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Harpoon gameplay mechanic

This topic contains 12 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Rodeo 11 months, 3 weeks ago.


I’m really liking the idea of harpoons, I thought of a game play mechanic to add to the harpoon. While grappled onto another ship, using the sky core pulse sends a surge of energy up the harpoons wire and short circuits the enemies engines, stopping them for a short while.

Some things I’ve already assumed about the harpoon
– it can be detached by salvaging it
– low to medium range with drop
– only one harpoon can be stored in the ammo loader


Hanger Hangar

Devs are still working on core engine mechanics… Like loading shadow maps and objects without freezing the whole engine.

Though this is promised.


Oh I didn’t realize that, a thousand apologize for bringing up a suggestion in a suggestion thread


Hey, dont be salty, both of you!On harpoons, they are coming, confirmed. Just after 0.1.6 wipe and 0.1.7 new islands/map update


this isn’t a thread about whether or not harpoons are confirmed, how can two people be so oblivious. Are you so eager to post you just ignore the topic and say the first thing that comes to mind?


Considering that it doesn’t interrupt any systems when a ship’s own core generates a pulse, I think it might be out of place to see one disable stuff on another ship. But I do like the idea of using the harpoon as a delivery mechanism for some kind of energy attack.

If I may suggest: instead of using the normal pulse, what if there was a new core attachment that was designed to act as a capacitor or transformer to convert the pulse energy into something more potent? We could then have that be connected up to a specific harpoon as an upgrade after the fact. I think it might help with balance to require upgrading individual harpoons one at a time to support this secondary feature rather than giving every one the ability in one swoop.

Speaking of potential balance, instead of taking out the entire ship’s systems for a duration, maybe the effect should be localized to an area around the impact of the harpoon. Various things could improve or reduce the area of effect – like the quality/material of the harpoon itself and maybe how many shards are used to generate the pulse.

Going one step further, suppose harpoon cannons have two components of ammunition: the harpoon loaded into the ammo loader and the cable contained in a replaceable spool. Different ropes/chains/cables/etc. could provide different levels of strength, toughness, maximum length, weight, and conductivity for the harpoon pulse. One thing I envision about the spools is that they wouldn’t need to be replaced after every shot, but would have enough length to be reused a few times in the event they were cut or broke.


great suggestions, Making a sky core attachment specifically for this would make a lot more sense, these attachments/upgrades to the harpoon cannons would most likely be at the end of the knowledge tree, I would be extremely enthusiastic about working towards unlocking this.

Localized area of effect makes a lot of sense too, well placed shots near enough to the sky core could disable it for a short while and send it plummeting or disabling one side of a ships engines would cause the person manning the helm to make adjustments, it would generally make for more rewarding/skillful game play. Another thing to consider could be the material the harpoon is lodged in, the surge of energy would have less of an effect on a wooden panel or engine, which would definitely help balance this mechanic in favour of new players with wooden ships.

A variety of things attaching the harpoon to the cannon would be great but replacing them maybe a little excessive, the only thing I think should be destroy-able is the harpoon and of course the cannon itself, if you choose to send a surge of energy through the wire it should release the harpoon and retract the wire.

i can Imagine a scenario where a light ship with multiple harpoon cannons uses a surge of energy on an much heavier ships sky core while still attached with other harpoons, yoinking it down into the abyss! hilarious


Interestingly, there is a comprehensive rework to the damage calculation system in the works which sounds like it will better incorporate the materials involved on both ends. This was mentioned in the PvP AMA video here. The devs talked a little about how this could possibly result in the notion of putting things like rubber tiers around the edges of your ship to act as bumpers to lessen the effects of collisions. Perhaps that could also eventually extend to some kind of similar insulation plating to act as a defense for this harpoon pulse tactic (but of course with its own set of disadvantages to keep balance).

I may have misspoke, I didn’t mean to imply that people would be replacing harpoon launchers to get this ability. I agree, I would much prefer having some way of literally upgrading the existing harpoon cannon in place – similar to how you “upgrade” the core by snapping additional parts into it. A similar snap system for other non-core parts was suggested by Lehxy a while back and I think it would be neat. So along those lines, you’d have your core attachment that snaps to the core and enables the ability for an offensive pulse. But then you must similarly augment a target harpoon cannon to interface with this core upgrade to actually use said ability. Maybe the harpoon attachment schematic is automatically unlocked as a branch when you learn the core enhancement as a two-for-one deal (like cannon shells), thus allowing you to choose which individual harpoon launchers you want to upgrade at your discretion.

And it should definitely be possible to over-tax your core by using the harpoon pulse too frequently – similar to overheating a cannon. Except it could potentially cause a momentary loss in lift for the host ship.

Edit: Whoops, my mistake, I misread your response and thought you were talking about the core attachments. I see now that you were referring the rope/cable part. The notion of being able to cut grapple lines is something the devs at one point expressed an interest in doing down the road, so that’s why I added something similar to my train of thought. Granted, this was well before the pulse was thought of, so it may have replaced that idea. Having the harpoon auto release after sending a pulse is a nice touch, as it makes the action costly – i.e. you need to choose whether to reel your target in, or zap them and you can’t necessarily do both (with the same harpoon) at once.


Do you think explosive tipped harpoons are a good idea?


I can’t wait until there are more ‘stations’ and tactical choices for ships and crews. Even just having swivel guns will be very exciting in discovering how this will change ship meta and crew choices during combat!

I think if this pulse or some sort of electrical attack would happen, it would be great to see the harpoon construction work differently than cannon shells do now. Currently you make shells out of whatever, and thats totally fine! But having the choices of a more conductive metal that could be destroyed easier could offset the potential to use a pulse or charge attack vs a more durable one that is solely meant for “holding on”.
In this light, I do think that having to make the rope for this would allow for more strategic choices. Use your costly steel ones for durability, your weak copper ones for a more effective charge attack, or your rope ones that are “cheap” in resource cost, but still very durable due to flexibility (gotta keep the low tier options viable). Since glider fabric comes from wood, rope can too, and the different wood types would allow for more use potentially even in later game tiers.

Additionally, I think that not only should you have to make the rope, but if you miss, in some cases, the rope extends out completely and then is gone. Truly, I feel harpoons will be very strong in PVP, so there needs to be an expectation of skill and cost. You miss your target? Ok, load up the next harpoon and rope!

This pulse/electric attack being fueled by atlas shards could also play into the Quality mechanic. I only recently discovered that shards technically have a quality that you can see when you are loading them into an atlas core component in an assembler!

The idea of wood being more resistant to the electrical attack is a great one too. The balance of metal and wood in the game currently has no real benefits for new players. Most woods need to be very light in comparison to most metals, to offset the durability benefit vs the potential for speed. (again, gotta keep the low tier options viable)

Vsavranskiy where has it been posted that harpoons are being implemented anytime soon? I thought there was no tentative date.


Also, does anyone have any links to when harpoons were discussed, showed, or in any way touched on previously by the devs? I would like to gaze longingly at models, or read anything from their own words if at all possible!


@rodeo to my knowledge, there haven’t been any actual assets developed or previewed yet – only affirmations that it is indeed planned. Beyond that, there are a few comments that go into slight (and I mean very slight) detail on what the devs are thinking about for it.

Blog: Q&A With the Designer
Q: Asked by Reddit user pthorstorm – Will it be possible to tie several ships together, at least temporarily with ropes?

A: Luke Williams – A big feature we’re looking forward to implementing are harpoon guns, so yes!
A: Tom Jackson – We have a harpoon attachment planned for the ships. Connecting such large and heavy physics objects together will require some careful piloting to avoid snapping the tethers, but hopefully it’ll still be somewhat possible


Luke Williams said:
You could in theory go:

Crate < –Ship–> Crate < –Ship–> Crate < –Ship.

For as long as you wanted using 2 harpoons on each ship. The ships between could just be tiny ships with crates on too.


And this blurb from discord:

Eternz – 11/17/2016
My initial design for whale hunting (because they’re quite armoured) is cannon blast their armour and rip it off with a harpoon once it’s damaged, then start shooting the soft bit underneath
that’s probably miles off though :p

harpoons are still big on the feature list, I can’t wait to get them in
we can’t add the whales without the harpoons


Awesome, thanks for that Fenix! I’m bummed to not have more tidbits to fill my hunger with, but I’m happy to know all I can and not have to speculate beyond the little truths we have.

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