Thursday, April 2, 2015
Pull for Lucky Jack! (Part 1 of 2)
Very few have tried to adapt this era in naval history to a video game, and of these few even less have had much success. Part of the problem is the shear amount of nautical terminology, such that it's almost a language unto itself. This barrier to entry is in partially the result of people spending large amounts of time in isolated floating communities wherein a distinctly separate subculture emerged complete with unique songs ("Yo ho, yo ho..."), superstitions ("Right foot first!"), and expressions ("Yar!"). In all seriousness though the only way to tackle this sea monster of design with any hope of success is by a two pronged approach, the macro and the micro.
Further exacerbating the confusion is the fact that the ship cannons were also lacking when it comes standardization. Rating a gun by the weight of its cannonball was one method used (typically 6 to 42 pounds), but the system was somewhat deceptive because the length of the barrel varied depending on the bronze casting. Topping this all off, ships of this era didn't necessarily carry the number of guns they were made for. A brig, for example, might be rated for 18 cannons, but it could carry more by placing them on the weather deck or quarter deck. Then again it might carry less for better stability or simply because of insufficient crew to ready a full broadside. Generally, it was up to individual captains to decide how to outfit their ship. This all might sound discouraging from a design standpoint, but in my mind this situation allows for an incredible amount of player driven customization.