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May 5, 2001

“Improvements for Ships” in the Works

The following was scribed on Thursday to the Turbulent Waters site, UO's primary source of news for all things relating to the sea:

In tonight's UO House of Commons chat OSI was finally presented with a comprehensive question about the state of ships and sailing in Ultima Online, and their response came as quite a surprise. The question was answered by UO Dev team member Vex who offered specific issues that will be addressed in the "publish after next".

Lyria - When will the seas be given a review (spawn, ships, UO:3D effects, e.tc.)? I'm concerned that the sea is stuck in a bad circle ; small audience leads to no enhancement, which leads to no new audience and no new enhancement...

After a long silence , Vex responded:

We have some improvements for ships in the works for the publish after ext. We plan on addressing shoreline blocking, boat security and several other issues.

So at some point hopefully soon there will be a publish. After that there will be another publish with some basic and much welcomed work on ships and ship- related issues. Let's wildly speculate on what each of the issues Vex brought up might mean for ship users in the near future :

"...shoreline blocking...
Unattended ships left along the shore have been a problem since the beginning. Before the ability was added to drydock and recall to one's ship, the docks of every city and the shore surrounding it were clogged with ships at all times. The problem of unattended ships has shifted more now to high spawn areas and long open stretches of north-south longitudes.

So what solution is in the works for ships that block areas along the shore? A faster decay rate along shorelines (that'll take care of my neighbor's 10-ship- never-moves-bank-boat-flotilla)? Automatic drydocking at server up with any items in the hold being deleted? In-character "storms" that sweep unattended ships near the shore out to sea?

"...boat security..."
Boat security is a term that could cover several aspects of ship security. They could be working to eliminate certain long-standing tricks to board locked ships. Another possibility is to give the ship more owner-related status as is the case with housing in the game. Currently, saying "I ban thee" on one's ship does bring up a targeting cursor, that has no effect on other players or monsters. Perhaps the ship's placer and key-holder may be designated the owner, and the tillerman might gain additional functions of some sort. Or maybe all they are going to do to make ships more secure is to make all ship keys "blessed", which will really irk the thieves I know. Whatever changes they make, these will be the changes that every player who owns a ship will need to know.

"...and several other issues..."
Okay, now we go into the bonus round, where we have to speculate with nothing at all to go on. What are the several other issues? Here's a few possibilities:

1. Server boundary crossings
2. UO:3D water graphics revamp
3. The Haven barrier bug
4. Multiple players on a ship causing excessive lag/moonwalking

No hint was made here that anything other than ships themselves are being looked at. The issues of changing the seas themselves to make ship use more interesting, by creating some new and different monster spawns for example, will probably come only after the ships themselves are working better. It's going to be a long summer. This is great news, though.

Posted by Thellaren at May 5, 2001 3:07 AM

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