Eador — Project status

March 3, 2015  |  Eador, Snowbird, Эадор  |  8 Comments

Hi everyone,

We wanted to clear the situation with Eador a bit. First of all, the project hasn’t been abandoned. Our limited resourced wouldn’t let us devote as much time to it we’d like. Honestly speaking, 90% of our efforts and expenses at this very moment are focused on ‘Caribbean!’. However, we have a dedicated specialist whose job is only working on and improving Eador.

Dwarf_Mechanic

Regarding the next update. If all goes well, we’ll upload it to Steam’s open beta tomorrow, so GOG’s customers will have to wait a little longer. After some tests we’ll release update 1.5.2 and post the patch notes along with it.

We see that hundreds of people still keep playing the game every day. Of course, that’s not millions or even thousands, but knowing that some of you are out there and still playing is enough to continue our work on Eador. So thanks for that!

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Caribbean! — Update notes (February 27)

February 27, 2015  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  71 Comments

Hi everyone,

The first post-release update for ‘Caribbean!’ is coming today. A little clarification: right now we’re focusing on things the community considered the most critical for our game.

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Update notes:

– The classic M&B troop control system was combined with our new order system. You can either control troop types with hotkeys or give out orders for selected troops with the mouse.
– Returned old loot system. Loot won’t be accessible in as large amounts as before, but players will be able to lay their hands on a set of old boots and hats from defeated bandits.
– Changed player icon on the tactical map, now the player is marked as an arrow which depends on player’s view direction.
– Dramatically decreased ramming damage which previously could cause flagship’s sinking upon boarding.
– Added new siege location.
– Added quick-access button for player’s ‘Storage’ in a town if he has any property there.
– Bartender in the tavern now gives a hint on where you can find companions.
– Removed additional damage to player’s crew during boarding which could lead to illogical loss of sailors.
– Fixed a bug which caused loss in boarding if the player had low HP even after he won the fight.
– Fixed a bug which caused ‘NO_STRING’ messages to appear in the shipwright’s menu if a shipyard didn’t have ships for sale.

We’ll keep working on two directions: fixing the most unpleasant bugs and filling the game with new content as well as more diverse gameplay.

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Caribbean! — Status update #10

February 24, 2015  |  Caribbean!, Snowbird, На Карибы!  |  55 Comments

Hi everyone,

Let’s discuss something. First of all, we want to draw attention to the fact that ‘Caribbean!’ does not contain the words “Mount & Blade” in its title. And there’s a reason for that — mainly because our game is not a continuation in Mount & Blade series. Yes, some traditional features known to M&B fans are not in the game, but at the same time we added a lot of new things which were never before seen in those games.

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Sure, a good portion of negative reviews is justifiable. But is our game that bad? We’d like to think it’s not. In any case we’ll do our best to change your mind with an upcoming set of updates in the near future.

Right now we’re working on combining the classic troop control system from Warband and WFaS with our new RTS-like system.

The other thing we’re focusing on is fixing logical errors in naval battles and boarding. For the most part those aren’t programming bugs, but some gamedesign decisions that turned out to be not quite obvious.

We’ll also be adding some new locations into the game. This might be our main shortcoming — the game lacks new places, and feels like there’s a shortage of space. Additional locations should help fix this problem.

Special thanks to everyone who didn’t resort to throwing hate grenades into our bunker. The work on the game continues, stay tuned for the news.

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Caribbean! — Now available

February 20, 2015  |  Caribbean!, Snowbird, На Карибы!  |  87 Comments

Hi everyone,

Today we’re putting out the release version of ‘Caribbean!’. On this occasion we’d like to say a few words about the new things you’ll be able to find in the game since the last update and what you can expect in the future.

The release version now has a new storyline which we didn’t show before. Some of its parts could of course be noticed during Early Access by the most attentive players, but hopefully nobody spoiled themselves just yet.

Secondly, companion hiring. Now players can appoint them as ship captains as well.

Next is treasure hunting system. We won’t tell how exactly it works beforehand as it’s closely tied to the story, companions and treasure hunting, so you have this part to explore for yourselves.

In other new additions: the tavern, where players can buy rare collectible weapons and get rid of their prisoners; new town screen and new ‘governor’ construction system now, when you govern a town, you get access to its special town buildings.

We also updated the siege location. Now attacking and defending sides don’t clash with each other in a narrow bottleneck. We think this should help making the town sieges a bit more challenging.

Now, what can you expect next? First of all, more siege locations. We finished working on the small siege constructor and will soon fill the game with different fortress variations.

After that we’d like to add some quite intriguing nationalities and their special troops. Which exactly? We’ll talk about that a bit later.

We consider our main goal of making the game as stable as possible achieved. Despite the huge stress on the engine, greatly increased quality and quantity of in-game models, the game doesn’t take more than 1,7 Gb in memory. Based on this, we can safely continue working on the game without much trouble.

We still look forward to hearing your feedback and ideas, and we read every post we see here, on Steam forums or on newly created TaleWorlds sub-forum.

A big thanks to everyone who supported us during Early Access! We really hope you’ll like the game.

P.S.: ‘Caribbean!’ will be sold at a 15% base discount on Steam and GOG for the whole launch week, starting today. Additionally, if you have M&B: Warband or M&B: With Fire & Sword on your account in any of these stores, you’ll get a bonus 10% discount upon buying the game in the first week.

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Caribbean! — Release date

February 12, 2015  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  87 Comments

Hi everyone,

There’s one Russian joke that perfectly describes our 8th Status Update.

Military unit receives very sad news: private Ivanov’s parents died. This news is to be reported to Ivanov, but in a very delicate way. At the morning formation officer commands:

– All those whose parents are alive – step forward! Ivanov, where are you going?!

Caribbean_en

Perhaps we should have announced the amendments in our plans in a bit more delicate way and without causing panic. That’s why we decided to dedicate this post not to the current development, but to where it’s headed next.

To start, the list of features we showed earlier is mostly our work plan for the year ahead. What we meant to communicate was that these parts of the game won’t be present in the game on release. The release version will be that solid foundation that we’ll use to expand our project further on. Those who played Dune 2 might remember: for a building to stand firm, it must be built on a concrete platform.

This concrete platform is necessary for getting a technologically stable game. We’ll know for sure that it works without troubles with the engine and any additional optimization.

Secondly, there are game elements that have horizon of development. There are game elements that we can work on for an unknown amount of time. And things that can take an unknown amount of time, can also require an unknown amount of budget. In this case it’s better to divide the development into stages, without trying to achieve everything at once.

Bearing this in mind, ‘Caribbean!’ is going to be released on February 20th 2015. Here’s what’s going into the release version:

  • Naval battles — significantly changed based on players’ feedback.
  • Boarding fights.
  • Brand new economy and production system.
  • New ranking system.
  • Completely reworked quest model.
  • Field artillery.
  • Order and control system for armies in battles.
  • Brand new world map.

As we mentioned, this is not the final list of features the game will ultimately receive. Right after the release, we’ll start working on naval sieges — something we wanted to do from the start but couldn’t implement due to technical problems and restrictions. This will be the first content update we’re planning to add in the game. We’ll stress this one more time, it’s going to be a free DLC, and not paid content.

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Caribbean! — New update & Devblog #4

February 10, 2015  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  39 Comments

Hi everyone,

After some time in the beta branch, today we’re releasing the new big update to everyone, along with some fixes and a new devblog video to showcase fresh additions:

Try it out and let us know what you think! Also be sure to check the information on ranking bonuses on our forum.

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Caribbean! — New update now available in beta

January 30, 2015  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  26 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.

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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.

UPD: We’ll be pushing the update to stable on Tuesday, you can expect some bugfixes in public beta today though.

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Caribbean! — Status update #9

January 23, 2015  |  Caribbean!, На Карибы!  |  15 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!  |  6 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.

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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.

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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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