From The Depths: It's The Boats, Stupid


So I’m back on my bullshit and boy is it a good time because Nick is finished with 2.0 (the Unity update) and adding crazy good things like realistic water physics, gauged missiles, AI blocks that aren’t stupid complicated to use and general UI improvements that actually make the game playable.

The graphical updates so far have been tremendous, bringing the quality up from 1998 to Q2 2012. Small APS is going to get a huge buff, actually making small deck AA batteries a thing. I’ll try posting new ships and campaign action during this blessed three day weekend.


Lemme use this post to soapbox about missiles: They’ve been doomed by one-dimensional design. Bigger missiles done right are just longer, which is fine for submarines which are just missile tubes, but not so practical for aircraft or surface ships or ground vehicles.

After this idea got three thousand separate forum threads Nick finally got the idea that missiles should be gauged just like cannons, so in the next update or two you’ll be able to put tiny cluster rockets on your Frigates and massive fuckoff cruise missiles on your Cruisers.

Missiles have also been far behind APS in terms of realistic interaction with armor - they just explode on contact, whereas cannons have AP, HEAT and squash options, which missiles have fatally lacked. Looks like we’ll be getting these improvements in short order for missiles.

I’m excited because it shouldn’t matter how LONG your missile is, but how THICC and DEEP it can go.


Some fucking neato shit in this update

There’s a new debug skill to see the AC and health of a block (the real AC, with all the stacking if any)

It’s known that layering walls of different materials increases the armor class of the blocks, but now you can actually see it. Way overdue.

APS firing pieces now have the equivalent of 10 gauge coolers base(balance for smaller systems vs large)

Huge buff to a weapon that is always aesthetically pleasing but grossly underpowered on small boats.

Water level heights for large vehicles are sampled sparsely to ensure full coverage but at a lower resolution

Huge performance buff if you like your boats long and thicc

Wheels now use a purpose built wheel physics package and should behave much better than previously. You are no longer limited to a maximum of 20 wheels

Kind of a critical change, given pre-2.1 vehicles just kind of slid around like toboggans, which is why I never built them


(Images coming in a later edit)

Here’s my first experiments with tanks. Since wheels were overhauled I figured I’d try again to build something on land that wouldn’t simply careen into a dune and explode, which is what pre-2.0 vehicles did frequently. Now wheels actually have spring, so a row stays connected to the ground.

This is my first attempt, using front wheels to provide turning power. The chassis is too low to the ground and on rougher terrain would probably get stuck. Also this is the equivalent of braking to turn, so movement is awkward.

Here’s a second attempt, using turn blocks to make a pivoting axle. At first, something is wrong and the vehicle wants to spin in place. No bueno.

Turns out building the wheels upside down (in the spin block subvehicle) makes the ones on the left face reverse, so I just reverse the controls on them. Notice the arrow-shaped treads on the left vs right. Nice visual cue that didn’t used to be there.

Here’s a more compact version. However, even though I’ve got a great thrust-mass ratio, my top speed isn’t breaking 35km/hr. I figure this is a limitation of the new physics package (so that ground vehicles don’t become death sleds). I’m also going to need a much wider chassis and a suspension with wheels on both sides because this guy probably doesn’t have the torque needed to get up and down hills.

Here’s the next iteration, with what amounts to tracks. This is going to be needed if I’m going to mount an actual tank on top. Now it’s time to go off-roading.

Notice how the wheels are elevating to meet the ground - before 2.0, you’d get a fraction of your drive because half of your wheels wouldn’t touch ground. Even on a 45 degree incline, I’m still getting about 70% of max speed, not rolling over and not getting collision damage from the bumps.

Here’s my first (much too large and heavy) tank chassis. Recall the ultraheavy “Ferdinand” tank which barely participated in the Battle of Kursk and you’ve got a fair picture of what happened the second I drove this fucker off a hill. Spoiler: The suspension hit the ground with such force that it destroyed the entire axle. I could solve this equation with more suspension or a smaller tank. Since I don’t fully understand the minutiae of this new physics system, I’m just going to hack away some mass.

Couple improvements here: The suspension is built with rubber blocks, which take no collision damage. To compensate for the lack of durability, I added an armor skirt, but this had a habit of grinding off on terrain, so I replaced it with rubber, which at least keeps the vehicle from flipping.

Here’s the finished product. While not nearly as pretty as I’d like, and the wheels tend to fall off if you cough on them, it takes direct hits like a champ and the cannon is more than adequate. Everything is so compact compared to a surface ship (the ammo is literally located on the sides of the undercarriage because I ran out of room up top). Land combat is also wayyy different because you can quickly forward/reverse/turn so as to evade a lot of incoming fire, which you can’t really do with ships, so the relative lack of armor matters a lot less.



Missile gauges
Steam engine dependent CRAM and propeller modules (no more spamming a thousand props all over my boat just to get moving)
Overall nerf to vehicles that exploit acceleration to make themselves untrackable
Nerf to aim-point AI (e.g. the thing that tells AI where your engines/magazines/AI blocks are)
“Mimic” block for decorations (e.g. can mimic a long low-gauge cannon barrel to simulate a wire or antenna instead of having to build an actual low-gauge cannon)
Other neat shit


Just to test this I slapped a by no means enormous turret with about 40 autoloaders on a hull I’ve been crafting and it spit out 250mm shells at around 2000 rpm for a full second.

People are whining that this is perfectly normal cannon behavior and the upcoming nerf is unthinkable.




Missiles are stupid broken right now. Small missiles (pictured above) outspam LAMS and CIWS to a hilarious extent. Torpedoes clip through armor exploding well inside targets with no damage to intervening armor. Large missiles are essentially one-shot murdersleds.

There’s a new option to spec missiles in fuel (for greater range), durability (for straight kinetic damage and resistance to CIWS), HE or EMP. Kinetic kill vehicles, e.g. rocket CIWS is a thing now. This is all supposed to be balanced behind a greatly increased ammo cost for missiles but since vehicles start with a full load this barely matters because you can volley kill most things with marginal effort.

Exciting times ahead for sure.


The FTD forum is full of dumb drama between sperglords with shitty tanks that can already barely kill anything and nolife sperglords showing off how stupid overpowered their shitty tanks would be if they knew how cannons worked


Notice how his member title is “Against APS Nerf” even after he gets fucking dropkicked in his own thread


Missiles are generating a strange combination of that Babadook meme (except “Why won’t you just enjoy the game?” “Screams”) and honestly good reviews. They’re not broken; the absurd damage is completely intentional, as is the armor-busting behavior, torpedoes one-shotting everything, cruise missiles dealing 250k AoE damage and being almost impossible to intercept, etc.

They are pushing the meta into a good direction, one where nothing is invincible and trying to build one ship that counters everything is pointless. Fleet doctrine matters, roles matter, iteration and planning matter, losing shit is inevitable. I love it.


Dang this game is getting gud. Steam propellers and applique/plate armor are both in the dev build, both being demanded features for YEARS now. Having fun building shit that looks good and is good too.