Currently Online

Latest Posts

Topic: Seafaring

Nasenbaer
Avatar
Joined: 2009-02-21, 18:17
Posts: 829
Ranking
One Elder of Players
Location: Germany
Posted at: 2010-05-30, 13:56

This thread is for discussing the SeafaringImplementation

Edited: 2012-11-07, 10:26
Top Quote
kraileth
Joined: 2010-03-14, 16:34
Posts: 59
Ranking
Likes to be here
Posted at: 2010-05-30, 14:56

Seefaring was an important aspect in Settlers II, and I'd like to see something similar in Widelands, too. What was quite annoying with Settlers, was the fact that no spots could be placed where habours were possible (yes, I know, there were tools to do extended stuff). Other issues were the fact that the small boats could only shorten the distance your wares had to travel and the AI for the big ships, that often transportet just one lumber or so, was also very weak.

Here are a few random thoughts of mine:

I like the idea that the small boats sholud be able to transport workers as well. However this decision should be done as soon as possible, as it can have a huge impact on mapmaking and even break the concept of some maps that use water as an obstacle. A problem that I can see arising is that water can no longer be used as a temporary obstacle (where the player has to expand on land first so that builders and so on can get there) when transporting people is allowed. One thing that comes to my mind is to add footbridges (I'm not sure if that's the correct word for a wooden construct that leads a little into the water and where small ships can dock) that water-flags could be "upgreaded" to. Now if a person is to be transported over a waterway, he walks off from the HQ or warehouse and enters the footbridge "building". Then the small boat goes there, docks and takes the person onboard. If another footbridge is needed on the other side, you would have to reach it from land first so that a builder can get there and build the second footbridge. As long as there is no footbridge there, only wares can be transported. So if we want small boats just as a shortcut but not as a possibility to reach new land, this might be a possibility.

And with big ships I suggest that a camp-like building is being built as soon as an expedition lands. This is kind of a warehouse building but a very special thing: It conquers land without controling it militarily. So you can build a scout's hut or send geologists to a near mountain without having to establish a permanent outpost. If you like what you sea, you can upgrade the camp into a full harbour that is more like a HQ and can have military protection. If you choose not to keep the settlement, just tell your ship to go on expedition again; everything will be loaded back into the ship and all buildings burnt down. Then the ship goes back to the home harbour to gather any ressources needed for a new camp outpost. You can only build a few buildings (like the scout) on a campsite and especially no military building before making it a permanent settling.


Top Quote
ixprefect
Joined: 2009-02-27, 14:28
Posts: 367
Ranking
Tribe Member
Posted at: 2010-05-30, 14:59

To answer some of the questions of the Wiki article:

Ships should be below Bob in the Map_Object hierarchy, because they can move in the same way and link into the map in the same way. However, deriving them from Worker seems odd, so I'd say: direct descendant of Bob.

I'd say harbors should be able to store wares, so I would derive them from Warehouse. Question: Should a Harbor be able to defend itself like Headquarters?

As for expeditions, I'd suggest two options: send a ship purely for expeditions, and load a ship with the wares to build a new harbor. In both cases, once the ship is ready, you can send it into one of the six major directions, and it'll simply explore in this direction, marking places that are suitable for building new harbors. If you loaded the ship with the wares to build a new harbor, it will land there and give you the option to either continue exploring or building a harbor. So very much like Settlers 2, except that I believe it would make sense to add the purely exploratory mode as well.

As a matter of fact, I could imagine a different mode of operation as well: totally separate expedition ships and "settlement founding" ships. Expedition ships act like discussed above, and they leave a marker at sites where a new harbor can be built. To send a settlement founding ship, you click on one of those markers (even when under fog of war, that doesn't matter), which brings up a window where you can order an expedition to build a harbor there.

I actually like this second idea.

The really interesting question is: How can ships be integrated into warfare. After all, it should be possible to attack another tribe that has completely settled an island.

As for the small rowboats, I don't have a strong opinion either way, except to say that if we support rowboats, we should allow rowboats to carry workers as well. Otherwise things could get really nasty if one has an island that is only connected by rowboat.


Top Quote
Astuur
Avatar
Joined: 2009-02-28, 10:08
Posts: 733
Ranking
One Elder of Players
Location: Frankfurt / Germany
Posted at: 2010-05-30, 21:29

I'd like to suggest that ship building (not rowing boats) should also need a small amount of iron ingots. We should take care that ship construction is not done too easily (i.e.cheap).
In Settlers I've mostly ended up with dozens of ships cluttering the seas. Maybe an additional requirement (rope from wool, flax and spider silk?) should be established?

I don't think anybody would want actual ship vs. ship battles at sea, but the ability to attack an island with seaborn troups must be given.
Here are some first ideas for discussing:

A ship could have 3 different sets of wares and workes on board:

1) Land expedition: Material for an Kraileth type temporary camp (tent style?), a scout with some rations, a geologist, a lumberjack (else auto-spreading trees may prevent to build the camp).
2) Colony: Everything needed to start off in a normal way when you do not expect immediate resistance. A harbor, toolmaker, some iron ingots, stone mason, saw mill etc.
3) Military set: Everything to build a harbor (i.e. warehouse and dock) plus one large protecting military site.

The whole point in this 3 options must be that the less robust ones must have compensating advantages.
In the case of the "land expedition" this would be given, as the camp does not count as a milityry site and so is not attackable. It should also be quickly built and equally fast removed without any loss of personal and material, leaving nothing at the island when the ship sails away. Building the camp would require unclaimed space.
I don't think that the upgrade option is a good idea. Instead, a marker should be placed there and another expedition (colony type) sent there.

The "Colony package" could be containing more wares and workers than the miltary unit. As there are no soldiers on board it would also rely on unclaimed land, but has the potential to in time build a heavy industry and soldiers - even without backup of the homeland, if needs be. The package should contain less material than a headquarter on start-up, no soldiers, but a set of fully skilled workers (master blacksmith, master brewer, master miners) if they can be supplied by the homeland.

The "Miltary set" would initially only contain some very basic civilian workers (like 1 lumberjack and 1 miner to clear some space). and enough material to built something like a fortress. It should not be able to create tools or weapons and would rely on homeland support for additional troups. The miltary force should be considerable, however (45 soldiers?), but must be supplied by the preexisting economy.
A harbor - in contrast to regular warehouses, should not have the new option "preferred", so that wares cannot be directed there if no demand exists.
If territory is conquered, unskilled but equipped workers will be brought from the homeland as their production sites become available.

I am also in favor of rowing boats and the ability to carry persons.


Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).

Top Quote
ixprefect
Joined: 2009-02-27, 14:28
Posts: 367
Ranking
Tribe Member
Posted at: 2010-05-31, 02:56

A harbor - in contrast to regular warehouses, should not have the new option "preferred", so that wares cannot be directed there if no demand exists.

I think the question is whether you want a harbor to act like a warehouse or not. I don't see why the option "preferred" should be unavailable to a harbor that acts as a warehouse.

Strictly speaking you don't need a warehouse (or harbor that acts as a warehouse) on a newly colonized island, but that would make colony creation horribly inefficient. So why not just let harbors be warehouses as well?


Top Quote
Astuur
Avatar
Joined: 2009-02-28, 10:08
Posts: 733
Ranking
One Elder of Players
Location: Frankfurt / Germany
Posted at: 2010-05-31, 07:37

That remark was meant to be part of the "military set" paragraph.
Rewording that:

In the third case, the miltary set, I would like to suggest to have the "preferred" option disabled for this harbor.
(or else use a different building only available for the military set, acting like a harbor, with that particular difference only)

This building could be auto-enhanced to be a full harbor when the player has managed to build another warehouse on the island.
The reason for this exception is that I would like to prevent a player from sending the products of the existing economy for storage
into the new military harbour, by making this the "preferred" storage place.
Instead, he should be forced to produce his wares in the isolated new colony until he can build a regular warehouse from resources he gathered on the new island.
So this would be the price to pay for the benefit of having so many soldiers transported.
Nonsense?

I do think that harbors should be warehouses for the "colony type" and in general.


Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).

Top Quote
ixprefect
Joined: 2009-02-27, 14:28
Posts: 367
Ranking
Tribe Member
Posted at: 2010-05-31, 12:06

I'm not entirely convinced that it makes sense for the "military expedition" to build any buildings at all. After all, what if your enemy has already filled the possible places for landings with lots of buildings? Then you would be locked out.

There needs to be a way to attack an enemy island without first building something there.

Then we could easily have the military expedition be only military, and you'd simply send a separate colony ship to build a harbor there once you have conquered some land.

By the way, if you can send ships with dozens of soldiers on them (which I think makes sense) this also raises the question of whether you can just attack anywhere along the coastline, or only in places where a harbor can be built.


Top Quote
kraileth
Joined: 2010-03-14, 16:34
Posts: 59
Ranking
Likes to be here
Posted at: 2010-05-31, 13:25

There are some interesting suggestions here. I especially like the idea of having different "missions" available for the big ships. The three missions, Explore, colonize, bridgehead, sound quite well.

Exploration: Astuur is right, I think - if there is more than one mission type, it's better to not allow enhancing the camp outpost to a full harbour. This should require a colonize mission for two reasons: 1st to make the second mission type more important and 2nd since the second type carries more workers and resources needed to get a new colony up and working. And yes, I thought about some kind of tent-"building". If we have a lumberjack with the exploration team (which I think is rather useful), we might think about a maximum capacity of the tent storage. So if someone builds a "temporary" exploration outpost and leaves it there for yonks, you won't have several hundred trunks of wood. Perhaps a maximum capacity of 50 or so would be reasonable. Another thing is to possibly make this camp unable to receive shipments of recources, so that you cannot build what is not meant to be built on such an expedition. But whatever the numbers or the means: I'd like to have emphasized that this is meant to be temporary.

Colonization: It's fairly obvious what would be needed to start a new and seperate economy that could prosper on it's own. Having all the wares and workers needed for that in harbour, is a huge operation. Especially if we force to have some advanced workers (will be allright once they can be dismissed from their advanced buildings like deeper mines) with the colonists. This would prevent to settle on new islands too early on the game, which is actually a good thing, from my point of view.

Bridgehead: We all concur on the fact that there needs to be a way to attack an enemy who controls a whole island. Now what about the following: Load lots of soldiers, three or four builders and some resources into the ship. The ship then goes off and sails to any position where a harbour could be build. Once it reaches this place, the player can decide to move on to another position or iniciate a "landing". A landing ship goes as near to the costline as possible and then (technically!) is changed to be a building - a military building with lots of soldiers and some resources. It should however have a fairly small attack radius, since having so many soldiers on board is an incredible advantage for the landing troops. The landed ship has military influence and once enough land is owned by the player (after conquering enemy military buildings), you can additionally build up to three or four barriers (that's what the amount of resources permits). If the ship then leaves, another ship, carrying a colonization team, can arrive and start building a harbour. Another suggestion: Military ships should probably fly different flags or even have a different main sail so that they can be recognized easily. It could also be an interesting idea to give the military ship the ability to iniciate a blockade of one harbour where it just sits, so that no enemy ship can go to that harbour and deliver or collect wares to or from it.

And here's just a few thoughts on other possible missions:

Supply: Ships that are set on supply mission act like "free" ships do in Settlers: They ship wares from one harbour to another if needed. Having a mission for this makes it possible to control how many ships fulfill this task and having a few "reserved" for other missions.

Fishing: This mission could help getting some food quickly. It would require some fishers and perhaps additional cloth (or even nets?) which makes them deep-see fishers (Hochseefischer). But even if this mission is not a "stay" type mission (like supply) but the ship must be sent off each time, and if there's a chance to catch nothing (or not much) and even if it takes a long time until it returns, this will likely cause quite some balancing work...

Run blockade/Evacuate: This mission tries to get into a blockaded harbour and evacuate wares and men and return to a save harbour again. There is however a chance of the ship being sunk and all lost anyway.


Top Quote
Nasenbaer
Avatar
Joined: 2009-02-21, 18:17
Posts: 829
Ranking
One Elder of Players
Location: Germany
Posted at: 2010-05-31, 14:54

Unfortunally I do not have a lot of time at the moment to write a long post however:

I totally agree, that there should be a way to attack an island, that is locked up (all harbour places are used by the enemy) thus I would suggest to derive the harbour from Warehouse (with soldier garnisson) to have defeating soldiers. Further I see no reason, why such a ship should not be able to attack a militarysite, that stands directly at the costal shore - however this is a design question yet to be discussed, especially as we often enough decided to make fighting not to complex.

So my suggestion:

  • two type of ships: militarian and merchant (possibly different sizes with different costs and depending on the tribe)
  • Only one type of hrbour for each tribe - the ideas migt sound interesting but they would make seafaring much more complex and I don't think, that 1) it's a good idea and 2) I don't think we have the man power to implement it in a way, that it works without any problems - the more complex, the more work and balancing...
Edited: 2010-05-31, 14:54
Top Quote
Astuur
Avatar
Joined: 2009-02-28, 10:08
Posts: 733
Ranking
One Elder of Players
Location: Frankfurt / Germany
Posted at: 2010-06-03, 08:21

@ Nasenbaer If you have those two types -- military and merchant --- how would you know which one to send, without some sort of expedition prior to that? Would it really be so complicated to have an explorer mission team that could land without a harbor to simply gather some information?


Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).

Top Quote