Sim:WTF

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"Every successful video game is eventually reduced to an acronym in the popular lexicon."
—Tony Lovell
Demo, August 2016

With the Fleet will be a massively-multiplayer naval simulation with a first-person perspective set in the period 1890-1925. It is under active development and is currently in a prototype form that is intermittently demonstrable.

I would like to collaborate with talented 3D artists who are familiar with Unity3D.

What is the Status?

I have modeled an Acheron-class destroyer and demonstrated VOIP, speech recognition, and networked play on an architecture that should permit large scale battles. It is coded in C# on Unity3D, which permits solid end-user builds on Windows and MacOS. The 4-in gun and 21-in torpedoes are functional.

My immediate goal is to make the destroyer more richly functional, and to demonstrate the basic gameplay premise more fully so that I can use the app to seek funding to complete a first edition software title. I have done a lot, but have much more ground to cover.

The Minutiae: Design Principles

These are my general beliefs. Many are flexible, but they guide my decision-making.

  • Ideally, a ship could operate entirely under AI crew control. It is more realistic to expect that a few player officers could command a ship with a largely AI crew.
  • Ideally, formations of ships should be able to steam in proper formation. Victory should belong to those players who do not allow their force to devolve into a naval demolition derby.
  • While a game cannot eliminate out-of-band communication, communication between ships will take the form of signal hoists, wireless telegraphy, flashing lamp, semaphore, etc
  • Every essential "sinew" shipboard role will have AI sailors on hand to undertake them, as these skeleton crews enable continuous gameplay. Players will be able to take over such duties.
  • Ships which find they need more players, as when they have sighted the enemy, will be able to sound "Action Stations", which will result in mobile text messages and app notifications to alert suitable players to log in, rolling out of their hammocks to enrich the player density
  • The interface will have little in the way of HUD (neon screen overlays), with some exceptions. Name tags may help identify other sailors. Players should know which ship they are on, what its heading is, and what time of day it is. Other ships that are proximate and well-known to the player might also be tagged. Players may have some indication of their general locale, e.g.: "the North Sea", "Portsmouth"
  • Aboard ship, there will be no visible cursor or pipper. A keypress will reveal it.
  • There should not be GUI busyboxes for things that can be implemented via literal simulation.
  • You will be heard by those who would hear you if you spoke in the simulated context. There will be no magic chat channels.
  • You see from your own eyes. Gameplay should not prominently feature ship-orbiting cameras.
  • You will know only what a person in your place should know. Reasonable constructs will exist to support players who have just logged in: how many players are on board their ship? Is their ship presently in a formation, or in contact with enemy/unknown vessels? Is it at action stations?
  • Your ship should only have the fuel and ammunition it should have. There should be no spam attacks of torpedos.
  • Players will not be equal. They will choose from distinct roles available to them.
  • Players will be incentivized to save their ship rather than to sink enemy ships.
  • Players with seniority in a ship or formation should have controls to prevent other players from squandering their forces. They should be able to delegate their authority to other trusted players.
  • Players will come to generally know their shipmates well. Ship commanders will regard their peers as a "band of brothers".
  • Submarines are not a design priority
  • Aircraft are not a design priority

See Also