February Update

As usual, the Discord server is the place to go for the most up to date news, but the winter vacation here means I have a little time to provide an update here. Would have had more time if I hadn’t got laid low by a virus for the past couple of days, but those are the breaks.

As mentioned earlier, I have decided to move the game to LibGdx. This has meant rebuilding the UI; a task which has mostly been completed now. I have also fixed save/load of games, although it remains to be seen how compatible the new file structures will be with the old ones. All in all, the base game is very close to being in a playable condition again. There are some port/story interactions which are still causing annoyances (i.e., bugs), but hopefully those will not prove to be blockers.

One significant non-UI change coming is to the combat system. One of the issues I feel it’s had is that it tends to be very much carrying out the same actions repeatedly until you win or lose. One of the issues I’ve had with building up a satisfactory land combat system is because of this – simply having to decide to press an “attack” button a number of times till you’ve won or lost isn’t fun.

Thus a new “card-based” combat system.

The basic approach is that you have a limited number of possible actions each turn, from the total possibilities available to you. This represents the vagaries of combat – your ship is armed with cannons, but that does not mean that you’re necessarily in position to fire a broadside each turn. From a gameplay perspective, it means you have to play a bit more cleverly (and have a bit of luck) if you want the battle to resolve the way you intend.

Apart from making combat a little more tactical, this also opens up the possibility to add a bit more spice to combat. Instead of simply being flat +1/-1s skill increases, ships, crew and officers may instead provide new tactical options. A crew of buccaneers, for instance, might have a “Sharpshooter” card added to their deck. Specific officers can provide unique maneuvers. Specific modifications and equipment might do the same. As importantly, the system is easily extended to both duels and land combat, without devolving into “repeatedly use your best skill”/press attack button.

I’m still testing things out, so do not take this as the “final word” on the matter, but I like what I’m working with so far. And still hoping to have something playable and relatively bug-free (if probably still lacking) that I can let the alpha testers look at soon.