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Need Help Landlubber's guide to games and mods?

Discussion in 'The Burning Brig' started by Jinoasn, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. Jinoasn

    Jinoasn Landlubber

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    Ahoy,

    I'm kinda new to pirate games, so far I've only played Port Royale and that was years ago. Recently I found AoP2:COAS on GOG, then learned about the whole Sea Dogs series, and finally stumbled upon this forum. I read some threads to figure out which game is best for me but could only narrow it down to four options:
    • AoP2:COAS + GOF 2.0 (is there a newer non-beta version?)
    • AoP2:COAS + ERAS (which is the latest non-beta version?)
    • SD:TEHO (don't need mods here, I think?)
    • PotC:NH (this is the "Build" mod, right?)
    It would be great if someone could tell me a bit about what the key differences between the various games and mods are, and also what the mods actually do. E.g. the GOF 2.0 release thread doesn't tell me anything about why I should play GOF rather than the vanilla game.

    Really this is all quite confusing and I would appreciate it if someone could share some wisdom. I also have some more specific questions for which I'm hoping to get answers:
    • Which game has the best sandbox-style exploration (like in Bethesda games)?
    • Which game has the best aesthetics? I.e. not the highest-def textures, but the nicest and most immersive visuals in general?
    • Which game is the most stable (on 64-bit Win 7)?
    • Which game has the best character customization? Can you play as either gender in all games, and does this have consequences or is it merely for appearance?
    • Which game has the best player animations and camera?
    • Which game has the most interesting and varied ships?
    Also, larger mods of other games I play are often of significantly lower quality than the respective base game (e.g. having spelling errors or lacking voice acting or whatever) and if a mod reminds me every 5 minutes that I'm playing a modded game, then I'd rather play the vanilla game instead. So if you could tell me a bit about how 'professionally made' these mods are that'd be great.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  2. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Yep, they're the same thing.

    Probably all are fairly good.

    They're all based on the same game engine.
    PotC is the oldest, so has slightly less pretty graphics.
    That has been largely compensated for with the mods though.

    Good question.
    From what I know, they're all very playable.
    But saving often is definitely wise.

    PotC:NH easily.
    You can choose your character model from almost all available ones, along with various backgrounds.
    Playing female is very possible and many dialogs detect your gender properly.
    But it doesn't have any deep impact on gameplay and is mostly just graphical.

    SD:TEHO has no choice of character, if I'm not mistaken.

    Camera doesn't differ between games.
    Animations are probably somewhat better in the newer two.

    No contest, PotC beyond any shadow of a doubt.
    Huge variety of ships from different historical periods.
    To maintain accuracy, they are separated into several periods so that you don't encounter the "wrong" ships.
    You choose the period at the start of the game.

    For the most part, the mods are pretty professional.
    If you do run into spelling errors in PotC, it is easy to fix those and add them to the next update.
    Most modders working on it really want their stuff to look good.

    That being said, modding limitations have resulted in some features being more obviously modded.
    But these can be disabled through the many mod options.
     
  3. Jinoasn

    Jinoasn Landlubber

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    Thanks, that helped eliminate SD:TEHO.

    Where can I get PotC from though? GOG doesn't have it and neither does Steam, so I guess I have to get it from eBay or something? Are there different versions or can I just grab any that I see?

    I'm really looking for a game that I can put a lot of hours into; I assume you've played all of them, but which game have you played the most?

    And what's the difference between GOF 2.0 and ERAS?
     
  4. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Check your PMs.
    You can help to make it more easily available by voting here:
    Pirates of the Caribbean - GOG.com
    We've got no clue if that poll will ever succed, but we might as well keep trying. ;)

    If you want more details on the mod, you may want to do some browsing here:
    Articles - Pirates of the Caribbean: New Horizons mod for Pirates of the Caribbean
    For character customization, check the "Beta 3" announcement article.
    As per that version, there is a very wide range of character customization options available.
    Another cool new feature that adds a lot of extra gamepay and replayability is explained in the "Beta 4" article.
    I've got to admit I am a bit proud of the amount of customization we've been able to add. :cheeky

    I spent a good many years with PotC and am still involved in its modding, but spent only a few hours at most with CoAS and never touched SD:TEHO.
    For personal reasons, I have no interest at all in any of the newer games in the series.
    But no need for that to hold you back; based on what I've gathered from other people, the games themselves are pretty good.
    Maybe @LarryHookins could provide some better details.

    GoF 2.0 was made at PiratesAhoy! and is a relatively small mod compared to, for example, PotC:NH.
    It adds some convenience and realism mods to the base game.

    ERAS has no relation to us here and adds a huge amount of content, focused purely on "The Golden Age of Piracy".
    I can give you no reliable information on it, but from what I understand, it adds many more items, character textures, ship textures, etc.
    You can choose your starting character from a pre-defined, but very large list of characters.
    From what I understand, it does not add additional storylines/sidequests/additional gameplay elements.
    But I honestly do not know for sure, so I may be wrong there.
     
  5. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    A short summary perhaps:

    SD:TEHO
    + Most recent game (based on CoAS, so everything below also applies here)
    + Additional gameplay features compared to CoAS
    + Involving single storyline
    ? Very challenging gameplay
    - No character customization

    SD:CoAS
    + Better sea graphics than PotC
    + Better character models and animation than PotC (though somewhat Anime-looking in my eyes)
    + More complex fencing system, with different attacks and types of blades
    + Focus on Free Play, with many extended sidequests
    ? No main storyline

    PotC:NH
    + Basically, everything that isn't listed as "+" for SD:CoAS ;)
    + Wide range of free play options, but also many different types of storylines and sidequests
    + Different realism levels, ranging from "Full Arcade" to "Crazy Realistic"; possible to define your own preferred realism levels
    + High level of character customization, before game start, but also during the game
    + Different styles of play, such as Merchant, Privateer, Pirate, Naval Officer and Smuggler (you can use multiple styles at the same time and/or switch styles in mid-game)
    + Six different time periods, ranging from "Early Explorers" to "Napoleonic", each with different ships, weapons, soldier uniforms, nation relations, etc.
    + Lots of "special features", such as (mostly avoidable!) curses, functional Steam Frigates, special weapons and items, and much more
    + Several hundred new high-detail ship models added; most stock game ships were updated to a higher standard as well
    - Sea looked good by 2003 standards, but of course it is 2017 now
    - Fencing system only has "attack" and "block" (somewhat compensated by the "special weapons" added by the mod)
    - Character models are somewhat low-detail (somewhat compensated by new textures and adding a few character models from SD:CT)
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  6. Jinoasn

    Jinoasn Landlubber

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    Thanks, that narrowed it down to two games (NH and COAS). Three questions though:
    • In PotC:NH, how do periods work? Can you transition between periods or are you limited to the one you chose initially? What differences between periods are there other than ships/weapons?
    • I read that PotC:NH completely reworked the world map to make it a more accurate resemblance of the Caribbean. But is the new map as well designed as the original one or the one from COAS, or does it feel more empty/generic up close?
    • How does player customization work during gameplay? Like different clothes and hats and stuff. Am I limited to what I choose at the start, and is this different in PotC:NH vs COAS+GOF?
    Thanks a lot. Arr!
     
  7. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    The period is determined at game start. Having it change in mid-game would be possible in theory, but adds an extra layer of complexity and the change could appear quite sudden.
    You'll barely ever play more than a few years of game time anyway, so it would serve little purpose.

    Ships available
    Weapons available
    Soldier uniforms
    Initial nation relations (though these can change at random during Free Play afterwards)
    Town nationalities (e.g. most towns are Spanish in Early Explorers, but less so in later periods)
    Town and island names
    Governor names
    The last two periods also include an extra nation: The United States

    The original worldmap was the empty/generic one. The new one is far, far better.
    It is similar to the one from CoAS, but slightly different. Less mainland: Only one port. And the stock game islands were maintained, but renamed.
    But I myself have sailed around the Caribbean for many years and I can live just fine with the new PotC worldmap; so I figure if I am OK with it, most other people should be too. ;)

    I have no clue if customization of your character is possible at all in CoAS.
    For all I know, it is not.

    In PotC, some models show armor if you have it.
    Other than that, you can purchase almost any outfit from the Tailor Shops and switch to them at any time.
    You can also change your character name in mid-game. Same applies to your officers.

    You can even change from a male into a female in mid-game if you so choose.
    Whether that makes any sense is up to you; but it's certainly possible. :rofl
     
  8. Jinoasn

    Jinoasn Landlubber

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    Right, I'm definitely going with PotC:NH then.

    Is Build 14 Beta 4.0 or Build 14 Beta 4.1 with the recent Extra Fix the more stable and polished version? Or maybe an older iteration?

    And what are the recommended mod settings for someone who's new to the game? Like, which period should I start with and what should my realism settings be? Ideally, I'd prefer the game to pose little frustration at the beginning but interesting challenges later, if that's possible.

    Also, do the later periods have more stuff going on? I mean, historically, over the course of time settlements grew larger and new places were settled, more trading vessels carried more goods on more shipping lanes, and so on. So I would assume the early periods to have a more barren world and the later periods to be more vibrant und full of, well, everything. Am I totally off about this?
     
  9. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    You'll definitely want the very, very latest version from the link in my signature.
    So that's the Build 14 Beta 4.1 version with the recent Extra Fix by @Grey Roger.

    I'd recommend starting with the "Tales of a Sea Hawk" storyline, which is the one from the original game and includes a tutorial at the start.
    The settings are deliberately set to be relatively easy, with the lowest Difficulty Level selected by default.
    It is set in "Colonial Powers", which is quite a straightforward period that is neither too old-fashioned, nor new-fangled.

    The period doesn't change the difficulty; you can pick one based on your personal preference.
    For replay value, you can aim to try them all over the next few months! :cheeky

    For the Realism setting, that is also up to you. The ingame Options interface gives a short explanation of the differences between the three.
    The default is "Realistic" instead of "Arcade", which does add some additional complexity.
    You can try the mod on default settings and, if you find that it is a bit "too much", you can start a new game on "Arcade" instead.
    Actually, you CAN change realism settings in mid-game, but some elements may not update entirely correctly if you do. :wp

    Do avoid "Iron Man" though. That one disabled everything that is technically unrealistic, including several helpful interface elements and the worldmap.
    Not only is that very tricky (but immersive), it is also very time-consuming.

    Eventually, once you have discovered your preferes, you could set up a custom realism mode for yourself.
    This is possible by editing the top of the PROGRAM\InternalSettings.h file with Notepad.

    That doesn't really apply in the mod, though I agree it would make sense.
    The only part that does happen is that in Early Explorers, some islands were not settled and therefore access to them is disabled.
    Also, especially in the first and last periods, some nations may not have a colony of their own.
    If so, they do have an emissary in a governor's mansion of one of their allies.
     
  10. Jinoasn

    Jinoasn Landlubber

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    Alright, so I installed the game and NH and already I have the first major problem: Running the game in full-screen, I get a CTD when I try to Alt-Tab, and also I get flickering whenever anything moves on my desktop, which is especially annoying because I have temp monitors on my taskbar. If I run in windowed mode this doesn't seem to be a problem, however the game window is not aligned to the desktop but rather moved to the bottom-right corner (even though the resolution is correct). Trying to move the window with Win + cursor keys has no effect.

    Win 7 64-bit, resolution 1920 x 1080 32-bit.

    I assume I'm not the only one with this problem and there's a known solution for this?

    Edit: Also, the window is behind the taskbar. That's not good.
     
  11. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    That does indeed sound very familiar.
    Set ENGINE.exe to "Windows Vista (Service Pack 2)" compatibility mode, then use Windowed Mode set to your desktop resolution.
    That's what I've always done and it works fine for me. Hopefully it works for you too. :doff
     
  12. Jinoasn

    Jinoasn Landlubber

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    Working great, thanks a lot!
     
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  13. Galleon Love

    Galleon Love Powder Monkey

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    Surprising to me no one says anything here to correct. It must fall to me then I suppose.

    "SD:CoAS
    + Better sea graphics than PotC
    + Better character models and animation than PotC (though somewhat Anime-looking in my eyes)
    + More complex fencing system, with different attacks and types of blades
    + Focus on Free Play, with many extended sidequests

    - No main storyline" Not True

    COAS does have a main story line. That's why it's called COAS. The City of Abandoned Ships questline is the main story line. You can play the Peter Blood quest from the beginning if you like which is also very much like the Hawk questline in PotC and then you can choose to move to many other quests that intersect it like the Austin quest or the Kill the Beggars quest that leads you into the City of Abandoned Ships quest line. I have never played the main quest for the game because I prefer being a Spanish pirate hunter working for the Governors of New Spain. I have played all of the national governors questlines however and very much prefer the Spanish national questline.
     
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  14. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Ah, I always understood that was just one of those many extended side quests.
    Thanks for correcting me on that! :cheers

    Isn't that just a custom opening though?
    I don't recall hearing that Peter Blood has any further story specific to him afterwards.

    Anyway, I reckon the CoAS quest content compares very favourably to stock PotC.
    They just have different approaches.
    PotC has a relatively long and mostly linear Main Quest with several relatively short Side Quests.
    But on CoAS, it is the other way around.
    Which is probably the better concept; especially if you like free play!

    In fact, aren't those quests you mention so large that they can be considered several Main Quest by themselves?
    That is what I tried to explain with "Focus on Free Play, with many extended sidequests".
    But your actual experience makes your details on this far more valuable than that short blurb of mine. :onya

    Of course this comparison becomes different when considering the New Horizons mod,
    but that is mainly because of the huge amount of mod-added Storylines in the Build.
    That is not to the detriment of CoAS though, which is still a very good game.
    There is no "right" or "wrong" choice here. It all comes down to personal preference.

    The difference between Main and Side Quests are superficial anyway.
    A quest is a quest; does it really matter if it is main or not?
    The only real difference that is consider is that an actual Main Quest relates to the Main Character, while a Side Quest has nothing to do with who the player is.

    For proper Free Play, you don't even really need a Main Quest and it might even be preferred by some to not have one at all.
    I should have put a "?" in front of "no main quest" instead of a "-", because it isn't really much of a con. :no
     

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