Ship Simulator Extremes Demo & Defense

By Quintin Smith on September 22nd, 2010 at 12:23 am.

Ship simulators should be extreme by default. I mean, massive metal husks, floating atop moisture! Man.

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.”

VSTEP/PARADOX:

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.

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62 Comments »

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  1. Joseph says:

    Ship stewardess STIMULATOR extreme

    • ZIGS says:

      The Japanese market would be all over it

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      I can forsee the DLCs – Enhanced Groping, Tight Adventures in Concorde, Air France add-on…

      The real question is…when it is COMING OUT? :)

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Unless the player avatar is female, wouldn’t it be the very opposite of coming out?

  2. J J says:

    I’d say it was a very mature and interesting response. It’s not very often the developers come back to defend their game on RPS. I think I rather like it.

  3. trooperdx3117 says:

    Well that was a nice response from the developer, its odd to see a developer for once not nash their teeth and demand that the review be taken down

  4. icupnimpn2 says:

    Monsieur Smith’s posts seem to draw quite a response. The niceness on display here almost makes up for Tom Chick’s hate bomb.

  5. Taillefer says:

    Somebody could mod Minecraft into the post-apocalyptic, fishing sim, maybe.

    Anyway, I like this. It shows a bit of heart.

    • gerafin says:

      You’re addicted, my friend. Acknowledge the truth and seek help!

    • Clovis says:

      That’s why I built an intervention room in my minecraft fortress. I sit in it every once and awhile and a cobblestone block, wood block, a redstone torch, a yellow flower, and a minecart tell me how my addiction has affected them. Then I cry.

  6. Ricc says:

    Bravo, VSTEP!

    In the end we should all just agree, that whatever you prefer, Deadliest Catch / Stewardess Snogging Sim or SSE, there is room for everybody in PC Gaming Land!

  7. AW says:

    Can’t I be a whaler harassing some hippy Greenpeace types?

  8. Thants says:

    That shockingly seemed to be written by an actual human being instead of a PR-Bot. Well done VSTEP.

  9. fabamatic says:

    What would Fred Wester CEO of Paradox say about this?

  10. Zak says:

    Forgive me for being a bit off-topic but…

    No Bioshock 10 minute gamplay vid post?

  11. Brumisator says:

    That’s a pretty cool reply from them!
    Light on corporate bullshit, and to the point. With a strange amount of smileys…hmmm…

    Maybe the game is rubbish, maybe it’s not, but I’m sure whoever out there likes ship sims is salivating all over this.

    I figured Quintin’s original “review” was more of a joke post anyway “let’s screw around with something I probably won’t really care about”.

  12. Tetragrammaton says:

    Jolly good show. Ill get my best sou’wester beat the shit out of some whales.. i mean whale-boats.
    (I want a game that actually lets you be Ahab, but maybe that’s just me)

  13. James says:

    That was entertaining. He was trying so hard to be nice (he pulled it off, I think) but I bet he would have liked to use different words here and there.

    I think he made good points (not that I’d know first hand or have any real interest in finding out), but it’s also nice that Mr. Smith posted this response in the first place. So everyone is cool. Solidarity!

  14. Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox says:

    I approve of this, of course!

  15. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Hmm wasn’t the Rainbow Warrior bombed by those ungrateful french basterds? Knew we shouldn’t have liberated them..

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Damned hippies.

    • Nallen says:

      Yeah, still smarting from the whole sinking of the French fleet thing, I expect.

    • cliffski says:

      Yes it was the french, in australian waters too, as I recall. 2 french secret service guys planted a bomb on board the ship, and sunk it, with a crewmember on board. This is because GP protested the french using the south pacific as their nuclear test site.

      Apparently it’s fine to just slaughter members of peaceful protest groups because they make you look bad. Yay for democracy.

  16. Fred Wester, CEO of Paradox says:

    Right.

  17. rei says:

    …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.

    Ship captains aren’t responsible for navigation:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_Mate

  18. badoli says:

    Isn’t that dependent on the size of the ship? If you’re the captain of a one-man-rowing-boat, shouldn’t you have an eye on navigation once in a while?

  19. Noumenon says:

    Props to Quintin for giving this an approving lead-in so the commenters didn’t feel obliged to take sides!

  20. Incognito says:

    A very good response. Cred to VSTEP and Paradox for that.

  21. Skusey says:

    This is lovely, I shall now play the demo as these people are nice and I feel I should at least try their game. I doubt I’ll like as I’ve been a bit scared of ships ever since I was five and a swan attacked me. And that time I was 6 and I fell out and it was too slippery to climb back in so I held onto the side and floated back to the shore. And the wetsuits were uncomfortable. I don’t know why my Dad kept taking me to the sailing club.

  22. Alexandros says:

    I agree with the developers. Quintin’s complaints are pretty arbitrary and it really does seem like he played the game for a couple of hours and then came up with a review. Either that or he doesn’t really “get” simulations. It could also be because he has very high standards, but I don’t know how realistic those are for a simulation game. Whichever one it is, I think he judged the game unfairly.

  23. Xercies says:

    I have to say this is lovely of him t be honest, I think I want more stuff like this. most publishers/developers will be angry and all that but he made his case calmly.

    From the last guy to this one, I think I like Paradox as a company.

  24. Jonas says:

    That was a surprisingly good-natured and funny reply. Well played to them, I say.

  25. Alexandros says:

    @ Kieron Gillen: Ok, it wasn’t a review, fair enough. That doesn’t change the fact that his piece if full of inaccurate information and a negative tone that isn’t really justified. Some examples:

    “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. ” As the developers said, there are a number of ships with wildly different control schemes.

    Even in that specific instance, simple controls do not equate to simple navigation, as he soon finds out: “By now I’ve learnt the nuances of the game’s manual controls, though this doesn’t save me from heading off in completely the wrong direction once I’ve left the dock”

    “Before touching the steering wheel you say a prayer to its wrathful deity, sprinkle yourself with an offering of fragrant herbs, and then proceed to turn it very slowly and very carefully so as not to upset it. Or you can use the cursor keys, although you have to hold them down the whole time you’re turning.” Also completely innacurate, not only because the direction of the ship is determined by all the forces that affect it (wind, water, momentum, controls) but also because he didn’t even try the “precise controls” setting which negates the need to hold down buttons, as well as allow you to control the ship with more, uh, precise maneuvers.

    I could go on. The point is that the article gave an innacurate description of the game. It was sloppy, to say the least.

    • D says:

      In this case, I would firmly say that bad PR is better than no PR at all. If I had any interest in boats and ship simulating, Quinns failures to succeed at the game would certainly have inspired me to look it up, read some words from the developers, find out from users on forums whether it really was so bad, and it might have netted a sale. I think the smart developers realize this, that they are catering to a small market and that any form of PR just helps them reach it, which is a good reason that they’re being so playful in their reply.

      I wonder where Tim Stone went? He was good at judging sim games.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      He played it for two hours and wrote about what he experienced. I’m not exactly sure why the concept appears to be so confusing.

      KG

    • Premium User Badge

      KingCathcart says:

      @Kieron Gillen (and Quinns too I suppose): While we appreciate the the article is just a quick impression piece, if you read it through then it does give an negative impression of the game. Quinns doesn’t finish with a “I’ve only played it for a couple of hours'” it finishes with a statement: “Probably don’t buy it.”.

      Had it been followed up by a full WIT then there would be an opportunity to challenge those initial thoughts and would undoubtable be less need for the developer to respond (although full credit for doing so and for printing it).

      I’m not having a go, I just think that its important to take the original piece by face value. Its a fun piece to read and Quinns is a great writer but that doesn’t mean its wasn’t a tad unfair to the game.

      Anyway, enough of this – its a blooming boat simulator after all.

    • Gnarf says:

      And?

      I mean, yeah, if spent very little time with it and then scribbled a little, then I guess that would explain why>/i> it ended up being sloppy and inaccurate, but so what?

      What’s your point here? Should it be sloppy and inaccurate because it’s not a review? Or was it really very accurate and thorough reporting on his misunderstanding of the game, rather than inaccurate reporting on the game? Or maybe he only spent like fifteen minutes playing and scribbling and he really didn’t mean for anyone to read it so it’s just terribly unfair to comment on it :( ?

      Does it matter?

      – Hey, I think that piece you wrote misrepresents that game. For example you said there is no radar in the game even though it is.
      – Well, it’s not a review.
      – …

    • Gnarf says:

      Oh, and Gnarf, you fucking suck. Take a look at this mofucka: “<". You see what that is? Yeah? Yeah?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Because he said what happened to him in two hours of playing the thing. He says everything he does with the game, and what he saw when doing it. It’s totally transparent. Yes, there’s much more to the game than he wrote about. You’d hope so, given he played 3 missions and gave up.

      But here’s a complete novice giving a crack at a game and how he found the experience, and why he stopped, which is the point of the article. Most of RPS’ readers are, I suspect, more like Quinns than the proper propellor heads. He gave it a shot and wrote about his bemusement. He played for a bit and gave his *impressions*. That’s the point.

      (And shits and giggles)

      It’s not as if we don’t do hefty Tim Stone pieces too, of course, but there’s places for lots of sorts of writing on games other than the formal review.

      KG

    • Jimbo says:

      The Giant Bomb Quick Look corroborates most of what QS had to say in his article, if anybody wants to see for themselves. The game looks janky as fuck.

    • Gnarf says:

      Kieron:

      I get that, and for all I know that might cover a bunch of the complaints and comments. It’s not like

      But for some of the stuff from Alexandros’ comment, and some of the stuff from the “defense”, I can’t see why it matters what kind of piece it was. It sounds like you’re saying that he was just writing down his impressions and his impression was that he had to hold down the keys. But that’s a pretty far-fetched interpretation of it. When you read it you will assume that you really have to hold down those keys and there’s really no radar and that, and what you’re reading is Quintin’s impressions on all of that stuff.

      So like, it’s just some first impressions and that, and I won’t expect it to be total final ultimate judgment on everything, and I won’t expect it to cover everything and so on. But some of it really just sounds like some mistakes. And it’s not like that is most ultimate disaster or anything, and yeah, that it’s just some quick piece on his impressions might explain that, even excuse it. Still sounds a little weird when the response to them being pointed out is more like “well it’s not that kind of piece” and less like “whoops, my bad, I go fix now”.

      (To be fair though, you was responding to more than just the radar thing and holding keys thing, and as far as some of the other stuff is concerned, well yeah, I guess the “it’s not that kind of piece” thing makes sense.)

    • Gnarf says:

      And if you think it’s kind of rubbish that the first paragraph in my comment stops mid-sentence then, ah, you have to keep in mind that it’s mostly just intended as some quick first impressions of my reacting to Kerion’s comment, so, you kn

  26. Navagon says:

    Good for them. A well written rebuttal. It’s nice to see developers sticking up for their games without resorting to nerd rage. I’m sure I don’t need to point out any bad examples of developers sticking up for their games…

  27. Ed says:

    Off-topic I know, but the way you worded your anecdote immediately made me think of David Thorne (he of the seven-legged spider correspondence)

  28. Alan Twelve says:

    What cliffski said, except that it happened in Auckland Harbour, New Zealand, if memory serves me correctly (which it often doesn’t, to be fair).

  29. Fishdinner says:

    Well, because of this reply I’ll at least try the demo, so good on them for that much at least!

  30. SheffieldSteel says:

    If you’re going to make fun of Quinns for not knowing enough about how to control a ship – if you’re going to play the “serious simulator” card – you should make sure your sails look like they might be something to do with catching the wind and moving the ship.

    Mathematically flat triangles aligned fore-and-aft aren’t going to convince anyone but a… well, a landlubber.

  31. EthZee says:

    Where is Time Stone when we need him?

    *blows the high-res SimHorn of Summoning (with Accurate Resonance Modelling and Adjustable Bell Flaring)*

    • EthZee says:

      Also, where is Tim Stone. His time-travelling alter ego is also welcome, though.

  32. Bob's Lawn Service says:

    The first impression was a bit brutal but posting the dev response made up for it.