In 2002-2006, I created a simulation I called Fleet Action Imminent. I hoped to then create a massively multiplayer game called With the Fleet, but except for a few prototypes, WTF never got very far before I set it aside for other pursuits — notably, this wiki.
Fleet Action Imminent
FAI was written in Java, and delivered a Spartan 3D interactive environment using an extinct, WIndows-only 3D plug-in called Wildtangent Web Driver. It delivered low frame-rates and a dated appearance, but these were not a barrier to what I wanted to focus on: creating a realistic simulation of the ships, duties and mechanisms of fire control.
FAI embodied realistic ballistics and implementations of 20+ distinct AI behaviours for sailors with different shipboard duties, manning a virtual Dreyer table, wireless transmitter, many data transmitters and receivers, Vickers director, coincidence rangefinders, dumaresqs, etc, etc. It was fairly glorious.
I toyed with the idea of tearing out Wildtangent in favour of jMonkeyEngine, but didn't proceed with it, as the FAI architecture was unlikely to ever deliver me the massively multiplayer experience I felt was necessary to achieve my broadest vision. This does not mean that I would not permit a talented and motivated hacker from trying to achieve this.
One limited fruit of the switch to using jMonkeyEngine was that I took out the ballistics code into an application called Blammo that creates very accurate HTML range tables for simulated weapons based on very little input data. I may eventually release Blammo.
With the Fleet
When I was setting aside FAI's Java code, I made a few prototypes of the proper game I wanted to create. The first was based in Torque Game Engine, and the second built atop Ogre3D. The prototypes had some innovative features I won't divulge, but never got very naval. I sorely needed a better coder than myself to get where I was going.
I since have looked at Unity3D, which tries to be easy to use but is harder to understand than a C++ game engine... how did they do that?
I am trying to get the FAI sim up on a viable, modern platform. My hope is that I can share it with others. Things are promising, but no guarantees.
Tone 20:30, 5 September 2011 (EDT)
I have been working hard and have destroyers with helmsmen, 4-in guns and gunners working. I find myself now spending time getting smokestacks to throw their smoke in the right direction and volume, etc. Everything is slow but progress ever day. Here is a super short video.
Tone 16:26, 11 October 2011 (EDT)
I have made steps toward making the sim multiplayer, but am not going to press ahead on this for a bit. I dashed ahead and worked to create the battlecruiser with its entire fire control systems again. It will require much debugging and I see some art is around 5 times too big... I will have to go and check why that is and apply fixes to orientation (Wildtangent was in a righthanded graphics space, and JME is lefthanded).
Tone 18:11, 11 December 2011 (EST)
I have been working, slowly, on getting the battlecruiser up and running and bringing voice into play. The battlecruiser and its many instruments is imported, but I have to do much of that work again, as I have most parts yawed 180 degrees from the most convenient norm. Argh! As to voice, the idea is that the old typing interface should give way altogether to a verbal interface.
Tone 16:26, 3 January 2012 (EST)