Sleep deprivation in games: Silent Hunter 4
Posted on 27th Feb 2009 at 11:35 by James Gorbold with 10 comments
Contrary to suggestions, I haven’t developed a drug habit, or been moonlighting as a delivery man for Milk Tray, I’ve simply reinstalled Silent Hunter 4.
Released in early 2007, Silent Hunter 4 is a US Navy submarine simulator set in the Pacific during the Second World War. Although SH4 can be played as an arcade style shooter, it's far more satisfying when played with most, if not all the realism settings enabled.
I forgo the mental gymnastics of having to calculate torpedo trajectories via trigonometry (it's a game after all), as real submarine commanders had a bridge crew and TDC (torpedo data computer) to help them out, so I don’t consider this too much of a break with realism. Instead, you can configure the difficulty settings so that the TDC does most of the calculations for you – although you still have to factor in any changes in the targets course and speed and the sea state (smooth/rough).
The trouble is, submarine warfare isn’t particularly fast-paced, and even with several time compression settings to choose from, SH4 has a tendency to destroy your sense of the passing of time in the real world. As a result, my reinstalling of SH4 has had a severe impact on my sleep patterns.
To further add to my sleep deprivation, Bohemia Interactive recently announced that they will start selling a cut-down version of their battlefield simulator, VBS2, to civilians soon, and have agreed to send me a copy for review. VBS2 is an enhanced version of Arma: Armed Assault, and is used by several government organisations around the world, including the British Ministry of Defence, for training purposes.
As I mentally prepare for another weekend of ship hunting in SH4, what games are you afraid may deprive you of sleep?