Wolfpack in 2019

Back in 2016 a couple of guys in Sweden were making a project where 4 players would co-op manage a submarine online. (think Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator for submarine nerds). Shortly after that post I went to Stockholm for three months and struck a deal to produce the game. It’s now known as Wolfpack.

We are now getting close to early access on Steam. The game is not complete, there is still some work to do, but it is quite playable. The AI is working, and there are more functional systems and levels of detection than previous sub games. The enemy has a visible detection ability that varies by the time of day, weather, range and even if your sub is facing him head-on or broadside. The escorts have passive sonar detection and active (pinging) detection, and there are several dependencies that determine when they can use these and how effective they are (destroyers MUST accelerate to flank speed before dropping depth charges or they will blow off their own stern; this renders them deaf until they complete a pass. During this time a U-boat can change course and speed without risk of detection, until the escort makes its turn back.)

There are other systems and physics variables that complicate the life of the Captain and his crew. For example, if your U-boat is running deep to evade the enemy, well, naturally it will take on small amounts of water, no sub is 100% water tight at deep depths, right? One of your team needs to keep an eye on the bilge level…if it gets too high, then the dive officer will need to increase forward propulsion to maintain depth. And we know what speed does, it makes more noise, which in turn makes evading detection more difficult. Don’t ask about water leaks when your boat is getting pounded by depth charges, the whole crew worries about that. So, Neal, why don’t you start the bilge pump and pump it overboard? Hmm… the bilge pump makes noise too. Oh boy.

Wolfpack is designed to compel the players to run the sub like a real machine. You don’t press “P” to go to periscope depth–the player who is Captain will ensure the hatch is closed and issue the order to make periscope depth. The guy playing as Dive Officer will crank a valve to flood the negative tank and then set the dive planes to full dive (manually), while the player as Helmsman will switch the Engine Order Telegraph to “Electric Engine” and then order Full Speed Ahead (forward motion is needed to dive and if the crew leaves the telegraph in "Diesel Engine, the boat will flood); and then he will open the forward ballast tank vents, as the Navigator is doing the same to the aft ballast tanks to make the boat negatively buoyant. Then they have another series of steps in the procedure to maintain depth and get to 12~14 meters. From then on, the Dive Officer will have to keep a steady hand on the dive planes to make sure they stay at that depth, there is no auto-pilot in this game.

That’s just a sample of the procedural game design in Wolfpack. There are similar systems for aiming torpedoes with the Torpedo Data Computer, for using the hydrophones and Enigma machine, and managing navigation and charting the enemy ships. We want the game to give the players plenty to do and put them in pressure situations where fast, smart decisions have to be made to survive.

There’s a video on the Steam page that can give you an overview.Once the game is released and the funding improves, we are aiming to complete the game by October 2019. One thing I can vouch for with the developers, they have poured their hearts into this project.


A logical next step would be to add VR support, no?

Ohhhhhhhh cool! I’ll gladly hop aboard.

yup me too, even though I lack four nerd friends in my timezone. VR?

The current state of the art for virtual reality co-op submarine experiences is Iron Wolf VR if you’re interested in that angle.

I had a dream I got a VR set last night, and I think it was cause I was reading this thread before I went to bed.

Yeah, so to update the state of this game,

added a training mode where enemy ships do not react to you and you can toggle on/off their speed, range, AOB, and practice setting up the Torpedo Data Computer

Single play mode where you can play the game solo with a set of dashboards that don’t break the game atmosphere.

We should be dropping a patch any day now that allows you to communicate with other U-boats in the game using real morse code.

Obviously with the quarantine thing this makes playing online even more appealing.

Hi Neal! Thanks for posting, enjoy the subsim website.

How is the solo play? Is it enjoyable even though game is multiplayer focused? This is what keeps me from hitting the “buy” button,

“Wow!” I’m thinking as I click through the the Steam preview screens, “These are goooooorgeous”, then I got to screenshot 10 I just burst out laughing. Please artistis, don’t take offense. It’s nice to see someone finally thinking of the oft-neglected, lazy eye demographic.


Now you have my attention!

Thanks! Yeah, I think (I’m biased!) it’s enjoyable solo, managing the U-boat in SP pretty similar to SH games. I prefer solo in my boat and any friend or rando in the other boats, the best of both worlds. I don’t need any other players but if some join the convoy battle in other U-boats, I can still do my thing.

Here’s a pretty good demo.

Ja, our character models need an overhaul. :)

Game development is ongoing. Testing a patch now that adds real morse code function between U-boats. We will really shine when we add aircraft, mission editor, and the hallowed Scapa Flow mission later this year.