National Video Games Examiner Patrick Hickey chats with Excalibur Games’ Sharon Stallibrass about the company’s newest Steam title, “World Ship Simulator.” Discussing the inspiration behind the game and the goals for it moving forward, Stallibrass lets us know what makes the game a unique blend of simulation and open-world gameplay.
About the Game:
Dynamic new water physics brings the game to a greater realism than ever before. Using Unity 5, the new development team has brought together a number of features, including a new career mode with complete missions.
The open-world environment allows for sailing between three ports that are available with this Early Access version. Further development will expand the ability to sail from more ports in a truly open-world.
For More on the Game, Click here.
Patrick Hickey Jr.: What was the development process for this game like?
Sharon Stallibrass: Having gone through the development of European Ship Simulator we knew what to do and more importantly, what not to do. European Ship Simulator was released on Early Access and had outstanding acclaim so we knew we were on the right track but we shouldn’t have released it as a full product so soon. World Ship Simulator takes the best from European Ship but with a new development team that has focused on what is important to players who enjoy simulation products. The water physics is key and we have waited for a new water physics engine to become available so that the handling of the vessels has a feeling of realism. How the current and the weather affects the ability to dock a ship or for a port boat to grapple with towing an ocean-going cruise ship is the most difficult thing to get right but the sense of realism is what makes a good simulation. Microsoft’s Flight Simulator is benchmark but even that has been developed and improved upon over 30 years – whilst I am not sure World Ship Sim will be around in 30 years this process of enhancement and improvement on an ongoing basis is our aim.
Hickey Jr.: Why do you think sim games have always been popular?
Stallibrass: It’s really great to see how many simulation games there are! Who would have thought anyone would want to be a virtual farmer! Simulations give everyone the chance to have a go at a hobby or career that may not be available to them in real life. Flying aircraft is expensive so why not emulate the experience on your computer? There are so many peripherals to add further realism to the experience as well. The same can be said for driving simulators – whether it’s F1 or just driving a variety of cars on the road – it opens up opportunities that may not be available easily. It will be very interesting to see how VR helps to further realize the simulation genre
Hickey Jr.: How does this game stand out of the crowd?
Stallibrass: There is no other ship simulator on the market that is being supported on a continual basis so in that sense it is unique. We have a career mode in this version that wasn’t available in the European Ship version or in any other comparable ship simulator game. This has missions that are challenging to complete that truly develop the player’s experience. Additionally the open-world environment allows for sailing between the three ports without loading screens. We have plans to increase the amount of ports the player can explore too during Early Access.
Hickey Jr.: Who do you think will enjoy this game the most?
Stallibrass: Anyone who enjoys simulation products, those who drive in Euro Truck Simulator or fly in Flight Simulator. It has a true mass market appeal as it is easy to get the hang of but allows for development of skills and will challenge through the missions.
Hickey Jr.: What’s the coolest part of this game?
Stallibrass: It has to be the water physics, not just cool to look at it is an integral part of the simulation experience. Another feature that we noted players asked for is to be able to walk around the vessel. We are currently looking at ways to increase interaction with the vessel within the bridge and on foot.
Hickey Jr.: Bottom line, why should someone play this game?
Stallibrass: To have fun, experience something new in a broad variety of watercraft – luxury speedboat to ocean-going liners, if it’s not there yet – it soon will be.
Hickey Jr.: How do you want this game to be remembered?
Stallibrass: As the benchmark of ship simulators that will feature in a player’s library for years to come.
Hickey Jr.: What’s next?
Stallibrass: For World Ship Simulator – lots more missions, expanding the environment, new vessels and further implementing changes to increase simulated bridge interiors. For Excalibur – we are working with more and more emerging talented young developers. This opens up a avenues into the Indie market- so watch this space.