I enjoy trying out all sorts of indie games. My all time favorites are AirBuccaneers (HD), Mount & Blade: Warband and Minecraft. I'm running the Air Buccaneers Community Wiki on Wikispot.
The gameplay of AirBucaneers HD is similar to the sea combats seen in movies like Master & Commander or Pirates of the Caribbean. The main difference is that in AirBuccaneers the combat is performed with Airships, which adds a vertical component and therfor more tactical variety to the combat.
Unlike many other games featuring ships you don't control the entire ship directly, you only control a single Viking or Buccaneer in FPS view. Any airship needs at least 2 players to be controled effectively.
There are 3 roles in the game: Helmsman, Gunner and Blocker (blockers can shoot down enemy cannonballs to protect their ship). This roles shouldn't be confused with a class system: any player can perform all 3 roles just as good as any other player, you are only limited by your own skill.
A helmsman's role is behind the wheel. You can use the steering wheel simply by running to it and pressing the "E" key. The primary responsibility of a Helmsman is making sure the gunners can perform their duties well by positioning the ship. Remember that the cannons only have a very limited firing arc on the bigger battleships, you have to manouver broadside to broadside to allow firing.
Turn the ship with the A and D keys. Altitude is controlled by the W and S keys. In general you will want the highest attainable altitude as it provides you the range, boarding and sight advantage over any enemies.
Use the mousewheel to select boosts and use "Space" to use the boost. The boosts have a cooldown time of maybe 20 seconds before they can be used again.
The gunner operates one of the ship cannons. The use of the cannon is not as simplistic as in any other game: you don't just click the left mousebutton to fire the cannon. Instead, you first load a cannonball (an item), then you use the torch (also an item) to ignite the fuse. And of course you also have to aim the cannon somewhere in between the steps (use the "E" key to do so).
Performing this steps alone can be tricky, especially for new players. It is possible to have a player act as loader & torcher, while the other player(s) can concentrate on aiming the gun. This usually allows for faster and more precise fire, although most veteran players can operate a cannon alone just as fast any 2 man team. This is of course a good thing as it frees up the loaders to help the team in another way, for example they can act as blockers or man a additional airship.
Cannonballs are the standard mid-range ammo for the cannon. For very short distances you can load gunpowder to turn the cannon into a giant flamethrower, for long distances you can load airmines to fire rockets.
The blocker is the most exotic role and also the hardest to learn. His job is to use his defence musket (a personal weapon, you start with it) to shoot down enemy rockets and cannonballs. There are 2 ways to block a cannon ball or rocket: you can either try to hit the projectile directly, or you can shoot at the point where it will be in a few seconds.
A musket shot temporarily generates a little cloud that lasts a few seconds before it disappears. Any cannon ball or rocket passing through this cloud will be blocked.
- The rope. Whenever you jump ("Space" key) below a airship you will autoattach a rope to it. You can then climb up to enter the ship. The rope will save you when you just fell of your ship and allows you to board enemy ships. You need to be pretty close for the rope.
- The Glider. There are gliders in you starting base that allow you to fly to any friendly ship. Just walk next to it and press "e".
- Repairing. Go to the bow of your ship and press "e" repeatedly to repair your ship.
Check out the AirBuccaneer HD wiki for more info.
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