Withwind Devlog #3 – Crew Management

Ahoy, and welcome to the next devlog for Withwind!

Planning the next voyage with partial charts…

This week I’ve been focusing on crew management gameplay, as it is such a core aspect of the game. In this devlog I’ll cover the current state of crew and the plan going forward.

Each vessel in Withwind is worked by a complement of crew. There is an upper limit on the number of souls (crew + passengers) that can be boarded at any one time, so picking the right crew can be a tough choice.

New games present the player with a small starter vessel and captain they have previously created. The player will then need to employ a ragtag team of scurvydogs, should they ever hope to reach the deep blue. This action is performed at Ports.

Characters

Resident seeking employment as Swabbie.
Resident seeking passage to Yos Sudarso.

Characters can be split into three groups: Residents, Passengers and Crew.

Residents are all Characters currently living on one of the many procedurally generated islands. A list of all local residents can be browsed when docked at port, on the ‘Characters’ tab of the Port window. All residents are seeking either employment or passage.

Passengers have a destination island and a fare price they will pay upon safe arrival. The fare price is calculated from the travel distance. Though eventually I’d like to add a ‘travel rating’ that can adjust the fare. Think Crazy Taxi. Unlike Crew, passengers cannot be ordered. They will use the vessel’s supplies of food & drink, and sleep in any free hammock.

Crew members make up the core of a vessel’s complement. A hiring fee must be paid to employ them, which is calculated based on their skill levels. And a daily wage must be paid, dependent on their rank. Unique to Crew characters are traits, confidence and mood, which I will cover shortly.

The ‘Complement’ tab of the Crew window.
The tooltip showing Raymon’s trait, ‘Seadog’.

Crew

All characters have four core attributes: Health, Stamina, Speed and Capacity.

  • Health – When this hits zero, the character dies. Characters may be healed by other crew, the effectiveness of the heal dependent on their carpentry skill. And a low skill could potentially make matters worse!
  • Stamina – This directly effects the efficiency of jobs performed. As crew members work, their stamina will decay. This increases the task completion time. Food slows the decay of stamina, but only sleep may rejuvenate it.
  • Speed – Simply, how fast the character moves. Faster characters may be more desirable for hauling items, such as gunpowder & cannonballs during a battle.
  • Capacity – How many items the character can hold.

Additionally, crew members have: Traits, Skills, Confidence and Mood.

  • Traits – These modify a Character’s Attributes, which can be beneficial or detrimental as well as permanent or temporary. Not all characters start with traits, making it something to lookout for during the hiring process.
  • Skills – Each crew task uses one of six skills: Seamanship, Rigging, Carpentry, Gunning, Combat and Cooking. Skill levels range between 1 and 5, which impacts how fast and accurately a task is performed. Skill levels advance the more they are used
  • Confidence – This describes how loyal the character is to the current captain. Low confidence means a character is more likely to cause trouble and vote against the captain in a no-confidence vote. Confidence is impacted by many factors, such as food and drink quality/quantity and working conditions.
  • Mood – Mood is a reflection of the current internal state of the character. State that impacts this include: Thirst, hunger, malnourishment, nausea and tiredness. Crew members that aren’t happy are more likely to have lower confidence.

Rank & Pay

Rank & Pay tab – work in progress!

Each day, the entire crew is paid dependent on their rank. A crew member’s rank describes their seniority as well as certain special actions. Missing payment will significantly lower the confidence in their captain!

Crew members also have a desired rank, based on their current skill level. Therefore, it is important to promote crew (or adjust pay) as they progress, lest risk a mutiny!

The current ranks in ascending order are: Swabbie, Sailor, Mate, Bosun, Quartermaster and Captain. There may only be one of the last three ranks mentioned. The Quartermaster and Bosun have unique actions, but I’ll leave that for a future devlog!

Watches

Assigning crew members to the 1st watch.

Voyages in Withwind may take multiple in-game days. Currently a day equates to roughly 20 minutes, subject to change! Therefore, it is important to manage the time of your workforce. This can be done with watches.

A Watch defines a schedule for a select group of crew members. The captain may create as many watches as they desire.

Watches specify an activity for the four day phases: morning, noon, evening and night. Activities include: Work, Recreational and Rest. Each restrict the type of actions a crew member can perform. It is therefore important to balance these to keep crew members both happy and efficient.

I also recently added a battlestations toggle, that temporarily forces the Watch into Work. Useful for battles and other moments of crisis!

That concludes the crew management section, I’d love to hear your feedback!

Week in Review

The captain leaves the helm to inspect the hold.

Aside from the crew management work, I also made the helm a useable. Meaning it must be manned by a crew member to be used by the player. This feels a bit more realistic and can add a sense of urgency when the helm is unmanned!

That’s it for this week! As always – thanks for reading, seadogs!

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