Sail Forth’s ‘The Fleet’ update is now available. You can see the patch notes for this update below.
Fleet Management - The Dock
The goal here is to enable more playstyles and allow you to accumulate new ships in a satisfying way. Don’t want to deal with a fleet? Store all extra boats in your dock and use them like extra lives. Got a neat boat for a specialized purpose? Bring it out of the dock when you want to use it.
- Boats can be stored at a dock, accessible from the fleet management menu whenever not in combat
- Unlimited boats can be stored at the dock along with their crew and loadout
- If your entire fleet sinks but you have docked boats, you can undock them to continue the fight
- Previously in places where you could acquire a boat (encounters, boarding), you might have had to scrap it due to no remaining room in the fleet, now it can be stored at the dock directly
Fleet Management - Orders and AI
Some of the most common feedback about the game so far has been that the fleet AI doesn’t do a great job of avoiding collisions. I spent a bunch of time overhauling the way the AI sees the world around it and expanding your ability to control them.
- Greatly improved navigation AI: Your fleet (and other AI boats) should be much more adept at avoiding collisions
- The ‘set order’ functionality of previous demos has been restored and updated
- Fleet boats can be told to Escort, Hold Position, or Hold Fire
- Can also issue one of these commands to the entire fleet at once
- Your fleet will attempt to escape combat and return to your flagship if you are not close by
Another common bit of feedback from the community was that the progression felt a bit strange. Having large ships available from the first shop you encounter meant that some players would grind it out immediately and not feel any need to upgrade for the rest of the game. With this in mind, the set of available ships has been modified to spread out the progression more sensibly throughout the game’s chapters. Special thanks to Neizod from the community for a great writeup on the Steam forum about this problem!
- Based on feedback many of the boats in the game have had their balance tweaked, in addition to a revised unlock progression
- Each new Shipshape Shop encountered will unlock a new boat of that chapter’s tier
- Larger ships are now unlocked later in the game and have had their prices updated to reflect this
- Removed boat selection from tutorial sequence to curate a more consistent intro experience
This is not a content-focused update but I did find some time to add a bit of stuff. The new Tekk Speedboat should make the Tekk Clan fleets a bit more interesting to fight, and the Croaker bounties have been overhauled to present a bigger challenge. Many people have asked for more ability to customize their crew-members, and this update brings a small first step towards this, giving you the ability to set their colors separately from the boat/sail colors.
- The way enemies are placed in the world has been overhauled, which will allow for new types of content in the future
- For now the main difference is that hostile locations such as forts have a chance to spawn new enemies each day
- Updated Croaker Bounty encounters which now scale in size and difficulty
- Introducing the Tekk Clan Speedboat: a fast and lightly armed engine-powered vessel
- Tekk Subs are now implemented as proper ‘boats’ in game terms, giving them better physics and AI
- Tekk Destroyer weapon slots increased to 4
- Updated visuals for Lightkeeper Flagship: Based on feedback the design of the ship has been revised with a more realistic and better looking sail rig
- Crew color customization: Your crew’s color scheme is now chosen separately from the sail colors
Other fixes and changes
- Updated tutorial system: The old tutorial system felt a bit heavy handed as it would frequently pause the game and force you to do something that you potentially already know how to do
- Tutorials now use a ‘checklist’ system that never pauses the game, and are much less intrusive
- New tutorial added for camera zoom controls
- ‘Feedback’ option now available from the pause menu to report bugs directly from the game
- Improved capsizing logic: If your boat capsizes, your crew is temporarily thrown in the water and must spend some crucial time flipping the boat right side up again, which can be devastating in a battle. Watch those sails!
- Many smaller bug fixes and tweaks, too many to enumerate here