Caribbean! — Status update #5

October 29, 2014  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  5 Comments

Hi everyone,

We wanted to share another status update and along with it give a warning that the next update will take a while to be finished. But it should be the biggest update for us since the Early Access launch, and if everything goes as planned, the game will smoothly enter the beta phase.

City3

Here’s what we’ll be working on for the next month:

1. Creating new mechanism for quest assignments.

Giving out quests in Mount & Blade series always depended on certain characters. But sometimes it’s not very convenient as the lord the gave you a quest could be taken prisoner and you’d have to wait for his grace to be released in order to receive your hard earned reward.

2. Adding new quests.

We want to redo the quest system completely. Firstly, no more ‘go to the village on the edge of the map and kill a character with ‘Suspicious guy’ tooltip. Meaning we’d like to reduce the amount of FedEx-quests and replace them with a bit more meaningful actions. Secondly, we want to divide the quests by trading and military ones. A peaceful player that doesn’t really want to rob and kill others and likes trading should be rewarded for his play style. So a part of the quests will be dedicated to battles and killing, another — for trading and money making.

3. Changing the renown system.

We’re planning to make renown a main capital for the player. If you’re a known captain, you’ll always be able to gather a gang of thugs ready to die for you during Spanish colony assault. If you’re a known merchant, you’ll always be able to find investors ready to give you their business share. But not the other way around.

4. Updated city screen.

Just as a reminder, the current version of the city screen is a placeholder. We’ll do our best to make it prettier and load a bit faster.

5. New strategic map.

The current strategic map is filled with graphical artifacts, impassable seas and what not. Not to mention the not so realistic geography. New map will be done in an absolutely different visual style that was never used in M&B games. So far this idea sounds risky, but we hope you’ll like it.

It’s quite difficult to know for sure how much time all of this will take, so no certain dates for now. However, we hope to finish working on these tasks before the New Year.

Caribbean! — Update notes (October 17)

October 17, 2014  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  12 Comments

Hi everyone,

Today we’re releasing an update where we change things up a little in land battles. Please watch the video below for instruction on how to use it and let us know what you think:

Update notes for 0.910:

– Added new options for controlling armies in land battles. NB: Before battle starts, players have 60 seconds to place their troops. To access the battle planning interface, press ‘Backspace’ button.
– Added new boarding location – frigate.
– Improved AI for enemy armies.
– Added 3D icons for available actions at boarding scenes.
– Changed balance for crew sizes during boarding.
– Gunners are now divided by their nationality. They also have a personal weapon and ability to fight in close range.
– Added assault cavalry units.
– Changed balance for player’s starting army.
– Added separation of all single-type troops by squads in land battles.
– Removed items purchase from village elders that caused an error earlier.
– Fixed a bug with sudden ships sinking after battle start.
– Fixed a bug with incorrect additions to ship crews.
– Fixed balance and bugs in ‘Old Jorge’ quest.
– Fixed a bug that prevented ships repair in the sea.
– Fixed a bug with smoke caused by shooting with some weapons.
– Fixed a bug with long-barreled guns which AI tried to use as shields earlier.
– Fixed a graphical artifact in the launcher.
– Fixed a bug with moving sailors from other ships to flagship.
– Fixed a bug with ships display after its purchase in the harbor.
– Fixed a bug that prevented hiring troops in captured towns.
– Fixed polygon errors in officer armor sets.
– Fixed a bug with ships HP after being upgraded.
– Fixed a bug with ships hull HP.
– Fixed bugs in global map’s physics.

Caribbean! — Status update #4

September 30, 2014  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  11 Comments

Hi everyone,

Since the last status update we’ve focused on these three elements: adding new boarding locations with frigate, developing strategic control for land battles and content’s optimization.

1. Frigate.
Frigates are pretty big ships, ancestors of cruisers. For boarding fights with frigates we added a multideck element, though in a simpler form, to really highlight the size of a new ship. We intentionally removed its more realistically looking version and an access to the captain’s cabin, so that it wouldn’t hurt fights dynamic.
By the way, we noticed that when you go for boarding from larger ships, there can sometimes be jamming near the jump ropes. We did some changes in AI, so this situation should get better.


2. Strategic control in land battles.
This is a pretty ambitious task we are still working on. However, we’ll add the first working version in the upcoming update.
The general idea is to make the player a commander and let him control his army. It begs comparison with Total War series, but it’s important to keep in mind one distinct difference: in TW players hire full troops, when in M&B series players work with individual units. This puts some restrictions on functioning of AI, army formations and even pathfinding. We’ll see what we’ll end up with, but for now land battles seem to have become a bit more fun.

3. Content optimization.

Though it’s more of a content cleanup. During the development the game got an incredible amount of unused scripts, textures, models, locations and so on. Much of this content was left from ‘With Fire & Sword’, that we had to give up for gamedesign reasons. Some things we were just too afraid to touch, as Mount & Blade engine could always need them to work properly.

It’s a very dull job that can’t be delayed any longer. City screen loading times and some cases of game crashes clearly show the engine reached its limit. So for the upcoming update we won’t be really focusing on new content, but will instead remove the old one.

That’s it for now. We hope the update arrives pretty soon, it’s very interesting to hear your opinion on new land battles.

Caribbean! — Status update #3

September 16, 2014  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  5 Comments

Hi everyone,

We’d like to tell you what we’re currently working on and what we want to include in the next update.

First, we want to finish a new working version of land battles. We figured what the game was missing is RTS elements because ‘Caribbean!’ is no longer a game about feudal fights of knights and peasants. Creating formations for infantry and cavalry that players will be able to control with handy interface is our main goal for the next two weeks.

The next on the agenda is finishing the city screen. As we already mentioned, what you currently see in the game is a placeholder. The end result should be pretty and intuitive. Also, if possible, with shorter load times too.

Finally, we’re planning to add one more boarding location, for ships of higher ranks.

About fixing the bugs. We understand that you want them gone as soon as possible but we can’t promise that just yet. Until the game’s foundations are complete we don’t really want to resort to full-on bugfixing. In that case we run the risk of delaying the development for a few more months. Nevertheless, we’ll try to deal with the following problems first:

– Massive damage caused by ship ramming.

– Jamming on the deck at the big ship / small ship boarding location.

– Spontaneous changes in ships HP in sea battles.

– OP grenades and troops that use them.

We may add something else to the list, but please note that some of these problems won’t be easy to resolve and will take more time than the other.

Stay tuned for the updates and keep the comments coming. Even if we don’t reply to all of them, we certainly do our best to read through all feedback.

Caribbean! — Update notes (September 11)

September 11, 2014  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  9 Comments

Hi everyone,

Today we’re releasing a pretty big (and long overdue) update for ‘Caribbean!’. You can check out our new video devblog where we show what’s been added and changed:

Update notes:

Strategic part:

– Added new interactive city screen.
– Introduced system for building construction.
– Added new entities ‘Cargo hold’ and ‘Storage’ to the game’s functional.
– Changed goods trading interface.

Sea battles:

– Increased size of the sea locations.
– Improved AI’s behavior during battles.
– Increased shooting distance for ships’ artillery.
– Added ship ramming ability.
– Added ‘captain’s bridge’ camera option.
– Added ‘spyglass’ camera option.

Boarding:

– All boarding locations are completely redone.
– Added ‘rope jumps / climbing up’ for the attacking side.
– Added crow’s nests for masts on all ships.
– AI is now divided into ‘defending’ and ‘attacking’ entities. Attacking AI will try to get to enemy’s deck as soon as possible, while the defending one will hold the line.

Land battles:

– Changed cavalry behavior. It will now always attempt to perform charge attacks.
– Added starting formations for the entire player’s army. All troops are now divided by their types automatically.
– Partly reworked order system.

General fixes:

– Changed shooting visual effects for most weapons.
– Fixed a bug in artillery’s smoke particles that caused FPS drop.
– Changed horse troops line-ups of all factions, except for the Brotherhood of the Coast.

New commands for controlling your troops:

1, 2, 3, 4 buttons will order the troops to come up to the player. Same buttons in combination with Ctrl will give an order to attack.

1 – order melee units to come up to you.
2 – order riflemen to come up to you.
3 – order close-range cavalry to come up to you.
4 – order long-range cavalry to come up to you.

Ctrl+1 – order melee units to attack.
Ctrl+2 – order riflemen to attack.
Ctrl+3 – order close-range cavalry to attack.
Ctrl+4 – order long-range cavalry to attack.

Note: The ‘Come up’ command doesn’t replicate the old ‘Follow me’ command. The troops will only come closer to the player and will make a formation relatively close to his position.

Known issues:

As the game is going through an active overhaul stage, many of its elements are completely turned off or don’t work correctly. We’d like to ask the players to be understanding of this. The development process doesn’t let us release a fully working current version of the game. But at the same time we don’t want to keep you waiting for an update any longer.

So here’s what you’ll need to keep in mind when playing the version 0.900:

– You can’t hire garrison in a city captured by you. This is because the city menu concept is being changed. In the future we’re planning to add a brand new screen for troops hiring and city upgrades. Advice: after successful city assault you can leave there freed prisoners – they’ll go the garrison automatically.

– Industrial buildings will produce the goods, but won’t sell them. You’ll need to collect the goods from storage and sell it yourself for now.

– The old system for controlling the troops was turned off, but the new system is only in the beginning of the development. Most likely, you won’t be able to control the troops with comfort in the nearest month.

– Price system and its balance. We have an especially rare pistol that costs 180 000 piasters and a frigate that costs 150 000. Sometimes two almost identical sables can differ in price dramatically. A good cuirass can cost like a regiment of royal musketeers and so on. We’re aware of these problems and ask to be patient. We can’t start working on the economy balance until overall work on the gameplay is finished.

– Same goes for weapon balance. Grenades and cannons, above all. We’ll certainly fix this, but closer to the release.

– FPS drops and slow locations loading. We’ve reached the limits of M&B’s engine possibilities. It can be fixed with optimization and cleaning old content. But the thing is that the engine often relies on the resources which are dangerous to delete from the game. We’ll optimize the game, slow but steady. We already started working on that, but owners of lower-end PCs will experience some problems in the current version.

Caribbean! — Status update #2

Hi everyone,

We have to let you know that the big July update we announced earlier won’t be coming — instead, it’s going to become even bigger and land in August. We’ll share the reasons behind this decision, as well our current work progress, below:

Boarding. We think that boarding is the heart of combat gameplay, even more important than sea battles. The current version of the boarding fights stopped being satisfactory for us a long time ago, and as a result we’re redoing it from scratch.

Graphic quality of the boarding locations was too poor compared to the character models so all ships are being completely redone. Besides the evident difference in textures, we redesigned level geometry: got rid off jamming on decks and unnecessary rooms, made the movement on ships more clear and free for the player. We also added crow’s nests on masts, to provide riflemen with additional spots.

Plus we’ll try to add some new animations, including the classic boarding jump rope.

Naval combat. The second most important element of the game. We’re still torn between which path to choose: making everything more simple and arcady or adding more options for strategy and control. But our internal tests showed that either way we’d need to deal with current small locations. Right now gameplay functions well only with 2 vs. 2 ship battles. Our limit is 12 ships on the scene, and with that amount of ships there’s very little room for everyone in the sea. Making the location bigger is a challenge as we have to work around the engine’s limitations. So for now our programmer added a ‘spyglass’ option that many of you asked for. More significant updates in this area should be coming in September.

 

Trading and economy. Initially it was supposed to be a side gameplay element, but we want to increase its importance in the game. Actually, working on economy takes more time than anything else at the moment as we keep changing some basic things in M&B engine. For example, right now we separate player’s personal inventory and his cargo. It’s not very convenient and logical to carry not only a set of 12 breastplates but two tons of cacao as well. Another new element is building construction in the towns — there’s so much to do here that we won’t even dare to promise it done by August.

Strategic map. We got a lot of feedback on geography of our map and its flaws. Apologies for the inaccuracies — that was our first try to befriend realism with gaming. In August we’ll do our best to finish the new world map, more accurate and, possibly, far more attractive.

The plans are pretty ambitious for us, and we hope we can implement all of this with no problem. After the August update we’ll be ready to switch to the next big step — refining land battles and implementing city sieges.

UPDATE:
Sorry for the delay with the update — unfortunately, the vacations of our team’s members have taken its toll. We should be able to release it during the second week of September.

Meanwhile, some little teasers for you: 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Caribbean! — Update notes (June 20)

June 20, 2014  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  10 Comments

Hi everyone,

New update 0.802 is available today. Not a big one, but consider it to be a foundation for a huge update in July.


Update notes:

– Added functional for ammunition consumption in naval battles (ammunition can be bought in the harbor).

– Added two new ship models.

– Added new economic model for testing – reset raw material and product types, adjusted production and consumption.

– Sound effects partly changed.

– Removed unnecessary test content.

Caribbean! — Update notes (May 21)

May 21, 2014  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  14 Comments

Hi everyone,

New update for ‘Caribbean!’ is available now.

Version 0.801 update notes:

New / Changes:

– Improved water display.
– Increased default speed for naval combat.
– Changed balance for the damage done in naval combat.
– Changed balance for firearms (reduced firing range).
– Improved functionality for sails controls.
– Possibility to sell a ship in the repair and ship purchase interface.
– Possibility to join one of the factions or remain independent at the start of the game.
– Amount of the gold earned in battle now depends on the player’s renown.
– Player’s purchases and sales no longer affect the prices of goods in the world.
– Ability to plunder cities without creating your own faction.
– Improved sky reflection in the sea on the strategic map.
– Fixed in-game text in a few places.
– Fixed conditions for the starting quest.
– Balance changes for ships in naval combat.

Fixed:

– Initial entrypoints for boarding locations.
– DirectX 7 option is now blocked in launcher and game settings.
– Player getting random messages about hired soldiers, like ‘Pirates you ordered has been made available”.
– Log errors caused by capturing a city while being in a faction.
– Bug that caused the game to see male characters as female ones.
– Mouse cursor bug appearing in one of the village locations.
– Loot screen is no longer showed if there isn’t any loot after the battle.
– Bug that caused enemy fleet to remain on the strategic map after its defeat.
– Player will now leave his own faction if his last city is captured.
– Repeated request for joining a faction.
– Incorrect Dutch flag.
– Inability to engage enemy in naval battle if there’s few sailors on the ship.
– Player’s starting position during the siege.
– Speed parameter of Cavalry Broadsword.
– Some bugs in boarding locations.
– Hiring of continental soldiers.

A small note: after this update please only complete the starting quest if you’re neutral. In any other cases you may stumble upon some nasty problems.

Caribbean! — Status update #1

Hi everyone,

This past week has been very busy and intense for our studio. We released a free DLC for our turn-based strategy game, ‘Eador’ and launched ‘Caribbean!’ onto Early Access. But that didn’t stop us from reading through all the feedback on our pirate RPG. A ton of questions were asked, but as it’s difficult to answer to each and every one, we decided to lay our thoughts and plans in this one post.

The main question — “Why would I pay for a mod that’s not even complete?”. The answer is obvious, because ‘Caribbean!’ is not a mod. Just the scope of code work that went into the engine changes we requested has been tremendous.

You can look at screenshots of Crusader Kings 2 and say it’s merely a mod of Europa Universalis 4. Both games do share a lot in common — provinces, map, menus. But they remain very different projects, and their audiences aren’t necessarily the same. In the case of our Caribbean project we rely on M&B Warband’s engine but at the same time build a game that’s going to be very different. We don’t want to simply change the character models, we want to create another system for this game’s world.

As many of you noticed, earning gold in the game is currently not very fun. Honestly, we intentionally simplified the game’s economy to this ‘bare bones’ state. A new production system and new trading system are our main development goals for the upcoming month. You probably remember the old city-building strategy games. A lumberjack goes to the forest, chops trees, and brings wood to the storage. Then a carpenter takes it from there, makes a chair and so on. Goods are physically produced and moved around the game world. In our case, we have a game in the era of plantations, West-Indian campaigns and the origins of capitalism. So the medieval economic system of attacking enemy troops, looting 40 pairs of boots and then selling them in the nearest town doesn’t really suit us. We won’t go into detail at the moment until we have working code for this part of the game, but the plans for economy are very ambitious.

Another important part is monotonous naval battles. This is a very difficult aspect of the game and community feedback on this would be very much appreciated. The current implementation of naval battles is a compromise between simple arcade fun and something more realistic. We tried experimenting with turbo-ships at the beginning, but thought it contrasted way too much with the rest of the game. We also have a few ideas for adding strategic elements, to let players interact with his fleet. However, we don’t want to overdo it and turn the game to a simulation of Horace Nelson’s workday. If you have any ideas on this yourself, please don’t hesitate to share them with us.

Speaking of the boarding; as we mentioned in the devblog video, current boarding locations are more like placeholders and are not final. They will be replaced with new models, updated with quality textures and those sudden deaths from a random bullet in the first second of a fight will be dealt with as well. Pre-battle troop management for boarding fights has also crossed our minds.

Lastly, ‘walking around the towns’ and land locations. To be honest, we can’t really provide the content to a proper standard in this regard at the moment. This aspect needs some financial help, and that is one of the Early Access stage’s goals. We want to complete the game the way we see it.

We haven’t addressed many of the other matters — like multiplayer, interaction with native Americans, a meta-goal system and so on. These would need their own separate posts. For now we’d like to note that Warband’s engine allows us to create the best conditions for roleplaying — a chance to be a hero that changes the game’s world, not just a set of attack and defense attributes. We hope ‘Caribbean!’ will become a fine example of that.

Caribbean! — Early Access launch

April 29, 2014  |  Caribbean!, Snowbird, На Карибы!  |  17 Comments

Hello everyone,

We’re happy to announce that today ‘Caribbean!’ becomes available as Early Access title on Steam.

‘Caribbean!’ is currently in the alpha and has reached the stage where it could really use some of the players’ feedback.

The game has its basic features already in, and content-wise (weapons, armor, locations, sounds) we’re 70% done. What we’re mostly planning to do from this point is to build upon and improve what we already have with regular updates and your help.

Please note that you might be put off by the current simple economic system, visually incomplete locations and balance problems — these parts of the game will be reworked during the Early Access stage.

Check out the official forum and the store page on Steam for current and planned features.

The price is lowered during the early access stage and all future updates will come for free. Full version release is planned for Autumn 2014.

Thanks a lot in advance for helping us to shape the future development! Here’s a short video devblog we made to show you the current state of the game and tell you some of the plans for the future: