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PT Boats: Knights of the Sea
First look: gameplay modes
July 23, 2007

Akella's 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.



Sim 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 placed shots.

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There 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.



This 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

The 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.

Discuss PT Boats in the Subsim Radio Room!



See also:
     PT Boats Intro page
Subsim's E3 2004 PT Boats coverage



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