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.
As promised, here are some new screenshots from the game (in a glorious 4:3 aspect ratio):
We’d like to clarify (once more) the reason behind the ‘Caribbean!’ beta test delays.
We want the game elements that we’re working on right now to be as complete as possible. To be honest, we became victims of a classic case of ‘development hell’ known to happen in game development. Having started with ‘Mount & Blade with ships’ concept over time we almost switched to making a war and historical colonization simulator.
Beta test will definitely happen but at this point we can’t tell for sure when exactly. In the video below Monty Python explains very well how things are made in Russia:
We’re going to post some new screenshots from the game this week, stay tuned.
First of all, we’re really sorry for beta-test start taking so long. There is only one reason for the delay and that is a wish to show the game of a good quality. Let’s be honest, With Fire a Sword wasn’t exactly a stable game at launch. That’s why even the first beta stage (and we’re planning to do the second one, with multiplayer) keeps being delayed again and again. We’re now finishing work on the visual side of the game and adding as much of new features as possible.
Here’s what we’re also busy with right now:
- Treasure hunt— with certain conditions you can get directions from your crew for some single treasures. once you obtain those you can go looking for them. Every such treasure has a key in it to finding the only great and true treasure in the Caribbean sea.
- Underground fights — we considered comments regarding lack of tournaments in WFaS and decided to add this gameplay element in Caribbean! in a bit different form. Underground fights is a series of random events in the cities’ taverns. You’ll fight on a special arena using any weaponry including firearms. And you’ll have to fight with only what you have at that moment.
- Refined boarding system — we added a new battle phase where ships are closing in. In this phase ships fire at each other at almost point-blank distance, crew can be killed in the process and the player may help his team by shooting at enemy from his ship’s cannon.
- We added a possibility of shooting from a ship’s mast. This way you won’t have to deal with melee battles if you don’t want to. We also hope to add a special type of cannons that would take the role of taking these snipers down in return.
- We’re redoing character models — what can we do? Even for indie projects graphics requirements are getting high. We hope that the latest models will become final.
Apart from this Caribbean! is getting almost final perk and skill system, crew and fleet management and refined formation system for land battles. Now our goal is to put together all of this in one build and make it work properly. If all goes well, everyone will get their beta key in February.
Thanks for your patience!
Tomorrow (seriously) we are starting to send out keys for the beta-version of Eador. And as we said earlier, this process will probably take a lot of time so some of you will receive the mail later than others. Thanks for understanding!
As for the Caribbean! beta test, we decided to start it in January as the beta build still needs a bit more work. Sign up is open, everyone interested is welcomed here.
UPDATE: We continue sending out the keys and probably will finish this process early next week. Rest assured, almost everyone will get one, sooner or later
UPDATE 2: Aaand it’s done. Did everyone get their keys? If not you can still write us your nickname at our forums to email@example.com. You still have some time before Sunday, then we’ll be off for holidays
This is just a quick heads up on the beta tests of our games.
We’ll start sending out keys and all needed information for Eador beta tomorrow. Although don’t worry if you don’t get a mail from us right away. There’s quite a lot of you who wished to participate so there’s a high chance some people will receive the keys the next day.
Caribbean! beta will start in about a week instead of “early December” as was initially announced.
Be sure to come back for any updates in the post regarding this issue and sorry for the delay.
UPDATE: And here is the update Our beta build of Eador needs a bit more polishing so the test will begin in a week. The good news is that if you didn’t apply for beta before you can do it now.