07-31-2006, 12:36 AM
I was disappointed to see that SH4 will be in the Pacific - to me that will always be boring. BUT I am willing to give it a go providing Ubisoft provide a balanced game. Even SH3, as good as it is, got boring with only one playable side. The inaccuracies, like the almost total lack of Allied Air Power in the form of long-range patrols from the ground or from escort carriers, just became too much for me. I'd rather have seen SH4 as a revised Destroyer Command with a full-on upgrade to SH3 so we FINALLY had a game where the Battle of The Atlantic could be fought on line from both sides. The Cruel Sea is, for me, the definitive blueprint for what I want in a WW2 submarine simulator. The only thing that ever came close was an Avalon Hill boradgame called SUBMARINE, which covered both the Atlantic and the Pacific theatres and allowed both sides as playable.
Ubisoft may make another good game with SH4, but unless they provide the ability to select either a US sub or a Japanese escort it will not be a GREAT game, not will it sell as well as it deserves.
Have you played SH3 long? I ask because if you have played SH3, or any sim, long, you will know what you are asking is an impossibility.
From another post of mine to a very similar request (From the "Top 10 things...." thread):
For one, I hope they keep the 3D crew. Perhaps have an option to disable to save horsepower.
SHIV will probably be released in 2007. Players with 2001 computers who don't want to upgrade shouldn't try to get Devs to crap up games for them. I understand your frustration (I've had to upgrade many a time), but why should those of us with huge machines (AMD 64X2 4200 Dual Core, 2 Gig Ram, 2X7900GTs in SLI Mode here) have to continue to play graphically unapealing or downright ugly games because you refuse to upgrade? Or what about newbies coming from the "shoot-em up" genre? They'll want the advanced graphics too.
For me, it is about immersion. If you want to play it by the map only and use hotkeys, and hence don't need the 3D crew, go ahead. I play by clicking on the stations, and watching in the control room as a DD passes over, like a real sub commander.
In addition, the argument "Not having a 3D crew will improve performance" is quite wrong, at least if your play style has you at the map at all times. Have you ever been on an old machine playing a first person shooter that it can't handle? You get crappy frame rates, but as soon as you look to the sky (where fewer objects are being rendered), your frame rates jump drastically. It is the same situation here: If you play at the map and stations, whatever performance hit on your old machine caused by the 3D crew is negated, as they are not rendered and hence do not take resources. It seems to me that if one plays the game that way, it is because their old machine's processor cannot successfully handle all of the information of various units. The only way to solve that would be yanking out most of the ships, and creating static mission based campaigns - and I think most of the community would abhor that idea.
My advice to you is this: Upgrade your machine. You will have to do it eventually, and the longer you wait, the further behind you'll get, and the more you have to spend. I found that out the hard way, going from a PIII 833mhz and a TNT2 to a Athlon 2600 and a 5200FX. Sure I could "play" the newer games (even SH3), but since it wasn't a great upgrade, I needed to up again. And that upgrade was in 2002 (for the P3) and in 2003 (For the 2600). Early this year, I spent $2,000 on a new machine, and I won't be "forced" to upgrade probably until 2010. And even then my rig should "run" the games then, but albeit at a lesser quality.
The purpose of a simulation is to simulate, and to immerse. The way the thread starter seems to play it is more of a wargame, move here, take control, then move here. That is fine and dandy, but to the majority of players that is not simulating anything, and that sure as heck isn't immersive. Why should we be made to suffer to accept your play style?
Again, I think there should be a balance. Make the 3D crew standard. Adding stuff is good, taking away is what can kill a game. But, have an option in the graphic settings to disable them. I can almost promise you, though, that if the game continues to keep track of individual crew members, then you won't see a performance increase: All you'll get is a lifeless 3D sub, a step backwards in simulation.
I also like the idea I saw someone wrote of having all nations subs. Very cool. But realistically (remember, I am a game Designer, see Matrix's War Plan Orange), the idea of making a sim with that is flawed and impossible from the start. Here is why:
1) Voice acting. You'd have to do a complete American, British, Japanese, and Dutch voice set. That's a lot of $$$$.
2) Interiors. SH3 has four basic interiors, a Type II, Type VII, Type IX, and Type XXI. But for SHIV to have so many playable subs.... well, even if you shared interiors, you'd need at least 3 per nation (providing you have a good amount of subs for each nation). So that comes to 12 interiors (at least). That right there, production and time wise, is 3 times the $$$$ and labor SHIII cost.
3) Sub choices. Again, you need accurate modeling and specs, damage, crew compartments, etc, morso than from an AI standpoint. For the US, you would NEED the Tench, Balao, Gato, T, Salmon/Sargo, P, Cachalot, Dolphin, Narwhal, Argonaut, and a generic S class (There are actually about a half dozen S class subs, S-1 to S-51 were not homogenous). That is 11 classes. Going to what SH1 had, it cuts down to 10, because although the Cachalot and Dolphin classes were not modeled, SH1 featured the Barracuda class. So that is 10 boats. Then, to do the whole point of SHIV justice, you'd need to add the various selectable conning tower types (2 to three versions), deck gun weapons (5"/51, 5"/25, 4"/50, 3"/50, 40mm, 20mm, .50cal, and .30cal). So just modeling the US side is almost as astronomical a task as SHIII was. Now, on top of that, you want how many Japanese? How many British? Two or three Dutch? So again, on those resources, it costs 4 times what SHIII did to produce.
4. Campaigns. You have to make them fun and accurate don't you? Except, you have to do it four times instead of one. So that is more labor.
5. Playtesting. 4 times as many subs, 4 times as much beta testing.
6. Expansion. If you add everything into the game at first, then you really can't expand it. So you in effect get the work (in your US, Brit, Dutch, Japanese playables) of four different games, but the devs get paid only for one.
7. Price. So, if SHIV did what some people wish with so many playables, it would cost in time and labor 3 to 4 times the amount of work to develop, and about 4 times as much money invested. To make a profit, they have to raise their prices accordingly.
So, while I too would like playables from each side, to do it justice (and not like Enigma:RT, 1 sub, 1 PC, 1 DE, 1 DD for each side, with Germany getting 2 subs) and have the realism and authenticity we all want, it is an impossibility. That, or we wait until 2008 probably and pay the Devs for having to do 4 times the work, and instead of SHIV costing $49.99 USD it would cost $199.99 USD. I paid $80 USD for War in the Pacific, great game. I paid $125 USD for Steel Beasts Pro, great sim. But I for one am hesitant to pay $200 USD for a game, and I suspect those who want crappier graphics so their older machines can run it, and hence cannot afford to by a $150USD new video card or a $250USD new processor won't like it either.
Basically, here is the thing. You can either have SH4, about US subs in the Pacific, done right or done wrong. First off, if you want to play as a US sub commander, you will have to model all US sub classes with all of the options of SH3. If you want to play a Japanese escort commander, you will have to model all Japanese Destroyers, Escorts, and Patrol Boats to the same level of detail as SH3. If you want both, in a game that can actually be made and sell for under 50 USD, you would have to cut a lot of corners.
To do both, you would have to cut out at least half of the US subs and half the Japanese escorts. With it, you cut off half of your customers. Why by a supposedlly "detailed" American Submarine game when all of the submarine types aren't modeled?
Read my arguments on production time, resources, money, etc.
To do a good, not a great, not a spectacular. Not even really good, more passable like Enigma Rising Tide, Such a game would have to be delayed release wise until 2008, and cost around 100 USD.
Why you ask? Because of all the resources that go into it, and so much that would need to be done, even with all of the corners cut it would still be expensive to recoup lost resources, and come out a bug ridden sloppy mess in the end.
For what you are asking, an approach similar to the IL2 Sturmovik Series would be in order.
1st, release the base game (IL2 Sturmovik). This is SH3.
Two years later, release a standalone "expansion" that does not require the orginal.(Forgotten Battles). This would be SH4.
A year later, release an expansion (Ace Expansion Pack). This could be the Japanese Escort playset for SH4.
A year or two after that, release a standalone product that can be merged with the above. (Pacific Fighters). This would be the American Destroyer game (DC2), which could be merged with above. Include the ability to merge with SH3, SH4, and the Japanese Expansion.
A year after that, release an expansion that requires all of the above. (PE-2 Peshka) This would allow British Subs and British and German Destroyers.
It could be done. But to keep the Silent Hunter Series a quality sim like SH1 and SH3, and not turn into an Enigma style arcade game (which, while a fun game was precisely that, a game. Not a sim). It would take a lot of work. This way, the end result is $180, but spread over a six year period. (40 for SH3, 40 for SH4, 30 for the Japanese and British expansion, 40 for Destroyer Command 2).
Is it a lot of money? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.
Because, to squeeze most of that content into a $40 package, all we would get is a crappy campaign, the same SH3 bugs, 3 playable US subs, 2 playable Japanese DDs and a playable Japanese Escort. And that, in what is supposed to be "the" US submarine game, is a disappointment. I'd buy it, but it would sit on my shelf after the first week like SH2 did.
I would rather have a great sim with all major US sub types (S, Barracuda, Argonaut, Narwhal, Dolphin, C, P, Salmon, Sargo, Tambor, Gato, Balao, Tench) modeled and then worry about an expansion than get a poorly done interop game with only a few subs, a couple of escorts I'll never play as, and risk it turning into a watered down arcade game.
The question is this. Is Silent Hunter about experiencing American and German submarine warfare during WW2, or is it a beer and pretzels online game for the shooter generation?
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