By Tim Stone on June 21st, 2009 at 12:03 pm.
Around the age of seven I caught the cartophily bug real bad. Tea cards were my particular passion and one 50-card set fascinated me above all others. Brooke Bond’s The Sea, Our Other World with its haunting images of bathyspheres, coral reefs, and whale sharks, spoke to a part of me that craved adventure and mystery. In those magical scenes I saw a glimpse of my future – a future in diving and marine exploration, a future as a professional… games reviewer? Oh well, with the help of free frogman sim eDiving, I can still dream.
The last dev that set out to do a serious diving sim ended-up going down the killer shark/speargun Nazi route. DiveNav have a clearer vision and more self-control. Despite all the legal disclaimers, eDiving is almost certainly realistic enough to supplement real-world dive training. To fully explore its twenty-odd sites you’ll need to spend time in the orientation pool, get familiar with some complicated gadgetry and learn how to avoid deadly perils like decompression sickness.
You’ll also have to struggle with some slightly unwieldy controls (changing diver pitch with the mouse wheel seems to take forever) and put up with a few sponsor ads and the odd bug. Visiting the shop to buy new equipment with ‘bubble credits’ discovered during dives, tends to crash the sim for me. Ten dives in I’m still using the ponderous starting fins and basic rebreather.
Hopefully, if I do ever gain access to the shop, I’ll be able to buy a proper underwater camera. While the visuals aren’t breathtaking, the combination of darting sea life, wafting kelp and encrusted wrecks can be rather effective. Like many a worthy sim, eDiving is as much about ambience as it is activity.