Tag: "silent hunter"

Silent Hunter 5 out very soon and I'm not buying it on release

I've been looking forward to Silent Hunter 5 for a while now as regular readers will know I am a bit of a submarine fan. Playing number 2 and 3 to death, for those wondering Silent Hunter 4 was set in the Pacific and in my opinion nothing could be more boring :-) Silent Number 5 when it was first announced was looking fantastic.

However a few months ago it was announced there would only be one submarine, a Type VII. Now I don't know about you, but I started my career as a U-Boat captain in a Type II before the start of the war, then to get a Type VIIB, and then a couple of years later to start longer range patrols in IX. Desperately trying to hang on until 1945 and with a bit of luck somehow manage to get the epic Type XXI, I could never survive long enough personally but it gave you a goal to try and achieve.

It was also announced the game would end in 1943. Say what?

Both of these facts diminished my interest. But not as much compared to what I heard last week. Ubisoft's new copy protection system that they've got coming down on their games this year has firmly squashed any intentions of getting this game close to release. May be I'll pick up a version when it's cheap somewhere. But I'm not getting it on release and not paying full whack for it, not when there's the possibility of the game not working half the time.

With this new copy protection scheme you're completely reliant on your internet connection to play, and Ubisoft's ability to maintain its servers. You need to stay connected to Ubisoft's servers or else you can't play. If you connection drops while playing you're kicked out to the main menu.

On the plus side there's no disc check. Or an activation limit. There's other cool things that I've been keen to get for a while, server-side saved games (ideally with a local cache but not in this case) and config. Like some of the Steam cloud stuff we've been seeing lately, so that's all cool. But then of course there's the bad things...

My opinion has always been that copy protection systems are pointless and that they only inconvenience your paying customers. After all the people who pirate it don't have to worry about the copy protection systems, they've already been ripped out.

If a game does have to require some form of copy protection, in my opinion these days it's reasonable to have an install-time activation over the internet. However, and importantly, your activation count should reset over time. Like it does with Windows, you can activate it once, try again the next day on a different computer and not be able to. But try again in a few months time and it'll activate again. This is more reasonable and takes into account people getting new computers.

There is of course always the danger that the company will go under, which is why they should always have a patch developed to remove the activation either at the end of the supported life, or if the company is about to go under. Ubisoft have however said that they will release a patch if and when the online service is shut down so that "core" gameplay remains unaffected.

Discs checks nowadays are also getting less viable as people start having computers without optical drives. And let's face it, it's annoying.

A Steam-like system is borderline usable. However the one big issue with Steam is you're required to be online to put Steam into an offline mode. Meaning if your internet connection dies and you want to play a game. You're screwed. A big issue for me as I'm much more likely to waste time playing games if the internet goes down.

Something like Fallout 3 is a good example of copy protection done right. It checks the disc on install. And then if you want all the cool stuff like being able to sign-in to Xbox/Games for Windows Live you need to use the Live access key and be connected the internet. But the game doesn't suddenly break if you lose your connection.

The minimum I would like to see Ubisoft change would be scrapping the whole booting you to the menu when the connection is lost. If the connection goes down, fine, keep playing, cache the save games locally until the connection is restored. That way most people at least won't notice if their connections dies. That's my biggest issue with this. Nothing would be worse than preparing to strike at a convoy you've been following for 3 days and losing all your progress because the connection dropped briefly.

Ideally though. Stop bothering with DRM, too much money is wasted developing it, it wastes more money in support costs and just hassles paying customers, and let's be honest. It doesn't stop people from pirating.

Silent Hunter 5, aside from the one submarine type and the game ending in 1943 and the obvious questionable DRM issues, looks like a fantastic game, and it is sad that so many people will not be buying it, at least on release due to the restrictions that Ubisoft have placed upon it, but we have to send a message saying that we aren't going to accept this level of copy protection.

Silent Hunter 5 announced

Coming to a computer next year, the fifth installment in the Silent Hunter series, this time we're back in the Atlantic (we should have never left) with the Kriegsmarine.

Silent Hunter 5

New features:

Walk through highly detailed submarines in the new first-person view and access every part of your U-boat.

Interact with your crew, watch them perform their daily jobs and experience the tension and fear inside the U-boat through the new advanced order system.

Choose your own strategy and select your targets with a new objective-driven, dynamic campaign.

Silent Hunter 5

Open new locations, upgrades and resupply possibilities, while the Allied ships adjust dynamically to your approach. Your actions will directly impact the evolution of the campaign.

Prowl the waters with a brand-new user interface. Now, every beginner can successfully command a sub while remaining free of confusion. In expert mode, experienced players will be provided all the necessary information and controls to command the sub completely on their own.

Experience the most realistic and immersive Silent Hunter ever created. Improved environment graphics create a powerful level of immersion as you operate authentic, highly detailed U-boats and fight against surface ships.

Silent Hunter 5

Let's hope they don't make it too arcadey so any monkey can play. I would embed a trailer, but until they have a trailer where the crew are speaking German, not English with a bad American accent there's no point.

I very nearly had it this time

Time for a Silent Hunter 3 mission report. November 1942 - about 200 kms south-east of Newfoundland. I ran into a convoy heading east-north-east with 4-5 escorts doing about 5 knots. Up until this point I've not had much trouble evading destroyers. That changed on the morning of the 22nd - it took me 7 hours to slip away, and not without a seriously bashed up boat.

At 21:14 on the 21st I engaged the convoy, slipping along side the central row and fired a torpedo into two T2 tankers, blowing each one sky high, while firing another two into a T3, which went down within minutes.

My tubes would take another 30 or so minutes to reload - there was no way I could keep up with the convoy without having some serious problems with the escorts, so I slip out to the south-west to about 20 kilometres distant, surface and run a parallel course for a 2 hours at flank speed and move back in ahead of the convoy, after 20 minutes the escort goes within 200 metres of me. I'm sat perfectly silent - he detects me (it was the damn new radioman sneezing I'm sure of it). I shove the engines to one-third and move into engage the southern row, led by two victory cargos - very nice targets. I put two torpedoes into each, the first sinks after about 20 minutes, the second one requires my last torpedo to sink her. All this time the escort is giving me hell waiting for my torpedo to reload. I manage to get up to periscope depth after he made several passes overhead and fire it off, impacts with the victory cargo, which sinks sometime later.

I dive to 70 metres (the sea floor is only about 80 metres) and proceed at silent speed out the rear of the convoy, I can't shake him, turning back at flank speed into the heart of the convoy I try to lose him in amongst the other ships, it seems to work, so I sit on the bottom and wait for the convoy to pass me by. He picks me up again... This went on for hours. With my boat suffering major damage, luckily no causalities. By sunrise the next morning I made my escape - and head back to Breast.

Things are really heating up in the Atlantic. I just hope I can survive another couple of years and get the Type XXI.

You know you've been playing too much Silent Hunter 3 when you

1) Everytime you walk by a pond you run over like a madman, toss in the largest stone you can find and yell "Wasserbomben!!"

2) Everytime you're sitting at a traffic stop, you're calculating the AOB and range of passing cars.

3) Your clock goes off in the morning and instead of lying there thinking "I don't want to get up yet" you leap out of bed screaming "ALAAAAAARRRRMMMM!!!".

4) You've taken to sleeping with your clothes on, 'just in case'.

5) Everytime you return rather late from a boys night out you look for the 'Rig for Silent Running' button.

6) Everytime you're tired you think there’s a red exclamation mark over your head.

7) Whenever you see a ship you estimate tonnage, draft and wonder where the fuel bunker/engine rooms are.

8) You wonder where the heck the band and nurses are every time you pull back into your driveway.

9) You wonder if you can get away with speeding if your car had a stern tube.

10) You start giving directions to people in terms of bearings.

11) You refer to all the locations in the city by their map grid coordinates.

12) Everytime you see a hot chick you yell "Chick beschmutztes Lager...!"

13) You keep referring to yourself in the third person as Herr Kaleun.

14) You try making your kids medals hoping that it might improve their personalities.

15) You ignore all rust on your car.

16) You conduct surfacing and submerging exercises with your head in the bathtub.

17) Everytime you put on headphones you strain your ears and try grab onto anything that resembles a wheel.

18) You keep clicking on people to try and talk to them.

19) You seriously consider painting your flotilla emblem on the side of your car.

20) You absentmindedly pulled open a manhole and went down the ladder because you had to go below decks.

21) Everytime you go jogging you give yourself telegraph speeds.

Silent Hunter 3

What a totally awesome game. Kudos to Ubisoft for seeing it through and giving the team the resources they needed to get the job done.

Silent Hunter 3

The best naval simulator ever, anyone who wants something a bit different to the flood of FPS and similar games should at least check this one out. It's been years since I've sat down and played a game as much.