By Quintin Smith on September 22nd, 2010 at 12:23 am.
Anybody remember my less than buoyant impressions of Ship Simulator Extremes a couple of weeks ago? Well, the developers have since sent us a fairly comprehensive response, which only occasionally stops pointing out that I am awful at boats to defend their game and what they were striving to do with it. Good on them, I say. You can find the whole thing beneath the jump.
In other news, the Ship Simulator Extremes demo was also released today! Anyone who fancies taking control of a big ol’ Greenpeace vessel and harassing some whaling fleets is currently experiencing their lucky day.
More developers should have a pop at specific journalists. It’s much more fun when this is a two-way thing. Here we go:
Quintin Smith, RPS: “The controls of my alien ship prove to be very simple indeed. I’ve got an accelerator and a steering wheel, and I can weigh anchor or hitch myself to things, and that’s it. Stop me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t a simulator be more involved than that? I’ve played platformers with more complicated controls.”
Ahoy there land lubber!
So, let’s look at this in a bit more detail. First you complain about the ships being too simple to control and the simulator uninvolving, and yet for some reason you seem to hopelessly screw up every mission due to not being able to manoeuvre your craft properly. Hmmm.
are you a bit rubbish perhaps? That is a mystery! :)
Joking aside though, about the controls: most motor ship controls are quite standard (thrust, rudders). Same goes for trains. That is why you have a lot more ship captains and train drivers than airplane pilots. However, that does not make it simple or uninvolving. It takes actual skill to manoeuvre these babies without scraping the paint off them. There is a lot more finesse and simulation in the game than maybe you discovered on initial playthrough. Some suggestions for example would be using the actual conning screens, the radar, charts, autopilot, towing and berthing. Perhaps these were things that you missed initially.
Also, if you are looking for complex manoeuvring then I definitely recommend trying the hovercraft, or the Azimuth thrusters tug, or having a crack at towing a huge tanker into a shallow harbour etc. Even though the controls of most vessels seem pretty straightforward, it requires real skill to manoeuvre a vessel correctly, taking multiple thrusters into account. Some missions also require you to take control of multiple ships, but we suggest you start with just the one.
We can understand it if you’re more the captain Jack Sparrow – kick’em in the nuts, haul’em down and destroy the Kraken – ship lover, but rest assured, many ship simulation fans love this core realism. :)
Quintin Smith, RPS: “The entire 300 metre long container ship vanishes. Tilting the camera, I see it’s reappeared a few hundred feet away.”
VSTEP/PARADOX: Can we say that’s a feature? Teleporting ships? No? Worth a try! :) About bugs: They are an unfortunate by-product of PC game development but it is an area we take very seriously and work hard to ensure as many of them are eradicated as quickly as possible. A release day patch was issued, fixing the start up issues some users were experiencing as well as the bugs you mention. A new update will be released next week and the team are continuing to improve the game steadily and new DLC will be released in the coming weeks/months.
Quintin Smith, RPS: “For you, then: There is no radar, just a minimap. There is no crew. Docking is limited to the anchoring and tethering I mentioned, which is simple and instantaneous. Water physics is mostly invalidated by the shonky physics of the boats themselves.I definitely wouldn’t give a game this treatment if there was an interesting core underneath the bugs. But outside of a large variety of ship models and accurately modelled docks, the simulation itself is hugely light on content.”
VSTEP/PARADOX: The radar is present and correct in the game! It’s fully functional with the option to select range. Look again :)
There is also an autopilot function in the game, allowing the player to set waypoints and accelerate time. Autopilot cannot be used when near to the shore or close to other vessels however.
Quintin Smith, RPS: “I suppose what I really want from a boat game is all the emotive elements of the ocean applied to something other than a straight simulation. A kind of post-apocalyptic Deadliest Catch sim would be perfect. You could take your rickety craft out on fishing trips, pulling up all kinds of mutated fish and crabs from the sea and occasionally having to defend yourself from sea-monsters. Then you get home, sell your loot, and upgrade your craft and crew. You could set the whole thing from the captain’s first person perspective. It’d be beautiful.”
VSTEP/PARADOX: I like the way you think Quintin! You’re definitely pencilled in for our next game design brainstorming session! But seriously, this is primarily a core simulator with some game elements contained within it. Surely you wouldn’t expect to be able to snog the stewardess in Flight Simulator? Admittedly that would be quite nice. Hmmm. I think I’ve stumbled across an idea there!
Ultimately, Ship Simulator Extremes is a vessel simulator focusing on the concept of captaining a ship in different circumstances and missions and using skill to conquer these circumstances and given missions.
There you have it. VSTEP’s next game will probably literally allow you to snog an air stewardess. They might even be making Ship Stewardess Simulator Extremes. You read it here first, readers.