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Modern pirate game - what would you add in terms of gameplay?

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Hi
Im doing a singleplayer, 2d pirate/free roaming naval game and the basics are up and running. Pretty much like sid meiers pirates but getting better ships will be harder and a little more simulation style and less cartoony arcade (no dancing for example). Setting is cold war times (sixties-seventies), map will be suez to indonesia in the east.
I want to avoid modern times since naval warfare its all about cruisemissiles, air capability and high tech stuff now. I want some projectile guns (more fun for gameplay)

What would you like to see in such a game in terms of gameplay? There will be pirating and trading, and working for different nations. Upgrading ships and skills. But what else? And how to focus the gameplay but still keep it open world/sandbox.
What did you like/dislike with pirates? (classic and modern version is ok as reference).
What could be the ultimate goal of a match?

Thanks for your input!
Erik

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I don't think modern pirates have much in the way of cruise missiles.

Establishing hideouts on islands? Landing/boarding parties in the vain of X-Com/Jaggered Alliance? That might be to much of a game in itself though. Salvaging? Treasure Hunting?

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yes, REAL modern pirates (for example in Somalia) dont have much of weapons at all. Im thinking you start out in a 4 man boat with some guys with rifles but upgrades and later get hold of patrolboats, military corvettes and maybe even frigates/destroyers. Sort of like becoming a modern privateer, sanctioned by a major political power.

Yes building hideouts/outposts would be cool. Sort of like a economy/city building side game maybe? Im also thinking you could take over smaller settlements and demand tribute or something. The setting will be a bit ww3 /apocalypse so such a thing is not unthinkable (it would be in a stable world).

Treasure hunting is a given:) (get tips on hidden drug-caches, smugglers hideout and similar)

Anyone else?

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(no dancing for example)[/quote]
Big mistake in my opinion. Pirates the the classic romantic sense are all about dancing, boasting, and swearing. Otherwise a pirate is just a nasty cutthroat like the guys on the Somalian coast. Nobody likes them, nobody would want to play such a character. They're the kind of people you fire cruise missles at when you see them in the distance.

A good pirate needs to be stinking and swearing, dancing and boasting with burning fuses in his dreadlocks while swinging the cutlass. And he needs a parrot, or a monkey. The bigger the feather on his hat, the better.

Wooden legs and hooks are a must. Losing an arm could actually be a reward in game mechanics rather than an annoyance, if you get a cool hook that works as a weapon which cannot be disarmed. Or a wooden leg, which does not allow you to run as fast, but lets you do swift 180 degree turns in combat. A hook and a wooden leg could also raise your reputation score among the crew, so they are less likely to maroon you. Or, the dread factor when you board a ship.

Also, since you're a pirate, you can't put your money on the bank. Burying treasures which you can only find again if you own the correct treasure map is the way to go. And Black Dog wants that map.

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I think it is a mistake to make it about "modern" pirates. There is no romantic feeling about this at all, you can't be someone drafted to military and then taking over a navy ship because the officers were cruel and go on an adventure and pillage. You are a vilian. True villian that eveyone will kill without blinking an eye. Also, you absolutely can't be a sanctioned privateer nowadays. Modern times are simply not suitable for romantic pirates.

If you do it a Fallout style (after nuclear war) they you face 2 problems. First, eveyone will associate them with brutal road gangs (thanks to Mad Max legacy and Water World). Second, everyone think after WW3 there will be a desert (search for water theme which is extremly popular in that genre), so sea activities are not the best for that period.

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ok then dont focus too much on that it will be a "romantic pirate game". Its more of a naval adventure game, and of course there will be some humor to it.
I dont see at all why such a game couldnt work.

And the view that conflicts now are simply sad and cannot make fun gameplay and historical conflicts are fun and lighthearted/romantic is a bit wierd. GTA works, and its basically a lightweight and fun approach to modern problems like violence, gangs and drugs.
And historical pirates were no romantic heroes. They were hated thugs, desperate, ruthless and died of hunger and deseases. Much like somali pirates today. Im looking for a middle way.

Yes im obviously aiming for something with a BIT more serious style then sids pirates . But that game was not fun purely because the main guy had an "excuse" for killing and plundering.
If its post-apoc, why is associating the player with brutal road gangs a problem? In fallout you can be exactly that, and thats fun for players who like to be a bit bad.

Plz continue commenting on these things, but also more on gameplay specifics. What is rewarding in a adventure game like this? What should be avoided?

Erik

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ok then dont focus too much on that it will be a "romantic pirate game". Its more of a naval adventure game, and of course there will be some humor to it.
I dont see at all why such a game couldnt work.
I have never seen "a naval adventure game" that was not "a romantic pirate game" at the same time :) I guess my imagination simply does not reach far enough to imagine such game type :D Can you give any examples of games that were similar to what you are trying to achieve?


And the view that conflicts now are simply sad and cannot make fun gameplay and historical conflicts are fun and lighthearted/romantic is a bit wierd. GTA works, and its basically a lightweight and fun approach to modern problems like violence, gangs and drugs.
And historical pirates were no romantic heroes. They were hated thugs, desperate, ruthless and died of hunger and deseases. Much like somali pirates today. Im looking for a middle way.
I was reading the old records of pirates and it really stuck me that the "romantic pirate" image appeared at the time when they were pillaging the seas. They were perceived as romantic heroes by the people back then, they were pillaging and ruthlessly killing merchants and still people of that era perceived them as not exactly villians. It was not invented later, as some sort of sentiment to old times, not at all... Quite shocking :) I guess, it could be because if the low difference between the normal navy recruiting practices and the incredible abuse and brutality on normal ships and pirate ships. There were a huge percentage of pirate ships emerging from mutiny on normal ships because of living conditions.
The same way of thinking won't work for current times because the level of abuse by the govenment/society is not enough to win any sympathy to those who go on rampage and kill merchants.

If its post-apoc, why is associating the player with brutal road gangs a problem? IN fallout you can be exactly that, and thats fun for players who like to be a bit bad.
In Fallout you *can* be a villian, in the game you propose you *have to* be a villian. That's a huge difference.

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In Fallout you *can* be a villian, in the game you propose you *have to* be a villian. That's a huge difference.

ok but in GTA or Mafia or many other games you HAVE to be a villian. Still fun games. Not to mention practically ALL wargames (and many actionsgames) on the market...
I mean there could of course be some background story to why the player is a pirate but im not sure that will have a large impact on the gameplay as a whole.

Any comments on gameplay at large (other then moral objections to the setting).

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Yes, you are perfectly right, you can make a successful game where you have to be a villian. But you have to accept the consequences. I won't play your game :) I don't find GTA fun at all. With Fallout you have a choice, you cater to those who want to be good guys, bad guys and to those who don't care (probably the biggest number of players). When you make a choice that forces players to play in a specific way you lose a portion of players. It is not necessarily bad, but still you have to estimate if the gain outweights the loss.

The biggest problem is the player base. How are you going to advertise the game? Who is your target player? Do you want the people who play pirate games play your game? If yes then you have a problem, since probably a huge majority of them are the "romantic pirate adventure" types. Would they want to play a modern Somalian pirate? I doubt. You could turn to Fallout players, but then they are accustomed to deserts, motor gangs, radiation. You don't have these in sea themed game, it's very "unlike Mad Max". I have trouble visualising what you would write on the box and what kind of player would desire to buy it...

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Resources needed to execute an attack need to come from somewhere. You walk into a town with a pile of money and buy food, weapons, and supplies to last your crew a few weeks out at sea, you're going to have an impact on the economy there, especially if you keep coming back. Maybe you even start to become liked (rob from the rich, do business with the poor). Maybe the money the businesses receive from you is invested and the economy of the town grows. Maybe word that a pirate does business in that particular town gets out and traps are set to capture him. Or maybe as the economy of the town grows, tempting targets for pirates (the player or otherwise) arrive at the town. When those targets are hit, sympathy that was once there for the player might be lost.

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