I’m not entirely sure that the word ‘character‘ applies to these, but it’s all I’ve got.
The warships can be considered the main characters of the game, as they are the largest and most powerful assets in the game. A general set of animations can be applied to all of these ships, these include;
- Turret rotation and elevation
- Rocking/bobbing on the water
- Sinking animations
- Animated parts such as radars and rangefinders
Some ships may have specific animations unique to that vessel, such as aircraft catapults and torpedo launchers. Really there isn’t much you can with a boat as far as animation goes. Especially not for a low-detail game.
Current Line-up of warships:
United States Navy
USS Lexington, also known as “The Lady Lex” to many US sailors, was an aircraft carrier (though originally ordered as a battlecrusier) that served the USN in 1927, seeing action up until 1942 where she was struck by 2 torpedoes and 2 bombs, subsequently sinking to the bottom in the coral sea.
Lexington will be the American’s aircraft carrier in Pacific Steel. Larger and carrying more aircraft than her Japanese counterpart Zuiho, the Americans will have a large numerical advantage when it comes to airpower.
USS Atlanta was the lead ship of 8 light cruisers built throughout the 1940. Designed to provide heavy anti-aircraft protection, and did so in many famous naval battles, including the battle of Midway. During the night of that battle however, she was badly damaged by both Japanese shell fire and accidental friendly fire. By her captains orders, she was sunk on the afternoon of the same day.
Atlanta in Pacific Steel plays a similar role in providing Anti-Air power to other ships. Though lightly armoured, Atlanta had a staggering rate of fire, and can suppress even the largest battleships.
USN North Carolina
USS North Carolina was the very first brand new battleship of WWII, constructed by America in 1940. North Carolina and her crew took part in every major naval offensive in the Pacific ocean, earning her a whopping 15 battle stars that made her the most decorated American battleship of World War II.
North Carolina might as well be the strongest single unit in Pacific Steel. Great firepower and fantastic Anti-Air, North Carolina is a match for anything the Japanse can throw at them, save for maybe-
Imperial Japanese Navy
IJN Minekaze was a small destroyer built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1910; an old ship, by many standards. Minekaze saw action during the Second Sino-Japanese War during the 1930s, and of course- saw action in the Pacific Ocean. During the 1940s however she was already obselete, and was sunk by an American Submarine, USS Podgy in 1944.
In Pacific Steel, Japan has here a unique unit type that serves a threat to even the largest warships. Destroyers are small, fast and nimble craft that use their superior maneuverability to get in close and fire volleys of deadly torpedoes, capable of sinking even the most well protected ships.
IJN Zuiho was a light aircraft carrier. Commissioned in 1940 as submarine support ship Takasaki, Zuiho was renamed and converted during construction into an aircraft carrier, and subsequently participated in many pivotal navy battles. Come 1944, Zuiho served as a decoy to draw the main US fleet into a trap and sunk was by American aircraft, ultimatley fulfilling her task.
Zuiho- though not nearly as large as Lexington, plays an important role in Pacific Steel. Zuiho has a capacity to launch fewer, but more powerful aircraft. Being smaller than Lexington she also has greater speed and manoverbility allowing for her to more effectively stay close and support the fleet with waves of deadly aircraft.
IJN Nagato was a super-dreadnaught battleship built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1910. Nagato would go on to be the flagship of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who orchestrated the attack on Pearl Harbour from her bridge in 1941. Uniqley for an IJN vessel she would survive the war, but sadly ended up being little more than target practice. Finally, Nagato was a test subject for Operation Crossroads- succumbing to 2 nuclear bombs at Bikini Atoll.
Nagato in Pacific Steel in the Japanese main, hard-hitting force. Despite belonging to the extinct ‘Dreadnaught’ generation of ships, Nagato holds her own with superior maneuverability and rate of fire compared to her counterpart, North Carolina.
Aircraft will have the most complex animations, despite being one of the smallest assets in the game. These animations include;
- Movement of control surfaces (Ailerons, Rudder and Elevator)
- Bomb/Torpedo hatch doors
- Propeller movement
- General complex flight manoeuvres
Current Line-up of Aircraft:
United States Navy
The F4F Wildcat was the mainstay of the USN’s carrier-borne fighter group, seeing action up until 1942. The Wildcat was however outmachted by the faster and more manouverable Japanese A6M2 Zero. Despite this, due to numerical advantages and superior tactics the Widlcat maintained a sucsessful kill/death ratio of 5:1 throughout the war. This meant that for every 5 Japanense aircraft destroyed, 1 Wildcat was lost.
The F4F Wildcat is the main fighter aircraft of the USN in Pacific Steel. Mimicking reality, USS Lexington is able to carry far more aircraft compared to the Japanese carrier, resulting in a deadly numerical advantage over their adversary.
The TBF-1 Avenger is an American torpedo bomber. Developed initially for the United States Navy in 1941, it eventually ended up being used by several nations around the world. Avengers remained one the best torpedo bombers in World War 2, even being used in one form or another up until the 1960s.
In Pacific Steel, the torpedo bomber is a powerful unit type unique to the Americans. Being able to strategically deploy torpedoes against the enemey, they are feared by almost all warships. The Avenger also features 2 rear-facing machine gun turrets located top and bottom, to provide extra cover agianst enemy aircraft. Becasue of this however it is exeptionally large compared to the other aircraft, and can easily be outsped and out manovered.
Imperial Japanese Navy
The A6M2 Zero was one of the most iconic aircraft of World War 2, and was operated by the IJN from 1940 to 1945. When it was introduced early in the war, the Zero was considered the most capable carrier-borne fighter in the world, combining excellent maneuverability and high speed, it gaining a reputation as a legendary dogfighter.
In Pacific Steel, the Zero operates much as an air-superiority fighter, beating any other aicraft in a 1-on-1 fight. However, due to the Japanese aicraft carrier Zuiho’s smaller size, it means that less of them can be deployed in to the battle at one time, resulting in a fairly large numerical disadvantage vs. the American aircraft.
The D3A Val was the primary carrier-borne dive bomber used by the IJN, and participated in almost all of the IJN’s actions in the Pacific, most notably- the attack on Pearl Harbour. Vals sank more Allied warships than any other Axis aircraft, despite being considered obsolete when the war started.
Like the Avenger for the Americans, the Val is a unique and powerful unit type for the Japanese. The Val is able to drop bombs upon both sea and land based targets. Though doing far less damage per-hit as a torpedo, the bombs are both versetile and far more difficult to avoid.
Extra Miscellaneous assets that may or may not be inlcuded within the animation, depending on weather or not they get finished by then. Each of these assets will generally have unique animations.
To really bring my scenes to life I feel there has to be an element of humanity to it. At a glance aircraft and warships appear to just be machines, and it is sometimes hard to consider or fully realise that there are often thousands of individuals piloting/operating these vehicles. (North Carolina had a crew of over 2,300 individuals) For this reason (at least on the warships) I will be modelling/animating sailors on the decks and operating the various anti-air guns/lookout posts.
They’ll have incredibly simple models and textures becasue they are so small (compared to the gargantuan warships), and because loads of them may be present at any given time.
Possible animations include;
- Looking and raising/lowering a pair of binoculars
- Seating positon to operate Anti-Aircraft emplacements
- Generic standing postions
- Guiding the landing/takeoff of aircraft with signals
- Operating steering wheels
- Operating torpedo tubes
More specifcially- seagulls, will add a pleasant atmosphere to peaceful/out of combat situations. Having a small flock of gulls circle and follow a vessel or area brings the enviroment to life. It’s an ocean dotted with islands, so you’d expect to see or at least hear seabirds.
Like the models for the sailors, the seagull models will be especially simplistic, since they are not a focal point at all within the game.
Possible animations include;
- Flying, flapping wings
- Sitting on the water’s surface
If I’m going as far as to model the island/port the player has at the start of the game, certain aspects of that require animation. Aside from the assets already modeled/animated that might be present on the island (warships, ambient wildlife and navy personell) the port requires some unique animated assets. These include supply trucks, wind-socks, radars, and cranes.
The Pacific ocean is not complete without a complement of islands, and apon these islands at least some trees. I plan on modelling a selection of 3 or so different islands. (outcrops, sandbars and main large land masses) A small selection of low-polygon palm trees will also populate the land masses. I could animate the palms blowing in the wind that but’s going a bit beyond an iPhones current processing power.