Saturday, March 5, 2016

A new way to handle your harpoons

By Mex

[quote author="Herman Melville"] Is Ahab, Ahab? Is it I, God, or who, that lifts this arm?


Ahoy there!

It’s been awhile since I wrote my last post, but there have been a few posts from Captain Eatbones about interfaces and we have inaugurated our new video series “Devs Play“, in which we started showing some gameplay from our upcoming title Nantucket. If you have missed our first three episodes, you can watch them on our Youtube channel.

In today’s post, I’m going to write about the changes we made to the combat system in the past months to improve the overall gameplay experience. During our tests and by showing the game around to people, we realized the combat system needed some rework. The main issue was related to its length, since every combat had too many empty rounds.

So, the biggest change has been completely changing the way commands were triggered. In the previous iteration, commands had to be chosen before knowing the dices rolls and, since their costs were subject to a lot of variables, really often selecting the cheapest command was the safest solution, granting an higher chance to do something during a round. Yes, it’s bad, especially considering the fact you level up your characters to get cool commands, and you want to play them.

CombatView_v3Combat Mock-up

In this new version the commands are “engraved” in the dices, so you actually roll the dices before selecting a command among the ones available in each whaleboat. Every class has a base command occupying 2 sides of their combat dice and then special sides (and commands) that are unlocked by leveling up your crew or assigning an object to a specific character. In details:

  • Hunters are good in dealing damage. According to their skills branch, the can be specialized in hunting whales or fighting men (such as pirates).
  • Sailors are specialized in evasive maneuvers, so in removing enemies action cards.
  • Craftsmen are a support class and they allow you to re-roll some dices.
  • Scientist can heal you characters and save them from death.

So, every round, the enemies play their commands (cards) face down. Then you roll your dices and pick a command per whaleboat. Pretty easy, also if the strategies involved are quite a lot.

First of all, whales have different behavior according to their type and age, so you want to “tune” your strategy according to the enemy you are facing. Then there are random condition cards appearing each round, related to the surroundings of the sea area in which the combat is taking place (icebergs, rough waters etc.). These condition cards are pretty strong and they will affect a lot your choices in each round.

Finally, with this new  system, you will be able to set your strategy well before the beginning of a combat. You can shape your dice and the ones of your crew during your travels, leveling up, or simply selecting crew members fitting your style of play. For example, you can choose to have a lot of hunters, maximizing your chance to hit every turn or decide to have a more versatile approach, picking more classes.

Remember that hunting is just a part of the dangers you can face at sea, and probably not even the deadliest.

That’s it for today. The new combat will be covered by a “Devs play” episode, so you will be able to have a more detailed grasp about it pretty soon. Keep following us for updates and see you next time!



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