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Old 03-10-2017, 08:49 AM   #1
BL!TZKR!EG
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Default AOTD - Aces Of The Deep, gameplay comparison vs SH3

Aces Of The Deep, aged as it is, is still appreciated as one of the best, but sadly out of touch with modern computers.

Nevertheless though, a heap of players are still playing it.

In supporting one of the upcoming games and collecting possible features for this endeavour, I wish to raise this subject in the sense of a technical/gameplay-orientated comparison vs SH3 and would like to read everybody's opinion on:

What does AOTD have that SH3 is still missing?


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Old 03-10-2017, 09:33 AM   #2
Nippelspanner
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I keep it brief for now, but AOTD always haf a certain flair that no other uboot game was able to recreate.
For example, the AI in AOTD is way superior to ubisofts bland and repetitive/foreseeable AI.
Computer controlled uboats join in Wolfpack hunts, commit surface or subsurface attacks and, iirc, send radio reports. You don't have the "me against England" feeling that you may have in silent hunter. Even though fans added NPC boats, they never gave me the feeling I'm not alone.

Radio messages were great and fun in AOTD, new patrol areas, calling escorts etc.
Silent hunter 3 spammed you with the same predefined messages, there was literally no point using them at all, just a risk (huff duff).
In AOTD it was a bit deeper, and felt more immersion to me.

Additionally, there are some fine details like having to use the pumps every now and then which creates noise, or the use of compressed air for depth changes etc.
Fine details that made escaping and surviving more challenging.

You could also ground the boat (without stupid bouncing and receiving constant damage), get stuck in the mud (sometimes for good, which always was a horrifying way to go) etc etc.

What is much better than in AOTD, is the damage model. Systems receive believable damage and can need long times to be repaired, if at all. Vanilla SH3 was flat out broken in that department as we now know.

Keep in mind, I haven't played either title in a long time, I sure have missed a lot of fixes made by the community, but these are things I remember.

Last edited by Nippelspanner; 03-10-2017 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:02 AM   #3
BL!TZKR!EG
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Thanks, NS. Let me summarize what you wrote:
  • SH3's AI is too foreseeable.
  • AOTD had computer controlled uboats join in Wolfpack hunts
  • SH3's radio messages are not meaningful, merely useless
  • SH3 does not let you "ground" the boat without continously taking damage
  • AOTD had the far superior damage model
Ok.

More please...
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:36 PM   #4
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One more thing...

Night surface attacks always felt like what you read in books written by actual u-boat captains and crews.
In sh3, if they see you, they start shooting no matter what. In AOTD I witnessed corvettes actually chasing me in bad weather, without firing (can anyone support this? It's been so long).
Also Kretschmers tactic to infiltrate convoys actually works in AOTD.
While you can sure infiltrate convoys in SH3 too, you can not continue causing Havoc after engaging because suddenly, and instantly, everyone knows where you are, forcing you to abort further attacks.
In AOTD, you can continue quite well, iirc.

That's an additional example of the superior AI in my point of view.
Quite tempted to play AOTD again now, lol.
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Old 03-15-2017, 12:56 PM   #5
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I just posted some comments about this in a SH3 thread, not realizing this was here.

(my comments: http://www.subsim.com/radioroom/show...=218680&page=2 )

Nippelspanner listed my main reason, the ability to bottom the boat.
But I always did that (after I accidentally did it the first time and the DD started pinging elsewere) to lose the active sonar.
Although they could ping in ANY direction in C:AOTD, you could still evade.

As per my 2nd post in the thread linked above, your boat also leaked all the time, hence the reason to need to use the pumps.

And for me, one of the biggest issues with most newer games (SH3/SH4), is that when I give an order (press a button), I have to wait on someone else to speak the order BEFORE the action starts.

If I say, "XO, take us here, VIA this location, undetected, and put us at this depth. I'll be in my Quarters." Then fine, give orders and "do stuff"... but if I say "Ahead flank! Right full rudder!" Then *DO* it, don't *Repeat* it, **then** do it!

I will say when the escorts are hunting you the CE just says "yes sir", and things happen much quicker. But the action is still delayed. Unless you right click on him and control the boat with the dails/gauges directly.

But still, SH3 is better than nothing. But I always get the feeling it's an "Eye Candy Version" of AOTD.

Barracuda

P.S. Eye candy is great, but if you skip/ignore the vital parts of the program, then a "Pretty" piece of junk, is still a piece of junk.
Seems to be a 'thing' with newer programmers (or maybe it's all management). I like to make it work, then make it look good.
We were rebuilding a friends truck engine, I'm there to pick up parts, he grabs paint for the block.
We are, at best, a week from needing paint. We don't actually need it, the engine has lasted 15 years without it, it doesn't need it now!

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Old 03-15-2017, 01:34 PM   #6
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The Damage Control system. If you went to the Damage Control screen you were shown a schematic of the boat. Nothing fancy, just the drawing you would have in the real boat. Click on it, and nothing happens. If you took damage and then went to the same screen the damaged area would have a rough circle drawn around it, a description of what was wrong, and an estimate of how long it would take to repair. No fancy turning wrenches or flooding graphics, and especially no assigning crew yourself. The LI took care of it all, and told you exactly what was going on. You only had to do what the commander does, which is command.

One thing I didn't like was the map view. If you were surfaced or had the periscope up you could see every ship within visual range on the map. It was more information than the tracking party could ever have.
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Old 03-16-2017, 08:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BL!TZKR!EG View Post
Aces Of The Deep, aged as it is, is still appreciated as one of the best, but sadly out of touch with modern computers.

Nevertheless though, a heap of players are still playing it.

In supporting one of the upcoming games and collecting possible features for this endeavour, I wish to raise this subject in the sense of a technical/gameplay-orientated comparison vs SH3 and would like to read everybody's opinion on:

What does AOTD have that SH3 is still missing?


Some points have been touched on already, but I will repeat.

Aces of the Deep Advantages:

-RANDOM UNIT ENCOUNTERS. In AOD, you simply never know what is going to happen. There is a huge variety of convoys and single ship traffic.

Convoys can be small (10 or fewer ships) medium, or huge (45-60 ships). IIRC stock SH3 and even many supermods don't go beyond about 20-25 ships.

Traffic is in appropriate areas - you get OB and HX convoys. They take the correct routes towards the Western Approaches. Sometimes two convoys travel close together, as they did historically. One patrol you go to a grid and find a huge convoy - the next patrol, you may find nothing.

-RANDOM WEAPONS FAILURES. AOD has dud torpedoes, especially in 1940, and both impact duds and premature detonation. SH3 only has prematures, and not enough. AOD has dud deck gun rounds; SH3 does not. In SH3 it is easier to rack up an unrealistic score than AOD at high realism.

-LIMITED RESOURCES. In AOD it is quite common to have problems with compressed air, pumps, & leaking water while on silent running, etc. In AOD the electricity runs out fast - especially at high realism. As you guys probably know, WWII U-Boats were SUBMERSIBLE TORPEDO CRAFT, and not true SUBMARINES like modern nuclear boats. AOD's air/electric/pump management is great. It always gives you a claustrophobic, anxious feeling when hiding from destroyers! In stock SH3, there is very little weapons system management after submerging....just dive deep and you're safe. I often die in AOD after 1941 because I get low on power or need to move to the surface, and the escorts detect me. AOD recognizes that it takes work to keep even an undamaged submarine operational. Futhermore, AOD shows you just why so many young men on U-Boats never returned.....fighting for your life after submerging was deadly.

-MORE SEVERE DAMAGE. In AOD repairs are often jury-rigged - the engineer will tell you that a piece of equipment is functional, but not in good condition. You need to get back to base for that. Also, you can take crippling damage from just one aircraft/destroyer encounter....stock SH3 makes it too easy to return your boat to shipyard condition.

-GOOD UNIT ROSTER. AOD had a tremendous number of units for its time. Lots of escorts and generic merchants. SH3 uses too many non-generic vessels like Liberty/Victory ships....how about random tramp steamer models like in AOD? Lots of random tonnage values for ships with tankers, etc varying by about 500 - 1500 tons - not like SH3 where you know exactly how much each ship is.

-NICE PAGEANTRY. I still love the medal presentation animation, newspapers, harbor background with crew at attention, and especially the AOD Nightclub! I hate it that SH3 just blandly says "You have been awarded medals."

-AI WOLFPACKS. In AOD they are effective and can devastate a convoy. No "your submarine against the world" feeling. It was so nice to see a 10,000 ton tanker blow up because another sub had scored! It took way too much modding/manipulating of SH3 to get AI subs into the game...mainly with bad workarounds (no submerging on detection, invisible shells as torpedos, for instance). Not to criticize the efforts of Sergbuto & other mod heroes...they stepped in where ubisoft should have taken care of it.
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Old 03-16-2017, 08:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nippelspanner View Post
One more thing...

In sh3, if they see you, they start shooting no matter what. In AOTD I witnessed corvettes actually chasing me in bad weather, without firing (can anyone support this? It's been so long).
Yes! In AOD, if you approached a convoy too close on the surface an escort would break off and approach without firing to investigate.

If the escort was a corvette I could outrun it on the surface. If it was a destroyer I would have to submerge as it gained on me.

I might also add that no more than about 1-2 escorts were dispatched....you did not get the whole AI escort group stampeding to your submarine leaving dozens of ships undefended, like SH3. Amazing how AOD has those subtle AI touches.
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Old 03-17-2017, 04:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iambecomelife View Post
...

-AI WOLFPACKS. In AOD they are effective and can devastate a convoy. No "your submarine against the world" feeling. It was so nice to see a 10,000 ton tanker blow up because another sub had scored! It took way too much modding/manipulating of SH3 to get AI subs into the game...mainly with bad workarounds (no submerging on detection, invisible shells as torpedos, for instance). Not to criticize the efforts of Sergbuto & other mod heroes...they stepped in where ubisoft should have taken care of it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by iambecomelife View Post
...
Amazing how AOD has those subtle AI touches.

While NOT SH3/AOD related, Dynamix software's Metaltech: Earthsiege (the first one for DOS, not the second for Win95) had the 'smart'-est AI I have ever played against.

Coming up on 2 hills/mountains, which way do you go? left? right? through the center?
Doesn't matter. Just DON'T DO IT TWICE IN A ROW!
With a AI team member (or 3) in your "squad", you had to change it up. Maybe 1 left, 2 right, and you in the heaviest "Herc" through the center.
Keep changing it, and keep rotating which you change it to.

Don't do: A>B>C, A>B>C, A>B>C, you will be toast on the 2nd rotation.
Something Like: A>B>C, C>A>B, A>Z>Q>P>X>R.... Keep the AI guessing, even if it is not the best option. So long as it was different, you had a chance.
But you absolutely MUST, change it up, and team up on your AI opponents.
Or you would lose.

It didn't matter if you hadn't used that "tactic" for 3 "missions", the AI remembered, and was prepared for it.
On the highest difficulty, you had better use at least 4/5 different ways before you come back to the one you just used, or you would lose.

I haven't see AI like that since AOD... Maybe Descent 3, which was 1996/1997.
Good AI, 'friend' or 'enemy' just doesn't happen anymore...
And that is why I even played "Duskers". It was command line controls, with arrow keys.
Basic graphics and sound, felt like something on a 386. But the "core" was good.

No, wait, it was "No One Lives Forever 2" ("NOLF2"), that was the last "Good" AI I played against.

Barracuda
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:54 PM   #10
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Had to play And again after reading all this, also to remember what else AoD has to offer, in comparison.

Jebus!
I was send to the Irish sea in my IID, found a well protected convoy, was chased off by escorts, bombed, damaged, decided to sit on the bottom and wait it out. More bombs, more damage (both depth planes, batteries, hull was leaking, pumps struggled. And then... E-engines destroyed. Holy crap!

"Escorts left, surface!"

"LI, surface the boat - please?"

"We have to get out of the mud first!"

Oh please no -.-

"Ok, ok, no need to panic - we'll blow ballast tanks and limp home on diesels!
Blow ballast tanks!"

...

"I said, blow ballast... tanks?!"

"We don't have enough compressed air left, Herr Kaleun!"

...

"Play some music, until it's over then...! -.-"

[You suffocated. Game over]


Also, did you know the batteries can develop chlorine gas leaks?

And now look at SH5, hahaha.
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Old 03-21-2017, 04:02 PM   #11
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^ Why I still play it on my WIN 98 computer
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Old 03-21-2017, 04:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aktungbby View Post
^ Why I still play it on my WIN 98 computer
Yeah I have it on both, my laptop and pc, both win7 btw, works just fine with Dosbox!
Only annoying thing is, I have a weird language mix. Sone things are English, some texts are German. Would love to get my hands on a complete (patched) version in German, for complete immersion.

Not many games have a place in my heart like this one. It also is among the greatest examples that the best gfx won't do the trick when the rest sucks, or is flat out broken (see Sh5).
My opinion, at least.
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Old 03-23-2017, 07:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nippelspanner View Post
Had to play And again after reading all this, also to remember what else AoD has to offer, in comparison.

Jebus!
I was send to the Irish sea in my IID, found a well protected convoy, was chased off by escorts, bombed, damaged, decided to sit on the bottom and wait it out. More bombs, more damage (both depth planes, batteries, hull was leaking, pumps struggled. And then... E-engines destroyed. Holy crap!

"Escorts left, surface!"

"LI, surface the boat - please?"

"We have to get out of the mud first!"

Oh please no -.-

"Ok, ok, no need to panic - we'll blow ballast tanks and limp home on diesels!
Blow ballast tanks!"

...

"I said, blow ballast... tanks?!"

"We don't have enough compressed air left, Herr Kaleun!"

...

"Play some music, until it's over then...! -.-"

[You suffocated. Game over]


Also, did you know the batteries can develop chlorine gas leaks?

And now look at SH5, hahaha.
EXACTLY!

I still keep an AOD install on my rig for this reason.....the game gets so terrifying after you submerge. I have died dozens of times in AOD near the Irish Sea and the Continental Shelf.....far too often, I see a big juicy convoy and attack, then get killed because it's too shallow to escape. Or I get stuck in the mud and die slowly.

In my current AOD career I'm still alive, but only because it's still 1940. Not because I'm a great captain.

Another thing I like: in AOD, 1-2 escort or merchant shells (like a 4" or 4.7")
will cripple your sub and can kill you.

I don't like stock SH3's "tank submarine" that can have gunfights with destroyers. In the "Convoy Attack" SH3 training mission I could sink the Hunt DD surfaced almost as soon as I learned to play the game. That's just silly.

In WWII, most captains NEVER attacked anything within range of a target's guns. Not even merchantmen. One shell hole in a sub's pressure hull meant death. Or, at best, scuttle the boat and enjoy POW camp until 1945.
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Old 03-24-2017, 04:29 AM   #14
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I play SH3 because of the possibility to draw on the map and more precise work with the dials, and it is easy to modify many aspects of the game.
But as a whole, SH3 is just a bad made game.
Compared with AOTD, as gameplay, SH3 losing in almost all parameters.
But this can be seen in many old game from the nineties, compared to new ones.
I explain it to myself like: Back then, limited by technology and hardware, they spend most of the time for programing gameplay,
now with modern hardware, they spend it for graphics, sound plus all sorts of stupid things.
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:10 AM   #15
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No, back in the 90's companies like Dynamix, Origin and Microprose were constantly pushing the limits of what graphics could be done with then high-end hardware. AOD might look dated today, but when it came out it was as close to photorealism as possible. The manual for Strike Commander has an editorial by Chris Roberts where he spells out in great detail exactly how much they were pushing the hardware of the day.

IMO the explanation is that the notion of a sim was different back then. If you read what Damon Slye has stated about Red Baron, the emphasis was always on reliving history and 'being there' while having fun. That same mentality gave us classics like AoD, GNBNA and the original Silent Hunter.

Then Su-27 and the hardcore Jane's sims started coming out and took sims into a much more tech and procedures-focused direction.

It is quite telling that neither AoD nor SH bother to model the hydrophone station aboard the sub. AoD doesn't even bother modelling the TDC beyond a spread angle slider, and the FAT programming is a very simple yet useable dialog menu, in stark contrast to what's in SH3 and SH4. It's not because they couldn't do it, but because they chose not to.
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