SUBSIM Review 

E3 EXPO 2001

News, photos, and reports from the floor of the E3 Expo in Los Angeles, California

MAY 17-19




E3 2001 was a low key affair for military sim fans in general but not too bad for subsimmers. EA decided to hold back Sub Command and UbiSoft did likewise for Harpoon4 but Silent Hunter II and Destroyer Command were very prominent and well-received.  Here are thumbnail sketches of some other naval/subsims to watch

Pearl Harbor: Defend the Fleet (Infogames)
Billed as:
Riveting, action-based 3D ship-to-air combat
Authentic WWII era weapons, including classified armaments and radar
Three skill levels: attack, defense and evasive
Progressive levels of difficulty
Chaotic battle sounds including screaming bombs, crashing planes, splashing
torpedoes, radio chatter and more.
Resupply ammo, armor and spar parts for unlimited game play
Get info action fast with easy to use controls

Ship Date 05/25/01

WW II Online (Infogames)
Looks really hot. You can fly planes, drive tanks, or fight as an infantryman.
Log in and start a character. You can increase in rank and have an impact
on the conflict by commanding troops/pilots/tankers. On top of all that, the
graphics are terrific.

Thousands of players sharing the online world - all combat takes place with/against live players
Persistent game environment - game world is 24/7
combined land, sea and air operations first massively multiplayer virtual battlefield
First person character perspective throughout
Accurate terrain modeling the world at 1/2 scale
combines elements of first person, strategy, and role-playing games.
Rank-based command structure character advancement.
Unparalleled 3D sounds with Doppler and directional effects
Offline vehicle testing and practice
Next-generation web and game hosting services through

Status: Gold

Aquanox (Fishtank)
It's a futuristic sub sim game. More like an action
game really.

Ship Date 10/01

Silent Hunter II (Ubisoft)
The sequel to the best WWII subsim ever. You 
know all the details from SSR.

Ship Date 08/21/01

Destroyer Command (Ubisoft)
Multiplay counterpart to SHII and an excellent 
stand-alone naval sim. 

Ship Date 08/21/01

Other sims (non-naval/sub) on display at E3:

IL-2 Sturmovik (Ubisoft)
Ship Date Q4

Lock On:Modern Air Contact (Ubisoft)
Ship Date 09/25/01

Rogue Spear: Black Thorn (Red Storm)
Ship Date Q4

Ghost Recon (Ubisoft)
Is a first person combat sim much like Rogue Spear.
Ship Date Q4

Red Ace (Global Star Software)
WWI aerial combat.

Medal of Honor (EA)
Looks really hot. Not a traditional sim but it is a 
relatively accurate "combat simulation". 



MAY 18 

e3_cam2.jpg (68587 bytes)
UbiSoft's E3 booth


33cam77.jpg (74944 bytes)

e3_babes.jpg (35093 bytes)
Silent Hunter II has the best 
Ocean Motion I've ever felt. 
It's like... Ooh! ... Aah!, you know."

The UbiSoft exhibit was very busy Friday as crowds have been checking out Silent Hunter II and Destroyer Command. The response has been quite positive. Players and press are given a chance to command a U-boat or destroyer and interop sessions have been a big hit. With very few sims in the final stages of development, SH2 & DC are the big stars of E3.



MAY 17 

Wolfpack LeagueWolfpack League: Twenty Questions on Silent Hunter II - Destroyer Command

SUBSIM.COM and the WOLFPACK LEAGUE got SH2-DC Producer Shawn Storc in our sights during E3 and delivered the 20 Q&A drill. All pauses for booth babe activity have been edited out.


1. Elliot334, new recruit: Will the Enigma Cipher Machine play a significant roll in the game or is it just part of the background?

      While it would be a nice touch to have a working model of the various Enigma models, the amount it would add to gameplay did not justify the amount of work it would take to program. Therefore the Enigma is only included as an art element.

2. Viele Grüße Schepke, WPL#646 (Germany): I would like to ask the dev Team how much they took care of historical details especially on The boats like fine details, details of the deck gun, and changing of the conning tower in the late years of the war. Will we be able to see late in the war built in antennas like the "FUMO Metox" (sorry I can't translate this) the second "Wintergarten" with the extra AA guns (mostly a 3.7 cm single oder a 2 cm "four" Flak)?

     Great pains have been taken to authentically model as many U-Boat features as possible. While different radar and radar detectors are modeled, we did have to draw the line somewhere, so you will most likely not see antenna variations while at the conning tower or outside views. As far as the AA setup, you will see 2cm, twin 2cm and 3.7cm AA guns, as well as the 88 and 105 deck guns.

e3_2001a.jpg (284372 bytes)

Silent Hunter II vs Silent Hunter II --Online!

3. Spoon775, WPL#1577 (Finland): What about the crush depth, will it be static or have some variability?

      There is an element of randomization when it comes to crush depth.

4. Rick C Sniper, WPL#101 (USA): Will we get a "ship destroyed" message or will we have to use our own judgment whether a ship needs another torpedo to finish it off?

      That is a function of your chosen realism settings. If you choose "Limited Target Data", you will have to decide whether to use another torpedo, stick around and watch, or sail off without the certain knowledge of your target sinking. 

5. PyrateGhost, WPL#82 (USA): Will torps be of FaT and LuT type design? What is a typical "firing" sequence in SHII?

      The types of torpedoes modeled in SH2 include the T-I, T-II, T-III, FaT-I, T-III FaT-II, T-IIIa FaT-II, and T-V. Firing sequence depends on your realism settings and whether you have the TDC set to auto or manual.

6. "Seeteufel" Stark, WPL #511 (USA): Will there be "Free roaming" during missions and can we sink ships in US east coast ports?

      There are no limitations on patrol area, but if you choose to head off in the opposite direction of your assigned post, you will have a hard time completing your mission objectives successfully! There is a Drumbeat section in the campaign, but going into ports will most likely end your career early!

7. Matt "matttm" Thompson-Moltzen, WPL#1763 (Australia): Will we get to base and operate in the Mediterranean?

      Yes, Med ops are in the campaign and are an option in the scenario generator.

e3_2001b.jpg (243286 bytes)

Get ready to tear stuff up and hurt people.

8. JagdWolf, WPL #1686 (USA): Since Huff/Duff (HF/DF) will be employed in Destroyer Command, will the u-boots be able to use Aldis lamps or conning tower signal lights to communicate with each other when radio silence is employed by the Germans in SH2?

       That would be a nice touch, but most likely will not make it into the game. If we keep adding features we will never finish.

9. Bowshot, WPL#211 (Germany): Which mode will be implemented for the campaign? Full dynamic? Static? Dynamically generated single missions?

      I was wondering when this question was going to sneak into the list! We have been around the dynamic/static issue over and over again, and I am going to peek into that can of worms by saying that what many people fail to realize is that there is really no such thing as a true ‘Dynamic Campaign’, only different levels of scripting. Simply stated, here is how the campaign is going to work: there are some 30+ campaign missions, there are elements used in creating the missions which will make them slightly different each time you play them. The campaign does track units between scenarios, so you will not see destroyed units come back to life. Plus the random battle generator has been included with quite a few different settings--convoy size, time periods, weather, time of day, etc. And then there's multiplay between SH2 and DC players or even SH2 with other SH2 co-op against AI convoys.

10. Hausser, WPL#15 (Denmark): Just want to know if there are plans for a add-on or maybe even Silent Hunter 3?

      We would love to continue the Silent Hunter line, right now this hinges on how well SH2 and DC are received in the marketplace.

Wolfpack League 11. The Alligator, WPL#354 (Netherlands): Is it possible to sail in realtime all the way from the US to Europe or to other places of the world as opposed to SH 1 where the player had a small map and the only way to go to port was to press "go to port"?

      Yes. Your range, of course, depends on the amount of fuel your U-Boat carries.

12. Steve Sanders, WPL#26(USA): Will a demo of SHII or DC be available before the sims are released? If not is one planed after the release to entice prospective players?

      Right now we are working flat out to get both of these games completed, so there will not be a demo version before initial release. As far as a releasing a demo after shipping, lets just say ‘we will cross that bridge when we come to it…’

13. Hunter, WPL#1588 (Sweden): What version of DirectX will be needed and what features will they use in dx (like bumpmapping) or other things that dx support

      For both SH2 and DC, DX8 will be required. Environmental bumpmapping is supported, just take a look at the screenshots at the Matrox site:

e3_2001c.jpg (329197 bytes)

Break out the Dramamine for the best wave action yet!

14. Demios, WPL#1206 (USA): Can we get a new progress report?

      SH2 is currently in beta and we are working hard at nailing down any outstanding issues, oh yeah, and killing bugs…

15. Rich "Cheeks" Dawson, WPL#690 (U.K.): Are you now going to include playable Royal Navy ships?

      Well, in SH2 you can only play U-Boats, so I take it this question is in relation to Destroyer Command. There will be no missions in the release version, which allow you to command RN ships. This is not to say that you will never be able to command one (big hint to those of you who will be hacking scenarios) Everyone here realizes the contributions of the RN, as well as the Canadians, in the Battle of the Atlantic. We would not be able to match the level of fidelity that we have for the US DDs (stations, sensors, etc…) without taking much more time for research, system modeling and testing.

16. Oscar, new recruit: How will the player interact with the U-boat bases? And can there be other non-player U-boats be docked at the u-boat bases to enhance realism?

      Bases most commonly are a mission objective (example: return to base). Once you get within a pre-set distance from the base, you will have completed that objective. You can of course choose to navigate right up to the pen or dock if you so choose. There is a definite possibility of having other U-boats and ships docked at bases.

e3_2001d.jpg (365639 bytes)

New features and action

17. Doc "Bleichrodt" Snyder, WPL#10(Germany): I would like to know if we will be able to command milkcows (I think I saw some Type XIVs on the screenshots).

      These boats are modeled in the game, but there will be no missions in the release version which allow you to command these types of U-Boats. This is not to say that you will never be able to command one (big hint to those of you who will be hacking scenarios)

18. Paul, WPL#594 (Canada): What part of Silent Hunter2 and/or Destroyer Command are the developers most proud of? (apart from the multiplayer capabilities)? What element of the two games do Ultimation think will impress and please the gamers?

      Narrowing it down to one aspect of either game is almost as daunting a task as getting them done! Since everyone on the team has different ideas on the aspects that they are most proud of, and what they think will impress consumers the most, it is safe to say that we are most proud of getting both of these products done despite all the roadblocks we have encountered.

19. Stephen, WPL#1311 (N. Ireland): My question is what utilities will be available with the map view, i.e. virtual dividers, maybe a plotting board and so on. How many missions will be in the campaign?

      The features of the map view (called ‘Plot’ in game) depend on your realism settings. The basic toolset includes: a navigation tool to place waypoints and create patrol loops as well as a tool to measure distances. There is also a display for the current cursor position giving KM Grid position, Lat and Long as well as depth.

     Right now the campaign has roughly 30 missions.

20. Odin, WPL#402 (Germany): How many Players can played max in one game? Subs and DDs?

      We are shooting for up to 8 players in any combination of Subs/DDs

Ready for Global Wolfpack Action?
Join the



The Web's #1 Submarine 
Simulation Resource
©2001 SUBSIM Review