This latest update actually began as an answer to the VERY in depth list of questions that Icarus posted a couple of weeks ago. However, as there was so much to cover off I’ve taken the best questions (and those that I can answer at this stage) and turned it into its very own blog post! So Icarus, fellow Drifters, here goes (and remember, everything I say is subject to change at this early stage in development, but I hope it’ll give you a good idea on our line of thought). Will all ships need engines or can some be wind-powered? Sort of like the idea of tacking into the wind, relying on the prevailing winds to carry me to far off islands. Though your ship will be pulled and dragged by the wind, and you can ride the wind to an extent, right now your ship will need engines in order to fly around properly.
Are you looking to fully weaponise islands? Ie – start off exploring using ships but eventually giving people sufficient tech that they can arm islands up, put engines on them, attack other islands with a 3 million ton floating rock that can broadside. As cool as this idea is, islands won’t be weaponisable to such a large scale and the players cannot move them with engines (they’re far too big). However, you are able to build camps as a temporary base from which you’ll go out to gather resources and where you’ll perform repairs and upgrades to your ships. Will players be able to take over other players ships or merely destroy them? If they can take them, can they only be controlled or broken down for parts or sold? Ships are actually pretty ownerless by the game rules; the only way the game recognizes you as being tied to your ship is when you place your crew respawner on it. So other players can destroy your ship outright, board it, destroy your respawner, or simply sneak aboard and loot your chests while it’s still flying. Whatever you can do to your ship, other players can as well and vice versa. If players are making engines/etc for ships, can they also make armour/weapons for themselves? Players will indeed be crafting equipment for themselves and you should be able to see more of this in our gameplay video next week! Can ships tow other ships? If damaged, tow a comrade’s ship back for repair – which slows down the undamaged ship but gives the damaged one a chance to recover. My lips are sealed on whether or not we have plans for a craftable harpoon players can add to their ships.
Can players tell at a glance how ‘good’ another ship is? Ie – will engines have visual separation to distinguish a ‘class 1′ engine from a ‘class 2′. So players can see an incoming ship and know – by looking at it, whether they are much more advanced or not. I imagine it will be pretty clear how good a ship is at a glance, especially as you discover new hulls and create even larger ships. Will there be neutral ground implemented? Somewhere players can mingle without violence ensuing? Right now there are no plans for a “protected” zone. I imagine players can organise something themselves… but that will require some trust 😉
For resource gathering, will players need to find specific islands to find some of the more unique resources – and hence fight over them? There will definitely be specific types of islands that tend to have specific types of resources. You’ll want to go on long, epic journeys to get the type of resources you’re after. Can ships be camouflaged? Both when they’re parked up on an island (or tethered or whatever) and while flying. For now, the extent of ship camouflage is just how well you can hide it in a tree clearing or in alcoves and caves. It’s a pretty big thing to hide, but it’s not impossible (as we’ve found out in our playtests in the office). Will players need to level up their grappling skills? If so, is this done merely by doing grappling itself? Right now the grappling hook doesn’t level up or gain upgrades. This could always change, but right now it takes quite a bit of practice to get competent with it, and even longer to genuinely get good at it. So in some sense you do increase your skill by using it, but that leveling up happens in your brain and hands, not your computer! 🙂
Will players need to worry about food? As it stands there is no requirements to feed or look after your character in that way. It’s all about keeping your ship running. Will bigger ships require bigger crews to effectively control them? Sounds like a mini-game in itself. Bigger ships will generally be a lot easier to run and maintain with more crew. Can I drop a big rock on an enemy ship from my own ship? Would be hard to pull off (matching speed, accounting for altitude, wind, etc) but nothing says “You annoy me” more than a really big rock. You will definitely be able to drop things onto ships, although it may not be rocks! But I agree with the sentiment that throwing rocks sends. Will there be a building aspect beyond ships? Making a hideout on my own floating island, looking out at the view – has its appeal. See, I’m not all about violence. Right now we’re concentrating on the ship building, there is limited building on land but this could expand later on.
Can this be played successfully as a solo player or will true success only be found working as a team? Players will definitely be able to play solo–the idea of being a lone ranger has its appeal–although it will always be easier to multitask with a crew. Will wind have colour? Hotter winds being redder, colder winds being bluer. An easy way to differentiate one from another. Perhaps ships can be biased towards specific wind types? We’re still looking at ways we want to visualise the wind. But it will be possible to read it to a certain degree, as weather plays a very important role while traversing the world. You’ll need quite a powerful ship to survive a lot of it. Luke