number crunching, I wanted to flesh out a bit more the
basic crewmember. I needed a parameter to define how
good they are at what they do. I decided to call this
parameter "efficiency". However, this efficiency
should result from some basic stats.
What are the basic stats I want for each guy in my
First, I wanted morale. Morale should definitely
be the key stat for each one of the classes. One of
the most iconic images about submarines is the tension
of the crew when under a depth charge attack. The
sonar pings, the tense faces looking upwards, you
get the idea…
I decided for a percentage approach: great morale
is close to 100%, low morale is close to 0%. Between
classes, I decided that the sailors will be the class
with the lowest starting morale and the officers will
be the class with the highest starting morale.
The sailors will have a chance to promotion, so this
should be a problem only with fresh crewmembers. I
think it is a good way to simulate the recruits in
the initial phase of the career.
Next, I needed a stat that should be useful combined
with the morale. That would be fatigue. Naturally,
the crew should get tired sometime.
I used the same percentage approach, only reversed:
high fatigue is close to 100%, low fatigue is close
Again, between classes I decided that the sailors
would have the best initial fatigue value. The reason
for this is that sailors were used to tasks that were
physical taxing like torpedo maintenance and loading,
diesels and electric motors maintenance and repair,
damage control, etc.
The officers on the other hand should have the worst
initial fatigue values. I considered that the stress
of command is takes a greater toll.
The two stats should to work well in combination.
Out of this, I got my “efficiency” parameter.
This would be the result of combining the morale and
fatigue by a certain formula. Obviously, the task
of the player should be to maintain a high morale
and to keep fatigue under control.
The sums up to every success or failure of the player
in the mission will have a direct impact on his crew
(morale boost for sinking ships, morale erosion for
taking damage). Just the result I was looking for!
The next question was how do I make use of these
guys on the U-Boat. They should obviously be assigned
to the normal tasks during the operation of a submarine:
torpedo loading, engines, deck gun, flak guns, radio,
Nevertheless, how does the player easily organize
them per tasks? This is when I came up with the idea
of separating the U-Boat in compartments dedicated
to a specific task (pretty much like in reality).
For example, if I want to shoot or load torpedoes,
I need crew in the torpedo room.
I defined specific efficiency values for each compartment.
Now if I want something to work, I should have enough
men assigned to that task to generate the required
Think of this situation: the U-Boat has taken some
damage. Do I have any options? Yes, I can organize
a good damage control team and send it to the damaged
compartment for repair. Cool, isn’t it?
The classes worked out pretty well in the end. The
petty officers will be my specialist in one task.
Do I need some action in the diesel room? I’ll
just send in some engineer petty officers and the
engine will start running.
For the officers I wanted a major role. They will
be my wild cards. They should be useful in a multitude
of situations and the player should come to care about
First, the player will need his officers in the command
room. They will be his interface with the boat. I
can control everything in the boat by ordering my
officers what to do.
What if I don’ have officers there? Then it’s
time for manual control, good old simulation style.
Second, the officers will have multiple specialties.
That would make them useful wherever I may need. Think
of them as a strategic reserve.
Troubles with the flooding? No problem, my third officer
is a specialist in damage control. I’ll just
put him in charge of the repair team and let him save
Do I feel like I want a shootout with some armed merchants?
My recently promoted officer is a sharp gunner! Let
him command the 88 crew.
My choices regarding the crew aimed at one
thing: add another dimension of gameplay to Silent
Hunter. I am sure that having a crew along during
the career, seeing it grow, gain experience and improve
will create that “esprit de corps” of
an elite crew that most U-Boat veteran crews achieved.