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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsShips and Scurvy RPG - GameDev Diary
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WhiskeybarrelStudios
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« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2015, 06:16:30 PM »

Ahoy seafaring friends! Ships and Scurvy is now up on Steam Greenlight. If you'd like to check it out, I'd really appreciate your support - you can vote on it below:

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=498890824



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« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2015, 06:16:56 PM »

I've just added a video of the first five minutes of gameplay from Ships and Scurvy, featuring the intro, character creation, a fight with some angry natives, a little raft adventure and some recruiting at the local tavern.

Yuu can find it below, please vote for the game if you want to see it on Steam!

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=498890824
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« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2015, 06:51:00 PM »

September approaches and our wondrous ocean voyage continues!

I find it interesting how events in your life shape the outcome of your creative projects. For example, just this weekend past I completed a 100km charity hike for OxFam with three other friends. Over the course of 33 straight hours we journeyed through beautiful forests, mossy valleys and dusty fire trails, stopping briefly to rest and checkpoints and then continuing on our way. It was the toughest thing I've ever done but immensely rewarding.



During this epic hike, I found I had a lot of time to think and my mind often wandered to the game and the whole experience of building it this last 8 months. The experience itself is not unlike a long hike. You start out full of energy, a little daunted but with a sense of huge purpose to what you're about to do. As you keep going, you see other game developers on the figurative trail. Some fall away and abandon their projects, undone by one thing or another. Others power ahead of you and release their game to rapturous applause while you plod along.

The sun sets and the night falls and you start to question why you're doing it. This hike was to raise money for the poorest people on the planet, for whom's problems are greatly more significant than the luxury of will people like my game, so in that respect motivation was easy. When you're building a game, your motivations are a lot more murky. Sometimes it's financial, sometimes it's for the glory, sometimes it's just because you have a great idea and you'd love to share it with anyone who will play. To be honest, mine falls somewhere in between the three. If you had told me I would make this game, many people will play it and love it but you'll hardly make a dollar, I would honestly not even commence develop. I've had those accolades with Swords & Sandals. Millions of plays, no money for me. Thing is though, you just don't know- you'll never know until the game is out there.

Anyway, that brings me to the specifics of today's Ships and Scurvy update! Firstly, *** huzzah *** we're up on Steam Greenlight! You can vote for the game below - we're hovering at 42% of the way to the top 100. Every vote and positive comment helps!

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=498890824

Secondly, duels have been added to the game! This was an interesting one - originally I had planned to make them a lot more in depth, with heaps of options for attack and defence and so on... but as the game expands, duels have become less and less important to the game and also less frequent. They basically serve as the 'mini-boss' battles where you chase down other ships, board them and defeat their sea captain.
How they function now is you have two seperate attacks: The thrust that does half damage but pushes your enemy twice as far, and the cut that does double damage but doesn't push your enemy far. You can also vault over your enemy to switch sides with them, or if you have bandages, heal yourself.
You can see a little duel in action here:



Another really useful addition to the game is an improvement to the main map, and a new minimap system. The main map now has darkened squares to show you areas of the map you haven't visited yet. The new minimap shows you nearby islands on your main UI panel, so you don't have to keep going and checking the map the whole time. I combined it with the compass to make navigation more straightforward. Little tweaks like these make a big difference over the course of a game's development.



I also spent a bit of time adding visual upgrades to the ships. I always love it in a game where if a character gets a new magic weapon or helmet, it shows on their head. Same with a ship - you upgrade the sails, you want to see them appear.You upgrade the hull armour or the crew quarters, little panels and windows appear. It's just a small way to make the player feel more connected to their ship
.
Other less interesting additions to the game include some optimisations to make run better full-screen, a 'load game' selection screen, and so on. The to-do list is getting shorter and soon I'll be able to get stuck into the dungeon-crawl section of the game, which is the last major area still needed to add.
Happy journeys to you all!

Cheers, Oliver Joyce
Whiskeybarrel studios.
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« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2015, 08:52:00 PM »

Mid September and the journey continues through the swirling oceans of Ships and Scurvy. I've well and truly got my sea legs now, that's for sure. Whether I'm a decent mariner or not the jury remains deep in discussion about. I keep making change after change to the game. Iteration is the one of the keys to successful game development, I believe. You have to know when something is working, when to cut something from the game and so on. Channel your inner pirate and be ruthless on your code!



To tell the truth, I'm actually pretty far from your average game developer in terms of my process. I'm always breaking the unshakeable commandments of game dev. I tend to ignore 'best practice' stuff all the time with my own work. What do I mean by that? Here's a few game development confessions:

Confession: I rarely write design documents, and when I do they are pretty vague. I scribble stuff on notepads while coming up with ideas, but only if I'm away from the computer.
Justification: Every game I've ever made has ended up so far from the original design, I feel like I won't know what the game is going to be until I'm a fair way along. Game dev is a very liquid process for me. I hate cookie cutter games.

Confession: I develop in a very scattered fashion, whatever interests me at the time. For example, before I've even got a character on the screen, I might have written a full list of descriptions for all of the islands in the game, complete with what sort of resources you will find on the island and what background will be used. Or, I might add in sound effects and music way before I've even got a game loop happening.
Justification: This is a hobby for me. The projects are long. I have to do what interests me to stay interested for the long haul. Mix up the fun stuff with the tedious stuff.

Confession: I'm a total spaghetti coder. I've always been a creative first, programmer second. I taught myself many bad habits. My classes start off all nice and structured and then end up full of spaghetti code, with references to each other all of the place. Global variables all through the place etc.
Justification: Nobody else is going to see this code. There's a reason I can develop so rapidly. I just get shit done. I'm prolific and all my stuff works, despite the purist who may sneer at it behind the scenes. Client projects of course are more structured, but for my own stuff, just get it done.

Confession: I've never played any of the games I've built all the way through from start to finish. When I released the Swords & Sandals games, I'd played each of the individual stages and battles over a thousand times each, but I'd never sat down to play through the entire game.
Justification: By this time I'm totally sick of the game - however I've got a pretty innate sense of game balancing, so I'm pretty aware of how the whole thing plays out.

Confession: I do a bit everything, so there's nothing in the game that is done particularly skillfully. I do everything except create the music and some of the art. I'm an average coder, so the game doesn't run as fast as a skilled programmer could make it. I'm an average artist, so there's plenty of rough looking art and characters in the game. However, I think I'm actually a pretty funny writer, so at least I can say the writing is always fairly good in my games.
Justification: A game is the sum of all its parts. Great art doesn't make a great game necessarily. Nor does amazing programming. The skill is in bringing all this stuff together into a great big melting pot and forging a fun experience for the player. That's a total intangible, you either have it or you don't.

Anyway, that's enough time in the confessional for one day. I'm sure I'll do a follow up with more of my terrible habits later!
So what's the latest from the game? It's been a crazy busy month actually. I'm about to start a new job in just a few days ( building kids games and activites for an awesome educational publisher here in Sydney ) so unfortunately game development is going to slow down somewhat... nights and weekends for the foreseeable future. The game's roughly 75% complete now , the lion's share of the development has been done ... the trick now is to stay focused and keep developing even after a long day's work.

VOICE OVER
I commissioned the wonderful voice over artist Rosko Lewis to narrate the game and he has delivered in spades. One part grizzled sea captain, two parts English Gent, his voice over gently guides the player through the game and acts as a terrific companion on the high seas. It's amazing how just having some human voice work in a game can totally transform the experience. If you're interested in getting some done for your game, I highly recommend him. Check out his stuff here: http://www.roskolewisbritishvoiceover.co.uk/

QUESTS
Finally, the quest system is in the game and works well! I've opted for simplicity with only one available quest at a time. There's more than enough games out there with 'busy-work' sidequests - I don't want to waste the player's time. You can opt to follow the main quest line, or if you choose, to sail around having adventures and exploring as you like. Certain dungeons and areas will of course be locked off until certain parts of the story - there's no way a player will accidentally enter a late game dungeon and spoil the story, but there's definitely a great amount of freedom available.



Quests themselves appear in the form of a short dialogue cutscene and then a 'quest panel' where the objectives and reward are displayed for the player's info. Usually it's something like 'track down this pirate', 'explore this dungeon', 'kill this sea monster' but each chapter will have a unique quest too ( the first chapter its to raise a crew and a war chest, the second is to build a fort on an island etc)

BIRD'S EYE WORLD VIEW
The camera has been zoomed way, way out to a 'birds-eye' view of the game. Islands have been shrunk and you can now see so much more of the world; you can see little ships sailing to-and-fro and get a better idea of where you're going. I loved how fast the 'zoomed in' version felt but you just were sailing blind most of the time (even with the addition of the minimap). A lot of people suggested a zoom-in/out feature, but the way I built the game made that just impossible. Textures are generated when the world is created and it just struggles to zoom in and out technically.



LOADING AND SAVING
You can now load and save your progress in the game, for as many characters as your heart desires. This isn't the sexiest feature, but when playtesting the game it's a massive timesaver. It was actually a bit of a bastard to add in, a lot of bytearrays and deep-cloning of objects. Adobe AIR allows you to do filestream writing as such but it still required a fair bit of manual labour.

PARLEY
You can now converse with other vessels at sea in the form of parley. You can trade with, threaten or avoid conflict depending on your ship's alignment versus the alignment of the other. For example, the Royal Navy is more likely to trade with you if you are not evil.... though pirates will just as soon attack you either way. Parley can be a great way of getting resources for hungry crewmates on a long sea voyage.



There's a stack of other little upgrades and balances to the game and I'm very close to starting work on the dungeon system , which is a huge part of the game.

Until the next update, may the oceans sparkle for you!

Cheers, Oliver Joyce
Whiskeybarrel Studios
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