bless Jamie Carlson and Sonalysts. Now is the winter of discontent
for naval simulations modeling current-day conflict, and these
about the only ray of sunshine I know of. Since the repeated
demise of Harpoon 4, the surface navy in particular
has been under-represented, and the bulk of other efforts
center on World War II. Destroyer Command is an example.
Modeling World War II destroyers, it is the last surface-sim
of note to be recently released, and along with the Silent
Hunter submarine series comprise the best of recent naval
releases. A new Silent Hunter is currently in production.
However, nearly all the simulations scheduled for release
in the upcoming months center on combat prior to 1950. What
about the present day? Sea power is more important in the
modern world than ever before!
Sonalysts Combat Simulations. Sonalysts fill a huge gap in
naval simulation. Since the Harpoon 4 effort imploded,
leaving only Advanced Gaming Systems's excellent revival of Harpoon 3 and the earlier games in that series for
modern naval simmers, Sonalysts stands alone in attacking
the modern era and bringing gamers everywhere the chance to
play Admiral in today's world. Most of their work has been
concentrated in submarine sims. This team has professional
connections to the United States Navy, particularly in the
area of acoustics and sonars, and their connections show in
their work. Their previous efforts, 688(I) and Sub
Command, are among the most realistic systems simulations
ever to make it to the PC. Sonalysts even filled the gap for
modern-day naval surface tactical gamers with Fleet Command,
one of the most eminently editable and easy to master, fun
to play naval games on the planet. Sonalysts seems to purposely
cater to a niche market: the high-fidelity naval systems geek.
Their diversity as a company enables them to do this, and
such versatility is rare among entertainment software developers
today. The equivalent would be Lockheed-Martin developing
a sim of the F/A-22 for gamers (wouldn't that be something?)
or Dassault releasing a Mirage III simulation.
time you read these words, Sonalysts latest and greatest
will either be on the market or getting darn close to release.
It is the third in the 688(I) line of platform-command,
high-fidelity systems management sims line, titled S.C.S.
Dangerous Waters. Most in the press call it "DW" for short. But theres nothing short about this one,
readers. Lets pop the hood and take a look, then youll
get to see one of the new platforms in action.
a late press beta and should have the bugs Im seeing
squashed. As to the bugs, I hesitate to dwell on technical
problems that the team is aware of. I did experience problems
with FSAA and anisotropic filtering, using the NVIDIA v61.77
drivers, and some sound card issues with my Aureal AC97 sound
emulator. Again, the team is working on these issues and should
have them dealt with prior to release. Even in late beta form
the game installs from one CD and does so quickly and without
menus are black-on-green and intended to evoke the look and
feel of military data terminals. There are multiple scalable
graphics options to fit most PCs out there, regardless of
hardware. I dont have the minimum specs in my documentation,
but most simmers should have the basic hardware to get decent
out, the game has moving, 3d water and cloud effects, and
its really pretty. The only complaint I have is in the
areas of the 3d modeling. This appears to be a little hit-and-miss,
and though some of the models are the best Ive seen
outside Lock Ons ships, some are pretty primitive.
Compare the British Type 42 destroyer, an AI platform, with
the Iranian Saam (Alvand) class Vosper-Thornycroft
Mk V frigate. The 42 is excellently detailed, reminiscent
of the model used in Fleet Command. The Alvand isnt. It too appears to be similar to the FC model, and lacking in detail.
ships will be seen by a lot of people as OPFOR, and as such
should have a little more detail. The controllable ships and
submarines, which well talk about next, are lovingly
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