Hi everybody, MMOGames was invited to attend a press meeting with the people behind the browser arcade style tank game, Tanki Online. Originated from Perm, Russia, Tanki Online is a free to play browser based game that has launched in 2009, and has since then been slowly taking over the world. With the English version coming first, they eventually spread out to other regions, like German, Chinese, and since last month: Brazil. The two people so kind enough to walk us through the game, were Roman Epishin and Semyon Kirov. They gave us a small presentation, with some statistics on how well the game is performing, showed us a livestream of a pro player match, and eventually we got to playtest the game itself. Afterwards, we were allowed to ask all the questions we needed. So we rallied up a bunch of questions and fired them straight at 'em.
But first, let me tell you a little bit about Tanki Online. Since it's a browser game, you can play it on almost any computer you have. No download, just an account. We received a press account which had everything unlocked, so we were able to play with all the different tank hulls, weapons, and paint jobs. so we could get a good insight on the game and how much fun it can actually be. The tank hulls you choose, does make a difference in game, they aren't just cosmetic. The Hunter, for instance, is a lightweight fast moving tank, but of course has weak armor so it can't withstand a lot of blows. The Mammoth, on the other hand, is a slow moving high armored tank, that can take a beating before it goes down. One can combine these hulls with different weapon types. These weapon types are essentially, different ways of playing the game. You have the standard cannon, you have the twin guns (my personal favorite) and you have flamethrowers, freeze throwers and all sorts of other cool weapons. Paints are also included in Tanki Online, and they're not only there for cosmetic reasons. Some of them actually protect you against certain weapon types!
There are four different game modes in Tanki Online. There is the standard Deathmatch, Battle Royale (which is a free-for-all mode), Capture the Flag and Control Points. CTF and Deathmatch were the most popular modes in Tanki. As stated earlier, the different hulls and weapons you choose, influence the outcome of how well you perform in game. I loved dominating as a Mammoth with the Twin Guns. I was a slow moving death machine with infinite ammo. The cool thing about Tanki is, that it feels like an old school frag fest arcade shooter. Similar to Quake and Unreal Tournament. So comparing Tanki Online to a game like, say, World of Tanks, is like comparing Quake to Call of Duty. It may not have the looks, but it sure is fun to play!
Why have you decided to work with Flash? Do players think the low graphics are hindering?
Graphics aren’t really an issue at the moment, countries like Brazil or Russia care more for gameplay rather than good styled graphics, since they don’t have high end rigs anyway. Also, with graphics being so low, more focus can be put on improving gameplay rather than looks.
There are a lot of possible hull and turret combinations… which is the most popular, would you say? Have any thoughts on why that is?
The two most iconic combinations are the Hornet and Railgun. Hornet is nimble, fast, movable, the Railgun takes a lot of time to heat up, charge up and shoot. It forces you to predict the actions, and you have to be very careful not to get too close to other tanks. The other popular combo, is the Mammoth with Twins Guns. New players like this one very much. They can use the Twin Gun and spam shoot everything around them, and with the mammoth tank you are pretty much unstoppable. The Mammoth of course being, the very slow but very powerful tank.
Right now, there are four game modes, battle royal, capture the flag, team deathmatch and control points. Will you be adding more game modes soon?
New game modes, hulls, weapons, paint jobs and more will be added in the newer version of Tanki, coming next year. As for the old version, we will be releasing 1 or 2 new weapons. The reason why we are going to do this, is because we want players to slowly switch over to our newer version of Tanki, rather than staying behind and playing the old version. But as you know, players can be quite conservative at times and would rather play the old version, like any game.
Tanki Online will be switching over to the Unity Engine. Could you give us your thoughts on the engine and enlighten us on what else is coming up?
We are currently in developing the next version of Tanki in Unity. This new game, let's call it Tanki 2, will be a multiplatform game. The release of it will be some time next year. This version will have more guns, more hulls, more play modes for players to mess around with. The current version is Flash based, and we have noticed that Flash is standing still, while Unity is moving forward and slowly taking over. More and more of our players have Unity already installed on their computer, so it is easy for us to switch over.
Switching to Unity was difficult decision. We have been working with Flash for over 10 years now. We could have stuck with Flash and improved Tanki by creating our own Flash engine, but this takes a lot of time and effort, so it's not really worth it. Switching over to Unity, it is already there. That’s why we decided to move to Unity. It already has everything we need.
Once the new version comes out, players are able to transfer their old account only once with all their achievements and in-game currency.
Also, coming with this release One player can play on their browser, while the other can play on their tablet. They can play against each other, cross-platform wise.
Does Tanki Online host any form of eSports?
Yes of course, tournaments and events are happening all the time. You can sign up with your own team and play if you think you are good enough, and you can follow livestreams on Twitch to check out other teams.
What about community creation? Does it exist and will you be implementing this sort of mode in Tanki Online?
Community creations already exist. We have a map editor which you can download if you really want to create new maps. We have even added a four of the best community made maps into the game, from an event held a couple of months ago.. Only it’s hard to implement a map or paint creation game mode into the game. However, customization will be added to the new version of Tanki Online.
All in all, I really enjoyed playing Tanki Online. It's fast paced, easy to learn, difficult to master gameplay enticed me into playing it some more after the interview was done. I sure am looking forward to the new version of Tanki Online, and I hope you guys are too.