Friday Dev Update: Community Interaction

9:46 AM Will Sterling 2 Comments


From very early on in development, we knew we wanted Salt to have a community built around it. I love when I'm excited about a game and can go and talk about it with others who are just as excited. A good sense of community will develop a culture around a game that will increase the longevity of the game and keep players engaged. Today I want to talk about some of the benefits and goals of having a community built around Salt. 

Discovery

If you ever read our patch notes, you will usually see things like "Added new items," rather than listing the specific items we added. We do this for a couple reasons. One is that we don't want to spoil everything by listing it in the patch notes. It's a lot more exciting to come across a new epic weapon on your own that you didn't even know existed. The other reason is to allow the community to interact and discover these new items. 

I remember when I was in junior high I was heavily into a game called Driver 2. I loved driving around the city and exploring that game, looking for new cars and secrets. I had a friend in school that played the game as well and we would always talk about what we found. I remember one day coming to school and he told me about this secret mini cooper hidden underground out in the middle of a field. I was so excited! I had no idea such a thing even existed. I couldn't wait to get home and go find it on my own. 

This sort of excitement and discovery through others is a very organic and natural way to find new items and secrets in a game. We want you to hear about secrets and things of that nature from other players, then get excited and go search for it on your own! However, to do this, we needed a way to give you a sense of direction. That's where seeds come in. 

Seed-based World Generation and Coordinates

In Salt, you will likely early on find a sextant. This tool allows you to find the coordinates for your current position. If you are on the same world seed as another player, those coordinates will line up. This means when you find something cool, you can get the coordinates and share it with your friends! We needed to do this primarily because the world is huge and procedurally generated. It wouldn't do you much good to tell your friend what you found if they had no way of finding it themselves. While not everything in the game is static in its location and so can change, most major things you find are and their location can be shared with seeds. 

Maps and Cartography

We haven't implemented in-game maps yet, but that is something we are very much looking forward to doing. Our main goal with this is to make it easier to use the seed and coordinate system to chart things you find. This will allow you to better find your way back to places you've discovered and get access to that information to share with others. Also, because you can create your own custom seeded world, you can potentially chart a world that no one has ever seen before. Then, after you've got a huge chunk of the world charted out, you can go share that map with players allowing them to search and find all the things you've discovered. 

Multiplayer

Obviously one of the biggest aspects of community interaction will be multiplayer. As we get further along in development and begin implementation of multiplayer, we will be keeping in mind content that still encourages sharing your findings with others. Let me give you an example. 

Image you are sailing way out north, say past the 100 mark. You find this really rare island with an extremely tough world boss. There's no way you are taking this big cheese down on your own. So you write down the coordinates and you send your friends a message in a bottle, "Meet me at x/y coordinates. Bring your biggest swords, your mightiest axes, and your gumption." Then you wait on four or five or your friends to meet you there so you can all slay the beast. Or maybe instead you go and meet them where they are, and all of you hop on a huge ship and sail back to the island, singing shanties along the way. 

In either case, this is the sort of community interaction we want. While we in no way want you to be dependent on other players to enjoy the game, we do want you to be rewarded for interacting with others and be encouraged to do so. 


In addition to these in game implementations, we also strive to keep our subreddit and steam forums alive and well. These are great places to go to get updates about the game, give your suggestions and feedback, and discuss your findings with others. If you aren't a part of these communities, we definitely encourage you to hop in there and join the discussion! 


- Will Sterling (Game Audio and Design)

2 comments:

  1. I'm especially looking forward to maps and multiplayer. Also a bit of feedback, I think discus comments would be better for this website as they are easier to use.

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  2. I am so looking forward to mapping. I've really been relying on the online cartographers and they haven't had the time to really do much since the cataclysm. (Though if one has the patience to read many pages on the map thread, there are a lot of islands on the default seed detailed.

    Can't remember where I mentioned it but I had an opportunity to discover something that really blew my mind recently. I found a couple of marker lights in the water. I haven't quite figured out their exact purpose, but both of them I found so far seemed to be off the coast of islands with inns. So maybe that could be it.

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