Last week, we asked players what their expectations were of us as a company.  And here are the answers!

Drop by The Ship: Remasted community if you have any more questions.

For my expectations, I’m wondering if you’ve ever considered producing a game on a completely different genre, such as RPG, or considered working on a game that isn’t related to The Ship. Has that ever been considered?

We’ve made several other types of games, the most recent of which (Distant Star: Revenant Fleet) we launched via Early Access and recently won a BAFTA for! It’s a space RTS meets rogue-lite so very different to The Ship. We’ve also recently been chatting about other things we can do with Ship technology in the future which may or may not be related to the game that’s coming out soon.

 

What kind of procedures do your team at Blazing Griffin put into the production of the game? Like what structures and pin-points do you have that you consider help ensure that the game is produced as expected?

At the outset of this project, the Design team compiled feedback from old Ship reviews and discussions and lot has come from that. It’s mainly a wishlist of future features and content just now, but also helped give the team a good understanding of the project at hand, and we also used a similar process to create the content for http://www.theshipgame.com/, which has a lot of inside jokes that only Ship fans will get. 🙂

We run the development project on two-weekly sprints, so we have an iterative process in place to allow us to prioritise tasks well and review them afterwards. Each morning the entire team updates everyone on what was done the previous day and what they are doing today and we’ve been having weekly play tests (sub-teams have more regular play tests, but the whole team gets together to review where we are at each week). In the early phases of the project, the play tests were on the old Ship so everyone could get a good feel for where we were heading. All tasks go through a task management system (JIRA) and time / cost estimates are revised each sprint to show if we’re on track or not.

 

Lastly, not really related to the studio, but on estimate how much is The Ship Remastered going to cost?

The project is currently costed around £600k, which doesn’t include any additional work after launch (like new features).

 

It would be interesting to see a similar gameplay in other locations. With the modified mechanics, perhaps the new engine. With a full storyline and multiplayer.

It’s certainly something we’ve chatted about internally. The proposition for The Ship 2 (Kickstarter in 2011) was essentially that. The concept has evolved a lot internally since then, but looking at ways to expand the franchise in the future is certainly something we’re keen on. Some of the work for Remasted should form the foundation for those projects.

 

Hiya! In terms of expectations, I like that you guys do take the time to talk to us about stuff, answer questions and what have you. I have a lot of friends here at my university who have played The Ship before and/or will be dragged into TS:R with me so being able to ask you guys questions about the game/other stuff is really cool & I hope that sticks around. I do hope you guys will stick around to update The Ship and other future games in the future, post launch. Not in a DLC, pay for all the game breaking stuff to even have a chance of winning kind of way, but like, holiday updates and stuff halloween ghost ship, anyone?

We’re certainly going to be sticking around!  The team here are all big Ship fans too (a couple of the original development team are working with us now), so the game will supported past launch.

It’s difficult for us to chat about future stuff for The Ship right now (plans inevitably change!), but there’s certainly more Ship-flavoured things in the pipeline.  I’d definitely be keen for a ghost ship though – that would be pretty awesome!  I’ll run that one by the team.

I wouldn’t expect to see anything coming that will directly affect gameplay (no pay to win stuff).

 

Have you guys considered adding more supported languages to your games? Distant Star & TS:R are both listed as just in English. I feel like even just adding subtitles for languages like Spanish, French, Japanese, etc, would be really cool. I’m sure there’d even be people in the community, like myself w/ French, who’d be willing to help with translations

Distant Star was a tough one as the localisation costs were pretty high (it’s very text-heavy).

However, The Ship was originally localised in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, and Polish, so we’ll also be supporting these languages. It may not be in day one of release, but should follow fairly rapidly. Inevitably there will be text changes as part of development, so we may well call on a few people to help us if we’re missing the odd phrase or two.

 

I have very big expectations for the world leaders gamemode, and i really hope this is something that will be worked further on. I would also love to see more world leaders come into this gametype. Other than that i would like to ask if the game is going to have steam workshop.

World Leaders was originally DLC, so it’s not currently part of our “launch phase” product, but it is within the overall project scope to recreate World Leaders as it was.  In terms of new World Leaders, it is something we’d like to do (we’ve chatted internally about a few different ideas) and although it’s not currently planned for, it will be considered for the “next phase” list.

Workshop would be a big new addition to the game and certainly something we’re keen on.  At the moment, we’ve not started any work on Workshop integration, but it is on the agenda to look at.  We don’t know when this will be (or if it will go ahead at all as it has quite broad implications), but we’ll keep the community up to date.

 

Comprehensive and consistent efforts to counter cheaters.

We have considered several different methods for combating cheaters (whether it’s people hacking the multiplayer or players griefing others during play). Our main focus right now is to get the main game up and running, and then we’ll look into thwarting those who don’t play nice.

 

Regular updates (whether they be cosmetic or in the form of new weapons, levels etc), aggressive pricing, free weekends and the like to keep awareness of the game up, customers invested, and thusly promote a healthy, active community. Without these things the game will die.

We’re sure that the price and discount for existing players of The Ship will be strong enough to attract a good number of players to the game and things like seasonal discounts and free weekends are a good way to help retain and build upon that momentum.

In terms of content updates, what those are depends on a few things, but there will certainly be updates as we go along.  Check out the announcements section of the Distant Star community for an idea of the frequency and scope of the updates we produced this year: http://steamcommunity.com/app/335830/allnews/

 

Community servers/private games etc alongside official servers. Your customers bought the game, let them do what they want with it. See TF2 and CSGO for examples.

You’ll be able to play hosted games over the LAN or internet, as well as run community servers/ private games (dedicated servers) alongside official servers. Dedicated servers and official servers will likely take a little longer for us to implement than the hosted options.

 

I’d really like to see the game modelled on the goldsrc version, with special emphasis on AI. If we can get AI passengers convincing enough to be mistaken for real people that’ll change everything. Also, please just license some proper swing/big band music instead of the garbage that plays on the radios now.

You may be thwarted in your desire for different music at this stage (apologies), but we have been looking at the goldsrc version for some general inspiration when it comes to gameplay. Work on AI passengers and player bots has begun and will be based on a different system than The Ship: Murder Party. It’s early days in a complex system, but we reckon we will be able to improve things.

 

Explosion and more explosion

Haha, a bomb large enough to blow up the whole ship – with a 1% chance of spawn

Ha, I don’t think we’ll be seeing a bomb like that any time soon!

 

Also if you could implement like “Bhop” or “surfing” from CS:GO and Gmod you could make $$$

I think it’s unlikely we’ll see anything like this (movement speed is less of an issue on The Ship).

 

It’s not an “expectation,” per say, since that would imply I thought you had an obligation, but more of that world-building stuff you gave us in the form of Lucy’s diary would be great, since the game’s story was rather paper-thin in many respects.

After the release of Lucy’s Diary I can now see you guys are excellent at creating backstory for your games. I believe this will soon become an expectation with more games or content you plan on releasing.

There’s lots more to come in Lucy’s Diary and some other stuff not related to either the diary or the game.  Secret stuff.  Real secret.

 

I just had to say that I started playing not too long ago but I am in love with this game. More blood though would be cool.

We’ll be holding back on the blood to keep the ERSB rating where it was, but don’t let that stifle your general creativity with a toasting fork.

 

I also have a high hope/expectation that you will continue to include the community in many ways, this will give members a sense of belonging to something bigger and feel like they have to ability to contribute to their favorite game.

Yes, this is something that’s important to us (and part of the reason we’re having this discussion).  The player / dev relationship is always tough to strike a balance with.  There’s so much that can change throughout the course of development that means full transparency is near impossible (otherwise expectations are all over the place).

But we think that have sensible conversations with players and getting that information back into the development process is a good thing.  We did this for Early Access with Distant Star: Revenant Fleet and were really happy with the outcome.

 

I want your studio to thrive and continue to produce games that deliver this level of storytelling and unique gameplay. As such, I do want to ask what your thoughts are on making a little money with dlc packs – it would be really cool to release new maps in the form of voyage tickets to new wondrous ships. I understand a lot of players would rather get new maps for free but as a studio you do need to explore this possibility, perhaps release some new maps that are free but also ones that you can pay to receive a… voyage pass, hehe.

We’re not opposed to paid DLC but we’d likely go down the route of a combination paid and free stuff.  There’s no paid DLC planned right now – the size and scope of our next project will be determined by how TSR does.

We have a pretty big wishlist of features for TSR and some of these things will be rolled out as free updates.

 

I would like to see a remake of The Ship with smooth interactions with objects and maybe a slightly less messy “needs” system. Would be good if it had very few bugs/exploits. Bots that act more like players would be great too.

Porting assets into a new engine isn’t 100% precise, so pretty much everything has been tweaked by hand to varying degrees.  As a result of that, quite a few things have been improved upon from the old version of the game and in particular, the UI has been worked on to improve the overall experience of the game.  So you will see some minor changes to different aspects of the game.

In terms of bugs…there are currently 1k+ recorded and being worked on!  But fortunately there aren’t many serious bugs (game changers) and the team still has to go through a solid bug fixing phase, so we would expect most of these to be addressed.  Bugs just always crop up though and we think that the important thing is to identify and resolve them in a timely manner.

We’re aware of a number of historical bugs/exploits and will be fixing some of these straight off. Others, we’ll look into fixing as we go along – some will be easier to fix than others.

Bots that act more like players is on our list of improvements. The ones in Murder Party weren’t the best. We’re doing work to get in bot passengers for our first release phase, and bot players a planned to follow shortly thereafter. Getting bots working well is obviously complicated – they need to behave more like human beings – but we are definitely keen to improve on the original Murder Party system.

 

Ingame server browser actually working as well as a decent offline with bots mode IN ADDITION to the singleplayer campaign that already exists. Maybe persistant character customization (facial sliders, gender, etc.) or the ability to customize a roster of characters that is randomly picked from?

The new game will be multiplayer only, so there will be no single player campaign.  If the single player game reappears in the future, then it will potentially take a different form than it did before (rather than a direct port).

Our objective is to get a better implementation of player bots up and running within the scope of the project (see the answers above), so that local match setup with a user-selectable number of bots should give you a more effective single-player experience.

Character customisation is an interesting one.  Certainly something we’ve thought about, but you change character each time you die and that variation is necessary, otherwise the kill loop wouldn’t quite work as well (your opponents would learn to recognise you).  I do like the idea of a character roster though!  Will pass this one on to the team.

——

Thanks for all your questions – we’re happy to chat about The Ship: Remasted on the Steam forums, so feel free to drop by (and remember to add it to your wishlist!).

-The Blazing Griffin Team

Leave a Reply