Originally the boat the player is on had only one main deck (floor) along with a climbable mast with a crows nest. This worked fine because the ship seemed to float in the water, with the lower part of the boat resting below the water for a convincing illusion of displacement and buoyancy.
I recently modeled a below-deck area (also called a Hull) that the player can climb down to and it adds a ton to the level. On a real pirate ship, anything below the main deck is effectively underwater, with the water displacing around it (a basic property of water). In game engines this isn't so simple. Unless there's a complex liquid simulation, there is no displacement. The water is just a flat plane (a flat piece of 3D geometry) that will show up inside an object when it's collided with.
This means that the hatch to get to the Hull looks like its submerged in water. Not what we want.
Add water tiles as child objects of the boat placed carefully around the boat so that A) it doesn't interfere with the Hull, and B) that it gives an illusion of the the boat being surrounded by water. This means that when the boat moves, the water around it moves too.
Additionally, this means I don't have to manually place water down throughout the world because the water will always follow the boat. There is enough water around the boat to convincingly make it look like there is water as far as the eye can see.
Enough techy Rambling, what does this mean for players?!
It simply means that there will be more parts of the ship to explore! Nuff said.
Thanks for reading!
- Judah Mantell,
President, MidnightCoffee, Inc.