|Silent Hunter II Update
by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson
We wanted to be present to offer suggestions and advise the film makers. These guys know their stuff and are real professionals, but aren't familiar with the game player market like we are.
Our tour was also information gathering . The archives were critical to this game. We needed to help select material, and decide on human interest issues as well as collect military information.
Who else did we meet? We interview quite a number of Uboat captains and crew members including Hans-Georg Hess and Jurgen Oesten. These men also contributed in significant ways to our understanding and sense of the actual operations on the Uboats.
Sub Pen: Another Interface Screen
Q: Tell us more about the sites you visited. What did you do there? What did you see?
A: We visited the Bremerhaven Museum and examined the Type XXI elektric boat. We viewed the Type VII at Laboe and visited the naval Memorial there. We visited Kiel (south of Laboe) which has some research interest. The archives at Altenbruch just outside of Cuxhaven were very important and we spent three or four days there. Finally, we visited some particular Maritime areas to see restored ships, Uboats etc.
Q: What are some of the most significant things you learned at the various sites you visited? Were there any surprises?
A: Visiting the memorial you get a sense of how many people diedů and yet the casualties came out of a very small force. U boat duty later in the war was virtually suicide.
Q: What are the less definable things that impacted you that will change the way the simulation develops?
A: Talking to the men who were there gives you a sense of connection to history, but more than that because these men were actually THERE. They fought in this war, saw their friends die. Because of the obvious evil of the regime, these men are mostly unappreciated in their own country. There was a feeling that they wanted to tell their stories, yet were somewhat reluctant because of the response from their own countrymen.
Q: Even though you are developing a game, the historical aspect is one that seems important to you; can you describe why?
A: I have always been interested in history, especially military history. I suspect that many people who are interested in military sims are also history buffs. I have been fortunate to have associated with several veterans of WWII, some heavily (Bud Gruner on Silent Hunter) over time, and some in a group briefly.
All of their stories are fascinating but one particular incident comes to mind; I was asking some questions, and discovered that the gentleman I was talking to had been one of a group of U-Boat commanders that had been personally decorated (Knights Cross) by Adolf Hitler. It is difficult to describe the eerie feeling it gave me to be calmly discussing a medal ceremony with a man who was decorated by Adolf Hitler.
So there is an incredible connection with history. And when you are over there hearing these stories, walking through these old buildings, you feel it.
Q: Update us on Destroyer Command.
A: DC uses their own 2nd generation Panzer Commander engine, with many enhancements. They just finished the artwork for the C&C. And we've scheduled a visit with Wayne P. Hughes, WW2 naval tactical expert. Wayne authored "Fleet Tactics," a well known classic, and is living in Monterey.
DC is going to be a lot of fun since there is SO MUCH you can do with Destroyers. We are still hoping that these two sims will be connectable, which is when cooperative multiplayer tactics will really become significant.
Q: Let's talk about particular hardware issues. Is it possible that in Destroyer Command we might see multi monitor support?
A: It's not impossible since the developer was originally a MAC developer and is familiar with the technology.
Q: What is the current forecast for release of Silent Hunter II?
A: You should see it in stores in November =)
Go to Part Three
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Last Updated July 6th, 1999
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