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suggestions

Discussion in 'About the Game' started by slowdownloader, Feb 13, 2015.

  1. slowdownloader

    slowdownloader Landlubber

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    There needs to be producers as well as merchants just as much as there are pirates. There also needs to be spoils for pirates to raid and an economy that allows traders to have the right economics to buy commodities low and to sell the spoils high. Silver and gold coins should be the currency of the era but you should be able to trade goods for other things. Stuff should require a lot of time and resources to produce products so they have great value and to are meaningful in the game . The name of the game should be trial and error to become wealthy either by starting off as a poor farmer who has bad weather precipitation or having a shop established with many contracts to suppliers that are very tricky to keep. Money should mean shame or respect and if not that life or death.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
  2. Pieter Boelen

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

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    Don't worry, ideas we have plenty. If we can get even half of them working in the game, a lot of what everyone would wish for will be there. :yes

    The main point is taking ideas and making them a reality. That is the biggest challenge.
     
  3. slowdownloader

    slowdownloader Landlubber

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    thanks for your reply.
     
  4. PotMaster

    PotMaster Powder Monkey

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    Be careful to create too complex quests, long convos, a lot of text. One of the components of PoT that made it successful, was the simple, short non-lenghty convos and simple quests. If you create long conversations in the quests, you disable the player's fantasy, he should create his own quest/story in his head, and the only way to do that is to create very simple conversations in the quests that he takes.

    I know what I'm talking about. If you increase the informative details, you further decrease the player's own fantasy, and vice versa. Take it seriously, look at the simple quests in PotC, see how successful they were, and how fun they were.

    I have this "feeling" that when I launch Hearts of Oak (some time in the future) I will be met with lengthy conversations with people in some tavern on an island, don't do that. It's a big mistake. Keep it short and simple, if you follow what I've outlined here, the game will be successful, if you break those rules, the game will not exactly fail, but you will take away some of the fantasy factor, which will take away some of the fun too.

    I have tremendous insight into game success and failures, take my words seriously. Don't ever underestimate simplicity. Where simplicity can't fill in the gap, the player will insert his fantasy. Where complexity is put, the player's fantasy must be disabled. Think of this as a slider, if you slide it more toward simplicity, fantasy increases, if you slide it more toward complexity, fantasy decreases.

    A successful game lets the player create his own game in his head. The job of the developer is to trigger a specific "seed" of fantasy that the player can build on, but not more than that.

    Always remember, what text bubbles and information can't do, the environment can. You can create an atmosphere that tells a thousand words that you don't need in a text bubble. Do you need to tell the player something, make him aware of that in the environment, just by looking at something. Fun factor is more important than realism.

    Also be wary to make that simplicity interesting.

    You can do two things, one of them is right and the other is wrong. 1: You can try your best to try to create an interesting story that fully informs the player about what is going on, to the lowest detail. 2: You can let the player create the story, in which that story must always be fully in correspondence with how he wants the story to be.

    In step 1, you may succeed, in step 2 you will succeed.

    Also, the first impression of a game is important. When a newcomer opens up the game and he never tried it before, it's important that the first thing he'll see, is not a text bubble or an invitation to a tutorial.

    That is a very fucking big mistake, excuse my language. The first impression should be absolutely nothing, but a ship or a gun store, not a text bubble neither an invitation for a tutorial. Good luck.

    If you give the player the first impression of an invitation to a tutorial, he goes something like this "Ah, it's that kind of guy, he'll direct me through the entire game rather than believe in my capability for learning a very simple fucking game"

    The message you give the newcomer is this "You can't play this game and you don't match or fit to develope a character or play a role in this game".

    Just don't do that, use your heads when you develope your games and you will succeed. :)

    Let the player see something very beautiful that believes in his capacity to learn this very simple game, it takes 5 minutes for him to learn it. You can ruin his first impression forever, or you can let him waste 5 minutes to figure it out yourself. You know what you should do here.

    The first impression should be violin, beer, gunshots, beautiful kidnapped ladies, drunk sailors, seagulls, anything but a tutorial.

    The successful game designer played a good game and he loved it so much he decided to create a similar game so other people could experience his happiness. And he created a game similar to the other one, it had almost nothing in it, because a good game doesn't need much in it, as the real game is created in the head of the player.

    The failed game designer played a good game, and he made a remake of the fantasy that he experienced in that game, all the good fantasies he had with that game, he put it into a new game, and little did he realize that it had to fail (Because it's not fantasy that creates fantasy, it's the other seed that creates fantasy). You don't implement your own fortunate fantasy experiences from a previous game and expect that to succeed.

    Fantasy is a waste product which taste good, but it's not productive. It's not reusable. You see, fantasy is experience, when you realize that, you also realize that people can't reuse other people's fantasy experiences, you have to let them create their own, and the only way to do that is to keep the game very neutral (Sort of empty in an interesting way, if you understand me here)

    Information is tyrranny, when you inform the player, you ruin his experience with his own self. If you need to tell the player, let's say, about an old wise man, it would be better to place an oak tree with eyes in front of him, so he can imagine a wise man rather than being told of a wise man. (Don't be afraid that he might miss out some vital information)

    The only way that information can be told without ruining the fun, is by subconscious messages. Learn to use them through the environment in the game. You can give an infinite number of subconscious messages to the player without forcing him to shut down the game.

    Let's say the player is approaching a tavern in the forest, would you have a character pop up a text bubble "Welcome to our Tavern" or would you place a wooden beer cup on top of the front door of the tavern?!?

    You can tell the player a whole story worth of a thousand pages of text, through the environment without him ever knowing it, if you only know what you're doing. You can create entire stories that way. Don't have doubt in the words that the environment tell, it doesn't fail.

    You create pollution if you mix up environmental "subconscious messages" and written text, it create a double factor of boredom. If the environment is doing the job, don't double do it.

    I am too opinionated, but I am because I'm mostly aware of what I'm doing
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  5. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member QA Tester Storm Modder

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    Nice wall of text. What did you say in it?:read
     
  6. Jack Rackham

    Jack Rackham HoO Team Member Quest Writer Storm Modder

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    I know what you're talking about. In my education as an architect my teacher told
    me that if you find it neccesary to put up a sign saying ENTRE you have failed
    showing it with the arcitecture.

    I also liked the text about fantasy filling out the story for you. A very simple example:
    you jump over a counter and there's a certain kladonk dunk sound to go with it.
    If you then just play the sound again you get the idea that someone more has jumped.
    (for ex your sidekick folowing behind) without showing it.
     
    Pieter Boelen likes this.
  7. PotMaster

    PotMaster Powder Monkey

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    Jack understands it (I were not aware that people in HoO were highly educated, my apologies). And the player has to love his own character too, sometimes there needs to be a beautiful girl somewhere who makes the player love his own character. To do that he needs to become a hero (Saving people, for example)

    In PotC they managed to create a hero status with no effort, by having the player serve the English crown (Silehard) gave the player a hero status by default without effort, the player felt like a hero instantly. Big characters like Silehard can do amazing things to the player.

    Building up that basic hero-character is urgent in the early phase of the game. Player should be met with a simple task in the beginning of the game, so he quickly builds up the hero-feeling. Same goes with towns, absolutely every single bit of the town must be designed for the player in mind. Everything should be a gift to the player. The tavern, the loanshark, the store, everything is designed to serve the player, like walking into heaven, everything there is meant for your happiness and pleasure. As soon one begins to design stuff just to have it there for no other purpose than to "fill in the emptiness", one is shooting one's own foot.

    It's quite bizarre how things work out in a game. For example, realism: Realism is only useful if the player is able to manage that realism at the click of a single mouse button, so it ultimately becomes unrealistic. When people say they like a realistic game, that has to by definition be as unrealistic as it can possibly be, otherwise he wouldn't be able to enjoy that realism. So realism must be manageable in an unrealistic way. (The reason players play games is because they hate realism, when they say they love realism, they are lying of course)

    A different thing is that one can't bless the player enough in the early phase of the game, like finding a sack of gold somewhere, a gun behind a house, a simple sword, anything, you can't bless them enough in the beginning. I'm not talking about the best equipment, but anything at all, making them feel lucky. Once you've "programmed" that good feeling in the early phase of the game, you can become more lazier with mid and end game, because now the entire game is already in his head, that hero feeling.

    I know there are some people who believe strongly in gorgeous graphics, some people like to place the player at a starting point where there is beautiful graphics, forest, trees and everything, to make a beautiful graphical appeal when the player opens the game for the first time. But graphics does not make a permanent impression, you should let the player be met with a situation, because situations are permanent, and he'll remember the game as a good situation, rather than a good graphical impression (better yet, a combination of both)

    There is something about graphics that people should be aware of. The more realistic the graphics is, the more you disable the player's fantasy limits. For example, if the graphics in a game look cartoonish, like in Donald Duck, the player may allow himself to pretend to be a duck (And there is little to no limits to his fantasy), on the other hand, if the graphics look very much like reality, the player will never allow himself to pretend to or fantasize to be a duck.

    This is one of the key components of PotC success, it's not entirely realistic graphics, it has 10-20% cartoonish "feeling" over it, and that is a magical component of PotC that further boosts fantasy. (Reduced graphics quality is actually a very useful feature)

    HoO developers may ask "How do you do that, how can you reduce that superior graphics quality". The answer is, it's a hard thing to do, but I can almost guarantee you that if the graphics become too pretty, the game is in a risk zone to fail.

    You could do something like PotC did, it made the water quality realistic, but kept everything else with a slight cartoonish feeling over it, it did a combination of realism and cartoon graphics. It's an ingenious way to do it. It's a bitter thing to downgrade superior graphics, that has got to be the most bitter thing to do in the world, but you should add just a tad, 10 - 20% cartoonish graphics (Barely noticeable to the player) to all land objects, houses, people and everything, it has absolutely amazing effects on how successful the game becomes.

    There is something people should be aware of too, personalities: Have you played a game and you were amazed at the incredible "personality" of a character in that game. The more simplistic movement of the object model (Moves in a more robotic fashion), the bigger personality that character gets. If the model moves very realistically (Arms waver realistically, facial expression are realistic) the less of a character impression you get.

    The stupid, robotic-like characters are the characters that you will get an impression from. That stupid moving Silehard, with no facial expression. When reduced to nothing, you can define it with everything.

    If you want to create really likeable, magical and memorable characters, make them act stupid and robotic, a tad unrealistic and as little realistic movements of body parts as possible with almost no facial expression.

    Games are the most misunderstood concepts out there, and how many game companies who try to remake good old games and they always fail. Have a little trust in the oldfashional way of doing things, there is a reason old classic stupid games never die.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  8. Pieter Boelen

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

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    While I most definitely do like "simple" solutions wherever possible, with PotC we tried to more and more create a historical world.
    And such a world is, by definition, not simple. There can be SO MUCH in there; just as much as in real life and more.
    Some simplifying is always required for sure, but a lot can be gained through making things self-explanatory and intuitive.

    It gets weird when players EXPECT the game to be simple and end up quite surprised when it is actually closer to real life complexities than they had thought.
    That can really confuse people. We've definitely seen that with PotC where it used to be very, very simplistic, but no longer is.
    For those people, I reckon a simplified Arcade Game Mode should be available.
    That is also tricky though: What to simplify and how? What can you take away while maintaining an interesting and fun game?

    But the opposite is true also: What can you add while maintaining an interesting and fun game?
    In the end, it is a matter of balance. Allowing lots of different ways for different players so that anyone can enjoy the same game in their own way.
    Not an easy task, but it is definitely fun to try. :cheeky

    I also am all for NOT having the player be an awesome hero really early into the game.
    It works much better for role playing to build up your character from a nearly blank slate.
    But then again: There are people who WANT to be a superhero right at the start. And who are we to say that they can't?

    Also very much agreed on the aesthetic of PotC. It doesn't look fully realistic, but it is also not a complete cartoon.
    For me, it has always worked well. If I look at modern awesome-looking games these days, I cannot help but be NOT impressed.
    It doesn't look at all real and I'm never sure what it is supposed to look like.

    For sure any character animations in the most modern games also looks completely fake to me.
    Real people don't move like that! I don't care if it was motion-captured or not.
    But indeed if you stylize the world a bit, you know you aren't looking at real people which allows you to get away with a whole lot more.

    I cannot agree about deliberately making the game "stupid" though.
    There has to be a cleverness hiding in there somewhere that may not be readily apparent; but it should be there!
     
  9. Armada

    Armada Sea Dog Staff Member Administrator Project Manager 3D Artist Storm Modder

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    @PotMaster, this thread was for suggestions. What you posted above was an arrogant lecture that assumes that our development team is totally clueless.
    While you may have made some valid points, I do not appreciate your tone or language at all. You could have conveyed your points far more constructively as suggestions, but instead you presented them as undisputed facts, which is neither helpful nor acceptable in this forum.

    You use PotC as a model; did you not think that most of us have indeed played that game? What do you think inspired us to make Hearts of Oak in the first place?
    In short: yes, we know what made PotC work well. And yes, we intend to emulate some of that in Hearts of Oak. We don't need to be told to do that.

    So, instead of lecturing us based on a game that doesn't even have quests yet, how about you wait until we get that far and then consider offering your thoughts as constructive criticism?
    I am all for people posting their comments about HoO, but not if such comments are disrespectful towards the development team.

    Please think about that next time you post in this forum. You can consider this a formal warning.
     
  10. PotMaster

    PotMaster Powder Monkey

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    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I know what you're talking about. Be careful to always separate your perception of the authenticity or fakeness of a model that you work with regularly and the first impression a player gets from the realism of that model. Those are two entirely different things, I can assure you that, as you work with models and stare at them and their movements for a very long time, you have to see much deeper than what a player can do in a fraction of a second. The reason you see the fakeness is because you've become an artist, artists see the depth, as expected.

    The overall game doesn't have to be stupid, what I meant to tell is that only the model should behave somewhat stupid, that doesn't mean it has to be stupid, there is actually something more to that that I wanted to convey about models behaving in a simplistic way. The difference between a realistically moving model and a somewhat "dead" or "flat" appearance of a less realistic model (either graphically or mechanically or even both) is that when the designer of the model deliberately creates a model slightly cartoonish (for example) he is giving a message to the player to accept that he doesn't have to suspend his disbelief, because it is obvious that the designer wanted the model to be unrealistic. On the other hand, when you do try to implement realism, and the player becomes experienced enough to actually detect the elements that clearly give signs that it isn't realistic anymore to him, the tiny factor that ruins that realism isn't enough to get rid of his disbelief, but with the other more cartoonish model, he can live with it, because his fantasy had to take over due to a secret agreement between the player and the designer. :napoleon (The most realistic models always cause most harm in the end)

    Any mistake in the design of that realism turns into poison, but with slightly cartoonish graphics, any slight mistake there turns into fantasy and he absolutely can live with it.

    If you can place a very thin "carpet" of graphical "distortion", cartoon graphics is one of those distortions, you can get rid of that poison.

    Use your heads when designing a game, is a tip that can't be repeated too often. Most of the time, people believe and think that they can create a game, but in most cases, they can't, it most often turns out to become a mess.

    Every time a private game team decides to create a game, they become obsessed with showing the community screenshots. They get even more obsessed and they do nothing but post screenshots and they stop developing the game. If it look like a very good game on the surface, is not enough. Creating a game belongs in the field of arts, it does not belong in the field of what appears to be a pleasing one second screenshot.

    What the guy above me said about arrogance, that's wrong. HoO needed a whip. That's not arrogance, thats being clever. Don't get stuck on the screenshot part, I can see right through you people, I know how you're thinking and operate. Don't try to fool us with that silly screenshot thing. (Success as we go, rather than facing the fear of failure)

    I would highly suggest that you guys set out to try to create a real game. Don't be fooled by beauty and superficial stuff. Although, graphics is important and I really liked the screenshots, but don't get obsessed with it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2015
  11. PotMaster

    PotMaster Powder Monkey

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    I realize that I might have believed too much in my opinions, you should definitely try to continue on the same path as before. My only fears (As I love ship games too much), my fears are that HoO will turn into more of a simulator game, simulators tend to have extreme graphic quality and you play it with a very different "feeling". In my view, I see PotC as a very good ship game and a very good basic platform for role playing fantasy. I'm not entirely sure what the goals of HoO is, maybe they don't have the same goals, and in that regard I would be wrong to suggest these things. Continue as before, changes can always be applied later (If necessary), so there is no urgency here, or need to rush. Continue as before, when the engine and content is in place, a lot of things can be done from there, filters, effects, anything can be applied to tweak it.

    To sum up my view, I see HoO as "too good" and that in itself (How bizarre it sounds) is a danger to how I am hoping it to turn out. Sometimes, too good can be bad, in a bizarre way.
     
  12. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member QA Tester Storm Modder

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    Ah, now that makes sense and has been discussed before. It seems to me that there is more of a need for animators and programmers than modelers right now.
     
  13. Flannery

    Flannery Scallywag & Loiterer Staff Member Project Manager TOP CONTRIBUTOR Quest Writer Music and SFX News Gatherer Hearts of Oak Donator

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    @PotMaster
    I truly am sorry - but you are so far from practicing what you preach.

    Even though what you preach is basic game development and the foundation for ANY commercial idea - your arrogance is so present I could not even force myself to take you more seriously than halfway skimming your walls and walls of quasi intellectual, narrow-minded rambling.

    @Armada stated something to you, and you go on without taking notice of it at all.

    Do we have to remind you that this community have modded PotC for over 10 years? I truly do not think there are any community - probably not even the original developers from Akella themselves who know PotC as well as this community. That is not fact stated - but an educated estimate...

    And regardless of that - most of the people here are highly educated and either studying the fields of their roles - or people with up to 15-25 years of experience in their fields.

    We are from highly skilled hobbyists to well established professionals.
    With the odd newborn enthusiast here and there.

    So I suggest you get off your high horse and walk the mud with the rest of us - and start treating your fellow comrades of this community as equals, or you will very soon find the community removes you from it.

    Have a good day sir.:rumgone
     
  14. rschissler

    rschissler Landlubber

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    While Potmaster may have come across as somewhat arrogant, I don't think it was that bad. He had some good points, but maybe rambled on too much.

    I played Sea Dogs to death, and loved that game, though it had little replay value. When POC came out I hated the console based interface and quickly shelved it. I tried AOP for a bit, but it's constant crashing on my computer soured me on it, and then it became dated.

    So, I greatly look forward to Hearts of Oak. I think the question is what will it's focus be? Just an upgrade to the above games, or similar but more expansive? I guess I would be happy with either.
     
  15. Pieter Boelen

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

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    Have you tried our expansive modpack for it?
    Basically all interfaces have been redone, so if that was your main objection to it, you might find things have improved since then. :cheeky

    The original intention was to pretty much make it the game we wished PotC could be.
    We have modded that game very heavily (and still DO!), but there are certainly limitations and the engine is obviously outdated by now.
    If you see what we've done with PotC: New Horizons, that will probably give you the best idea of what we're hoping to accomplish.

    But of course intentions and results are not the same thing.
    The development process is very fluid and it depends heavily on who decides to contribute and what they bring to the game.
     
  16. Flannery

    Flannery Scallywag & Loiterer Staff Member Project Manager TOP CONTRIBUTOR Quest Writer Music and SFX News Gatherer Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Although his points are valid - they are very basic, and to give such a vast lecture on it just goes over to being almost comic, and comes across as insulting...

    And in addition - remember... We are actually NOT trying to make a mainstream blockbuster.

    On the contrary - we are making the game that no AAA company would make - as they fear it holds a too narrow community to make it worth their time. And they are probably right. He is also wrong - just because we actually WANT it to be more in-depth, we WANT it to be more realistic and something that is closer to a simulation - realistic at least.

    And then we add a more arcade'ish option for those who does not want the "hard knock life" of it.

    We are first of all making this game for our selves... Not to please the masses of whiners and other random players out there who needs a hand to hold through every aspect of the game.

    This is not a commercial game in development - Its PotC: New Horizons on steroids and then some, and it will be what ever we decide it will be, regardless of what the commercial recipe for success is.

    A success towards a wider and broader public is merely a bonus.

    If you want something more commercial like - go play "Letters of Marque" :)

    (sorry could not help myself :p )
     
  17. Jack Rackham

    Jack Rackham HoO Team Member Quest Writer Storm Modder

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    Sorry to hear that - I had hoped for something that ALWAYS whatever other ideas would be a Game in the first place. This is an old a very infected subject. Is this really the official direction you're taking?
     
  18. Pieter Boelen

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

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    There are a lot of realistic elements that we've added to PotC as well but I reckon it has always remained a game. And that is how I would want it to stay.
    Whatever words other forum members here might use (simulator/"realism or death"*/etc.), I do not believe they mean it quite as strongly as that might sound.

    And it is pretty much a guarantee that there will need to be some sort of Arcade/Realistic Mode toggle (maybe even several ones for different gameplay elements) just like PotC has.
    If nothing else, that will be required to allow for both "quick fun" and "realistically slow" ship behaviour.
    But NOT to the point of AC4's speedboats, please! That bypasses "quick fun" and skips straight to "what the hell is this???". :rofl

    * = Those are technically my words, if I recall. Obviously intended purely as sarcasm.... :cheeky

    Yes. Yes, it is. :diomed
     
  19. Flannery

    Flannery Scallywag & Loiterer Staff Member Project Manager TOP CONTRIBUTOR Quest Writer Music and SFX News Gatherer Hearts of Oak Donator

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    @Pieter understood me correctly .

    @Jack Rackham
    You must read what I said in context with what has been stated before about game development.

    I was merely showing the contrast between the idea of a very commercial idea of development which pretty much does not demand anything from the player so it embraces a whole bigger possible player base - opposed to why modding PotC started in the first place - which eventually led to the idea of creating HoO in the first place.

    I never said it was to be a simulation - but that we were aiming for realism - something that is more similar and like a simulation.

    We are aiming for a big realistic world, where the ship will be affected by very realistic forces of nature, and you must command your ship in a realistic manner. Also traveling distances are aimed to be long and demanding towards your understanding of how to survive in that realistic environment.

    Then there will be options to tone those realism aspects down for those who want a more arcade'ish game.

    Not the other way around which often is the case when developing something commercially that is aimed at a large player base for profit.

    Of course HoO is going to be a game - with quest, storylines and other game play elements.

    My comment is not to start a discussion about content of HoO - but to show this gentleman that his rant is a lot more flawed than he perhaps predicted himself.

    And I have done that, and the same has @Armada - so now I suggest we leave content discussions to the team to discuss on the HoO development forums, and this thread can again go back to being a place people can come up with new ideas and suggestions based on the current demo build.

    Thank you
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015
    Thagarr and Pieter Boelen like this.
  20. Armada

    Armada Sea Dog Staff Member Administrator Project Manager 3D Artist Storm Modder

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    @Jack Rackham, please see the design document thread for the official direction of the game thus far:
    http://www.piratesahoy.net/threads/revised-game-design-document.25227/

    In short, wherever "realism" is mentioned, it is in relation to gameplay mechanics, such as the way ships and characters physically interact with the world.
    By contrast, the content of the game (such as quests, characters and so on) may include any elements of history, fiction or fantasy that the writers want to include.

    If you disagree with anything in the document, or have your own ideas, please let us know in that thread. :)
     

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