Blog: Ports and Procedural Generation

[color=#0066ff]Liam’s first pre-production blog is up! Excited to hear your thoughts on this first piece of tangible in-game thinking![/color]

I’ve never felt the return journey to be tedious — the tension takes care of that, as I nervously estimate fuel and terror. But the necessity of London does limit my overall route options, and cuts short the occasional early or bad-luck expedition when I’m forced to retreat without meeting my goals. This idea seems like an improvement.

Perhaps the starting point could be randomized for each captain, to make a new playthrough truly different from the beginning. Sunless Sea tends to be pretty samey while you’re still near London.

I’m also curious whether each region will have a set array of ports, or whether there will be some randomization between them. It could add a lot of variety if, for instance, region 1 was composed of mostly &quotregion 1&quot tiles, but also a few &quotX type&quot tiles — chosen from a different set that can also appear in regions 2 and 3.
edited by TheThirdPolice on 11/24/2016

I’ve never really felt voyages back to London to be tedious, but before Zubmariner I really wished I could set up a second home port in Khan’s Heart. Khan’s Heart is often close to the center of the map which, depending on the trade routes that develop, could make it a major resupply point for purely surface ships. Also, I just really like the port’s events and atmosphere. Had I had the option of repairing my ship at Khan’s Heart, the main thing I couldn’t do there that I could do in Fallen London, I would have made slightly fewer trips back home.

Anyway, I think multiple major ports is a great idea. If they all have their own Exchanges, Smugglers, and Rose Markets, the game could have considerable commercial diversity.

I think this is the railway influence they mentioned. Major ports are now being planned out like trackless railway stations. You chart your course from station I to station II, making quick stops at any smaller ports along the way. Upon arrival at station II, you set out to explore the surrounding area, before returning and sailing on to station III. Equally distant from all the stations will be hard to reach peripheral places. In this way the map will be neatly divided into vibrant centers, intermediate suburbs and isolated peripheries.

Alternatively they could have your starting position depend upon your captain’s background, just like your captain’s background determined your beginning stats and officer in Sunless Sea. Like, a captain who has a criminal background could begin at a city with a more larcenous nature while a captain who has a more military background could begin at a city that has a more front-line character.
edited by Anne Auclair on 11/27/2016

The one issue that immediately comes to mind is how choosing a background isn’t required in Sunless Sea, with special items and achievements from playing without one. If choosing a background determined starting area, it would restrict the existing model’s flexibility. One compromise might be choosing a general background to determine starting location, and later choosing from several backgrounds specific to that starting area.

It could drop you in a random port instead, allowing you to make up the story of how you got there.

I’m excited about this change. When I started playing Sunless Sea, I would search for port facilities in likely places, like Port Carnelian, or the Iron Republic, or Khan’s Heart, or the Grand Geode, but sadly their shipyards were always closed to me. So this is cool.

That said, who hasn’t teared up a bit upon hearing Wolfstack Lights after limping across Badstevener’s Abyss at a crawl, your ship’s hull down to the double digits, your crew in the singles and your crates of supplies and barrels of fuel exhausted, hounded by pirates, afflicted by nightmares and the red scourge of cannibalism stalking your corridors.

So I hope there are similar places we can call home in the High Wilderness.

As someone who likes the trading game, I second this.
edited by Frederick Metzengerstein on 11/27/2016

I guess home will be where the heart is.

Or perhaps wherever we purchase a home, assuming there are lodgings.
edited by Anne Auclair on 11/27/2016

Speaking of lodgings, has anyone considered what the average one would be like given that we’ll have no home port? Will we be staying in lots of fancy hotels and boarding houses?