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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsShips and Scurvy RPG - GameDev Diary
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WhiskeybarrelStudios
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« on: January 27, 2015, 05:24:07 PM »

Good morning fellow game devs!

My name is Oliver Joyce, I'm best known as the creator of the RPG game series Swords and Sandals. I no longer make those games, but I'm still an indie developer with my own tiny label, Whiskeybarrel Studios. Anyway, I wanted to tell you all about a new RPG I'm building, Ships and Scurvy.

I'd describe it as an ocean-based mashup of Rogue Legacy/Oregon Trail/Faster than Light and of course Sid Meier's Pirates. Kind of ambitious but I'm sure it will turn into it's own unique beast.

Anyway, the last month or so I've been writing a development diary of the game ( I'm up to part 4 ) but I'd love for you to have a read and tell me your thoughts on the game so far.

You can read part one here, in which I go through the process of randomly generating an ocean , islands and ships for your world.

http://whiskeybarrelstudios.com/?p=857

Cheers, Oliver Joyce
Whiskeybarrel Studios.


« Last Edit: January 27, 2015, 07:17:17 PM by WhiskeybarrelStudios » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2015, 06:02:17 PM »

Wait wait wait woah woah... I played the hell outta Swords and Sandals back in school years ago! Not that I knew I'd be trying to develop myself back then but woah, little lost for words for no reason :P

In any case! It definitely sounds interesting, hopefully it doesn't pass off as a FTL spinoff skinned as a boat edition. May need to read more of the Dev diary to get a better understanding tho ^^

I'm sure it'll turn out great and thanks for the nostalgic feels! :D
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2015, 06:24:07 PM »

Hey thanks Trilaterus! Appreciate the shout out. It's funny, I hear a lot of early twenty-somethings tell me they played Swords and Sandals when they were in school. I think it's awesome to hear stuff like that - I was playing 'Ultima' on the schools computers when I was young, show's my age eh! I sang the 'swords and sandals' theme song too ( little trivia note there!)

I definitely don't intend to do a 'reskinned' FTL ripoff at all. I think it's important to take elements and some ideas from games you like, but you have to do it in such a way that it becomes a totally unique experience. From FTL in particular, I'm interested in the 'long journey with random encounters' aspect - though I want to combine that with 'Rogue Legacy' in that you die a lot , respawn on a desert island but with new knowledge and skills.

I'll be sure to post more updates on the game anyway - I've written 4 dev diaries but I want to space the release of them so as not to overwhelm with info.

Cheers , Oliver
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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2015, 06:56:29 PM »

You should make another Swords and Sandals  Wink
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2015, 10:15:56 PM »

Hey everyone, here's Development Diary #2 from Ships and Scurvy ( published on my site earlier this month )

In my first post, we created a vast ocean.  This week, I decided to put on my deity hat and populate that ocean with more items from the sea. Since the ocean itself is going to essentially be the ‘overworld‘ part of the game ( the section that interconnects all the various game locations ) , I thought it important to have this section feel both huge but populated. The problem with creating a map that’s 100,000 by 100,000 pixels in dimensions is that it takes a long time to sail around. I timed it on my watch – if you’re sailing at 3 pixels a frame for 60 frames a second, it takes nearly 9 minutes to sail across the entire map.


 
So, in essence, the map is going to need to have a lot of stuff in there to make it feel less empty. As I mentioned in the last update, I created a class called a ‘seaItem’  which contained the basic properties anything existing in the world would want to have ( a grid position, the ability to check collisions with other sea items, the ability to move if required, and so on). I then extended this seaItem into a bunch of subgroups:

ISLANDS

Islands are the various landmasses scattered throughout the world. They stay where they are and aren’t rendered by the display list at all most of the time – they exist only as co-ordinates on a grid. When the player’s boat gets within a certain distance of the island, they are added to the display list (just above the water but below the boats) and become visible. At the moment when testing this on mobile devices I’m noticing a very slight frame jitter while it adds these islands but I’ll look to optimise that later – it’s because I’m creating the island texture at runtime and adding it in ( I can’t have 100 big images all in the texture memory all at once ) .

For the visual look and feel of the island, I thought long and hard about creating them procedurally and actually changing the colour of the water around them, having them as a series of connected tiles with heightmaps and images ( beach, jungle, rock and so on ). I did lot of searching on google for procedurally generating world maps and found some good stuff but in the end I decided it would be far too process intensive to create these at runtime when the actual benefit to the player was minimal. They’re essentially just images a player wants to land near , once reached, another screen opens with a bunch of things for the player to do. Knowing this, I still wanted to have them look random, varied and geographically interesting. Doing that all by hand was going to be really time consuming ( for now I’m doing all the art for this game myself ) , so I kept searching for a way to procedurally generate islands as images which I could then edit in Photoshop.

An amazing programmer called Amit Patel had the answer. His blog post on polygon map generation proved to be the answer – you could type in a bunch of variables and generate a landmass with rivers, mountains, snow and so on. Taking this image and editing it in Photoshop produced the effect I was after – what I’ll do later is go back and add my own artwork over the top of this, things like fortresses, volcanos, castles and towns that the generator couldn’t create. For now, here’s the result:



CLOUDS and WAVES

An ocean without waves might as well be a giant, boring pond, and we can’t have that. Firstly, I needed a weather system so I created a class that kept track of the time in the game and as time elapsed, this class would change the weather in the game. I set up five constants for weather ( SUNNY, LIGHT_RAIN, HEAVY_RAIN, STORM and SNOW ) and added a few particle systems I’d used in other games to add rain , snow and lightning effects. Incidentally, it’s really easy to create a simple but effective lightning flash in your game. Here’s a code snippet I wrote if you’re interested.

Code:
public function doLightning() {
 
if (!lightningQuad) {
lightningQuad = new Quad(GlobalVars.fullScreenWidth * 1.2, GlobalVars.fullScreenHeight * 1.2, 0xFFFFFF);
lightningQuad.pivotX = lightningQuad.width * 0.5
lightningQuad.pivotY=lightningQuad.height * 0.5
lightningQuad.x =GlobalVars.stageWC
lightningQuad.y =GlobalVars.stageHC
}
 
// play your thunder sound here
GlobalVars.gameSounds.playSound("thunder", 1)
 
// use whatever shake screen function you have to shake the world a bit when it flashes
snippets.shakeScreen(20,20,10,GlobalVars.gameWorld)
addChild(lightningQuad)
lightningCounterMax = snippets.randomBetween(10, 50)
lightningCounter=lightningCounterMax
 
}
 
private function update(){
 
//call this every frame, check if there's a storm and if so there's a random chance of lightning
if (currentWeather == WEATHER_STORM) {
if(snippets.randomBetween(1,1000)==1000)doLightning()
}
if (lightningCounter > 0) {
lightningCounter--
lightningQuad.alpha=snippets.get_percentage(lightningCounter,lightningCounterMax)*0.01
if(lightningCounter==0) removeChild(lightningQuad)
}
 
}

In addition to the weather, the class also included parameters for windStrength and windAngle, which would change randomly depending on the weather conditions.

With my weather system in place, I then created a wave class that extended the seaItem. These waves had their own special functions for moving ( they move in the same direction as the wind and at twice the speed, and then when greater than a certain distance away from the player, they spawn again in a constant loop. I decided to only use waves in big storms – when they hit a player, the boat actually jumps and your hull takes damage ( and crew may or may not fall out of the boat ).

Clouds behave in a similar way to waves except they float above everything else on the display list. They move in the same direction as the wind and at the same angle, then loop back when offscreen and away from the player. If you’re wondering how I move the clouds, it’s a simple bit of trigonometry as follows:


Code:
public function moveCloud():void
{
currentMoveSpeed =weather.windStrength
this.xVel= currentMoveSpeed * Math.cos(weather.windAngle);
this.yVel= currentMoveSpeed * Math.sin(weather.windAngle);
this.x+= this.xVel
this.y += this.yVel
}

BOATS

The player’s primary mode of transportation/exploration in this game is, of course, a boat. Since you’re not alone in the world, I created roughly 500 or so other boats that would sail around the world exploring – I might just spawn these at random through the game so it doesn’t seem to crowded. Boats extend the seaItem class and add a few other functions such as a particle effect for seaspray when moving across the water, the ability to ‘jump’ out of the water when hit by a big wave and the functionality to rotate and move to a point when the user taps the screen.

The boat class is going to have a lot more detail in it later as I start adding statistics to it like ‘number of cannons’, ‘hull strength’, ‘number of cargo holds’ and so on, but for now it’s enough that it can sail around and interact with the world. When two boats meet, a bunch of options will appear such as ‘parley’, ‘attack’ and ‘trade’, but that’s a fair ways away.

You can see a video of some boats moving across the ocean here:

, complete with early weather effects.

Next post I’ll talk a bit more about the RPG elements and play cycle of the game and perhaps even a bit about sea monsters.

As always, thanks for reading and happy journeys. Please feel free to give me any feedback, comments and thoughts by replying below!

Cheers, Oliver Joyce
Whiskeybarrel Studios
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2015, 03:42:23 PM »

Good morning seafarers! Here's dev diary number four. As always, I'd love your feedback so comment below!  Smiley

Battle systems are one of the most integral parts of any role playing game, and Ships and Scurvy is no different. There are many approaches you can take to building a battle system for your game, from making it the central aspect of your game ( the Diablo series ) to making it an incidental (and possible to avoid ) part of your game ( the Ultima series )  . You can build the combat in real time into the world itself, or have it flash to a separate screen for turn based battles. All of these approaches have been successful, so it means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel for your own combat.

I think the first thing you have to decide is how central combat is to your game and how much time do you want to take up. Long combat can be tedious if you don’t have a tonne of strategic options and variety of opponents. Is your game realtime or turn based? Is it a single hero, or do you have a party of adventurers? It’s important to play other RPGs in order to find what you liked and disliked about each system – if you were frustrated by long combat animations, take them out. If you really liked the spellcasting system from another game, try and emulate it for in yours.
 
In Ships and Scurvy I’ve decided to make battles real-time (except for the hero battles ) . I’ve come up with three different battle systems: Naval battles , land battles and hero battles.

Naval Battles

When your ship is sailing around the world, you will occasionally encounter other vessels. Based on your actions in the game, your ship and crew will have a reputation stat varying from ‘downright despicable’ to ‘paragon of virtue’ . Other ships will have these reputation meters too, and depending on how you match up, battle may or may not be a foregone conclusion.

When ships meet, a little menu will appear with the following options:

Parley (friends) – When both vessels are of similar alignment, you can talk to them and sometimes get rumours about the world. They may know the location of some treasure, or the whereabouts of a dangerous sea creature.
Parley (enemies) – When faced with enemies, you can attempt to avoid battle through negotiation. If the other ship is more powerful than you, captain may demand payment of gold, crew or cargo. Refusal can lead to battle.
Trade – If both vessels are of a similar alignment, you can trade goods ( which may be life saving if your crew is down to eating rats )
Attack – If you want to ignore the pleasantries and get straight to battle. You can attack both friendly and enemy vessels, though your reputation will suffer if you betray alliances.
Once attack is selected, the game view is switched from the top down overworld to a side on , 3 quarter angle of your two ships in combat.


 
Each ship has three primary statistics:

Hull – determines the strength of the ship’s hull. Once this reaches zero the ship sinks and there is no chance of salvaging anything from the wreck
Sails – the ship’s ability to flee battle. Once this reaches zero, the ship is stranded and may be boarded for attack. This allows you to salvage stuff from the other ship.
Crew – literally the number of sailors on board the vessel. If this reaches zero, your ship is defeated.
So, during the battle, you are able to select one of these areas to target:   hull/sails/crew. Your ship will auto fire cannonballs at whatever you target, at a rate of fire depending on some other stats like crew morale/health etc. The more cannons you have, the more often you can fire – however if your crew dwindle, there’ll be nobody to fire the cannons. You can see there’s a bit of strategy involved here.

Situations may arise like “this enemy craft is much stronger than me, do I destroy their sails and attempt to flee?” , or perhaps ” I have a lot more crew then them, but less cannons – perhaps I can attempt to board them and fight hand to hand?”

Here’s a little animated GIF of a sea battle in action. Notice how both ships have lost their sails – eventually the hero’s ship loses all it’s crew too and is sunk.


 

Land Battles

Land battles can occur in several situations. If you are able to successfully board the enemy’s ship, a land battle can occur on board the deck of the ship. Alternatively, if your crew are exploring one of the many islands in the game, they may encounter unfriendly natives, hostile soldiers and so on. In this case, you’ve got a land battle on your hands and the game switches views to another 3 quarter perspective shot , this time with a landscape background in the distance and two crews facing each other.

I got the concept for this kind of battle system from a classic Broderbund strategy game from the early 1980s, The Ancient Art of War. This game is seriously one of the best war games I’ve ever played – it has a wonderful mix of strategy and action that was really lost in the more complicated wargames of the 90s and beyond. It feels much more like a casual game than anything else, battles are decided quickly and there’s no hex grids or anything like that to bog you down. Now, in Ancient Art of War, battles were side-on and both forces ran at each other and attacked. You have the option to tell troops to advance or retreat, but that’s about it. Fights are done in 10-30 seconds, and the game is so much better for it.

Incidentally, how many times have you sighed or shouted in rage when playing RPGs where random encounters mean a ten minute meaningless battle against Foozle’s henchmen , wandering boars or whatever – this is exactly what I’m trying to avoid by having fast battles.

Here’s a very rough work in progress of the land battles – I’m still drawing the character avatars and I’ll need to hire a real artist to do the backgrounds ( holler if you know anyone!) . At the moment all the character avatars have a random colour ( and the same eyepatch ) but in the final version they’ll be colour coded according to which side they’re on.
 
Your crew is divided up into three troop types:

Heavy armour – These sailors move slowly, carry large weapons and wear metal armour. They have an advantage against light armour troops.
Light armour – These sailors wear light clothing and carry sharp weapons, allowing them to dart quickly across the battlefield.  They have an advantage against ranged troops.
Ranged -These sailors wear light clothing and wield ranged weapons such as bows and muskets. They can do damage from afar, making them effective against slow heavy armour troops.
As you can see, it makes for an interesting ‘rock-paper-scissors’ dynamic. Each troop has an advantage and disadvantage over the other two. You’ll want your heavy troops to defend your archers from light troops and so on . The trick here is you can only take up to 30 troops into battle, and you must pre-select these troops before you see your enemy’s forces.

I’m toying with the idea of bringing the captain ( your character ) into the battle as a hero character with more stats – this could be cool as it’s more risky ( you can potentially die and lose the game this way ) but the reward could be high in that they can cause a lot of damage to enemy forces.



Speaking of which, the third and final battle system:

Hero Battles

This may or may not make the final build of the game , but I’m thinking of having a special section of the game for when two heroes ( generally ship captains ) meet in battle. Picture an atmospheric duel on top of a mast, ala Pirates of the Carribbean 3 and the wonderful showdown between Davy Jones and Captain Jack Sparrow. The idea for this would be you select a series of attacks ( high/high/low ) and parries ( the same ) and the battle plays out in quick sequences. The winner forces the loser back along the mast until they eventually fall off and are defeated.

Anyway, that’s it for today, I hope you got some ideas for battle systems in your own RPG!

Cheers, happy journeys in your game development!

Oliver Joyce
Whiskeybarrel Studios
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2015, 04:13:59 PM »

In last week's developer diary I talked about the various forms of combat you'll see in Ships and Scurvy. In a nutshell, there are sea battles, hero battles and land battles - which are in fact the subject of today's update!

I've always been a fan of the 1984 game Ancient Art of War's battle system, mainly for its simplicity and visual appeal. Lots of little troops running at each other, you give them basic orders during the combat. I've tried to emulate this battle system a few times in the past but never quite nailed it - when I built Swords & Sandals Crusader, I ended up having to make combat turn based instead of realtime because with the vast number of troops it just became unwieldy and too chaotic. See the image below: Troops would move into the center of the field, attack, then retreat to their positions in formation. It worked fairly well, but some battles felt like they went for far too long - combat was one of the central parts of the game, so I didn't want it to feel tedious.



For Ships and Scurvy, I took what I'd learnt from previous battle systems and came up with the following key issues:

1) The battle was to be on one screen, with no panning left to right - this means limited real estate
2) In realtime combat, it's too difficult to control individual soldiers - especially as they die so quickly
3) More than 30 troops on either side becomes visually too busy and combat becomes hard to follow
4) There's a technical limitation of about 100 troops on each side before framerate drops, but battles of these size were too chaotic in early tests
5) Controlling groups of troops with general orders makes combat a much more tactical affair

Knowing all of this, I started work on creating a basic sailor class - this extends my character class (which controls animations, basic movement etc ) and adding to this some battle specific AI functions. I then grouped the sailor into either Heavy, Ranged or Light troop class and created a hero and enemy array full of such sailors.

Each sailor has five statistics:

Speed affects how fast the character moves in battle
Attack is how likely the character is to hit their enemy
Defence is the character's chance of defending an attack
Health represents how many hits the player can take before falling in battle
Morale represents how likely the character is to flee the battle

The basic premise of the groups (and the heart of the tactics ) is thus:

HEAVY troops have an advantage against LIGHT troops
LIGHT troops have an advantage against RANGED troops
RANGED troops have an advantage against HEAVY troops

It's essentially a variation on rock paper scissors, each troop is stronger or weaker than another troop. Once these battle groups have been created, I then ask the player to select battle tactics from an optional menu. Each troop can change their behaviour by either cautiously or furiously attacking a specific group. In the below example, the light troops will cautiously attack the enemy's ranged troops, giving them an advantage in attack accuracy but a disadvantage in firing speed.



Once battle tactics have been selected, the battle begins. I start battle by having the troops rush out on the the field (from the left and the right) and then looping through each group array and assigning them orders based on their tactics. Each sailor has the following basic battle AI functions.

FindTarget: The sailor seaches for an enemy who is a) alive and b) in the group their are tactically programmed to attack. If they fail to find one, they will try to attack any enemy on the field.

Move: The soldier then moves towards their target. Using the cos/sine method, I get the player to look at a target, then move their x and y velocity according to the cos/sin of the looking angle. It's pretty basic but it works well. The characters move per pixel at their speed stat , but furious characters will move twice as fast.

PrepareAttack: Launches the soldier into their attack animation. If the character is ranged, it actually fires a projectile at their enemy and waits half a second. Once the animation is complete, I then launch into DoAttack.

DoAttack: The heart of combat. Here, the character 'flips a virtual coin' once per attack stat. Each coinflip that returns 'tails' is considered a successful attack. The defensive character then flips coins a total amount of times per defence stat. If the defensive character rolls more tails than the attacking character, they defend the attack; otherwise they lose health. If their health reaches zero, they of course invariably perish on the field.

So, for example:  Soldier A has 3 attack, and solider B has 2 defence. Soldier A flips a coin 3 times and gets (heads/tails/tails) for a total of 2 hits. Soldier B flips 2 coins and comes up with (heads/tails), defending one of the hits. They take 1 damage.

CheckMorale: Each second that passes in battle, I force each soldier to do a morale check. Morale is a number between 1-100 , determined by the ship's crew going into battle. Underfed, poorly treated sailors will go into battle with low morale, for example. Upon performing this function, the character rolls a number between 1 & 100 . If this number is lower then their morale, they will flee the field. Each death or sailor that flees reduces the squad's morale by a number, meaning that the longer goes on and the poorer your squad fares, the more likely they are to flee.



Battle continues until all the soldiers on one side have either fled or died. At this point the winning side may either free the captive enemies, invite them into the ship's crew (for a fee), enslave them or even put them to the sword. The player's reputation through the game will of course depend on actions like this. Nobody likes a slaver ( except perhaps another slaver.)

Anyway, thus end's today's development diary - as a bonus, here's some a video of two squads in battle on a beach. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYUwGZtqmy4&feature=youtu.be

I'd really love some user feedback from anyone in the group interested in this game - in a month or two I'll have a playable prototype out so please get in touch if you'd like to be involved.

As always, happy journeys!
Oliver Joyce
Whiskeybarrel Studios
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2015, 07:46:22 PM »

A sneak preview of the character creation screen for Ships and Scurvy. You can choose male or female sailors, change the colour of your clothes and even design your ship's flag.

No hook hands or eyepatches yet , you'll earn them through adventures (and misadventures) in your travels.
What'd you think so far?

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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2015, 07:45:05 PM »

Here are some assorted sailors made by the random character generator. Still got a lot more hairstyles/clothes to do but progress moves fast. As always, would love to know what you think of the game. Something you'd enjoy playing?

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« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2015, 05:32:58 PM »

The latest from Ships and Scurvy,

We have now put turn based combat in the game for both land and sea. Here's a screenshot from two armies duking it out on the beach - captains leading the charge. What do you think - appreciate your feedback as always!

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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2015, 02:58:14 PM »

Long days pass sailing across the endless blue of my pixellated ocean, and soon I find five whole weeks have passed since my last blog update.


 

That's the the thing about solo indie development; it's massively time consuming, exhausting, tedious and sometimes immensely rewarding. When you're coding every system in the game, from the way the clouds move in the sky, to the way sailors react when a crewmate dies, time gets away from you. This leaves precious little time to actually 'talk' about developing your game.

Some people are naturally apt at marketing and promoting their game at every stage of development. Others toil away in secrecy, hiding it away from the world until it's complete and then quietly uploading it to an app store or game portal. I tend to fall somewhere in between the two categories. I like to talk about the game and share screenshots as often as I can , but I don't really have the gift for self promotion. You'll rarely (if ever) find me at a game conference or casual developer meetup. I've started posting in forums like TIGSource and IndieGamer but momentum builds slowly. My main form of communication is through Twitter (you can follow me here), talking with other game developers, artists and interested fans of my work. Twitter is great for getting fast and useful feedback on in-game screenshots, helping to gauge the popularity of certain features you might want to put in the game and so on.

Anyway, the point of all this is firstly I need to seriously start thinking about going with a publisher at some point. Once the game has reached a point where I can release a playable prototype and perhaps a nice gameplay trailer, I'm going to start approaching a few publishers and see if there's much interest. Ships and Scurvy does not have the graphical eye-candy or slick polish of many other games on the market, but what it does have is what I believe a very addictive game loop.

Having had a large degree of success building the browser RPG Swords and Sandals series for 3rd Sense back in the day, I know what makes a good game loop. For Swords and Sandals, it was simple:  Build character > Fight enemy  > Level Up > Visit Shop , and repeat. For Ships and Scurvy, the process is as below:

Build ship / hire crew
Sail round ocean singing sea shanties
Explore islands and harass natives
Level up
Die from wonderful tropical diseases
And repeat! Your character is essentially immortal, washing up on the same deserted tropical island after each death - but with slightly more skills (and miraculously all the gold you had when you died) .  It's a game loop not too dissimilar to the one Rogue Legacy used to great effect - the art of exploring the same overall world map again and again, all the while dying and gradually unlocking more power in your character.

So what's new since our last update?

You may remember I wrote a detailed blog post on a real-time combat model I'd built for island-based combat. Well..... scratch that. I spent a few days building it only to find that whilst it was lovely to watch all these little soldiers running at each other and fighting autonomously, the player's input felt very minimal. You could influence the outcome of the battle with commands issued to troops, but the effect was so subtle it was lost on players I tested the game with.

The new battle system is turn based. Characters line up in neat little rows and are issued commands each turn. They rush into the middle of the battle and duke it out, then return to the line. It's not realistic at all but from a gameplay perspective it works so much better. The ability to plan which troops to send in next and their level of agression/caution is quite enjoyable. Battles last a minute or two depending on the size of the two crews. In addition, I was able to include the player character as a hero unit to the game. Players are hugely powered heroes, with large health bars able and the ability to attack multiple opponents in a round or even heal their own crew.

There was actually a second, more subtle reason for including the player character in battles. In a game where the majority of time is spent looking at a ship, it's important for the player to see the hero they have created is actually involved in the action whenever possible. Hence they will appear in land battles, be seen on the scenes where there is fishing, diving, mining and so on. The more you feel part of the game, the more invested you are when your character dies.

Having adjusted the land based combat to turn based, I went back and did the same with the sea combat. On the advice of the great game designers and nautical experts at PiratesAhoy.Net, I added a few features to ship to ship battles, such as the ability to advance/retreat with your boat or even board the enemy ship for battle.

The boats now have customised sails on them. Your character's crest and colours are reflected here on the ship and also in the uniforms of your sailors. It's a little touch that personalises the game for you with the limited art assets that I've been able to draw. That's another thing - it's extremely time consuming to do your own artwork and also program your game. I'm hoping to enlist the help of two artists for backgrounds and miscellaneous assets, but the character art is all mine. I'd call myself a fair artist , not a great one, but mine is a unique, funny and colourful style which I think people enjoy.

The last month or so I've spent building character creation screens and the game's intro , which I'll reveal in a video at a later point. It's short and sweet but I think does a good job of setting the scene for your adventure. Finally, I've nearly got all the systems in place for the game - I'm building the all important island exploration scenes over the next few week; this is where the player can try 'choose-your-own-adventure' interactive stories, visit taverns and shops, go diving and fishing and experience many other interesting activities that may result in rewards or death.

Progress moves fast on the game - I hope to have an early playable build of the game available in about 5-6 weeks. If you're interested in being a tester or maybe doing a preview for your games review site, I'd love to hear from you. You can email me here at [email protected] and I'll send you everything you might need.

Cheers and happy journeys!

Oliver Joyce
Whiskeybarrel Studios
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2015, 09:48:13 PM »

Ahoy seafarers!

Happy to reveal the latest iteration of the game logo - still a few finishing touches to be made , but it's certainly coming along fast. As always, love to hear your feedback , tis lonely at sea!



Cheers Oliver Joyce
Whiskeybarrel Studios
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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2015, 08:08:26 AM »

I feel like your channeling a big of south park with your art style. Is that intentional?
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« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2015, 06:06:02 PM »

It's interesting - my art style has sometimes been compared to Southpark. It's not really intentional, actually evolved independently long before I ever saw the series. I drew bubble eyes like that as a child and have never really varied too much from that style. Having said that, I love the Southpark art style and I'm actually surprised more artists don't use it - it's easy to make expressive and interesting characters quite simply.

Cheers!
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2015, 06:08:32 PM »

Ahoy again, my fellow seafarers!

Welcome to Ships and Scurvy GameDev Diary 7. Once again, it’s been a while – though I put that down to communication on the high seas not being particularly swift!

Since the last game dev diary, I’ve been hard at work focusing on building the many islands in the game. At its very heart, Ships and Scurvy is a game of exploration and adventure. The beauty of making an ocean based RPG is you can quite quickly build a huge world. The ocean covers 95% of it, but you populate it with islands and you can create a seemingly huge world without having to spend months and months detailing it.

That’s not to say there will be long boring stretches of empty ocean – nobody likes that. I’ve started to add a stack of sea monsters and swarms of fish that swim around – you can try to fight them if you dare. I’m going to implement large transparent floating ‘X’ marks on the ocean – stop here and you might catch a rare fish or find some sunken treasure. Bits of flotsam containing wood, wreckage of ships and mysterious bottles will float around the currents. Combine this with the hundreds of ships in the game and special text events and every day will be full of interesting happenings.

The ocean itself varies between 100,000 pixels and 250,000 pixels in width/height at the moment. I haven’t locked down a final number, I have to play with the game a fair bit more to try and achieve that balance between voyages feeling like they’re not super fast and also not feeling like a chore. I’d ideally like for it to take 30 seconds to a minute to sail from one island to another – any longer and it starts to get boring.

Time for a quick bit of maths: If you consider the average screen width of a device playing the game is roughly 1024 pixels, and a fast ship travels about 200 pixels a second, it would take 5 seconds to navigate it. If the entire ocean is 100,000 pixels wide, it’d take 500 seconds, or about 8 minutes to sail the length of it. In terms of a little casual RPG, that’s a fair distance. It creates a sense of wonder and exploration, but not so much that the game feels insurmountably big.



Island Generation

So, no ocean is complete without islands!  Back in the second dev diary, I actually detailed how I created and placed islands in the game. They were nothing but images in a grid back then. The ship would reach them, then have to turn around because they did nothing. Several months later, I’ve finally reached a point where I could populate and detail them. It’s a seemingly easy process on the surface, but like most things in game development, is more complicated than that.

Let’s go through the process how I create an island in the game. Each island needs:

A name. This name usually comes from one of the events in the island’s adventure scenario. For example, an adventure scenario where your crew run into a herd of stray blue cats naturally leads me to calling the island something like “Azura Felis’ . I tend to lean towards bastardised Spanish/Latin sounding names like “Isla” or “Volcanum” because it kind of lends itself to the theme of the game – the Spanish and Portuguese journeys of great exploration were a huge inspiration in developing this game.
A location. This is an X and Y point on a map, somewhere between 0 and 100,000 ( or whatever the final map size is). I have designed the game so the starting island our hero washes up on is at the very center of the map, and I wrote a little bit of code that spawned islands at increasing distances from that point, further and further out at a random angle. So it almost looks like a spiral galaxy. From there I then move these islands around a bit to randomize it, check to make sure no islands are touching, and then I assign a number to each island.
A difficulty level. This is a subtle one. Why would an island have a difficulty level? The reason for this is actually to create a world that feels dangerous and has a sense of danger. Games like Skyrim scale their difficulty as the player’s level improves, but I don’t think that suits a game of exploration like this. You need to feel trepidation when landing on a mysterious island – will you face a tribe of pygmies? Or perhaps a 50 foot gorilla? The difficulty level is assigned for each island , and any battles that might be fought on this island will be scaled to that level.
An adventure scenario. Each adventure contains a ‘choose your own adventure’ style scenario in which the captain and the crew explore the island, encountering mysterious situations, hostile tribes, fantastic beasts and so on. An adventure can be attempted at any time on an island, except it can only be completed once per island. If you decide to run from the herd of giant fluffy kittens, you don’t get a second chance to go back and try again until you start a new game.
Resources. There’s currently about 150 resources that can be collected in Ships and Scurvy, everything from rice and bananas to whiskey, jewels and rare gems. Each island contains a number of these resources that can be mined/harvested in activities. I haven’t yet decided whether these resources will ever become exhausted or not – this will probably be a design decision further through the build. I’ll detail each resource a bit further below.
Activities. Each resources has an associated activity. Gold can be mined, wheat can be harvested and so on. Depending on the resources allocated to each island, little icons will appear on the island to show that an island can be mined, its waters fished or its animals hunted. There’s currently up to 10 activities that can be completed on any island, but most islands will have 3-4 activities depending on its resources.
So, as you can see, there’s a lot to do for each island! Here’s a screenshot of an island showing a few activities that can be attempted.


 

I’ve written some code that automatically allocates resources to each island so I didn’t have to do it manually. The pseudocode for this is pretty simple. For each island I wish to create:

Generate a random number between 1 and 100
Pick a random resource. See if its hidden rarity value is less than the number rolled. If so, add this resource to the island. This way, common items like fresh water, grain and wood will appear on most islands. Rarer items like silver or exotic fruits will appear much less.
Repeat this scenario up to X number of times per island, guaranteeing each island will definitely have at least a few items to find.
Resources

Each resource has a number of properties, as hinted at above, and is grouped into either a consumable (such as beer) or a non-consumable (such as cobalt). Let’s take a quick look at two such items. Both items contain common properties such as those found in the non-consumable item cobalt.

// non consumable
 
case Resources.COBALT:
rObj.itemDesc= "One of your sailors remarks that he has killed plenty of cobalts and goblins in his day. You suspect he means 'kobold' but don't have the heart to tell him."
rObj.resourceType=ResourceTypes.MINERAL
rObj.itemWeight = 10
rObj.valueModifier=3
rObj.consumable = false
rObj.rarity=30
break
 
//consumable
 
case Resources.BEER:
 
rObj.itemDesc="Beer: The number one reason dugongs get mistaken for mermaids.";
rObj.resourceType=ResourceTypes.MATERIAL;
rObj.itemWeight=4;
rObj.shelfLife= 30;
rObj.nutritionValue = 0;
rObj.diseasePrevention=0;
rObj.moraleValue=10;
rObj.itemWeight=8;
rObj.consumable = true;
rObj.rarity=25;
break;
 

When you perform an activity on an island, there’s a random chance you’ll find one of these items, and you’ll see a popup such as the one below:



Anyway, that’s it for this week. Next up, we will be concentrating on the ship herself – feeding the crew, repairing and maintaining your vessel, and dealing with the ever-present threats of mutiny and scurvy.

It is a long and often difficult process to build a large game as a solo developer, but I’m as always grateful for the interest from the community – thanks for reading and being a part of it. We shall get there, and what an adventure we will have!

Cheers and happy journeys!
Oliver Joyce
Whiskeybarrel Studios

 
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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2015, 09:49:05 PM »

    Another month passes at sea. In fact, it's been nearly 6 months since I started work on Ships and Scurvy. That's pretty scary.

    I originally came up with the idea for the game in December of last year as chronicled in the first dev diary, and six months later I would estimate the game's probably about 50% built. Progress has been at times slow, and at other times really rapid, but every day I've been adding something to the game to get it to this point.

    So what's the latest? Since we last talked, I've fully sorted out the island resource gathering and adventures. They're actually pretty cool - some of them see you fleeing from exploding volcanos, while in another you might be trying to diplomatically excuse yourself from a boring tribal dance. Check it out:



Aside from the island adventures,  I spent the last few weeks building the cargo hold / shop system. This took several iterations but I'm pretty happy with where it's at, considering how much information needs to be displayed. You can buy, sell, drop items all from the one screen and get information about each resource at a glance. UI is hard, man. So time consuming - I estimate it's about 50% of game dev.



So, it's time to take a look at how far we've come this last 6 months.

FULLY WORKING IN THE GAME SO FAR:

A large ocean, fully sailable. It takes about 5 minutes to sail from one corner to the other ( and then it loops , like a round earth should.)
Over 100 ships and 2 sea monsters that sail around the ocean. This number is going to increase later.
A weather system , with storms, wind directions, waves. The sun rises and sets, our ship has a spotlight for the dark.
A game introduction animation
A character creation system where the player can customise their avatar and ship's flag/crest.
 25 of the game's 50+ islands fully built, with resources to gather and adventures to be had.
A'Choose Your Own Adventure' style adventure for each island, with 4 possible outcomes - there's nearly 10,000 words of stories so far and counting.
Each island also has up to 10 activites to do, from harvesting and foraging to hunting, diving and mining.
There's over 200 resources to be gathered, from the very common items such as wood and cloth to very rare treasures. Each one has a description, weight, nutritional value and so on.
A fully scrollable world map that uncovers islands as they are discovered.
An army to army combat system for land based battles between up to 80 troops.
A ship to ship turn based battle system , with fully firing cannons and ship movement.
A fully working shop system and cargo hold , buy sell and trade items.[/li][/list]

So , in a nutshell, there's been a stack achieved. When I tally it all up like that, I'm pretty happy with what I've done so far as a one man band. There's so much to do when you're building an RPG. It sounds funny but I'm only just coming to the point where the game is playable. Each individual system works, but only now am I tying them together. You can visit an island, mine a resource, sell it to a merchant or drop it in the ocean. You can lose troops in battle and so on, but you can't buy more crew members because I haven't built the tavern yet, and so on. There are no enemy pirate captains to face.

Speaking of which, here's broadly what's left to build.

THINGS ON MY TO DO LIST:

25 more islands to craft ( the stories are written on paper but it's time consuming to add them to the game )
25+ 'ocean based' adventures which randomly happen at sea
The tavern ( hire crew , get  rumours of adventure and so on, have a good meal )
Captain vs Captain single combat -this will be a simple turn based system
Flotsam , drowning sailors and other objects in the sea to find
Crew page ( feeding the crew, dealing with disease and morale , singing sea shanties etc )
Trophies - keeping track of all your achievements in the game )
Journal - a page to keep track of how many pirate captains you've defeated, how many islands visited, how many seamonsters defeated etc
I have to draw about 20 sea monsters , from the giant squid to the White Whale. These will be fought in combat exactly like ship to ship combat
I have to draw about 20 'island guardian' monsters, from King Kong to a giant bronze statue. These are fought just like army vs army combats, except it's army vs monster!
I have to create outfits for 20 or so pirate captains for you to face. Mainly just a hat , a crest and a weapon - as well as a simple back story for each.
Character skill / level up page - you get XP in the game, I want characters to be able to improve their skills, everything from cooking to fighting to mining. Your choice.
Crew officers - basically 'special units' that don't appear in combat, but rather grant bonuses to things in the game. One officer might allow for +2 combat while at night etc.
Disease screen - when you get diseases, there's a sarcastic celebratory screen ....' Congratulations, You've Got Scurvy!' and so on.
Ship upgrade screen - get more cannons, improve the ship's hull, faster sails etc.

Woah... that's a pretty big list. We're definitely on track though. I'm fully committed to the game thus far. That's the good news.

And now the bad news.

So...I just landed a contract job building a Unity game with a game development company here in Sydney. It's a really cool project will be a massive learning experience for me - in order to stay relevant in the game industry, I have to improve my skillset in languages other than ActionScript / Adobe AIR ( which is what Ships and Scurvy is built in ) . I'm self funding the development of this game, and I have to support that with client work. This gig is going to be fulltime until November, so unfortunely development on Ships will slow down a fair bit , mainly nights and weekends, until that contract is over.

After that, however, I should be sufficiently funded enough to be able to dedicate enough time to finish the game by early next year and get it launched. It's tough, but indie developers gotta make money any way they can, and I'm very fortunate to have landed a contract job building games, rather than having to flip burgers ( not that that isn't a noble, delicious profession.)

Oh, one more thing before I sign off - I've built a fully functioning game map , divided into four seas; the Uveric, Pilthian, T'Kash and Cycladian oceans. It's a lot of fun sailing out into the vast ocean and seeing little islands pop up on your map as you visit them. The islands in the image below don't have proper names yet but that's coming soon ( 25 of 50+ islands built already ).


 

Anyway, that's it for this month - sorry the updates have been so slow but rest assured I'm working hard to get a game trailer out this month for everyone to see. In a few months I'm hoping to have a playable alpha for people to try out. You can email me at [email protected] if you want to be notified when it's available. Any game reviewers who want an early copy to check out, that would be brilliant - I've hardly done any promotion thus far but I'll be looking for a game publisher pretty soon - please do get in touch if you want to talk biz, I'm pretty confident this game is going to be great but I'd love your help.

Happy journeys in your game development!

Cheers, Oliver Joyce
Whiskeybarrel Studios
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« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2015, 09:44:59 PM »

Apologies for the lack of recent updates, rest assured I'm still very hard at work on the game and will post the latest dev diary soon.

I'm pleased to be able to show the first official trailer video for the game , would love to know your thoughts so far!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7mI5_9PzFw&feature=youtu.be

Cheers Oliver
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« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2015, 05:42:38 PM »

"If there were no thunder, men would have little fear of lightning." - Jules Verne

So it's mid June and long overdue for another Ships and Scurvy game developer diary. It's interesting actually... when you first come up with a game idea, you're bursting with ideas about it and just want to write down as much as you can, sketch everything on paper, tell the whole world about it and so on. I was entirely sure that once I started Ships and Scurvy, I'd write a developer diary at least once a week with updates.

One week becomes two, which becomes a month, and now it's been six weeks. The further along I get into developing the actual game, the less energy I seem to have for doing everything else around the game - the promotion,  the myriad internet forums you're supposed to be engaging the community in and so on. More on this in a little while. Anyway, there's only so much energy to go around , but rest assured, the less frequently I'm updating these developer diaries, the harder I'm actually working on the game and the more I have to show.

So... since the last major update I've knocked off a stack of new features for Ships and Scurvy. The biggest addition of all is .... drumroll... FINALLY a game trailer has been added. This took an inordinate of time to get around to doing and to put together. It's still pretty rough because obviously the game is only 50% complete and I'm not a video editor, but it at least gives a taste for what the game's all about - which can be hard to do until you actually see it in action. Anyway, without further delay, here 'tis!





I've written up over 44 of the 60 or so island adventure scenarios now. They take a huge chunk of time, because you have to come up with an interesting adventure, 4 possible outcomes and the associated bits of data telling the computer how to reward / punish the crew accordingly. One of the things I noticed while playing through an early prototype of the game was that these adventure scenarios were very entertaining but a little 'text heavy'.

To alleviate that, I decided they probably needed a little eye-candy in the form of a hand drawn sketch. I used to draw all the time on paper, and thought it might be fun to get a sketchbook and a pencil and actually draw up some of these scenarios and add them to each adventure. Each one takes 5 to ten minutes to draw and then I run a photoshop 'Oil Paint' and 'Linear Burn' filters over a parchment background. I'm no great artist but I'm pleased with the results as they make the game feel very hand-crafted.



So, next up, I've also built the 'Tavern' section of the game. The crew , after long days at sea, can visit taverns to get a hot meal, buy a drink or even hire new recruits. I remember a classic Sega game, Wonderboy in Monsterland , had little taverns the hero could visit - buying a drink would often give the player hints and rumours. I added these into the game. You talk to the barkeep and he picks a random fact from the world to give you. How this works is kind of interesting:

  • I pick an island in the game to give a fact about, then give the bartender a prefix comment such as 'I've heard sailors talk about [ISLAND NAME]
  • I find where the island is relative to the player and allocate a procedurally generated string such as 'far to the north-west'
  • I then choose some random fact about the island , such as the fact that gold or berries might be found there.
  • Certain proper quest hints can also be found here by talking to the game, these will appear in a different colour such as [TO FIND THE NEXT SEA CAPTAIN, VISIT ISLAND X]

Certain proper quest hints can also be found here by talking to the game, these will appear in a different colour such as [TO FIND THE NEXT SEA CAPTAIN, VISIT ISLAND X]

After the player's had four or five drinks, the bartender cuts you off for the day - so you don't get unlimited hints.



Related to the tavern, but on board your ship, you have the 'Crew Quarters' screen where you can dismiss the crew you've hired by tapping their portraits, or feed them a meal from the cargo hold. Food , morale and health is a pretty important part of Ships and Scurvy. You have to keep the crew from mutinying and free from disease - here's where you do it. As you can see below, there's four different meals the chef can make the crew that will either see them happy and healthy or at death's door and plotting against you. I've kept it fairly simple, you don't have to peel every potato and boil every vegetable!



Other additions in the last six weeks include a whole bunch of refinements and changes to the UI, a proper day/night cycle (allowing you to rest and gain experience at night ....levelling up comes next!) . I'm almost at the point where I have a fully working game prototype that allows you to create a character, hire a crew, explore the world, die in battle or whatever, and get resurrected on Coconut Island and try again.

There's still a few major sections of the game that need building including 1 vs 1 sea-captain duels, the level-up character stuff, as well as a 'dungeon/temple' exploration thing I'm trying to flesh out in my head, seeing how well it would fit with the game, but that's yet to come.

I'm in talks about getting a publisher for the game at the moment so hopefully I have some exciting news for next update - as well as a longer 'Let's Play' gameplay video of the game. Until then though, thanks for being along for the journey - I appreciate all the great feedback I've received so far.

Cheers and happy journeys!

Oliver Joyce
Whiskeybarrel Studios
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« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2015, 05:47:11 PM »

"Sleep soundly, young Rose. For I have built you a good ship, strong and true." - Thomas Andrews

Sometimes I feel my game development journey on Ships and Scurvy RPG is like I'm at the helm of the Titanic, steering blindly into a North Atlantic night. The giant iceberg of failure and obscurity rushing towards me as I ignore all the warning signs ( "the market is too crowded", "the game is too ambitious", "you need a bigger team" ). Moments of pure joy as friends try and love the game ( "I'm the king of the world!" ) , moments of acknowledged mistakes as you test systems that aren't working ( "There are not enough lifeboats on this ship - not by half") .



I've said a lot over the last 6 months that this is probably my last big shot at making a successful game. Since December, I've basically been working on Ships full time, supporting it with the occasional bit of contract work and slowly eating away at 10 years of hard earned savings. As many of you know , indie game development takes a big toll on your time - relationships get strained, your actual regular career is put on hold, your finances take a big hit. There's a huge turbulent storm inside your mind - you feel like that every moment away from the screen, you are further and further away from the game being done, and even if you finish it, to what end? Does the world really need your game?

One of my game development friends, the inspirational Christer Kaitila  ( founder of One Game A Month and a huge source of encouragement to gamedevs like myself) posted recently that even he suffers the same fears as I do. "What if the game is not good enough?" , "What if my game never succeed like my friends' games do?", "Am I really cut out for this?" . It's a fear so many of us solo developers face. The odds are stacked against you because historically the bar has never been lower to making a game. There's never been more people making games. There's never been more competition out there for the audience's attention - and you are constantly comparing your game to every one of them.

But you know what?

I believe in myself. I'm going to succeed. Why shouldn't I? I have something unique. Nobody else can make a game like me, with my sense of humour, with my oddball game design philosophy and unorthodox approach to world building. There's a moment early in the game when my composer Adrian Galassi's delightful music score kicks in and your little raft sails off from the first island, into a vast blue ocean full of possibilities and my heart soars. That's what game development should be about.

I've never been more excited at where Ships and Scurvy is at. The game is barely past the early prototype but already it's by far the favourite of all my creations, including Swords and Sandals 2, which was played hundreds of millions of times by countless people.

This journey doesn't have to be doomed. Fate is never sealed. Icebergs can be swerved and that triumphant homecoming on the shores of America can be realised.

Anyway, enough of the Titanic analogies ( I'll admit it - I loved the movie, I cry like a baby when the string quartet scene played.) and onto actual game development news.

The latest from Ships and Scurvy

Since the last update, there's been an absolute mountain of work done. I look back at June's teaser trailer and the game feels vastly different already. I sent an early prototype to a few trusted friends and game dev associates ( big shout out to Tom Gattenhof, Richard Csala, Silas Rowe, Mauno Vaha and Mattheui Senidre ) and received some absolutely invaluable feedback that changed some fundamental parts of the game. You've heard this before and you'll hear it again - get others to playtest your game as often and as early as you can. (On the flipside , you don't have to take on board all of their comments, you're the one with the vision.)

Off the top of my head, here's a list of the major changes.

Visual improvements:

First up, the ship in the early build of the game was way too big and too fast. It made the islands feel tiny, it was harder to spot other ships before they were right on you and it didn't quite 'feel right'. By reducing the ship to 50% of its original size and shrinking it, the world feels more epic ( and seamonsters scarier!)



The first incarnations of the shops and taverns felt a bit clunky too. For example, to hire new sailors for your crew, you had to go to the tavern , click on "Sailors", click on "Hire New Crew" , go to yet another screen, then click on the sailors you wanted. Too many levels. I decided to combine several screens into one, so you can buy a drink, eat a meal, hire sailors all from the one main tavern screen. I kinda love the new tavern now. The rumours the bartender give you actually can lead to you getting a lot of gold early in the game if you pay attention to them. I have to admit, I took some inspiration from the SEGA classic Wonderboy In Monsterland for the tavern scenes. ("Ale or mead?")




Level up!

Finally, there's an experience points system and 'Character level up' screen in the game. Every league you sail, every time you set foot on a new island, every time you win a battle at land or sea, and so on, your character will gain experience. When you go to bed at night, all that XP is tallied up and your character will level up and gain new skills like the abililty to hunt animals on islands, go diving for treasure, to talk to bartenders and get special rumours, to improve the combat skills of your soldiers, and so on. I've still got a bunch of skills to add, there will end up being 40-50 possible skills to learn I would imagine - meaning that every adventure and every sea captain will be pretty different.



The tutorial prologue is now in the game

Yeah, I know. Nobody enjoys a tutorial, least of all me. Problem is, this is a big, sprawling game that has a few complicated systems that need explaining. Back in the 80's or even the 90's , this wouldn't be a problem, you'd just 'figure it out' but these days attention spans are shorter, people are less forgiving and the window for hooking players into your game is a lot smaller. Hence, the need for a tutorial.

What I've done, is turned the 'prologue' part of the game into a tutorial. You wake up on the island and the game's basic systems and UI screens are explained to you. You learn how to explore, how to harvest wood and build a raft. You fight your first battle, and then you learn how to sail. It's a 5 to ten minute section that is pretty enjoyable and kind of sets the scene for you without completely feeling like too much of a trial.

All 50 island adventures have been written and there's artwork for them

This took absolutely ages, a lot longer than I thought. My lovely girlfriend and I came up with most of the scenarios while on holiday in Bali in Feb and I started coding them up when I got home. It's now July and they're only done. The sketches were actually pretty fun to do, but time consuming as it's been years since I've drawn on pencil and paper and my art skills have become very rusty. Here's a sneak preview of a few of my favourites.



The food system has been overhauled YET AGAIN!

Third time's a charm. Finding food, trading for food, keeping your crew fit and healthy are important parts of the game,but I got the food system wrong twice already. I kind of went full Peter Molyneux and went overboard on the importance of food. For all 150+ food items in the game, I had a weight, a nutritional value, a disease resistance, a god-damned USE BY DATE for them!!! Looking back, it's kind of hilarious but at the time I thought that this would be something that interested the player. I've gone back and stripped that out. Now, all foods count as ONE unit each. Each crew member needs one food unit, 3 times a day. If they dont eat, they starve and you face death or a mutiny. It's that simple.

Oh, and breakfast beers are awesome.

http://whiskeybarrelstudios.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/breakfastBeer.png

And many, many more changes.

I've done a stack of little changes to the game to make it more playable. I want to try and get it as refined as possible before I add in the next two sections of the game , the captain vs captain sea combat and the dungeon exploring components. Arguably these are games all alone in their own right - hell, 1 vs 1 combat is kind of all Swords and Sandals was, right?

For me, its key that I get the world around these sections right, so when I start on them, I can focus fully on making them as cool and as fun as they can be. Imagine, taking a crew of diseased, starving and mutinous crew members into a lost jungle dungeon in search of a legendary giant iguana. Tempers will flare, but the promise of treasure and fame might just hold them together until they can return to the ship wealthier and happier.

That's it for now.

I'm hoping to get prototype 0.0.4 up next week. If you're interested in being an early prototype tester, hit me up at [email protected] or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/oliver_joyce.

Also, I'm still working on the best way forward for marketing. I'm looking at approaching some publishers real soon - if you work for one and want to discuss teaming up,  I'd love to hear from you! This is a step I need to think very carefully about as it can make or break the game. I've been talking with Colm Larkin, creator of the brilliant Guild of Dungeoneering about the right approach to publishing, I want to give a massive shout out to him for his invaluable advice and support. You're a true inspiration.

Thanks again, thanks for staying with me until the end of this epic post and I promise you, this will be a grand adventure unlike any other.

Cheers and happy journeys,

Oliver Joyce
Whiskeybarrel Studios
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« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2015, 06:37:09 PM »

Happy to announce Ships and Scurvy has an offical website now, with lots of screenshots, a trailer and an FAQ about the game. Check it out below - I'll be launching the game on Greenlight soon, appreciate all the support.

http://shipsandscurvy.com

Cheers, Oliver Joyce
Whiskeybarrel Studios
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