Conversion mod for Silent Hunter II

You guys have done a professional job. I have seen games done by so called professionals that looked like trash while this one of yours looks like a Best seller. -- Furia

Wow! That is very impressive, you guy's have made a lot  of players very happy! -- Wolfeel

Very professionally done. All of you should be proud. -- Fletcher

... it just keeps getting better and better! - Mike "Red Ocktober" Hense

This is awesome! I cannot wait to fire those diesels up! -- Frank

AMAZING looking screens, And a random campaign as well. - Sniper 1

You have made my life complete! I bow to your genius! -- Screwbiter

Prepare to take Silent Hunter to all new heights... er, make that, depths! 


At any given time during a year there are as many as six private forums cooking in the Subsim Radio Rooms. Each is populated by a number of enthusiasts and players, some with skills in programming, some are artists, and others are just go-to guys who test, build installers, research, and help in any capacity they can. They are there with one goal in mind: to take an existing subsim and improve it, tweak it, kick it up to a new level.

Some of these efforts wither away in a morass of too many real world constraints, insurmountable obstacles, personality conflicts, and fading interest. More often than not, the activity fades and the forums fade into cyberspace with nothing to show. But some efforts do achieve some level of success: Wolfpack League. Projekt Messerwetzer. Korralle editor. Sub Command SCX.

Cue rousing music, fanfare, graffiti.  A determined group of guys led by Hitman and Horsa have been hammering, welding, and banging on a new mod for Silent Hunter II since lat summer. Deemed Pacific Aces, it is a total conversion from U-boats in the Atlantic to US Silent Service in the Pacific.

The Sub models have been meticulously reskinned by Horsa, Hitman, Sergbuto, and Seeadler to represent the American fleet class subs, including the Tambor, Gato, Balao, and Perch models. Visually, the hulls and conning tower structures are quite a departure from Doenitz’s German subs. It’s funny but when you think about it, the only difference between a German sub and a US sub on a computer screen is few more pixels here, a few less there. However, seeing is believing and when you see the Pacific Aces artwork, you believe you’re at sea with the US Navy. And the differences are more than skin deep; each sub class has its own diving and sailing characteristics and weapons loadouts. To top it off, the PA conversion includes the rain and water mod so your new subs sail in superior seas.



The PA Team completed the visuals with hybrid sub stations that are part SH1, part SH2, and use the Darkstream’s Kollmorgan periscope mod to great effect.  The torpedo room uses a still from the forward torpedo room of a US sub and adds to the atmosphere. All of the graphics are have a subtle worn effect giving the impression one is aboard a veteran, battle-tested war boat. As a good commander be sure to go  over your readme file before starting off to war—the Kollmorgan scope does not use mouse input, you’ll need to know the keys in order to function. In some cases, the original SH2 code limits what the PA dev team were able to do and a workaround had to be devised. In order to model the greater firepower US subs had over the smaller U-boats--sic forward tubes vs. four, the PA team added "virtual tubes", meaning you will in fact have two more shots from your bow tubes and two more from the stern ones, but you will not see the green/red lights for them on the display panel. The needle will simply stay on tube 4 while you fire tubes 5and 6. Works for me.

As befitting a major refit, the sound suite has been improved and beefed up considerably. There are new ambient internal sounds and English crew’s voices (although a German-accented voice pops up occasionally—perhaps a stowaway Kreigsmarine sailor?). Some sounds worth noting are the periscope hydraulics--they are very much improved and the depth charges are louder and scarier. The crew voices have a lot more personality and variety now--when you dive, the sailors whisper the command acknowledgments. The sound effects complement the graphics and screens nicely. Pacific Aces looks like a new game, it sounds like a new game… but does it play like a new game? Boy, does it ever!

The basis and catalyst for much of the Pacific Aces conversion was the Aces Dynamic Campaign created by Hitman last year and programmed for PA by Floater. It has been improved and enhanced and is now the Pacific Aces Campaign Generator (PACG). This ingenious contrivance is the closest thing I’ve seen to a dynamic campaign since Aces of the Deep! Each patrol send you off to a random patrol area and you will not know what you will encounter there until your lookouts shout “Smoke on the horizon!”.

In order to achieve this, the dev team was unable to coax the SH2 code into delivering anything but generic briefings and had to forgo radio messages completely (you will get contact reports on the map). So what. To my way of thinking, this just means your briefing is simply (and historically accurate for 80% of US submarine patrols) “Make contact with Japanese shipping and destroy—unrestricted submarine warfare”, and observe strict radio silence. It’s a limitation that can easily be accepted. Random patrol zones. Random convoys. Even random weather!

There are some glitches in the game but they are probably legacies of the original code or the code with so many mods intertwined. Aside from the occasional ship popping in and out of sight in bad weather, the game runs as well as it ever did.

As a silent witness to the daily posts in the Pacific Aces private forums, I had the privilege of watching this project go from a bunch of players with a flurry of ideas and transform into a smoothly operating mod-machine, where the members worked together and there was almost never any troubling dissension or conflicts. That in itself is impressive. Pacific Aces does more than transform a good subsim into a great one—it restores the faith that subsim enthusiasts can pool their resources and talents and leave their egos at the quay.

Lead design and Coordination: Hitman, Horsa , RAK ( Early phase )
Graphics ( Menuart/Substations/Ships and Subs Repaint): Horsa,  RAK in the gauges and substations, contributions from Seeadler and Hitman.
Exclusive and realistic Kollermorgan periscope with full screen zoomed view by Darkstream, with artwork integrated in the Pacific Aces style by Horsa.
3D Modelling: Seeadler ( Gato and Balao ) and Sergbuto ( P,Sargo and T Class )
Sounds: DJ Funk, Lafeeverted, Horsa, RAK
PACG: Programming by Floater, mission templates by Hitman
Installer: McBeck
Technical Advisors: CB, FAdmiral, Col7777, Adamwarren, Cdragon, Jester107th
Testers: ( Early phase ) Mapuc, Mobygrape
( Final version ) Beltza, Oarso, Trust, and other members of the Spanish WPL 24th Flotilla.
Production/Forum Hosting: Subsim Review



Pacific Aces comes in two versions: A) The OFFICIAL SUBSIM REVIEW FULL VERSION, which you can GET HERE after making a donation to help running costs and will be given to you as a download via the internet (144MB) or on the SUBSIM SUPER CD with 300MBs of patches, mods, and wallpapers; and B) A light version that will appear one month later with less contents to spare space (No 1024 res, no sounds, less game menus and no Destroyer Command files) and will be a FREE download from all sites that want to host it.





Also see:

Silent Hunter II Pacific Aces forum



December 08, 2007


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