Devs Play Ep. 11: “Black Flag on the horizon”

by picaresque

Ahoy fellow Captains!

A new, shining, Devs Play video series episode is out!

Watch Episode 11:

In Nantucket Pirates can be a very dangerous foes and tough ones. Mex, our game designer, will show you how to spot their areas on the map and how to fight them. Remember that not always it will be a good idea to go for the battle but be prepared for their might!

Enjoy the video!

The Picaresque Team


Devs Play Ep. 6: “Manage Resources”

by picaresque


Good news! Episode 6 of the series “Devs play” is out! .

Watch the Episode 6:

In today’s video Mex, our game designer, will show you how to manage your resources during navigation. How can we tackle a situation like, for instance, when food is scarce and your crew is at the brink of starvation?

Enjoy the video and hold fast!

The Picaresque Team


Follow your winds

by Mex

Voiceless it cries,
Wingless flutters,
Toothless bites,
Mouthless mutters.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Ahoy there!

I hope to find you all well. Here I am with a new feature presentation for our upcoming title Nantucket. Today I’m going to write about something we are currently working: winds.

Nantucket is set in the XIX century, so during the Golden Age of the Age of Sail, where the efficiency of sailing vessels was at its peak and immediately before steamboats started to take their place at sea, forever changing the way of sailing. In fact, steam powered ships were the first ones to make the obvious possible: if I have to go from point A to B, I just have to take a straight course to my destination. This was not the case during the Age of Sail, where you had to take into account winds and their patterns, since most of them blow predominantly from a single general direction.

So, the first things we did was to implement a map of the global winds that you can access by using the winds filter of the Captain’s log. By taking a look at it, you will be able to notice 3 types of areas:

  • Areas with wind patterns: in which you will find some wind for sure, probably blowing in the direction shown or really close to it.
  • Areas with strong wind patterns: similar to the area above, but with strong winds. It’s characteristics of the oceans area under a latitudes of 40 degree.
  • Areas with no patterns: areas of sea in which the wind could blow in any direction and strength.

Winds on Map

How can you understand what’s the wind situation in your current position? Just take a look at your compass rose, it will tell you three things:

  • Wind direction: the direction in which the wind is currently blowing
  • Wind strength: we are currently using 3 different strengths (none, normal, strong).
  • Your sailing direction: so, if you are sailing windward or leeward (against the wind).

The most important element is for sure the wind direction in comparison with the one of your ship. Sailing leeward it’s a really difficult and inefficient way of sailing since it requires a lot of maneuvers to keep moving. It translates in the game in going slower (according to wind strength also really REALLY slow). Going slow means burning resources and money and, if that it’s not enough, I’m sure you will reconsider it the first time a pirate ship will be biting your ship’s stern.

If inside the areas with wind patterns is pretty easy to schedule your course, outside of them you have to keep an eye to your compass rose to avoid unpleasant surprises. The wind there is much more unstable and you could end up struggling for days.

In the next episode of our DevsPlay series coming next week (if you have missed the first four episodes, you can watch them here), we are going to show some gameplay related to the navigation so, if you want to take a look to everything we discussed here on “paper”, keep an eye to our Youtube channel.

That’s it for today. See you soon guys!



UI Iteration #2: Shipwright

by Capt_Eatbones

Ahoy! Capt’s here!

Here I am again to continue our journey around the UI iterations we’ve been working on in the pasts months. If you haven’t read the previous articles, here you have the link:

Moreover, you surely have been following our video series “Devs play”, about us showing our game Nantucket development status. If you haven’t, well…just do it:

Now, back to where we were. Nantucket’s harbor has almost no more secrets for you…or so you believe >:] After the Tavern, we did iterate another crucial UI: the Shipwright’s. Here you have the old version, previous to the “steroids treatment”:


Before the re-working, the Shipwright UI was split in two. Above you can see the main panel where the player would have repaired his/her ship or bought a new one. Again, the main idea was to represent this UI as an unfolded piece of paper where the shipwright owner would take note of all the ships available to be bought in the harbor. The little panel on the right was the player’s current ship panel.

Guess what? People trying the game was not able, most of the time, to understand which was your ship and which were the available to be bought. Too many elements were blending in confusing the player. Moreover, at the top left, the tab to switch between the Ships list and the Upgrades are almost invisible. It recalls you anything already happened with the old Tavern UI? Indeed it does!

What about the Upgrades panel then? Here it is the old version, before the “lifting”:


In this section, more issues arose. The Ship technology upgrades are a very important aspect in Nantucket’s ship management. They let you, the captain, research and acquire technology to be able to “tune up” your current ship and the future ones. Also in this panel there are elements not clear: which are the Upgrades installed, which are to be installed, which can be upgraded and which not. I won’t dive into the functionality of this UI since it will be explained in the next video of our Devs play series.

Furthermore, being the two sections separated (Ships and Upgrades) and having the two tabs almost invisible made players almost unaware of the Upgrades view. This is a crucial UI so we couldn’t keep it as it was. A drastic change was needed. At that moment, I was sincerely a little scared of the complexity needed for this UI and of what should be necessary to change it for the better. I didn’t want to change everything, risking to cause more problems than solving them. But, you know what? There are moments where you feel it has to change, radically. So, I started working on it and came to this mock-up:


I wasn’t quite convinced about it. The basic idea of having the current ship and the selected one from the list one in front of the other was there. It just wasn’t proportioned enough: too much weight on your Ship – which is fine per Se – but if you have to choose a new ship, wouldn’t you like to have it shown full size for better comparison? Another important aspect is that the Ship technology upgrades panel is now in full sight: you don’t have to switch to another view. As I told, the main concepts were there…they simply weren’t fully developed.

So, I changed it again and come to a new proposal:


When I shown this two Mex and Bubb their reaction was: oh-my-god…you changed it completely! Now, that’s the kind of reaction I looked for! Simply, I wasn’t sure if it was a good one or not XD

This is the current Shipwright UI. As you can see, I switched the player’s current ship to the right placing the selected ship from the available ones on the left. Perhaps, knowing that a person usually reads from the left to the right it is not the best idea. What I tried to achieve with this decision is to maintain a certain amount of consistency throughout the game. In the Tavern UI, the Captain’s panel is placed where it would be in the navigation phase: on the left. Here the player’s ship panel is placed where it would be in the navigation phase: on the right. Visually, the ship view is the same as the one you have during navigation. We want the player to get used to these placements, so we don’t change them. Indeed, this is not always possible or is the best idea. In this case, we think it’s worth it.
Also, the available ship selected is presented and the same size as the one the player currently has. This places the other ship on the same level since it could be your next ship!
Right in the middle, between the two main panels, there are the details of both ships. I wanted here a direct comparison between information, so I decided to place them one in front of the other. The last thing I did was to re-work the Ship technology upgrades panel in order to have it visible at the same time.
Keep in mind that this structure is thought to be modular. The Shipwright, as all the Harbor buildings, can be of different levels. To each of these levels correspond a specific UI panel:

  • Level 1: only the “Your Ship” panel is visible.
  • Level 2: only the “Your Ship” and “Available Ships” panels are visible.
  • Level 3: all UI panels are visible.

As for other iterations, we asked for feedback. This new version has been generally welcome. We know there is a lot of information to process but we took the screen space needed to show them and we organized the elements in a more functional fashion. I adapted the new UI elements style to this layout so everything should be a lot clearer. Is it perfect? No. Is it a better solution? We believe so. It probably is a bigger step forward in comparison with what has been the last Tavern iteration.

If you feel that something is not right or that could be improved, please, let us know 😉 We’d really appreciate.
Well, I think I’ll leave you here for today. Remember, though: more articles are coming about our improvements in Nantucket!

Stay tuned!