Fast Attack is a great sim, featuring sharp graphics,
intense action, superb nuts-and-bolts realism, and a top-notch
soundtrack. Here are a few tactical suggestions to try.
- Use the right mouse button for large changes in the tedious fire control station.
- The key to handling contacts with a relatively high bearing rate change is to realize
that they are close. Take the default range of 10K yards and activate the torpedo right
out of the tube. Keep zeroing the bearing and altering the torpedo's course as required.
- You can torpedo anything with a draft of 6 feed or greater.
- If the Sierra target cavitation
sound effect gets stuck and won't stop after 30 seconds or so, simply hit
ESC and then select NO when the pop-up asks you if you want to exit the
game. The sound effect will stop until the next time the target cavitates.
- This applies to the EASY mode: Targets with a primary or secondary "sink"
objective are automatically assigned to available ATF trackers. These should be the first
targets to be fired upon. As these targets are sunk and removed from the game, ATF
trackers become available and are then refilled with other targets having a primary or
secondary "sink" objective. Sonar contacts that are NOT auto-assigned when there
is a tracker available is not an objective.
- Active sonar normally searches on a selected range scale of typically 4000 yds, 10000
yds, or 20000 yds. This means the sonar will send out another sound pulse after sufficient
time has elapsed for the previous pulse to go out to the end of the search range and
return. The speed of sound in water is about 4800 feet/sec (1600 yds/sec). Therefore it
takes 2 seconds for the sound to go out to 1600 yds AND return. So for every second that
elapses between the outgoing pulse and hearing the return echo, the range is 800 yards.
When the sonar operator hears a return echo, he probably would do two things: shift to the
shortest possible range scale to allow him to get more frequent range information on the
target, and switch his sonar to the "range gate" mode. In the "range
gate" mode, the sonar automatically send out another pulse as soon as the echo is
heard. These characteristics can be useful. If the contact stays in a long range scale, it
is likely that he does not have contact on you. On the other hand, if the contact should
start to range gate, you can be 95% sure he has contact and is moving in for an attack.
- The WLR9 interval can tell you the range ONLY IF THE CONTACT IS RANGE GATING. Multiply
the displayed interval by 800 to get the range in yards. You can then enter that range
into FireControl to initiate a preemptive attack.
- On torpedo evasion: Have an evasion device loaded. Initially go deep and to maximum
speed; launch an evasion device and reload. Use the WLR9 to determine if the torpedo is
range gating. If not, you have time to get out of the torpedoes detection cone. You can
estimate the torpedo's course to be the reciprocal of the initial detection bearing, and
then form a picture of the detection cone. Turn to take the shortest way out of the cone.
If the torpedo is range gating, turn away and try to out run it. Changing depth across the
layer may be effective. Good Luck! When you play again remember: it is far better to
remain undetected then to try an evade torpedoes.
- Mine hunting: Many missions have mine hunting as a secondary objective. The mine hunting
sonar has a very limited range, and the detection cone is only a few degrees wide. You
will have to learn to effectively use this system. Read your mission orders in the radio
room as early as possible to get the listed location of the mine field. If you want to
pursue this secondary objective, change course immediately toward the mine field. The
"intel" in the mission orders is only accurate at the start of the mission.
Activate the mine hunting screen, and set it to auto scan. Be aware that this greatly
increases your detectability by potential adversaries. Watch until you begin to see some
contacts. Deactivate the auto scanner, and click on the contact. Press "Mark" to
plot the contact. If a track number appears, you got one!!! Otherwise, your cursor was not
over the contact, or is was a contact other than a mine. Getting the first mine is the
most difficult. Go slow or you may find one by the braille method and that could spoil
your day. Once you have one mine charted, you can manually scan and plot more of the mine
field, or you can pursue other objectives and return to plot the other later. When you
wish to return to plotting the mines, use the "recon" mode of the AO map screen
to find your ID'ed mine. Good luck.
- You cannot fire weapons from the VLS by hooking them with the sonar or periscope. The
only way to fire VLS weapons is by receiving a satellite transmission (over the VLF
antenna or periscope), hooking tracks in the AO map (recon mode won't work), and then
proceeding to the VLS screen.
- The submarine broadcast: In the game, a new broadcast begins at 5, 20, 35, and 50
minutes past every hour. On VLF, the broadcast repeats over and over for the entire 15
minutes. So if your floating wire is exposed for long enough during a broadcast period,
you will be able to receive any traffic for your sub. The periscope has a built in antenna
that can receive the broadcast via UHF satellite. The difference is that this broadcast
method is NOT repeated: it is send only once EXACTLY at the time specified. If your
antenna is not exposed, you will miss it.
- Satellite reconnaissance: A "spy" satellite will pass over your area of
operations at the times specified in the mission orders. This satellite will photograph
all vessels that it can see. Cloud cover or smoke may prevent a vessel from being seen.
This imagery will be radioed to an intelligence processing center as soon as the satellite
is within rang of the station. Analysts will interpret the data and prepare a message with
identification and estimates of course and speed. In the game, this processing takes
fifteen minutes to complete before the message is available for placing on the next
submarine broadcast. EXAMPLES: Satellite photos are taken at 7:05. The processing takes
until 7:20, and since a broadcast starts at 20 after it will just make it onto the 7:20
broadcast. This is the quickest this series of steps could execute. A picture taken at
7:25 wouldn't finish processing until 7:40, and would not be transmitted until the next
broadcast at 7:50. Do NOT confuse the photo-recon satellite with the geo-synchronous
satellite that handles the submarine broadcast.
Fast Attack Log file
I read was tooling around with Fast Attack the other day and discovered
that it does save a log file in the Windows Temp directory (was cleaning
out my temp files). I remembered your review lamenting the fact that FA
does not have a savable log file and I thought this might interest you.
The file is named simply Mission.txt and appears to be overwritten for
each mission you play. So, you would have to get out of FA before you
start a new mission in order to save the previous one. Log appears very
detailed. Even gives a bit more info than was in the in-game log. No
mission highlights in red though, and there is some debugging info on the
left of each time entry. But everything seems to be there including
course/depth changes, sonar contacts/classifications, ship names, weapons
hits, weapon parameters, damage points inflicted and sinkings.
NORMAL 05:00:00 Mission begin:
Persian Gulf, Mission 1
yYou can't access it in-game, but it is available if you want to pop out
of the game between missions and save the file. - submitted by Crawlmjk
Example: Using Win98SE and patched (v.1.01) of FA.
A partial copy of the log (sorry, FA pulled another crash):
NORMAL 05:00:00 New sonar contact on S1, bearing 333.
DEBUG 05:00:00 Sonar contact gain: bearing 333.4, GALLERY
NORMAL 05:00:00 New sonar contact on S2, bearing 270.
DEBUG 05:00:00 Sonar contact gain: bearing 270.0, AL'KABAR
NORMAL 05:00:41 S1 in ATF Tracker 1.
NORMAL 05:00:44 Classification started on S1.
NORMAL 05:00:50 S1 classified warship GALLERY.
NORMAL 05:01:01 S2 in ATF Tracker 2.
NORMAL 05:01:03 Classification started on S2.
NORMAL 05:01:08 TB-23 towed array deployed.
NORMAL 05:01:08 S2 classified merchant AL'KABAR.
NORMAL 05:01:09 New sonar contact on S3, bearing 227.
DEBUG 05:01:09 Sonar contact gain: bearing 227.1, AWALI
NORMAL 05:01:09 New sonar contact on S4, bearing 225.
DEBUG 05:01:09 Sonar contact gain: bearing 225.3, AL'MAGUA
NORMAL 05:01:09 New sonar contact on S5, bearing 232.
DEBUG 05:01:09 Sonar contact gain: bearing 232.2, AL'MAHDI
NORMAL 05:01:09 New sonar contact on S6, bearing 231.
DEBUG 05:01:09 Sonar contact gain: bearing 231.4, AL'AYN
NORMAL 05:01:09 New sonar contact on S7, bearing 222.
DEBUG 05:01:09 Sonar contact gain: bearing 222.0, SABKHAT MATTI
NORMAL 05:01:09 New sonar contact on S8, bearing 210.
DEBUG 05:01:09 Sonar contact gain: bearing 210.2, MARIWAH
NORMAL 05:01:09 New sonar contact on S9, bearing 216.
DEBUG 05:01:09 Sonar contact gain: bearing 216.3, ZAB
NORMAL 05:01:09 S5 in ATF Tracker 3.
NORMAL 05:01:09 S6 in ATF Tracker 4.
NORMAL 05:01:27 Classification started on S5.
NORMAL 05:01:32 S5 classified merchant AL'MAHDI.
NORMAL 05:01:37 Classification started on S6.
NORMAL 05:01:43 S6 classified merchant AL'AYN.
NORMAL 05:03:25 Changed Depth to 149 feet.
NORMAL 05:04:35 Launched Harpoon from Tube 4 at S1.
NORMAL 05:04:35 Target Estimates: BRG 338.1 CSE 098 RNG 12417 yd SPD
NORMAL 05:04:35 Weapon Params: L1 CSE 330 RNG 3.7 L2 CSE 000 RNG 0.0
RtoE 3.7 nm
NORMAL 05:04:40 Launched Harpoon from Tube 3 at S1.
NORMAL 05:04:40 Target Estimates: BRG 338.2 CSE 098 RNG 12398 yd SPD
NORMAL 05:04:40 Weapon Params: L1 CSE 330 RNG 3.7 L2 CSE 000 RNG 0.0
RtoE 3.7 nm
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q1. What is difference between the
TB-16 and the TB-23 towed array sonar?
A1. In all probability, a submarine
would not have both of these installed, but we chose to give the player a
choice. The TB-23 is modeled to have a larger diameter and thus more
sensitive hydrophones than the TB-16. The TB-23 also has more hydrophones
and is therefore longer than the TB-16. Because of its increased diameter
and more sensitive hydrophones, it is more sensitive to flow noise when
dragged through the water than the thinner TB-16. This causes the array to
become noise saturated above about 12 knots. The TB-16, on the other hand,
is usable at a higher speed. The increased length of the TB-23 also means it
takes longer to deploy and retrieve than the TB-16. Most modern submarines
leave the towed array deployed when on patrol, retrieving it only for high
Q2. Is there any way to estimate the
depth of a submarine contact?
A2. Probably the best you will be
able to do is determine if the submarine is above or below the layer. You
can do this my making note of the width of the noise trace on the passive
sonar display for the submarine contact. Then change depth across the layer
and see if the trace gets brighter and wider indicating a stronger signal,
or dimmer and narrower indicating a weaker signal. When you and submarine
are on the same side of the layer the signal will be the strongest. This
will be easier to do when the cross layer attenuation is a larger number.
When the attenuation is small, there may not be a discernible difference in
Q3. What causes the 'Can't allocate
memory for SMACKER code' error message?
A3. It means the machine ran out of
memory trying to get room to load the .smk (smack) file from the CD-ROM. You
will need use the boot disk method, or somehow make more memory available.
The amount of low, or conventional, DOS memory is not important, as long as
there is some for the sound card buffers. Total memory free is important, so
removing memory managers such as QEMM or EMM386, disk caches such as
SMARTDRV, and RAM disks such as RAMDRIVE can free up memory. Fast Attack has
its own protected mode interface, so all you really need is HIMEM.SYS to
control the A20 line.
Q4. How do you get the TASM's to
work? What's the use of having them if you have 15 minute old solutions?
A4. We probably made a mistake even
loading the anti-ship variant of the Tomahawk in Fast Attack. In fact,
TASM's haven't been carried by submarines for quite some time because of the
difficulty in getting real time targeting. The submarines grew to hate the
TASM because they would have to spend hours at periscope depth communicating
with either aircraft or getting into a data link with a battle group in
order to get targeting data. This means that they have lost their stealth
and might as well be surface ships or aircraft! So, the submarines don't do
it, although they can. The Harpoon is just as capable a missile at the
ranges a submarine can manage with its onboard sensors and a whole lot
cheaper! You can use the TASM, however, provided that you get 1) either two
satellite position reports; OR, 2) a MASTER number on the AO map. The later
means that you have satellite data AND local sensor contact. The course and
speed from those two observations will be used to generate an "estimated
position" (hopefully, the target didn't change course or speed) so the TASM
has a better, but not good, chance. We have actually been able to hit bad
guys with TASMs, but it is not worth the work. I think we'll take them out
if we do an upgrade on this game.
Q5. Why does the crew talk all over
each other? One second the sonar guy will be telling me of a new contact,
then the helmsmen interrupts him!!!
A5. This was done on purpose! The
control room of a submarine has many different communications circuits which
are just like intercoms and are called "announcing systems" and given an
"MC" designation. In general, the lower numbered MC overrides, or has
priority over, a bigger numbered MC circuit. The exception is the 4MC, or
emergency reporting system, which has the highest priority of all. The 4MC
is like the "911" for a submarine crew member. All stations on a particular
MC can hear the other stations on the same MC, but not those on another.
Except the control room, which can hear them all! For example, the
Maneuvering room (7MC) has no way of knowing that the torpedo room (21 MC)
or the sonar supervisor (27MC) is using that circuit, so he just talks. In
the control room, the Officer of the Deck and Captain hear them all! Its the
same as trying to listen to two or three radio channels at the same time.
This, in our opinion, adds to the authenticity and to the "tension" that
builds has you get closer to the attack.
Q6. Is it possible to load portions
of the game onto the HD for faster access?
A6. Yes, See the readme.wri file for
details (not the readme.txt - it doesn't have the same information).
Q7. Why do all tracks start out at
10,000 yards and 10 knots?
A7. The default solution is ALWAYS
10,000 yards, speed 10 knots, with a course that points directly at you
(i.e. reciprocal of the bearing). This was built into the real-world Fire
Control to support the "snapshot" procedure, a situation where you suddenly
gain contact and want to get a torpedo in the water like NOW! In the "REAL"
mode of Fast Attack we try to emulate all the systems as accurately as
Q8. Are there some tips you can give
for getting a solution using the Fire Control System?
A8. Yes, here are some that might
help. Let's start with some basics: If you are playing in EASY mode, the
solution should already be very close - within 5-10% and you should really
not need to tweak it. In STD mode the error increases to about 25%, and is
enough to cause a miss if you don't "polish it" a bit. In REAL mode, the
solution is just the default solution (see
Question/Answer #7). It is not
likely to be anywhere close to the real answer. Here are some more tips:
- Unless the contact is very WIDE
on the sonar screen, it is not likely to be 10,000 yards away. It is
probably considerably further away. You will learn that older ships are
noisy and can be heard at quite a distance, newer or better maintained
ships are quieter. If the ship is on the surface, check to see if you are
on the same side of the layer. If not, and you still have him, he might be
close. Look at the cross layer attenuation value. 6.0 db halves the range
of detection. Since you seldom know anything about the contact initially,
move the range out to 20,000 or so. Use the RIGHT mouse button to make the
- The default 10 knots is a good
first guess. After you get a classification, you can make a better guess.
Merchants, for example, don't get paid by the hour, so they will be moving
faster. Tankers, and BIG merchants can do 18-20 knots. Older ones 12-14.
Patrol craft usually "sprint and drift"; speeding up to 30+ knots to
reposition for another sonar search, than slowing to 5-10 knots to listen.
While you're waiting for sonar to classify the contact, use the COURSE
knob (again use the RIGHT mouse button) to get the line as straight as
possible. What we want to do is get as much curvature out as possible,
even if the dots move at an angle from the center.
- After using CSE to get the line
straight, adjust RANGE to get it vertical. You will have to iterate this
process. As soon as you get it reasonably vertical, press ENTER. I'll
explain why in a minute. Now speed up and turn across the line of sight.
(i.e. If the contact was on your starboard side, turn right to get him on
the port side; or vice versa) Turn at least 60 degrees. As you get close
to the end of the turn, slow down again. You want to speed up during the
turn to get the ship to turn faster. You want to slow back down to be sure
the bearing dots are as accurate as possible. If your original solution
was good, the dots will continue to be vertical. But this is not likely.
The range is probably the bad value now. Adjust to get back vertical. If
the dotted line shows a sharp "break" rather than a curve, it is likely
the contact has "zigged" (i.e. either changed course or speed). If you
suspect that a zig has occurred, press CLR to erase all the points prior
to the zig; those are worthless. If you make a habit of pressing ENTER
frequently, you can easily delete only the bad points. If you are remiss,
you will end up having to delete several "good" dots in order to get all
the dots straight. It is more important to have the LAST (newest) 10 or so
dots straight and vertical, than the oldest ones.
- Watch for target zigs. If the
target changes course, all old dots are worthless. The CLEAR button allows
you to delete all the dots collected above the horizontal time line which
moves to the last dot when the ENTER key is pressed. This is why it is
important to press ENTER each time you get a dot stack that is straight.
Then if you leave the screen and return and the dots are streaming to the
left or right, you can press CLEAR and start the whole process again.
- The key to getting a solution
"good enough" to shoot on really depends on getting the range. You *CAN'T*
get the range unless you are either very lucky or you change course about
every ten to twelve minutes.
- Keep Own ship speed under 15
knots except when turning. High ship speeds cause the bearings to be less
accurate. When it comes time to change course, go to the helm, increase
speed to STANDARD, click in the new course. Go back and resume stacking.
When the helmsmen reports STEADY, go back to the helm and SLOW DOWN to 5-7
knots. (The speed boost gets the ship turned quickly; you can use FULL for
even better response, but you better get the speed off or you may cavitate
and give away your presence.)
- You can use the periscope without
using the ACTIVE BSY screen by "guesstimating" the range. Assume the ship
is 100 feet tall. Then 1 division in 6x yields a guesstimate of 8000 yds.
If the target is a small escort, he might be only 60 feet, so the same 1
division is .6 (60/100) times the 8000 or 4800 yards. Return to the BSY
Passive and adjust the range to the guesstimate.
8) After a while, you can use the
width of the sonar trace to guess the range. The width of the display is
directly proportional to the SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) of the contact.
9) Don't use active sonar. Don't
go fast. Or, you'll find yourself under attack!
10) Time acceleration works
against you when you're learning. The dots show up faster, but you don't
have enough time to think about what to do. Try to picture the target. The
dot offset from the center line is the ERROR between truth and what you
think he's doing. So if the dots are moving left, then your solution must
change the motion across the line of sight.
Q9. Why can we only save the game
A9. The decision to not allow saving
and restoring the game at any instant was made solely on technical reasons.
The shear complexity of saving the state of all the screens, sub-systems,
and engines was daunting and would have required major design changes. In
retrospect, because of all the comments received, this might seem to be a
poor decision, but the decision process for all features in this game was
always biased toward realism, accuracy, and authenticity. This means we made
it behave as close to the way it really works rather than the way Hollywood
or fictional novels have depicted it. Making the player stand by his
decision on a mission and play it through to completion and evaluation
seemed like the more accurate way.
Q10. Why can't I clear a contact
from a Tracker in Passive Sonar?
A10. This situation only occurs in
EASY mode. Targets with a primary or secondary "sink" objective are
automatically assigned to available ATF trackers. These should be the first
targets to be fired upon. As these targets are sunk and removed from the
game, ATF trackers become available and are then automatically refilled with
other targets having a primary or secondary "sink" objective. So as long as
there are more "sink" objectives than trackers, you will not be able to
clear a tracker. This also provides a nice hint to the player: Sonar
contacts that are NOT auto-assigned when there is a tracker available are
therefore not an objective, and need not be attacked (and probably should
NOT be attacked).
Q11. How can I change ordered
course, speed, or depth faster than one increment at a time?
A11. By using the RIGHT mouse button on the arrows in the helm screen or
WLR9 screen, depth and course can be changed by 10 feet/degrees, and speed
by 5 knots.
Q12. How can I use the information
of the WLR9 Acoustic Intercept Receiver to advantage?
A12. Active sonar normally searches
on a selected range scale of typically 4000 yards, 10000 yards, or 20000
yards. This means the sonar will send out another sound pulse after
sufficient time has elapsed for the previous pulse to go out to the end of
the search range and return. The speed of sound in water is about 4800
feet/sec (1600 yards/sec). Therefore it takes 2 seconds for the sound to go
out to 1600 yards AND return. So for every second that elapses between the
outgoing pulse and hearing the return echo, the range is 800 yards. When the
sonar operator hears a return echo, he probably would do two things: shift
to the shortest possible range scale to allow him to get more frequent range
information on the target, and switch his sonar to the "range gate" mode.
In the "range gate" mode, the sonar
automatically send out another pulse as soon as the echo is heard. These
characteristics can be useful. If the contact stays in a long range scale,
it is likely that he does not have contact on you. On the other hand, if the
contact should start to range gate, you can be 95% sure he has contact and
is moving in for an attack. The WLR9 interval can tell you the range ONLY IF
THE CONTACT IS RANGE GATING. Multiply the displayed interval by 800 to get
the range in yards. You can then enter that range into Fire Control to
initiate a preemptive attack.
Q13. What is the difference between
the satellite broadcast and the satellite recon? Aren't they both from the
A13. In the game, a new submarine
broadcast begins at 5, 20, 35, and 50 minutes past every hour. On VLF, the
broadcast repeats over and over for the entire 15 minutes. So if your
floating wire is exposed for long enough during a broadcast period, you will
be able to receive any traffic for your sub. The periscope has a built in
antenna that can receive the broadcast via UHF satellite. This broadcast
emanates from a communications satellite in geo-synchronous orbit about
22,000 miles in space. This broadcast method is NOT repeated: it is sent
only once EXACTLY at the time specified. If your antenna is not exposed, you
will miss it.
The reconnaissance satellite is a
"spy" satellite that will pass over your area of operations at the times
specified in the mission orders. This satellite is in a low polar orbit
about 150 miles in space. This satellite will photograph all vessels that it
can see. Cloud cover or smoke may prevent a vessel from being seen, and, of
course, submarines and submerged or very small objects will also not be
detected. This imagery will be radioed to an intelligence processing center
as soon as the satellite is within range of the station. Analysts will
interpret the data and prepare a message with identification and estimates
of course and speed. In the game, this processing takes fifteen minutes to
complete before the message is available for placing on the next submarine
broadcast. EXAMPLES: Satellite photos are taken at 7:05. The processing
takes until 7:20, and since a broadcast starts at 20 after it will just make
it onto the 7:20 broadcast. This is the quickest this series of steps could
execute. A picture taken at 7:25 wouldn't finish processing until 7:40, and
would not be transmitted until the next broadcast at 7:50.
Q14. My game will occasionally "lock
up": The mouse will move, but I can't click on any icons or buttons to
perform any action. What's wrong?
A14. In our experience, this is almost always caused by a sound card not
being set up quite right. When running soundset to configure the sound card
for Fast Attack, do not bypass the tests. The digital device test consists
of the diving alarm, which is two "AooGa" sounds played in succession. If
you only hear one, or if either gets clipped, then your sound card is not
set correctly. The auto detection actually looks at the environment variable
BLASTER that most cards set to be "Soundblaster compatible", so if this is
wrong or not present, then the detection may not work correctly. Probably
the biggest draw back of autodetection under WIN95 is that the parameters
that WIN95 is using, are not accessible to the soundset program. Another
factor that may help alleviate the problem is the amount of time the sound
system gets to play and refill its buffers. The command line switch /SOSINTRATExxx
can be used to adjust this value. The default is 125, but ProAudioSpectrum
boards will operate with this value as low as 50, while the AWE32 may
require a value as large as 250 or more.
Q15. What is the purpose of the blue
line that extends outward from the torpedo on the BSY screen in the Torpedo
A15. There are two lines drawn from
the torpedo's position dot. The blue line represents the best course for the
torpedo based on the current solution. The yellow line is the steer cursor.
If the target zigs (changes course or speed radically), you may have to
update your solution using either the Plot screen of the BSY Passive Mode.
After updating the solution, return to the Torpedo Mode and notice the blue
line has probably moved away from the yellow steer cursor. This means the
torpedo's course should be adjusted. Using the center knob, click either
right or left as appropriate to move the yellow steer cursor on top of the
blue ideal course line and then press the SEND button. The torpedo will turn
to the new course.
Q16. After I launch a torpedo, the
yellow search cone passes right by the target without acquiring. What's
A16. The problem is that your solution was not perfectly accurate. But don't
worry; it doesn't have to be perfect to get a hit. The Mark48 is a fairly
smart weapon with good detection capabilities and will overcome often large
errors in your solution. About the only error it can't overcome is in the
case where your solution is too long in range. In this case, the torpedo
will not enable (start searching) until it is past the target, and thus
miss. It is always better to under estimate the range. You should also pay
attention to the range to the torpedo when it does acquire the target since
this can be used to update your solution in case you need to shoot another
weapon. As long as the wire is good, the upper left display of the Torpedo
Mode display will show the range from ownship to the torpedo. Note this
value when the weapon acquires and update the range using the Passive Mode
to this new value. Correct the course of the other torpedo if necessary.
Q17. Why do some torpedoes appear to
shutdown within 1 minute of launch?
A17. The Mark48 torpedo uses a fuel that contains its own oxidizer so it can
burn underwater. This fuel is hard to ignite and needs a high heat source to
get it started. So, in order for the torpedo to get up to speed, it has a
small solid fuel booster that burns for about 60 seconds which is usually
enough to get the liquid fuel burning. However, sometimes it is not enough,
and the solid fuel runs out without achieving "crossover" and the torpedo
will shutdown. This happens about 5% of the time and is done to add realism.
This is why you should always have a backup weapon ready to go.
Q18. Sometimes I notice that the
Mission Log reports a Harpoon or Tomahawk missile as having shutdown. What
A18. Missiles are not 100% perfect in real life, nor are they in the game.
All missiles are given a 88% chance of overall success. This means they may
shutdown on a fuel system failure, or maybe the homer won't work 12% of the
time. And remember, just because the odds of a heads or tails is 50%,
doesn't mean you can't flip heads 5 times in a row.
Q19. Are there any "cheats" in the
A19. Yes, there are three cheats
that can be enabled separately with command line switches. Command line
switches can be entered in several ways. You can edit fast.bat to make them
permanent, or, if you are running from WIN95, you can add them to the
COMMAND LINE field of the PIF. Of course, in DOS you can just add them to
the "fast" line when you start the game (i.e. type FAST/Switch<enter>).
The first cheat allows you to get a
perfect solution on a track in the Plot screen. Here's how it works: First
enable the cheat with /PLOTSOLN command line switch. Then, when you are in
the PLOT screen, select a track and press ALT-F5. The exact solution will be
displayed. To use it, press SEND. The second cheat allows you to look at the
"big picture" and see all the ships, aircraft, mines, weapons, etc. and
their motion. To enable this you use the /TEDISPLAY switch. Then, while
playing any scenario, press ALT-~ (Alt key and tilde key) to activate the
display. Use the ICON bar buttons to exit the display. It is not a good idea
to have time accelerated when in this screen, as this will cause some
missiles to miss. The third cheat isn't all that useful, but it allows you
to play a sequence of missions without being penalized for failure to
complete primary objectives. This switch allowed testing the medals and
promotions aspects of the game without having to plod through every single
mission. To use this, simply enter /SWSGOD as the switch. At the end of a
mission, you will still be rebuked for not accomplishing the primary
objectives, but as soon as the next mission begins, all will be forgiven. It
will then proceed as though you had been perfect.
Q20. Why do missions have time
A20. Each mission was given a time
limit as part of the overall scoring plan, and to add impetus and
excitement. This is part of modeling life in the military. You just aren't
allowed to take forever to get that report done, or, in this case, sink the
bad guys or find the mines. In reality, if you took too long to find the
mines, as an a example, ships could be sunk because of the delay.
Q21. During Battle Sets, when are
the replenishments scheduled? A21. Replenishment occurs PRIOR to the start
of the indicated mission in the following table:
Campaign --- Missions
Persian Gulf --- 4, 7
Sea of Japan --- 4, 7, 10, 14, 18
Adriatic --- 4
Mediterranean --- 4, 6, 9, 11, 14
GIUK ---- 5, 7, 9
Q22. What has to be done in order to
complete a Secondary objective of "plotting" a target?
A22. In order to successfully get
credit for a PLOT objective, the following must be done:
1) Classify the target on sonar. To
do this you must of course have sonar contact and then press CLASSIFY and
wait until the target is classified. How long this takes is a function of
signal strength and time (i.e. strong signals classify quickly, weak signals
take longer); AND
2) Obtain a solution that is within
20% in range, course, and speed.
Q23. When attempting to launch
Tomahawk missiles, I get stuck in the VLS screen with "1 Away" displaying
over and over at the bottom of the screen. What's going on here?
A23. Unfortunately, this is a bug
that got by our QA testing. This only occurs when you have SPEECH set to OFF
in the PREFERENCES screen, so the work around is to be sure that SPEECH is
set to ON when launching Tomahawks.
Q24. Why can't I get more
information from Sonar, such as Turn Count, Blade Rate, and speed or aspect
changes on targets?
A24. The modern sonar is designed
using advanced signal processing that allows detection of ships at very long
ranges. Detections display visually as a brightening on the CRT display.
This allows the display of many contacts. While there is ONE audio channel
available to actually listen to a contact, turn counts, blade rates and such
are usually measured using a frequency domain display which, because of its
complexity, was not included in the game.
Q25. Why can't we control the
settings on the Mark48 Torpedoes to take advantage of the thermal layers,
A25. We decided that allowing the
player to chose settings for his torpedoes did not add much to the game. For
any given situation, there is an optimum choice for running depth, etc. that
the player would have to learn, and once learned, would be used
consistently. So what we did, was to automatically make the optimum
selections: the Mark48 always transits to the enable point on the opposite
side of the layer from the contact, and goes to the best search depth for
the type of target.
Q26. Why does the animation show the
688 with fairwater planes, when the 688I class doesn't have them?
A26. Seven 688 class submarines were
built that had the vertical launch system and fairwater planes, so there is
no inaccuracy here. The latest 688 class, however, do have the planes moved
to the bow for better under ice capability.
Q27. Are there helicopters or other
aircraft in the scenarios? What is there capability?
A27. Yes, several missions have
helicopters or aircraft. In some cases, these are hostile, while in other
situations, they are friendly. Regardless of their alliance, the aircraft
are usually equipped with active and passive sonobuoys and a very effective
search radar that is optimized to spot a periscope. The patrol aircraft
(BEAR, P-3C, etc.) will carry air dropped torpedoes, and harpoon missiles,
while the helicopters will carry no more than two torpedoes.
Q28. After I've been sunk, the
mission log says that I was hit by an SS-N-14 SSM. If I'm submerged, how can
a surface-to-surface missile hit me?
A28. The SSM (surface-to-surface
missile) designation is generic to any missile launched from a ship at or
under the surface at another ship at or under the surface. An SS-N-14 is a
long range Anti-Submarine Weapon carried by some Destroyers, Cruisers and
Q29. Why is the range to a contact
that is displayed in the sonar screen always so far off? Can't the sonar
operators get better information?
A29. The range to a contact, no
matter where it is displayed, is always the current Fire Control solution's
range. This means that depending on the Difficulty Level (see Q/A #7), it is
no better than what you, the player, have entered. If you haven't changed it
using either the PLOT or the BSY PASSIVE, then it will just "generate" from
the initial solution. One of the basic principles that must be learned early
in the life of both a submarine officer and sonarman, is that you cannot get
a range with any accuracy by listening. A guess would be just that: a guess.
About the only thing you can say is that a contact with a high bearing rate
is "near", and the concept of "near" depends on what maximum speed
capability you want to give it. On board the submarines, a sonarman's guess
of range will only erroneously bias and slowdown the plotting team's effort
to get an analytical solution.
Q30. Why can't I always get an
active range from sonar? My solution looks good and the range is under
20,000 yards, but I can't get a return on active sonar.
A30. There are several
possibilities. First, your solution may not be as accurate as you think. If
you haven't confirmed your solution with radical course changes (see Q/A
#8), this is probably the most likely reason. Second, the contact may be
"cross-layer" and the combined cross layer loss to the outbound ping and
then to the return echo might be reducing the sound level below what can be
heard. Third, the contact may have a low reflectivity, either because of its
aspect (bow or stern gives less surface area than broad on the beam), or
because of an anachoic coating which absorbs the sound rather than
reflecting it. Of course, you could have a combination of these reasons.
Q31. Immediately after starting the
game, I get a report that the ship is cavitating and that I'm about to run
aground. What's going on?
A31. We can't say for sure, but we
were able to duplicate this symptom on a computer that did not have a math
coprocessor. Fast Attack! requires the math coprocessor that is part of all
Intel 486DX and Pentium chips. Some "486" chips do not have the coprocessor,
such as the Intel 486SX series, and some from AMD or Cyrix. The MSD utility
that is part of DOS can tell you if you have a Math Coprocessor installed.