by Maurice Fitzgerald
As a former tread head I'm pleased to bring my fellow tread heads an exclusive on a new tank simulation in the works titled "Steel Beasts." Some of you might have already heard about this sim, but I'm betting most haven't since there hasn't been a lot of talk about it. From what I've seen so far I'm psyched to see Steel Beasts completed and on everyone's hard drives.
No longer will we be limited to MPS's M1 Tank Platoon 2, a most excellent tank sim to be sure, but the only solid modern sim out there right now. Steel Beasts looks to change that for us armor fans and it will also add a new twist, not only will you be able to command an M1A1 but a Leopard 2A4 as well!
This should make our German readers quite happy as the simulation market is most often dominated by American vehicles and aircraft only. I welcome this addition to the sim market. It will be nice to be able to hop into another NATO tank and see how you fare in battle.
A Tanker's Sim
Currently in production at eSim, Steel Beasts is a tankers tank sim. In the sim you will command your tank platoon as well as artillery assets, you will mine fields and play with accurate tactical AI. One of the neatest things is the "hull down" command, something we've all been screaming for in a tank sim. In SB your tanks when ordered to find a hull down will do so, if there's one available. No more micromanaging your vehicles one at a time to get them out of sight of an advancing enemy.
The only thing you need to concern yourself with is getting your tanks in the vicinity (within 150 meters) of good hull down spots and the AI should take care of the rest. This is a most welcome addition to a modern tank sim as it has been the cause of many a needless casualty in simulated battles for all of us.
There are a couple of points that may come as a downside to some people: no 3D support and no multiplayer as of yet. The developer eSim, is a small, startup developer and doesn't have the resources to do everything they'd like to the first time around.
Things like 3D support, multiplayer etc are all things that may be incorporated in future versions of the product if the interest from gamers is there. From what I've seen of the demo thus far, I do not miss 3D support. It's far more important to me that the gunnery characteristics, tactical doctrines and overall feel of being in a tank are there, something the sim seems destined to capture.
I spoke with the developer Al Delaney several weeks ago about what brought him into the tank sim arena and how the development of Steel Beasts came about as well as what future plans he may have for it. Al comes from a very well educated background and I found him to be articulate, enthusiastic and above all, dedicated to making this sim as strong as possible. Here's a bit of background on Al Delaney, creator of Steel Beasts.
Go to The Interview
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Last Updated July 6th, 1999