4-hour game completion mod,seeking feedback/advice

-1000 tales of Terror-
So how many times will a good player end up running through sunless sea? From my experience I can see how someone could easily be done after 3 or 4 captains. Games are long, can get grindy at points (unless you’re exploiting certain trade opportunites). When I heard comparisons to Rogue Likes and FTL I thought I would survive about 3-4 hours into a game, die, and then pass on a minor bonus to my next character. I was very surprised at just how forgiving many of the story events are, and the few that could kill you have pretty extensive warnings. It was not difficult surviving 40+ hours on my second captain as I detailed in another thread. So when I say 1000 tales of terror, even if you’re thinking those little stories you carry around in game rather than how many captains you’ve gone through, it’s a rather intimidating number taken literally.

-The Idea-
A Mod that shortens game length significantly and makes current &quotvictory&quot conditions things that should be the capstone of a Dynasty, not a single captain. From a creation perspective, this would involve fairly extensive modifications of current storylines just so people can experience something new of course, but what I’m really more interested in here is the mechanics changes that would be needed. Some things I was thinking:

*Ship speeds doubled (maybe even tripled) - It’s been mentioned before that the first time through the game the effect is cool and creepy, but after 20 hours or so it just feels slow. Our target is for a character to retire in about 4 hours on average (a good night of gaming).

*More time/use based limits - After getting far enough in the game, I started seeing opportunities finally close off. Sphinxstone ran out. The Coffee trade to Vienna dried up. Hunter’s Keep burned down. As opportunities close, you feel closer and closer to the close of a story, wrapping up loose ends and (from a gameplay perspective) ready to finish your character’s career to open those opportunities again for another character.

These should happen faster and more often. The ideal kind of experience I’m going for is being able to close down 2-4 opportunities/storylines in a session and having that be enough to encourage the player to start a new character. This could take the form of opportunities slowing down after something like Another Day, Time the healer = 100 and just being done at = 150 or so.

*More Deadly - Learn through trial and error, but don’t become so invested in a character that death is a major setback. Have more events give Wounds, mostly without warning. Attack the Privateer Encampment/Blemmigan Colony options should always have a chance to give wounds. Make wounds unhealable or far more difficult to heal. Or make healing wounds give &quotscars&quot and if you’re travelling with wounds, you have a chance to trigger an event increasing your current open wounds. Make Dying happen at 5 wounds or so, but start taking permanent skill damage after 5 scars. Haunting Scar: Minimum Terror of 20. Lost eye Scar: -10 Iron and Mirrors. Deep Wound Scar: Chance to receive double wounds. Claustrophobia Scar: -20 Veils. Blinded (Requires Lost eye Scar): -50 iron and Mirrors.

This would make wounds more of a real risk than just a inconvenience you have to sail back home to be rid of. If you lost an eye, do you retire before you lose the other to ensure your next captain has better options for starting skill levels? Etc. More push your luck gameplay which I think would be exciting.

*More varied but more balanced carry overs - anyone who’s managed to transfer 30000+ echoes to a new captain thanks to that legacy knows how quickly this leaps a brand new character straight to endgame material. Or perhaps you spent your entire career building up to a frigate/merchant vessel, finally completing the Neathbow, only to get a deed to a ship that was a significant downgrade on the one you didn’t have to work nearly as hard for. It means nothing to that character, but would be really cool for a new Captain just starting out. The Zong of the Zee took forever to build for very minor stat boosts that required a slot I had in use. Again, another cool item for a new captain that wouldn’t be overpowered, but fairly meaningless endgame if that wasn’t your &quotambition&quot.

Allow different kinds of heirlooms in your residence/will. Captivating treasure heirlooms are already there for pure echoes. Leave your ZotZ or your Deed to A Yacht as an Heirloom. Leave storyline heirlooms for completing certain stories that change their outcomes or make getting to the end of them easier. Leave a Moth Mask heirloom and you can automatically succeed all challenges on Visage. Leave a Phoebe’s Locket behind and in the next playthrough Hunter’s Keep won’t ever burn down. Leave a souveneir from the burning of London and your next captain instead starts in the Khanate with all the options of London available to him/her there instead. There’s tons of possibilities. Limit 3 heirlooms for a House and 6 heirlooms for a Mansion and cut your house resale values tremendously so their only viable in desperate situations (or for roleplay!).

These are just some of the main things I think would be necessary to change the gameplay experience to what I stated in the beginning. There’s of course lots of other things I’d like to do like making trading goods more viable, but making every port function similar to the iron Republic, making certain ports only looks for certain goods some of the time so you can make a better profit, but also are subject to the whims of the market or supply and demand. Have epic quest lines similar in scope to the Neathbow retain statuses across captains and make it an affair for your descendents. Other things I’m sure I can’t think of right now because I’ve been typing for a while.

Anyway, that was the idea I’m working with. It’s certainly a fair bit different of a vision than the creators of the game intended I’m sure, but I think it would be a cool mod idea. Ofcourse again, all the stories would have to be altered because their best experienced for the first time, but that’s something to worry about later. What I’d like to know from other experienced players is if you think the couple major changes I listed would work well together and give the kind of experience I’m trying to find?
edited by delta_angelfire on 2/17/2015
edited by delta_angelfire on 2/17/2015

I’m not experienced in get the sense that I have only a few hours under my belt but I’m with you on tne replayability angle. I see no reason to chase legacies because with ~100 iron, all the other skills are broadly irrelevant. There’s nothing critical that you can’t retry to make it work. Being able to leave more than just weapons and cash for my legacies would mean I would play as you suggest. Each session would be more like a single captain and the wounds idea is inspired.

I’d also like to see far more damaging weapons. I find killing monsters boring now. You can kite almost anything with the starter boat (sharks being an exception), so let me one shot stuff. I know about the Icarus in black, but still. I also agree about the travel time. I mostly just sit with a suppressor, impeller and full power to get around now because I’m tying up loose ends. Cash isn’t an issue so using 10 fuel to cross the map in 30s is preferable to puttering around. I did a terror reduction video earlier and was amazed at how trivial it is to manage terror once you know what’s what.

But yes. Great idea. Most of the events and constants are in plain text, so it’d be straightforward (if not that easy) to build something like this.
edited by SporksAreGoodForYou on 2/17/2015

Sure, I guess, if you want to ignore all the actual content and die constantly. Because there is plenty that can only be tried once, and more that will kill you if you fail too many times.

I don’t want to derail this thread because I think it’s excellent, but I’m on my third captain and I don’t have much else to do but the Neathbow, the cockatiel and some diplomacy and, obviously, the legacies. I can farm mount nomad. My stats are all around 30-40 from random events and officers (apart from iron) and I’m sitting on 9k and 30 secrets. It’s entirely possible to finish the game without legacies.

It is entirely possible to finish the game without legacies, and in many cases, it’s more fun to start again and not have the safety net that legacies provide for you. While I too will pick up an avid suppressor and belt around the sea when I’m cleaning up things at the end game, I don’t do it at any other time, and it’s worth the time when starting again to build up to that stage. The game’s a lot easier now than it was in the first instance, but it’s harder than it has been before, and this is an ongoing evolution that will continue as more and more people get involved in it.

I don’t agree with more random events and wounds, random is not your ally in a narrative game, everything should happen for a reason and should be seen to happen for a reason.

Actually, with proper modification of navigationconstants.json and a few other files (which, disclaimer, I’m not sure how to properly do yet! haven’t messed around enough to be 100% sure what constants do what… yet), i think it’d be VERY easy to make very simple mods incorporating a little of this - eg double ship speed, fuel use, terror gain, hunger gain, enemy speed, and halve the SAY timer and firing solution time. Could make variants with different “difficulty” too, by adjusting the terror/hunger/fuel rates.

The other things I’d love, but seem much more difficult to mod! But yeah, a mod that made the game much more breakneck, with (some) storylines persisting btw captains would be REALLY neat!

Some more things that’d need changing, deciding, or would just be extra complicated to handle, off the top of my head:

-which storylines persist, which reset, which save some progress but not all? Probably big ones (Neathbow, Principles’ End, Empire of Hands, Zong progress) persist 100%, officers’ need the initial getting-to-know-you steps but keep further progress

-officers? Incredibly hard to finish storylines / HAVE any officers left on later captains if they die with you (esp if you sunk!), hard to justify if they don’t. Maybe they “escape”, need to be re-found but place in storyline (Learning About quality) is saved, except for the initial getting to know you parts?

-Also re officers: needs ways to save at least some progress on things like Memento Mori / Fulgent Impeller / Serpentine, or at least some way to get them again on subsequent captains (how much should it cost?).

-Zong progress being a dynastic achievement is a GREAT idea imho, but the way mats for the Zong are carried over would have to be totally reworked! Either each captain pitches in and (most of? All?) contributions are saved (eg total zee-ztories at 51/77) or there has to be a way to pass on certain Curiosities (or both?). Once completed maybe you’d get the “previous edition” of the Zong on yr subsequent captains, with reduced stats, and can use a much smaller amount of mats to “update” it for that captain to get a Zong with the full stats?

-Supremacies! Could REALLY hinder yr successors if you locked out the Admiralty; doesn’t let new captains pursue different political agendas. Might be best if these all start semi-randomized (0-3) with each captain - political climate is shaken up as much as the maps are? Maybe Supremacies just like are set to half their former value from the previous captain (max 4 or 5)

-early game money grind for new gear / ships is a problem. Gotta be a balance between being able to pass on tons of cash (unlikely for short careers!) vs the huge annoyance of starting from scratch. Maybe you keep yr house, ship (unless you sunk, in which case you get the ship’s sale vale from “salvage”)?

-other legacy stuff: maybe keep the legacy bonus items, can only pass on +10 from one stat that was above 75. Different legacy options - pass on an officer / keep one piece of equipment (not including the quest ones) / fix the location of one discovered port / reset one small storyline (hkeep? Station III? Salt Lions?) / ???

Anyway, just throwing out some ideas, i love the idea of a mod paced more like FTL but with persistent, legacy storylines :)

Oh, also Father’s Bones would need to be reworked a lot, but i haven’t even played it yet, so i have no idea.

If you handed in Zong stuff to a &quotstore&quot of some kind, that would solve it (but also not be directly moddable, since it would probably require a hefty change in the engine).

edit: which is to say, zong requires (e.g.) 77 secrets, I want to submit 10 secrets now. those are locked in for all future captains.
edited by SporksAreGoodForYou on 2/18/2015

It wouldn’t actually require anything too complex! I was giving it a bit of a mull over earlier, because I was (really very) bored, considering tweaks that’d to make the Ambitions long-running dynastic things rather than just captain-related, and that was actually something I’d considered.
It’d just need a few extra qualities and branches, though it’d be a little finicky; you’d need a new quality for each requirement, and then options that’d let you convert the things you have into the banking quality (so, say, an option to let you submit Secrets in a few different increments or fulfil the requirement all at once). With some fancy rich effect stuff, you could even make it so that it subtracts banked things from the actual requirement (so, if you’d banked 7 Secrets, the overall Secrets requirement on the Zong would change to 70, rather than making you bank all of everything just to complete the Ambition).

Heck, I could probably do it by hand-editing the .JSON files if I really really wanted to, but it’d be a tremendous effort. I’d kill (or at least lightly wound) for a Storynexus editor-y modding interface or something of that ilk to edit things directly, but I think that’s somewhere around as likely as a freak manifestation of rats. There’s probably some way of making the events file easier to navigate and edit; I know at least one enterprising individual on the Steam forums has managed to add a few Iron Republic/Nephrite Quarter style shop changing storylets in a few places, so it’s certainly not impossible.
edited by Spacemarine9 on 2/18/2015