25 éve Veletek – PC Dome / PlayDome


S.C.S. Dangerous Waters interview

Írta: Lacko

For the greatest pleasure of hardcore naval simulator fans, S.C.S. Dangerous Waters has just been released. We’ve asked Jamie Carlson, associate producer for the game development group of Sonalysts Inc. about their latest game.

PC Dome: How did you get so much involved in naval simulation?
Jamie Carlson: Sonalysts Inc. began developing computer simulation games for the commercial market in the mid-nineties as part of its diversification plan following the end of the cold war. We have released three naval simulation games to date, and S.C.S. – Dangerous Waters (SCS-DW) will be our fourth release. All told, 688(I) Hunter/Killer, Jane’s Fleet Command, and Sub Command have sold over 1 million copies.
All four games were developed from concept through completion at Sonalysts headquarters in Waterford, Connecticut. Working closely with a core of experienced retired and former U.S. naval officers and enlisted personnel, a team of game designers and skilled C++ programmers modeled ship and submarine systems and operations with a high degree of fidelity. Sonalysts’ lineup of talented artists created realistic game interfaces and 3D models while in-house musicians and sound artists generated background music, sound effects and in-game voices. The resulting products were critically acclaimed and commercially successful both in the United States and abroad, and have generated uses far beyond the entertainment purpose for which they were created.
We hope to continue this commercial success with Battlefront’s expertise and knowledge. And we hope that their past successes will translate into a successful release of S.C.S. – Dangerous Waters.

PCD: Is it true that SCS-DW is a sort of mixture of Fleet Command and Sub Command?
J.C.: SCS-DW is more akin to Sub Command than it is to Fleet Command. It’s a station-based simulation in which the player takes direct control of one platform from mission start to mission end. The only exception to this rule is that the Oliver Hazard Perry frigate (FFG-7) has control over its one (or two) accompanying MH-60 helicopters and can issue orders for them to follow. With the addition of Link capability the player can share sensor contacts will allies and try to coordinate an attack (specifically in multi-player). In single player, however, you’re computer controlled allies will consider the new contact information you have submitted to them and act accordingly.

PCD: While operating the Task Force in the missions, can we also jump into one of the units (ship, submarine or airplane) and take part in the mission from this perspective?
J.C.: No, this game’s focus is on the simulation of the platforms themselves and is not a “fleet level” strategic simulation like Fleet Command was. The features I mentioned above tend to “blur the line” to some degree, but at its core the focus of SCS-DW is on employing the platforms successfully to achieve the mission objectives.

PCD: One of Sub Command’s best challenges was that all the instruments are true to life, and so it’s a hard job to determine the enemy’s or friends’ position. Will DW be similar to it?
J.C.: Yes, the best way to consider this game is the “enemy’s answer” to Sub Command. We are allowing the player control over the major air and surface platforms and complete the anti-submarine combat scenario. The player is finally able to control the platforms that can hunt down and destroy those pesky submarines.

PCD: How did you get information (operation, graphics, sound) for these instruments?
J.C.: We have many contacts in the U.S. Navy and ex-Naval officers here at Sonalysts that were able to provide us not only with materials but also their experience on the platforms we were simulating - all of this in an “unclassified” setting, of course. :-)

PCD: Fleet Command’s AI units were programmable by the players (e.g.: ‘launch two missiles to each detected enemy units’), do we have similar possibility in SCS-DW?
J.C.: Yes, the player community will have the ability to modify many areas of the game to great success, just as they did for Sub Command and Fleet Command before it. There are many talented individuals in the community that will produce some truly impressive works; I have no doubt of that.

PCD: What tools will get those who’d like to create their own mission? Will we get the possibility to build not only missions but whole campaigns?
J.C.: Yes, indeed. The Mission Editor that ships with the game was the exact tool that was used by the game’s mission designers to produce the content that ships with the game. This editor includes the functionality to create single missions, multi-player missions, and full-fledged campaigns

PCD: How did you find Battlefront as your publisher? What was other publishers’ reaction for the game?
J.C.: I sought them out in the Battlefront forums, actually. I was hoping they could give me some information on the “direct sales” methodology and before you know it we were hammering out an agreement to publish the game.
Other publishers were excited about the game but were not as committed to the simulation space and to our product as Battlefront was. Battlefront sees that there is a dedicated group of hardcore Naval sim fans, and with the right products there is always a possibility to succeed in this market.

PCD: After finishing a game, developers are always thinking about further ideas. Could you tell us something about your future plans?
J.C.: Well, we plan to continue to support the Dangerous Waters “universe” with additional platforms and game play possibilities. The long-term goal has always been to provide a full-scale “virtual naval battlefield” for players to take part in. However, our philosophy is always to create the most high-fidelity representations of the platforms we choose to simulate, so with time we get where we to go.
As for other titles we’re working on… Those are always a secret! :-)

PCD: Thank you for the interview.

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