Tenta-Clash: Sunless Sea Adds Realtime Combat

Normally, if anything that I enjoyed were to add realtime combat, I’d plan a protest immediately. Whether I’m playing a game or chewing a pint of Grandfather’s Stout at the Dog & Whistle, the last thing I want is to find myself involved in a fight that doesn’t pause while I’m planning my next move. If it’s fisticuffs in the Whistle’s snug, I expect Tommy Champion to take a breather while I figure out whether to leg it or lob a tankard at his noggin. If it’s a naval shoot-out in a murky undersea realm…well, in the case of Sunless Sea I’m very glad that the move to realtime combat has been made. The pace and repetition of combat was just about the only thing that bothered me in Failbetter’s splendid creation.

The change is in pacing rather than control and technique. You still have to allow accuracy to build and keep enemies within range, but the battle occurs on the main map rather than in abstract. It looks splendid and I dipped my toes in the waters – unpleasant nibbles, some crustacean attachments – earlier to see how it all works. Very well, I say. I’m much more inclined to spend yet another weekend with the game now that my adventures won’t be interrupted by irritable bat syndrome in quite the same fashion.

We’ve made some changes to the way the map is laid out in terms of balance and variety. If you want to get the most out of Steel, we recommend you start with a new captain and a new chart. It’ll look better, and there’ll be more ports, so you can save more often.

Full notes here.


  1. Starayo says:

    I have been loving the new update, enjoying it a lot.

    Except on the second map I’ve played on (after dying horribly on the first) mount palmerston seems to be… nowhere to be found. I’ve uncovered so much of the map. The blind bruiser must be ever so disappointed with me.

    • Muzman says:

      I still worry about it being live on the map making the map seem too small, because it’s obviously not to scale. But I don’t know. Have you been in any long chases or engagements that seemed too implausible?

  2. MrFinnishDude says:

    I wonder if ramming will be a viable option.
    Because I really want to pull a “HMS Thunder Child” on a giant squid monster!

    Please tell me someone got that reference.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      The chances of anyone getting that reference are a million to one…

      • Lacessit says:

        Huh, that’s what they said. But still it was got.

        • Muzman says:

          The chances of anyone getting the chances reference seem incredible to me now.

      • ravencheek says:

        Million to one chances happen every day.

        If it was something like a 1000-to-1 chance or even a 10000-to-1 then that would never happen. But a million-to-1 chance now that’s just unlikely and ridiculous enough to actually happen.

    • Chaz says:

      Looks like just a hand full of men got that. You’ll have to start all over again and find a different reference.

    • Sir Frederick says:

      That would be pretty cool – it might be overpowered against monsters (because they rely on the same tactic, more or less, and don’t have any alternative but to close on you,) but it’d be neat to use it against the smaller pirate ships as an alternative to exchanging cannon-fire. And if all else fails, we can always employ bacteria. Minute… invisible… bacteria!

  3. Shadow says:

    So combat was one of the major grievances I had with the otherwise fantastic (if still nascent) game. The other’s progression and profitability of things, which was painfully slow and low, respectively. There was no incentive to go Ironman either. I suppose they’ll work on that now, with any luck.

  4. JiminyJickers says:

    The combat is already miles better, I’m glad it happens on the main map as well, the world seems more alive to me now. Can’t wait for more.

  5. Gog Magog says:

    Oh. It’s a reference to Kubla Khan.