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View Full Version : Captain! Black hole spotted! Let's Play: Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon


nunix
09-01-2008, 02:09 PM
http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Splash.jpg

I love this game, for all its little flaws.

The game was originally released at the end of October of 2002, about a month before the movie. It was developed by Barking Dog Studios (which would eventually get folded into Rockstar North, and then the head BDS people seem to have gone on to found Kerberos Productions (http://www.kerberos-productions.com) and release another under-the-radar space RTS/empire game, Sword of the Stars) and released by Disney.

The campaign is twelve missions long, no branches, and is veeeeery slow. We're not going to cover that; we'll be looking at the skirmish mode.

This is planned as a short (one week) LP! An update or two til the end of the week and that's it. I was in the mood to do another one of these but wanted to keep it manageable...

The basic game is thus:

Each player has some number of ships, and each ship has some types of weapons and crew members. You control your flagship by clicking in space and adjusting to one of four speeds. There is no Z axis.

Ships will usually autofire but you can also double-click an enemy ship to attack it. The game is smart enough so that if you double-click on an enemy ship's sails, your gunners will try and target their sails, and so on. You can also bring up a weapons panel and individually activate weapons that way (necessary for some special mortar weapons).

Right clicking on an enemy brings up a submenu of Look, Harpoon, and Board; a similar menu for friendly ships also allows you to Halt their movement. You have very limited control over the other ships in your group; you can assign a formation so that all ships move together, and that's mostly it.

All ships have Hull, Sail, and Weapon hit point bars, which can slowly regenerate based on the ship's Repair rating. However, any piece of the ship that is destroyed remains so, unless you can get the ship to a shipyard or friendly tender.

You win when your fleet is the last one standing... although enemy bases can complicate this.

What you're left with is something of a more traditional tabletop wargame. Skirmish games are either of a scenario - where your fleets and crew are assigned to you - or "open" mode - where you use a point-buy system to assemble your forces. There is NO unit building or resource gathering! You get only what you start with, and no more.

Pros:

* Deformable models. If you take out the sails on a ship, its sails are gone. If you launch a barrage of torpedos against the port side of a frigate, it's going to have some gaping holes and lose whatever weapons it has there, and you can zoom in and see that damage.

* Low complexity. There's no tech tree, no gold mines. Bid your forces and then head out into space.

* PIRATE SHIPS IN SPACE.

* All game files are in plaintext, and ship models and such are of a common format. It's very very possible to mod the game.

* Three factions which are pretty similar, but their ships all have distinct advantages (Procyons have hull and a stealth unit, Pirates get tons of marines for boarding other ships, Royal Navy has some strong weapons).

Cons:

* Missing feature. On some maps (campaign and skirmish both) there are solar storms, meteor showers, and the like; these will destroy your sails. You can skirt meteor showers, usually, but solar storms will rip through the map and ravage everything. Why's this bad? Because despite the fact that your crewmen tell you to "lower your sails", you CAN'T. This feature was removed shortly before the game was released to keep it "simpler for kids" (paraphrased answer from the lead designer, who I eventually emailed to ask these questions of). Those maps become impossible to play.

* No map editor. Also promised to ship with the game or be downloadable later, this one was nixed by some corporate Disney goons.

* Dead game server. You can play either LAN or over the internet, but the internet goes to a defunct disney.go.com game server that.. I don't know if they shut it down within the first six months, or if I just never saw anyone online after the first week or so. =p

Anyway this is looking pretty random, so let's just sink some pirates.

Kishi
09-01-2008, 02:21 PM
Wall of text.

* Low complexity

nunix
09-01-2008, 02:23 PM
As a quick warmup - it's been awhile since I've played, as we'll see in the open game - I grabbed a scenario called "The Maw". There's one fleet of each of the three forces here - Royal Navy, Procyon Armada, and Pirates - and we're controlling the Royal Navy. We get a frigate and a cutter (I think, I'll have to go back and check), and each of the enemies have similar ships.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen00.jpg

Movement is pretty simple. Give a ship a heading (it's not a destination, it'll keep moving past that X) and set its speed (full, cruising, slow, stop).

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen01.jpg

The faster you're moving, the wider a turn you have to make. You can see the weapon and ship panes open here. The frigate has three medium laser cannons, two light laser cannons, a harpoon, and a gravity charge. Sides are important! We can only harpoon enemies on the port (left) side, and can only launch gravity charges off the rear starboard (right) side.

The main features of this map are the Maw itself - a black hole in the center of the map - and asteroids that are constantly tumbling in. Asteroids can be destroyed with your weapons, which is good, because if they hit your hull they really hurt. Gravity also increases as you get towards the black hole. Once you get within the disc, you can't escape on your own, but a friendly ship can swing by, harpoon you, and drag you out. If you hit the edge of the hole itself, your ship's pulled in and destroyed.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen02.jpg

Close-up shot of our frigate coming in to broadside this pirate vessel.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen03.jpg

We've harpooned it! But since it's a pirate vessel, maybe this isn't so smart...

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen04.jpg

Once your ship is close enough to an enemy, AND it's harpooned, you can choose to board the ship. This little bar will pop up, representing the fighting forces on each side. Enemy's aren't actually killed - if we disengaged at this point and then re-engaged, they'd be back to full. If it looks like your ship's going to be taken over, it's best to try and break off.

Pirate vessels have very large fighting crew berths, so it's tough to take one over. Conversely, if you're playing as pirates, it's a great way to increase your forces. Luckily our other ship decides to swing in and just blow the thing up at the end, so either way, one pirate down.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen06.jpg

The last Procyon vessel's in pretty rough shape.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen11.jpg

I use the gravity charge to create a small gravity well that pulls all nearby ships into it. Since it's smaller and faster, this keeps it in place long enough for me to get turned around, broadside, and take it down.

nunix
09-01-2008, 02:33 PM
So, with a quickie scenario cleared, let's see how the open maps work.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/uiscreen_01.jpg

Pretty standard interface. Choose who's in what slot, assign them team color (flag). Then we assemble the fleet! The default fleet size is 300 points and a maximum of 5 ships, so let's go with that.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/uiscreen_02.jpg

Each ship is worth a base number of points, and you can see its stats in the upper right: how fast it is, how many hit points, that sort of thing. That Starhammer would wipe out pretty much all our points in one go, so I grabbed two torpedo boats and a frigate for this game.

It's important to note that the first ship in your lineup is your flag ship. You can't change your flagship. I forgot this little fact to my detriment, as we will see. -.-

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/uiscreen_03.jpg

The game has a list of crewmembers with stats for each of the various jobs: Leadership (which affects maneuverability) is for captains and first mates, Rigging is for the riggers who work up in the sails and increases speed, and so on. The green bar is the ship's default, while the red is the adjusted value, taking crew into account. The game uses some kind of percentage formula because you're never going to get a super-maneuverable frigate, for instance, no matter who you've got for a captain and helmsman.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/uiscreen_04.jpg

Weapons are chosen the same way. Depending on the ship you'll have some variety of locked and open weapon slots. On a frigate, the light laser cannons are locked, but we can switch around everything else. I left the harpoon and gravity charge, but swapped the cannons for plasma launchers, which are more powerful (at 15 points a pop).

Our torpedo boats only have one available slot and a couple of crew options, and I just left those alone. Spent the rest of the points on frigate crew.

nunix
09-01-2008, 02:47 PM
http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen14.jpg

Because we've only got two players this map, the objective is seemingly simple! We're starting there at the lower outpost, while the Procyons are launching from Starkeep Cerberus at the top. There's a nebula in the lower-left (which we haven't talked about yet) but we won't need to go mucking around in there.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen13.jpg

..And since the first ship in the list was one of the torpedo boats, that's my flagship. Crap. Now, if the ship gets destroyed, it'll switch your flagship to the next in the list, and so on down the line. Unfortunately this won't matter for us..

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen15.jpg

The first of the Procyon is trying to sneak around the central outpost. The computer's not very smart on Normal difficulty, unfortunately, and rarely moves in formation.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen16.jpg

Torpedoes away!

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen17.jpg

And boom. This is why it's generally better to either play a many-fleet game (4+) or play a human opponent.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen20.jpg

The rest of their fleet's caught up with us now, and the fight begins in earnest.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen21.jpg

..but doesn't last long. Torpedoes are very powerful, which is the tradeoff for being on such small, weak ships. One of the Procyons also decided to go into dock there - that base is neutral - and repair, even though it hadn't seen battle yet.

Unfortunately, because I'm stupid, this was not the end of the fight.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen22.jpg

On a few scenario and open maps, there are faction bases on these islands. They're studded with guns of all sorts, as well as at least one dock where you can repair at (if you're of the proper faction).

Their strength? COMPLETELY INVULNERABLE to torpedoes. You can't launch them at bases at all.

..and two of my ships are torpedo boats, and the one frigate is being controlled by the computer.

Arrrrgh.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen24.jpg

The Repulse, our frigate, starts making a pass at the base, but is destroyed about the time it gets 3/4 of the way around. Now, normally at this point, if I'd been controlling it, I could back off, limp back to dock, repair, and then come back out. It'd be very, very slow going, and kind of tedious, but it'd still be a win. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/Screen23.jpg

Alas, The Drum, wrecked off the coast of Cerebus Isle... Sails gone, rudder gone, it's adrift, waiting for the base to remember it's there before blowing it out of the.. space... water..

So anyway, there's my Battle at Procyon intro. Tomorrow we'll have a proper captain's log and everything, and a closer look at fleet composition (the ships, crew members, and the like). And then Wednesday I'll toss out some options to whoever's reading and we'll see what happens.

Brickroad
09-01-2008, 03:29 PM
Wow, this kinda... come out of left field!

Interesting choice for a game. How did a Disney license manage to make it out as something other than a lukewarm 3d "adventure" game or somesuch? Is it possible to mod the "lower sails" feature back in?

nunix
09-01-2008, 04:53 PM
Wow, this kinda... come out of left field!

Interesting choice for a game. How did a Disney license manage to make it out as something other than a lukewarm 3d "adventure" game or somesuch? Is it possible to mod the "lower sails" feature back in?

Good developers, especially since all the other TP games are exactly as you describe (except when on GBA or such, in which case it wound up being lukewarm 2D adventure/platformer/collectathon).

Modding the sails back in would take some serious hackin', since the feature was apparently removed entirely, not just turned off.

Oh, and Kishi, though I loathe you for quick-posting in the middle of the initial entry: it's still a little complex, but drastically simplified compared to most RTS games, where you're managing anywhere from dozens to hundreds of units, one or more bases, resources, building more units, et cetera.

Lucas
09-01-2008, 06:02 PM
This game intrigues me. I'll be watching this LP with great interest, and watching the bargain bins for this game.

Balrog
09-01-2008, 06:07 PM
WTF is this?

Octopus Prime
09-01-2008, 06:16 PM
WTF is this?

Why, it's a simplified RTS based on the Disney movie Treasure Planet which, despite that description, looks pretty swell.

Weren't you paying attention?

Kishi
09-01-2008, 06:28 PM
Oh, and Kishi, though I loathe you for quick-posting in the middle of the initial entry:

Sorry about that; I wouldn't have posted if I realized there was more coming right away. A good precaution is to put a little "continued" note at the bottom of posts, like Spineshark does.

Alixsar
09-01-2008, 06:49 PM
...what in God's name is Treasure Planet? From the sound of it, it sounds like Treasure Island in space. Did someone really think that was a good idea?

Edit: Dear God, Wikipedia says I'm right. I've never even heard of this thing.

Despite its having been directed by the renowned animation pair of Clements and Musker, Treasure Planet was not as well received as The Little Mermaid or Aladdin, and ended up being a box office bomb, grossing only $38 million despite its $140 million budget.

Ah, now it all makes sense. Well, RTSes that aren't Starcraft and Disney movies are two of my least favorite things ever, so good luck making this one interesting. Doing a good job so far.

nunix
09-01-2008, 07:07 PM
...what in God's name is Treasure Planet? From the sound of it, it sounds like Treasure Island in space. Did someone really think that was a good idea?

Let me tell you how great it is.

..well, to be fair, it's pretty hit-and-miss. Biggest hit: PIRATE SHIPS IN SPACE. Biggest miss: Martin Short.

Even with that, I still really enjoy the movie. But I had never read nor seen any version of Treasure Island, so it wasn't "corrupting" anything to me.

The game actually got press on Penny Arcade, including a developer diary (http://web.archive.org/web/20050307140648/http://www.penny-arcade.com/chrisone.php3), which is how I knew anything about it; I'd already been planning on seeing the movie due to aforementioned SHIPS IN SPACEness (quick trivia: what is nu's favourite D&D setting? Bet you can't guess!), and grabbed the game thanks to PA.

Lucas
09-01-2008, 07:45 PM
(quick trivia: what is nu's favourite D&D setting? Bet you can't guess!)

Uh... Spelljammer? Is that it? Is that even a D&D setting, or am I remembering some other game entirely?

PapillonReel
09-01-2008, 07:46 PM
Biggest miss: Martin Short.

Explain.

Brickroad
09-01-2008, 09:13 PM
I didn't read Treasure Island until several years after watching Treasure Planet, and once I did I couldn't figure out why they didn't just do regular Treasure Island.

For the record, Treasure Planet really isn't the excrutiatingly bad movie everyone thinks it is. Not part of Disney's A-material at all, sure, but it's pretty to look at and fairly entertaining*.

I still can't get over that this game is a Disney RTS. Somebody got fired over that, I'm sure. Simplistic though it may be by RTS standards, it still looks way too complicated for Disney's usual target audience. A lot of kids probably had to watch their dads play this game because it was too hard to figure out on their own.

*Brickroad-speak for "I own a copy."

Pombar
09-01-2008, 09:35 PM
Hey, it's Myth with space pirates. Awesome.

nunix
09-02-2008, 08:49 PM
Log of the RLS Jupiter
September 2nd

Captain Robble's command of the RLS Repulse met with failure last week on his assault of Starkeep Cerebrus. The admiralty is adamant that this base be taken out, and so I've been assigned command of this task force.

The Jupiter's a fine ship, a man o' war recently repaired after a stint hunting pirates in the Maelstrom Nebula. The RLS Warspite, a frigate, and the Kamloops, one of our assault cutters, comprise the main arm of the fleet. I had the front light deck guns on each ship swapped out with laser gatlings; we know the area around Cerebrus is going to be mined, and there're likely be torpedoes to deal with as well.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_update2_002.jpg

Our sister fleet is under the command of a man I haven't met, one Captain Lee Pereweather. He's directing from a minelayer that's been dragooned into service, the RLS Bastion, and they've two heavy scouts for escort. I think they took every man of any skill from the base for crew, as there was hardly a soul left to man the fort while we're gone.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_update2_003.jpg

September 3rd

We watched the Somme and Agincourt engage the first of the Procyon fleet out near Orpheus Cove, but were too far out to render immediate assistance. I ordered the Warspite and Kamloops free of formation, and they turned to try and catch up with the other ships. I took the Jupiter around the western side.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_update2_004.jpg

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_update2_006.jpg

These man o' war are armed with star mortars in the forward bow; slow, but with a high arc. If you can gauge your target's speed and heading, one of these will knock him around, and can tear your sails right off. Of course, if you're quick enough, you can also swing your ship around and catch a burst of speed off the shockwave.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_update2_007.jpg

Our mortar hit one of their Warsloops, and it thought it'd come in to see which ship was doing the firing. Too bad for them it was us, and our first volley tore off their port pontoon.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_update2_010.jpg

Another broadside and the damned Procyon bastards sunk into the etherium.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_update2_012.jpg

Her sister ship fared no better.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_update2_015.jpg

nunix
09-02-2008, 09:05 PM
September 4

While the Bastion stopped at Orpheus for quick repairs, the Warpsite and Kamloops chased down one of the last stragglers. I kept the Jupiter at Orpheus to protect the Bastion and haul aboard any survivors in lifeboats.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_update2_017.jpg

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_update2_018.jpg

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_update2_022.jpg

Tragically, the Somme and Agincourt sailed ahead to scout the base. We don't know if they ran into another ship, the minefields, or whether they got too close to Cerebrus and were taken out by mortar fire. All hands are presumed lost.

September 5

I ordered the Warspite and Kamloops back to Orpheus for their own repairs before a final assault on Starkeep Cerebrus. I took the Jupiter north with the Bastion; the plan was for the Bastion to assist in clearing the minefield, while the Jupiter would launch initial mortar strikes at the base. For some reason, Pereweather got far too close to the base; he turned and made a good run of it, but the Bastion was blasted to tinder at the edge of the enemy's mortar range. I watched her disintegrate a mere half a mile from safety, her mast drifting away.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_update2_029.jpg

September 6

Starkeep Cerebrus is levelled, and our marines now hold the island. It was close going for awhile.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_update2_030.jpg

We took the Jupiter up close, lobbing mortars ahead of the Warspite as it made its portside run; the Kamloops took starboard, swinging around the rear. Our first goal was to take out the mortar towers on the interior, then break the pylon rings supporting the lighter fire.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_update2_031.jpg

Things went fairly according to plan, although the Warspite wound up skipping through a break in the pylons and running aground, until we broke the other pylon and pulled her out.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_update2_033.jpg

I'm still not sure what had come over Pereweather and his fleet; the loss of the Sonne and Agincourt out of sight, and his own loss of the Bastion, were careless losses that should have been avoided. Starkeep Cerebrus may be taken but a heavy cost was paid in the process.

/////

So this is just that Border Outpost map again, this time with two Navy fleets (one under my control, one under AI control), and two Procyon fleets. Game went a lot smoother, and I'm glad I sent the Warspite and Kamloops to repair before the final assault, as it would've been very tough going otherwise. Bases shouldn't get mortars, sucks so bad. -.- Also, I'm not sure why in the world the AI chose a minelayer for an assault map, but.. it did help clear out the minefield, ironically enough.

Tomorrow: probably pirates! I think for the "let's play" part of this I'm taking suggestions on crew personalities and fleet compositions and such.. there aren't a lot of map options. So if you've got any input on something for the captain's logs, or a general thought on a fleet you want me to play (all torpedo boats! board and steal all the enemy ships! et cetera) give a shout.

Elfir
09-03-2008, 05:40 AM
I didn't read much of that because the pictures cause horizontal scrolling but they sure are pretty. <3 It reminds me of the Gummi Ships in Kingdom Hearts.

I vaguely remember ads for Treasure Planet. Never had much interest in seeing it. Weren't there a lot of science fictiony animated movies at the time?

Lucas
09-04-2008, 01:18 AM
I got my hands on a copy of this today and I'm having some fun with it, though I see what you mean about the campaign being slow. I'm also betting it'll be even more fun once my computer is totally hooked up again and I can play with a mouse instead of my touchpad.

I'm not looking forward to those solar storms you mentioned though. Are they a recurring thing, or a one-time-per-map thing?

nunix
09-05-2008, 07:37 PM
I got my hands on a copy of this today and I'm having some fun with it, though I see what you mean about the campaign being slow. I'm also betting it'll be even more fun once my computer is totally hooked up again and I can play with a mouse instead of my touchpad.

I'm not looking forward to those solar storms you mentioned though. Are they a recurring thing, or a one-time-per-map thing?

For the campaign it's one map in particular, one event, that wrecks your sails and then forces you to near-crawling for awhile. It's tense and cool.

For the skirmish/MP maps, it's a thing that moves around and can hit you more than once, no fun.

I'm already falling behind on my schedule.. the skirmish mode has turned out to be a lot tougher to write stuff for, because there just isn't that much to show off. I'll probably do 1-2 pirate games on Saturday, and 1-2 Procyon games on Sunday, and call it there. I'd originally been hoping to get five updates total (Monday through Friday) but I think four will be enough. And I have some screenshots from the campaign to thrown in there as a bonusy thing.

nunix
09-07-2008, 11:06 AM
So, last of the updates! I had originally done the first one and thought, "Hey, I'll be able to make 5 updates out of this easy." Turns out not so much, unless I want to do the campaign maps, which would be another thing. Have a pirate game and a Procyon game and I think that'll do it for the skirmish mode; there just aren't enough maps or variety for me to stretch it out any more. -.- A LESSON LEARNED!

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/up3_ui_01.jpg

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/up3_ui_02.jpg

This is a 500 point / 5 vessel fight, with three pirate fleets (me, two AI), so's to see some ship variety.

The pirates' main strength is crew size; their ships also tend to be fast, with a lot of guns, but little armor or hit points. Almost all of their ships have excessive fighter compliments, and their play strength is swooping in to board and capture a vessel.

I took a galleon here, the pirates' biggest and strongest ship, and just loaded it out with crew. I still had 75 points left so I threw in a weapon barge (45 points) and a fast attack ship (30 points), and left them unmodified with default redshirt crews...

..and a note on crews! Each faction has a list of units you can draft for your ships. Each person is worth some number of points, generally based off their highest stat (in Leadership, Gunnery, et cetera). There are several archetypes: human male, human female, rock alien, many-eyed alien, spider alien, and so on. Each archetype has a different voice. When you're playing the game, you'll hear the appropriate voice yell out for whatever they're stationed in. Got a female spotter? You'll hear her voice cry "Asteroids ahead!" Got a little bug-eyed gunner? You'll hear him yell out "FIRE!" in a manic high-pitched voice. It helps with the atmosphere and the fleet personalisations.

Anyway, on to the killin'!

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up3_004.jpg

This map.. is not so good. Its feature is a very large central nebula. Nebulae interfere with sensors and with your sails; you can't scan through them, and if you take a ship too far in, it'll be unable to gather enough light to power its engines. Other ships could harpoon you and drag you back out, though.

Unfortunately the AI just ignores it, doesn't try to skirt it, and there's nowhere else on the map to GO. If you had a full 8-fleet battle, I could kind of see jumping in right off the bat, letting the other fleets duke it out, and then coming out at the end to pick off whoever's left.. but that's about it.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up3_002.jpg

Here's us. One thing I really wanted to show off was the weapon barge/platform. Each faction has one, and they all look different, depending on that faction's stylings.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up3_003.jpg

The pirate one is just crazy great, though. The flavour text talks about how, when the pirates take a vessel that's too damaged to use in their fleets, they strip it down, load it with guns, and use it as a weapon platform. Why's this great? Because while they could've just used the Navy's style, which just looks like an unmasted flat barge, the pirate's platform DOES look like this old barely-floating wreck.

Weapon platforms can't move on their own, but can be dragged via harpoon.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up3_001.jpg

Hmm, there's one of the AI. Four ships... my original plan had been to use the fully-crewed galleon, Calico Jack, to board and take over a lot of the enemy ships. I don't know if she'd survive diving right into that, though... so I ordered the fast attack to harpoon the barge, and we started heading south, hoping to run into the other AI so's I'm not the only target.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up3_005.jpg

nunix
09-07-2008, 11:15 AM
The weapon barge does a great job of soaking up the initial attack volleys, and that AI starts circling. As they do, we spot the second AI coming in from the north. They're a bit far out, but pirate ships are fast, so I know they'll get here pretty quick. In the meantime..

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up3_006.jpg

I start trying to maneuver the Jack to a point where I can board another ship. Unfortunately galleons are stupid slow and turn like a rock, and I lose the fast attack ship in the melee. Remember: everyone's in a pirate ship, pirate ships have lots of guns but very weak hulls. This fight winds up being over way faster than I thought it would.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up3_007.jpg

Managed to land one. The warning message there is telling me that one of my gun transformers has been hit; my guns are going to recharge a little slower now.

In any case, we grab the Furious here in short order. Boarding a ship is pretty simple.

1) Bring the ships close together.
2) Harpoon!
3) Right-click the target ship and select the "boarding action" icon.

If your ship's crew is stronger, and the other ship doesn't manage to break the harpoon line, you get yourself a nice new.. well.. gently-battled ship, anyway.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up3_008.jpg

The Gorgon here is going to be our enemy for the remainder of the battle; these other ships go down in just a couple of minutes, once I start actually FIRING the Jack's guns, instead of just trying to harpoon stuff.

Hmmm.. but what's that at the top of the screen?

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up3_009.jpg

Captain! Whales spotted!

..yes, space whales. Awesome. Of course, they don't do much, but if you move with a pod it can help to hide you from an enemy. Also if you happen to attack one they will flip out and just smash you to pieces.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up3_010.jpg

The Gorgon gets hot for the Furious, and starts chasing it. I pull the Calico Jack in behind, and we start to circle. Galleons don't have a whole lot of forward-facing guns, but I do have a laser gatling on the prow, which I use to attack the Gorgon's sails. it doesn't do a lot of damage, but after a few hits I manage to break off the mainmast.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up3_011.jpg

And after that? Whale food.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up3_012.jpg

nunix
09-07-2008, 11:22 AM
Our last look is at the Procyons.

Normal Procyon fleet ships look very much like the Navy's, but sleeker and faster; more like clipper ships than ships of the line. They prefer plasma cannons and lancers as opposed to carronades or laser cannon as their main armament; plasma cannons hit heavier than the laser cannons that the Navy likes, but they're more expensive. Lancers aren't super powerful but have a ridiculous range.

However, as part of the game's campaign mode, you learn they have.. well.. something a little beefer. Little stronger.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/ui_up4_01.jpg

A little totally fucking cheap and broken.

Yes, the Procs have freaking ironclads.

They have an ironclad torpedo boat.

Which can fire while cloaked.

Total bullshit. =(

Thankfully, we're playing 'em this time.

Our fleet's a Dreadnaught, which is the most expensive ship in the game at 350 points, and two Submarines.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up4_002.jpg

Domination indeed.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up4_003.jpg

One detail on it that I like are these gun ports. This is a bank of three laser gatlings. Again, gatlings are pretty weak, they're best used as point-defense weapons against incoming torpedoes and mines. But I just really like how they're placed there, in the hull. When you see them firing, it looks like a FreeSpace 2 capship firing the flak guns, it's pretty great.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up4_004.jpg

Our map is the Dragon's Den. A pretty interesting map with people, as the central island has a fun little feature we'll see in a second. We don't have any sensor contacts right off the bat here, though, so let's move in a little closer and see what we can find.

nunix
09-07-2008, 11:32 AM
http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up4_005.jpg

Approaching the central island, we get a glimpse of the Golden Hind here. Well, he can't be alone.. full steam, captain!

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up4_008.jpg

..uh.. a little less steam, maybe?

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up4_011.jpg

Here be dragons!

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up4_014.jpg

The dragons are the only creep in the game. Their attack is a fireball (virtually identical to a weapon you can load on your ships, Arcturian Fire), which does some damage, but the main danger is in the fact that it'll just burn your sails right up. You can attack 'em back, and since both pirates and Navy are over here doing battle, they'll wind up taking out the dragons before we get there.

..which doesn't matter, since we don't have sails.

So cheap.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up4_018.jpg

The Domination and its escorts move in to the main fracas, but you can see a lone ship off in the distance chasing a dragon.

Before we join:

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up4_015.jpg

After we join:

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up4_024.jpg

Time to go find that last ship.

nunix
09-07-2008, 11:38 AM
http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up4_025.jpg

The dragon's nowhere to be seen; either killed or chased off. With no one else around, and unable to see us on its sensors, it just hung out here at the edge of the map until we got close enough.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up4_026.jpg

Moving the Domination around this outlying atoll to come up for an attack...

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk26/violenteyes/treasure%20planet/image_up4_027.jpg

Two seconds later the Domination just ran over the Argentum, and it exploded in a nice white light. Which is fun to watch, but makes for a poor screenshot.




...so anyway, that's the skirmish mode of Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon!

The campaign mode is pretty fun; the maps are varied, there are lots of different objectives, and some fun gameplay twists an' turns. Normal difficulty is a good challenge; Hard is for the masochistic. You're also able to capture enemy ships as in a skirmish game and add them to your fleet, which usually carries over map to map - a la Homeworld - except with a couple of exceptions.

I really like this game! It's simple, but I enjoy the pirate-ships-in-space trappings more than is healthy and so I'm down with it. It originally retailed for something like $20 new, and if you happen to see it in a bargain bin somewhere I really urge you to pick it up.

Malefor
09-07-2008, 01:36 PM
Cool! I had no idea that this game even existed. Thanks for taking the time to write it up, Nunix!

Lucas
09-07-2008, 01:57 PM
Oh man, I want to play those Procyons now. Do you ever play as pirates or Procyon in the campaign, or is it all Royal Navy?

nunix
09-07-2008, 02:47 PM
It's all Navy. =/

If the map editor had been released, you could've made secnario maps where you play as the Procs or pirates, but.. alas.

Lucas
09-08-2008, 12:52 AM
It's all Navy. =/

If the map editor had been released, you could've made scenario maps where you play as the Procs or pirates, but.. alas.

>=(

Guess I'll just be hitting the skirmish mode, then...