Thought I'd write a few observations since I'm a scuba diver IRL and the subject of Subnautica vs. actual diving/the ocean seems to come up here and on other forums a lot. One of the things I most enjoy about this game is getting to "play dive" without having to consider the constraints of real-life diving, while still getting to use some real-life diving skills.
One particular shoutout to the programmers, tho: the sound is amazing! Yes, your breathing really sounds that loud when you're diving. I also love how stalkers hang out in the kelp forests near the shallows, which some species of shark do IRL. and also! That they seem based on a prehistoric shark called Helicoprion.
Diving skills I use in the game:
- When exploring a new area from the Moth, a base, etc., I do an out and back. What this means is, I pick one compass heading, go straight out, come straight back. Then pick another and repeat. This is useful to keep from getting lost on the glider and running out of air, especially in the dark or in an overhead environment. (also one can use the shining discs I'm sure, though I haven't added this particular tool to my kit since I do ok without them.)
- Take a lot of visuals. I'll take a look around and note landmarks so I can more easily find my way back. This is harder to do in the dark, of course, so I make careful use of the compass…. harder when being chased by a boneshark!
- Come back to my air source at half a tank. Personally I carry two ultralights and swap 'em out, but I usually start back to the Moth/PRAWN etc. once I change onto tank 2 just to make sure unforeseen events won't catch me out.
- I'll try a sweep pattern when looking for something. Basically this sounds like what it is, S-shaped up and down like grocery aisles.
Obviously there's a lot that's extremely unrealistic which I love, since the game is awesome. But if I were going to make a couple of suggestions as to minor details which might add a touch of realism:
- In real life, due to less water pressure on the air in your tank and lungs, you run out of air less quickly the closer you are to the surface. I keep expecting to see my PSI gauge run back up when I'm more shallow than about 15 meters and am still mildly surprised – after 50 hours of play – when it doesn't happen.
- I can't quite get used to the idea that I can get out of an underwater vehicle at 900 meters (around 2700 feet) and not have my sinuses crush like a soda can under someone's foot. Depths beneath 350 – 400 feet (150 – 175 or so meters in the game) generally will kill an unprotected human. 900 meters, or around a half mile below the surface, would be over 1200 lbs of pressure on your body per square inch!
- Assuming the same atmospheric composition as Earth, up and down on multiple fast trips from depth to the surface as in the game IRL would lead to serious nitrogen buildup in the bloodstream, aka "the bends," very quickly. You'd be incapacitated by agonizing pain within probably a couple of hours IRL. (Also, when ascending quickly from depth to the surface, you'd be continuously exhaling to stop air expansion from rupturing your lungs, so it'd be more of an AAAA noise than the usual breathing sound.)
Again: In general I LOVE this game, am completely addicted, am not intending any of this as criticism, just conversation. Any other divers out there who have observations?
© Post "Subnautica vs. actual scuba diving – anyone else using IRL skills?" for game Subnautica.
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