Got to talk a little about Indie Games!

Yesterday I was invited to “sit and chat” about indie games by the wonderful guys at TechHub and the Romanian Game Developers Association. Lots of gamedevs in the audience, and some cool people on stage, besides me. Dragos “Vaipa” Inoan from Dream Builder Studios and Robert Muresan of Exosyphen Studios. You can watch the recording here: and … its all spoken in English.


My game – Door Kickers out on Steam!

My game – Door Kickers out on Steam!

Yep, completely forgot / didn’t have time for this blog. So in case anyone is following me here but not elsewhere, here’s Door Kickers, my first game with an indie team – OUT ON STEAM EARLY ACCESS 🙂


KillHouse Games

KillHouse Games

Yep, I’m going indie!

Tonnage War is not a score

In the first twenty days of March 1943, the Germans sank ninety-seven Allied merchant ships totalling more than 500,000 tons. This was almost twice the rate of new tonnage being built at that time. Almost two thirds of the losses were of ships in convoy. During the same period the Germans lost seven U-boats, which was just half the number of new boats coming into service. The Monthly History of the Trade Division of the Admiralty states: ‘The import programme of the U.K. was cut as low as it could be and then seemed hardly likely to be fulfilled.’

from Convoy by Martin Middlebrook, chapter 16 – An Analysis


This is how a historic event should be analyzed. Just throwing numbers at your readers doesn’t accomplish anything, it just gives them the false impression that they have learned something. Sure they might have stuck some figures in their memory, but have they understood their significance? In this particular chapter of his book dedicated to the battle of convoys HX229 and SC122, Martin Middlebrook masterfully summarizes and analyzes the events that he earlier described in the narrative chapter. Battle results are given context and the dark shadows of March ’43 suddenly appear clear.


This is the kind of information that we should have presented within the Silent Hunter games 😦 Graphs of tonnage losses (well, considering our players were on the side of the submarines, not their losses but the enemy’s) vs tonnage built correlated with outlining of historic events. That would have been “useful”!

(Total) War on Interface

Played a little bit of Total War Battles: Shogun – the light wargame spinoff to the (great) Total War franchise. The control interface is horrendous. Whoever designed it should be … well … sent back to the drawing board 😦

Now that I have that off my chest, I’m back to my troubles designing the interface for Final Option (working title).

Fair winds, doctor John Fakan!

I am surprised and saddened to learn about the passing of Dr. John Fakan, skipper of the USS COD submarine memorial in Cleveland.


Dr. Fakan and I used to talk during the development of Silent Hunter 4 – Wolves of the Pacific. As game designer, I was obviously trying to immerse the players in the historical context of the US Submarine War in the Pacific, but also to give the players a good image of the technological challenges and realities of taking a fleet boat into battle.


Its in no small part due to the help of Dr. Fakan and his team at the USS COD memorial that the game came out so great. And they were in it just to help us “do it right” bound to their mission at the memorial.


Now I read this man’s obituary and am amazed of all the things that he has left behind in his life. So much that I didn’t know about the man I was talking to. I wish i asked him more, and I wish I met him in person.


I hope that when its time for me to go, I’ll be able to look back at such a full life myself. But for now, I can only thank John for all he has done. Thank you, and Salute, sir!


It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
-George S. Patton, Jr.


T-34 vs Panther, the failure of statistical comparison

T-34 vs Panther, models

Whenever reading on military technology, it’s always important to put published characteristics into perspective. Simple numbers don’t mean everything,  one has to understand the operational issues around the technology. Always read more than numbers. Look for reports and stories from the men inside the machines. Most important, understand what are the numbers that really matter in actual use.


“While the T-34’s armor protection and firepower advantages had largely disappeared by 1943, its superior mobility was clearly demonstrated when 5th Guards Tank Army was able to move its T-34s 300kms on their own tracks to the front between July 7-9 and still had about 90 percent of its tanks operational. No Panther unit could ever have moved this distance without losing most of its tanks to mechanical breakdowns.


In terms of statistical comparison, the Panther Ausf. D did appear to have equal or better mobility vs the T-34, having lower ground pressure and better road speed. However, in reality, the Panther could only move faster than the T-34 once it reached seventh gear, which was unlikely to occur under combat conditions. In tactical driving using third gear, the Panther was considerably slower than the T-34, being able to achieve only 13kph versus 29kph. Certainly, one of the biggest problems with the Panther Ausf. D and A models was the fuel-guzzling character of its Maybach HL230 engine, which required almost double the amount of fuel to go 1km as a Pz IV and nearly four times as much as a T-34. As the Wehrmacht began to run seriously short of fuel in late 1943, the Panther’s poor fuel efficiency would further degrade its operational and tactical mobility”.

(from Panther vs T-34: Ukraine 1943, by Robert Forczyk)


Forczyk’s book is pretty critical of the whole Panther project, which shouldn’t surprise anyone that has a read at least a little on “the best medium tank of ww2” as it is often called. Relatively fast – on paper – and armed with the deadly 75mm Kwk 42 gun, the Panther commands respect and is to be honest one of my favorites. As always, numbers tell only half the story when not put into context, and we can see the Panther was not what Guderian expected when he asked for a tank with better or equal mobility to the T-34!


“The engine of the Panzer is a weapon just as the main-gun” – gen. Heinz Guderian, father of the Panzer force