Since my post about the midway review two weeks ago, we’ve been very busy cracking on with filling up Here There Be Monsters to the brim with details and spectacle. Unfortunately that meant I forgot to blog about what we were doing, but no longer! today I want to talk about some of the key features in our game, giving you an insight into what we will have made by week 10. I’m going to focus on the three main features of HTBM: exploration, customisation, and combat. Our other features, including trading and diplomacy, will be covered at a later date. We’ll start by looking at the biggest feature, exploration.
Exploration is the crux of HTBM. You begin with a small ship at one end of the world, and you have complete freedom to explore (or not explore) the remaining corners, as well as everything in between. Only by sailing the many oceans can you hope to discover all of the many secrets the planet has to offer; from hidden treasure and secret quests to epic battles and bloodthristy monsters.
Different parts of the planets will reflect the change in culture that you would find on our own planet, meaning as you explore you can see the changing of factions and civilisations as the buildings and boat styles change with you. This will also allow you to change your ship to match the style or faction you choose, but we’ll talk about that in customisation. Because exploration will take up the majority of game time, we’ve put a lot of effort into making the ship feel natural, so players feel the weight of their vessel of choice. We’ve also tried to create an atmosphere around the player using sounds and music, allowing you to get lost in the world; the sea and the spray, the boats and the ocean.
Of course to explore the planet you’re going to need a ship. Specifically, you need your own personal ship. We wanted players to grow an attachment to the ships they built, so we’ve added an in-depth customisation system to give players the ability to change and upgrade almost every element of their ships; from the cannons and barrels, to the flag at the top of the mast and even the shape of the ship itself.
As you explore the planet, you build up your own collection of parts and resources, not to mention gold! These can all be spent at ports to buy new items for your ship, or buy new ships in their entirety. We want people to feel like their boat is their own, which will also mean they are invested in protecting their boats, meaning combat is a much more involved affair.
When it comes to combat, we all have a working knowledge of how pirates fight each other; big ships sailing into close quarters before unleashing devastating broadside. This is how we have designed the combat in HTBM. We want it to be very tactical, with a lot of thought going into positioning and lining up with the enemy, before unleashing a destructive salvo of cannon fire on unsuspecting or helpless foes. Equally, we also wanted the creatures of HTBM to be able to respond in kind.
Some have the ability to gnaw at your ship with pincers and claws, others the ability to smash down hard on your deck from above. We want combat to feel alive and fluid, and we want players to feel a part of the action, not outside looking in.
That should give you a quick intro to some of the core features of the game. I’ll talk more about the other features of the game in a later update, but for now happy sailing!