Initial Comments from
a Former Naval Officer
by Guest Writer Donald
I recently bought Destroyer
Command (DC) and I must admit I find it addicting. Having
once served as a Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) in the US Navy,
it is very interesting to compare how one operated a real
warship as opposed to operating a virtual destroyer.
All of my experience was in the US
Navy, so these comments are written solely from that navys
viewpoint towards conducting business. In addition, the majority
of my experience was in the engineering departments, so pardon
the slant towards the snipes (i.e., those who
operate the ships propulsion machinery).
This is by no means a complete review.
Ive only had the game for two weeks. From the number
of suggestions I have for improvement, one may think I am
really flame spraying the game. Not so! I really like DC and
I highly recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest
in naval surface ship operations. Its just that, like
each edition of Flight Simulator, it can always be made better.
My system is quite antiquated, but
DC seems to perform very well on it. My system (please dont
- P II
MB ATI Radeon AGP Video Card
Therefore, without further ado, lets
take the watch.
I relieve you, sir.
OK, here are my comments. In some
cases I indicate in italics the questions a naval officer
is likely to ask.
This game is something like a flight
simulator for a multi-crew aircraft. The player can assume
the role of Commanding Officer (CO) or a subordinate crew
member. This is a very good architecture as it allows the
player to experience surface ship operations from the standpoint
of various crew members. Some of the subordinate roles are
a little unfocussed as to just which level of responsibility
the sim is taking the players. However, in a confused night
action in the Solomons, the players will soon learn why we
do not have one man ships. To fight, survive and win, the
player must take on the COs role and let the (virtual)
crew do their jobs. In order to take full advantage of the
subordinate stations available, the game needs to allow team
play on the same ship I dont think the
game can do this.
Looking through the credits I see
Larry Bonds name listed, which tells me there is a heavy
influence from his Command at Sea (CaS) miniatures game system.
This is great! I have long considered CaS to be the best WW
II era naval miniatures game system available. The problem
with any miniatures game system is the tedious book keeping
required and the difficulty of creating the fog of war.
DC solves many of the problems inherent in a manual miniatures
Overall very well done, but there
are a few commands left out (such as a description of X Target Lock). One needs to read the ReadMe file. There are
also a few things that grate on me, such as calling the ship
The training missions are quite useful
to get the hang of the game. There are several historical
missions, which can be extremely challenging. Unfortunately
the Custom mission generator is really a Random
mission generator. The player can only select general guidelines
for the mission, the class of destroyer hes on (not
the individual ship) and which ocean hes in. The mission
builder then sets the player on a randomly selected destroyer
in a random portion of the selected ocean. This game really
needs a much more powerful mission builder!
Hacking and Potential
OK, I admit it, I opened every file
I could with a text editor as well as reading up from other
sources how to make any ship player controllable. With a text
editor you can make just about any ship in the data base player
controllable, and that means literally hundreds of ships.
In addition, you can script your own scenarios (at your own
risk). This game has enormous potential under the hood.
If a full up mission builder will not be forthcoming, then
I respectfully request Ultimation to provide us with guidelines
as to how to script our own scenarios.
The worst complaint I have with DC
is that I can not easily and precisely order the ships
course and speed the way I actually can aboard a real vessel.
Aboard a real US Navy vessel, the
officer who can legally give orders to the helmsman (steering
wheel) and lee helmsman (Engine Order Telegraph) is called
the conning officer. To control his ships motion, the
conning officer gives rudder commands, course commands and
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