Sunday, June 22, 2008

Down Below...

Attention: This post is about a submarine game. If you find that boring, please skip to the paragraph that says "In other news". Thank you and have a nice day.

I'm a big fan of WW2 games. I've played tons. Everything from flight simulators to first person shooters to grand strategy. So this week was quite cool because I managed to get my hands on Silent Hunter III and Silent Hunter 4.

I like sub sims. One might think a game simulating sitting in a metal tube and sailing trackless oceans for weeks on end to be quite boring. Actually, sub sims are quite gripping, tension ridden and exciting. Plus a well done sub sim also introduces the player to the basics of navigation and the maths involved in launching torpedoes. It's quite complex actually.

But the bottom line (hehe, bottom, hehe) is it's fun. Especially for history buffs like myself.

A long time ago in the days of my old 486 PC in college, I played a classic called Aces of The Deep. It was awesome. I'm happy to report that Silent Hunter 4 has the same amount of awesomeness plus some more. Including new age graphics.

It also has some new elements like crew management. Each member of your boat has stats and they can gain skills and experience as they go on patrol. As captain, I can assign crews to various positions on the boat and I'm also responsible for things like promotions and decorations for them as I see fit.

I think that's a really cool feature of the game. Also pretty nice is the ability for me to request upgrades for my boat when new technology becomes available. I can also choose what ordance to carry as in what kind of torpedoes I want to have. Early in WW2 I get only one type of torpedo. Later on, I can choose from several types including electric driven ones and the exotic homing torpedo for those must-hit moments.

Talking about torpedoes, the centrepiece of all sub sims is the torpedo engagement. Let me say one thing, torpedo combat isn't for jittery people. It's slow, methodical and requires lots of patience (and in Silent Hunter 4 on expert level, an unbelievable amount of maths!). Anyway, launching torps is fun! Especially when you get it just right and even more when you bag a really big, fat target.

Before I left for work just now, I saved my game in the middle of a convoy attack. The biggest ship in that convoy was a ginormous oil tanker... I've already sneaked past the destroyer screen and when I saved my game just now, I was 800 yards away from the target with torpedoes ready to launch...

Exciting stuff!

There's a whole story to that convoy thing but I'll write about that next time.

In other news, I have quite a few things to write about actually. One thing, I wanted to write about my favourite kolo mee shop. They serve such excellent kolo mee they deserve to be written about on the internet.

Another thing is a potential new hobby. Many months ago, some of my friends in my neighbourhood in Matang talked about buying mountain bikes so that we could go cycling. Well, three of those friends bought bikes over the last two weeks and another one is getting a bike at the end of the month. I already have a bike so I'll be joining them.

I'm not sure what sort of stuff we'll end up doing with our bikes but I'll definitely write about it.

Hopefully, we'll do cool stuff and get some much needed exercise to boot.

Speaking of excercise, I'm feeling kinda hungry suddenly...

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