to use the thing that we have tightly integrated into Battlelog. There are going to be options, like it’s very easy to start a channel, invite people you’ve been playing with and just directly and very quickly either talk to them or just chat to them with your keyboard.
Atomic: So the voice over IP stuff is being handled through Battlelog?
Karl-Magnus: It’s integrated together.
Atomic: Okay. The sound design. I mean, first and foremost, it’s incredible.
Karl-Magnus: Thank you.