After an exciting video depicting a U-Boat attack on a convoy we are at the Main Menu. The Main Menu’s options are:
Naval Academy: The Naval Academy menu gives you access to a set of five tutorials. Each tutorial focuses on a different aspect of the game. By successfully completing the tutorials you will be well on your way to having what it takes to be a successful Captain and you will also have extra ‘Renown’ for the start of your career. How much extra will depend on how well you do.
The Naval Academy is a great idea to introduce and allow the player to practice the skills that are essential for success in the game before starting it.
Career: The core of Silent Hunter III is the Career mode. The game uses a dynamic, random campaign engine based on historical reality.
Single Missions: The Single Missions menu gives you access to individual missions and historical scenarios. From this screen, you will also launch new missions created with the game’s Mission Editor or missions downloaded from the Internet.
Multiplayer: Silent Hunter III supports online games on Ubi.com and LAN multiplayer games for up to eight players. Two modes are available; scripted missions and generated missions.
Museum: Using the Museum interface you can familiarize yourself with the planes, ships, and submarines included in the game. It is important to know your enemy before encountering him on the field of battle, and this is the place to learn it.
Options: Adjust the language between English or German, video and audio settings. The difficulty settings are not contained here, they reside within the mission start screen.
The video settings have an on / off for the event camera, full screen, synchronised, texture quality high and particle density.
The audio settings have an on/off for the music and a volume knob for general, music, FX and speech.
Credits and Exit Game
The Dynamic Random Campaign
The Heart and Soul of Silent Hunter III is the ‘Dynamic Random Campaign’. To quote the manual, “The game uses a dynamic, random campaign engine based on historical reality. Every time you play, you can have a unique career”
The war will start on Sept 3rd 1939 and end in May 1945 with Germany’s capitulation. As was the case in real life, you, the player, a single person i.e. one U-Boat, cannot change the course of the war.
I will clarify that for all you ‘fly boys’, you cannot change the outcome of the war. I know, it said ‘dynamic’…
The Silent Hunter III world is a replica of the one of 1939 to 1945. The shipping lanes and the volume and type of traffic will reflect that of the war and changes over the years. Countries will historically be neutral, your enemy or your ally or all the above as the war progresses.
Where are the Dynamic and Random parts you ask? They come in the form of what happens when you are out on patrol.
The ‘Dynamic’ part is that should your presence become known to the AI, it may react by sending one or more escorts and/or aircraft to your location. No longer will you have the impunity to sail past a ship or city as if they were not there. Now, that very act could result in several escorts and many aircraft making life difficult for you.
Another example of the ‘Dynamic’ aspect in Silent Hunter III is after you have radioed in a contact report, the Luftwaffe may attack the ship(s).
‘Random’ is where the ships and aircraft are generated at the start of, and during your patrol and will move around the world with no bearing on you. What does that mean? If you are asked to patrol around Scotland but decide that you would rather go to the Mediterranean, then there is the possibility that you will meet ships along the way, at or in the Mediterranean even though it is 3000 kilometres away from where you are supposed to be.
Remember, no matter where you sail in the world, there will be ships. It is another thing altogether for you to find them.
So how does it work in the game? If for example you start a new career on Sept 3, 1939 and you are assigned grid AN59 for your first patrol you may travel out to that location and sail around in your favourite search pattern and come across four ships, comprising of three enemies and a neutral ship. The ships may consist of two Coastal Merchants, a C2 and a Small Freighter.
Some games later, you start a career on Sept 3, 1939 and you may by chance, be assigned to the same grid AN59. You do everything the same as the first time from the speed that you travelled to AN59 to the search pattern, yet this time you may only see one ship a single neutral Small Tanker. No two patrols to the same grid location will be the same.
Yet there is still more depth to the Campaign engine. As an example, having arrived at grid AN59 and having plotted my search pattern I saved the game. I then played out 5 days in-game time. I found nothing. I reloaded this saved game another two times and each time I found nothing. On the fourth reload I made one change, which was I increased my speed. After two days, I found a ship.
With Silent Hunter III, you now have a reason to sail around in your patrol area. As unlike previous games, Silent Hunter III will not present you with a target just because you turned up. This makes finding a ship not only all the more rewarding but also exciting.