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Company of Heroes is getting more realistic with ColdTech
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Company of Heroes is getting more realistic with ColdTech

ColdTech engine in Company of Heroes 2

Yesterday THQ announced a new technology for the Essence Engine that will be powering the upcoming RTS title Company of Heroes 2, dubbed ColdTech.

ColdTech is a weather and temperature physics engine for Company of Heroes 2 that will allow much more realistic simulation of weather, snow, ice, and the various conditions and challenges they impose upon a battlefield commander. With ColdTech, snow, ice, and cold temperatures will have a serious effect on gameplay and will become part of the overall strategy of the conditions for victory, as these challenges will need to be managed and mitigated—or even used to advantage.

It’s been documented by historians that the bitterly cold winter of ’41 played a major role in the Eastern Front of World War II, and Relic wanted to make that a part of their game in the quest to continue the heritage that Company of Heroes brought before it (Company of Heroes is the all-time highest rated RTS game on Metacritic).

ColdTech includes an ‘extreme cold’ mechanic which accurately encapsulates the Soviet winter which reached extremes of -40 degrees F in 1941. At those temperatures human skin will freeze in a matter of minutes, something that is portrayed in the game. On winter maps, Infantry units exposed to the bitter cold will gradually freeze to death unless the player keeps them warm by building fires and garrisoning them in buildings. Dynamic blizzards will increase the effects of extreme cold making it even more hazardous to leave infantry in the open.

The new ColdTech system also allows the Essence Engine to dynamically paint on and remove snow, meaning that not only does it accumulate on buildings and vehicles, but it can also be melted or removed from objects by the player. Snow also has realistic depth which actually impacts troop movement and will retain persistent infantry and vehicle tracks throughout the match unless covered by fresh snow fall.

On top of the innovations in snow technology the engine allows ice to become a weapon in a smart commander’s arsenal. Not only does it have a unique texture, affecting vehicle and troop movement, but it can collapse or be destroyed from underneath troops and vehicles, plunging them into the hypothermic Russian waters. Over time destroyed ice will re-form due to the winter conditions in the game.

The dynamic addition and removal of snow from the battlefield should make for some very interesting battles, and will introduce a new element of randomness that will most likely challenge even dedicated, highly skilled RTS players. Imagine a battle going really well until a major blizzard just happens to completely hamper your commander’s line of sight and obscures the vision of your beleaguered troops.

Company of Heroes 2 is slated to launch in Summer of 2013 for PC, oh and 5NYCD-2JWE3-FK9R7 lolo


  1. AlexDeGruven
    AlexDeGruven This is very very cool.

    A few years ago, it was asked what video games can do to keep audiences, as the overall story and game mechanic possibilities have pretty well been played out.

    This. This is the answer. Realism and immersion.
  2. GHoosdum
    GHoosdum I just got a chill even looking at the screen shot.
  3. UPSLynx
  4. MiracleManS
    SHILL ALERT! (should be a badge)
  5. Tushon
    SHILL ALERT! (should be a badge)
    Nah, Lynx is just trying to sell people bag o craps, like Woot, but literally shit
  6. Thrax
    Thrax Corporate Shill: 10 pts.
  7. SpencerForHire
    SHILL ALERT! (should be a badge)
    How am I suppose to get that badge though... Don't answer that.
  8. Ilriyas
    Ilriyas Okay I was ready to preorder this game in 06 when I was playing the Company of Heroes Beta and took a leap that it would be successful enough for a sequel, now I'm being serious @UPSLynx get me a preorder form!
  9. UPSLynx
    UPSLynx Not available yet man, you can't give us your money at this time. SOON.
  10. Ilriyas
    Ilriyas Can I give you money anyways?
  11. Teramona
    Teramona I really liked HL2, because of the real world physics involved. You pick this crate up and put it on that plank, and now it's a teeter totter. Add that with an unpredictable environment, and I think that makes for something really interesting. Am I out of my element here?

    I like tea.
  12. cola
    cola Needs more jeeps.
  13. JBoogaloo
    JBoogaloo I'm really loving this and as far as the realism goes after this step, I believe over the next 5yrs (maybe 7) or so, you're going to start seeing higher poly-count gameplay graphics as well. Tons of people always ask "why can't the game look like the cut-scene movies?" Well, limited poly count is the short answer. It's entirely too taxing for the average (even above average) system to render high poly items in real-time constantly. But, as advancements are made in hardware and delivery systems I believe that this is the beginning of something really sexy to be coming. Nice job, CoH.
  14. boasist
    Tons of people always ask "why can't the game look like the cut-scene movies?" Well, limited poly count is the short answer.
    Man, if only I had a dollar each time I heard that.....oh, those will be the days. You damn kids and your high poly count games, you don't realize how good you have it!
  15. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster I think we are at a point where we will start to differentiate "games" from "interactive entertainment". There is a market for each I think, a space for you to flick angry birds, and a space where people are going to want to be inside the movie. The first great example of this was in arcades during the 80's, it was Dragons Lair. That was lousy game, but it was an amazing piece of interactive entertainment, if I'm making any sense?

    Last year we had LA Noire, same idea, not really a game as much as it was interactive entertainment. Technology played a huge role, the facial animations made the experience possible. It was engaging, but I would not necessarily call it fun. A worthwhile entertainment experience for those interested in that genre of storytelling.

    The tech here leads me to think that's where the next Company of Hero's is headed. It's an interactive entertainment experience more than it's a game. That immersion is not necessarily looking to add to the fun more than it's trying to differentiate itself by taking the next step forward in interactive storytelling. This is the way forward.

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