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Forgotten Shores update

#1
Hello,

Sorry for the long delay in any update on FS. As you know I've been working on a lot of FTD stuff for the last 6 months or so.

As I'll be writing about later on I've been accepted onto an entrepreneur accelerator scheme hosted by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) that I'll be starting on Monday. Many thanks to them. They'll be providing office space, coaching and support with the goal of releasing Forgotten Shores of the course of the six month program. So that is the time frame you should expect it in. The reason it isn't going to be ready much sooner than that is I've pivoted the game's core concepts quite a bit, and I'd like to explain why, and how.

Why.
The concept it has been developed with is that you have an empire on board various vehicles. your empire creates and processes resources for building and expanding the fleet. To facilitate that core concept there was a lot of "magical realism" such as portals between vehicles, portals to realms of material storage, and stuff called void stone and warp energy used for teathering and mining floating pieces of land, for resource gathering. That never sat well with me as the whole point of the resource system was to make the game realistic, and the changes to the vehicle design and combat in FS all centered around expanding the realism. It was also a major sink of time programming all the jobs, animations, production processes and blocks associated with getting manufacturing done realistically on vehicles. I also suspect that for a lot of people, this was not a major selling point, and as such it did not represent a good trade off between desirability and feasibility in the product's design.

How it's looking now.
It's still a flooded world... but you're now going to play the role of the Governor of a small outcrop of mountain land rising above this flooded world. Your island is where the resource processing side of things will happen. There will be many islands to capture and each will have certain raw materials on it (copper mine, sulphur (for gunpowder), coal mine, red cedar forrest, etc).

As the Governor of these islands you'll be able to spend money and resources to upgrade the production processes on the island. This will take the form of, for example, spending 300 gold and 12 square meters of copper plate to build a steam engine in the workshop to increase the pressure of the metal roller. This will increase the rate at which "rolling" of metal is conducted, increasing the rate at which copper ingot is turned into copper plate, and wrought iron ingot is turned into wrought iron plate, or potentially unlocking a new quality level of some components (for example rolled iron armour vs beaten wrought iron armour). In the city management screen you'll be able to configure resources to state how much you want to make, when to sell, when to trade, that sort of thing. The production lines that link the various products together will run automatically in the background to produce you the stuff you need.  Capturing or trading with islands that provide the resources you need will be key. The little floating islands of the previous incarnation will still exist. Harpooning them and bringing them back to your islands will increase the size of your islands- as the island size increases you will eventually unlock new raw materials on that island. The little islands may also have special properties themselves. For example islands found in the waters above Chile may, when enough are taken back to the same port, provide an improvement in the saltpetre production of that island (also used in gunpowder).

As the Governor you'll be responsible for the state of the Navy as well, designing and building ships to raid enemies, defend your islands, and conduct trade between islands. You'll spend your gold (raised from looting, and taxes) to buy equipment from your islands to upgrade your vehicles. Once the equipment is in your "inventory" you can build us it to upgrade any vehicle near a friendly city.

You'll be able to add cargo space to a vehicle, and transporting 20 cubic meters of cargo space from island A to island B will allow 20 cubic meters of trade between those two islands. Trade will then happen automatically depending on how you set up your resource preferences in the two islands, and you'll be paid a certain amount of gold for facilitating that trade. So in terms of trading you'll just be driving certain cargo orientated vehicles between islands. You don't need to actually load your vehicle with trade goods before you set off, as I think that would quickly get tiresome. If your vehicle is sunk at sea then your island will suffer a 20 cubic meter trade loss penalty where the next 20 cubic meters of trade goods produced will be destroyed rather than sent.

For building and repairing at sea you'll have spare parts crates. If you have 10 cubic meters of spares on board you'll be able to do 10 cubic meters of repairs, assuming the Governors inventory also contains the equipment you need. So if you repair a 20mm thick wrought armour plate you'll lose 0.02 cubic meters of spares, and the Governor's inventory will be charged as well. If you want to build on a vehicle whilst it is at sea, you will also need spare parts on that vehicle. If killing an enemy rewards you with some loot, then the volume of that loot will be used to increase your spares, and the Governors inventory will also increase proportionally.

When a vehicle is launched from a city you chose the citizens to crew it. Those guys will not be able to leave the vehicle until you reach port again. You won't be able to swap crews between vehicles and you won't be able to capture enemy vehicles unless the story line of that vehicle allows it. Crew will either survive the mission, die on the mission, or the vehicle will become so short handed or damaged that you won't be able to get it to return home and you'll either become pirate fodder or decide to skupper the vehicle and rebuild it back at an island. This paragraph is mainly limitations. Some of these limitations are because I'm talking about the early builds of the game, some are because of the technical limitations of the game, and some are because of the way I want the gameplay to feel. 

When a vehicle is not actually on the ocean it'll be stored in port. This just literally saves the vehicle to your hard disk, and deletes the vehicle from the game. This will allow you to keep lots of different prototype designs in your game that you can bring out and use, develop, evolve, and the either send out and use, or send back to port for later.

Boarding action will be possible but in the early builds it will simply be done by ramming the enemy, remaining in contact with them for a few seconds, and then it will "autobattle" instantaneously  to determine who won (in the simplest case just based on the ratio of crew). Crew will be split into two categories a) those manning a boarding station block, b) those not. The game will calculate the result of the combat between your boarders and their boarders. If your boarders win you'll be given the option to a) send your boarders in to fight their crew or b) retreat back to your boat or c) send all of your crew in to fight their crew. If their boarders win they'll be able to attack the rest of your crew. This system is designed so that you can define who is going to be involved in boarding action, and who isn't, so you can limit the exposure to death of your captain and sailors. This is very much a work in progress at the moment and might change quite a bit. Crew manning the boarding stations will be able to fire at the enemy boat from behind their barricades.

The blocks required to make planes will be added to the game eventually. It's possible you'll be able to get a steam plane to work in the early builds (you are pretty awesome at that sort of thing afterall).

Oh and one final thing. When you're in the main game, messing around on your vehicle, near an island port, I envision that that island city will look like a cartoonishly small piece of land full of a meddle of buildings and visual props, to make it look fun. Each island will be upgradable with defence stations that you'll actually be able to build on. These will be the equivalent of structures in FTD. When you attack an island you might find yourself fighting a mix of small island mounted defence stations, roaming boats, and boats released from port to defend the island. 


Really interested in what you think of these changes
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#2
While I mainly play FTD, I have to admit that this does pique my interest. I take it the islands near Chile would have a resource similar to guano if they are meant to increase saltwater production, and I quite like that commitment to realism. Looking forward to a finished product.
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#3
This vision sounds intriguing and like a game that might be my jam.
Depends on the execution then.
I'm worried about the boarding feature. Your idea might be going the right direction as far as I understand it, but I would expand on that.
Reason is that in prolonged ship-to-ship combat a lot can happen. Missed shots, land that needs to be evaded, lucky hits, chosen guns, chosen ammunition, armor composition, unforseen AI behaviour, etc....
Boarding can circumvent all that excitement and design challenges that come with that and boil it down to a binary system of a popup that says "you won" or "you lost" and that was that.

In other words: Design every system in the same action group (e.g. direct combat) with the same amount of complexitiy and variety of outcomes to gain a sense of choice of equal viable options.

Other than that, please write a statement post in the FTD Developer updates section what this focus on forgotten shores means for the development and future of FTD this next half year.
Some may know me as the most boring, consistent person on the planet, others as the most irritating erratic.
If you can't make sense of my sentence structuring, don't worry. Me neither. Language and I are at odds sometimes.
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#4
To iterate on the crew mechanic, perhaps each crew member can gain experience from successful raids or missions to help them increase their chances of capturing vessels, this way even if you have a smaller crew, if they are well trained they'll be able to hold off a higher number of lesser trained pirates.
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#5
(2019-04-12, 11:21 AM)Primeaus Murdertech Wrote: To iterate on the crew mechanic, perhaps each crew member can gain experience from successful raids or missions to help them increase their chances of capturing vessels, this way even if you have a smaller crew, if they are well trained they'll be able to hold off a higher number of lesser trained pirates.

Yep crew will be able to level up in various things Smile
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#6
(2019-04-12, 10:59 AM)GerJS Wrote: This vision sounds intriguing and like a game that might be my jam.
Depends on the execution then.
I'm worried about the boarding feature.  Your idea might be going the right direction as far as I understand it, but I would expand on that.
Reason is that in prolonged ship-to-ship combat a lot can happen. Missed shots, land that needs to be evaded, lucky hits, chosen guns, chosen ammunition, armor composition, unforseen AI behaviour, etc....
Boarding can circumvent all that excitement and design challenges that come with that and boil it down to a binary system of a popup that says "you won" or "you lost" and that was that.

In other words: Design every system in the same action group (e.g. direct combat) with the same amount of complexitiy and variety of outcomes to gain a sense of choice of equal viable options.

Other than that, please write a statement post in the FTD Developer updates section what this focus on forgotten shores means for the development and future of FTD this next half year.

These are very interesting points, perhaps the fight will just happen gradually for as long as the two ships are touching, so if you disconnect after 1 minute perhaps you've only lost a few guys and had a few more wounded. 

In fact it could be that the people manning boarding barricade can shoot (muskets) freely at people manning boarding barricades of the opposite ship (with their bullets no clipping through the rest of the vehicle) and once the enemy boarders are dead they shoot freely at the other crew of the boat. Once all crew on the boat are dead that's it done. So when you impact another vehicle it will be important to have crew manning the musket stations to fire back. 

Once you disconnect from the enemy the "no clip" of the bullets stops.

This sounds good to me, what do you think?
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#7
So the entrepreneur accelerator scheme means that they help you developing it, or just give you office space and or financing?


And The shift seems interesting, I'm more into realistic things so its totally fine by me Smile
And Steam power planes XD
There is always a weak-spot if you search Hard enough.

If you fire enough AP at that shield, at some point you're going to come through.

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#8
(2019-04-12, 12:11 PM)Nick Smart Wrote: These are very interesting points, perhaps the fight will just happen gradually for as long as the two ships are touching, so if you disconnect after 1 minute perhaps you've only lost a few guys and had a few more wounded. 

In fact it could be that the people manning boarding barricade can shoot (muskets) freely at people manning boarding barricades of the opposite ship (with their bullets no clipping through the rest of the vehicle) and once the enemy boarders are dead they shoot freely at the other crew of the boat. Once all crew on the boat are dead that's it done. So when you impact another vehicle it will be important to have crew manning the musket stations to fire back. 

Once you disconnect from the enemy the "no clip" of the bullets stops.

This sounds good to me, what do you think?

Good approach, I even have a few ideas how to expand on that.

First though, I have a problem with the "no clipping".
First there is friction with the design principle of realism and second there is the real possibility of abuse of this system when people just cram those boarding barricades in every free nook or cranny of their ship like "well, that space would be empty anyway, just cram it in in case I collide with the enemy."

Back to the idea: You can go deep and/or wide with this.

Deep:
- The boarding barricades (that I'm imagining as thin protective walls with a firing slit) could be constructed out of different materials and of varying thickness which would translate into amounts of damage reduction against incoming fire. For example: 20mm Spruce would give 20% Protection, 30mm Oak 60% and 20mm rolled steel 90%; A choice and decision, especially if you want to use your limited amount of steel for better boilers or too many steel barricades would make your ship too top heavy. (Same material choice can be applied to the muskets)


- As the men who are manning the barricades get wounded, their damage output also decreases.  You then can order your captain (if he still lives) to order a rotation in the manning of the stations so that the wounded can live another day and your ship wouldn't get understaffed for the trip home to port. This rotation would also mean a stop in the damage output of this barrcade for a short duration and a chance for the enemy to kill the retreating fighter if was pulled at the last second and not earlier.

Wide:
- Small deckcannons whose job it is to damage/weaken or destroy the enemys boarding barricades could be added. This would also create interaction with the material choice of the barricades.

- I don't know if crew quarters were planned, but if so, a for boarding specialized ship would need a larger crew to rotate the manning of the barricades and maybe even man the captured ship and so would have to reduce their capabilities in regular long range ship combat.

- And hooks, you may need hooks to hold the ships together if boarding should be a full fledged feature.

This were some brainstormed ideas from me. Someone else who even *likes boarding would maybe have more and better ideas. The invitation to this discussion is open to everyone else.
Some may know me as the most boring, consistent person on the planet, others as the most irritating erratic.
If you can't make sense of my sentence structuring, don't worry. Me neither. Language and I are at odds sometimes.
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#9
(2019-04-12, 02:46 PM)GerJS Wrote:
(2019-04-12, 12:11 PM)Nick Smart Wrote: These are very interesting points, perhaps the fight will just happen gradually for as long as the two ships are touching, so if you disconnect after 1 minute perhaps you've only lost a few guys and had a few more wounded. 

In fact it could be that the people manning boarding barricade can shoot (muskets) freely at people manning boarding barricades of the opposite ship (with their bullets no clipping through the rest of the vehicle) and once the enemy boarders are dead they shoot freely at the other crew of the boat. Once all crew on the boat are dead that's it done. So when you impact another vehicle it will be important to have crew manning the musket stations to fire back. 

Once you disconnect from the enemy the "no clip" of the bullets stops.

This sounds good to me, what do you think?

Good approach, I even have a few ideas how to expand on that.

First though, I have a problem with the "no clipping".
First there is friction with the design principle of realism and second there is the real possibility of abuse of this system when people just cram those boarding barricades in every free nook or cranny of their ship like "well, that space would be empty anyway, just cram it in in case I collide with the enemy."

Back to the idea: You can go deep and/or wide with this.

Deep:
- The boarding barricades (that I'm imagining as thin protective walls with a firing slit) could be constructed out of different materials and of varying thickness which would translate into amounts of damage reduction against incoming fire. For example: 20mm Spruce would give 20% Protection, 30mm Oak 60% and 20mm rolled steel 90%; A choice and decision, especially if you want to use your limited amount of steel for better boilers or too many steel barricades would make your ship too top heavy. (Same material choice can be applied to the muskets)


- As the men who are manning the barricades get wounded, their damage output also decreases.  You then can order your captain (if he still lives) to order a rotation in the manning of the stations so that the wounded can live another day and your ship wouldn't get understaffed for the trip home to port. This rotation would also mean a stop in the damage output of this barrcade for a short duration and a chance for the enemy to kill the retreating fighter if was pulled at the last second and not earlier.

Wide:
- Small deckcannons whose job it is to damage/weaken or destroy the enemys boarding barricades could be added. This would also create interaction with the material choice of the barricades.

- I don't know if crew quarters were planned, but if so, a for boarding specialized ship would need a larger crew to rotate the manning of the barricades and maybe even man the captured ship and so would have to reduce their capabilities in regular long range ship combat.

- And hooks, you may need hooks to hold the ships together if boarding should be a full fledged feature.

This were some brainstormed ideas from me. Someone else who even *likes boarding would maybe have more and better ideas. The invitation to this discussion is open to everyone else.

I think I should have clarified that the number of crew on your vehicle is limited, so if you build 100 barricades then it wouldn't be any better than if you built 10 (if you had 10 crew). Also, the crew need to actually be in the job, which takes them away from other jobs.

The barricades will naturally work as armour when approaching the enemy, and firing pot shots at them. but the idea is that when you touch the enemy you are all in amongst it in serious melee combat, and as such no protection comes from the baricades or the rest of the ship, and indeed the placement of the baricades no longer affects anything. Once touching the enemy the only decision is who is engaging in combat and who isn't.. those at the baricades are engaging in combat, the rest of the crew are not. Once one ship has defeated all the barricade members of the other ship, they target the rest of the crew indiscriminately, and at that point all crew use whatever weapons they have to fire back.

Alternatively there could be defence points and boarding points.
Anyone in boarding points can shoot at anyone they like on the other ship but can be shot by anyone.
Anyone in a defence points can only shoot at those in the enemy's boarding points, and those people they can actually see on the enemy ship
Anyone in neither can shoot boarders, but at a reduced firing rate as that person has another job they are assigned to.
The priority of boarders is to attack other boarders, then defenders, then idle crew
The priority of defenders is to attack boarders

So you might mount a defence to their attackers, then put your people into boarding points and go and kill their crew

Still needs some thought for sure... I might make a new thread on it.

To clarify I'm just trying to find the simplest possible solution that facilitates a playable prototype ASAP
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#10
I'll kick back in anticipation then Smile . Good job on getting some officious extra aid!

Could you in the regular forum drop a quick oversight of what the rest of the team will be working on in From the depths over that timespan, so we've got even more to look forward to? :p Loving the AI update now it's a little more ironed out by the way.

(And please Nick, drop into the forum more often, we miss you)
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