Tag Archives: puzzle pirates

first pillage

Not much to say here, really. I just finished my first real voyage in Puzzle Pirates. That is to say, I took a boat out from port, plotted a course, and successfully guided it to the intended destination. I’ve been playing the game off and on for a pretty long time now, and I’ve participated in plenty of pillages. Just… never actually even seen the navigation puzzle, much less fiddled with such things as buying grog and ammo.

See, a week or two ago, Penny decided she wanted to play. I made sure she got on the same ocean as me, but forgot to actually refer her. She wound up starting off in a neighboring archipelago, which means major difficulty for me to get over there to meet up with her. Since then, I’ve been pretty single-minded about managing to get over there and have been playing every night.

Well, I could never find a player ship headed in that direction, so I figured my best option was to try to get my own. So, I did. A bit of doubloon exchange fun, and I wound up with enough cash to buy a ship and enough doubs left over to get my captain’s badge (permission to start my own crew).

Allaryin, Pirate

Unfortunately, to form a crew… one first needs to actually know how to navigate.

This posed a problem, since the only way to get navigation skill is to either convince another crew to let you sail one of their ships around, or to deal with the navy. And the navy has some pretty fierce requirements before they let you practice navigation on one of their ships. The navy’s requirement being… that I need to have at least ‘broad’ experience in the four base pirating games, which I have… almost.

See, the gunnery game hates me. I don’t know what I did to it, but it really really doesn’t like me. So, despite hours of trying to play the stupid game, I consistently perform poorly and never get rank in it.

This evening, after an hour spent washing out cannons, I decided to go on a pillage with some other players. I joined the first ship I saw that looked like it might be heading a direction I was interested in. We chatted while waiting for other people to accept. The next thing I knew, he’d invited me to join his crew and had promoted me to officer. A bit later, nobody else’d shown up, so he bailed.

I traveled across the docks to my own ship and set what I assumed would be the safest course possible, 3 leagues from the island where I’d commissioned the ship in the first place back to my home port. I didn’t want to deal with other players on my first voyage, so I figured out how to call upon the infinite supply of swabbies (npc pirates) to man vital functions while I figured out this whole navigation thing.

One league into the voyage, we got attacked by barbarians. Begin my first attempt at the sea battle game… with empty cannons 😉 It was all I could do to quickly board the other ship and just be done with it. I’m not terribly good at the rumble game, and the swabbies apparently aren’t any better. The attackers pillaged 2 cannonballs from my hold. Whee.

One league later, we got attacked by brigands. This time, I’d gone to the trouble of loading three of my sloop’s four cannons. And it paid off, I managed to actually hit the other ship once before boarding. And when it comes to swords… I know that puzzle 😛 We won handily.

Shortly later, we pulled into port, and I figured out how to divvy up the spoils (between myself and my boat :P). It was cool.

First Pillage

snakenstein revisited

This morning, a job posting went across the MUD-Dev meta list. Well, two postings, really, but the one that interested me was an entry-level game programmer position with Three Rings – the Puzzle Pirates people. They are an open-source house that develops in Java under Debian. They use Ant and have a pretty cool open networking library (matchmaking, etc…) called Game Gardens.

Part of the job posting mentioned that short-listed applicants would be asked to develop a small game in the library. So, I’ve been poking around with it today and think I have a pretty decent grasp on how they’re doing things.

In preparation for playing with the library further, I am planning on writing a networked version of the old snake game. I figure since it was the first graphical program I ever wrote (Turbo Pascal, back in the summer of ’93 or so), it’s a good candidate.

My first playable (single-player) draft of the basic game took about 2 hours to write up since I kept getting distracted by Penny 😉 I’ve got a jar file available for download here. It is pretty ugly at present and doesn’t keep score (other than growing your snake). Every time you crash, it will ask if you want to play again – until you click no, at which point the program will just sit there until you close it.

It doesn’t use Game Gardens yet, that’ll be the project for tomorrow. I have plans for allowing for various types of power-ups and a population of up to 4 snakes on the field (one starting from each cardinal direction on the map). We will require the players to collect assorted eggs until a key appears. Grabbing the key will open the exit, go through exit to next map. Maps will have various silly little patterns of walls on them. If I get to keep playing with the thing, we will probably add different sorts of walls – moving obstacles, etc… I also have ideas for actual sprites to use, but that’s not a major priority – the game runs just fine in blocks of colour.