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Standarizing ship descriptions

Discussion in 'Build 15 Brainstorming' started by Homo eructus, Aug 15, 2017.

  1. Homo eructus

    Homo eructus Freebooter Storm Modder

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    Following an old idea of mine, and a suggestion posted by @rogueranger1993, I've been thinking about creating a clearer and standarized pattern for the starting ship descriptions (which also appear in the Appearance menu of the shipyard). At the moment, they're all over the place. Some contain useful information about the ship's characteristics, some are just a quote, a humorous comment, a historical note on the real ship the model is based on... or a mix of all the above.

    Standarizing the descriptions would be useful for new players to make a more informed decision on which their starting ship will be, and it would also look neater and more polished.

    I've been trying a couple of things, and this is the pattern I've worked out:
    1st line: general description and number of guns
    2nd line: most significant performance tips (very fast, good/bad upwind, etc.)
    3rd line: description of the paintjob
    4th line (optional): extra flavor text (quotes, comments, etc.)

    Many of the current descriptions already cover 2 and 3, so they would only need some reworking. 4 would be reserved for those "special" ships that deserve some extra flavor, like a quote or funny comment, so the flavor and personality of some of the current descriptions won't be lost to standarization. This fourth line only appears in the ship selection screen, because the shipyard "Appearance" menu only displays up to 3 lines. This way, the last line in the shipyard menu will always be the description of the paintjob, which is the important part for that intance. The sentences have to be short and to the point, or they'll run out of the text box in the shipyard menu.

    A couple of examples of my proposal compared with the descriptions currently in the mod:
    So, now that all is explained, question time:
    • Is it worthwhile doing this in the first place? Do you think it benefits the mod or we shouldn't bother?
    • Do you agree with my proposed pattern? Do you have an idea to make it batter? Should it prioritize other information?...
    For this to work as intended, if we go ahead with it, all future ships added to the game should adhere to the same pattern.
     
    Pieter Boelen likes this.
  2. Pieter Boelen

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

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    From my side, this sounds like a very noble idea!
    @Grey Roger, what do you reckon?
     
  3. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    In the shipyard, you don't need the performance and cannon information because it's already on display in the main shipyard interface. On the other hand, the "flavour" text, which includes historical notes on those ships which are supposed to be accurate models of specific real ships, should appear in the shipyard interface. Perhaps:
    1: General description and paint scheme, as in most entries at the moment.
    2: "Flavour" text, where present, otherwise blank.
    3: Performance summary.
    4: Number of guns.

    Storylines usually assign your ship as required by the story start. Naval officers get their ships assigned by the navy.

    So really, this is only of benefit to people starting a FreePlay game, as something other than a naval officer, who have not played before and don't know much about the ships. Unless they're using cheatmode, they'll be restricted to fairly low level ships.

    If you're really determined to rewrite "ShipModels_descriptions.txt", in both English and Spanish, for that limited benefit, then I won't stop you. But I can't guarantee that any future ship descriptions will stick to the same format.
     
  4. Homo eructus

    Homo eructus Freebooter Storm Modder

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    I think many people play Free Play and a significant part of them would like to stick to their starting ship for a while for roleplaying or challenge reasons, so that choice would be important to them, but to be honest, my first thought was simply that more consistent descriptions would look neater, the part of it being useful for new players was more of an afterthought.

    True, but in the cases in which the flavor text is less relevant, like a quote, it would look out of place in the middle of the description. I guess the historical notes could be added to the paintjob information, like I did with the HMS Bounty example above. The performance and cannon info is not needed in the shipyard but it doesn't hurt either, specially if it's kept short (besides, the ship stats account for speed and maoeuvrability, but they don't specify good/bad upwind/downwind performance, so it would be still a useful reminder in those cases)
     
  5. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    The historical notes can sometimes be quite long. Look at the one for "HMS_Victory", for example. They can sometimes replace the paint scheme description entirely. This is what I did for the entries for the new "Indefatigable" models. Most of them have paint scheme descriptions, while "HMS_Indefatigable" itself has the historical note. For another example, "US_Interceptor" depicts the real ship "Lady Washington" and the description lists its film credits.

    If the "flavour" text is a quote, it can still be significant - the one for "HMS_Interceptor" is good example.

    Performance and gun information is redundant in the shipyard interface because the description text is in the "Appearance" section, so all that needs to appear there are the appearance description or "flavour" text. Those lines therefore need to be the first two.

    But really, which line is most important probably depends on the ship itself, e.g. whether it's a model of a real type, whether it's a model of a specific real ship, or whether it's just something in the game. Examples, in that order, are the "Rossiya" class frigates, "HMS_Surprise", and "sloop1". Trying to impose the same format on these different groups won't work very well.
     
  6. Homo eructus

    Homo eructus Freebooter Storm Modder

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    In that case, maybe the flavour/history text first, as kind of a presentation, then the paint scheme, then a blank line, so nothing else appears in the shipyard menu, and last would be the cannon/performance/technical info, wich would only appear in the select screen. But that wouldn't work for the ships that don't have a flavour/history comment, bacause the last line would appear in the shipyard menu, unless we leave two blank lines, which strikes me as too much, or invent some flavour text for every ship (maybe a general comment on the ship type, as in brig, schooner, frigate...).

    I'll think about it and experiment a bit
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
  7. Homo eructus

    Homo eructus Freebooter Storm Modder

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    I think this kind of works. Having the flavour first allows for it to be two lines if needed, which is useful for some of the longer historical comments. And it's easy enough to knock off a literary quote or comment for each type of ship that doesn't have a specific one. For example:

    Lateen caravel. It did n0t have any flavour text, so I added an extract from Columbus' journal. Maybe a more general comment that doesn't mention any ship by name would be better, but is still a representative example of the qualities and historical relevance of the caravel as an exploration vessel and can be used for all non-special caravels.
    Sin título1.jpg Sin título.jpg

    Cursed Caravel. A shorter flavour quote, so a blank line to separate the shipyard description from the full text of the selection screen
    Sin título2.jpg Sin título3.jpg

    Nevermind the Spanish UI. That's where I'm testing it all.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
  8. Homo eructus

    Homo eructus Freebooter Storm Modder

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    How do you call in English the reinforced frame on the hull of the Heavy War Galleon? Sin título.jpg

    And, by the way, is it supposed to be metal or is it just an unfinished black texture?
     
  9. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    If that ship is to have any "flavour" text, it should certainly not mention any of Columbus' ships. Caravels came in all shapes and sizes, and none of Columbus' ships looked anything like our lateen caravel.

    The shipyard screenshot shows that you are using an outdated version of the game, as the lateen caravel with the red sails is a specific one for the "Bartolomeu" storyline with very different stats to the normal version. It is not a repaint alternative to the regular lateen caravel in more recent versions of the game. But that screenshot also shows that the caravela redonda is also a different ship, with different sail layout and therefore different performance, which means it should not really be a repaint alternative either. I shall amend "Ships_init.c" to prevent any of these different ships from being repainted into any of the others.

    As for the heavy war galleon, I've no idea what that reinforcing frame is called. Similar strips appear on several other ships and are wooden, sometimes a different shade to the main hull, sometimes not. So I'd guess that those on the heavy war galleon are simply black painted wood.
     
  10. Pieter Boelen

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

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    @Grey Roger, @Homo eructus indeed uses an older version of the mod.
    His work should be merged with the latest version and included with the zip.
     
  11. Homo eructus

    Homo eructus Freebooter Storm Modder

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    The most famous caravels are Columbus' caravels. As I said, it's just a comment to illustrate the qualities and historical relevance of the caravels as exploration vessels, in any of their forms. I could have winged a generic comment on the caravel like "A Portuguses invention, the caravel was widely used by tthe first explorers" or something like that, but I thought something with a bit more... panache was in order for a ship class with such a symbolic charge. The mention of the first sighting of the archipelago where the game tekes place seemed to me like a fitting touchstone.
    I'm still using the same 28th of july 2016 version I've been using for the translation. I started there as kind of a test and I'm halfway through the file already. It will be easy enough to update and add/remove/modify according to the changes (much easier than updating the translation, that's for sure). I'm aware of the differences between those ships and I've pointed them out in he description.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  12. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    The Pinta was not a lateen caravel. That comment about a Portuguese invention used widely by the first explorers is much more fitting. :onya
     
  13. Homo eructus

    Homo eructus Freebooter Storm Modder

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    I've used the same quote for both the lateen and the square caravel. It's supposed to be a general comment on the type of ship, not a reference to a particular one.
     
  14. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member QA Tester Storm Modder

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    One of Columbus's ships was indeed a lateen rigged caravel, but they converted it to square sails in the Caribbean. He actually hit 9 knots on his first crossing and averaged 4.4 knots. But the ones in POTC are not even close to that version of caravel. That other caravel is a much more accurate version and is closer to what Columbus had.

    I honestly don't know if that is metal reinforcement or not on the Heavy War Galleon. I do know that the San Martin was built by the Portuguese and then given to the Spanish, who used it as their flagship of the Spanish Armada. She fought in many battles and was the only one of four ships used to protect the Armada at Gravelines to survive that battle. The English Revenge also was there. Later she was so battered in the storms off Ireland that she had to be towed back to Spain.

    That ship is really badass and needs some TLC from a modder.
     
  15. Homo eructus

    Homo eructus Freebooter Storm Modder

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    Oh, so THAT is the San Martín the game version is based on! I didn't make the connection before when discussing it in the translation thread. This reopens the question of the name Spanish Heavy War Galleon being fitting for both the regular Spanish version and Bartolomeu's Portuguese version as, in any case, the real ship was Portuguese first, then Spanish, then (in the storyline) Portuguese again. Maybe it should be called Iberian Heavy War Galleon, to cover both nationalities.
     
  16. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    The Nina was the one which was originally lateen-rigged before being converted to square-rigged. But again, this was a totally different ship to the one we have.

    Within the context of the game, the Spanish Heavy War Galleon is indeed a Spanish galleon. The normal version is only available to Spain. The pirate version is originally Spanish, captured by Bartolomeu and converted, and is not available to any nation, including Portugal.
     
  17. Homo eructus

    Homo eructus Freebooter Storm Modder

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    Fair enough for the galleon, better leave it as is.

    I still think the quote for the caravels works well as an almost romantic echo of the discovery of the very place the game takes place in, and how caravels relate to that discovery and exploring voyages in general. But if enough people don't like it, I will change it
     
  18. Pieter Boelen

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

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    I have not been paying full attention to this and have no opinion.
     

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