Steel Beasts Overview

Guest Contributor Max “Tyco” Hall gives us an introduction to the best modern tank sim…

SB-01

Steel Beasts, that tank game that costs like 100 bucks?

Back in 2006, a young version of myself picked up an expensive tank game. I played around with it for a couple weeks and then left it on the shelf. Last year, with the release
of its yearly update, I reinstalled Steel Beasts, and boy am I ever glad that I did!

For the past decade, eSim games’ Steel Beasts Pro Personal Edition (or just Steel Beasts to everyone else) has been the benchmark for modern armor combat simulations. Used by actual militaries around the world, it is a company level simulation of modern tank combat. Although the price may seem daunting at first, once you get past the price tag you will find a simulation that exceeds all expectations. With its detailed unit models and tank interiors, to its incredibly robust mission and map editors, it provides almost endless possibilities for fun. While it may not be the most modern sim in terms of graphics, eSim game’s yearly updates keep the game up to date.

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What’s In the Box?

In its current state Steel Beasts provides a large variety of vehicles players can fully operate alone or with friends (yes Steel Beasts boasts multicrew capability!):

Battle Tanks

  • Leopard 1A5 (DK)
  • Leopard AS1
  • Leopard 2A4 (GE)
  • Leopard 2A5 (DK)
  • Leopardo 2E (ES)
  • M1 (US)
  • M1A1(HA) (US)
  • STRV 122 (SW)
  • Challenger II (UK)
  • T72M1
  • (Export)

IFVs/PCs/Others

  • M2A2 Bradley
  • M3A2 Bradley
  • M113A3
  • M113AS4
  • ASLAVPC
  • ASLAV25
  • NZLAV
  • CV9030FI
  • CV9035DK
  • CV9040B
  • CV9040C
  • Pizarro
  • BTR80
  • BRDM2
  • Bushmaster
  • Centauro

Other Playable Vehicles

  • HMMVV with cal .50 HMG
  • HMMVV with TOW
  • Eagle IV
  • GTK Boxer
  • FISTV (artillery observer)
  • Canadian UAV
  • Swedish UGV

Some of these vehicles like the M2A2 Bradley, M1 Abrams, Leopards and CV90s, have a fully modeled interior. Others, like the Challenger, have only a basic interior. Regardless of interior textures all the vehicles listed have fully modeled fire control sights and systems. Unless you’re commanding, you usually have yourself glued to those sights anyways.

Infanty is modeled too.
Infanty is modeled too.
M1A2 interior
M1A2 interior
Leopard 2A5
Leopard 2A5
Soviet era Night Vision (Can you spot the tank?)
Soviet era Night Vision (Can you spot the tank?)

In addition to the playable units there are a number of other units that can be placed in the mission editor; these range from helicopters, cars, buildings foliage, artillery and
engineering units.

This brings us to perhaps Steel Beasts’ best feature: its map and mission editor. Allowing a scenario designer to not only create their own missions, but to design the map it is
played on, sets Steel Beasts apart from its peers. Included with the game are a large number of maps ranging from Ft. Bragg in the US, to the Fulda Gap, to the deserts of Iraq. All of these maps are customizable and allow a scenario designer to add buildings, roads, and even change the terrain itself. Admittedly the scenery graphics are showing their age quite a bit these days, but eSim has announced that Steel Beasts will be getting a new terrain engine next summer.

Playable area is 6.38 x 6.38 km selected from the larger map.
Playable area is 6.38 x 6.38 km selected from the larger map.

Terrain may not be the prettiest, but it is vast!

Though Steel Beast does not look as pretty as some more modern simulations, it definitely boasts substance over style. The steep price tag may seem expensive at first but you will not regret your purchase.

Max “Tyco” Hall

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Notable Replies

  1. Many thanks to Max for the intro to Steel Beasts. I have to admit..I have two manuals and disks that sit like silent, menacing sentinels on the file cabinet directly to my right. They glare at me all day..and both have thick paper manuals that scream for attention. Steel Beasts and Dangerous Waters. I need 30 hours in a day to do all that I want to do..but I will get around to learning both of those sims one day.

    BeachAV8R

  2. Good introduction to a superb armor simulation.

  3. Fridge says:

    Great read!

  4. Duke says:

    Servus,

    yes a great read, but the list of the full crewable vehicles is not completely.
    Maybe he had not the current version SB ProPE 3.028 (x64).

    Crewable Tanks: Leopard 1A5 (GE)
    Leopard 2A5 (GE)
    Leopard 2A5A1-DK
    Leopard 2A5A2-DK
    M1IP
    M1A1
    M1A2(SEP)
    T-72M
    T-62

    IFV/PC: BTR-50PK
    Cougar 6x6 MRAP
    CV90/35-NL
    M113 G3 DK
    M113 G4 DK
    M113A1
    M113A2
    Piranha-IIIC
    TPz Fuchs 1A6
    TPz Fuchs 1A7
    Ulan
    Warrior

    Truck: LMV
    MAN 10t supply
    MAN SX 45 (supply and fueler)
    Unimog 1300L supply and Troops
    Ural-4320 supply, Fueler, Troops, and Repair

    Civilian: 1,2t Technical-T,HMG
    2,7t Truck 4x4-F (DShk, M240, M2HB, MG3, NSVT, TOW)

    Artillery: M113FO
    FOV90

    Others: Wisent ARV
    M88A1 ARV
    M113/Repair
    Biber
    MT-55
    GTK Boxer/Eng
    TPz Fuchs 1A6/Eng
    M2A2(ODS)/Eng (MICLIC)
    M113 G3 Eng (MICLIC)
    M113 G3 TOW
    M901 ITV
    Scimitar

    and this are only the full crewable, there are other vehicles too.

    And don`t forget the infantry.
    We have a Rifle platoon, AGL team, HMG team, Missile Team (Sagger, Spigot, Bill, RBS 70, TOW, Milan, Javelin, Spike...), FO Team and Mortar Team.

    They will bring up a new version this year.
    Here the last statement of Ssnake (He is the boss):
    "We definitely WANT to have a new version ready by June 2016. The feature set is still a bit unclear however (we intend to nail it down early in the 1st quarter, and then to start with the internal beta test).

    The full feature disclosure will usually begin six to eight weeks prior to the anticipated release date. I have however already announced a few things on prior occasions, particularly the new terrain engine. We've been working on that almost since the release day of SB Pro 3.002. It will allow us to do new things in the future, not all of which we can implement initially, but it's an essential project for a number of future core features. What I can say is that it'll allow us to bring leveled roads to mountain slopes, and generally smoothed roads. It'll allow us to create hairpin curves on very steep slopes which is actually something that not many real-time simulations do at all, or do well, so we're actually quite proud of that (even though the practical application in Steel Beasts maps may be rare).
    One consequence of this new terrain is that it will absolutely require 64 bit, so we can no longer support X86 mode. Another is that height maps will require substantially more disk space. I will post more on that in a separate thread some time in the new year.

    Expect new playable vehicles. Which ones will remain undisclosed, of course, until shortly before the release date. But you'll love 'em.

    Also, we'll include the particle system that we had hoped to have in SB Pro PE 3.0, but we seriously underestimated the amount of work that had to be invested, both into the particle system itself as well as into the artwork, or the shader effects. But I've seen some amazing eye candy in early development previews (at least "amazing" to me, a dinosaur who started home computing in the mid 1980s). The days of eternal sunshine in Steel Beasts are definitely coming to an end. Bad weather may never have been so good.

    We've invested a substantial amount into the infantry field, above all, the user interface, so that small scale infantry scenarios will become much more practical to play.

    Another hopefully welcome feature of practical value will be "force templates", allowing you to configure the equipment of each mech infantry team so you can have, say, multiple variations of infantry platoons for the same nation but different tables of organization and equipment across decades of doctrinal changes. You'll be able to save company and even battalion force templates, which you can then share with the community so you can create your scenarios much faster without having to put together everything from scratch, every time.

    There's so much more, but for now this will have to do. We will post more information in the coming months."

    cheers

    Duke

  5. apoll says:

    Ok. Great intro article to Steel Beasts Pro. I'm going to posit an alternative view somewhat, however, to balance it a bit. No doubt it's the best modern armour sim going...well worth the steep entry point. But it ain't perfect by a long shot, and how you are forced to control your AI units is a real bugbear, IMHO anyway. You essentially have to set up conditional routes for exchange every unit with you on the mission planning map prior to starting the mission...which necessitates tying to anticipate just about every eventuality for every unit with you, which can get awfully, and in many cases, overwhelmingly, tedious. Or you do it in game after the mission has started, which gets you personally killed quickly most of the time trying to set up routes for your units, or becomes hopelessly complicated and confused once the shooting starts. Imagine trying to do separate conditional routes for more than 20 units real time once the shooting starts. Tedious, frequently impossible, and awfully frustrating. I wish there was a better way of controlling units...

    That and the lack of any campaign or meaningful sequencing for missions (you just play stand alone unconnected missions made by community members...or you play the limited group that come with the sim as bought. In this respect, it's kinda like DCS: technically brilliant but that brilliance doesn't really lead to anything other than a single mission (I have to acknowledge the campaigns and linked missions that are starting to appear in DCS of recent times: they go a long way to improving DCS base modules!) I guess you get the buzz out of just surviving or technically fighting your vehicle. Multiplayer is probably where this sim shines the most: one does not have to micro manage every unit under your control and in this guise, Steel Beasts Pro really shines.

    Just my view...putting it out there.

    Apoll

  6. Hi,

    For what its worth it now comes in various "time limited" purchase options for those who want to try before you buy (so the "expensive" tag is not quite correct any more.

    Options are detailed here:

    http://www.esimgames.com/?page_id=1361

    But in summary:

    One Month US$9.50

    Four Months US$24.50

    One Year US$39.50

    Permanent US$115.00

  7. Duke says:

    Hi guys,

    I told you, we will get a new Steelbeasts update this year.

    Here the first movie with new stuff:

    cheers

    Duke

  8. Duke says:

    Servus,

    more steelbeasts for the next update:

    cheers

    Duke

  9. Nice..! Everyone loves a parade!

  10. Duke says:

    Servus,

    and more and more stuff, this will be a awesome update:

    cheers

    Duke

  11. Duke says:

    Hi guys,

    some more vids of the new version:

    cheers

    Duke

  12. Duke says:

    Servus,

    new engineer stuff will arive in June.

    cheers

    Duke

  13. Duke says:

    Servus,

    here a new video from M60 and M113:

    cheers

    Duke

  14. Duke says:

    Servus guys,

    there is a new video up, with one of the things I wait since years.
    Yeahh I will get my old home,a crewable Marder1A3 IFV.

    enjoy, I did:

    cheers

    Duke in heaven

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