Major Update 04: Shattered Empire

Ahoy Captains!
We’ve unlocked three regions for you to explore in our latest Major Update, alongside a load of other cool new stuff, making this our biggest one yet.
Check out this video of the latest additions to see them in action:

 

Before we delve into Shattered Empire, some important house-keeping: We’ve greatly optimised our save files, which were becoming too large. This change means your existing saves will not work in the latest version – but fear not! There are multiple quick-starts, and the latter two have the option to customise your ship and crew so you can approximate where you were before.
If you are mid-playthrough on the previous version and wish to continue it, then you may switch over to this older version of the game via the Beta Branches system:
– Go to your Steam Library
– Right-click on Abandon Ship and select “Properties”
– Go to the tab marked “Betas”
– In the drop-down box, select the one called “0.5.10427 – The Haunted Seas Version”
– Wait for the game to finish updating, you should see the branch name listed after the game name.
If you’re up-to-date on the Beta Branch (i.e you already have the items listed below) then your saves will be unaffected.

Here’s what you’ll find in the latest update:

3 New Regions Unlocked

We’ve unlocked 3 new regions to explore:
– Forsaken Seas
– Shattered Empire
– Howling Seas
These are just off the Great Founding, the region you move through to fight the Kraken.
All of these regions exhibit our ultimate goal for every map in Abandon Ship. Which is for each map to have a unique island to discover, plus a unique event / side-quest. In some cases, there will also be a modifier to combat gameplay as well. Below is a brief description of these regions, we’ll let you discover what’s in them for yourself!
Note – These regions aren’t accessible until Act 2, but don’t forget there are two quick-starts that put you at Act 2 and beyond, so if you just want to check out these regions, you can easily do so.

 

The Howling Seas

This arctic region is constantly battered by blizzards. Wight’s Embrace is the only port here, and the harsh environment contains some strange islands and events to discover.
In combat, blizzards will occasionally ramp up their intensity. When this happens, the crews on both ships can do nothing but shield themselves. If they pass the brace test at the apex of the storm, they can continue as normal, otherwise they’ll fall to the deck or risk being knocked overboard.

 

Forsaken Seas

The Forsaken Seas have always been a geologically strange area, but one fateful day the mountains began spewing toxic fumes into the air. This had a catastrophic impact and the region is largely abandoned. Although the air is something you can now survive in (for a few days, anyway), it is still a very inhospitable area. Only those wishing to pass through to other regions in a more direct route, opportunistic looters or those under the employ of the Sweethook Barons tend to be found here.
In combat, this poisonous fog obscures visibility and will continually sap the health of both crews until it reaches the red portion of the health bar.

 

The Shattered Empire

Bordering such hostile areas as the Forsaken Seas, Spider Islands and Cannibal Islands means this once-prosperous region is under siege.
Your intervention can have a lasting impact on the areas in this region. When you find the broken monument to the Empire which two factions are fighting over, will you help rebuild or destroy it?
Duskvale is a cursed map, haunted by Ghost Ships. Will you lift the curse or fulfil it?
You can visit the Silk Keys, the gateway to the Spider Islands, and finally there is a Plague Colony with blockades guarding each exit. Will you break through the blockade, or is there another way? Once you visit Rotholme, will you be merciful with your much-needed supplies, or turn a swift profit?

 

Plague Dart

Speaking of the Plague Colony, this is the only place in the world where you can acquire a new weapon – the Plague Dart.
Crew infected by this swivel gun instantly have their health capped at 66%, and anyone standing within close proximity will be infected. We’ve had great fun hitting a crew member running past their colleagues, infecting the whole ship. Combining this weapon with other anti-personnel weapons can be especially effective.

 

New Biome

Originally, we had 5 biome types: Arctic, Sub-Polar, Temperate, Sub-Tropical and Tropical. As my thoughts turn to the more Southerly regions in the game, I felt that Sub-Tropical and Tropical didn’t offer enough distinction from one another. We’ve therefore merged these two island types into Tropical, in order to make room for an “Arid” biome. This offers a nice visual difference from anywhere else, and has a hot, Mediterranean vibe to it.
You’ll notice this region just south of the Temperate areas.

 

Exploration Systems

We’ve added a couple of new systems that aid navigation and provide more of a sense of purpose to general exploration.

 

Lighthouse

The first of these is the Lighthouse. These Empire-era buildings not only provide a high vantage point, but they are also stocked with maps of the local area.
Visiting one of these will uncover the fog of war in that map, and due to their height, are clearly visible from afar.
This means when you enter a map, the fog of war around them is already revealed, so by checking the pulled-out map view and spotting a lighthouse, you can sail directly to it.

 

 

Compass

No Captain would take to the sea without a compass, and this acts as an arrowhead around the ship that points to undiscovered points of interest.
That means even without a lighthouse, you’ll have something pointing you toward points of interest you haven’t yet discovered, so no more hunting down that last icon hidden in an unrevealed corner!

 

 

Friends and Enemies

As you play Abandon Ship and make decisions in events, you’ll now notice some will display a new piece of UI, explaining that you have made a Friend or Enemy.
Life on the seas is tough, so people live their lives by one mantra: A debt must be repaid.
If you go around helping people, they will eventually come back and repay the debt by their own act of kindness. Similarly, being more piratical and not helping those in desperate situations will earn enemies that could return for revenge.
Once created by your actions, these acquaintances will be in the world, and if they return the message box will provide the context to help you recall the choice that led to this particular encounter.
Of course, not all will return. For example, not picking up a Castaway may make them an enemy, but they may also not survive the situation – as in real life, you won’t know, unless of course they one day crop up for revenge.
Equally, you may make decisions that create friends or enemies without you knowing about them – perhaps liberating a port from the Cult resulted in a locals loved one being killed, and they blame you for it?

 

New Languages

Our team of community translators are busy working through the text, and the first languages have been implemented: Russian, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.
To activate them, follow these steps:
– Right click on a game from the Steam game library and choose Properties.
– Go to the Language tab
– Select the language you wish to use from the drop-down menu
Not every line has been translated yet, but we’ll keep updating them to get full coverage.
German is likely to be the next language ready. Simplified Chinese, French and Dutch are in our plans but no ETA on those yet.

Building for the Future

After we visited The Haunted Seas in our last update, we took the opportunity to make some infrastructural changes, because the more content we added, the more pressure this was putting on minimum spec machines (like mine!). Something that would have only got worse with future updates. This work is crucially important, as it’ll put us in a good position for adding everything else in the game. You should see memory usage come down, and it should be faster to get into the main menu when you boot the game.
As mentioned near the start of this post, this work included huge optimisations to our save file system. This will be useful for implementing Cloud Save support.

Other Stuff

We’ve done a bunch of other cool stuff as well, which are encapsulated here:

 

End of battle Improvements

Crew now cheer when they’ve won a battle, which helps positively reinforce your victory, and there are multiple new ways enemy ships will now sink. We added this last one because it’s something you see a lot, so we felt variety helped keep it fresh.

 

 

Exploration Improvements

A raided or blocked trade route will now increase prices at their connected port – so you’ve got a choice when spending money there. Do you take care of the trade route to save money, or if you’re desperate for repairs, do you take the financial hit?
Similar to the gold chests floating in the sea, we now have “Hull Repair” flotsam. These repair your ship hull a small amount when you collect them.

 

Major Balancing

We’ve generally made it faster to get through maps by making actions that didn’t previously count towards gate opening now do so. This is stuff like dealing with pirate discount ships, Sea Forts and ships on trade routes.
Alongside this, we’ve nudged down the amount of events needed to get through Region 1 maps, so in general the game moves along at a faster pace now.

 

Old Crew

Each crew member can have an “old” variant. There’s no gameplay difference (yet, it’s something I’m considering) but it was a fun way to give your crew a bit more character.

 

Technical Stuff

We’ve added support for 5:4 and 4:3 aspect ratios. Previously this only allowed the choice of 16:9, resulting in lower resolution choices for people with 5:4 or 4:3 monitors.
We’ve also added Discord Rich Presence, so your Discord friends should see details of what you’re doing in-game.
If you want to join our Discord server, the link is here:
https://discord.gg/jbahTp6

 

Patch Notes

If you want to see all the other bug fixes, quality-of-life improvements etc. you can check out this post here:
https://steamcommunity.com/app/551860/discussions/9/1778261844036495690/

 

This ended up being our biggest update yet, and we’re already excited about our plans for the next one!
If you find any issues, please report them on the forums, and if you like it, let us know 🙂
Thanks for the support.
The Abandon Ship Crew.
PS – Thanks to all our Beta Branch testers!

 

 

 

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