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