Game Development Updates

What's new? Here's what's new.

31 March 2017

Buoyancy and dive controls

This week I have been working on the buoyancy and dive controls, while Einar has been adding more detail to the interior. We made some new faces for the dive control meters, but the pappenberg and tilt meters are still temporary.
/Oscar

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13 March 2017

Who wants to reshoe my horse?

Hello everyone. I received this message a few days ago, and wanted to reply to it here:

Hello! I'm more interested in an immersive environment than multiplayer. Is this still a sim for me? And would you do a public post on the subject? Thank you!

We think that immersion is a quality that a game like this must have to be enjoyable. Playing the game must feel like operating a u boat. You should feel like you are under water in a metal craft, and that getting detected by the enemy has serious consequences.

While we do try our best to make the game as immersive as possible, we still value playability over realism. Realism and playability are not always at odds with each other. In some cases making the game more realistic actually increases the games playability, while also making it more fun and immersive to play. In other cases though, adding realism actively detracts from the gameplay experience by injecting needless busywork, unwinnable states, long periods of inactivity, random losses, and unbalanced enemies into the game.
The reality is that as cool as u boats are, there is a lot of really boring moments on them in real life. Most of a real u boat crews time is spent calibrating instruments, doing maintenance and waiting for orders. Many of the systems we have chosen not to model are redundancy systems that exist as a backup if something breaks. We have also removed a lot of tasks that are necessary to do in real life, but have no tactical value in a game.

Then there is the question of difficulty. A professional baseball pitcher can throw a ball as fast as 45 meters per second. This gives the batter less than a 20 millisecond window of opportunity to hit the ball. In a game rendering at 60 frames per second, that is one frame of animation. This is obviously unreasonable, which is why all baseball video games have slower moving balls.
I dont want to dumb down our game so that anyone with two hands and half a brain can play it, but I also dont want to make something that is completely unplayable to everyone except a small clique of super dedicated players. I want to find a middle ground, where the game is difficult but accessible. I want to make a game that encourages mastery, but does not require it in order to get started.

So, to answer your question: We will try our best to make the game an immersive, cool experience, but we will prioritize systems that facilitate gameplay over those that hinder it.
If I was playing a knight on a quest to save a princess, I would be pleasantly surprised if the developers had taken the time to learn about medieval armour and fighting styles, and tried to incorporate that into their game. I would not, however, appreciate having to re shoe my horse.

/Oscar

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14 February 2017

Player Avatars

Update: Last week we decided to try making the player avatar visible in first person view. It still needs some tuning, but I think we will keep it. Einar has started working on the interior. He will spend the following weeks making textures and models. I will continue implementing the remainder of the instrumentation.
/Oscar

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02 December 2016

Crew

Update: Here are some new screenshots of the crew, including the fourth crewman!

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29 October 2016

More TDC

This week I have been reworking the torpedo data computer. The TDC in marulken was based on that of an american submarine. I have spent this week making sure the TDC for the game works like the German model found in the type VII.

The most striking difference is that the German TDC does not have position tracking, which means that the solution you enter is not automatically updated over time. This is partially mitigated by the fact that the heading setting can be mapped to the periscope or UZO rotation, and that angle on bow value is slaved to the heading setting. This means that as long as you track the target with the periscope, you only have to update the distance parameter manually.

Einar has spent the week making the dial faces for the TDC, and has started making the new character models for the game.


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22 October 2016

TDC, UZO binoculars, and the echo ranger

This week I completed my work on the TDC. It is not modelled yet, but we can now launch torpedoes from all five torpedo tubes, including the rear tube. The TDC can also calculate spread shots and solve the gyro angles for each torpedo depending on the target size and distance.

Einar has modelled and textured the UZO binoculars and the echo ranger. The Pappenberg gauge and inclination meters have also been modelled, but they still lack textures.
Next week I will write the scripts for the echo ranger and various other small things that aren't quite finished yet. Then I will start working on level streaming for the game. Einar will focus on texture work for various instruments that are not yet finished, such as the battery meter, various meters for the U-boat's pressure systems, etc.

/Oscar

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14 October 2016

Work continues....

This week I intended to work on the TDC, but some other systems needed to be fixed in order to test it, so I have been working on various things like the periscopes and object position calculations in order to make something that is testable.

Einar has been working on the UV map and textures for the deck gun. The texture work is nearly done, and we will post some nice screenshots of it soon. Next week I will be working on the TDC again, while Einar continues to work with the deck gun and various other textures.

/Oscar

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30 September 2016

Buoyancy and drag calculations

This week I have been working on refining the buoyancy and drag calculations for the game. This is necessary, since the U-boat now has dive planes, trim tanks and buoyancy tanks that the player can control directly. Einar has spent the week working on the deck gun. Next week I will start working on the TDC.

/Oscar

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23 September 2016

Periscope, controls, and AA gun

This week I have been working on various systems around the u-boat, making it slightly more interactive. I have made a mockup version of the torpedo data computer and the observation periscope engine (the little engine that drives the periscope up and down). I also added the instrumentation for the control room. The instruments do not do anything yet, but at least you can turn some of the knobs ;) .

Einar finished modelling the hydrophone and the morse key. The next thing to model is the deck gun.
/Oscar

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17 September 2016

September 2016 Update

Ahoy! Here is a quick development update! The new sub exterior is completely modeled, but lacks textures. We are currently working on the inside and the instrumentation. Einar has been busy making the instrumentation for the radio/sonar room, while I have been building the new systems for the propulsion and buoyancy. The next thing to be modeled is the hydrophone station.

Update Video

/Oscar


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28 August 2016

Ballast tank system and a sample gameplay procedure

So, we are deciding to model three discrete sets of ballast tanks:
MBT #2
MBT #4
Negative tanks

Sure, we could include all the tanks, including trim and torpedo compensating tanks but we only have 4 players (not a real human crew of 48), so it makes sense to design the game so that 3 or 4 guys can manage it without this activity becoming a burden that takes away from the gameplay. You know, finding a smart balance so that the players have some procedural activity without turning this into real work.

Here's the current crash dive game procedure:

1. Order: "Alarm!" Alarm bell activated by Chief.
2. Chief switches from diesel to electric motors, then orders ahead flank.
3. Captain closes voice tube on the bridge, descends into conning tower.
4. Exec takes a depth sounding, reports depth under keel.
5. Exec marks on chart where boats location is at the start of the dive.
6. Captain closes conning tower hatch, says Conning tower hatch is closed"
7. Chief silences alarm bell.
8. Chief sets dive planes to forward hard down.
9. Captain orders Flood
10. Chief opens the MBT #4 vent valves allowing seawater in the main ballast tanks.
11. Exec opens the MBT #2 vent valves allowing seawater in the main ballast tanks.
12. Chief opens the Negative vent valve allowing seawater in the negative tank.
13. Captain sets depth with order Go to depth, xx meters. (At the front usually to 80 meters)
14. Once the down angle indicator indicates the boat has a down angle, hold: 8 to 15
15. Chief closes vent valve for negative tank and blows tank to control dive before desired depth is reached. After execution of the order "Flood" and the boat has a noticeable descending tendency, the negative buoyancy tanks are expressed (blown by compressed air), by the Chief, who will call out, Express. It is critical that the Chief perform the crash dive operation competently, otherwise the boat could dive out of control, below safe depth, or with a dangerous down angle.
16. The ordered depth is achieved by the Chiefs operation of the dive planes.
17. After the report of Chief: "Boat is at xx meters", the order always follows, Captain: "Close vents".
18. Chief and Exec closes MBT vents valve.
19. Exec checks bilge level and reports any leaks or problems, No leaks detected, Herr Kaleun.
20. Chief checks compressed air level and reports, Compressed air at xx millibar, Herr Kaleun.
21. Captain orders new speed, course as necessary.
22. Chief reports battery status, Both batteries at xxxx amps, Herr Kaleun.
23. Sonar reports any contacts.

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10 August 2016

Introducing: Wolfpack

Subsim presents Wolfpack. Skvader Studios have upgraded the HMS Marulken project to a 4-player co-op U-boat simulation. Work is fast underway with a high-quality Type VII U-boat model, reconfigured helm station, and upgraded environment. Our team spent many hours examining the U-995 in Kiel, Germany last week and we plan to create a U-boat game that gives the four players procedural hands-on control of their stations. The teamwork and skill-based gameplay will set Wolfpack apart from all the sub games that have come before it. Sailor, get ready for a whole new way to subsim.



Wolfpack Launch Video

We have included a small VR proof of concept demo for the HTC Vive. It is available for download in the Downloads section of this site.

VR Demo Video

Don't forget to hit that Subscribe button! It is how you can show your support at this stage.

Good hunting!
Onkel Neal, Subsim
Stockholm, Sweden

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27 June 2016

Single player interface

We plan to make a single player interface and was wondering what you thought about how to design it. If you were going to add single player user interface, would you add icons to the screen that set course, speed, depth?

Or icons that move you to the proper compartment to manually adjust the dials and levers?

How would you handle the balance, would you make single player UI an option only when there is just one player, or would it be available in cases where there are two players, three players?

Let us know what you think here.

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22 June 2016

Subsim announcement

From the time I started Subsim, back in 1997, I have always dreamed of being part of the production of a multiplayer sub game. When Skvader Studios notified me back in Aug 2015 that they were working on a co-op sub game, I had a look and asked them to keep me posted on its progress. When they sent me the demo, and I had a chance to try it, I was really impressed. No, it's not Silent Hunter 5 (but it isn't finished either), but it had a real charm to it. There were concepts in the game design that appealed to me very much.

I immediately pledged the maximum amount. A few days later I raised the pledge another $100. The Kickstarter campaign rose slowly, too slowly to suit me. I reached out to the devs and offered a proposal; I would fund the development of the game for up to a year, including living expenses, hardware, software, and licenses, if they would agree to switching the base unit to a Type VII U-boat. And I am pleased to report that we came to an agreement.

The new game (name to be announced at a later date) will retain much of its original scope and flavor. We will try to retain the Swedish sub adventure, I am sure we can fit that in as a Special Mission. There will also be other Special Missions with designated objectives. There are some features to be added, others to be polished, but we will be careful not to overreach and jeopardize the project. . We want the game to do what it is made to do and do it very well, even on early release. And that is, to provide co-op and multi-sub dynamic convoy battles in the North Atlantic, Baltic, and North Sea.

We have a lot of work ahead of us. I will be moving to Sweden soon, I hope I can find some Dr Pepper there. I hope we can make this a community effort, your support and interest will be crucial. You've never let me down in the past, I have no doubt we will succeed and this could be the first step to a true U-boat/Escort/Convoy simulation. Wish us luck!

Good hunting!
Onkel Neal
SUBSIM

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HMS Marulken Kickstarter status

Hello everyone!

We have some very important news. The game has been successfully funded, but not through Kickstarter. We have established a partnership with Subsim, one of the biggest submarine simulator communities.

After discussing with the Subsim community we have decided on some changes to the game that deviate somewhat from what we have promised in the kickstarter campaign. Because of this, we have decided to cancel the Kickstarter campaign. We dont want to make any promises we dont keep, so we feel that cancelling the campaign is the right thing to do.

The changes will not affect the game mechanics, but does affect the story and setting. We have decided to not make a alternative history game about Sweden, and instead make on a more realistic, German U-boat game. This decision will be a disappointment for some, and please others. This is why we have decided to cancel the Kickstarter and start off on a clean slate.

The new version of the game will have a new name, which will be revealed soon. It will feature co-op gameplay with dynamically generated missions. The players will man aType VII German U-boat.

For those of you that want early access, the game will be released as an early access game on Steam, when the new Type VII U-boat interface is implemented.

Thank you so much for supporting us, and we hope that you will follow the development of the new project! Updates and details will be available on the Facebook page and also here.

Best regards
Einar and Oscar

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03 June 2016

Marulken Demo router workaround

Hello everyone, here comes some updates!

As you may have noticed, it is currently very complicated to connect to a host behind a router. This is because of network address translation, meaning that the router gives the computer behind the router an internal IP address, and then translates any outgoing call from that address to its own. To bypass the problem, both parties need to connect to a third party server that performs a NAT punchthrough operation.

Since we are greenlit now, we should be able to use Steams services to connect players. This, however, means rewriting most of the net code, so this might take a while. In the meanwhile well try to get the game on steam as is, meaning you still have to play through a virtual private network if you are hosting behind a router. Having the game on Steam is still beneficial, since it enables automatic updating, bug reporting and other nice features, but the goal is to use Steams matchmaking and friend lists to set up online multiplayer matches.

While Oscar is working on integrating the game with Steam, I have started creating player avatars. This first set of avatars will be placeholders for more detailed models that will be added at a later stage in development. The avatars will be implemented as soon as possible.

/ Einar

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