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Posted by emshort at Sep 1, 2003 4:42:16 AM
Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
Some friends and I have been discussing whether Y!PP suffers from what I think of as the Sims problem -- after a while you're just earning money in order to buy more stuff (clothes, fancier props) but the actual gameplay doesn't change much as you improve.

I realize that there will be more nuances in the economy, flag wars, etc., when everything is added in. But it also seems like it would be fun if you could earn your way to new variety in the puzzles.

Here's what I was thinking. If you saved up enough money, you could buy some customizations for your ship above and beyond the color changes and so on that other people have suggested. The result would be that the task-related puzzles would then become harder/more intricate on that ship. For instance, upgraded sails would change the sailing puzzle. So there might be more difficult patterns to clear platforms, but if you did well, those kinds of sails would let you go way faster. That way, veteran players would be able to get access to new kinds of puzzle.

Another thing that we thought about was that if you had these sails installed on your ship, the person doing the sailing might be allowed to choose whether to do the regular puzzle or the harder version, so that newbie jobbers would not be completely overwhelmed.

Specific suggestions for this kind of modification:

Fine brown cloth rather than regular cloth sails --> sailing puzzle gives more junk blocks and/or more complicated patterns to clear, but you can go faster if you do a good job than if you do well at regular sailing. (Or for extra extra challenge, maybe another color besides yellow/blue/white.)

Carpentry toolbox upgrade --> holes aren't just larger but maybe a funnier shape. For instance, they might have objects already in the middle of the hole that you have to work around, as if you were patching a hole around a mast or something else that has to be allowed to come up through the middle. If you wanted to be really evil, there could be objects in the middle of the hole that would explode if you built over them (fuses, maybe). But again, if you were good at the puzzle you'd wind up doing faster damage repair.

[Sidenote: I also really wish there were a way to fix the place up after you're hit by cannon but before the swordfight starts so that you don't get penalized with so many black blocks. I gather that's not supposed to represent ship damage as much as damage to the pirates themselves, though. So maybe good carpenting shouldn't fix it, but a shipboard medical kit and/or potions bought from the apothecary would help?]

Improved bilge pump --> ... I'm not thinking of a really good change to the bilging puzzle, but I'm sure you could come up with something.

Thoughts?

Posted by WesternActor at Sep 1, 2003 4:52:48 AM
Count me in.
I'm definitely in favor of some of the stuff you talk about.

I've only been playing the game for a little over a month, and I'm already experiencing something of a malaise when it comes to most of the duty puzzles. Especially during long play periods when we may not be pillaging a lot (or when we are and making a lot of money), and variety would come in handy then to help keep my interest in the game (which tends to flag over the long haul). I love the idea of using the money for something immediately useful both in-game and meta-game (giving more opportunities for duty puzzles).

Of course, I think the missing element in all this at this point is crafting, which might make the game more interesting almost to a fault. I think that will help some of the "what do I now?" aspects of the game that seem to be creeping in--at least for me--but anything that will give the in-game actions, especially regarding the day-to-day activities I generally try to play games to escape FROM, more variety I will be completely in favor of.

Posted by Matthias at Sep 1, 2003 5:25:32 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
I've already reached the "what-do-I-do-now" stage in PP, so this sounds great, especially when boredom really sets in. I suspect, though, that running a large crew would be one of the biggest buzzes you could ever get, but down here as a lowly officer who wasn't allowed to demote, and taking a ship out holds little appeal, new puzzles would be sweet.

Perhaps for bilging, you could get a seperated hull, so the playing field would be in two halves, and the lines don't count if they cross the middle (or even two playing fields, but you'd need less pieces to compensate).

Matt
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I took my own advice.

Posted by MojoChiba at Sep 1, 2003 7:06:03 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
I just wanted to pipe in with the thought that pattern complexity in and of itself would help eliminate the extended boredom issue. What I mean is, when players are of a lower rank in a puzzle, make the target patterns more simple, and as they increase in rank, increase the complexity of the patterns. This would also help separate the puzzle-minds from the folks that just play incessantly. On top of that, it would also help ease newbies into the game, cutting down on some frustrations and confusion that I have seen come from new players. I think this concept could apply to all current puzzles (possibly including the crafting puzzles) except for sword fighting, which doesn't really need it since it is the one puzzle where there is direct competition.
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-Mojo Chiba

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Posted by emshort at Sep 1, 2003 7:14:26 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
MojoChiba wrote: 
I just wanted to pipe in with the thought that pattern complexity in and of itself would help eliminate the extended boredom issue. What I mean is, when players are of a lower rank in a puzzle, make the target patterns more simple, and as they increase in rank, increase the complexity of the patterns.


As far as I can tell, the game already does some of this -- at least, I'm pretty sure that as my experience in carpentry has gone up, I've been given larger holes to fill. Similarly I have the (subjective) impression that the sailing puzzle gets a bit harder as you go along. Which is great, but I think it would be helped out further by the introduction of some actual new elements... just to liven things up.

(The chief thing that makes me bored when Sailing is when I screw up the board, not so badly that I'm completely booched, but just badly enough that it takes a really really long time to clear out and make any progress again. It's frustrating. But I guess that's my own fault.)

Posted by MojoChiba at Sep 1, 2003 7:51:02 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
I didn't mean to subtract from your post at all, and I hope you didn't take it like that. My post was meant to be more of an "added along with" type of deal. As far as what YPP currently does, my experience is that sailing is pretty random, sometimes I get hard puzzles and sometimes easy with no apparent pattern aside from maybe a time based algorithm. With carpentry, you get bigger holes as you go along, but only while you're doing the carpentry. Once you get off the ship and get on a ship again, the carpentry (for me) has always started with fairly small holes that got bigger. This does not really help the newbs or help to separate the cream of the crop. I think the additions would be great, as the puzzles on their own merit do get a bit boring.
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-Mojo Chiba

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Posted by emshort at Sep 1, 2003 8:10:31 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
MojoChiba wrote: 
I didn't mean to subtract from your post at all, and I hope you didn't take it like that.


No, of course not.

MojoChiba wrote: 
My post was meant to be more of an "added along with" type of deal. As far as what YPP currently does, my experience is that sailing is pretty random, sometimes I get hard puzzles and sometimes easy with no apparent pattern aside from maybe a time based algorithm. With carpentry, you get bigger holes as you go along, but only while you're doing the carpentry. Once you get off the ship and get on a ship again, the carpentry (for me) has always started with fairly small holes that got bigger. This does not really help the newbs or help to separate the cream of the crop. I think the additions would be great, as the puzzles on their own merit do get a bit boring.


Yeah, I see what you're saying a bit better now. Like I said, my impression about the sailing difficulty is pretty subjective, or maybe I just had a string of bad luck last night leading to a bunch of really hard boards in a row.

I keep having more ideas about this. Another variation on carpentry might be to give the player more holes to keep track of at a time. To compensate a bit for the added difficulty, maybe there would be a clamp tool that would come up, like the mortar bucket, that you could use to hold a hole together for as long as you wanted while you waited for the perfect piece to fill it in.

Maybe it would be a good idea to offer several non-compatible upgrades for each puzzle -- so you could upgrade your sails to Fancy Rigging in order to get more complex patterns, or to Fine Cloth in order to add a new color to the drop pattern. And when you got bored with one upgrade, you could pay to have it removed and another one installed. Voila, a sink for PoE that also adds to the basic gameplay and increases variety in ships.

I like the separated hull idea for bilging, too.

Posted by aameul at Sep 1, 2003 2:39:52 PM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
I don't like this idea because Y!PP is the only MMORPG that is almost completely non-equipment dependant. It's one of the *strengths* of the game that a greenhorn fresh off of character creation can be just at a puzzle as a crew's captain. I vote for now (or very few) gameplay advantages for having 16 hours a day to devote to a game.

re: carpentry holes getting larger, regardless of experience, at the start of the puzzle (i.e. when you do 'start carpentry') the holes start out the same size. As you go longer and longer without porting, the holes gradually get larger and larger. It's simply a function of time puzzling since last port, and not anything to do with your personal experience at the puzzle.

Posted by meiadm at Sep 1, 2003 5:40:04 PM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
actually, what I've been able to deduct out of earlier discussions, are that individual housing will become available, which ye will be able to buy stuff for. I don't know how far we are from this though.
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Frizzan - Gone for good

Posted by burrito at Sep 2, 2003 2:08:16 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
Upgrading the ships is a great idea. There're very few things in this game that you can improve by upgrading your equipment (like aameul said); in fact, you can only improve your offensive swordfighting in the game. So, anything that would benefit the people who have been around longer and who have played harder would be valuable.

I think that without equipment that can improve your abilities, the game will get very stale for people after a while.



Edit: btw, I know that aameul is saying that the lack of equipment is what makes Y!PP stand out against the MMORPGs and I agree with him, but I think a little more would be beneficial for those that get easily disinterested.
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-Peppy, Senior Officer of the Salty Mouthfuls
"Yarr, thar be stairs here."

1st Place, First Drinking Contest, Gaea 24 Hour Bash
2nd Place, Cayte's Sword Tournament, 9/29

Posted by emshort at Sep 2, 2003 2:59:06 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
aameul wrote: 
I don't like this idea because Y!PP is the only MMORPG that is almost completely non-equipment dependant. It's one of the *strengths* of the game that a greenhorn fresh off of character creation can be just at a puzzle as a crew's captain. I vote for now (or very few) gameplay advantages for having 16 hours a day to devote to a game.


Well, part of my idea was that newbies would still be able to play the standard puzzles and do well at them. This would just introduce the option of some more variety in order to entertain people who have been around longer.

Posted by Telastyn at Sep 2, 2003 3:11:24 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
yar. Personally I think it'd be wonderful to sell the ships as "blank" ships, and then you can equip/customize the ship with different duty stations.

I'm not sure if that's really easily implimented, and these sort of things usually cause alot more problems than they solve.

Posted by Sagittary at Sep 2, 2003 3:12:14 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
I don't think equipment like that that improves what you can do is really a solution. It just delays the time when a person will look for the next big thing and/or get into an arms war (or what have you... people just getting things to be able to stay competitive). Rather than improving puzzles, equipment should just change puzzles, open up new ones, and things of that nature that are there but aren't something a player -has- to go out and do.
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Darkwaters, Captain of the Sagely Swashbucklers, Owner of the Mean Stickleback & the Ignorant Grunion

Posted by spinn at Sep 2, 2003 3:23:34 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
Okay, how about: instead of having equipment that makes you clear things better, how about equipment that makes the puzzle different somehow. I'm not sure how to work this into the metaphor, let's see...

Well. Just off the top of my head, let's say you can bring your own bilge adaptor that makes the cursor switch vertical pieces, rather than horizontal pieces. This doesn't necessarily give the seasoned player a distinct advantage over newbies (or it doesn't give a well-equipped neophyte a pointless advantage over a novice), but it modifies the puzzle in terms of your own playing style.

This goes along with the idea of sword patterns, I think. A Cleaver isn't a Sword of Butt Kicking +7; it just does something different that may or may not mesh with how you play.
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And thus, the message is concluded.

Posted by burrito at Sep 2, 2003 6:32:55 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
spinn wrote: 
Okay, how about: instead of having equipment that makes you clear things better, how about equipment that makes the puzzle different somehow. I'm not sure how to work this into the metaphor, let's see...


It doesn't necessarily have to change the puzzle, but could make the effects of the puzzle have greater efficiency. For example, you could upgrade your mast/sails/rudder and now when a person gets a "Good" in sailing, it has the same effect an "Excellent" would have on normal sails, get it?

So, in essence, with improved sails or whatever, you could get the boat up to fullspeed faster and with less effort than with normal sails.
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-Peppy, Senior Officer of the Salty Mouthfuls
"Yarr, thar be stairs here."

1st Place, First Drinking Contest, Gaea 24 Hour Bash
2nd Place, Cayte's Sword Tournament, 9/29

Posted by Jota at Sep 2, 2003 7:08:01 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
aameul wrote: 
I don't like this idea because Y!PP is the only MMORPG that is almost completely non-equipment dependant. It's one of the *strengths* of the game that a greenhorn fresh off of character creation can be just at a puzzle as a crew's captain. I vote for now (or very few) gameplay advantages for having 16 hours a day to devote to a game.


Assuming you mean "just as good at", I don't think emshort's suggestions would give an unfair advantage to the people who could afford them, since I think the premise was that these things would actually make the puzzles harder, not easier. The effectiveness of the puzzle would just be commensurate with the resulting difficulty.

Posted by PsychoMantis at Sep 3, 2003 2:47:12 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
I'm all for upgrades and what-not. I like the idea that if you have an upgraded system on your ship that everyone could choose the advanced mode, or regualr mode.

For example: Upgrading to large cannons - When loading the large cannons you need twice as much powder. So loading goes P-P-W-CB. Also perhaps the large cannonballs turn left instead of right everytime they impact something. Adding a little randomness and more chaos to it.

These cannons would do more damage when they hit the enemy in sea battle.
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Legionnaire, Imperial Fist Chapter
Prince of Lost Legion

Posted by spinn at Sep 3, 2003 3:19:10 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
burrito wrote: 
spinn wrote: 
Okay, how about: instead of having equipment that makes you clear things better, how about equipment that makes the puzzle different somehow. I'm not sure how to work this into the metaphor, let's see...


It doesn't necessarily have to change the puzzle, but could make the effects of the puzzle have greater efficiency. For example, you could upgrade your mast/sails/rudder and now when a person gets a "Good" in sailing, it has the same effect an "Excellent" would have on normal sails, get it?


Oh yah I get it, just that I thought someone made the point that lack of upgrades is what gives PP an advantage over other MMORPGs, in that it's more about what you can do than what stuff you own. I figured it might be interesting if you could get equipment that creates variations, rather than a +2 Cloth of Sailing, say.

If you're just able to buy equipment that makes your character better (rather than you), then PP gets closer to the kind of game that gives an advantage to the 14 yr old who has the time to play 8 hours a day, because all he needs to do is make more money than me. Sure, he might still kick me arse because of his experience, but I'd rather be beat for that than be beat because some kid saved up for a Sword of Extra Breakers.
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And thus, the message is concluded.

Posted by emshort at Sep 3, 2003 3:28:07 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
spinn wrote: 
I figured it might be interesting if you could get equipment that creates variations, rather than a +2 Cloth of Sailing, say.


Yeah, that's what I thought I was saying at the outset: that according to my idea, you could buy equipment that adds complexity to the puzzles, so there's a definite drawback to having them if you aren't also skilled enough to play those puzzles well. Ordinary +2 Cloth of Sailing is exactly the opposite of what I'm interested in -- it skews the advantages in the game without making actual gameplay any more interesting.

I also wasn't envisioning adding more duty stations or making it possible to put different arrangement of duty stations on each ship. I assume that would be hell to render.

Posted by Lothy at Sep 3, 2003 4:34:43 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
My 2 PoE :

I'm all in favor of puzzle tweaks based on customizations. I think they'd all a new level to each of them and would help to really seperate the good players from the great ones.

From a design standpoint, when you're using pre-rendered 2D graphics like they are, I'd imagine it's extremely difficult to allow customizable ships. Simply because you then have to "piece" the ship background graphic together based on what they have equipped, and that's fairly arduous. 3D graphics makes this easier (if you're good at 3D programming that is), but that's not to say I recommend a switch. I personally like the way they've designed the look of Y!PP.

A possible compromise would be to just incorporate "new" ship types, to allow for a wider range of available options. That way they can pre-render the graphics the way it's easier for them, and we as players get more freedom to choose the ship that's best for us.

Lothy
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Lothy[size=9], Senior Officer of the Free Radicals
Sailing under the Flag Plundered Hearts

Posted by burrito at Sep 3, 2003 5:19:18 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
spinn wrote: 

Oh yah I get it, just that I thought someone made the point that lack of upgrades is what gives PP an advantage over other MMORPGs, in that it's more about what you can do than what stuff you own. I figured it might be interesting if you could get equipment that creates variations, rather than a +2 Cloth of Sailing, say.

If you're just able to buy equipment that makes your character better (rather than you), then PP gets closer to the kind of game that gives an advantage to the 14 yr old who has the time to play 8 hours a day, because all he needs to do is make more money than me. Sure, he might still kick me arse because of his experience, but I'd rather be beat for that than be beat because some kid saved up for a Sword of Extra Breakers.



Very good points. (Though I wasn't talking about improved equipment outside of things that benefit the ships.) I think increased complexity would yield the best overall effect on the YPP population.
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-Peppy, Senior Officer of the Salty Mouthfuls
"Yarr, thar be stairs here."

1st Place, First Drinking Contest, Gaea 24 Hour Bash
2nd Place, Cayte's Sword Tournament, 9/29

Posted by Anonymous at Sep 3, 2003 10:18:12 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
I dont think it would be hard to replace a piece with the deck background and a carpentry box with a same piece with a megacarpbox2000 and place the sprite on top.... People do it all the time with photoshop..

Posted by mlk at Sep 3, 2003 1:48:26 PM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
emshort wrote: 

Thoughts?

I like it.

To address aameul point, why not have each of the upgrades equal with the normal puzzle, just diffrent (like my suggestions below, the basic is a jack of all trades, while extras are specializations). This would make the upgrade a disadvantage (as they will be harder to do, yet equal to the normal puzzle, hard is o/c subjective. Plent o' pirates can't carp, I can't nav).

Cannons:
Chain Shot
Get two balls linked by a length of chain, which have to be loaded on the same side to use.
Does less carp/person damage, but slows the enemy ship down (by removing a move peace in the sea battle window).
Grap Shot
Increated person damage, no carp damage. Have to load more than one ball.

Sails
Maybe have a acceration/speed trade of, you can get a slower ship, but it will get to its top speed much more quickly, or the opersite. Both at the cost of harder puzzles.

Unbreable blocks/requires five in a row.

Carp
Requires grain to be the right way, but heals more/diffrent peace waiting/four peaces at once.
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Quartermaster Bates of Mog's Marauders
♪♫♪♫

Posted by burrito at Sep 4, 2003 1:57:14 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
mlk wrote: 

Cannons:
Chain Shot
Get two balls linked by a length of chain, which have to be loaded on the same side to use.
Does less carp/person damage, but slows the enemy ship down (by removing a move peace in the sea battle window).
Grap Shot
Increated person damage, no carp damage. Have to load more than one ball.


I like these ideas, somewhat, but I wouldn't want to change the current format of the gunning puzzle. I think a better idea would be to add new variations of the cannonball to the gunnery puzzle. For example, instead of just only having round, smooth cannonballs, there could be a different looking cannonball for the chain shot and a different looking cannonball for the grap shot.
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-Peppy, Senior Officer of the Salty Mouthfuls
"Yarr, thar be stairs here."

1st Place, First Drinking Contest, Gaea 24 Hour Bash
2nd Place, Cayte's Sword Tournament, 9/29

Posted by mlk at Sep 4, 2003 7:57:36 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
burrito wrote: 

I like these ideas, somewhat, but I wouldn't want to change the current format of the gunning puzzle. .

These would not change the funderments of the puzzle, but do just as you say, add to new balls, a smaller "grap shot" ball, and coloured balls, so you would have two Red balls on screen, and two blue balls, which would represent the two joinned by chain.
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Quartermaster Bates of Mog's Marauders
♪♫♪♫

Posted by Rengor at Sep 4, 2003 8:32:07 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
Im all for making the puzzles varied as well, although even if I've played close to a year and put alot of hours in the game I can't really say Im tired of any puzzles.

Variation has also been discussed in terms of weather effects.

"Upgrades" would be ok with me too as long as they're not buffs (making them better). Even if they're just different I bet crews will be more than willing to purchase them for their ships for the status and for the variation.
Variation is always hard ofcourse since you have to balance it so that one variation isn't better than the other. But still have enough variation that it truly adds new aspects.
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-= SilverBeard of The Mad Mutineers =-
--=== www.madmutineers.com ===--

Posted by burrito at Sep 4, 2003 1:10:08 PM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
Silverbeard just gave me a flash of brilliance: what about cosmetic upgrades to ships? How about new "hood ornaments" (like the Mermaid and the Unicorn-thing) that you can purchase separately? How about painting your entire ship a new color? Ya'know, not just the railings, but making the entire ship red or (*gasp*) black.
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-Peppy, Senior Officer of the Salty Mouthfuls
"Yarr, thar be stairs here."

1st Place, First Drinking Contest, Gaea 24 Hour Bash
2nd Place, Cayte's Sword Tournament, 9/29

Posted by homullus at Sep 4, 2003 9:40:20 PM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
 
Silverbeard just gave me a flash of brilliance: what about cosmetic upgrades to ships?


I'm pretty sure it's been said to be coming, though it's not on The List:

http://www.puzzlepirates.com/community/mvnforum/viewthread?thread=1391

Posted by meiadm at Sep 4, 2003 11:03:24 PM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
aye... cleaver mentioned specific details on new paint jobs, and a "black/black grand frigate" would cost more than you might think ;)
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Frizzan - Gone for good

Posted by burrito at Sep 5, 2003 12:00:02 AM
Re: Ship upgrades and puzzle variations
Damn it... it was my idea, I tell you, MINE!
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-Peppy, Senior Officer of the Salty Mouthfuls
"Yarr, thar be stairs here."

1st Place, First Drinking Contest, Gaea 24 Hour Bash
2nd Place, Cayte's Sword Tournament, 9/29

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