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.
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.
New update 0.802 is available today. Not a big one, but consider it to be a foundation for a huge update in July.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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:
Once again we’d like to apologize for the long silence on the project. Seeing that people are getting worried we decided we should post a new status update and tell you what we’re working on right now.
Firstly, we’ve been processing results of the game’s demo at Eurogamer Expo. We got a lot of different feedback, ranging from very excited and enthusiastic comments to ‘I can mod M&B better’ (short, yet effective opinion).
Over the last six months we’ve been mainly occupied with the visual side of the game, but the demo showed us that we really need to take a closer look at the code. At the moment the game crashes or has huge FPS drops on mid-range systems. Keeping in mind our experience with WFaS, we decided to start fixing this issue before the release, not after. As a result, for the last month we were mainly focused on optimization and the code’s refactoring. This is a really boring job that can’t be described in any interesting way for the community, and that partly explains our silence.
Besides refining the code, we also started working on the graphics optimization. Our ship models turned out to have a little more details than needed, so some of them should be cut out in the name of optimization.
All of these are quite time-consuming tasks, so we had to delay our release date once again and we even asked our local publisher to cancel pre-orders for the time being.
Still, we really hope to release the game before M&B 2, otherwise we’ll be drowned just like Russian cruiser ‘Varyag’.
By the way, we’re also making a set of new brutal characters, take a look:
We’ve uploaded a few new screenshots on the forum, take a look. And just to remind you — this is still a work in progress, some graphical elements will be reworked.
So there’s a term called ‘development hell’. It means that the game’s development is trapped in endless cycles of improvements, release dates delays, technical problems caused by those improvements and the team’s general loss of enthusiasm. That’s exactly where ‘Caribbean!’ is right now. What initially began as ‘With Fire & Sword with ships’ almost ended up as the engine’s overhaul. We keep getting questions regarding the game’s release date, but to be honest we’re just afraid to give a definite answer yet. We really hope it’ll be coming pretty soon.
How do we manage our cosy hell? We can show a specific example. There’s an ocean in M&B universe (Nord faction is situated on its shore) but this ocean is, let’s say, a bit too quiet. Let’s try putting a ship into this ocean. We don’t have our own video to show but we can use this as an example from a mod that was aimed to create naval battles in M&B:
Looks really cool and we’re probably one of the few who understand just how much time and effort of Yoshiboi (the mod’s creator) went into this. But there’s a small problem with the water – it looks like a lake’s surface, mostly because it reflects the sky. We had the same problem and decided to fix it, this is what we got:
It probably won’t take even the 4th place in ‘Top-5 best seas in videogames’. So we decided to make a new water shader, the one which would provide a caustic effect, water opacity and wouldn’t be a water mirror. To be honest, we are not sure this turned out to be much better:
So what now? Apparently, another rework attempt. Is there an end to the development? We hope to start the beta in September (finally!) and then you’ll have a chance to tell us how far off are we from the release. We can’t promise that everyone will be able to give the game a try (there are too many applications at this point) but we’ll do our best to accept the players with large batches.
As you may know, in our previous project based on M&B engine we were mainly focused on Eastern Europe: Tatars, Russians, cossacks, Polish hussars … The Western side of Europe was out of our reach at that time.
But ‘Caribbean!’ really let us satisfy our needs for having elements of the ‘Lace and Steel’ era in a game. This is the era where the highest priority for armor and weaponry was its attractive appearance, first and foremost. And the question of how convenient it all became is result was always raised after. There’s definitely something compelling in this approach.
Below you can see some of the new units and renders for our European troops:
We have some news for those of you who’re wondering how our ‘Caribbean!’ project is doing.
The past three months have been very packed and busy for us with Eador, our first title, getting a global release. It followed with close investigation of the community feedback and almost unstoppable work on updates for the game. We’ll share some gory details on the latter but maybe some other time, when stereotypes of Russian and Ukrainian developers’ working conditions will be forever forgotten.
We’ll be honest, lately ‘Caribbean!’ was lacking our attention a bit. But it doesn’t mean that the project was put on hold. We hope to write some posts here to keep you properly updated on the status of the game.
In the meanwhile, here’s a short summary of what has been done: unit sets are almost complete, we’ve added more ships to the game including Manila galleons and have implemented separate shooting from different decks in naval battles. There’s more to come, stay tuned.