Post news RSS The Whaler - Dev Update #11 - One big update

New Whale (The Terror of The Sea), Progress report on "The Dawn", Progress report on the second ship, Preview of the character customization captains, Mini-game progress videos, crafting update, IndieDB Awards 2017, Carving a scrimshaw, Animations, Sailmap WIP Pictures and whats next!

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Hello everyone, I hope you all had a great Christmas and celebration of the new year!

We have been very busy in our end in almost every front, be it ship construction, art, UI, new models and so forth. So this will be without a doubt the biggest update we have done since we started, first, lets do a little sum up of 2017:

In the beginning of 2017 I was all alone on the project, streaming my progress of making a ship and doing a model of a blue whale. I also did some prop art myself as well, but it just did not feel right for the game and I knew after talking to some other dev in Canada (Thanks ConnorORT ) that this would be a too ambitious project to take on by myself and there would be the risk of burning myself out and getting lost, which do sadly happen to a lot of Indies out there. So after some thinking, I talked to a consultant that had way more experience in both the AAA scene and indie scene as well, and we carved out the way of The Whaler. From there it took off, more people got involved, we got funding to do a playable demo so we could at least give a shot on crowdfunding (even though you should never count on it, specially not today), but it gave us a boost to actually make something out of the idea.

So we worked on it, carved out details, what to do and how to do it, and we spent a lot of time making the art ready, blocking out the ocean and behavior, taking care of animations and so on. 2017 was great, but it was also full of challenges, like every game. We lost 4 months of ship construction time, we lost 2 months of animation time because I just did not have the experience to really vet the artists applying for us. Money was lost, money was gained & experience was learned, and this has again, carved the way for a great 2018, where we have some clear goals set on what we want to achieve and how to achieve them, we also have a great team with us that we know can deliver the expected quality of what I want to see in this game, so when it`s done, I know for a fact that we have put everything we have into it, and you, as followers and supports will know that this project from start to the end, will have full transparency of whats going on. When we finally go to crowdfunding, and IF successful, we will do an overview over monthly expenses, where does your money go, and how it is spent. Because we do know, Kickstarter has a trust problem for ambitious games so we also have to stay realistic, which is why we will have two sail-maps (roadmap) for a successful and unsuccessful crowdfunding.

Before we head off to the updates, we received a question on email that I think will be good to answer here: No, you do not need to commence in whaling in this game, you will have a choice between that and merchant. So if trading is 100% your thing along with crafting, then you can do just that and not do the mini game.

Now, lets head over that what we have to show in this months update!


The Terror of The Sea

This whale is a 32 m (104 feet) long beast, as you can see, he has had some fights with both humans and other creatures of the deep! You will have to use your wits and stamina to take down this one!

Have a look at the turntable and screens!





As always, the creatures and characters in this game is made by the mighty Captain Juras!



The Second Ship: Dutch Galiot

As "The Dawn" was based on the dutch ship "The Pearl", using a whip-staff to steer and navigate, the Dutch Galiot is a newer ship, from 1740 but around the same size.

The Dutch galiots were flat-bottomed ships with a rounded bow and aft. The galiots are perfect for the merchants and we are excited to be able to control and sail the seven seas with this one!

Have a look at some of the WIP:








Before we continue with the rest of the pictures, lets fill inn some tech!

  • New Setup
    - Re-hooked quest system
    - Re-hooking Simulacrum system to new setup (WIP)
    - Grouping functional objects (WORLD, PLAYER SHIP, etc.) to cleanup scene

    - Update progress map
    - Hooked former ship camera to FPS and modified bindings to allow FPS control of ship

    - Refactored multi-cam logic
    - Adjust fake ship basic collisions (test mode)
    - Smoothing of collisions (controller to simulacrum resolution)
    - Imported new arms, adjusted prefabs
    - Added secondary dynamic light

    - Architecturing attack animation (harpoon) template for minigame
    - Polish Y-rotation of mouse movement

    - Cleanup of active vs legacy scenes
    - Rebuilding lightmaps/base assets (and eliminating unnecessary inherited lightmaps)
    - Created new development scene to prevent polluting production scenes

    - Added Debug_NavUI for debugging seafaring controls
    - Code Cleanup of CharacterControllerMimic.cs
    - Code Cleanup of CharacterControllerMimic
    - Code Cleanup of BoatMiniGame_CharacterController
    - Cleanup of Scripts hierarchy
    - Stripped legacy physics solution (Legacy classes Torquer, controller, etc.)

    - Fixed Compass Show/Hide
    - Fixed new Waypoints
    - Fixed Quest resolutions
    - Added Dummy Whale
    - Fixed controls carry-on in different mode/state

    - Import new icebergs, port, islands, whale collision and character (hunting) animation segments
  • Character Controller Update
    - Modify character controller (simulacrum relationship) & base movement values (wip)
    - Added vertical rotation of FPS camera

    - General Boat asset setup
    - Partial Physics
    - Create hierarchy for player/animations for boat minigame

    - Troubleshoot boat collision & physics
    - Debugging Harpoon throw animation (to retain harpoon object as part of Animation Controller)

    - Used new assets (troubleshooting limitations)
    - Modified physics heuristics
    - Added char on boat with proper anim-set (placeholder)

    - Modified Boat's reactive forces
    - 'Hacked' physics to prevent impossible collisions
  • Character Animations
    - Added animations to controller
    - Created 'Fake States'
    - Modified character to follow new controller
    - Added automated idle state
    - Adjusted position of arms
    - Added anim swapper (placeholder) - Left mouse button (wait for anim to finish)
  • Terrain
    - Tested terrain asset
  • Interactive Stations
    - Created the interactive station logic (collision layer, core class)
    - Created character detection ActionBall
    - Created pipeline to 'take interactive actions' on the ship
    - Added input detection for interactive actions (hard-wired to: Left Mouse Button, F and E)
    - Added a placeholder Wheel collision Interactive Station
    - Wired Wheel interactive station with Control Focus (control ship) temp bridge
    - Added ControlFocus controls to allow to return to Character focus from Ship focus using E,F or LMB
    - Added manual delay on ControlFocus swap (disregarding any unforced issue made under 0.1s)
  • Whale
    - Fix Camera setup
    - Create Animator Controller
    - Bind animation states from animations
    - Create animator / animation references
    - Build Material for body and eyes (using maps)
    - Build test-rig animation workflow

    - Streamline demo anim workflow
    - Added Whale controller
    - Added Waypoints system for whale behavior
    - Setup fake collision test colliders
    - 'Crash tests' with controller-less boat to establish physics parameters
    - Indexed Whale's force applied to its own mass

    - 'Crash tests' with controller-less boat to establish physics parameters
    - Indexed Whale's force applied to its own mass

    - Attempted adding low-res mesh (incorrect orientation and scale)
    - Added primitive colliders to animation root skeleton (for harpoon detection synced with animation)
    - Added dummy death state transition from animator model

  • Character
    - Placement of the hunter animation
    - Binding of axis rotation of camera and body (separately) for aiming purposes
    - Identifying solution for projectiles
    - Added input for throw
    - Added anim transitions for harpoon throw (no collision)
  • Harpoon
    - Created prefab instance of harpoon
    - Added physics
    - Added dynamic 'pitch modifier' to feel like it is 'falling' in accordance to its own speed
  • Hunting Minigame
    - Setting up physics for boat (using float)
    - Matching collider with mesh of boat
    - Place temp camera tracking
    - Scene layout
    - Attempted to create simulation space to test: Water force // Water interactive components
  • Islands
    - Recreated new island as part of hunting dev setup
    - Created fake material from texture
    - Added islands to seafaring map
    - Added collisions to islands in seafaring map
  • Quest System
    - Created an easy reference for object-specific quests
    - Refactored Quest System to replace all 'dummy' quests with object-induced quest (works for islands, but will also work for Whale sightings)
    - Added quest references to both ports (fetch quests)
    • Hunting Mini-Game Character
      - Changed the animation model to use the idle -> pre-throw -> post-throw approach
      - Changed the hierarchy to accommodate changes
      - Decoupled Harpoon show/hide from throw timing (and instantiation of harpoon)
      - Added real-back power (hold to throw further, etc.)
      - Added Whale life reference
      - Added 'damage dealing' attributes to Harpoon 'tip'
      - Performed crude hit detection 'carry' to Whale Life (and death transition)

      - Swapped in new states
      - Linked proper Harpoon show/hide states
      - Linked proper charge-up & release

      - Synchronized harpoon with animations
      - Minor tweaks to make it feel 'right'

      Seafaring Game
      - Cleanup current ship implementation (main ship)
      - Preparing to sunset former control system
      - Created a prefab backup hierarchy of the current ship (for rollback attempts)
      - Created new controls to make them feel less like WASD and more like Gears
      -- Sails now raised (max 3) when tapping W, and lowered (min 0) when tapping S. No reverse!
      -- Rudder now turns based on A and D being held, all the way up to max rotation. When release, rotation of rudder slowly returns center.
      - Ship speed based off sails: indirect
      - Ship rotation based off rudder: indirect


Now, lets take a look at the progress of "The Dawn"

Some of the objects you see in the video are subject to better placement, but as of now we are testing textures, optimizing UW etc etc. As you can see, "The Dawn" is a colorful ship, just like the reference.


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I also wanted to show some of the animations we have in this update, even though some of you that follow the game on IndieDB have probably seen them before:

Here is the fiddler playing a calmer tune, we absolutely love this animation.


Here he is trying to tune the fiddle a bit. This will happen every know and then after he has played a song while you sail!


Old grumpy swimming casually


You will have your own crafting station where you craft different items



The Mini-Game

Here are some of the animation tests and behavior testing we did for the mini game.


Character customization, The Captains!

We will show in a video next month exactly how this works, its not a big thing but as for now I will explain. In the character window, you will choose hats, face and uniform in a portrait. This portrait will then end up in your captains table in game. For now, we have a few different versions to choose from.

1 1

2 1

3 1



Carving a scrimshaw

How does that work? Well, it dosen`t, at least not yet, as we are carving (hoho) out the core features first. But a great artist that helps out named Matthijs de Rijk, made this for you to get an idea what to expect!



The Sailmap (Roadmap)!

Here is a current work in progress of the sailmap. Every island here is a major update for the game, and it gets updated every month (when we get that far). We will also have this on our upcoming new and improved webpage ( where you can press the island to get an overview over whats coming. The last island will be the release according to however crowdfunding turns out, we will go more into depth on that at a later stage.




So, whats next?

In the next update, we will take a look at the great UI, Trade window, crafting and inventory.

We will go over the video of character customization, set a date for the stream where we go in depth on deck 1 and 2, as well as a QA and some other cool stuff!



Now at last, I would like to thank every single one of you who voted for us for best upcoming indie at the IndieDB awards. Among some of the other great games that was voted for, we finished 4th, which was super fun and very motivating that people believe in the project.

Thanks again, you guys and girls rock!

See you again for the next update, remember you can join us on discord, or at the forums as well!

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