Caribbean! — New update now available in beta

January 30, 2015  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  5 Comments

Hi everyone,

The update we talked about in Status Update #9 in great detail is now available for everyone in Steam’s beta branch.

To try it out you’ll need to choose ‘Caribbean!’ in your Games library, click on ‘Properties’, go to ‘Betas’ tab, and then select ‘Public beta’. After this Steam should update your game.

newmap

Here’s what you’ll find inside (short version):

1) New faces and character creation

2) New global map

3) New rank system

4) Taxes and smuggling

5) Quests

6) New hire screen

7) Updated naval battles

Enjoy and let us know what you think. We’ll be pushing the update to main branch next week.

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Caribbean! — Status update #9

January 23, 2015  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  12 Comments

Hi everyone,

Following the last status update, we thought we’d share the list of main new things that you’ll definitely see in the game pretty soon. While we’re at it, we also wanted to stress that these additions won’t be the last this game ever sees — we don’t plan on stopping the development after we ship the 1.0 version.

Now, to the changes:

1) New faces

First off, there are some visual changes in character creation. We’ve completely reworked the set of available faces and changed the mechanism for appearance generation which makes more sense for this time period. The game now lets you choose between Caucasian, Hispanic and Mulatto types.

newface

2) New global map

New global map is something we’re quite proud of. We spent a lot of time and effort on it, and we feel the result was worth it, because this is what players will see so often in the game. We changed the concept of the map itself and its look — made the world brighter, added some details for decoration and more colors.

updatedmap

The settlement concept has changed and now there are no villages in the game. From now on, the world consists of colonies which include a castle, a town and a village. We also doubled the number of these settlements and fixed some unfortunate errors in the map’s geography.

3) New rank system

Let’s see what’s changed in the game mechanics. The main change here is the rank system, you might have already heard about this addition before. At zero rank you won’t be able to hire most of the troops, capture and rule towns, purchase better ships and acquire property. Availability of these opportunities will depend on your renown. The higher your renown is, the more opportunities you have. It’s split into military renown for soldiers and trading renown for entrepreneurs.

Military renown should be pretty clear; its amount depends on the number of your victories. It will let you hire high-level units and purchase cannons. Other factions will invite you to serve under their name as well. Trading renown can be considered as a total amount of all your assets: your ships, your money, goods in your cargo hold, value of your property and so on. If you are a billionaire, you’ll inevitably become known in the Caribbean.

renown

From now on capturing towns is not an easy feat. You’ll need to have enough authority in the first place, so that your troops agree to risk their lives for it. And even if you manage to capture a town, you might not get the right to control it, as only faction officers get access to it.

By the way, if you’re a high-ranked trader, the faction’s higher-ups can give towns under your control without any fights, just for your proven administration talent. Sometimes your purse will speak of you more than your sword.

4) Taxes and smuggling

You’ll probably notice that once you enter a town you’re now charged with a small fee. That is customs supervision in action, and it will be happy to take your money any time you decide to buy a new hat in town. Don’t feel like paying? You have two options.

The first option is to sail to any pirate town. These are territories of free people who haven’t heard of the tax declaration yet. However, European factions will be aware of your attempts to avoid tax pay and your relationships with them will become worse.

smugglers

Don’t want to worsen the relationships? Try finding smugglers. Right click on the town icon lets you choose ‘Search for smugglers’ option, and if they are nearby, you’ll be able to get in contact with them. After that everything depends on your skills and luck — there’s a great chance customs service will spot your ship and demand an explanation of your actions. This situation can end up with your ship’s search or even a fight. If luck is on your side, you’ll be able to sell your goods without any taxes.

5) Quests

Let’s see some changes in the town screen. Notice the new option in the city screen, this is the panel for quests and assignments. Here you can hire mercenary troops, buy letters of marquee against one of the factions and take a quest.

quests

There are trading and military quests. Trading quests let you pull off some good deals, increasing your capital and thus your trading renown. Military quests are more like a ‘search and destroy’ type.

6) New hire screen

As we mentioned, hiring European troops won’t be as accessible as before. You’ll have to join the faction you need, and prior to this you must become a pretty well-known warrior. Only after these steps you’ll be able to use the new hiring screen.

hirescreen

We decided to get rid of the old dialogue interface, replacing it with more convenient and east-to-use sliders, it works pretty similar to the goods management. You’ll see all available troops for hire right away, see how many of them there are and how they are armed, along with the composition of your own current army, which should help in planning your next battles.

7) Updated naval battles

Finally, the updated naval battles. Improving this element was pretty challenging and thanks to everyone’s feedback we were able to improve and make this part of the game more diverse. Here’s what we came up with.

Now you can give your ships orders to attack a selected target. These ships will leave the formation and will act on its own trying to deal the highest damage possible to the enemy.

Do you have captured ships but no money to repair them? Or a squadron of 5 old schooners? Better not sell them cheap, but construct fire-ships of them. Fire-ships are ignited vessels that can be directed toward enemy ships. There’s no crew on a fire-ship so it’s uncontrollable but it deals very high damage on enemy’s ship impact. However, there’s always a chance to miss and burn your own ship. According to historical sources, this was pretty common when using tactics that included the use of fire-ships. By the way, enemy admirals will use fire-ships as well, if they have enough ships for this purpose.

naval_battle_new

You can now also throw explosive barrels over your ship’s stern. Consider them as the stationary version of fire-boats that will help to deal with enemies behind you.

If you don’t want some of your ships to partake in battle, you can now anchor them. These ships will leave the formation and wait patiently for your victory. And as long as you are alive, enemy won’t touch them.

Finally, we increased the damage and reloading times for cannons. Now hitting an enemy ship is critically important.

So these are the seven main changes that you can expect in the upcoming update. In addition, we fixed a lot of bugs and other annoyances — for example, many of you asked to give more time for collecting loot from sunken ships or reported twitching sails animation in naval battles, and these problems have been fixed.

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Caribbean! — Status update #8

January 21, 2015  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  4 Comments

Hi everyone,

Today we’d like to share the details on the ‘feature cut’ procedure we mentioned not long ago in our small announcement. Rejecting some of the features is always unpleasant for development teams, as the game won’t be as huge, pretty and awesome as they imagined it to be.

So why is this procedure needed? Mainly, it’s needed for saving the project and getting it out of the endless development cycle. Or save it from a possible disastrous launch. We won’t give examples from games of the past year here, but we’re sure anyone can name some troublesome moments from 2014 related with unfortunate releases.

City4

What we wanted to make, but decided not to:

Let’s split this category into visual and gameplay groups, which will meet with each other here from time to time.

1) Multiplayer. This is the first thing we removed from our working plan. The initial idea was pretty ambitious. We didn’t want to implement traditional mods like ‘Capture the Flag’, ‘Siege’ and so on, but make something like a dynamic campaign instead. For example, Spanish troops are traveling through jungles to Maya treasures, defending themselves from bandit attacks and cannibals, storming enemy forts. Or the other way around: a pirate team raids Spanish colony, then tries to get away with the loot. Unfortunately, such ideas are out of our possibilities’ reach.

2) Strategic control over your own kingdom. We began thinking about implementing a full-fledged role play of a king even during WFaS development, as a part of a possible expansion. Strategic management was never the center of gameplay in M&B series, it was far more interesting to climb the mountain than standing on its top. We wanted to add a couple of attractions, at least implement control over the armies and fleet, give opportunity to influence the strategic balance of powers, the same way it’s done in grand strategy games.

3) Ability to establish your own towns — could be added pretty easily from a technical point of view, but the amount of content, interface work and AI tweaks would make us delay the release for a for a very long time.

4) Sea sieges, city bombing. Here’s how it should’ve worked in our plan. Player spawns on the ship’s board, and then sails on boats with his troops to shore under enemy fortress’ shooting. Player’s ship is at an anchor and tries to suppress fortress artillery, if that’s what player wants — because the ship can be destroyed in the process. At the same time, if player’s ship draws attention, boats will be safe from enemy fire. So there are options. When boats reach the shore, your army starts running to the enemy stronghold, throws hooks, captures the fort and robs the city. We started making content for this feature, but in the end hit performance limits. The game became too huge, and the functional for the sea sieges requires a lot more scripts and calculations. We doubt this part of the game would be playable in the foreseeable future.

5) ‘Regiment’ system — troops that have their officer, a flag-bearer and a drummer, which march into battle in one formation. This feature is fully content ready, but missing serious rework of tactical AI, which again would take up a lot of time.

6) Building in the castle and fort management. The idea was for players to have the opportunity to repair and upgrade the walls, put artillery where they like, choose which type of fortification to build and where. A little fortress building simulator. Requires gigantic amount of new content and would hit the game’s performance pretty badly.

7) Interactive tavern scene. This is one of our favorite features, which we hoped would help a lot in building the atmosphere. But in order for it to be functional, and not just a pretty gimmick, it would have to become the place where players take quests, fights take place and rumors can be heard. The amount of new animations and content would require a gigantic amount of time.

8) Native tribes and research missions in jungles. We started making new and more detailed flora, special locations with Maya cities, special river transport. At some point we realized we started making a new game without completing the older one.

9) Walking in cities. We allowed players to make construct their own buildings in towns, got rid of villages, replaced text version of towns with graphical one. All of this can’t let us return to traditional for M&B series walking on the streets. The most important problem was the optimization and how to combine this with possible castle building. Removed from the plans.

10) Finally, female characters — something we declined at the very beginning as it would double the work on the models. Unfortunately, the female model would require not only a new hair set, but also redoing all in-game clothes and animations, so that it’d really look like a woman, and not a biorobot or a man in disguise.

So, there will be nothing of these in the game?

Not exactly. Our plan is to polish the elements we consider finished, launch the game and get your feedback on the 1.0 version. Based on it, we will be working on fixing some flaws (which are inevitable) and then proceed working on things we’d like to add in the future. New content will be added with free DLCs or content patches.

Why not postpone the release date then and add everything you wanted in the first place?

‘Caribbean!’ was born as a simple idea — adding fleet to ‘With Fire and Sword’. That’s it. At the beginning we didn’t want anything more than that. But with time we had more and more other ideas, the game became more complicated, changed visually, and had different people working on it. Some major changes in the project led to rewriting the elements already made a long time ago. Or we had to rework on some older content because it didn’t fit with the style of the new one. Or think about what we should remove from the game recourses because they eat up all memory in the system and make the game crash in 5 minutes after launch.

A decision to postpone the release date once more would question the possibility of the release itself. If we continue working on ‘Caribbean!’, adding all features we had in mind, the game wouldn’t come out even during this year. This kind of decision is never easy and we hope you can understand it.

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Caribbean! — Small announcement

January 15, 2015  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  15 Comments

Hi everyone,

We have a few things to announce. We’ll share the details a bit later, so here are some main points for now.

Pirate_colored_cr

First off, we now have a release date, we’ll announce the exact day at the end of the month.

Secondly, this month the game enters beta stage. We’re preparing for release the biggest update yet. After it comes out, there won’t be any global changes to the project, only some additions in graphics and sounds, also polishing and bugfixing.

We hope the update will be ready for release pretty soon, it’s being tested at the moment.

Thirdly, coming from the first two points, during the holidays we had to conduct a painful procedure called ‘feature cut’. Looking at other releases in the past year, we’re convinced it’s a far better choice to put out something a bit smaller, but in a working state. Seems pretty obvious, but when you see so many projects of other developers (including big and well-known ones) sink like Titanic before your eyes, it helps to reinforce a better understanding of simple truths.

We’d also like to warn that the current game’s price will go up before the release. As it’s currently being sold in alpha, it wouldn’t be fair to offer it in full price. However, this situation will change with the full release.

That’s it for the moment, keep an eye out for later news!

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Caribbean! — Status update #7

December 19, 2014  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  29 Comments

Hi everyone,

It’s time for a new status update. Right now we’re preparing the biggest update we’ve ever released till this point, so you can expect a lot of changes. For this reason, we decided to shift the update’s release to January to give us a little more time to make it even better.

First, we added a new renown system. Now it’s split into military renown for soldiers and trading (or administrative) renown for entrepreneurs. It’s becoming a very important part of the game and it defies what you can acquire: which troops, ship upgrades and building types will be available to you.

Military renown should be pretty clear, it didn’t change much from what there was before. Trading renown can be considered as a total amount of all your assets: your ships, your money, goods in your cargo hold, value of your property and so on. If you are a billionaire, you’re a celebrity of Caribbean.

So things will get a little tougher. Some troops will be harder to get, cannons will disappear from free market, and you’ll need to pay taxes for your property and goods in your cargo hold.

There are also new faces!

There are also new faces!

Another addition comes out of this — players will generally have to pay more. You’ll need to pay port charges for every stop in a port, and the amount of pay will depend on the value of your cargo. If you won’t have enough money, customs officials will confiscate a part of your goods. Although, if you don’t wish to pay anything at all, you can always contact smugglers.

Smuggling is the third addition. If you want to sell your goods in a city, but don’t want to pay for port charges, smugglers are your best choice. Of course,when you set a meeting with smugglers, you also run the risk of stumbling into customs patrol. Depending on your skills, this situation could end in different ways. Some will manage to persuade the patrol that there’s no goods on the ship, others will have to take a fight.

The fourth direction of our current development is the new quest system. We removed quest distribution through ‘talking heads’ — now they are given out in a separate panel in cities. You will also be able to hire mercenaries there, in case your battle rank doesn’t let you hire troops in garrison.

caribbean!quest

New strategic map is something we announced a long time ago and right now it takes 60% of our efforts. We changed the scale of the game world, increased the amount of settlements and also completely reworked the map’s visualization. By the way, the settlement concept was changed and now there’s no villages in the game. From now on, the world consists of cities only.

Finally, the updated naval battles. We heard enough feedback on how boring and monotonous current naval warfare is. We have some new gameplay elements in the works which we’ll tell you about once we’re ready to ship the update.

That’s it for now. See you next year and happy holidays!

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Eador — Update notes (December 4)

December 4, 2014  |  Eador, Эадор  |  64 Comments

Hi everyone,

New update for Eador is available today.

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Update notes for 1.5.0:

New:

  • Added minimap (F2 to toggle).
  • Added tooltips for non-active dialogue options (like ‘Not enough gold’).
  • Added descriptions for Scout’s available actions before a fight start.
  • Hiring ‘Cavalry’ guard now requires ‘Warriors guild’ instead of ‘Barracks’.
  • Added 8 new site types.

Fixed:

  • Map generator bug which led to impassable locations.
  • ‘Empty’ slot in enemy’ army description when attacking a province.
  • Income tooltip preventing clear view for construction queue.
  • Missing price for spells used by units during tactical combat.
  • Incorrect damage prediction when using a flank or running attack.
  • Bug in medal rewards distribution.
  • Bug that caused often healed units to receive a Healer’s medal.
  • Inability to see HP loss of huge units positioned in upper rows of the tactical map.
  • Elf druid didn’t get advantage of Commander’s Ranged tactics skill.
  • Events in uninhabited provinces.
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Caribbean! — Multiplayer dilemma

December 2, 2014  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  13 Comments

Hi everyone,

We think it’s time we discuss some possible multiplayer options for our game, seeing as lately there are more and more questions about it both on our forum, Steam discussions and our FB page.

Initially, we only thought of ‘Caribbean!’ as a single-player game, because at its foundation was our attempt to convey the feelings that gave us Sid Meier’s Pirates! in its time. But taking something as template doesn’t mean full copying. Mount & Blade’s genom, that we got together with its engine, obliged us to focus on a good fighting system as well.

That’s why the game’s concept sounded like this:”economic strategy + naval battles + war strategy + roleplaying”. This is a good, massive foundation upon which we can build so many ideas. So many, in fact, that we have more planned ideas than we can possibly implement. Trading routes? River expedition into the depths of America? Searching for the secret Maia towns? Advanced control of generals and fleet? We’d like to do all of it.

Riot

Multiplayer was left for later, as it requires a different approach. And not just different, but an entirely opposite one.

For us the perfect blend of roleplaying and strategy means playing at a pretty slow pace. You can sit and think as much as you like. You can send your squadron to loot a town and drink some tea while your ships cross the Caribbean sea. Multiplayer’s having none of it: everything is fast paced, there’s a lot of emotion and tension involved and compressed into 5-10 minutes sessions.

Traditional multiplayer, such as the one we did in ‘With Fire & Sword’, isn’t very interesting to make at this point. We think it’s time to try something new, but what would it be exactly? Maybe some sort of team deathmatch with set goals? Goals that could be different for each team or maybe for each individual player?

A lot of people ask to add multiplayer. Some of you ask to add co-op. Could you tell us what you mean by ‘co-op’ for this game?

Before we dig too deep into this, here’s an official announcement. If by co-op you imply an ability to play the single-player campaign, but with friends online, we won’t be able to make it happen. This game would be titled ‘Mount & Blade Online’ and our studio of 10 people is not the one for this job.

But perhaps you’d like to suggest your idea for a fun multiplayer mode without resorting to creating another WoW-killer? Let us know what you think.

P.S. Before you ask — yes, we played The Deluge’s naval battle mode.

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Caribbean! — Status update #6

November 21, 2014  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  3 Comments

Hi everyone,

Time has come for us to share what we’ve been working on since the last status update.

Firstly, boarding locations seem to be complete. While we were working on the scenes with the battleship, we had some ideas on how we could improve the whole boarding process, but in the end decided to hold off implementing until later development stages. Battleships were the most powerful means of destruction in XVII century, really huge ships. Adding them into the game took us some time. Anyway, we really hope you’ll like this ship.

Next, the old global map is no more, and the new one is in the works. It’s a bit hard to read at the moment, but the world should get prettier soon. If you remember, initially we wanted to include not only local tribes, but Brazilian colonies, Maia’s and Apache Indians’ towns, even cities of New England as well. This idea proved to be too ambitious, so instead we decided to focus entirely on the Caribbean region, territories of Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and other states have been taken out from the game.

new_map

The new troops hiring system is now finished. Our main goal was to distance it from the system familiar to you by M&B games. Now the troops aren’t hired with a series of questions and answers (“How many Spanish musketeers would you like?” – “I would like 5 Spanish musketeers”), it’s now done with the system of icons and sliders. It’s working very similar to the current trading screen.

newhire

Finally, we began working on the new quest system. Quests have been untied from the dialogues and lords. To be honest, dialogues in M&B sometimes seemed quite routine to us — especially when a lord that assigned a quest, decided to go to war, then lose it and be jailed for a couple of weeks. Now quests are assigned by cities and factions in a single quest panel.

Plans for the following month:

– Making more quests (possibly some special ones with smuggling involved);
– New rank system to replace the current one;
– Adding trading renown – as we mentioned, we’d like to make trading and business a full-fledged activity for roleplaying;
– Finishing the global map and the new version of the city screen, which we’ll show you in a separate post once we have some pretty screenshots on hand.

Also please be sure to ‘like’ our little Facebook ‘Caribbean!’ page if you want to stay up-to-date with the game’s news at that place and if that’s your thing. Thanks!

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Caribbean! — Status update #5

October 29, 2014  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  13 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.

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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.

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