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Subsim
03-16-2007, 05:03 AM
The excitement of a new subsim!

I don't know about you fellows but I treasure the anticipation, the buzz, and the buildup when a new sub game is about to be released. The months and days leading up to the first install and patrol are great, I really cherish the experience. Of course, if there were 4~5 companies releasing a new subsim each year, it would be fairly routine, plus you could pick and choose the very best one. As it is, Ubisoft is just about the only show in town, and Silent Hunter has really turned into a franchise we can enjoy and be proud of. From the first news and screenshots through all the rumors and humor, the discovery and the discussion, it's like Christmas, a first date, and a scavenger hunt all rolled into one.

I remember when Sierra set up a forum (primitive compared to this one) for the release of Dynamix's Aces of the Deep. Talk about exciting, all everyone talked about was realistic wave effects and we were hoping for 256 colors. I spoke with the game rep, and he hinted Sierra would be releasing a nuke subsim soon, too, it would be called Fast Attack. It was a nice game but had severe crashing problems that basically sank it (until we got it patched, but that's another story). The first Silent Hunter snuck up on me, I didn't get any news about it until it was almost released. I remember thinking, "Wow, the interface is almost exactly like the one in Aces, I wonder if they copied it or had some of the Mike Jones team working on it....?"

I was more involved with Silent Hunter II. Just about everything that could go wrong did with that title. First, the initial dev team was released. Suddenly, one dev team had two games to complete. Then the company was sold, causing all kinds of disruptions. The numerous, even humorous release date pushbacks (oh! The jokes we had at their expense http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif )Troy Heere, the lead programmer for the companion sim Destroyer Command, worked literally 18 hours a day for months, doing the heavy lifting to recode SH2 and save the game (tip of the hat to you out there, Troy and Dave) . In the end, the game had flawed AI and no dynamic campaign, and the multiplayer was so wonky it really couldn't be called multiplayer (until we got it patched, but that's another story). Still, it had a decent 3D engine and there was some reward in playing it. The sales were so good, that Ubisoft decided to fund Silent Hunter 3.

Ah yes, Silent Hunter 3... all hail, Romania! What a great subsim. When I first saw it at E3 2004, I was mightily impressed. But no dynamic campaign in that first version. Well, Ubisoft decided to listen to you and the results speak for themselves. I've been fortunate to meet many of the SH3 and SH4 dev team, and a true submarine enthusiast couldn't ask for a better group of guys to work on their subsim. And essentially, that's what it amounts to. We have hired a dev team to build us a subsim. Sub games, especially full-blown simulations, are a small segment of the shrinking PC games market, there isn't much comparison shopping to be done in sub games. No matter how hard a dev team works or how talented they are, no game is perfect, but that's the great thing about the Silent Hunter community; no one tries to form a lynching party. We praise the good stuff and criticize the weak stuff, but we support the Ubisoft and the dev team. Not many games benefit from such a symbiotic working relationship as ours.

So here we are on the eve of another new subsim. New program, new maps, new contacts to make, new radio messages to read, new harbors to sneak into... wait till you order a dive and you hear the aaooghah! You'll know you're in the Pacific then, treading on the old hunting grounds of men like Dealey, Morton, Fluckey, Kossler, Ramage, and many more. Sailing right up to the front door of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Savor the excitement, friends. Here's to Silent Hunter 4. I look forward to sailing with you again in the cyberseas.

Good hunting!
Neal Stevens
Subsim

bunkerratt
03-16-2007, 05:10 AM
thanks neal
...nice to see ya stop by.... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

mariuszj1939
03-16-2007, 05:56 AM
New program, new maps, new contacts to make, new radio messages to read, new harbors to sneak into...


Thank you !

and ... new "old" American music from'30-'40 in gramophone http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Realjambo
03-16-2007, 07:02 AM
Here's to no sleep! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

Messervy
03-16-2007, 07:53 AM
Amen! You said it all Neil! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Celeon999
03-16-2007, 07:59 AM
I remember the very first subgame ive played on the Commodore C-16.

It was called "Torpedo run!"

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/inlove.gif

Stuntcow
03-16-2007, 09:03 AM
From those Subsim's that have came before to those that are yet to come, here is too all that were, are or will be part of the Subsim family.... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif

TrevorSnowden
03-16-2007, 09:17 AM
Well said Neil!

I've been a game developer for nearly 15 years and I've worked on games all of you have enjoyed greatly. The only Sim I got the opportunity to produce was Fighter Squadron but I always loved sims. Back then sims were 10% of the market, just like sports... Now the audience is nearly gone.

I like to think it will reemerge and reading this post brings back great memories.

Here I am like its 1996 waiting for Long Bow, or Falcon (which I STILL play) while producing a completely different game.

I want to send a big thanks to all you guys, I know everyone one of you but not in a direct way, more of a data sheet way. And as long as you all are here, even if it's only one of you, sims will keep popping up now and again. I still dream about starting a studio for sims... no matter how ridiculous my associates think it is...

And Neil, I'm a long time lurker on Subsim, fantastic site, as obscure as sub and naval sims are, you have done an awesome job providing a home for us, even if we take long breaks between visits http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Hats off to you all!

Crosseye76
03-16-2007, 11:15 AM
Great post Neal, very well said indeed. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif


See you all in the Pacific ! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

cnelsoniii
03-16-2007, 12:20 PM
Neal very well said indeed. Thank you and subsim for all your support. Hats off to you all. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif

klcarroll
03-16-2007, 12:53 PM
OK; .......The very first thing that I will acknowledge is that I am probably a bit biased: .....After all, if I wasn't a big fan of simulations, I wouldn't even be here!

But, having said that.............

Some of the comments made here about "shrinking markets" and "Niche Products" concern me! .....Personally, I believe that Simulations are due for a massive re-birth!

Back in the days of 286 processors, and 640K of memory, you had to use your imagination to play a "sim"; .....because the hardware resources simply were not up to the challenge. Those of us who loved "sims" accepted that, and enjoyed immersing ourselves in another world; ...even if much of it was in our own imaginations.

Today, computer hardware has surpassed anything that the science fiction of the 1980's could have predicted! We now have sims like SH3, where wave action and the translucency of sea water are even being modeled; ...and it will only get better! Heck! .....I play SH3 on a friggin laptop, and the experience "blows me away"!

The Classic Simulation is intended to let you experience events and actions that you could never participate in, "in real life". For the first time ever, computer capabilities are up to the challenge. I see a HUGE future for "total immersion simulations"!! (...and I'm talking about a mere couple of years from now!)

Vote with your wallets! ....Support Sim Developers!

*

banzai_billy
03-16-2007, 12:54 PM
Ah, this first sub game i played was grey wolves on the windows 95 or DOS, not sure my memorys kinky

TrevorSnowden
03-16-2007, 02:35 PM
I truly hope you are correct klcarroll. I can't tell you how many meetings I've tried to get people to look into it...

Now a day's sci-fi is almost too real, so interest in "reality based" simulations are assumed to be gone, according to "experts". There aren't even any metrics to support marketing testing the concepts anymore... That means a group would have to blindly assume success but even then no one will front the cost, or marketing, unless it's done by an eastern European developer...

Our industry has grown significantly since Sims glory days. But almost all of that growth is console... Not to mention your EB's of the world don't build new shops with a PC shelf in mind anymore... Unless it's all for WOW http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

On a more positive note...

Ever wonder how well SH3 really did?
TITLE UNIT SALES DOLLAR SALES
SILENT HUNTER 47,760 $ 1,583,381
SILENT HUNTER 2 99,594 $ 3,421,763
SILENT HUNTER 3 89,878 $ 3,084,490

But hey, with Romania doing as good as they are SH5 is guaranteed... I just wish there were more.

RedTerex
03-16-2007, 05:10 PM
Thanks for stopping by again Neal, dont be so infrequent on here lol, I know your busy at subsim, you have a great site there, keep up the good work and thanks for all the support that you regularly give to the sub communities.

SH4 is the only game/sim I will be buying this year, becuase I wont have time to play any other game as I will be totaly immeresed in the battles that await us in the Pacific against that dedicated and persistant enemy of the IJN.

It will again be great to go to the Palau Islands, Sulu Sea, China Sea, Indian Ocean, Marshalls, Gilberts, Bourgainville and all my fav hunting grounds but this time with superb graphics...graphics after all is what you are looking at 100% of the time during play lol.

With new features and improved over all gaming concepts to make our tasks out in the Pacific that more exciting its a game that I await quite excitedly.

regards

VikingGrandad
03-17-2007, 11:05 AM
Great post Neal http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif

Originally posted by snowden909:
Ever wonder how well SH3 really did?
TITLE UNIT SALES DOLLAR SALES
SILENT HUNTER 47,760 $ 1,583,381
SILENT HUNTER 2 99,594 $ 3,421,763
SILENT HUNTER 3 89,878 $ 3,084,490


Encouraging results, but it's disappointing to see that SH3 did not sell quite as well as SH2.

TrevorSnowden
03-17-2007, 11:16 AM
But there is an interesting thing... SH2 is STILL selling... SH3 did about 24k units last month alone so all the results arent in yet. Sims seem to have the longest shelf life.

I would also wonder if SH3 was marketed better than SH2. SH4 seems to be getting a lot of attention! Even on gamespot its in the top 100 of 32k titles.

VikingGrandad
03-17-2007, 12:19 PM
Originally posted by snowden909:
...SH3 did about 24k units last month alone...

24,000 units of SH3 were sold in February?! That's 25% of the total sold so far! Are you sure?

RedTerex
03-17-2007, 02:30 PM
quote:
Originally posted by snowden909:
...SH3 did about 24k units last month alone...

That does seam rather alot, considering the total sales, where was this info sourced ?

If you have made a typographical error then please disregard this post.

TrevorSnowden
03-17-2007, 06:35 PM
Err, sorry, I meant 2400...

The source is from the PC TRST data.

RedTerex
03-17-2007, 07:32 PM
Originally posted by snowden909:
Err, sorry, I meant 2400...

The source is from the PC TRST data.

Thank you for clearing that up snowden909.

2.4k you missed the dot !!

nastutt
03-18-2007, 09:30 AM
Originally posted by klcarroll:
Some of the comments made here about "shrinking markets" and "Niche Products" concern me! .....Personally, I believe that Simulations are due for a massive re-birth!

Back in the days of 286 processors, and 640K of memory, you had to use your imagination to play a "sim"; .....because the hardware resources simply were not up to the challenge. Those of us who loved "sims" accepted that, and enjoyed immersing ourselves in another world; ...even if much of it was in our own imaginations.

Today, computer hardware has surpassed anything that the science fiction of the 1980's could have predicted! We now have sims like SH3, where wave action and the translucency of sea water are even being modeled; ...and it will only get better! Heck! .....I play SH3 on a friggin laptop, and the experience "blows me away"!

The Classic Simulation is intended to let you experience events and actions that you could never participate in, "in real life". For the first time ever, computer capabilities are up to the challenge. I see a HUGE future for "total immersion simulations"!! (...and I'm talking about a mere couple of years from now!)
*

Yeah and this means massive development time compared to the more cartoony games of old like EAW and EF2000 although they looked great for their time. The fact is that sims these days have just got too complex and are putting people off. Take Falcon 4 - a great game but I just dont play it as I dont have the time. Same for B17 2 - takes me a whole evening for one mission. Same for SH3 takes me a whole evening just to find a single ship usually.

In games like Stealth Fighter, Gunship 2000 or EF2000 you knew they werent real but you didnt care, they were great to play and were quite believable at the same time.

Sims are dying becuase developers have lost the plot. This is the same for most other genres not just sims. Games like Crisis remvolve around how many polygons they can display. Who cares? I want a game I can play that is fun and a game that I can win and enjoy doing it. I dont want a game I get slaughtered in - thats just not fun. And I dont want to play a game which takes three hours to get to the action or half an hour to remember all the controls.

klcarroll
03-18-2007, 01:25 PM
@ Nastutt;

I understand where your criticisms are coming from: ....but I think that things do not necessarily have to be the way you describe them.

I too spent far too many hours playing GUNSHIP 2000, and I fully appreciate the joys of a simple interface. The current batch of Sims has gotten rather complicated in that regard, but I think that issue is resolvable.

I believe that SH3 has "shown the way" in this area: It's variable "Realism Percentage", and accessible Config Files allow users an astonishing level of control: ....virtually eliminating the "Newbie Slaughter Factor".

Future interface improvements will come with the increased use of "Crew AI" governing the actions of the people under your command. Consider how much more fluid the play would be if you could opt for a play level where you simply had to say "Target the T3, and fire when bearings match."! Once we aren't REQUIRED to micro-manage every friggin detail of on board life, the "Command Experience" would become much more life-like:

I feel that this is the obvious (and necessary) direction that future Sims must take; ....as you are quite correct: ....It's far to easy (particularly for a new player) to get bogged down in details to the point where the game experience suffers.

Your comments about length of game fall under the heading of "Personal Preference". Personally, one of the aspects of Sh3 that I really love is the "Career Mode", where the North Atlantic can actually become part of your daily life for weeks at a time. Perhaps it labels me as an "SH3 Addict", but I really enjoy thinking about what I'm going to do when I "get back on the bridge". (It makes the drive home go faster!)

But remember, the Developers have addressed this issue already. Players can select from several modes of play: ....if you don't feel like a complete war career, you can opt of a single patrol, or a semi-scripted mission. (Sure, ....a single mission might still take an hour to play; ....but I much prefer that to a game that counts the seconds down and then flashes you a "GAME OVER" screen!)

Keep the Faith! .....I really don't think that we have to sacrifice "Realism" for "Gameplay": It's just a matter of fully using some of the incredible software and hardware resources that are available to us today. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

*

VikingGrandad
03-18-2007, 06:58 PM
Originally posted by klcarroll:
Future interface improvements will come with the increased use of "Crew AI" governing the actions of the people under your command. Consider how much more fluid the play would be if you could opt for a play level where you simply had to say "Target the T3, and fire when bearings match."! Once we aren't REQUIRED to micro-manage every friggin detail of on board life, the "Command Experience" would become much more life-like:

I feel that this is the obvious (and necessary) direction that future Sims must take...

I think this depends on how you define 'simulation game'. Up until SH3, I was never a dedicated sim player, but I've played a few in my time. My impression is that the aim of a 'pure' simulation game is to allow the player to fly/drive/sail some kind of vehicle in a realistic way, in an environment that contains appropriate challenges for the simulated vehicle (including physics and other real-world limitations).

Isn't what you're suggesting for the future of sims what most people would call a 'real time strategy'? For instance, in the RTS game 'Company of Heroes', I can command some of my troops to go and attack one of the enemy's tanks, with little influence over how my troops carry out the attack. Like a military commander, the challenge is in choosing 'what' and 'when' - the unit's AI figures out most of the 'how'.

Games such as 'Brothers In Arms', also include 'command' elements (albeit at a more tactical level) along with first person shooter qualities. These games tend to be labeled 'tactical shooters' but, because they have a focus on realism, you could call them 'squad leader' simulators.

You could also say that first person shooters such as Call of Duty, which has realistic qualities, is a 'WW2 soldier simulator'.

So there are games that simulate three tiers of activity: strategic > tactical > hands-on.

I would say that conventional 'vehicle' simulators focus mostly on the hands-on aspects. What we have in SH3 is a successful mixture of all three levels. As a U-boat simulator, it's not surprising that the game has a lot of 'hands-on' aspects, e.g. listening to the hydrophone or launching torpedoes. But SH3's aim was to be more than a U-boat sim - it's a U-boat commander sim, which gives us tactical elements like crew management, planning a target intercept, etc. To a lesser extent, the game also has strategic elements (made more possible with SH3 Commander), such as choosing the best patrol area to prevent allied supplies reaching the UK. This is why SH3 succeeds - we get a taste of being U-boat crew, U-boat commander and a little flavour of being BdU.

However, not even SH3 can be all things to all men. Each of us, according to our preferences, is left wanting more strategic, more tactical or more hands-on experiences in the game. I'm sure the same will be true of SH4. The question for the designers of future Silent Hunter releases is which of these gameplay elements to open up further. Personally, I'd like to have more of everything! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Incidentally, you may be interested to learn about Subwolves (http://www.subwolves.com/phpfus/mFusion/news.php), a standalone U-boat war strategy game, still in development, that will integrate with SH3 for the tactical and hands-on aspects.