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Anime Boat Crew - Motor torpedo boat in WW2 Pacific theatre

Taka-Haradin puolipeikko

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Boat Crew

Boat Crew is an action-packed singleplayer game that is all about leading your men to bring out the best in them in the field of battle. You're given charge of a
PT boat, one of many, in the Pacific, and sent against the Imperial Japanese Navy in the forefront of the Pacific War.

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Sometimes through bravery and sometimes through guile, you'll take on ever stronger enemy forces and come out on top. Manage your people and your resources; beg, borrow, and steal, and equip yourself from a wide variety of tools available to bring your campaign to a victorious conclusion.

Prioritize your acquisitions, make connections, and customize your ship's capabilities to your taste. Above all else, care for your crew; Experienced sailors are in short supply in the largest naval front in the history of mankind. Sometimes the best option is to live to fight another day.

Key Features

Crew Management: In Boat Crew, you are not the boat herself but her commander, with all the associated responsibilities and privileges. Most tasks will be delegated to your trusty crewmen, and it's up to you to make sure they're up to the task.

boatgif-opt.gif


Jury-Rigged: With distances vast and ships spread thin, you're afforded a substantial degree of autonomy. Anti-tank guns and light mortars are only some of the weapons you can add to your boat that would be considered unusual, and there is ample room for innovation. The only two rules are, make sure you are still floating, and get the job done!

Tested in Battle: Training teaches a man to keep his head down, but its experience that teaches him when he can start handing out the hurt. Crack troops are far more lethal than green recruits, and will be capable of abilities otherwise unavailable to less experienced crewmen.

Live and Teach: Beyond being good fighters, your veterans also have much to teach to their replacements. Experienced soldiers will set a baseline crew experience and will impart their lethality on any replacements given some time.

Fortunes of War: War has luck of its own, and industrialized total war is a different story entirely. Despite all caution and planning, some of your most trusted members will be lost at some point. It's up to you and your skills as the commander to find appropriate replacements and train them in time for larger engagements.

Applied Science: Few things inspire innovation as much as war does, and sometimes you may find yourself pressed to be the first to employ a new technology in the field. Following the expansive tech tree will dramatically improve your crew's combat prowess; just make sure to prioritize appropriately.

Grand Campaign: Fight numerous surface actions that range from night raids and coastal fire support to search and destroy. Your success in these battles will improve your clout and your crew's experience, increasing the options available to you in future battles and providing more daring operations.

plane-opt.gif
 

Taka-Haradin puolipeikko

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If demo's single actual level is representative of game's difficulty then this will be harder game than Bomber Crew or Tank Crew.
:shredder:
2A462F93FA1890DE72B40F9B1E65BE55401DE79C
 

Taka-Haradin puolipeikko

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An Open World: The Setup
Campaign, Game Design, Technical
The Open World
It's finally time to create the open world for Boat Crew's campaign! Today we will be reviewing the preliminary design, major issues that were glaring from it, and the reorientations to prevent them. The design would actually have been fine if we focused on creating a cute and simple boat game. but Boat Crew has extended past the scope and quality we intended when we set out a year ago, the embryonic direction is starting to become incompatible with what we now want to achieve.

The Original Design
The campaign was originally planned to take place in an always physically simulated scene, where objects spawned or disappeared off the horizon as you moved around, cuts and jumps only occurring when a mission was engaged or your PT boat was docked to a tender. The tenders serving as bases for repairs, recruitment, customization, fast travel across each other, etc. There was going to be a sector based map where you sail mission to mission, facing random encounters off duty. The map would have been more or less fictional with 10-15 2x2km islands to roam in between, placed in a way that keeps empty ocean sailing to a bearable amount. Completing the mission batch of a sector would reduce enemy activity in the neighboring ones, grant a new tender location, and ultimately let you get to the later missions without being overwhelmed.

This approach felt very straightforward at the time (March 2021) and gave confidence for a Q3-Q4 2021 release, with ~8 months of development. Every initially planned feature except the campaign was experimented by then. Yet, the feedback during Steam Next, observations of Youtubers, and encouragements from certain individuals lead us to reconsider wrapping up the game in the state that it existed. With the closed beta and its challenge levels, we kept at iterating the game instead.


Enlightenment
During this extended development we naturally stacked up a lot of knowledge on what happened in the Solomon's, eventually leading us to want to use the real world map itself, which is incompatible with the preliminary map design structure, which was supposed to be fictional. No matter how the real world is scaled, unless the long stretched islands become single digit kilometers in length, it always has a massive amount of open sea to wander around with nothing in sight. Not only that, the amount of coastal area is immense and would feel empty with the limited resources we have to throw at it, whether content creation ended up being by hand or procedural.

After these considerations, it becomes clear the a fully open and simulated world isn't the best way to proceed. We found the solution by separating open world traversal from combat, where combat is initiated based on what you encounter during traversal. This means we are moving more towards a Mount and Blade or Highfleet style campaign, in contrast to the likes of Metal Gear Solid V or Grand Theft Auto V.

The Setup
The traversal layer of the campaign will be removing a massive amount of work that would've needed to be done for a realistic map. Together with the abstraction medium it provides, it allows us to implement some features we previously thought were unfeasible. You will be able to move around as a squadron rather than a single PT, fast forward on the move, interact with nearby units, and more.

Traversal will be a game on its own, your stealth and timing will determine successful engagements. Radio and radar activity will have consequences on exposure. The more you meddle with the enemy's operations, the more the AI will work to track down and corner you.

Technical
We've already started setting up the world and rendering it. The GEBCO Grid was used to import the heightmap of the area related to the Solomon Islands. Some defects are noticeable if compared with google maps, if there is an notable small island missing we can hand paint it into the heightmap.

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A custom shader is used to create carefully adjusted contours on the heightmap, overlaid on a paper texture. With some tinkering we made it possible to curve text to give an atlas like feel.

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The shader scales seamlessly to render at all zoom levels. Note, you should be able to view these images better by opening them in a new tab.

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The map reveals a preview of the area that is zoomed into.

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Thanks for reading! This should evolve into a series soon.

-Cotanius
 

Taka-Haradin puolipeikko

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Second Wave of Closed Beta!
Greetings Captain,

As we approach the day of release, we're starting a second and final wave of Closed Beta access. Our Closed Beta is due to receive a major update in anticipation of our release, in which three PT boats will be playable among a nice variety of weapons that range from outdated, to mundane, and to experimental. Several challenge missions are available to get acclimated to the game in anticipation of the grand campaign. We're quite proud of our progress and the shape Boat Crew is taking as she matures, and so we'd like to invite you to the second wave of our Closed Beta to both show you a preview of our game and to enlist your help in figuring out bugs and other problems that may have avoided our attention, as well to hear your suggestions out. It's a good opportunity to participate in the evolution of Boat Crew, and we feel that it will help us make Boat Crew the best she can be at the time of release.

For admission to the closed beta, we'd like to ask you some basic questions to better understand your enthusiasm for Boat Crew and her closed beta:

1. How did you find Boat Crew?
2. How do you feel about what you've seen so far regarding Boat Crew?
3. What excites you the most about Boat Crew?
4. Did you play the demo?
5. If there was one setting appropriate ship, weapon, location or equipment you could add to the game, what would it be?

All you need to do in order to join our Closed Beta is to answer these questions; either by mailing tabbingtabby@gmail.com or by DM'ing either of the developers (Cotanius/Darky) on our Discord server.

https://discord.gg/ZgbuKrge8K

We'll return to you shortly and assign you a Closed Beta key.

Looking forward to seeing you join the war effort, Captain.

That will be all,
T.T.
 

Taka-Haradin puolipeikko

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Roadmap & Buyer's Notice!
It is time for Early Access, here's our delivery plan!
Greetings, Captain.

A highly productive Closed Beta, thanks to both our efforts and those of our Beta testers, has ended and Early Access is finally upon us. As Boat Crew enters a new era of even higher development tempo and maturation, we're glad to have you aboard and think it is only fair that you should know our course if we are to ask you to join us in our journey. To this end, we would like to share our roadmap for Early Access with you, and discuss our goals and progress in as much detail and transparency as possible. We find it effective and manageable to split development into two-week periods, with focused development being followed by a developer diary on what has been accomplished in these two weeks and on what our goals are for the following two. These diaries will be going into as much detail as possible, hopefully without being too drawn out, and we ourselves will be available on our Discord channel (https://discord.gg/ZgbuKrge8K) for discussions, suggestions and bug reports. Before we begin our first developer diary, here is a brief overview of our current roadmap, with the current week marked (*):

1st of August - Early Access Launch (*)
- Tutorial and 15 Challenges to play though
- Complete Combat Mechanics
- Campaign Tech Preview as a Spectator Mode
15th of August - 1st Checkpoint
- Preliminary Customization
- Wave Survival Mode
- Routine Unit Additions
29th of August - 2nd Checkpoint
- Campaign Alpha Release
- Customization Improvements
- Routine Unit Additions
5th of September - 3rd Checkpoint
- Crew Skills and Progression
- Tech Tree
- Routine Unit Additions
19th of September - 4th Checkpoint
- Enhanced Weather Mechanics
- Larger Boat Classes
- Campaign Map Expansion
3th of November - 5th Checkpoint
- Level Editor w/ Guide
- Routine Unit Additions
- Campaign Improvements
17th of November - Final Checkpoint
- Final retouches
- Preparation for Release
- Early Access Reward

Bonus - Post Release Modding Tools
0th Developer's Diary - Launch!
Current Situation:
Boat Crew slips anchor with three playable PT boats, several friendly and enemy unit types, complete mechanics, and action-packed combat to be found among the several Challenges available. Challenges are individual missions with pre-set loadouts of boats, as well as a time and score system. They're meant to provide bite-sized pieces of the Boat Crew experience and are great for getting acclimated to the game, trying different things our or just some fighting when you aren't feeling like committing to a full Campaign.

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Challenges are balanced with the provided loadout in mind, and each Challenge is assigned a difficulty rating. Challenge difficulties range from pleasant cruises to pitched engagements that will put your skills to the test, so we recommend going through them all! Even if you think a challenge might be too easy for you, you might end up finding an interesting scenario or a unit you thought was cool to encounter.

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Several Challenges were already in the Closed Beta, with even more being added on Launch. On the whole, Challenges are not meant to be all or even a large part of the Boat Crew experience; they're only the first step in a great journey, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of fun (and learning) to be had!

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The original intention was to release the Campaign in the beginning of Early Access, but as the scope of the Campaign increased, we realized that a barebones launch would take away from the excitement of the finalized Campaign. In the current stage of development, the Campaign, for lack of a better word, is "playable" with a few minor adjustments. However, we thought that, with many of the core mechanics of the Campaign yet to be added, it would be an underwhelming experience next to our Challenges, and figured that the Campaign should be released not in a "playable" state but in an "almost complete" state with most of its core features established. This is something we hope and expect to accomplish within the month of August, with the rest of the Early Access period dedicated to iterating on the Campaign. We will be discussing the details of this throughout our Developer Diaries, but for now, the Campaign is only available as a Spectator Mode; a sort of teaser where you can see engagements unfold between IJN and USN forces over the course of a grand campaign for the control of Solomon Islands.

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Goals for the Next Cycle:
First of all, we're looking to add preliminary customization. As customization is a huge part of our vision for Boat Crew, if we hope for it to be expansive, we had to start quite early at it; and so we have. Many customization related steps have already been taken; the UIs are mostly complete, different camouflage patterns are available at colors of your choosing and we even have multiple options for crews to wear. In fact, some of our work on customization predates the Closed Beta period. However, we currently only have Challenges as a matured combat mode, which don't lend themselves well to customization due to their independent nature, so we're looking to introduce a new mode: Wave Survival.

As the name implies, Wave Survival is meant to be a mode where the player fights off waves of increasingly stronger enemies, with replenishment provided in between waves. Each wave will be allotted a certain amount of points to spawn units with, increasing between waves. Points will be adjustable to allow for custom difficulty settings. The player will be able to enter this mode with their custom boat, making it the perfect test environment for a given loadout as well as the player's mettle. Wave Survival will also have a Fleet Manager, where the player will be able to purchase allied units to support them with the resources accrued through successful engagements.
In the meantime, new units will be added routinely over the Early Access period. We intend these to be done in batches and in short, irregular intervals, and so they won't always be specifically mentioned in Developer Diaries. Mentions will be made where possible and each new unit will be testable on Wave Survival, and new additions will also filter back to the existing challenges every now and then.
Work on the Campaign will also continue behind the scenes.

Pricing Policy:
We'd also like to talk about our intended pricing policy for Boat Crew and most likely future Tabbing Tabby games. Boat Crew will be priced at $20 for the first half of the Early Access period, with the price being increased to $25 at the second half. During the first week of Early Access, there will be a 20% discount to show our appreciation for our very early followers, meaning Boat Crew will be available at $16 for a short time.

Regional prices may vary; but in general, the first week will have a 20% discount and after the week ends, the price will remain constant until the second half of Early Access for a 25% increase in price to $25. Release will see Boat Crew reach its final price, most likely of $30, from which point onward there will be no further increases or discounts unless there are exceptional and unpredictable circumstances.
This is to say that as a studio of gamers looking to make games that we ourselves would like to play, we're adopting a no discount beyond the first week policy. The reasoning for this is two-fold; the first is that we want to be upfront with what our players can expect from us and match those expectations. Boat Crew is a niche game, and we would rather try and ensure everybody who puts their faith in our work feels the game is worth the asking price than to cast the net for more customers with sales.
The second is that we feel that discounts, while increasing sales in the short run, end up doing so by getting the game to people who may not be very invested and get the game on a lark, diluting the player base. As a fledgling indie studio, building a tightly knit community who has an earned trust in us that they will get their money's worth from our projects, Boat Crew and future, is more important to us than the short term boosts in revenue sales would bring us. And in all honesty; sales just feel bad if you narrowly missed them! Nobody wants to pay something for a game only to find out they would have gotten it for a fourth of the price if they had waited a couple weeks, and being avid gamers, we can say we've been there!

A no discount policy is an uncommon (though not unprecedented) policy, particularly for an indie studio. Nevertheless, for the reasons we outlined above, after due consideration, we believe it is a strongly justified stance.

Closing Remarks:
Thanks for being with us so far, Captain! We've come far, and we still have a ways to go. If you find it within you, join us in our journey, and be on the lookout for regular updates.
We'll see you on the battlefield,

T.T.
 

Taka-Haradin puolipeikko

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Developer's Diary - 29th of August - 2nd Checkpoint
A month into Early Access, here's where we are!
Greetings, Captain! It's been a month since Boat Crew was released on Early Access, and with the Campaign's Alpha release drawing ever closer, we have a Developer's Diary for you that is the calm before the storm. As such, it will be of the short and sweet variety. Now let's talk about what happened in these last two weeks, and we are planning for the next two!

Roadmap:
1st of August - Early Access Launch
- Tutorial and 15 Challenges to play though
- Complete Combat Mechanics
- Campaign Tech Preview as a Spectator Mode
15th of August - 1st Checkpoint
- Preliminary Customization
- Fleet Endurance Mode
- Routine Unit Additions
29th of August - 2nd Checkpoint (*)
- Customization Improvements
- Fleet Endurance Improvements
- Routine Unit Additions
12th of September - 3rd Checkpoint
- Customization Improvements
- Campaign Alpha Release
- Routine Unit Additions
26th of September - 4th Checkpoint
- Crew Skills and Progression
- Tech Tree
- Routine Unit Additions
10th of October - 5th Checkpoint
- Enhanced Weather Mechanics
- Larger Boat Classes
- Campaign Map Expansion
24th of October - 6th Checkpoint
- Level Editor w/ Guide
- Routine Unit Additions
- Campaign Improvements
7th of November - Final Checkpoint
- Final retouches
- Preparation for Release
- Early Access Reward

Bonus - Post Release Modding Tools
Current Situation:
First of all, Boat Crew got an uptick in attention recently, and our Game Hub membership grew to 500 people! That includes people who are already in Early Access, as well as those who are following the game to see how it develops, but either way, we're glad to have you here!

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Since last week, Fleet Endurance is out on its first stable build iteration, with 3 boat hulls at your disposal to take on an ever increasing number and quality of enemies. We've added the Combat Width parameter, which determines the total score value of enemies that can spawn against you at a time, and have also tweaked the enemy Evolution behavior for better pacing. Fleet Endurance will be improved in tandem with the Campaign and the current iteration is not final, though it is, by itself, quite a complete experience. That said, Custom Difficulty as well as more customizable call-ins are planned for the future, and the economy is always open for balancing so let us know what you think.

Going by the participation rates in our Experimental branch, many of you are already acquainted with the mode, but in case you haven't tried it yet, give it a try!

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We're also bringing the PC-461-Class Submarine Chaser, a rather large boat with ample armament. Meant to seek out and destroy submarines, the PC-461 is nevertheless well-equipped to deal with surface threats and will be more than a fair match for most of the enemy light surface targets you'll be facing on the Pacific Front. She is very likely to be a playable boat in the future, but for now, she will be joining the battle on your side in Fleet Endurance, pretty soon.

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Goals for the Next Cycle:
The Campaign's Alpha release is our goal for the next development cycle, and it will include the initial versions of the experience system, as well as the tech system. Note that these, among the other features of the Campaign, will be greatly iterated on, an endeavor that will take us the rest of Early Access. Some critical design elements will be finalized in this period, so while it is a rather definitive part of development for Boat Crew, we can't really say too much without committing to design choices that we may later decide weren't the best. You're just going to have to wait and see in the next week's Developer's Diary!

Closing Remarks:
As we said in the preamble, this Developer's Diary was short and sweet. All the better as the next one is going to be quite a read, so hang in there and take the time to enjoy some Fleet Endurance!

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Fair winds, Captain!
T.T.
 
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TBH the mission itself is not that hard if you dont rush and eliminate planes/boats when they appear instead of pushing on and facing larger groups at the same time. Sinking the destroyer itself is the big problem as it seems that only torpedos have any effect on it.

EDIT: Actually you can sink it with rockets too, which seem to be a more reliable way of doing it then torps.

1661883529829.png


Anyway, the game is kinda interesting, controls seemed kinda clunky at the start, but I guess I got used to them by now.
 
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Taka-Haradin puolipeikko

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Developer's Diary - 26th of September - 4th Checkpoint
Two months into Early Access, here's where we are!
Greetings, Captain! It's been two months since Boat Crew was released on Early Access; time sure flies! As we discussed in the previous checkpoint, we've had some setbacks, so we figure it's time for a particularly big Developer's Diary to both discuss what we intend to be in the initial release of the Campaign and to also show you that development is still proceeding at flank speed. Now let's get to where we are now!

Roadmap:
1st of August - Early Access Launch
- Tutorial and 15 Challenges to play though
- Complete Combat Mechanics
- Campaign Tech Preview as a Spectator Mode
15th of August - 1st Checkpoint
- Preliminary Customization
- Fleet Endurance Mode
- Routine Unit Additions
29th of August - 2nd Checkpoint
- Customization Improvements
- Fleet Endurance Improvements
- Routine Unit Additions
12th of September - 3rd Checkpoint
- Customization Improvements
- Campaign Alpha Release
- Routine Unit Additions
26th of September - 4th Checkpoint (*)
- Crew Skills and Progression
- Tech Tree
- Routine Unit Additions
10th of October - 5th Checkpoint
- Enhanced Weather Mechanics
- Larger Boat Classes
- Campaign Map Expansion
24th of October - 6th Checkpoint
- Level Editor w/ Guide
- Routine Unit Additions
- Campaign Improvements
7th of November - Final Checkpoint
- Final retouches
- Preparation for Release
- Early Access Reward

Bonus - Post Release Modding Tools
Current Situation:
First of all, the Akizuki-Class Destroyer we've talked about in the previous diary will reach the front in an update due soon. Rougher and tougher than her older sister, the Fubuki, the Akizuki will boast a greater rate of fire on top of better durability. If you thought the Fubuki was too easy a target, you're in luck, as the Akizuki will be available as an opponent in Fleet Endurance, in the upcoming Campaign, as well as in the new challenge, Leviathan, where you will take a lightly armed PT boat, dodging furious salvos from the Akizuki while neutralizing her escorts so the cavalry may be brought in.

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The iconic SBD-3 Dauntless is also making its way to Boat Crew, where it will initially be available as a scripted ally that shows up in certain missions. Make no mistake; we are well aware of the historical significance as well as the effectiveness of this little firebrand, and it will be available in its full glory as a customizable call-in aircraft in the Campaign eventually. For now, though, you will have to make do with its deadly and accurate bombs and a decent turret that gives it at least some self-defense. Given that it will be the first dive bomber in the game, we expect that it will be a good test bed for dive bomber mechanics, so expect tweaks on that front until we reach the level of maximally satisfying diving attacks.

Campaign Discussion:
Now to the main act, let's talk about the Campaign! In this section, we'll go over what we hope to achieve for the initial release of the Campaign in exhaustive detail. Note that this list is only what we intend to have at first for the Campaign, and considering the rest of the Early Access will be mostly dedicated to the Campaign, you can expect a lot more development forthcoming than we are ready to discuss just now. We do tend to blab about things ahead of schedule in our Discord channel though.

Now let's get down to it!

Design Philosophy and Basic Mechanics:
First of all, it's useful to acknowledge that Boat Crew is a small-scale game. You're not playing as a 5-star admiral in charge of all forces in the Pacific, you're not playing as a Commodore in charge of a flotilla of cruisers and escort carriers; you're not even playing as the Captain of a Destroyer! You're here to be the Captain of a PT Boat at first, before moving on to leading larger and greater numbers of squadrons as you prove yourself. Which is an important job, for sure, but also limited in scope.

To reinforce that we're making a conscious decision to keep the scope limited, This is not to say that you'll have no impact on the campaign; on the contrary, we'll be trying to structure the campaign in such a way that your impact is through direct action. Your concerns will be mainly tactical, and the Campaign will have a "flow of things", so to speak, that you will affect but ultimately cannot fully control. We hope that this will create reactive situations and avoid the typical grand campaign pitfall of having the player be unstoppable and constantly on the offensive. Our goal is to create a system where setbacks are natural and expected, and do not make the player feel like they must have been at fault because they happened.

With that said, let's move on to more specific aspects of our design. The way time progression is handled is characteristic of any grand campaign, and so it's a good place to start the discussion.

Time System
As we said, we want to create a campaign where small scale action makes a difference and most considerations are of the tactical nature, and so, we're going for a continuous time system instead of a turn based system. Every hour will count when it comes to your maneuvering.

You'll be able to speed up movement in the map-movement display but there'll be no instantaneous travel; every maneuver has a time and therefore, opportunity cost, and things will happen whether you are there or not.

Resource System:
The currency in the front are Requisition Points (RPs), which you will use to recruit crewmen, buy hulls and equipment, refill your stocks; the works. RP windfalls are gained through some dynamic missions, special missions, bounties, capturing enemy bases and by relinquishing command of obsolescent squadrons or redundant crewmen.

Your constant trickle of RPs will come from your Territories; bases in Territories will organically build up over time and allocate resources to your squadrons. At first, you'll have very little influence over base progression and kickbacks will accordingly be small; as you grow in rank, you'll be able to do more in hastening their development and get a larger kickback from them as well.

As the Captain, your fame and experience will directly affect your income of RPs; meaning as the forces under your command grow, an experienced commander will matter more and more and will have to be kept safe accordingly.

Supply System:
Supply flows for both sides from outside the Campaign bounds, to simulate the existence of, well, an ongoing war between two industrialized powers outside the bounds of the Solomons Campaign. Then, supply will flow between bases in automated paths to maximize the total Supply Balance.

Distance travelled reduces the value of transferred supply to simulate the cost of the resources expended in longer routes in terms of more fuel, more tonnage time and more escorts, while each base will give a supply chain bonus to supply that it passes on and in turn receive a downstream kickback to help development progress in that base. This achieves two things. First, it encourages a tightly wowen pack of bases that will help eachother build up faster and give the player and allied squadrons an easier time defending supplies. Second, it means that the fastest build-up will be on the frontline bases as they will typically be at the end of the longest chains.

Note that this also applies to the enemy's own supply situation, encouraging deep strikes into the enemy supply. The earlier you catch a supply ship in the supply chain, the more damage you do, as you'll have sunk supply that would have gone through several other bases, gaining a bonus each time. Accordingly, such deep strikes will be harder as you'll have to slip by or fight several enemy patrols and make it back, all without the benefit of your own supply and reinforcement options, so committing squadrons to such high risk and high reward missions will be an option we think can be quite fun to have.

Supply routes won't be directly affected by the player, but you'll be able to mark routes as high risk zones to discourage the automation from picking those routes.

Patrols and Assaults
Each base will routinely burn off resources to deploy patrols, which will patrol nearby regions to scout and escort supply ships. When enough patrols have been assembled, the base commander AI for a given base may judge its time to call for an assault to an adjacent base depending on its strength and scouting status. In the build-up for an assault, nearby regions will be stripped of resources and assault Task Force will be formed. This build-up will be represented in patrols from nearby bases moving over, and more supply being transferred to the assaulting and defending bases.

A Task Force has a limited amount of time of high intensity build-up before it must reach a target strength, otherwise the offensive will not commence. Meaning you'll be able to disrupt an assault before it happens by intercepting units and defeating them in detail before it ever happens. Assuming that doesn't happen, the Task Force will move towards the target base, and assuming it is successful in the ensuing battle, will take over the target base. The Task Force will then be disassembled into its constituent patrol groups and start patrolling around the newly acquired base.

An assault is an expensive, involved affair, but you as the Captain will not be completely out of the loop when it comes to making the major decisions. As said before, you can change the fate of an Assault by attacking and destroying the enemy in detail or keeping the enemy from doing the same to your allies, but you can also encourage Assaults and have a say in when and how they will be performed after you've proven yourself a little.

The Map
Part of the allure of a grand campaign is that the tactical map where you actually have engagements on is a part of the greater strategic map, and so can help immerse you in the greater context of your small-scale actions. Our original intention was to dynamically generate a 25 x 25 km cut, centered around where the engagement is happening, and put the player in it on the go. This sort of dynamic map generation would have been quite interesting, but as we looked into it, we came to realize that this would result in rather long load times and take away from the pacing of the game.

We figured a good trade-off between using cuts of the strategic map and having reasonable load times was to pre-make several maps that are each cuts of the campaign map and load the engagements to them accordingly. That said, this implementation is not without flaws either, as we're currently looking into finding solutions to problems like having infinitely long and arbitrarily detailed coastlines, both of which are currently incompatible with our current map generation system, as well as the loss of granularity when an engagement happens to happen too close to the boundary between two such pre-made segments.

This is an ongoing cause of development for us, and we expect to reach a satisfying solution one way or the other before Early Access is over, but Campaign Alpha is likely to release with a series of maps that approximate segments of the campaign map but aren't exactly them. It's an ongoing design concern without an obvious solution.

Experience
Experience is the difference between a fresh recruit and a seasoned sailor, and will have a major impact on crew member effectiveness and competence in Boat Crew. Typically, experience will be obtained through combat and performing related actions; Leadership experience will be obtained through commanding the boat, Gunnery experience will be obtained through, well, gunning, and Loading experience will be obtained through; you guessed it, loading.

That much is not a very groundbreaking concept, people will get better at things they do on a regular basis and this will also be the case for Boat Crew. Where we feel we make an interesting distinction is that experience will be transmissible; any crew member with experience below the mean experience of the group will get a trickle of experience over time. Hanging out with experienced loaders and helping out on occasion will teach you a thing or two. If you are constantly on ride or die missions with possibly the best Corpsman in the Navy, you can bet you'll have an idea on how to use a tourniquet. It's not going to make you an expert on its own, but experience will be gained through association with experienced crew members.

The design goal for this feature is to encourage players to make training boats and disseminate the experience, and avoid the temptation of making an all-star team of crack sailors when it's not necessary for a crucial mission. We hope this will encourage moving crew around and thus expand on the crew management aspect we're going for.

Experience will give sizable passive bonuses for the immediate future, but later on, we intend to add active abilities to further boost the significance of experience.

Goals for the Next Cycle:
Right now, we have a lot on our plate as outlined above, and due to the setbacks of the previous weeks, the line between cycles have been blurred. Even though the pacing situation has developed not necessarily to our advantage, development is ramping back up to maximum speed and the Campaign Alpha should accordingly be sooner rather than later. In short, our goals for the next cycle is to have implemented what we talked about so far.

The full Squadron System, Tech Progression, Upgrades, Customizable Call-Ins etc. will not make it to the initial Campaign release, and we are not quite ready to talk about them in detail yet, but we hope that we'll be able to talk about them by the time of the next diary!

Closing Remarks:
Currently, you may have noticed that our Roadmap is desychronized with what we are actually talking about in our Developer's Diaries, which is a result of our previous couple weeks of setbacks as we've discussed before. We're leaving the Roadmap up as it is for posterity as we did not want to pretend we never had those goals to begin with, and also because we still fully intend to do everything we promised in the Roadmap and more, even if the time scale may end up being longer than we initially envisioned. We hope for and appreciate your understanding in the matter and remain committed to making Boat Crew the best it can be.

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That's all for now, Captain!
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Developer's Diary - 10th of October - "5th Checkpoint"
10 weeks into Early Access, here's where we are!
Greetings, Captain! It's been 10 weeks since Boat Crew began its Early Access journey, and as the seas are wont to cause, she's had some rough patches but came out alright! Today's Developer's Diary will be talking about what happened in the last two weeks. We'll go over the Leviathan/Akizuki update that was originally meant to be released sooner, part of the Campaign map, and our decision to re-boot the Developer's Diary series, starting with another diary next week! That's the short of it; now let's dive into the long version!

Current Situation:
First thing to notice, as you might have, is that the Legacy Roadmap is no longer here. We're currently re-organizing the previous Roadmap into
the First Galactic Empire
a version-based checkpoint system instead of time-based checkpoint system. What that means is that while we want to keep up bi-weekly updates, we learned through the hard way that we shouldn't commit to a rigid two-week constraint for each specific goal. Below is the new burning animation for Fubuki, no allusion intended to the ultimate fate of our original goal of sticking to rigid timetables.

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Milestones take different amounts of time in a way that is hard to estimate beforehand; trying to implement something often brings up many technical or design questions about it that we hadn't previously thought of in abstract, Sometimes, it's simply that we run into a problem that we underestimated that ends up taking a lot more time to resolve than previously envisioned and in all honesty, sometimes it turns out we had an overly optimistic opinion of our own productivity.

Either way, game development has refused to be caged and split neatly into two week chunks, and has not so gently discouraged us from trying to do that any further. As we've talked about in the previous diary, we can't really justify sticking to the old Legacy Roadmap anymore, so we will be re-organizing each goal to versions, providing an order to development without committing to a time scale that may turn out to be unrealizable. As said earlier, bi-weekly diaries will continue, and in fact we intend to re-boot the series next week, focusing on the Campaign specifically and presenting the new and improved version-based Roadmap.

Speaking of the Campaign, here's a teaser; a part of the currently finished Campaign map, which has been redrawn in much higher quality compared to the Campaign Spectator live version. Can you tell which one of the Solomon Islands this is?

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The next diary, which, again, will be next week instead of two weeks later, will be entirely focused on the Campaign, so further details on the Campaign are sparse for now. Instead we have word from our original playable mode, Challenges. Leviathan, the debut mission of the Akizuki-Class Destroyer, which is now also available on Fleet Endurance as an enemy, is now available as a 3 star Challenge.

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Our original intention was to release this mission within the week of showing the finished versions of Dauntless and Akizuki, but the AI interaction of the mission provided to be a unique challenge to get right. The mission requires you to rely on your friendly Dauntless bombers to actually sink the Akizuki as you do not have anything that can hurt it meaningfully and the Liberty Ship you're supposed to screen for is woefully outgunned.

Of course, the latter actually was not true for a long while as we realized the Liberty Ship could often sink the mighty and fearsome Akizuki in a rather embarrassing fashion as we realized its weapons overperformed dramatically while the Akizuki did not receive its health multiplier as intended. Between those balancing issues, balancing Akizuki's perception of the player's threat so you could actually reliably draw fire without going in so close that you would be dead before you realized the aggro switched on you, and taking the Liberty Ship from an unsinkable beast that can solo one of IJN's finest Destroyers to the cheaply made cargo ship with just enough defense to deter light targets, it took us 9 internal versions of the Developer's Kit before we felt Leviathan was balanced and fun enough to see the light of day. What started out as a mission concept meant to teach the player to respect and fear Destroyers and practice evasive action turned into a grand experiment on AI vs AI interactions, and we're happy to say that Dauntless dive bombers are now good at dive bombing, Akizuki-Class Destroyers are good at destroying and Liberty Ship is good at sinking without an even more disposable asset around (you) to take fire in its place. Everything is where it should be.

Make sure to check Leviathan, as well as the rest of the challenges out if you haven't already! Challenges range from being easy enough to be a continuation of the Tutorial to setpiece battles where you face some serious opposition, and are a taste of what's to expect from Campaign's Special Missions in the future. Also, even if the Campaign will be our main focus, Challenges still offer a rich array of scenarios and will continuously be iterated on, so, again, if you haven't tried them out, take them for a spin!

Finally, you may have noticed faint black smoke popping up in the gif of Akizuki being dive-bombed; that there is our new addition of flak to Japanese AAA. Now, of course we realize that "flak" is just the German abbreviation meaning anti-aircraft artillery, but it has made its way into English and our hearts as black puffs of lethal smoke ubiquitous in movies and games about WWII. It's a variable timed fuse, low damage shell with a large area of effect that is currently fired 25% of the time from anything with Type 96 25mm guns, which is a quite common weapon in the Japanese arsenal.

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We hope that this will make for a more colorful and familiar sight while also adding a refreshing feeling to the game. For you, it's not a great threat even if not exactly great for your health, but it does do a number on your allied aircraft.

Closing Remarks:
As we are re-organizing the Roadmap, it wouldn't make much sense to have a Goals for the Next Cycle section, and so that concludes this cycle's Developer's Diary. Come back next week when we present the new Roadmap and focus on the Campaign, and for now, take care and enjoy the new Challenge!

Good hunting, Captain!
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Tokyo Express - 28th of November - Developer's Diary R4
Four months into Early Access, here's where we are!
Greetings, Captain!

Today's update is going to be quite visual, as we do an annotated showcase of our recent graphical and mechanical work. So let's get right into it!

Current Situation:
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As you can see, the map has been further upgraded by including the topography, complete with rivers. The island you're seeing is Makira, or San Cristóbal, and it is the second southernmost major island in the gameplay region, as well as your starting point in the Campaign.

The map visual is made up of 1 Terrain base + 5 Topographical layers + 1 river + 1 coastline + 1 shallow water layer. Topographical data and rivers are encoded into the terrain layer, so all the chunks have 3 separate layers in final export for use by different shader passes in game.

As you can see, the new map has quite the increased complexity compared to the previous one, and has been the focus of our efforts for around a month as a result. We think that this effort was worthwhile and that this inclusion gives the map a more lifelike feeling, making the islands feel less like splotches of ink on the table. We hope you agree!

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Those of you who have gone through our challenges know that there is already a day/night system in the game where lighting and visibility are adjusted accordingly, and so it shouldn't come across as a surprise that it has now been added to the Campaign map. The time of the day will be displayed as shading on the map and will directly be used in generated engagements as a result.

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Here is our pathing tool, which is how you'll be moving around in the strategic display. Originally, the pathing tool used to detect obstacles on routes the player created by scanning the heightmap via the CPU, which was one of the reasons forcing us to keep the map resolution small (4096x2797).

The new map is made up of more than a dozen chunks and they're all quite high resolution; even a single chunk that contains Bougainville spans 5800x6724 pixels. We now detect the chunks that fall on a scan and then send them to the GPU, along with the scan vector, to be evaluated for obstacles. GPU threads are distributed on a line according to their indices and they check for terrain with a 3x3 kernel. This method gives near instantaneous results even when scanning through the entire map.

So, enabling faster and better pathing was yet another reason the map had to dramatically increase in quality.

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You may have noticed that even at longer distances, the paths are still a straight line. We took this as a design decision given that the game area is relatively small and close to the equator, meaning that subtle curving would have added confusion and complexity to moving around without any gameplay benefit.

There is also no automated pathfinding for the player as of now, and you will have to chart a course yourself by hand. For long distance movement, this shouldn't be an issue, but for more natural shore patrols, or just shore tracing movement overall, so improvements to player navigation are definitely not out of question for the future.

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Last but not least, let's talk about the namesake Tokyo Express of this diary. Historically, due to the overwhelming air superiority of the US in the region, transport by slow barges and cargo ships was impractical, resulting in dreadful losses whenever attempted. To make up for this shortcoming, Imperial Japanese Navy admirals came up with the idea of using Destroyers on daring night resupply runs, by filling up barrels with supplies and rolling them out to the sea, hoping they would wash ashore and hoping again that they would be found by their intended recipients.

To make the long story short, it was, strategically, a failure, given it caused unacceptable attrition in the precious Destroyer fleet, and only an estimated 20% of the supply that was put out to sea ever reached its target. Now of course, it would be sensible and plausible to just ignore this experimental misadventure and leave it as a footnote in history, but we realized we might have some fun with it yet!

From the point of view of realism, the Imperial Japanese supply chain should in no way be competitive with that of the US, but we've already the conceded that they should probably mirror the mechanics so as to not take away player agency by turning every Campaign into an inevitable victory by attrition. So, creative liberties are already taken to make the Campaign engaging and interesting, and that means we can salvage the idea behind the Tokyo Express as well and actually include it in the game as a genuine and credible tactic!

Therefore, Tokyo Express will be a part of the game in the form of small, mostly lonesome Destroyer patrols moving at night with a purpose, delivering small amounts of supply to target bases. While they won't make too big of a difference for the overall supply situation of a base, they will tilt the supply balance, absent player intervention, in the favor of the enemy, and also give you a high-risk high-reward target to engage at night. After all, they do have huge barrels of supplies, some of which you might be able to pick up for a nice little extra.

Goals for the Next Cycle:
For the next cycle, we would like to move on to the resource system, which we intended to do earlier before deciding to spend more time on the map and other associated mechanics to further refine and polish them. Patrols are also on the itinenary; we've made the battle ground, so it's about time to start populating it, don't you agree?

That will be all, Captain!
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A Beast of Any Other Name... - 9th of January - Developer's Diary R7
Five months and two weeks into Early Access, here's where we are!
Greetings, Captain!

Campaign work has been going on in the background, but we wanted this diary to be one of the more visual ones. In the build-up to the Campaign Preview release, which is drawing ever closer, we'll be showcasing some new units that are expected to make it into the game with the Campaign Preview in addition to what you already see in our existing modes. Today, we are starting with a much needed make-over for the Fubuki-Class. Now let's get to it!

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Current Situation:
As might have been the first change you've noticed, the Fubuki has her name written out in bold white letters in the middle of the hull. This, along with the white stripes of varying numbers on the aft funnel, have historically featured in the liveries of the ships of the class.

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Here, you see another ship of the class, with another name and a different number of stripes. The turrets are also different. Can you read her name?

In the Campaign, you'll have an action history (a feature we intend to pay a great deal of attention to, though in a later update), and to help with immersion, ship names will be picked from a pool of historical names. Ships that historically have their name written on the hull, such as those of the Fubuki-Class, will have their names written correctly on the hull.

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The next thing to notice is, well, the third turret. Those of you who already have some experience wrangling angry Fubukis might have noticed that the version we have in game is a late 1944 variant with one of the aft turrets replaced by several AA guns. While technically out of the time period Boat Crew is covering, we feel that gameplay variety is a worthy cause for some creative license.

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We also have two separate two-gun turrets, which will have different performance. It's up to you to find out which is which!

You can expect to see Fubuki-Class, and most likely other ships with different armaments in different contexts during the Campaign.

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The point of such in-class variety is to encourage visual identification. While a glance at a Fubuki or even a report of one should be enough to let you know you aren't facing your average Soukoutei muppet, we wanted to encourage players to observe enemies and keep track of subtle differences in their appearance to have full understanding of what they are about to face.

Goals for the Next Cycle:
In the next cycle, we're going to keep testing the Campaign mechanics we already have implemented and discussed previously, and possibly move on talking about the player's interaction with the world. Either way, we'll most likely be back to one of those more mechanical talks next time around.

Fair winds, Captain!
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Tactical Considerations - 23rd of January - Developer's Diary R8
Six months into Early Access, here's where we are!
Greetings, Captain!

Today's an exciting day for Boat Crew, as we will be talking about our new system to dynamically generate engagements, opposed landings, and last, but not least, the latest introduction to our unit roster! This marks a big milestone in the development of the Campaign as we have officially resolved the part of Boat Crew's design that we found to be most technically involved. We're excited to be talking about it, so without further ado, let's go ahead and talk about it!

Current Situation:
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First of all, let's talk about an observation we have made after our most recent changes to Assault behavior. As you can see, an American force takes Malapa by assault, which ends up becoming a low strength American base. This apparent weakness does not escape the notice of the Imperial Japanese forces that were already building up at the other side of Guadalcanal, who mount an overwhelming attack on Malapa and take it back as quickly as it was lost. The 21 Strength force that was the leftovers of the assault on Malapa leave early and do not participate in a likely doomed defense.

Our takeaway from this is that the current Assault mechanics, fairly reliably and naturally, lead to counterattacks as well as give the player a way to reliably guide assaults simply by going to a base with a few good men and shooting it up. That sort of impartial and incomplete control is exactly what we wanted to achieve with Assaults, and so we are gratified to see that the game already responds in that manner.

Of course, AI behavior is constantly being tweaked, and rest assured, the exhausted but still notable force that abandoned Malapa without a fight will be court martialed. Both because of the player factor and because of the inherent randomness that's a part of our auto-resolve system, we want the AI to be a little bolder in taking engagements that are close or even somewhat disadvantaged, dynamically generating occasions for the player to swoop in and save the day.

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Now on to the most exciting part of this diary, dynamic map generation! This is an aspect of the game we've talked about having concerns about before, way back in the pre-reboot Developer's Diaries. We feel that we've finally had a satisfying resolution of this ongoing technical problem, and are happy to say that we can now generate chunks of the strategic map as a live combat map on the spot with reasonable load times!

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The terrain of the generated area will match what it actually is in real life, within reason. These dynamically created maps have a fixed size and boundary distance, but they are large enough to allow for combat as well for escapes. The development of the system is of course ongoing, and we are sure there are improvements we can make. We're looking into having beachless coasts as many if not most coasts in the Solomons have the rain forests extending all the way to the sea. We'll see what the future brings on this front, but for now, we're happy to say that this problem is resolved and that we won't have to resort to our backup plan of making a grid of pre-made maps.

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Next up are our bases, on which we can finally show some pictures! Most bases on the Solomons are little more than wooden piers connected to some sort of storage and a light garrison, which is what they will be in Boat Crew as well for the earlier stages of base development.

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Of course, there will be more to show on this front and larger tiers of bases will get more elaborate and look more amenable to supporting large military operations, complete with paved surfaces and defensive installations powerful enough to deter all but the most daring PT Boat Captains.

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Last but not least, we're happy to introduce the Type 2 Ka-Mi, the first Imperial Japanese amphibious tank. A light and somewhat weak enemy, large groups of Ka-Mi can nevertheless whittle you down with surprising haste.

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Together with the playable base areas, they're the prelude to opposed landings we want to implement during Assaults. We'll go into more detail on that on future diaries, but for now, enjoy these little teasers!

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That will be all for now, Captain!
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Breaking Starch - 6th of February - Developer's Diary R9
Six months and two weeks into Early Access, here's where we are!
Greetings, Captain!

As you well know, we currently have a preview customization system in the game for the boat herself within Fleet Endurance, which will receive comprehensive upgrades in the later parts of Early Access. In this diary, we're going to be talking about crew customization, an important feature for Boat Crew's vision that we talked about briefly before but hasn't made it to the game yet in any form despite having first been implemented in a test build all the way back in 2021. It will be available along with the first version of the Campaign, which is drawing ever closer, and so this is a good time for us to share with you some information and visuals about it!

Current Situation:
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First of all, we will be introducing default loadouts, where you can select the outfit for a crew member as well as his role. Roles are of course something you can change in the heat of the battle, and that won't change, but we figured it would be quite helpful to have default loadouts you can snap back to with the press of a button.

We hope this will make players less reluctant to shuffle crews around because they want to avoid having to sort everything back to their default state again, so it's by and large a quality of life addition. As a design philosophy, we are trying to minimize the number of unnecessary clicks so the player can make the most of the flexibility of the crew system.

The lists themselves will be customizable too.

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Loadout items will have gameplay effects, usually granting some sort of passive bonus in exchange for weighing on your crew member and slowing them down. While not hugely impactful for gameplay, they can make a difference. That said, we're most likely going to have multiple options for a given effect, so, your aesthetic preferences will also be a consideration here, and rest assured, you can also go shirtless.

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The system we made back in 2021 was a rigid, mostly hard-coded system with little room for flexibility. That has since been replaced with a much more flexible system, allowing us to have not both excellent crew customization but also variability in crew size and dynamic crew member generation such as through taking men overboard on. We will be talking more about how this will feature in gameplay in a future diary.

On a closing note, we're always on the lookout for period-appropriate clothing and wearable you may think of, or even funny ideas that would make sense in the context of Boat Crew! Let us know at our Discord channel or in the comments if you have any suggestions for crew customization options!

That will be all for now, Captain!
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Campaign Preview Trailer & Release Day Announcement!
Greetings, Captain!

We are happy to present to you our Campaign Preview gameplay trailer, which you can see right below:
The Campaign Preview itself will be released by the 7th of April, though we may have an experimental build earlier than that. We will follow the launch up with a Developer’s Diary, discussing the state of the campaign as well as our plans in depth, but for now, enjoy our gameplay trailer!

Keep in mind that things are subject to change between now and release, and so some things you see here may not end up representing the release version. Rest assured, any changes you might notice will be for the better!

That’s all for now, Captain!
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Angels on our Shoulders - 29th of May - Developer's Diary R12
Greetings Captain!

Due to an unscheduled delay, our previous diary time was skipped. However, development continued in the background, and we're happy to return to our diaries with something to show! Today, we'll have a short and sweet introduction to our support powers system!

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First of all, say hello to the F4F Wildcat, the second fighter and third aircraft to enter the USN roster! Compared to the Corsair, the older Wildcat is a more commonly available aircraft that is nevertheless quite effective in both air combat and in supporting you with various armaments.

Those of you with sharp eyes might notice that it is carrying bombs in the picture. Naval aircraft of the war, particularly those used by the USN, were generally fighter-bombers, capable of carrying rockets and bombs to be used against surface targets when they were not required to achieve air superiority. Therefore it stands to reason that they will also be capable of doing that in Boat Crew.

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Speaking of armaments, here's the first visual on our card-based support powers system. Support powers are randomly generated as purchasable cards, using the resources made available to you throughout the Campaign based on your progression. These cards can be exhausted; and have a limited amount of charge that can be used. The inherent randomness of type and payload, among other parameters, is meant to simulate the ever changing conditions and uncertain availability of support on the frontline.

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Each card is freely placeable on any one of the slots, which is effectively a power and cost multiplier for a support ability. This multiplier also affects how much charge is drained from the card per use of the ability, so the total utility of a card to you will always be the same regardless of which slots you prefer to use it on.

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We still have our heat-based system, and you will still need to generate heat by fighting off enemies, preferably getting combos in the process. The power level of a support power, which is seen on the top right of each card is always a number from 0 to 100. This power level is determined by the supporting craft, its payload and the crews' veterancy.

When you use a power, you will always have to pay the full heat cost for that slot, but any remainder power you get will be refunded after the conclusion of the ability, as denoted by the gray bar you see. For example, suppose you had an ability with a power rating of 80 and used it in slot 3, consuming 3 bars of heat. After the ability is concluded, you would be refunded (100-80)/100 x 3 = 0.6 bars of heat. This ensures that you never have to worry about whether a power would be worth it in a given slot.

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There will be non-aircraft related support powers as well, and the artillery barrage/PT support from the existing system will be revised to fit within this new system.

That's all for now, Captain!
T.T.
 

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Wave Raiders - 12th of June - Developer's Diary R13
Greetings Captain!

We greet you with another Developer's Diary, talking about various little improvements we've been working on these last two weeks. It will be another one of those short and sweet diaries that showcase progress in between the bigger diaries; nothing major, but progress nevertheless.

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The first thing we'd like to show off is our new procedural generation system for docks. Docks will now be procedurally generated based on development level, location, and random chance. As you can see here on the gif, the length and the number of branches on the docks are both changeable, and there may or may not be defenses as well depending on how developed the base is. It's not much, but it's an improvement we felt we could do to keep bases from feeling the same each time.


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Now, while the docks generation system is nice in itself, the real reason these changes were made was to be a stepping stone to adding docked vessels, which is an important part of the game as it enables the entire concept of port strikes. Depending on a variety of factors, such as the time of day or whether a convoy or task force is disembarking or gathering, sometimes the enemy ships will start the engagement docked and won't actually be able to move around. Their weapons will also be disabled for a certain amount of time, giving you the perfect opportunity for a port strike.

We hope that this mechanic will reward proper timing and scouting, and organically create windows of opportunity for your raider fleets to do what they are best at.

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We also now have a message system, which will inform you of engagements happening around the map as well as impending threats and allied operations in an automatically scrolling format. Messages can be dismissed and can also pan the camera to where the engagement is about to happen/is happening if applicable. Overall, this should be a nice quality of life improvement and a way of keeping up situational awareness.

That's all for now, Captain!
T.T.
 

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Fortunate Winds - 26th of June - Developer's Diary R14
Greetings Captain!

Today, we're here to talk about the continuation of our work on destroyer variants, the new weather system, and our plans for a sort of "hit list" and dynamic radio chatter that will replace our previous plans for special missions. We've talked more than once about our plans for special missions to emulate notable engagements on the historical Solomon Islands campaign, but after much deliberation, we couldn't find a suitable implementation that wouldn't take away from the dynamic nature of the campaign. That's the summary of what we are going to talk about; now let's get into it!

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Here you can see the Akizuki, which will finally get named variants. The Akizuki-Class ships would be some of the largest that get the name written on the hull, as anything larger would be a capital ship, which did not historically have their names written like that. Named ships will come in the configuration they historically came in, and so should be visually identifiable from a distance.

On occasion, named ships, along with their entourage, will be spawned on the map, and you will be informed of their presence. They will be tougher than usual opponents, but the encounter will also be more rewarding should you succeed. Scratching off a target from the kill list will unlock the last encounter, culminating in a "boss battle" after you go through several engagements of increasing difficulty. These engagements can happen anywhere on the map rather than on premade maps, and fit better with our vision of a dynamic campaign than fully scripted missions would have. We hope that this system will perform the role of a side quest chain that we previously intended for special missions to fullfil.

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We are also looking into adding dynamic radio chatter; the messages of the sort you see in the Challenges. Now of course, Challenges are scripted missions, with precise timings for when you receive a message, and it's quite tricky to find a balance between bombarding the player with similar messages on repeat and not meaningfully engaging enough to make the world feel alive and vibrant. This is something we would like to look into and implement if we can manage a satisfying implementation. We imagine these messages to be a commentary on your actions and on the engagement, as well as warnings and recommendations on occasion.

Overall, this would be the second half of the cannibalization of the original concept of special missions; the missions themselves would be woven into the map through the kill list system, and the worldbuilding through messages would be made dynamic and added into the Campaign itself.

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Last not but least, we have been working on the weather system. As you can see, we have improved visuals for the rain and the wind, and the wind will in fact slightly affect your movement and come in from ever changing directions with ever changing ferocity. So, make sure to take the sailwinds after you!

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That's all we have to share for today, Captain.

We will see you on the next diary,
T.T.
 

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Forward Observation - 17th of July - Developer's Diary R15
Hey Captain!

Following an unscheduled delay, we are back with our 15th diary of the reboot series, this time talking about some cosmetic changes, the continuation of our support power system and visible damage! Let's dive right into it!


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First, we've added visible damage to enemy ships. We've always felt that it was a little unimpactful to see your torpedoes hit an enemy Fubuki, and see the still seemingly fully intact ship slowly go down. There should be visual feedback when you deal damage more than a puff of smoke; certainly so for torpedoes, after all. Steel should bend and buckle, fires should pop up where the target was hit, and in the case of torpedoes, massive holes should appear as torpedoes detonate under the hull.

The unfortunate Akizuki you see in the picture has been hit hard and is not long for this world. Although this isn't the ideal depiction of torpedo damage, we think it's a good compromise between the artistic constraints of the game and visual identification of how much of a bloody nose you've given your opponent.

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We finally have usable binoculars, the competent Captain's favourite tool for situational awareness! You cannot aim weapons in this mode as it would not really be practical to do so in the context of Boat Crew's aiming mechanics. However, it's the perfect tool for getting a closer look at your opponents', and also for...

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...calling down artillery strikes! You will be able to aim your "skill-shot" support powers with the binoculars, allowing you to decide on the perfect placement yourself. As opposed to the fairly hands-off planes that are good, reliable support, we intend for artillery support to be high-risk, high-reward that should shine in the hands of players with good aiming and intuition. Well-placed barrages will be able to truly maul enemy formations before the battle is joined, making the rest of that engagement that much simpler.

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Off-map barrage support will come in a variety of weight classes and other randomly generated stats as we have discussed in the earlier diary about support powers, with these affecting cost, time to arrive, damage and shell count. What's intuitive will work here; such as light barrages being better against swarms of light boats whereas heavier barrages will be for proper ships.

Overall, we intend for artillery to be a more player-involved power compared to planes that should pay off with the appropriate target practice.

That will be all for now, Captain!
T.T.
 

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Measure of a Man - 1st of August - Developer's Diary R16
Greetings, Captain!

We're here with you a special Developer's Diary as it is the first year anniversary of Boat Crew since its debut in Early Access! Looking back our initial diaries, we can tell a great deal has changed and we've come quite far. Our initial planning didn't pan out, but we've been steadily working on fulfilling our goals for over the year. As the checklist grows ever shorter, let's talk about what has happened recently, and what you can look forward in the next big Early Access update!



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The first big thing is our new onboarding screen, where you recruit and assemble a crew! This will be the first thing you see when you load into a Campaign, and it is the screen you will use to manage crew on a given boat. The usual crew recruitment panel will stay, and the boat screen will be where you assign reserve crew to their boats. Information about the selected crewman as well as an overview of everyone else is provided.

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The second big thing, as you might have noticed in the previous picture, are crew traits! Crewmen will have certain traits; qualities to them that are a part of their background or nature and can't be changed throughout their experience on the front. Some traits will be positive; others negative, and there's no guarantee of a fair distribution. Some men will thrive in war, while others are simply not meant for it. The degree to which you can hand pick your men will increase as your successes pile on and your clout increases; in the beginning, you might have to make do with what you get whereas in the late game, you will be able to command a group of the finest the Mosquito Fleet has to offer. We hope this addition will further add to the crew management aspect of the game, and offer interesting possibilities for modders as well.

Traits aren't meant to shoehorn men into certain roles, but can be slightly helpful or slightly detrimental in particular to certain roles every now and then. However, they are not meant to ever cause problems that cannot be overcome through grit and training.

Oh, and the crew information cards are now a little more colorful with the addition of the trait icons!


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Finally, the support power assignment screen is quite similar to the crew assignment screen, and provides a fast and intuitive way of buying support powers with your Requisition Points; which will form the basis of our actual economy and are a topic for the next Developer's Diary, so stay tuned! It's been a while since we dropped any hints for the next diary in a Developer's Diary, hasn't it?

That's all for now,
Go get them, Captain!
T.T.
 
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Strap Yourselves In Codex Year of the Donut Codex+ Now Streaming!
Its shaping up nicely, though I wish the devs would work a bit faster, at this rate it looks like we wont see 1.0 before 2025.
 

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ounties of War - 14th of August - Developer's Diary R17
Greetings Captain!

It's been a while since we had one of those more technical and text heavy Developer's Diaries where we go on and on about planned mechanics and how things will be working, However, this might be a particularly rewarding one to read, as most if not all of the things we discuss here will be making it to our major update on the 28th of August, which will be the penultimate build in Early Access! So put on your reading glasses and take a look at what you can look forward to as we move towards the end of our journey.


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First of all, the target list we've previously discussed has been implemented in earnest. Named ships, mostly Fubukis and some Akizukis for now, will be given to you as priority targets for you to hunt down. They, of course, will not be alone; they will have light to medium boats and sometimes even other Destroyers accompanying them. They will patrol and fight like normal task forces, and will even be engaging allied forces they come across and take damage accordingly. This will dynamically create opportunities for you to pounce on them. On the rare chance that they are sufficiently mauled by an allied force, they will retreat to recuperate, and eventually come back again provide you an opportunity for you to engage and sink them.

Successfully scratching a target off the list will give you a nice windfall of Resource Points and a permanent trickle of Victory Points. These two concepts, of course, are in need of elucidation. We've talked about the former before but the latter is our entirely new solution to how, the game, so far, lacked an apparent win condition other than conquering the entire map, which can lead to the end game being a little more grindy than we would like. Victory Points will be our solution to this. Now let's talk about both in detail.


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Observing a vessel at the correct angle with binoculars reveal the vessel's name in Romaji.

Resource Points are quite straightforward; they are our new currency, replacing the rather inelegant dollars. They are used to buy everything you can already buy with the dollars. However, they will also be awarded to you every tick, proportional to total allied development in the region. Beyond that, scratching targets off the target list and taking out enemy supplies will also give you a windfall. Sinking random enemies will no longer give you any resources; so you can allow your focus to shift further into completing the objective and not feel like you're missing out if you don't kill everything everywhere you go.

If you've already played the current iteration of the Campaign, then you'll know that the current currency exists more or less as your budget; it's not actually spent, it's the sum total of what you can add to your boat and is entirely fungible. Effectively, it is 100% refund on any part. This will remain to be the case; we intend for you to be able to customize the ship any way you want and try out new things. However, with the inclusion of trickling income, we felt the need to also have some resource sinks that should give you a compelling reason to spend; permanently, some of the RP you've been accumulating. Our support powers and the new companion system will fulfil this role, making your life a little easier if you're willing to part with some of your hard earned spoils.

The companion system is effectively what we already have in Fleet Endurance, where you can buy boats to join you in your battles. We will be transplanting that system to the Campaign, with the key differences that, for one, sunk boats will not respawn or refund, and for two, the number and type of boats available to you as companions will vary with progression. A Fletcher at your side will cost you something dear and will not be available until more or less endgame, but a faithful flock of 80' boats will join you sooner rather than later. Hopefully, these will be reason enough to give cause for deliberation; on whether you will focus on your own boat or whether you will be using support powers and companions to keep the momentum going.


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During playtesting we found that giving the binoculars camera a height boost while in targeting mode does wonders for the artillery targeting reticle usability.

Victory Points are also quite descriptive; have enough of them, and you win! The way you get them is that each allied base will give you a trickle of them based on their development, and each enemy held base will give you a deduction. Now, you can't go below 0 Victory Points, and the enemy doesn't accumulate them for themselves either, so you won't lose in this manner, but you won't start winning until you hold at least half of the development on the map if your intention is to win through conquest.

You can expedite this process by collecting bounties on the priority targets in the target list; this will also give you a permanent trickle of victory points that will help you win the tug of war. Be warned, however, that enemy presence will ramp up the more your victory point income is; even if it is not yet enough to push the needle. Think of it as the enemy increasing their commitment to the region the more resistance they meet; culminating in one last hurrah before they have to concede defeat and abandon the Solomon Islands, winning you the Campaign.

As you can tell, it's a very straightforward system that should give an impression of tangible progress while also being another lever for customization in the future when we get around to adding options.


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The new arrangement for management related buttons. Loadout, Crew, and Call-ins buttons are only accessible when at port.

Finally, we'd like to talk about Fleet Endurance. Fleet Endurance was a game mode we came up with on the spot; the time between us getting the initial idea and the release of the mode in one of our earliest Early Access builds was less than a month. For an idea that was implemented rapidly, we are quite proud of the results. However, its most unique feature, the fleet companion system, is something we are now adding to the Campaign. An endless gauntlet of enemies, as fun as it can be, is less interesting than having the context of a grand campaign to all the fighting. Which is why we must announce that it is intended to be cut from the game for now and will not be back in the foreseeable future, with the effort that would have gone into its development going into the Campaign instead. If you still want to play it, however, earlier builds with it will be available on the Betas tab.

That's all for now, Captain! We intend everything mentioned here to make it to the release build soon, and there may or may not be more we can sneak in if time allows. We hope you are as excited as we are to see Boat Crew become the experience it was meant to be!

Good luck out there, Captain!
T.T.
 

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....
The closest you get to influencing strategy is choosing which enemy-held port to maul next. Trash sufficient watchtowers, gun emplacements, and bunkers during a port raid and it’s possible your bosses might decide to send an invasion fleet to the spot to finish the job.

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The snag is the Japanese AI – which is also alert to island-hopping opportunities – tends to respond to player vandalism by beefing up defences in the violated vicinity. Return to a locale for a second go and you may find swarms of Zeroes or shoals of gunboats waiting for you.

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Aware that WW2 PT boats were extremely fragile war machines meant for scouting and sly hit-and-run attacks, rather than brazen base bothering, Tabbing Tabby don’t force you to batter seaside structures in order to get on....
 

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