Knights of the Sea
First look: gameplay modes
July 23, 2007
long-awaited Soviet torpedo boat sim gets underway
Back when Silent Hunter III was still ten months away
from release, Russian developer Akella (Sea Dogs, Pirates of the
Caribbean) was showing off an interesting WWII naval sim called
PT Boats: Knights of the Sea at E3
2004 in Los Angeles. Over the last three years, work has progressed,
a new interface appeared, and now news that PT Boats will be suited up for
both DirectX 10 and 9. We got in touch with Akella to examine one of the
most compelling aspects of this new game: gameplay modes.
Akella says a key idea built into PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is to enable
a gamer to decide for himself which is the best way of playing it.
PT Boats can be played as a simulator, real-time strategy game, or
from a tactical aspect.
mode enables a player to take a direct-action control of vessels. The gamer
is placed onto the captain’s bridge and controls all the vessels under his
command. With this mode the player can switch to any of the boats and take
direct control. The gamer can also control any weapon and do direct-shooting
at air and both underwater and surface targets. Switching to the torpedo
sight, he will have to measure an attack angle to effectively launch a
torpedo. This approach is especially relevant and demanding when maximum
realism settings are implemented – the number of torpedoes is quite limited
(just like it really was in WWII) and the gamer has live with any badly
is a special list of commands to control the group. To give a general
command to other ships it’s enough to take a list of commands and tick a
desirable point. You can customize the general action plan “on the fly”
without losing control over the vessel you’re in charge of. There’s a
tailored interface that emerges while a specific key is pressed.
Key features of a sim mode:
You can take a direct command of a vessel.
You can shoot an AA armament on board the boats and use
heavy artillery on board the big ships.
It’s possible to reckon a torpedo missile launch and
drop depth bombs.
Friendly interface to give orders and take control over
the ships a gamer is in charge of. It’s possible to adjust right on the
spot what other ships do.
mode is especially interesting and appealing to those interested in real
time strategy games. You’ll find everything you're used to – the interface,
mousewheel-targeting, isometric projection on the screen to ensure complete
3-axis manipulation (you can rotate the screen to achieve any view), control
of groups of vessels and separate ship motions. The RTS mode is tailored
mostly for tactical planning in the 3-axis environment. The interface is
much more scaled comparing to that of the sim mode, and is primarily aimed
at taking command of groups of vessels, planning your operation, controlling
each separate ship you’re in charge of. For any ship you can lay down
waypoints, specify the speed to reach specific spots, maneuvers at each
route segment (laying smoke screens, etc.). A combination of these actions
in the given mode helps make a thorough strategic planning of each
operation. After that you can simply watch your own scenario being developed
without even rolling a mouse-wheel.
Also, it’s possible to achieve multifold time
acceleration and employ “a clever pause” to ensure deliberate planning of an
operation (there’s no such a possibility in the online game).
Key features of an RTS mode:
You can control many units simultaneously.
Classical and easy interface to satisfy any person
interested in real time strategy games.
Time management – multiple time acceleration settings,
or give orders with “a clever pause” in place.
The main focus is a view of all the sea surroundings.
tactical mode resembles the RTS mode in many aspects. However, while the RTS
mode is designed to enjoy visual effects of sea battles more than anything
else, the tactical mode ensures easy and convenient control of many units
simultaneously. There’s a special tactical map to make it real. All the
ships are presented as easily recognizable icons on this map. The tactical
mode interface is quite identical to that of the RTS. That’s why all the
means of tactical planning are available here, too. One more peculiarity to
distinguish this mode from the others is a possibility to see the range of
vision and range of each ship’s damage level which enables us to stick to
operational planning in a very deliberate and thorough way. The tactical
mode is convenient to switch between one of the two modes described above.
Its easy operation enables a gamer to look through a sea battlefield to
adjust separate ships motion in a case of emergency and then to jump back to
the other mode. However it’s up to a player to decide which option is the
best – you can play the game to the end being solely in the tactical mode.
All the means of game management have been fully implemented in this mode.
Key features of a tactical mode:
- It’s easy to control all the units simultaneously.
- Classical and easy interface to satisfy any person interested in real
time strategy games.
- Time management – multiple time acceleration or a possibility to give
orders with “a clever pause” in place.
- The main focus is a tactical planning and target tracking.