Ship Simulator Extremes Developer Diary #2

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VSTEP developer
Jan 26, 2010
Ship Simulator Extremes Developer Diaries
In the final stretch towards the release of Ship Simulator Extremes in august 2010, we will be giving Ship Sim fans a unique behind-the-scenes look of the VSTEP development studio and learn what the Ship Simulator Extremes team is up to in a series of developer diaries.

For more information about the game visit:
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Developer Diary #2: Have I got a vessel for you…

Have I got a vessel for you...

This above sentence has got to be one of the most frequently heard statements in our Ship Sim mailbox. Our fan community is a great source of information and knowledge, so it’s only normal that they have this great wishlist of wonderful vessels out there that they absolutely, positively want us to implement into the game. A few creative members even create beautiful 3D models of vessels they want in the game. Surely, with so much of the work already done, it should be peanuts for VSTEP to get their vessel in the game, right ?

Not quite. Unfortunately.

Oh sure, we could go with the easy solution, put any vessel in the game, smack some standard dynamics on it and see how it works out. There are some « simulator » games out there that do this, but they don’t take their realism too seriously, and vessel response is far from satisfactory. If you just put the same type of behaviour on a vessel, without the proper respect for dynamics, the fans will notice immediately, and we want our simulator game to be a true simulator. That’s why we want to do things right, and doing things right means that it takes time and considerable effort.

So even though we are quite aware that there are fantastic vessels out there, and yes – make no mistake - we would definitely love to have every single one of them in the game, it is not going to happen. Not if our players want them to behave like the real thing, which is exactly what they, quite rightly, want. To give you a small peek inside the developers kitchen, it takes no less than 48 complex steps to get a vessel implemented in the game. Step number one? Getting the legal aspect right. People tend to forget that ships have owners, and that these owners have to agree their vessel is being used in a game, unless you’d like a lawsuit in the mail every week of course… Not every ship owner out there is keen on having Youtube videos pop up of their million dollar vessel being used in a game – because some gamers are most creative in making even the most non-violent simulation game look like a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. And even though there is enormous marketing potential for a vessel used in a game, and lots of ship owners are aware of this, we always ask very nicely and do the paperwork right before we continue.

Once the legal aspect and permission are covered, there you go, step one covered for you, only forty-seven to go. These 47 steps range from the complex integration of the vessel with the realistic math and dynamics model, to creating a correct collision model and valid 3D update of the vessel. Things that are very work intensive, and require lots of patience and skill. No one ever claimed it was easy, but at least now you know why we have to make careful choices and there are a lot of variables to take into account before a vessel can come to life in our game !



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earl of whateverinster
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I was not aware that legal thing on ships.
Is it not easier to create more ports that to add more vessels? it's nice to have more ships but I find that it's the ports what actually open more playability for the game.


Shoot the messenger
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Very interesting diary.
And i'm also curious about what alvaro said.
Are there some private harbours? Like there is some private airports?


VSTEP developer
Jan 26, 2010
Hi guys, sorry to have left this so late. There are no private harbours in the game, but it will feature real ports, environments and harbours, including some very big ones. For example:

- NY
- San Francisco
- Rotterdam
- Hamburg
- Sydney
- Marseille
- Calais
- Dover
- Padstow

are all in there with detail. Seeing the size of these ports in reality, you will have your work cut out to find your way through them.

Kind regards,