Sonalyst is a US studio focused on military training programs. It also have (had?) a gaming division, which was producing fine naval combat simulations. Among them, i668 and Dangerous Waters made history in naval simulations, the latter one still having a very active community. But Dangerous Waters released in 2005 and since, Sonalyst vanished in the virtual sea and no one ever heard from them again.
That was until now.
Sonalyst just posted screenshots of their last engine in action, on their facebook page. There is no mention of what it is about, and their website isn’t showing anything yet. However, they answered the question everyone is wondering :
The screenshots depict an application called “Global Tactical Simulation”. It looks like an improved Dangerous Waters, with some new features. It seems that the engine is capable of supporting advanced system modeling, 3D internal views, command and control…. Eventually, a google search gave us nothing but a small overview in a 2013 conference description :
A Global Tactical Simulation (GTS) Domain. Most traditional simulation architectures only model a very small “flat” portion of the Earth. Even modern control box game engines such as Unity, Unreal, Crytek, et al, only model a 3D volumetric portion of the globe. GTS models the entire globe in a format using the Earth’s actual shape, resulting in visualization from the seabed to space. This provides the commercial game or DoD user visualization across all sea, land, air, space, cyber, communications, and command & control (C2) domains.
‒ Open Data Access to Reduce Development Cost. Traditional simulation engines often contain static pointpoint communications across components which usually require costly additional programming for crossdiscipline data access. SE II has been built with a dynamic “Public Data Services” (PDS) communications backbone that offers cross‐disciplinary user access (to add, delete, or modify) to the full spectrum of “game‐state” data via an open Application Programming Interface (API).
‒ A Metrics Engine with a generic trigger and event system based on the content of the PDS to support USW performance measurement. This enables users to easily define metrics and tailor them to new domains in support of performance measurement, as well as cross‐discipline data logging. Any performance measure can be determined.
‒ A Multi‐Station capability (in addition to standard multi‐player) enabling team training and/or analysis. ‒ Common TCP/IP network protocol, as well as DoD High Level Architecture (HLA) and Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) protocols.
‒ A Common MS Windows Screen Format.
‒ A Software Development Kit (SDK) of user tools to enable environment modification and extension. This includes industry standard Lua AI scripting, and the ability to ingest a common model format (.fbx) and screens developed in QT software.
SE II is modular, open, and enables rapid integration of new domains and proven individual solutions. SE II is a common MST architecture that can support a variety of domain solutions including commercial entertainment titles, tactical DoD MST, maintenance, cross‐disciplinary an Systems Integration (HSI) research, and medical simulation just to name a few.
Now, we know sonalyst has been quite busy these last years. While it has been hinted several years ago they would come back eventually, they isn’t any clear statement about the studio planning a commercial game in a close future. Now, with all these screenshots posted out of the blue on a facebook account that was inactive for years… It is time for some heavy speculation !