An important milestone in the game design was to finish the ‘port level design’, the layout and structure of a port in-game. On the basis of this concept design the 3D design of the port level and its assets can commence. This month we’re delivering on that milestone and we like to share it with you, but it will get better, soon we’ll also deliver an interactive zoomable (2D) map on which you can explore the port map and its marked details.
Central to Rulers of the Sea are the ports and capital cities, the places that form the physical nations that gamers govern, defend, live and work in. In the design of the game a nation can have numerous ports and one capital city. The capital city is governed by the Cabinet of a nation while ports are governed by Cabinet appointed Governors. Gamers settle their family home in a nation and port of their choosing, commoners in a townhouse, nobility in a mansion. Each port has a local economy and families can establish their numerous businesses there. Some of these businesses are bound to the port and are physically present there, other business types are in the port hinterland, outside the town. A port is defended by the army and navy and reached by sea, for travel in Rulers of the Sea is by ship. Conquering a nation means capturing all of its ports, first by blockade and then by siege.
A port in Rulers of the Sea is intended to be a unique place. Each port will have its own character, depending on those that live there of different cultures, traditions, convictions and languages. The idea behind a port is that gamers can feel at home in a specific place and grow an attachment to it. Ports have places to socialize such as an Inn, Tavern, Hotel, Club and even a Brothel, places of entertainment but also of practical use as specific staff can be recruited there. Gamers have their family homes in the port, which they can upgrade, decorate and invite others to. Gamers can have an office and business there, even if the port is not their residence. Each port has its own population- and market dynamics and real estate market, run by the Governor. There is even space for religion for those so inclined.
In the technical sense a port will be designed in a limited number of layouts that can be duplicated. The layouts will be alternated to ensure neighbouring ports are not identical. The buildings in a port will be re-used, but designed differently for different culture groups. Because Rulers of the Sea will have a very subdued and historically immersive user interface that will avoid digital maps and floating markers on screen, the general layout of ports, in zones, will be uniform so that gamers will develop a good instinct where to find specific facilities, but ultimately you’ll have learn your way around a specific port.
The tooling for the ‘level editor’ for the ports and capitals of Rulers of the Sea will be developed in such a way that it can be used by gamers. The intent is to set up formats for port buildings and invite the community to create alternate building exteriors in their place. We will place these buildings in specific port maps after they pass moderation and quality control. This way the community can slowly customize ports, make them unique, recreate buildings specific to the historical port. We will make no attempt to make ports identical to their historical likeness, there are far to many ports in the game to achieve that, but we will allow the community to do this so that such a transformation can take place over time wherever gamers wish it.
Our current concept design is based on general European architecture. In time we will also make models in other cultural architectural styles and we will also make a concept map for a capital city, a different layout with different (governmental) buildings. The current map was inspired by existing historical maps to create a realistic layout, but yet not too large, so gamers reach necessary interaction points within a reasonable time. Maybe you’ll recognize the town that our concept map was modelled on.
We will create the interactive map in the coming weeks, but we’ll dump map art in the gallery so you can already get a taste for it and follow the progress. You can find the gallery album through this link: