- Apr 24, 2015
Microprose will publish this.
Escalation of Hostilities - 06th of January - Developer's Diary S2
Welcome to another Developer's Diary. Much has been happening behind the scenes, and we've been working on, among other things, an overhaul of the Threat system in the game.
The Threat system rework we'll be talking about today will actually be one of the two major parts of an overhaul we've been working on, which we intend to bring in as a single major update as the individual parts are not complete game mechanics of their own. It's going to take a while for it all to come together, and you'll be able to track our progress via the diaries.
That's not to say there will be no updates until the big one, in fact, we have one planned for very soon next week. Now let's talk specifics!
Let's begin with what you can expect to have in your hands soon. We're adding the 20mm Dual Oerlikon as a primary weapon, available on the 80' Elco and 78' Higgins boats.
The 20mm Oerlikon is already a favourite among players based on the feedback we've received, given how much firepower it packs into one gun manned by one gunner. The Dual Oerlikon furthers this by adding even more gun per gunner; twice as much in fact.
It will fill the gap between the single 20mm and the M45 Meat Chopper in the role of single gunner primary weapons, hopefully proving to be an interesting midgame upgrade.
We're also tweaking the costs on some Primary weapons, all in the form of reductions, to make upgrades more gradual and available earlier so you can enjoy them for longer throughout the Campaign. You'll see the exact numbers when the update lands as things are still subject to change, but you can expect some stat changes to accompany these cost reductions as well.
The Utility weapons have all been tweaked, with Mortar in particular being made substantially less effective against ships while getting more ammo efficiency in return. We had a lot of feedback on how the mortar is overpowered against ships, but we also didn't want to make the weapon unsatisfying to use.
Improved ammo efficiency should further enable creating smoke screens to line up for torpedo attacks, which was the originally intended way for Mortar to be used against ships. However, if you want to attack them directly with explosive shells, this will still be possible, just not effective to the point of making other much more expensive Utility weapons obsolete. The changes should also not affect its anti-ground performance, as while it will take more shells to destroy base defenses, ammo efficiency is increased to compensate.
The AT Gun will get better ammo efficiency in return for losing a bit of its splash damage. We wanted to make it a more dedicated sniper's weapon, and reduced splash means you'll want to target specific components rather than bombarding center mass until the ship sinks. It has substantially increased ammo efficiency to compensate for the reduction in damage, and so it can be said to be a better weapon overall. It will also overkill less against small boats thanks to this.
M4 Autocannon got major buffs, getting its direct damage doubled while also getting a cost reduction. It's still meant to be a sidegrade to the AT Gun rather than a strict upgrade, so it maintains its reduced accuracy and muzzle velocity, but it should be more interesting an option now.
Last but not least, we've added an animation and sound effect to announce when a crewman has gained veterancy! This is one of the polish changes we meant to do in the pre-1.0 polishing rounds when the game is otherwise feature complete, but we've received feedback from many of you that the game can be a little lacking in notifying you of things, so we figured we would do this one sooner rather than later.
Threat System Rework
In the current version of the game, Threat acts as a brake to your progress, only helping the enemy cause you more trouble. You're put in a situation of either ignoring the increased enemy activity and pushing forward, or going back to port to wait the threat out after every action. We felt that it's perfectly fine to play cautiously and to keep threat low, but thought that there should be some reward to keeping it high so it's a more meaningful choice to make.
Threat is being reworked to become more of an escalation mechanic, an abstract representation of how much attention is on you and your actions. This attention could be on the enemy side, making them more alert in places where you are operating, scrambling aircraft and surface patrols more often, and sending air wings to harry you in hostile and also neutral territory to a lesser degree. That so far is nothing new, and has already existed in the game. It's being tweaked and improved with some changes, but the core idea remains the same.
What's entirely new is that Threat will now also signify how much attention your allies are paying you. You don't get high threat without stepping on some toes, which will be duly rewarded as a measure of how much of the war effort is now following your initiative. Threat will exponentially increase the chance of support power rewards, where you're given additional assistance in the form of a free high quality support card. You'll have up to 25% chance to get additional support per day in this manner, a number that's subject to change depending on how playtesting turns out.
We're also adding a cooldown to player-spawned assaults that spawn in response to your Base Raids. We've heard from multiple channels and have also ourselves thought for the longest time that the game leans a bit too much towards base raiding, and given you can functionally invade bases on your own, this both makes the game go too fast and the action of raiding bases too rewarding.
The part that makes this relevant to the threat system is that your threat level will be the only way of reducing this cooldown. The idea here is that threat is a measure of your momentum, and you'll be able to keep the ball rolling as long as you can withstand the increased enemy opposition.
You will also passively gain heat in combat, scaling with your Threat level. Heat, for those who don't know, is the yellow score bar that fills up during an engagement which you use to call for support powers. At higher threat levels, you will gain more and more heat over time without killing any targets, allowing you to bring in the cavalry sooner rather than later.
Overall, these changes all serve to give you a reason to decide: You can still play cautiously, but then you'll have to settle for a reduced pace of progress. We hope this will make keeping threat low or going full steam ahead a more meaningful choice.
Finally, making noise, for better and for worse, is not as easy for a single PT Boat as it is for a whole squadron of them. Each squadron boat will now give you increased threat gain as a multiplier. This is particularly relevant because threat is now on an exponential scale rather than a linear one, meaning later threat levels will be more difficult to reach than earlier ones. Decay is also exponential, so you won't lose much threat just going back to base to re-arm, while ensuring you won't have to sit for days at port waiting for threat to decay if that's what you wanted.
That's all we have to share for now, Captain. This was a text heavy diary, but we hope it was informative on what is to come. The next diary will most likely be about the second half of the planned major update, but more on that later.
You've been briefed,
Directed Fire - 2nd of February - Developer's Diary S4
We're with you in another Developer's Diary, which will be of the short and sweet variety in the buildup to the big update, covering incremental additions of what we have mostly already talked about in the previous two diaries. It is told, rather ironically, that it is better to show than to tell, so let's get right down to it!
To begin with, Boat Crew now has torpedo nets! Little more than heavy wiring held up by a line of buoys, the torpedo net is nevertheless effective at thwarting torpedo attacks on docked ships. A common sight in moderate base defenses and pretty much abundant in better fortified bases, torpedo attacks on docked targets will no longer be as easy as it is currently.
Mind you that newly conquered (or lost, from your perspective) won't have time to deploy torpedo nets, so you will still have the advantage while conducting port strikes during a counterattack. The enemy, of course, will be expecting a counterattack and thus be Alert, meaning the effective threat level for the engagement will be increased, but that doesn't mean that it is impossible to sneak in and launch torpedoes without being noticed so don't write port strikes out just yet!
Next up, we have these renders of the Ki-84 Hayate. Admittedly an anachronism, given it didn't enter service until 1943 in actual history, we're nevertheless excited to introduce the Ki-84 as a high performance enemy aircraft. Mostly operating in its own groups, the Ki-84 is the second Imperial Japanese Army aircraft to enter the game, which is not a nuance that's lost on us.
Indeed, there will be a marked distinction between the ways you may encounter Army Air Service aviation and Naval aviation in the future, but that's the topic for a future diary. For now, enjoy this crisp model made by Shigure, and soon you will also be shooting them out of the sky!
The Nagara has been implemented in earnest, and she even has a functioning floatplane catapult! Although not likely to affect the outcome of an engagement with the Nagara one way or the other, we felt it adds quite a bit of charm to this new ship, making her more distinct from what we already had.
The new fire control direction we alluded to in the previous diary has also been implemented to the game. Now, instead of each gun firing at will, guns will fire in pre-determined patterns in salvos, with the outcome being something more resembling of actual naval gunfire.
Sequential firing is also one of the available "patterns", though only the Nagara can somewhat sustain fire with the Fubuki and Akizuki having higher fire rates and longer rest times. We wanted sustained fire to be something to set Nagara apart, and it will generally be more in the realm of heavier ships in the future.
The system allows for a lot of customization in the shapes of the firing patterns, which we hope to use to coordinate the batteries of shore installations and perhaps larger ships at some point as well.
We hope these changes will make ship gunfire both visually more interesting and also more predictable to make it easier to learn avoiding incoming fire.
That's all we have to share for now.
Until next time,
Defense in Depth - 16th of February - Developer's Diary S5
We're here with another show, don't tell, kind of Developer's Diary. The implementation of base defenses is almost complete, so let's take a look together!
First off, we have the shore obstacles that are little more than a pile of rocks held together by barbed wire and stakes. Such improvised fortifications were cheap and effective, and as such are a common sight on fortified beaches in Boat Crew. They generally don't stray too far out into the sea and should not affect your mobility appreciably, but they contribute to completing the look of a fortified base.
In the next layer up, we have the shore fortifications, generally wooden bunkers or sandbag gun positions overviewing obstacles made of wooden stakes or barbed wire. Wooden bunkers are a step up from mere sandbag positions in terms of survivability, and higher ranked bases where the enemy had more time and opportunity to dig in will feature them in greater proportion.
Wooden bunkers will not merely disappear after being shot, but will instead remain as defunct husks that act as shot blockers, giving some directionality to engaging a gun position with direct fire. Explosives, such as the mortar or rockets, will be your friends here, being more or less unaffected by this mechanic, though wooden bunkers will still be vulnerable to direct fire for the most part.
Inland mortar pits are being added, coming in a variety of either triple mortar pits or heavy mortar pits. They will attack you at high angles much like your own mortar does, and will generally outrange you, but neither variety should be too difficult to dodge unless you stand still. They're mostly there for flavor, and to give the enemy the ability to fire back when you're besieging them with your mortars, so even an unlikely hit from them will be quite dangerous so watch out.
Finally, concrete fortifications will also appear in mid to high end bases, increasing in proportion with base development level. These will be quite the tough nuts to crack without artillery of your own, so come prepared if you want to take them out.
On top of all of these, there have also been some improvements behind the scenes. The foliage renderer has been updated, allowing us to get smaller and better scaled trees while making them notably denser. Trees will now react to wind as well!
Perhaps most importantly, the bug we had where some players sometimes ended up with a sea of floating trees should now be fixed. End of an era, this notorious bug has previously given us much headache and is hopefully gone for good now.
Shoreline detection and defense placement systems have already been updated to enable us to generate cohesive bases as well.
Finally, waves have been updated to match the shore, and you may feel a difference in severe storms.
Last, but not least, you will see all of these changes and possibly more on the Experimental Branch due to release next Friday!
That's all we have to share for now,