View Full Version : "Simulation or "Video Game"???

08-29-2008, 12:15 PM
Recently, a Thread (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/6421019045/m/2601086286/p/1) appeared that again discussed the likelihood of future additions to SH4, and the future possibilities for an SH5.

Predictably, this brought about a "disagreement"‌ between those who are playing and enjoying the existing product, in spite of it's remaining "issues"‌; .....And those who's feelings are typified by this sort of statement:

" Silent Hunter 5 had better be RIGHT, or else I'm not buying it. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I will not be an early adopter. Which means you WILL have to wait for my money.

As much as I want a Next Generation subsim product, and frankly I don't care whether its old war or Cold War, Ubisoft now have the difficult task of convincing me that they are actually the publisher for the job."‌

Having lived through the whole "SH4 Release"‌ debacle as a Moderator, ...I have a somewhat broader view of the whole question. I think the problem here results from a basic misconception that is shared by both Ubisoft and their end users! ....They need to fully grasp the following:


A Video Game is a entertainment product that, more often than not, portrays a fantasy. They don't have to be technically correct about anything, and are mainly required to impress visually. They also need to hit the $50 pricepoint, because the average user will tire of it in three months (or less), and move on to something else.

By contrast, a modern Simulation is required to model real hardware performance within the constraints of real world physics, in an accurate historical setting: .....And do all this with photo-realistic graphics!!

Also, since most true Simulation fans will stick with their chosen product for YEARS rather than weeks; ....ongoing support is an absolute requirement!

My friends, ...what we have just described here can only be considered "Serious Application Software"‌! ......And as such the "What can we write for the "Xbox"‌ this week?"‌ developer mentality just won't cut it!!

If any of the developers decide to get serious about our "Simulation Niche"‌ they will have to face up to the fact that they are writing a piece of software that will be as critically examined as any of the current high-end CAD packages! ....Furthermore, they have to resign themselves to keeping a Development and Support team together for YEARS after the release date!

All of this costs serious money: ....A properly written AND supported Simulation will cost an order of magnitude more than the current $50 video game pricetag.

This is where the end users have to ask themselves how serious they really are about their "issues and complaints"‌: If you want quality "Business Grade"‌ software, and professional, on-going support, ....you have to pay for it!

If, on the other hand, you feel that $29 is too much; ....well, ...then you have just described the product you have in your hand right now! .....Be happy with it!

When I worked full time as a design engineer, I had a sign over my desk that read:


I don't know who authored that phrase; ....But never were truer words spoken!

I, for one, would have NO problem "stepping up"‌, ...because I know I will be running my new Simulation for the next four of five years! Even at $500, that would make it a real bargain when compared to spending $50 every three months to feed an Xbox!


08-29-2008, 01:11 PM
Nothing to add here! $500 sure is scary, but $150 would sell some product. I think a $7.50 per month subscription would be more like it. That's a continuous income stream of $90 per year from every player: twice more than they're getting now.

Why twice? Simply because the subscription would be a direct payment, where they now sell the $50 game for $35 or $40 to retailers. Didn't think of that one, did you? Not only that but lots of players play for less than that. I snuck in over the wall. I bought my copy off eBay for $15 from a guy whose computer couldn't run it. A subscription based download model would make me buy from Ubi.

A continuous income stream means money to pay a development and maintenance team. It means no Silent Hunter 6 ever need be released. Silent Hunter can evolve rather than be reinvented each time. Continuity of development means that instead of solving one problem and inventing six new ones with the revolutionary method, Silent Hunter can evolve into a better and better product.

Online distribution could ensure that updates can be made overnight. The game could do its best Ubuntu imitation, log you into the repository on each game start and spiff itself up with all the goodies you've paid for since last time you played.

Distribution costs fall to almost nothing. Game updates are easy and automatic. If you quit paying your subscription, you can't log on any more, except to renew. There would be no more Silent Hunters, only THE Silent Hunter, progressively pushing toward eliminating its flaws, continuously adding features like an online MMORPG.

There's money to be made in the simulation market as you define it if someone has the guts to change the business model to a sustainable income stream that finances the necessary work.

08-29-2008, 01:17 PM
@ klcarroll

I couldn't agree more.

A good simulation can keep me interested for years and years and I don't mind a hefty price tag.
But I see a problem looming on the horizon.

Nowadays marketing hogs will soon spot a "niche". That means that a good simulations are few and far beetwen, so they will just put on a sticker "Simulation" thus justifying a price.

08-29-2008, 01:24 PM
I would certainly be happy to pay the eqiuvelant of $50 - $70 but when you start talking about $500 price tags it's starting to get ridiculous.

A big selling point of the series is that the variable realism settings mean anyone can pick up play and enjoy. Even if it's quite a niche market those with a little interest can play.
When the price tag goes to $500 you loosing all those that would have other wise played and payed.

08-29-2008, 02:48 PM
And there are the two reasons why only a subscription scheme will work. We have resistance toward paying a high price for a piece of software that we aren't even sure we'll like and might not know until we've invested a month into learning it.

Then we have RockinRobbins' first rule of business: people do what they are paid to do. In the other thread, it's been insinuated that Ubi abandoned us. In fact it is us who abandoned Ubi. Once they got our money for the purchase of the game, our money stream stopped. Their expenses didn't.

Even paying $500 for the simulator won't get a game that is maintained and improved for a year. They will have all our money. There is no gain for the expense of maintenance. We've just paid them a big price to gather up their winnings and leave the table. So no $500 simulator or $150 simulator will make any change. It will just limit the market and result in less profit for the game company. If anything, it would shorten the time after release that they attempt to patch and improve the game.

Only if a simulation produces a dependable and predictable income stream will any company maintain and improve a game. Why? Because that's what we would be paying them to do! If they stop maintaining the game, the money stops. And the subscription avoids the initial $150 or $500 price shock that would doom the game from the outset. Could anything be more obvious?

Do I make sense or am I talking into a vacuum?

08-29-2008, 03:28 PM
Once again I find myself playing for the other side, simply because I don't believe in the veracity of the initial statement.

A simulation is, by virtue of the medium it is played in and the methodology and hardware by which it is played, nothing more than a video game.

As such it needs to have all the virtues of any video game - purchase inquisitiveness, ease of installation & first use, initial impact and dwell and duration along with goals and rewards. These are not unique to either style of product, and the marketing `rules` are precisely the same.

But it is at THIS point that `simulations` depart from `video games`: At this point simulations show user benefit from a deeper understanding of the conceptual artifice and by becoming a game that allows that depth to be explored through layered gameplay and increased sophistication.

There is nothing - absolutely nothing - that needs to be researched here. Flight simulation products long ago defined the balance between simulator and game. Simply copy them. Five minutes worth of research, and you're done.

What SH lacks - what it has ALWAYS lacked, above and beyond the basics that we all know and moan about, is the ability to make things deeper and more involving. And I exclude modders from what follows.

Yes, they dabble at it: Manual torpedo targeting is a good example of how to get it right - and at the same time also a perfect indicator on how to actualy achieve the balance - FIRST YOU MUST MAKE THE GAME COMPLICATED. Then you can make it simpler with menu options for those who want to `game` rather than `sim`.

But by that store while it is relatively easy to make a sim into a game it is almost never possible to make a game into a sim.

And it is this mindset (or perhaps developer capacity) that must change if the sub sim genrre is to survive and thrive.

Again, the initial post talks about graphics. Graphics should be secondary in importance to a sub simmer.
Submarines operate in a world of sound, not sight, and although the view through the periscope is important, not a single sub `game` has yet come close to offering a view akin to the grubby, dark, confusing tunnel-visioned vista you actually see through the small lens of a typical periscope. And yes, I do know what I'm talking about...

That is why modern submarines no longer make much use of old-skool periscopes, they can use modern fibre-optics and video grabbing technology and display and enhance the snatched view, even through a full 360 degrees. They do that because the ultimate limitations of light-gathering, view perspective, monocular sighting and vibration-induced blur have always been known about with conventional periscopics, but until technology intervened there was no alternative to the best effort of glass, brass and electro-mechanicals.

SH4 doesn't even BEGIN to model periscope use correctly. It `games` not sims, and as a result there's nothing for a simmer to aspire to, nowhere to advance to, nothing to apply detailed knowledge to. And that's just the persiscope, which is at least modelled in the game...

But much more important is that a submarine also operates in a fluid environment. Literally and metaphorically. Sea water changes in temperature and density, even viscosity and transparency (to both sound and vision) and this all is reflected in the minute adjustments needed to control a submarine successfully.

Silent Hunter is nothing more than a POS in this regard. Hovering subs? in WWII? Get off! They didn't have the degree of control on trim pumps, lacked the detailed assessment of the weight of the boat at that moment, couldn't assess the effects of the sea around them. As a result if they could hover engines off, it was at most a fleeting event, and it wouldn't last long.

And these are just two examples. There are many, many more that cumulatively make SH a terrible simulator.

But I'll break down the requirement for a successful sub sim for them, (they can pay me later, you wont' be needing focus groups lads!)

1: Dynamics - simulator should replicate the performance of the real sub to the best of known ability and developer capability.
Don't make me laugh by even suggesting that SH has got within a country mile of that thus far!

2: Allied to 1: The sub most operate in the best possible replication of the ocean environment. At the very least that means at higher realism levels the effects of salinity and temperature, sea state and tidal motions should influence the behaviour of the submarine moment to moment. Visibility on a submarine is always poor, with very little horizon in anything other thn calm seas.

3: A properly layered sound environment.
Don't show me weed on the bottom of the sea, what a complete waste of time. Instead let me listen to the variety of sea creatures and the general ocean cacophony through the hydrophones. Let me or my soundman try and sort the sound of a distant merchant from the waves breaking in the storm above, and popping of the shrimps below, and lets have some spurious reports caused through propogation along the thermocline...

The existing `game` SH sound environment peaks at `realistic` sound delay - which actually isn't realistic at all - sound travels about five times FASTER in water, not with some stupid delay! (Curious fact: For better `realism`, UNcheck that box in SH4!)

4: A properly layered crew environment. We;ve mentioned this before. No submarine is a one-man operation and every single man onboard has a job to do (Are you reading this producers of U571? You need more than five people to do anything more than sink a sub).
What I expect to see from my multi-layered sub sim environment is, at higher sim levels, my crew begin to operate in unison, even to anticipating the needs of the tactical situation. We're back to the sound environment again, there should be a constant order and response, recommendation and acknowledgement, backchat and commentary from the crew to the skipper and officers. Where is my navigator asking for permission to take a star sighting to correct his best guesstimate of the subs current location? Where is my diving officer asking for few more turns on the screws or permission to operate the trim pumps as the boat is getting heavy? Where is the engineering officer reporting oil in the bilges, permission to stop engines to inspect the drive shaft seals? Where is the periscope mate counting off the seconds that the periscope head has been exposed to warn me that it might be spotted? It takes a thousand and one interactions to make a submarine function, and at higher reality levels I would expect my crew to have initiative, not merely blindly respond to my orders like some cross between parrot and sheep.

5: Damage control. ANY damage in submarines has consequences, and those consequences should be alerted to the skipper in the form of a damage report. Not idiotic percentage readings, but proper written reports, perhaps with illuminating notes in the margins: "Item: Drive shaft seal packing loose. Oil is leaking into the bilges and overboard. We should not dive deep or get involved in a convoy tussle until the oil leak is repaired and the bilges flushed . From there on it's up to the skipper to make the decision whether to pursue the attack or not. And the sim to have the ability to reflect this level of complexity in the operation of the boat.

6: Rewards and consequences: As with any game, there has to be a reward for exemplary service. Not this useless, `oh look have another medal and a some addons for your boat` rubbish (how `gamey` is that? -and they're the wrong medals too!) but the offer of shore leave or a temporary secondment to a training flotilla to pass on the knowledge to the next generation - the generation that will some day possibly be YOUR new recruits onboard, so your training today could benefit your crew efficiency tomorrow! We have the beginnings of this already in SH, but it's a gamers reward system and almost entirely unrelated to crew efficiency which could be a much more subtle compartment-by-compartment affair, where having a few old hands in among the new boys would bring their efficiency up faster rather than this rather naive `this man is a deck watch specialist` rating system. In truth every man on a boat has to have a working knowledge of the man next to him's job, just in case.

Oh there's a lot more that could be brought to the table, but the most important point is that NONE of this would impact on the `game` fun factor, but what it would do is create a layered game that could be seeing a shelf lifespan of years, not days, could actually encourage a modularity in design so that you might, for example, pull out the water dynamics module and replace it with a better, more advanced model later on. This is precisely what flight sime have learned and they continue to plough a very lucrative niche.

There has yet to be a proper submarine simulation. Now the question is, should Ubi be the one to try and deliver it..?

Based on past performance, I'd have to say no.

08-29-2008, 04:17 PM

You are 100% correct. SH4 is not a simulator. It is just a state of the art simulation of a very simplified reality. I am sure that in the future, everything you mentioned in your post will be possible. Something like the "Holodeck"‌ in Star Trek is close to being technically feasible right now. Anything that can be done, will be done.

The game room of the future will probably be able to "put you there"‌. Enter the room, flip the switch, and you are in your very own submarine. You will in all likelihood be in uniform by the time your simulation room fires up your last save. Depth charge explosions rock you world and when you go to the bridge you can smell the salt air. I can't wait.

My first sub sim was "Red Storm Rising"‌. It was little boxes that marched across the screen. The graphics were still photos, but the "hardware"‌ functioned. I was entranced. When Silent Hunter 1 came out, I bought a new computer in order to run it. I played that game for 12 years, 25 or so careers from 1941 to 1945. I never tired of it. U-boats never interested me so I kept waiting for a new Fleetboat game. It arrived in March, 2007. I have a new love. It was buggy at first, but fixable. UBI did come to the table, five times, in order to fix what the MODders couldn't get at. The MODders did the rest.

It may not be perfect, but then again neither is my wife and I have been in love with her for the last 20 years. I still am. If everything you mentioned in your post were to be implemented it would reduce my computer to a smoldering pile of ****.

So here's to the conversion of my spare bedroom to a "realistic"‌ WWII submarine. I hope I live long enough to be able to afford it. Although, if UBI makes the software I'll bet that label will still be upside down. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/51.gif

Lighten up.


08-29-2008, 04:47 PM
I bought SH2 when it first arrived, good game, not a sim. I bought SH3 as soon as it hit the stores, great game, closer to sim, but still a game. I couldn't wait for SH4. Got it, and through a friend got the U-Boat add-on. Getting closer and closer to a sim. Like Dave said, anything more at this point will melt our PC's. I'm satisfied with what SH4 is and am extremely happy that we have a bunch of guys who took their time to MOD it to where it is now. I played SH3 for 2 years before I got SH4. Then I discovered that someone had come up with SH3 Commander. That's the kind of things that keep these "games" interesting and making them closer to "sims". My biggest problem is that sometimes I can't decide which one to play.

08-29-2008, 05:41 PM
Now this thread (in general) reflects a more realistic approach to the problem.

"RR" is quite correct: a yearly "subscription fee" would be a realistic way of addressing the financial demands that are being made on the Developer.

The one point we need to accept is that we will NEVER get the kind of product we want for a one-time $50 -$70 fee.

In my "Real Life" pursuits, I use a CAD program called "SolidWorks". A "one chair" licence for that package costs something like $4,400.00, with a $1,600 yearly "subscription fee" for support.

Why do I spend that kind of money??? ....BECAUSE IT DOES WHAT IT'S SUPPOSED TO!!

....And yet, in terms of actual program size, it is no larger than SH4!

I remain firm in my opinion that "You get what you pay for!".

To expect a accurate, comprehensive, and ACTIVELY SUPPORTED simulation for a one time fee of $50 to $70 is totally unrealistic!

I want "The Good Stuff", and I am willing to pay for it!


08-29-2008, 06:20 PM
Snavesuk, you have written a masterpiece. And folks, even that is incomplete. Check out this link http://www.maritime.org/fleetsub/sonar/index.htm, read about the full array of simple sonar equipment on a World War II fleet boat. Do you salivate like I do when you read that?

So Snavesuk, not only are you on a fertile trail but you have only scratched the surface, as you well know even better than I do. There is an end to the possible complexity, but it will seem endless for a long time. I don't believe such a simulator will arrive like the birth of Venus, in her full glory. It will have to be an evolutionary project requiring frequent transfusions of currency.

But what you have envisioned is a simulator unlike any ever made for a personal computer. Even the flight sims don't have this level of complexity. I'm not sure if the present state of hardware could support it all. But it could support much more reality than we now have.

So we have requirements for a meaningful simulator:

It starts from the details and works up to the whole. The player could choose not to use the complexity but it would still be there, even in automatic mode, working logically and operated by a capable crew. If you wanted to go down and play with all the attenuation filters, amplifiers and three different sonar heads, knock yourself out. It's all there. If not a crewman will competently man the position giving you required information that a real crewman would.

One thing that isn't modeled at all is malfunctions, unless they're caused by exploding ordinance delivered by the enemy. But how many times in cruise reports do we read the radar failed and that failure affected the whole engagement. Archerfish and Shinano comes to mind. Equipment breakdowns are part of the sub business. It's not a part of our present sims.

Heck I can only scratch the surface too. A game company will have the same problem. A game like this would be 5 years in development. Maybe I'm too optimistic. I can't see anything but the subscription model leading to such a simulator. I can't see anything but continuous evolution of a playable game during the entire time to finance the process. It could pull itself up by its own bootstraps.

Otherwise only a military organization would have the commitment and staying power to make it happen. Certainly the primary decisions that make or break such a project would be business decisions. Then absolute devotion to fidelity, with original manuals and real submarines to keep it honest, with a step by step battle plan to achieve success.

I can see the present game being a starting point. But what we would end up with wouldn't resemble Silent Hunter 4 at all. A near-perfect simulation of

08-29-2008, 06:55 PM
I'll just state a simple thought.

It seems to me, after sending out many DVD's,
A very great number of persons running
the SH series are:

Limited on income.
Retired on a fixed income.
Military on a fixed income.
Just through the facts of life
on a fixed income.

I would expect a subscrition deal would kill
the whole series.

You want to make the bucks?
Sell the Game at a cost that the
fixed income people can afford.

Everyone pays a simple 40 to 50 bucks.

Now sell the Dev tools to SERIOUS Mod Teams for
High Dollars!!
With a Non-Disclosure Agreement attached.

A serious Team will jump on that!!
There comes the money!!

Just my thoughts.

08-29-2008, 07:11 PM
Originally posted by Privateer_GWX:
I'll just state a simple thought.

It seems to me, after sending out many DVD's,
A very great number of persons running
the SH series are:

Limited on income.
Retired on a fixed income.
Military on a fixed income.
Just through the facts of life
on a fixed income.

I would expect a subscrition deal would kill
the whole series.

You want to make the bucks?
Sell the Game at a cost that the
fixed income people can afford.

Everyone pays a simple 40 to 50 bucks.

Now sell the Dev tools to SERIOUS Mod Teams for
High Dollars!!
With a Non-Disclosure Agreement attached.

A serious Team will jump on that!!
There comes the money!!

Just my thoughts.

Oh yeah, plenty of peril there. But to make a real sim as Snavesuk suggests, a modding team would never be able to do. We're talking about some serious basic code surgery, not different parameters in text files or rudimentary hex editing. We're talking about an entire rethink about what a sub simulator for the general public is. Snavesuk's post is intimidating and it only scratches the surface. The MMORPGs demonstrate that the poor people will pay if the price is right. But you are correct. There are dragons here and they have very sharp teeth. Price it wrong and die.

And privateer, I promise, no more blank verse from me. I might feel cheeky and attempt a Haiku though. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif

08-29-2008, 07:31 PM
Actually Sir?
I get a kick out of your prose.
Do it how you like it!!

08-29-2008, 07:32 PM
Privateer, I agree with your fixed income statements, but the MOD statement doesn't make sense to me. Sure they do it for free, now. They have "only" time invested. But what happens when they suddenly have serious hard earned currency buried in it? What was an assumedly "just for fun" pastime just became a "how to recover my losses" game. (I'd think, I'm not a MODer.)

As one who is still waiting for the price of Mircrosoft FSX to drop to "more reasonable" levels, I have trouble thinking others might just brush off serious monetary input, and decide to cut their losses under a "make the MOD teams pay" scenario and give the improved product to the community at little to no cost.

(For those who wonder, I've seen little serious improvement in Microsoft Flight Simulartor since about FS 2000 and thus have trouble justifying $120 plus for the components of the current simulator (FSX $70, FSX Expansion $30+, FSX Missions of various sorts @ $20+ each) that I would like to have. That, and most of the improvement seems to be graphic. Woopie. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif I can do VFR flying in FS 2000...)

08-29-2008, 07:38 PM
I don't know what a Mod Team that pays the fees would do.

I only know what We would do.
One of our Dev's had system problems.
I sent $750 US by PayPal so he could
fix his system.

I never got any return from that.
Nor would I take it!!

There are good people out there!!
When all else fails?
Have faith!!

08-29-2008, 07:45 PM
Okay, this is true, there are definitely some good people out there! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

And, it seems, some with considerably more money than I have to do with as they please! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif Must be nice!

08-29-2008, 07:55 PM
Hum, interesting ideas so far. Thanks for bringing this thread up KLC.

We had the discussion on numerous occasions with the members here 6 months ago about that we needed to convince the marketing development at UBIsoft that members of this community would be willing to spend $100.00US (in my honest opinion, at $150.00US we would loose them) for a simulation like a tentative SH5 title. If you want, starting next week, I can get on it and I will devise the first initiative for SH5 to get that kind of price point accepted by UBIsoft's Mark_Dept. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/icon_twisted.gif

Further, we have to understand a developer's stand point: learning curve_ (playability) versus entertainment_ on a _competitive cost_.
Since the renown of the SH series makes the competitive cost not so important any longer ($100.00 bucks is not that much but it is a whole lot too much to the casual gamer) but if it's advertised right, UBIsoft could really generate more profit for this game.

Anyhow, let's not loose this following perspective: if we do not work together, nothing will work. And since I will most probably be gone to Africa in January 2009, we do not have much time ahead to conceive a plan to convince UBIsoft that we want a game at $100.00USD.

08-29-2008, 08:05 PM
Truthfully Sir?
At $100 US funds?
I see Torrents for free.

Ater owning all versions at costs.
And seing what I got?
I'll not take the chance for $100 US
and getting what I have gotten so far.

Not trying to be offensive but!!
Face the facts!!
For $50 US I got a standard bugged game.
I can live with that.
we had some updates that fixed
a limited number of problems.

Then for another $10 US I got the UBM thing.
Grids don't work, mission problems?

Now your saying $100 US?
Where's the TRUST?

I do not see it.

08-29-2008, 08:22 PM
The fact is: the $100.00USD in question would be not only for development but for a longer and steadily supported post-development process. Also, bear in mind that alpha and beta testing are the most expensive phases since the DEV_Team needs to go through heavy debugging runs. Having a price tag higher would most definitely have a better game in the longer term: probably not upon release but rather "post-developmentally". It's the best the DEV_Team will be able to do.

08-29-2008, 09:18 PM
I would like to add a coment and hopffully some one will lisen. I'm poir service military, I was in the US Marine Corp. I'm not easyly impressed by games portraying what it is really like. To be honest I think no matter how hard one trys, it is really hard to imulate reality. ARMA, and Operation Flash Point did an outstanding job showing what is like to be on the ground as a ground pounder. I was impressed and I think branchs of the military where too. The Marines uses ARMA for training and they where quite impressed, even with there bugs. Ive played Silent Hunter 3 and 4, and Im vary impressed. I was vary dispointed with all the bugs in Silent Hunter 4 at first. My opion is this is a Corperation putting imposible deadlines on developers. It took me along time to get the game working without issue. I had to research the forums. I got the Trigger mod and twicked a few things and it works great now. I'm glad that didn't right off the game as too buggy. Becuase it is a asome game in all aspects, just needed some more time in my opoin with the Dev process. If there is a Silent Hunter 5, I would like one request, I say this becuase I would love to see it. Do not take any crap from those Corparate *** holes. Release it when your good and ready to. Tell them that if they want people to keep buying things from them, it has to complete and bug free. Even if it takes longer in development and dosn't make the deadline. Get it done right and polished. I really think this means the differnce between rated a 7 out of 10 to a 9.5 out 10. I remember when I first read the reviews about SH4 that was one of there bigest complaints. The game was asome but there was way to many bugs. I think SH4 could have been a hit like 9.5 if they would have worked this out before release. I would never sell you car if the wheel fell of a mile down the road, thats kind of what where dealing with here. That's just plain bad businness. The Silent Hunter series deseves better!!

Now to anser the Question. Yes and No. I think it could be considered a Command simulator maybe. You asume the role of skipper, and you have to make some hard choices for a game. It is 10 out of 10 in my opion. The Tactics are real world... But if you compare it to somthing like Filght Simulator X....Not even close. I think on a techincal standpoint it has the makings of a simulator but really isn't one. Submarines are extreamlly complicated peaces hard ware. Theres allot more to making one of those things dive then pressing the "d" botton. On a sub when you go under water, you may as well be going to outer space. There's allot of engineering going on. Most of the officers on modren subs have degress in nuke phisics and what not. They are a vary tech savy bunch of sailors. A good freind of mine is was on a "Bomer". Thats military jargon for a sub that carrys nukes. He has been out of the Navy for 5 years now and he can say vary little about what he did. Alls anyone knew is he left and came back 6 months later. I got to go on a Los Angless class while serving in Japan. It was part of our MEU. Military Jargon for an anphib task force. They wouldn't even let us take pictures inside of it. Parts of it are vary small inside. You better get good at crawling through hatchs. You also have to get used to the pitching when it turns or dives. They are able to stay under for months on end. They even make there own water and there own o2. The crew is are vary isolated from outside world. They only get gram messages from home every couple of weeks. I remember thinking to my self, dam I'm glad to be a Marine not one of these poor saps stuck in this metal tube for months. At least make it CO-ED for pete sakes. Games like Silent Hunter make it seem so great to be on a sub. In reallity be parpared to smell other poeples asses for months on end. You have to see the same ungly person next ot you for months. Kind of like some poeples marrages....Ok enough BS, one of the things I noticed is there is a ton of engineering going on more then any thing. SH4 and SH3 show only about maybe 2% of the amount of engineering going on a real sub. Take a look at the Corbra. I went tour of it when it was in Seattle. It's a Russian Desiel Electric. There was more pips then I have ever seen in one place in my life on that thing. There was a massive amount of techincal stuff that made that thing do what it does. It's down in San Deigo now if you want to take a look if in that neck of the woods. Now do I think it would be hard to make a real sub simulator, like the FSX of sub sims. My answer is yes. But I think it would be could be posible. Would it sell, I think it would be hard to get poeple into that sort of thing with exseption to the nitch crowd.

Sorry to go on, but here is an idea. I don't think you have to make the SH series into a simualtor. Just make it tacticly sound with reallity. Keep the emertion, show some more of the engineering. I don't think gamers have degress in engineering ok. So it dosn't have to show every little thing, just more of it engineering. Becuase engineering is about 80% of operating a sub. For exsample, when a sub dives, the hatchs are closed. Then it takes one water in it's ballast tanks. The planes men while then put planes in a downward agle and dive. Once underwater a sub will then trim its ballast tanks. It's most like flying. There is a cool web sit called PSUB where it shows all of this. I think it should be made like the TDC. Where one can do it manually if disired. Or you can just kick back and watch crew do it them selves. Silent Hunter has this but it is a vary small part of the game. It should be a big part, becuase thats what a submarine does.I would add it to the diifucluty settings just like the TDC. So I could say: I want manaul TDC manual navigation, manual dive controls. Or set it to automatic to make easier for the more casual player. Show some more of the muitible roles that they have. They do allot more then blow up ships. They are great platfroms for inserting poeple into combat in complete stealth via escape hatch. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/shady.gif or laying mines. Spying or intel gathering. Resueing people. Some of this was shown in SH4, but I think it should be shown allot more, with more detail. These like the stealth bombers of the sea. One of things Ive always thought about. Why not go into a joint ventor with Tom Clancy? Tom Clancy games are Ubisoft right? That man knows about as much as any could know on the subject. Just some thoughts.

08-29-2008, 09:46 PM
This thread has all of the difficulty of a Harvard Business School "case study" with price points, ongoing services, sim versus game stategy, and must be the basis of many discussions within Ubisoft. I've played all versions of the game from SH1 through Destroyer Commander to SH4-1.5 and thought I got a lot of enjoyment for the money I paid. The concept that I would pay $8.00/month is an interesting one. I could find out if I liked SH5 very cheaply but if I wanted to keep playing, the cost is not that high and comes with improving games and graphics. Good marketing stategy.

08-30-2008, 02:42 AM
This is only a suggestion , after 11 months UBISOFT develop the SH4 , and later after some more work we got SH4 ver:1.5 ,lets make a plan ( for example ) bring in three more steps SH4 closer and closer to become more and more at each step a realistic simulator with less and less bugs.

STEP One : Another period of time ( months )with more developers work and dedication to this SH4 and after this UBISOFT release the SH4 (<span class="ev_code_RED"> 1.5 Bronze </span> ) with increased realism and simulation performance ,of course this need a fee

STEP Two : Another another period of time ( months ) with even more developers work and time spending with the develop and improvement of this SH4, and after this UBISOFT release SH4 ( <span class="ev_code_WHITE">1.5 Silver </span> ) of course this need also a fee

STEP three : More time necessary to improve even more the features and realistic detail of SH4 , finally UBISOFT release SH4 ( <span class="ev_code_YELLOW">1.5 Gold </span> )and this for example can be the final fee needed to pay

This is only a suggestion to UBISOFT

08-30-2008, 06:37 AM
Originally posted by odjig292:The concept that I would pay $8.00/month is an interesting one. I could find out if I liked SH5 very cheaply but if I wanted to keep playing, the cost is not that high and comes with improving games and graphics. Good marketing stategy.
It answers the problem of barriers to entry and even more importantly it pays for what we want: continual fixing and improvement. Paying a large up-front price cannot accomplish this.

How many people building a house foolishly pay the entire cost up front? Well most finance their purchase through a bank, and the bank would not permit this. It releases money in stages as construction proceeds. This is because they realize as I do that people do what they are paid to do. You do not want to pay someone to run away with all your money and not continue to build the house!

A related newspaper story. I manage delivery and sales contractors for a Florida newspaper. Sometimes we have a contractor who has two different routes. The rate contractors pay for their newspapers is partially derived from the size and relative difficulty of the route. Sometimes, for a contractor with two routes, they have different rates. Amazingly, after a time, we notice that invariably, the route with the higher rate shrinks in circulation while the route with the lower rate grows! Why? Because we paid him to cheat. He only did what we paid him to do. Don't ever pay someone to cheat you.

Stock brokers are a perfect example. They make a commission every time they buy or sell your stock. If you let them manage your investments, what are you paying them to do? Believe me, they WILL do it and it will be at your expense. If you want to make money from investing in stocks, maybe you should pay them to produce that result!

If a company wants to produce a simulation of great quality, they must maintain a stable crew that can accomplish that with minimal turnover so that the same team can learn and apply past lessons. They must have the capability for continuous updates without the necessity of producing and marketing a brand new game DVD. This limits costs. They must have continuous income to produce continuous development. Front loading the payment process can't and won't work, no matter what the price.

08-30-2008, 06:44 AM
In the interest of clarifying my point:

It was never my intention to "set" a price here! ....That "Ultimate Number" has to come from the developer after they analyze their Cost of Production, the cost of Ongoing Support, and their anticipated sales numbers.

We can't tell them what those numbers will be.

We can, however, let them know that we have accepted the reality that we can't have what we want for a one time $50 fee: ....and that is my "Core Issue"!!

As a user group, we have to accept the hard economic fact that we can't have what we are demanding for a mere fifty bucks! ....It's an economic impossibility. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif


08-30-2008, 07:32 AM
I have had a great couple of days seeing the varying respionses that have been posted on not just this thread but the also the one posted by the KFM. I will now give you my 'tuppence' worth..

Video Game...something that is produced and panders to the sometimes blood thirsty lust of teenagers and is intended to be played through once and finished just in time for the production companies next game which inevitably will be a re-working of something that was a hit title 12 months previously. These are games that you can by a book for, which will give you all the instructions on how to get through each scenario and that if you are too lazy to go out and buy the book, will allow you, for a small fee, to go on-line and find the answers and even give you the cheats that will enable you to tell your mates that you have already completed it!!!!!.

They are repetative and after 2 or 3 months become a 'collector of dust' on a shelf where they will remain until traded in at the local games store, at a fraction of the original cost, for the next in the series.

Don't get me wrong I was once one of those that played them and had them gathering dust. Once played...move on.

Silent Hunter series..immersive and in my opinion a sim.

To me a SIM is something that produces variables...that doesn't run the same 'storyline' time after time. That gives the 'player' the opportunity to become part of the 'storyline' thereby giving them options!!.

How far should a SIM go???.

I have always been a film buff and one of my favourite 'genres' is War Films, old, black and white or new. I like the film to portray the 'feeling' of the time but not to go over the top in it's portrayal of realism. There was one film that took me to the edge of what I wanted to see....'Saving Private Ryan'.

I am by no means squeamish and have seen my fair share of dead bodies with limbs missing and bullet wounds and even decapitations whilst in my working life. The first 30 minutes of the DD Landings took it as far as I would ever want to see in a film. Very well done and it transmitted to me what courage those people had when they landed on those beaches.

So..Silent Hunter..do we need to see the recreation of the sub sinking and all the crew being drowned in a steel coffin...definitely not...just like we don't need to see bodies floating in the oily water ablaze.

The Silent Hunter series is something that had evolved over the years and at each stage has added something extra to the 'simulation'. How far can it go..when the limits are endless....BUT and that is a BIG BUT...how many players will be able to run it.

I like it the way it is and yes it is a simulation...it varies in each patrol and makes you think about your next step..it simulates the processes needed to ensure that your torpedo hits it's target.

Just my thoughts...I know others will disagree..


08-30-2008, 07:48 AM
The Silent Hunter series is something that had evolved over the years and at each stage has added something extra to the 'simulation'. How far can it go..when the limits are endless....BUT and that is a BIG BUT...how many players will be able to run it.
Two things to treat here. I'll take the last first. If we follow the Snavesuk method of working out the details first, and then have the automatic options actually work the details in the background, EVERYBODY would be able to run a very sophisticated simulation. It could even be a shoot-em-up SUBZILLA game. But when players got bored they could explore reality. So I don't think complexity and difficulty need to be synonymous. There doesn't need to be a "vs" between sim and game if you start from simulation and the game flows from that.

But your statement about evolution intrigues me. The problem is that the Silent Hunter series didn't evolve. It was created again and again from scratch with different developers and even different software companies. Even now I hear SH1 vets saying that the bathythermograph on the SH1 sub worked very well. We don't have one.

Even the devs for SH4 say the dev teams from SH3 and SH4 only had a couple of members who have worked on both. This is because there is no income stream to keep the devs employed. They have to go out and develop another project and might never get back to working on Silent Hunter. A developer might love working on Silent Hunter, but he has to be paid to support himself and his family. So he moves on. That's what he's paid to do.

08-30-2008, 08:58 AM
I think that, essentially, the issues about graphics is a good one with which to start, as mentioned previously: how far can it go? Well, at this point, it will not be the graphics but rather the details put into the simulation which would help to the immersion factor. Of course, and I might get disapproved for what I am going to say, Nintendo has understood this issue and that is why they have released innovative games which go well in hand (see the pun) with the nunchaku remote that made the Wii the most popular console sold within the current generation of video game consoles. In terms of sheer power, the Wii cannot compete against the PS3 and the XBOX 360; Nintendo won against them due to its being imaginative and pioneering in developmental ambitions never truly explored. So, UBIsoft will have to address this issue, and quickly!

Furthermore, we need not forget the debacle that was Sonalyst's Sub Commander. Although it was praised by the subsim community, the learning curve was way too high for the casual gamer; and that! does scare "a little" the marketing department of a company, especially when it's about a submarine sim with almost no long term selling value (to them, to be honest)-- and too many copies unsold. Of course, options for more realistic immersion should be available to the player, but where do you start to define what should make it to the 100% reality parameter? Definitely more than what we have currently in SH4, yet since we cannot contribute to that detailed list of functionalities that we ought to find at 100% r_p than we can only speculate to the detriment of possibly another SH game.

Not an easy thing!

08-30-2008, 10:14 AM
I can't help but repeat what Kristen Salvatore wrote in PC Gamer about PC games dying.

"Of course, most of the "proof" of this is the result of sales numbers from the research group NPD - numbers that don't measure any non-retail sales of PC games. That means they ignore digital transactions, online purchases, and MMO subscription fees - only the boxes people pick up at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, or another brick-and-mortar store are counted."

A subnote also indicated that NPD even believes non retail sales are larger than the retail sales.

This is what the investors are reading when making business plans?! "TAKE HER DOWN, FAST"

Personaly, I don't like the subscription idea very much, but I do see the point. Also, every game/sim I've ever purchased, well almost all, has required patches after being released into the veldt. That is an expectation made manditory by the huge variety of platform configurations. Consoles have fixed hardware and can be debugged very well before release.

So, where does this lead? My money is available as long as I feel I'm getting a simulation type product for the PC.

In reference to the CAD programs with the $4,400.00 license fee, most of those are sold as suites, with modules that can be unlocked for additional fees. Maybe some such structure can be utilized, where the casual gamer pays the $50.00, while the more hard core can pay for the keys to unlock other features?


08-30-2008, 10:14 AM
As much as I would love to see it, I can't see any publisher going for it. Too costly to produce, and too few end users could afford the end result.

08-30-2008, 10:24 AM
This thread has some of the most intelligent discussions of where SH5 could go, ranging from Snavesuk's "Holodeck" simulation to a series of lesser games that are fun to play. These thoughts reflect a lot of thinking that starts with the need to have a game that has a reasonable learning curve and yet can satisfy those who want great reality. The two are basically incompatible without a very sophisticated game. To my way of thinking, Ubisoft has done quite well for its $50. There is automatic targetting for those who do not want to go to the process of plotting course, direction and speed. The camera helps newbies see what is happening while the experts wouldn't think of using it. It's not easy to upgrade a basic game, but the modders have done an excellent job of making it more realistic for those who want greater reality. My opinion says that we have received a very good deal for small amounts of money.

08-30-2008, 10:24 AM
Alot of words in this thread, but interesting. One mentions the use of a subscription method of getting updates and added features. But, for me the 'expansion pack' would make more sense to me, since with this method I can pick and choose, i.e. the '1.5' that Ubi released. This follows on the 'deluxe version 1,2,3' as mention already. But this would depend on the base engine of the sim and how well it was designed to be approved upon as well with the graphics component.
But I hope that Ubi doesn't abandon the sub simulation, since it is a good Sim. It would be hard to imagine that they would, though. This forum is one of the top Ubi forums and the numbers seem to favor keeping the game.
As I said elsewhere, the current state of the game is stable, there are still some glitches, but I get hours of enjoyment from it and its persistence is long - I'm able to accomplish careers from the beginning of the war to the end. This is something I can't say about other simulations that I played (ie, Sims2).
When did Ubi release 1.5, I'm not sure, but it was recently. If Ubi releases another expansion (with fixes,new features, better graphics) a year from now, I most likely get it at a fair price. But Ubi needs to know from the community what it wants, basic supply and demand.


08-30-2008, 05:22 PM
As long as there would be continued support?
I would buy.
There is a great base to work with as far as users.

I can only hope UBI makes a commitment
to support thier GREAT SUB SIMS!!

Nickel and Dime me to DEATH UBI!!
I don't mind as long as it's good!

And given the chance?
I'd help in anyway possible.

08-31-2008, 01:22 AM
I can't see anything but the subscription model leading to such a simulator.

So freeware (if that's the correct term) development ل la Linux doesn't count? Or are we talking about commercial games / sims only?

Personally I'll wait what projects like DFTD ( http://dangerdeep.sourceforge.net/ ) will bring to the table before forming any definite opinions about the matter http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

08-31-2008, 06:15 PM
Originally posted by msalama:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I can't see anything but the subscription model leading to such a simulator.

So freeware (if that's the correct term) development ل la Linux doesn't count? Or are we talking about commercial games / sims only?

Personally I'll wait what projects like DFTD ( http://dangerdeep.sourceforge.net/ ) will bring to the table before forming any definite opinions about the matter http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


The CVS version IS experimental, it may drink your milk, steal your cats or do other unexpected things (it shouldn't but it might, so just be warned).

Hmmmmmmm. Sounds GREAT!!! Much better than any commercial outfit. Let's check out the development log for the latest scoop! Wow!

Development continues

Posted by Matt L on 2008-03-20 17:36

Development is continuing at a steady pace, Matthias (ad-530) has recently joined the coding team and is working on the ship recognition manual and generally getting used to code, so from all of us here a warm welcome http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif. Tjordi is continuing his work on the new physics code, ships now sink in a realistic fashion and you can (tentatively) ram ships with the latest CVS. Other changes in no particular order:

* New buoyancy code
* Empire class of (merchant) ship added
* Under the hood, each object in the graphics engine can have it's own shader assigned
* The Soldbuch screen has been added
* New mission start screen
* Support for flotilla's and accompanying graphics
* Some interesting cloud experiments
* The usual bug fixes and plenty more that I've forgotten

No release date has been set for the next version (0.4.0), so if you want to get your hands dirty and try out the CVS version instructions can be found at the bottom of the download page.

That just fills me with confidence. Last entry only five months ago. Man, that proves the advantages of the freeware/open source process all right. I'm waving the white flag on that one. Ubi ought to just forget about it. They're beaten.http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa293/RockinRobbins13/smileys/touche.gif

08-31-2008, 11:51 PM
Let's put it this way. GWX4 went into development a while ago and they've said they won't tell us anything about it while it's still a WIP. Does that mean they're not actually doing anything?

You might want to take a look at this RR, plus there are other replies there too:


Freeware developers are often notoriously bad at PR, but that doesn't mean nothing is happening. True, many of these projects never get finished, but if this one does it seems we're getting something that's more of a simulator than any version of the SH series ever was!

Supermods like GWX or RFB are incredible pieces of work, and I personally enjoy them immensely. But the basic platform still remains much more a game than a sim, which is why I'm personally willing to wait and see what happens with DFTD even if it took me a century http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

But we'll see. It's indeed a huge undertaking and the devs are achingly few. But whatever happens isn't competition _still_ a good thing in this genre as well, or have I misunderstood something?

09-01-2008, 04:45 AM
Originally posted by msalama:
Let's put it this way. GWX4 went into development a while ago and they've said they won't tell us anything about it while it's still a WIP. Does that mean they're not actually doing anything?

You might want to take a look at this RR, plus there are other replies there too:


Freeware developers are often notoriously bad at PR, but that doesn't mean nothing is happening. True, many of these projects never get finished, but if this one does it seems we're getting something that's more of a simulator than any version of the SH series ever was!

Supermods like GWX or RFB are incredible pieces of work, and I personally enjoy them immensely. But the basic platform still remains much more a game than a sim, which is why I'm personally willing to wait and see what happens with DFTD even if it took me a century http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

But we'll see. It's indeed a huge undertaking and the devs are achingly few. But whatever happens isn't competition _still_ a good thing in this genre as well, or have I misunderstood something?

You're right. There are some great exceptions. Played with Linux lately? My Ubuntu installation is awesome! But even there, the vast majority of open source projects die on the vine.

My point in the above post was that no model has proven that it can do better than the business model at this point. And the same is true of flight and automobile simulation. It just takes too much commitment over too much time by too many people to make these things a likely possibility.

Of course you might say the same thing about Amarok, which in my opinion beats all the commercial audio players by quite a bit. (Sorry, no native Windows edition yet) I just have to take honorary citizenship in Missouri on the sub simulation question. I am willing to be pleasantly surprised, but not making any plans in that direction.

09-02-2008, 07:04 AM
Most definitely a video game. A true simulator is something that many of us will never see up close and personal. The devs can get close to the sound and visual experience but, this will always fall short. You can't get a true feeling of "being there" unless you spend a kings ransom on a hydraulic platform and the proper controls and code to operate it.
I have experienced this up close at Fort Knox with the M1A1 Abrams Tank driving simulator. Nothing can replace the seat of the pants feeling of vehicle operation. But those rigs came about as close as you can get. Every time I visited that building I would see at least one tank driver trainee with his breakfast all over the front of his BDU jacket. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif This happened when the instructors ran the "Tank off a cliff" scenario.

If you're like me, you don't want to hurl every time you fire up this sim. Since we got the LBO, ROW, and Environmental mods, I do find that I get a little queasy on the bridge. Getting close if it simulates sea sickness but, nowhere near the feeling of a 300 foot vessel being tossed around in heavy swells.

You guys have put forth some good ideas regarding what we simmers want and how to get it. If we look at the Ubi track record, we will more than likely see more of the same. Alas, it's bad for us and good for them. The only cure is if Ubi starts putting better QA people in charge of their projects. The "Good enough" attitude doesn't fly with the hardcore simmer who is more tech savvy than the casual gamer. We can nit pick it to death and only come away with a lump on our head. Well, I for one, will stop beating my head against a wall at the first sign of blood.

09-02-2008, 12:41 PM
I am not a hard-core sim fanatic, meaning that I readily accept things that are not true-to-life or period-correct. I guess i'm like a little of the video game world in my simulations!

I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to make a sim or game work for me, discovering its little tricks and traps and even (to a small extent) my ability to use other's mods. (Notice I didn't say "mod it myself"!)

That being said, what I do NOT like is a package prone to crashes, poor or inconsistent performance, lack of broad-based hardware compatbility, little or no documentation, or holes in its virtual environment. I am willing to pay for a clean, good-running package that runs WELL right out of the box, delivers excitement, mental challenge, long-term playability, a community (like this one), and holds the promise of more packages to come, cut from the same mold.

UBI's successes far outweigh their failures, and this community helps me cope with any of their shortcomings.

09-06-2008, 08:07 PM
I just finished reading this thread and there are a lot of very good points. Now I want to make a couple.

1. I can not see a holodeck style sub sim running on 1 computer with one operator. subs are to complex and require to many people to operate. that being said you have to have some elements of a video game or automation(press the D button to go down). which if you think about it the captain of a sub says take us down the crew does all of the work not him. your the captain not the ensign. Realism yes all for it to the right extent. looks capabilities weapons.

2. subscription models for an online multiplayer yes makes sense and works well look at battlefield and others. for a singleplayer offline i just dont see it happening at least I would not pay for it, as much as I enjoy SH I dont play enough to justify it. I play for a few months then get busy and dont play for 3 or 4 months.

3. My idea for SH5 I am not a programmer so if I say this wrong some one straighten it out please. The base of any "video game" is the engine I think thats the right term. UBI needs to work on the engine to make it the best SIM it can, don't concentrate on the missions get the engine, have the engine capable of doing most of what is being asked for even if they dont put the plugins for it, want this style of sonar develop it and install the plugin if not use the simpler default. build 7 or 8 missions. throw out the developers pack and offer publishing services, fyrebird68 develops a mission or a plugin submits it a group of registered beta testers, it passes and is put on the main page for sale and he receives a royalty . monthly subscription gets you access to everything as it is published. no subscription pay a one time fee and get access to x number of plugins and missions to download.

09-07-2008, 10:18 AM
Ubi needs to license this (http://www.bestsoftware4download.com/screenshot/submarines-deutsch--download-tlghoxrs.html) so that SH5 can have a proper "I'm at work" switch like other games do. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

09-07-2008, 12:57 PM
I don't pretend to know where, nor why,
UBI does what it does.

But I loved the way the Quake stuff was done.
Quake C allowed modding the original Game.
Then the release of some source for Quake 2
so we could rebuild the main DLL.

As more and more people re-discover this Game/Sim?

UBI should allow us the same type source.
And then when guys fix things for free?
UBI can grab it!!!
No cost to them!!

I can say for a fact.
If UBI would allow this source?
I'd not complain one bit if they use my work
for profit!

UBI does it all to make money.
And I agree and understand that.
But to ignore a possible source of FREE

That I don't understand.

09-08-2008, 06:37 AM
I agree with Privateer,

All Ubi would need is a signature from the author/s to release their work for sale.