Ships At Sea Interview – Building The Ultimate Ship Simulator

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Our interview with Misc Games shed light on the team's background with fishing, hopes for Ships At Sea, and its goal of not only meeting expectations but exceeding them.

Story Highlight
  • Ships At Sea aims to offer the ultimate ship simulation experience.
  • As the game approaches its launch in May, we delved into Misc Games’ most ambitious release yet.
  • Misc Games explained the various activities found in Ships At Sea, new technologies like Unreal Engine 5 and Nvidia WaveWorks, and more.

Ships At Sea is shaping up to be the perfect game for fishing enthusiasts. From a large range of ships divided into various classes to numerous fish species and countless other activities that capture the essence of working in the industry, developer Misc Games has packed an incredible amount of content into the game.

In addition to commercial fishing, Ships At Sea aims to combine elements of fleet management, navigation, and handling service operations into its gameplay. All of these come together in an exciting gameplay loop we recently discussed with COO Yasemin Hamurcu in an interview.

During our conversation, we discussed the introduction of multiplayer as a critical element, transitioning to Unreal Engine 5, and striking the right balance between fun and simulation.

Ships At Sea
Ships At Sea Offers Multiple Classes of Ships
You are finally introducing multiplayer gameplay with Ships at Sea. How challenging was it to tackle multiplayer development?

Yasemin Hamurcu: Introducing multiplayer gameplay to ‘Ships at Sea’ was challenging. It required meticulous attention to every aspect of the gameplay. One of the biggest obstacles we faced was ensuring the seamless synchronization of game elements between different players.

To make the integration of multiplayer features smoother, we used EOS Connect, allowing cross-play capabilities and enabling players to connect their Steam accounts without an EOS account. This not only streamlines the user experience but also makes it easier for users across different platforms to engage with each other, fostering a more diverse and vibrant gaming community. However, creating multiplayer gameplay was a much more complex process than just enabling cross-play.

The multiplayer experience requires synchronization of actions across all participants in real-time, bringing about various technical challenges. We had to carefully design every interaction within the game, including in-game events, weather conditions, or player movements, to ensure they are correctly reflected across all players while maintaining game integrity and performance.

This involves coordinating what happens on the server and what must be transmitted to the client and handling edge cases, such as players joining or leaving mid-game. Developing a multiplayer game also meant rethinking our game design approach from scratch. Unlike single-player games, where the environment and player interactions are relatively controlled and predictable, multiplayer games require a dynamic framework that can adapt to the unpredictable nature of multiple players interacting in real time.

This required us to focus on building a robust and flexible architecture capable of handling the complexities of multiplayer gameplay. Overall, introducing multiplayer gameplay was a challenging but rewarding experience that taught us a lot.

This experience has laid the foundation for us to transition from peer-to-peer to dedicated servers in the future. Implementing multiplayer functionality has opened new opportunities for us and enhanced engagement and interaction for our players, and we’re really excited to see players get in there.

Is this your first experience with Unreal Engine 5? What are your thoughts on the engine so far?

Yasemin Hamurcu: We have had prior experience with Unreal Engine 4, and transitioning to Unreal Engine 5 has been an exciting journey. Our initial thoughts on the engine are overwhelmingly positive so far.

The leap in graphical fidelity is immediately apparent and offers a level of realism and immersion that was previously very challenging to achieve. Unreal Engine 5’s new Large World Coordinates system, Lumen lighting, and Nanite virtualized geometry technologies have opened new possibilities for size, creativity, and details we can now add to Ships At Sea.

What stands out the most is how Unreal Engine 5 democratizes high-end game development. Its user-friendly interface and advanced features make it accessible to developers of various skill levels, from beginners to industry veterans. Additionally, the engine’s robust community and extensive documentation have been invaluable resources in overcoming challenges and enhancing our skill set.

Do you have any personal experiences that motivated you to create games based on ships and fishing?

Yasemin Hamurcu: My partner-preneur Goran (Goran Myrland: Founder / CEO / Game Director) and his family background in traditional fishing inspired us. His personal stories about his grandfather and father, who were passionate fishermen, gave him profound insights into this lifestyle, which he later adapted into our games.

Although Goran realized as a teenager that the traditional fishing life was not for him after working on a trawler, this experience sparked the innovative idea to capture these maritime adventures digitally. It took us some time to develop our first game, ‘Fishing: Barent Sea,’ which was launched in 2018 and was very well-received.

We followed it up with ‘Fishing: North Atlantic,’ featuring Nova Scotia, Canada. Currently, with ‘Ships At Sea,’ we’re expanding on our initial themes about commercial fishing with new types of boats and ships from the maritime industry and environments.

What was the single most difficult part to nail down when creating Ships at Sea?

Yasemin Hamurcu: Adapting real-world maritime tasks into engaging game mechanics that are fun and balanced is the most challenging part of creating ‘Ships at Sea.’ We collaborate with licensed partners from the maritime and fishing industries to ensure authenticity. Simplifying these tasks and their equipment enough to make them enjoyable for gamers while still retaining their inherent challenge is a complex endeavor.

For instance, fishing in real life requires patience and often years of experience to handle big fishing vessels. Translating this into a game proves challenging because some players prefer quick gameplay and lack patience, while others relish immersing themselves in each meticulous step. Finding a balance between these player preferences to create a rewarding and accessible fishing mechanic is particularly demanding.

What are the various activities players can look forward to in Ships at Sea?

Yasemin Hamurcu: In ‘Ships at Sea,’ players can engage in diverse maritime activities that reflect real-world sea professions. During Early Access, users can access tier 1 and 2 boats in cargo, service, and commercial fishing categories. Players can specialize or mix career paths to their preference through skill points and a skill tree.

The game offers detailed activities, including maintenance and repair, putting out fires, towing boats, various fishing techniques, and delivering goods across a large map with several islands. Additionally, players can operate and harvest fish farms. The shipyard serves as a central hub for vessel repairs, maintenance, upgrades, and rigs.

Players also have customization options, from personalizing characters to buying and selling boats. ‘Ships At Sea’ supports Nvidia DLSS-FG Frame Generation and AMD FSR2/3 Upscaling function, allowing for the creation of new game frames and improving FPS. Additionally, the game supports Intel® XeSS and provides the option to adjust the color settings for those with color deficiency.

As part of the game’s ongoing development, we are committed to enhancing the player experience through a structured series of updates during the Early Access phase. These updates aim to expand the fleet with new ships and broaden the scope of new gameplay features. Followed by co-op and cross-play, crew system, and much more.

We prioritize continually improving, enhancing, and expanding the User Interface and performance.

Your Steam description states you worked with Nvidia for WaveWorks. Can you explain this technology and your experience working with Nvidia?

Yasemin Hamurcu: Our partnership with Nvidia on WaveWorks has been an incredible journey into the world of graphical innovation and technical proficiency. WaveWorks is a technology that delivers an unparalleled level of realism in water simulations in digital environments. This is achieved by using a complex blend of mathematical models that accurately simulate the behavior and motion of waves, such as realistic Gerstner waves.

The key feature of WaveWorks is its ability to enhance visual fidelity in virtual scenes, making it an invaluable tool for developers who want to improve the realism of water bodies in their projects. While collaborating with Nvidia, we encountered some unique challenges that provided us with valuable learning opportunities.

Our main focus was on a partially completed block of code, and we received minimal direct support and collaborative input from Nvidia throughout our development. As a result, it was up to us to integrate and adapt WaveWorks within the Unreal Engine and our project. This required us to delve deep into the technology, understand its intricacies, and manipulate it to fit our specific needs without substantial external guidance.

This experience underscored the importance of self-sufficiency and innovation when working with cutting-edge technologies. However, the underlying value and capability of WaveWorks technology were undeniable. It pushed us to explore and understand the complex mathematical underpinnings that make such realistic water simulations possible.

To sum up, thanks to WaveWorks, we have access to a highly promising water simulation tool that we can customize even more. This has enabled us to develop a more advanced buoyancy system, ensuring that all boats float on the ocean as they are supposed to – even in multiplayer! This is a significant improvement over our previous games.

How diverse is your content in terms of the different species, activities, and ships players will find?

Yasemin Hamurcu: We aim for ‘Ships at Sea’ to be an exciting game that offers a wide range of content for different interests and gameplay styles. The game includes commercial fishing and fish farming modules, where players can explore various fish species. The game also features a realistic ecological system with numerous fish species that behave according to unique seasonal and environmental patterns.

In addition to traditional fishing, players can engage in other activities like navigating challenging weather conditions, being a service operator to repair and maintain the game world, or managing the logistics of cargo deliveries. Each activity offers a unique challenge, simulating real-world maritime operations and enhancing the game’s educational and entertainment value.

The game has an extensive and varied fleet of ships, ranging from small fishing boats to later large cargo vessels. Each ship class offers new gameplay elements and customization options and requires different strategic approaches to operate effectively. This variety ensures that players can continuously find new ways to explore and experience the game’s expansive world.

Since your game is coming out next month and you have a history of similar releases in the past, what are your expectations for 23 May?

Yasemin Hamurcu: As we approach the launch of our new title in Early Access on May 23rd, we’re taking the lessons learned from our past challenging launches and applying them to this unique venture. There is no similar game on the market that goes into ships as deep as we do, so our development process has been focused on testing and learning.

We understand our community’s concerns and high expectations, so we’re approaching this launch with hope and practical caution. Early Access is a crucial phase for us as it allows us to directly engage with our players and refine and perfect the game based on actionable feedback.

Our goal for the release on May 23rd is not just to meet expectations but to exceed them by establishing a strong foundation that we can build upon collaboratively with our community. We are committed to transparency and improvement, aiming to deliver a game that evolves and grows in response to player input.

While we are cautious, given our past experiences, we are also genuinely excited to see how our dedicated efforts will resonate with our players this time.

How encouraging have the wishlists been so far?

Yasemin Hamurcu: We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm shown by our audience as far as wishlists go. It’s one piece of evidence that there’s a strong interest in ‘Ships at Sea.’ This engagement is a sign that our audience is eagerly anticipating our third title and provides us with a valuable channel for gathering feedback.

This feedback helps us to understand what excites our players the most, ensuring that we are on the right track with the game. The support we have received validates the dedication and hard work our team has invested in the game, and it fuels our commitment to enhancing and perfecting the experience.

We are excited to continue developing ‘Ships at Sea’ as a long-term project, refining it throughout the Early Access phase and beyond. We aim to deliver a game in the future that features a diverse array of boats and ships, real locations, and ports, each with unique and detailed gameplay mechanics, fulfilling the desires of our community for a rich and immersive maritime adventure.

Would you like to share closing thoughts for everyone anticipating the upcoming release?

Yasemin Hamurcu: To all those eagerly anticipating the release of ‘Ships at Sea,’ we would like to express our gratitude for your incredible support and enthusiasm over the years. Your excitement drives our passion and commitment to delivering a game we hope you will love and enjoy.

As we draw closer to the launch date, we invite you to stay connected with us and provide your valuable feedback. This feedback is invaluable in guiding our efforts to refine and enhance the game. Together, we are not just creating a game but also a vibrant community of maritime adventure enthusiasts. Thank you for being such a vital part of this journey!

Ships At Sea
Ships At Sea Is More Than Just A FIshing Simulator

For all the fishing enthusiasts out there, Ships At Sea will be available in Early Access from May 23. You can expect to see the game continuously evolving from then on as Misc Games integrates community feedback to enhance the experience for all players.

To conclude, we thank COO Yasemin Hamurcu for diving into the world of Ships at Sea with us.

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