View Full Version : SHIII navigation - an error and a wish list

04-17-2005, 05:46 AM
It occurs to me that navigation is one area where SHIII really needs some improvement.

First of all the error (note this is not a bug): BdU insists on giving the Latitude and Longitude for your patrol area in the wrong order €" international nautical convention is that Latitude is always given first. The game, however, gives Longitude first making BdU look like a complete bunch of idiots.

The main issue, however, is that an otherwise excellent simulation makes a very poor job of simulating 1940s navigation. At present you always know where you are and will get to where you want to go with the click of a mouse. In essence this is very much like using GPS. 1940s navigators would have had to take positional fixes using either the sun or stars. When neither of these were available they would have had to use dead reckoning €" essentially taking it account their course and speed plus the effect of wind, tide and currents €" and then plotted an estimated position until they could get an accurate fix. Given the stormy nature of the North Atlantic this could be a real problem for submariners.

Realistic navigation has therefore important ramifications for the game. In the event that you receive a ship and convoy sighting and you have wrongly estimated your position your chances of finding the enemy are considerably less. In addition any contact report you send may be much less useful depending on the accuracy of your navigation.

My wish-list would therefore include the following:
€ a realistic navigation option
€ charts which show Latitude and Longitude along the edge at all magnifications (this would also help plotting attacks as distances could be shown in nautical miles, making distance and speed compatible)
€ charts which show depth and current markings
€ wind, tide and current effects (for the latter annual almanacs would be useful)
€ the need to take sun (sextant) and star observations to gain an accurate fix of your position
€ a proper plotter (Breton or Portland style is best IMHO - http://www.piplers.co.uk/product_list.asp?Cat=Instruments%20and%20Electroni cs&sub=Chartwork%20Instruments) again available at all levels of chart magnification
€ the necessity to use dead reckoning when this was not possible
€ Improved sea state effects €" the North Atlantic swells/wavelengths are usually much longer than those shown in the game due to the much longer fetch (distance wind travels over the sea before being interrupted by land). In addition the peak and troughs of Atlantic swells should be much higher in extreme storm conditions.

Even without these the game is still excellent but included it would add to the overall realism and challenge of successfully commanding a WWII U-Boat.

Best regards


04-17-2005, 12:52 PM
And they need to correct distance for position... The world is both Square and Flat in this game.

04-17-2005, 01:05 PM
To hardcore for me, I'm a noob!

04-17-2005, 01:20 PM
I fully agree.

And also I would like to know did the currents and sea state not make torpedos more inaccurate. At the moment torpedos travel in a dead straight line whatever. But surely in a storm with waves and undercurrents etc any torpedo would have been pulled this way and that and finally could be well off its intended mark by the time it reached its target area?

It would be nice if this was modelled as well. At the moment hitting a target with torpedos from a distance is pretty easy. I would like to see a far fewer number of hits and a far greater number of duds than is provided in the game. Presently steam torpedos are 100% effective almost whereas electric ones are pretty unreliable. SUrely this should be balanced.

Finally if also the deck gun was reduced in efectiveness as well we may start to approach realistic tonnages for each mission instead of the massive tonnages you can get at the moment.


04-17-2005, 02:55 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Beuf_Ninja:
To hardcore for me, I'm a noob! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

It will give you more to do when not firing torpedoes.

Good thing with simulators is that you know more (not everything) about a subject then before you bought the sim. Can't say I know more after playing Doom3 or the Sims.

Can say I know more and have a much better understanding of F1 racing and can actually see on TV how some cars have been setup, sloppy rear anti-roll bar etc, wouldn't know that if I haven't got the sim/game.

When I started playing the game (cough) I had some understanding from Viper Racing, but you use more and more features as you learn. And you learn and you learn, with SH3 was the first time I saw how they got their torpedoes to hit, no I did not read about naval warfare, I read more about WWII aircraft and tank battles and the various vehicles and their capabilities.

Sims are the best and they can be played at different levels of complexity. And they are the best where you can try the "don't do this at home" things, since you wont get hurt http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif.

So even if this is implemented you can go on and play SH3 just the way you like it, there is no "norm" how to run a sim.

I think anything that increase the level of realism in a sim is good teaching tool, I wan't to learn real navigation. I been sailing on the open ocean several times with crazy friends but we all had a beer bottle in the left hand and it was pure guess work, look at the chart, take a general direction so that we would hit the right coast a day or week later, and then hover outside that coast looking at light houses and their pulses to figure out what lighthouses we are looking at, true viking style, no I would love to do real navigation. It was something B17 navigators could use too. Realistic navigation was and option in the B17 game, it had -some- realism in there.

When I ask for realism in military sims it is not "I wanna be an airforce pilot I wanna live the life of danger I wanna go to Vietnam" kind of thinking.

I am first and foremost a strategy gamer, and playing against a AI opponent quickly becomes booring, so, what better place these days then develop tactics for multi-player against human opponents on-line. But then the simulation has to be realistic, the simulation does not have to be perfect but the relationship between what is simulated in the simulator has to be historically correct so that it forces players to use those tactics that was used historically, or for a racing sim that I arrive at using this or that setup and that many pit stops and seeing they do this in real world too.

Sims are the best programs.


04-17-2005, 03:57 PM
very nice wishlist....for SH4...dont believe the makers to patch huge waves in http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

about the navigation, on 100% realism it does not show the position of the reported convoy...now in reality u would get a report for example AM5221...instead of AM52...where the 2 numbers give us a much more precise position according to german quadratic navigation/targeting system...now give me some response on this one cos this one makes me really angry, mainly when i have no luck locating the convoy, burning a lot of fuel...

and by the way i think the depth of the torpedoes is influenced by the waves...maybe not as much as in reality...but they are...saw my well set torpedoes go up/down a meter...and they explode on their way more often in big waves..

04-17-2005, 04:18 PM
I'm an ex-Merchant Marine Officer with 10 years of active ocean going service, I was almost to take my Chief Officer's exams when I twisted away and now I'm resting on my 2nd Officer's "laurels". The level of detail wished by Cona1l will be very welcomed by me as will keep me from the rust. But I think, very few inhere will welcome that. I believe most already have a hard time to plot a straight line for their torpedos. Imagine to put them to calculate the currents in the Channel (almost a mile and a switch) or to try to take a star by sextant almost on sea level of a sub's bridge in a swelling Atlantic mid-December.
Brilliant proposal my friend, I'm not joking with you but far from a game's "reality". For the Lat / Long issue, I agree 100% with you but I said "what the heck..."
Side-proposal: Quit on Recognition Manual offers and start givin' Norrie's Tables http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Edit: I meant not to offend anybody, either personal or nationwide. I tried to be humorus.

04-17-2005, 04:29 PM
The navigator could be less acurate in stormy situations or due to inexperience, so we would get a random error and find that we're closer to Ireland than we supposed.

04-17-2005, 05:00 PM
Anyone ever play a game called B17 flying fortress
the mighty eigth? It's a GOOD b17 "sim". where you basically have to navigate to your target by doing all the things they did in WWII. And,if left alone to do his own thing, your navigator could and would get lost! It then forced you to "guess" your location by looking at landmarks and comparing them to your map, and in bad weather...forget it! Very realistic. VERY good sim.

And, of course, you could turn all this on and off. As is was a "true" sim.

04-17-2005, 11:24 PM
I love the idea of a more realistic navigation model, or at least having the navigating aspect of U-boat warfare play a part in the sim, which, at this point, it doesn't. As was mentioned, plot a few points, click, and go, not much of a challenge. I think this could be quite easily accomplished by simply having the option of turning off the U-boat display on the map and not have the boat automatically follow a designated plot. To me, the way it is now, it's like satelite imagery with GPS or something, way too "real time", great for a modern sub sim but for WWII, I want to be faced with the real possiblity of not knowing exactly where I am (unless I'm perhaps very particular in keeping track of that kind of thing) or maybe getting lost at sea if I'm really careless. You could, of course, have your navigator do this job but....he may, or may not be totally accurate, depending on experience.

It would be great to have the added dimension, something completely different to have to focus on, other than just blowing ships up. For me, being able to navigate the U-boat and know, pretty much, exactly where I am, how I got there, how to get home, where my potential targets are in relation to me....would be just as rewarding as sending big tonnage to the bottom.

04-18-2005, 12:19 AM
Actually the realistic navigation would make more sense than the unrealistic crew managment troubles we have. Captains could be seen top side using a sextant. But they didn't make a habit of moving the entire crew around three times a day unless their pants were tightly wedged up their arces.

04-21-2005, 01:46 PM
Its certainly a massive part of the sim that hasnt been touched on at all so far. One wouldnt think of even contemplating a flight sim these days without having accurate navigation instruments so it seems a little odd that people are actually calling this SH3 game a simulation when in fact it has more of a game than simulation about it to me. If it was a true simulation it would include navigation and error effects in it IMO. You cant have a naval simulation without the navigation. Clicking on a map just doesnt do it correctly.

With a flight sim one of the funnest parts is getting bcak to the base and landing after a mission - you really feel like youve acomplished something. How great would it be to have to accurately find your patrol area or homebase when you are being blown off course and with an overcast sky and finding out that youre many miles off where you thought you were?

This game really needs this kind of immersion because at the moment its just too darn easy!


04-22-2005, 07:52 AM
I fully agree,

you can see more about real naval circumstances and navigational usings at
the website of The American Practical Navigator


especially the PUB 9 bowdich.pdf

good hunting

04-22-2005, 08:01 AM
100% support this ... realistic navigation is missing. One thing that was left off the list was magnetic declination, also important and a factor for which submariners had to use star fixes to determine what magnetic declination was.

04-22-2005, 03:23 PM

You hit the nail on the head. This is supposed to be a Naval Sim. In my opinion, proper navigating was what U-Boat warfare was all about, whether that be getting where you want to go, where targets are, where hazzards aren't, getting back home, and generally getting into a position to put a torpedo into the side of a ship. The fact that there is actually combat and tonnage sunk is a direct result of how good the navigation was. I would dearly like to see this aspect modeled in a sub sim.