Devlog #16 - Shipbuilding

Hello everyone and welcome to this new Devlog. Today we're going to talk about the production of your Naval Units in Fields of History: The Great War. 

Before starting this Devlog, we wanted to apologize for the delay but we have been working a lot on the Shaders to greatly improve the rendering and the visual aspect of the game. Here's a screenshot to give you an idea of the current state (even if we've still a lot of things to improve).

As we told you in our previous Devlogs, the arms race also took place on the Seas at the beginning of the 20th century and culminating with the rise of tensions in Europe in the 1910's. Shipbuilding was often seen for a nation as the representation of its projection capacity and its industrial capacity.

A country without a strong navy couldn't claim a decisive role during the Scramble for Africa. Many European colonial Nations (with the exception of the Kingdom of Belgium which had no military navy at all) launched numerous shipyards and the young American nation quickly followed suit. The Russian defeat at the Battle of Tsushima and the rise of the Empire of the Rising Sun amplified this state of affairs as it became clear that control of the sea would be crucial for the future conflicts to come.

When we designed our Ships Production System, we wanted it to be as realistic as possible to establish its backbone. As players, one complaint we often have about strategy games is the possibility of being able to start building ships at the other end of the map without ever really worrying about enemy raids or loss of territories. For us, it's very important to be able to deprive an enemy of his production capacities with some bold maneuvers.

That's why we chose for the Production System that each ship has to be build locally in a Shipyard and not in an untouchable virtual area. Each Shipyard therefore has a different number of construction Slots depending on its port facilities.

The same principle applies for Ships, depending on their Type and Class, a Ship will require more or fewer construction Slots. It will of course be cheaper to build a Destroyer than a Dreadnought and the latter will require much more naval facilities than an escort ship. You will also be able to add Equipment to your Ships (large caliber gun, AA gun, reinforced belt armor, fire-control system, etc.) and also refit or modify the propulsion (heavy fuel oil fueled steam turbine, improved boilers, etc.) but this will inevitably have an impact on the cost of the ship and its construction time, everything will depend on how you design it.

As you can see, the Slots have different colors that represent several states

  • Those in dark gray show the number of free Slots available in the Shipyard
  • Those in gray with a black dot in the middle show the number of Slots currently in use in the Shipyard for other Ships

And for the last ones, everything will depend on the situation

  • If you only have green Slots, it means that the Ship has all the required Slots and therefore that its construction will be optimal
  • If you have Slots in orange, it means that the Ship doesn't have all the required Slots and its construction will be slowed down
  • Finally if you have red crosses, it means that the construction of the Ship is interrupted while waiting for free Slots

Ships in production go through several phases throughout the construction cycle.

A Launch phase means that the Ship has been laid down but all its main components aren't installed yet. If you cancel the construction of a Ship after it has been launched, it will be difficult to scrap it, so you will get far fewer resources.

Conversely, if it's still at the beginning of its construction phase, requesting its cancellation will allow you to get a significant proportion of the resources invested and also of its cost.

After its construction is finished, a Ship is ready to be commissioned and can be assigned to a Naval Unit.

Of course, you will be able to pause a Ship Construction and resume it later. You will also be able to increase the production queue of a type of ship if you want to have more of the same class. A Ship can also be renamed according to your preferences.

Please note that it's also possible to refit ships that have already been built. This will allow you to improve your naval forces throughout the conflict without having to restart a new program each time an upgrade becomes available to your nation, whether it's after stealing an enemy technology or after researching a new maritime technology.

In FoH, unlike in other games, a Ship under construction isn't invulnerable to enemy bombardments. Likewise, if a Port/Shipyard is captured by an enemy, they may try to capture the ships (whether under construction or not) and, if they succeed, they may incorporate them into their Naval Forces, complete their construction, or scrap them and get valuable resources. Of course, you'll also have this opportunity if you find yourself in the same situation but be careful to not be caught off guard.

Another important point that was very important to us is the possibility of having ships built by another nation (as it was the case historically). Depending on the country you play, it may not have all the facilities required for the construction of a big navy will be limited. It is then possible to ask another nation to build these ships for you. You will first need to be in their good graces, pay a significant amount of money and provide them the required resources.

When a contract is signed, the shipbuilders must deliver the ship within a specified time frame. If for any reason the delivery is delayed, heavy financial penalties will be applied daily. Be careful, however, if you ever find yourself at war with the shipbuilding country, the latter could decide to seize your ships and keep them for themselves.

This is indeed what has happened historically for two of the ships of the Ottoman Empire that were under construction in Great Britain. The Reshadieh and Sultan Osman I, two of the finest Ottoman ships, that were seized in August 1914 following the orders of Winston Churchill (who was then First Sea Lord of the Admiralty) even though the Ottoman Empire had not yet officially taken position in the conflict. By this maneuver, the British wanted to prevent the Germans and their allies from using these Ships against them, in particular in the Mediterranean Sea.

This act, not necessarily noble some would say, may have precipitated the Ottoman Empire to join the Central Powers. In FoH you will have the possibility to seize these ships but also, in order to allow a historical alternative, the possibility of honoring the contract and delivering the ships. This will perhaps change the Sultan's opinion and he may well choose to stay out of the War.

This Devlog is coming to an end, please let us know if you liked our Ships Production System and if you have any questions, don't hesitate, we will be happy to answer them. Have a nice day and take care of yourself and your loved ones.

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