Publisher: To be determined --SOON!
9/28/04 - Just a quick update from the Sonalysts crew here in Connecticut, USA... We are working hard to wrap up all of the content for the game and to squash the major bugs before we hit BETA. The new features like Quick Mission and Multi-station play have been fully developed and we feel that they add significant value to the game. We're really excited about the way the game has taken shape and hope that all you Subsimmers will agree that there is a tremendous amount of content and game play possibilities straight out of the box for "S.C.S. - Dangerous Waters".
The major components of the game are coming along nicely and the core focus on ASW operations that had shown potential early on, has now really come to fruition as the new platforms work together to pick off those pesky submarines. The subs are certainly not at a disadvantage though with their ability to remain stealthy, but the player will have to think twice before unloading that spread of torpedoes; there's always a chance that a sonobuoy is out there listening intently on behalf of the FFG-7, MH-60 or P-3, just waiting for the subs to reveal their location.
Also newsworthy is that we are nearly complete in our negotiations with a publishing partner who will assist Sonalysts in the final marketing, production and distribution of "S.C.S. - Dangerous Waters". We are really excited about the prospect of working together and hope that the working relationship will extend far beyond our efforts for SCS-DW. The web site is being updated to correspond with the press release, so some additional SCS-DW content will be available soon.
Stay tuned to Subsim.com for further details!
6/15/04 - Screenshots from the BETA build!
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Interview 12/19/03 by Neal Stevens
In 1988 developers John Ratcliff and Paul Grace presented subsim skippers with 688 Attack Sub, to be followed in 1994 by the excellent Seawolf SSN-21. They teamed up with US Navy contractor Sonalysts, Inc. for the next title in the series. The result was Jane's 688(I), the first true, high fidelity nuke submarine simulation with viable multiplayer. Now Sonalysts have branched out on their own and are setting the stage for their most ambitious project yet-- a multi-platform, first-person control naval game that lets cyber-captains battle on, above, and below the sea like nothing ever before: Dangerous Waters! Subsim sat down with Senior Programmers Mike “Hutch Blake” Kolar and Rob Costello and Associate Producer Jamie Carlson to bring the subsim community up to speed.
SUBSIM: Describe the ideas and concepts behind Sonalysts Combat Simulations? Does this signal a long-term commitment from Sonalysts to high fidelity, multiplayer subsims?
Sonalysts: JC: Given the recent downsizing of the naval simulation genre, with publishers pursuing the more “broad market” titles, we’ve seen an opportunity to continue to meet the needs of what we believe is still a viable market of gamers. SCS – “Dangerous Waters” is a first step for us to try and model a fully playable naval battlefield. We would like to continue this effort in the future under the Sonalysts Combat Simulation brand assuming the title is successful and the subsim community responds well to it.
SUBSIM: How is Dangerous Waters different from Sub Command and Fleet Command?
Sonalysts: JC: It is an evolution of the Sub Command architecture and the game play will be familiar to current players of SC. The main difference from Sub Command, however, is that the seven drivable platforms included will consist of two aircraft (MH-60R and P-3), a surface frigate (FFG-7), a diesel submarine (Kilo), and the three nuclear attack submarines from Sub Command (688(I), Akula and Seawolf classes). Most simulations in the past have tried to focus on one type of platform exclusively (e.g. many platforms of one type - air, surface or subsurface) and usually in a survey simulation format. SCS – “Dangerous Waters” will be the first title to model such a diverse range of platforms, yet to a very high level of detail. The style of play and user interface will be familiar to players of Sub Command, but the application of these platforms in both their typical utilization and in collaboration with other platforms, we hope, will we be a new and exciting innovation to the genre.
In addition, we’ve upgraded many of the subsystems of our simulation engine and physics modeling, added a truly dynamic Quick Mission mode, added context sensing music, and are prototyping some additional Multiplayer modes that will utilize the new collaborative appeal of this title. As always, features will be added and removed over development but these are intended at the current time.
SUBSIM: Will one player have Command and Control authority over the other players on his team?
Sonalysts: MK: In multiplayer specifically, seniority and levels of cooperation are left up to the players to determine for themselves. In the case of coordinated FFG/Helo operations, there is a hardware Ship Control/Helo Control switch which configures the helo link to accept fly-to points from the FFG. Compliance with the orders given from the FFG is still at the helo player’s discretion. In single player, any orders given to the helo by the FFG are obeyed and followed accordingly by the AI.
JC: The link will share sensor data and contacts/solutions amongst all allied platforms that are within range. All players on that link will be able see these contacts and they will all have the power to act on them accordingly. To implement a player hierarchy scheme seemed as though it would cause more confusion and frustration for the player than was necessary. With that said, we will try to make the collaborative communications as easy as possible for the players to act together and play effectively.
SUBSIM: What kind of weather effects will the player confront?
Sonalysts: MK: The big additions are wind and currents. Variable wind and current regions can be laid down in the mission editor. Currents affect ship navigation, and wind conditions will affect aircraft launch and recovery.
JC: It is also our plan to bolster the environmental effects in 3D and provide a more believable environment that will include weather effects.
SUBSIM: In Sub Command you utilized a "Show Truth" technique at high levels of realism. The player had to develop a solution on a target using his sensors and this generated a depiction of a vessel or entity. Depending on how good the player's work was, the estimated target could be different from the actual target (most players applauded this). Will DW continue using this technique?
Sonalysts: JC: The NAV 3D component still remains a depiction of sensor data. The addition of the allied link data has added another layer of complexity to this formula, but it remains effective with some modifications. It is still our intention to allow the player to witness the destruction of hostile platforms, but it is important that any “payoffs” are provided without giving away the rest of the battle space that would be hidden to the player. Also if a weapon is successful in meeting the enemy, we would not want the player to be able to classify the platform by witnessing its wounds in 3D (especially if it was only partially damaged and remains a threat).
Show truth was included for those players who were frustrated with their current mission and had abandoned all hope of success. We could not imagine that some players would be angered by its easy accessibility and that they would give in so easily to its “evil powers”.
SUBSIM: Sonalysts Combat Sims have always featured robust multiplayer as a core feature. So, there will be multiplayer stations aboard one vessel?
Sonalysts: JC: Yes, this is a new feature that we’re pretty excited about and we hope it will add a new dimension to multiplayer collaboration. Multi-station mode allows a team of players to work together in operating any drivable platform at any station.
SUBSIM: Which ships and which stations can be manned in this fashion?
Sonalysts: MK: All stations selectable from the in-game station menu can be distributed among players during a multi-station session. This feature is available for all drivable platforms.
SUBSIM: How many players will DW support and what are the ISP requirements for multiplayer?
Sonalysts: JC: That is still to be decided at this point. Given the additions to the simulation and other improvements, it's hard to estimate the impact on packet size and overall multiplayer capacity.
SUBSIM: The feature set touts a dynamic campaign. How is the DW dynamic campaign different from the campaigns included in previous Sonalysts titles? Are the missions in the DW dynamic campaign still based on predetermined objectives with the dynamic element being the probability of ship inclusion and placement inclusion zones of the AI ships?
Sonalysts: JC: The underlying goal/triggering mechanisms are inherited from Sub Command with many significant improvements. It is possible to construct a highly randomized campaign mission with branching elements and persistent player actions. With the addition of a cinematic briefing component we can evaluate player performance and show their performance in real-time (in 3D) and, specifically, the consequences their actions had (including some voice narration). Many players who are familiar with the mission editor will know that the dynamic groups and the imbedding of mission goals into those groups allow for an infinite number of mission possibilities. Any added mission creation tools will be available to the player and we hope those tools will foster some fantastic player-created campaigns. The mission designer remains an empowered player in SCS – “Dangerous Waters” - a notable feature present in all of our games.
RC: The Mission Editor’s goal/trigger feature has been greatly enhanced to track more simulation events and gives the scenario designer greater control over the flow of the scenario. In addition, a scripting capability has been added, so that the designer can easily dictate a series of events to occur during a scenario. These features and others, in addition to the dynamic group capabilities, will provide the designer with a rich suite of tools to create complex dynamic campaigns, which will be highly re-playable.
As mentioned above, Dangerous Waters will contain a Quick Mission generator, for truly dynamic single missions. These missions will challenge the players to truly think on their feet in an unknown situation with randomized tasking.
SUBSIM: Will there be the traditional battle replay viewer? Will battle replays be savable files?
Sonalysts: JC: Similar to Sub Command there will be an .INI setting to enable replay file saving (for those who want to). It is highly probable that an external/standalone replay viewer will be provided on the web site shortly after release as well.
SUBSIM: Multiplayer action is popular with clubs and clans such as Seawolves and Sub Club. Will DW have a scoring summary in a savable format to assist clubs with battle reports and player rankings?
Sonalysts: JC: The new paradigm for multi-play will require a more robust system for score keeping and goal tracking (by alliance/side). Goals must be shared by allied platforms and teams off players will be the focus in addition to individual efforts.
RC: In addition, the debrief will be automatically saved to a text file upon exiting the scenario.
SUBSIM: What level of damage modeling does DW have? Will players be able to direct repairs?
Sonalysts: MK: SCS – “Dangerous Waters” has a larger pool of specific items available for damage, including platform-specific items for the drivables. Some items will repair over time, while some can’t be replaced while underway. Damage states can be controlled by scenario scripting, allowing for persistent damage across campaign scenarios.
JC: All critical systems are eligible for damage and their probability for damage is actually calculated to some level by the proximity of the impact. The duration of repair will be displayed in the station it affects and in a central area for the player to monitor, but there is no resource allocation for the player to decide upon because the crew will repair it as soon as they possibly can.
SUBSIM: Will the submarines have any non-sensor screens?
Sonalysts: MK: We’ve added a bridge view to all the subs. It is intended primarily for the use of shoulder-launched SAM’s as a last-ditch defense against aircraft, but it also makes for a fine view during any close-in navigation operations such as rescue operations or channel transits.
SUBSIM: Sonalysts have never modeled a first person control surface vessel. What can the player expect when he assumes command of the frigate?
Sonalysts: MK: Sub Command players should feel right at home with the high fidelity station-level modeling on the FFG, what’s really different is the game play. The player is in essence “stuck” on the surface, where they’re much less stealthy, and a lot more worried about what’s going on above them as well as below. Not being afraid to use radar makes the surface and air picture less a puzzle of location and more of a puzzle of identification - air contacts especially can be hard to identify, and they’re moving around you at hundreds of knots. You’re on the communications link full time, which can be a mixed blessing, giving you clues to whereabouts and ID’s of targets you might not otherwise see, but at the same time it can be tough to wade through all that clutter to find targets you really care about. With your lesser sonar capability, you’re a sitting duck in a submarine encounter, but fortunately you have an embarked MH60 that you can direct to seek out and engage submarines at a safe distance. The different strategies involved make driving the FFG a completely different experience from anything we’ve done before.
SUBSIM: Which feature is your team most excited about?
Sonalysts: JC: For me, it’s not really a feature as much as it’s the collaborative nature of the new game. Our past submarine simulations have portrayed the inherent “solitary nature” of modern-day submarines. The subs were somewhat detached from the battle groups they were protecting, except for occasional communications, and that was readily apparent to the player. However, submarine operations are only a small portion of the overall naval experience and we wanted to take a stab at simulating much more than that. We hope that we will have taken a great step forward to achieving that goal when the game is completed.
RC: The open battlefield aspect of Dangerous Waters will make for some exciting multiplayer missions. Imagine driving a MH60 Helo, with your buddy driving a P3, tracking down an Akula that is threatening your friend’s FFG and the rest of the battlegroup.
Sonalysts Inc. – Game Development Team
Production / Design
Subject Matter Experts (Sonalysts Employees)
Dan Bowdler - Combat Systems Officer (FFG-7)
Lance Hamilton - P3 TACCO
Bob Kurzawa - XO (Aegis Cruiser)
Jeff Lemmon - Leading Sonar Petty Officer (FF-1052)
Mark Tarantelli - SH60 LAMPS ASTAC (FFG-7)
Content (Art and Audio)
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Sonalysts Combat Simulations
Other SUBSIM.com Sonalysts-related articles
Jane's 688(I) review
Fleet Command review
Sub Command review
Jane's 688(I) Revival
SUB COMMAND DEMO; UNDER THE ICE--AT LAST!
THE SUB BOOK OF ALL TIME
SONALYSTS IN CONGRESS
Kim Castro's 688(I) Flashback
HISTORY OF JANE'S 688(I)
Jane's 688(I) Tactics & Tips
FIX MY 688(I) Petition
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- Windows 98/98SE/ME/2000/XP
- Pentium II 350Mhz
- 64MB RAM
- Eight-speed CD-ROM drive
- Direct 3D compliant Video Card with 32MB RAM
- Sound Card (100% Windows Compatible)
- Desktop Resolution of 640X480 @ 16-bit color depth minimum
- 590MB hard-drive space for installation
- Internet or LAN connection required for multiplayer
• Recommended System
- Windows 98/98SE/ME/2000/XP
- Pentium II 550Mhz
- 128 MB RAM
- Direct 3D compliant Video Card with 64MB Video RAM
- Desktop Resolution of 1024X768 @ 32 or 16-Bit.
- 850MB hard-drive space for installation
- Internet or LAN connection required for multiplayer
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