From Pirates and Traders

Welcome, Pirates & Traders! This is a repository of Frequently Asked Questions and comments for the game. I will try to keep this page up to date with the latest Q&A and other pertinent information as they become available. Please check in occasionally.

Note that the Menu button in the game is context sensitive, so in many cases, you can find useful help simply by using that. You can also find useful answers [Home|on the rest of this wiki] and in the forums.

Recent Issues

Why is the game force-closing during gameplay?

Although I try to test the game as thoroughly as possible, I have only a limited number of devices and a limited amount of time to do it in, so inevitably many bugs slip through. However, if you are experiencing this after updating to version 2.4.x, it is possible that the app is running out of memory on your phone. One thing that may be worth doing, would be to mute the sound of the game as this will conserve some memory. The other thing you should do is contact me through our support e-mail.

Why has my saved game stopped working?

There is a common misunderstanding that saved games have to be restarted with each update. This is not correct - it is very, very rare that this is a requirement. More commonly, bugs can slip through that cause problems with older saves. In all such cases, try to contact me by e-mail; in by far the most of the cases, it is possible to fix the bug and "rescue" the save game.

In a few cases, the saved game has been completely corrupted. This seems to normally occur if the game has been interrupted while saving (most cases I've heard have been related to people receiving a phone call, etc). In such cases, it is unfortunately usually impossible to rescue the save, but it is still useful for me to take a look so that I can figure out a solution to this problem.

Why don't you have this feature? No stars for you!

There is usually a reason why a feature has not been added (often discussed in the forums). And even if that is not the case, I do not, and will never add a feature just because someone withholds "stars" in their ratings. If you have interesting comments to make, join the forums and make them there.

Older Questions

Q: What does "Pirates and Traders: Gold!" offer?

"Pirates and Traders: Gold!" is the "premium" version of the "Pirates and Traders" game. Gold! differs from the regular game in three ways (only): ads have been disabled, you get an additional background to play as (Buccaneer) and you as the player have been given five additional vessels to select from as a starting ship (Pinnace, Coastal Barque, Caravel, Chasse-Maree and Fluyt). In addition, future updates will include more perks. The revenue generated from Gold! is used for fund further development of the game.

Q: Where do I find Specialist Crew?

Specialist crew are crew members that strengthen various aspects of your game. E.g., a Master Gunner might make your Cannons more effective, a Master Carpenter might be capable of doing repairs on your hull, etc.

Specialist Crew can be found on ships sailing around the Carribean. If you capture a ship with a specialist on it, you will get the opportunity to "hire" him for your crew. Immigration ships have the highest chance of carrying a specialist on them.

You do not get double effect from having multiple specialists.

In a future update, you will also have the opportunity to recruit Specialists from the tavern.

Q: Could the game be translated in this language?

I would be very happy to have the game translated into other languages; however, there are several impediments to this. One is that I cannot do so myself, so such translations efforts would depend entirely on the community of players. This might be doable, but the game is pretty text-heavy, so this would not be an easy task.

The bigger issue is that the game is still under heavy development. Each update adds new text, especially whenever new stories/missions and events are introduced. It would be almost impossible for a community-run translation effort to keep up with this pace of development. It would probably not work very well to have the game half-translated, so in practice, I think any such translations will have to wait until the game is "finished".

Q: What's up with the flags?

The flags in the game try to approximate those flags that you might have found flying from the masts of ships of the associated empires at the time of the game. Thus you will find Dutch ships flying the tricolore (introduced in 1572, this is one of, if not the oldest tricolore flag in the world). The french use the blue fleur-de-lis (the modern French tricolore was not adopted until 1790). The Spanish empire uses the of Burgundy which was used as a Spanish naval ensign from approximately 1500 to 1700 and was also used for the colonies, and the British use the early Union flag.

Q: What are the permissions for?

The following is a brief summary; for the official statement, please read the privacy and permissions policy under MENU > About from the title view of the game.

   INTERNET is used for accessing the internet for fetching the on-line FAQ, fetching ads, and to collect anonymous diagnostics data (e.g., stack traces from force closes, daily number of sessions, etc) which help me to improve the game.

Permissions will change during development, as the libraries that are included in the game try to improve the service they provide. Note that I have no wish for the game to require more permissions than absolutely necessary and I am in constant dialogue with service providers to keep the number of permissions required down, but sometimes the choice is between an upgraded SDK with new permissions or and old SDK with bugs.

Q: Why can't I continue my saved game?

Sometimes the improvements I make to the game require changes in the savegame structure. Unfortunately, I do not have the resources to maintain backward compatibility for the savegames (keep in mind that this not only requires coding - I would also have to test that the backward compatibility actually works), so the official policy for this is fairly simple - you should never expect that an old savegame works with a new version of the game.

In practice, old savegames will tend to work (it will usually be noted in the Changelog if it does not), but don't be surprised if you get the occasional FC when trying this.

Q: Why were Ads blocking the action buttons?

They were not. There are not - and have never been - any ads in the action map view. I believe the confusion may be because the "Globe" view (i.e., the view of the map that you can access by pressing on the globe in the port/status views), has ads. That view is exited by pressing the Back button on your phone (you cannot perform any other actions in that view other than to scroll the map, so complaints that the ads cover up the actions is not correct).

Version 1.2.5 will remove the ads in order to minimize the confusion.

Q: Why does the game force close?

First, please check that you have the latest version of the game. I try to fix any force close errors as soon as possible. If you do not have the most recent version, upgrade.

There are a few force close errors that I can not do a lot about.

One is that the game will occasionally run out of memory. This is an artifact of how the Android OS handles bitmaps; I have tried to minimize this problem, but it is almost impossible to eliminate entirely.

Another issue is a bug in Android OS 1.5/1.6 (which should be fixed in later versions of the Android OS), that causes a force close at random times. Unfortunately, there is not a lot I can do about this. Restart the game, and it should work fine.

Finally, a common force close error is when people try to continue an old savegame. I try to keep Pirates and Traders savegame compatible, but do not count on it being so. As a rule, I recommend starting a new game after an upgrade.

Q: Did I find a bug?

Probably. Send me an e-mail or post the information in the Pirates and Traders forum. I appreciate comments on the Android market, but comments about bug/issues left there are useless for me, as I cannot contact you with any follow up questions I might have that could identify the problem.

To help me identify the problem quicker, let me know your make of phone, OS version (very important, as some bugs only occur on older OS versions), and any information you can recall about what you were doing inside the game when the bug happened.

Q: Why does Pirates and Traders continue to run after I quit?

The short answer to this: it does not. Yes - if you go into something like TasKiller, you will find the app still resident in memory, but this does not mean that it is running. Apps for Android are not Windows programs - they function more like web pages. Like web pages, if you "navigate" away from them, they are closed - but the page will still be in your web cache, so that you can quickly return if you wish.

Inactive apps in your cache do not drain your battery (unless the app is either poorly programmed or malicious). If you ever need the memory for anything, the app will be automatically cleared out by the Android OS. This is the correct way for Android apps to behave, as recommended by Google (see the Android Developer Guide if you want to know more). You can also read this article on the Android Developer blog for a discussion of the issue. Also, check this blog post for a discussion of why you should generally not use task killers with Android.

Q: What is my goal in the game?

Pretty much whatever you want it to be. However, you are scored based on the amount of gold you have stashed away at the end of your career. Eventually, I plan to add quests and storylines as additional gameplay elements, but that will be in a future version.

Q: Why do I die all the time?

There are four ways your career can end in this game:

   You get killed in combat with an enemy ship
   You get captured in combat with an enemy ship and convicted of piracy
   Your crew mutinies because their loyalty goes too low
   You grow too old for life at sea and retire

If you die, it is because you have either attacked a ship that you should have avoided, or that you have ignored the needs of your crew.

Q: Why does my crew mutiny?

Your crew will mutiny whenever their loyalty falls below 0. Each time this happens, you have a chance - based on your Fencing skill - to defeat the mutiny, but every subsequent mutiny will be harder and harder to defeat.

Loyalty can be decreased by two factors:

   Every time you recruit men, the loyalty of your crew will be reduced by 1.
   If you have no food on your ship, there is a risk that the loyalty of your crew will be reduced by 1.

The second case is by far the most common. Always make sure that you have enough food on board your ship.

You can increase loyalty by capturing ships or by spending Rum in the tavern.

Q: Why am I forced to retire?

The game has to end at some point, since we give the player a score (and I wish to implement an online high score list). The challenge is to gain the highest score possible before your Pirate has aged too much to continue.

Q: Why do I lose skills?

Once your pirate hits the age of 50 (1675 - after 300 turns), Father Time starts ticking against you. Each year will see you lose a random skill point. This is the time when you should start to consider retirement. Once any of your skills hit 0, your Pirate will be forced to retire.

Q: How do I save/restore a game?

If you are playing in "True Pirate" mode, the game automatically saves your current game any time you move, search, or enter a port. It will also save the game is you interrupt the game for any reason; e.g., to take a call or simply by leaving the program.

If you are playing in "Regular" mode, you will need to manually save the game from time to time. If you are interrupted, the game should still - in most cases - be alive when you return, but please note that there are no guarantees of this. Please save often to avoid losing your progress

Q: Why can't I sell captured ships?

Sorry, this is a deliberate design decision. Allowing players to sell captured ships for anything close to the price that you'd buy those ships for would unbalance the gameplay horribly.

From a historical point of view, also, keep in mind that pirates in the Carribean rarely took prizes. Doing so would have encouraged attacked ships to fight to the death; being merciful encouraged ships to surrender, making the pirate business much more profitable.

Q: Why can't I have fleet of ships?

Same reason as above. Adding fleets of ships to the game would be very difficult to do without unbalancing the game mechanics.

Q: Where do I buy Ships, Cannons, and Improvements?

In the Shipyard at any Port. Some ships (the best ones, of course) are only available in the richest ports.

Q: What skills should I pick?

If you want to be a Pirate, my suggestion is to take Cunning to 4 (to make it easier to find enemy ships), and otherwise focus on building your Fencing (for boarding combat) and Sailing (everything else) up. If you want to be a trader, focus on Charisma and some Sailing skill (to increase your chances of getting away from pirates).

Q: How do I make a career as a trader?

Read the help text in the merchant view. In it you will find hints about where you can buy the different goods cheaply and where they can be sold at higher prices.

If you are accosted by pirates and unable to run away, it may be better to surrender. They will take all of your cargo, but they will usually leave you alive if you did not resist too hard. To avoid having this wipe you out, try to always keep a reserve of doubloons available when trading.

Q: Why are all ports closed to me?

Even a Pirate needs friends. In other words, be careful whom you attack. Choose one or (not a bad idea) two nations as your friends, and do not attack their ships. If you attack indiscriminately, do not be surprised when all ports are closed against you.

Attacking a country or the allies of a country will piss them off. Once their dislike of you has passed a certain threshold, their ports will be closed to you. You can recover your standings with the country by purchasing amnesty from a governor.

Q: What should I do with Patrols?

If you are asked to submit by a Patrol ship and you are not carrying any contrabands, Submit. Running away or fighting will cause the country to suspect you of piracy. There is no point in getting a reputation as a Pirate for no reason.

Q: How do I win battles?

To win battles, fight to the strengths of your character and your ship.

If you have a high Fencing skill, you will want to get a ship with space for a lot of crew. Grapples and Extra Hammocks should be the ship improvements you are looking for. You will also want some skill in Sailing as your ability to grapple with enemy ships rely on your Sailing skill. Focus on Boarding.

If you have high Sailing skill, you will want to rely on your cannons. High Sailing skills means that it is much harder for your opponent to grapple your ship, allowing you to dictate the pace of the battle. You will want a relatively maneuverable ship (high Rigging), so that you can determine when and where to start and end the battle.

Q: Where is the Treasure Galleon?

The treasure galleon is a random event that may occur during the game. You will hear about it through rumors... if you are lucky. It will always appear outside a Spanish port. To catch the Treasure Galleon, you will need to sail to the location it is in, and perform a successful search. Make sure that you are in a good ship, though - the Treasure Galleon is one of the most powerful ships in the game (although slow).

Q: Why are there no animations/3D?

MicaByte is a one person developer located in Norway. I develop games in my spare time and put them on the market for free; there are limits to what I have the time and resources to do.

If it bothers you, I am afraid that my games are probably not the kind you will enjoy. Try something else; there are lots of excellent games on the marketplace.

Q: Why is the game so hard?

I develop the kind of games I like to play, and I like challenging games. I probably make the games too hard - if you have suggestions on how to make the game easier (or harder), join the forums and let me know. Keeping in mind that I can't please everyone, I am always looking for ways to improve the game.

That being said, the easiest levels of the game provide the player significant advantages against the AI and strongly reduces the number of pirates and warships you will encounter. I

Take the time to read the in-game help, and you'll do fine. The levels above Adventurer are for players who feel they have mastered the game system; if you play around on that level, expect a real challenge to survive in the start of the game.