Aquatic vehicles

[ul]Aquatic vehicles would allow you to navigate rivers and would also provide you some shelter from weather if a roof is present in a raft tile. In their very basic form, this type of vehicles aren’t anything more than a raft. Additional parts would only make the raft bigger, more stable, etc.

The most basic structural part, the “steel frame” for rafts, would have to be crafted by using a log or several two by fours.

The rest of the construction process would be almost identical to that of terrestrial vehicles.

Parts would be attached by using strings or ropes, and would work similarly to a welder (you waste as many as specified by the part you want to attach). Other tools used would be stone/wood axes, wood saws, hatchets, knifes… anything related to wood and ropes.

From now on I’ll refer to aquatic vehicles as “rafts”, just for the sake of simplicity, and because that’s what they actually would be.

For a raft to be able to move safely it’d need good buoyancy and stability levels.

This stat is calculated per raft tile, and the the average of all the parts would determine the overall buoyancy level. Each part in a tile would have a built-in buoyancy level, although some parts should be clearly more suited for this purpose. Raft frames always would offer the minimum needed buoyancy.

Buoyancy would be affected by weight. Raft frames would have a weight tolerance or limit. Each new added part would add weight to that tile, including the weight of the player, if present. If the sum of all the weight is more than that of the allowed by the frame the extra weight would proportionally decrease the buoyancy level of that raft tile.

This stat would control the chances of a raft to capsize and would be linked to the buoyancy of each part. If a part’s buoyancy is below the minimum the overall stability decreases.

If stability falls below a minimum the raft has a chance of capsizing each turn it’s moving. This would have several effects: parts could be lost, damaged (particularly engines) and make the raft completely useless. The only way to recover the raft would be to push it while swimming to a shallow water or dirt tile, and then try to turn it over (chances of success based on raft weight and character strength).

How easily you could turn the raft. Any raft frame apart from the initial one would decrease this value from its original 100%. The type of engine (based on engine power?) and control would increase it.

If currents are implemented they should also affect maneuverability (turning a boat against the current should be particularly tricky).


[li]Raft frame (the very basic structural element other parts attach to)[/li]
[li]Roof (made by two by fours or sticks, and also sheets, plastic bags, leather or fur pelts for the covering)[/li]
[li]Board (made by two by fours, although maybe this part isn’t needed)[/li]
[li]Seat (to simplify checks, although ideally it shouldn’t be needed, as you could use a long stick to move and control the raft while standing)[/li]

If there’s no seats this part would be considered the one where you actually drive the vehicle by placing yourself besides it.
Controls and engines (such as oars and long sticks) overlap here.
[li]Long stick[/li]
[li]Steering wheel (it could be built with a “vehicle control” or something like a bicycle wheel)[/li]

Items the only purpose of which is to add extra buoyancy.
[li]Gallon jugs[/li]
[li]Plastic jerrycans[/li]

[li]Long stick (would move the raft by pushing it against the river’s bed, but it’d depend on how deep deep water actually is)[/li]
[li]Fuel-powered engine (the same engines used for terrestrial vehicles could work also here, with maybe some tweaks and additions. Most of them would require an additional “fuel tank” part)[/li]

[li]Box or Trunk or Chest (probably just a simple wooden box or crate)[/li]

[li]Bed (in this case maybe a rollmat or several fur pelts could be used)[/li]
[li]Head light (or whatever the name for a raft is)[/li]
[li]Anchor (would allow a complete stop)[/li]

Being most of the parts built of wood you shouldn’t be able to repair them. You could only replace them once they’ve totally broken or you consider it’s time for a replacement.

Rivers and currents
I don’t think this is actually present, so this should probably have to be modeled in. Basically, deep water would always flow in one direction. A raft placed in a deep water tile would move autonomously each turn while being pushed by that current. Shallow tiles would be exempt of this, or the current power could be severely reduced. This would allow rafts to be “parked” in shallow waters without an anchor.

Driving a raft
Once built, the raft should be pushed to water, be it shallow or deep. Once there, the player should board the raft and move to a tile with raft controls in order to drive it.

While in deep water the raft should be able to drift at a speed equal to that of the current. Moving forward would speed the raft up even more.

Anchors would activate the same way as handbrakes (s). For an anchor to work properly the raft speed shouldn’t exceed a given minimum. Otherwise the anchor would either break or be lost for good. A full stop shouldn’t be achieved without one.

You should be able to exit a raft at any moment by moving to a deep/shallow water tile. In this case the shaft would go on drifting unless an anchor is used.

Default vehicles
Some examples:

Basic raft[/ul]


Four raft frames and an oar or long stick to control and move the raft.



Three raft frames, eight boards and two oars to control and move the raft, maybe a seat in the middle

Motorized raft


Nine raft frames, and one combustion engine and some kind of rudder in the same tile

Motorized canoe


Three raft frames, eight boards and one combustion engine and some kind of rudder in the same tile, maybe a seat in front

Sail raft


Nine raft frames, one sail and some kind of rudder

Some related links
How to build a raft

That’s all I can think of right now. I understand this suggestion implies a lot of work, with extra code and some changes, but I think aquatic vehicles (be them rafts or something else) would make the exploration and survival aspect of this game even deeper and more fun.

EDIT: I accidentally a couple words. Cleaned it up a bit

I agree, although I think for this change to be worth it, there needs to be a lot of expansion to waterways. As it stands there’s basically only river, and no way to pass under bridges (there’d have to be some code change there, or perhaps raise the bridges by one Z level.

Personally I think it’d be cool to see the introduction of a coastline, with the sea beyond it. It would limit the direction the player can travel in (perhaps the coastline could be decided upon worldgen as always being to the East/North/whatever) but that’s not a big deal, given that the map can extend infinitely in all other directions. The sea could have random islands, some with towns, other just bare, and maybe there’d be boats dotted around for the player to scavenge from.

Yeah, water needs more love. I’ve been thinking islands with a house or somesuch could make a fairly secure base and would justify player investment in Swimming, etc.

Other aquatic locations might involve offshore wind, extraction rigs, reefs (Deep One colony optional, since there are Lovecraftian folks in the game already), etc.

I think there should be danger as well to prevent everything from being “you escaped the zombie infection! Congrats, you are the protagonist of a zombie movie in pretty much every way now!”. Mutated sharks, deep ones, kraken?

Maybe a: You hear a large thud and a part was damaged!

Zombies in water hitting the boat, solves the over poweredness.

At this point, I feel it’s justified to bring everyone’s attention to Derelict, which is how I hope a seafaring cataclysm game might feel.

Seriously. We need boats, someday. The sea in where Whales lives, after all.

Or you could just go fast over the water.

While I see how this suggestion can quickly lead to these kind of other ideas and conclusions let me add something.

The only goal I had in mind when making this suggestion was to provide another way to explore the mainland, this time by using rivers instead of roads. We’re talking rafts here, after all. A quite inappropriate and vulnerable navigation method.

In my mind, just the river itself could and should kill you if you’re not careful, if things such as rapids were implemented. But even without that we have giant flying swamp creatures that could drain you dry in a couple seconds. If anything, navigating a raft would be something quite risky. Its main benefit would be offering you an alternative (relatively) fast transportation method which is (relatively) easy to build, for those not versed in mechanics or not lucky when looking for a terrestrial vehicle, or parts for it, or gas, etc.

It’s also something that goes well with the “survivor” theme of this game.

Seriously though. We have a cbm that slows time right?..I want to go fast over the water.

“Your boat capsizes! You where eaten by a Water Grue.”

Water Grues… What a way to go.

Water grues would be cool, something lurking in the water nobody knows anything about. It’s only presence would be ripples in the water, creeping up upon your boat and smacking the hull. “You hear a large thud and X part was damaged!” And the boat may capsize where you get eaten by the grue.

Problem with Water Grues is that players can, depending on their luck with Mutagen, pretty much become merfolk/tritons. Grues generally were an omnipresent hazard in Zork and the Water Grues sound like an implementation of Super Drowning Skills.

(Grues generally would be an interesting monster…but Night Vision kills their schtick too. Basically, there’s nowhere a properly equipped/modded/mutated PC can’t go…with the possible exception of lava. Pentagram of Protection!)

No, they are vultures not like their cousins.

If you are watching the water and not in bad shape (from capsizing or just stupidity) they won’t attack.

They attack when you are below 30 hp on any limb or when drowning, they cannot eat live prey. Which explains no zombies in the water.

I pretty much like the idea.

I was thinking about it before, but I cannot imagine how to implement sailing under bridges. The key point here is that the bridges are on the same z-level as water, which makes them impassable obstacle for aquatic vehicles.

But the general idea is great.


Well, Z levels will be integrated eventually. There’s the foundations for it already present in 0.3 IIRC, and it seems it will be developed further.

But, yes, without being able to sail or swim below bridges this whole suggestion is silly. It’d probably also need a revamp/tweak of swamp tiles. Imagine sailing is implemented tomorrow but swamps remain the same. It’d be simply suicidal to get on a raft. Giant frogs and mosquitoes trains, etc. You’d last exactly two milliseconds.

Yeah, I like the general idea. I’d want to find that steel rowboat I used to pilot in Ontario, rather than being confined to rafts/canoes, though. Larger boats ought to have similar tradeoffs to Cars: larger/faster/better armor/storage v. less maneuverable/gas-hungry/attracts attention.

maybe they can get the code to make a boat surface to not cause enemies to get hit damage, so monsters can get on your boat while you drive and come to kill you while you jump off the controls to fight them, and hope you have enough time to get back to them so you don’t crash.

Why not throw in hovercraft, for hybrid land and water travel while avoiding basic traps? I understand they steer like a very slippery tank, tough, and are super-fragile.

Trouble is… if you get off the controls you will be run over by your own boat.

The current system won’t support it.

Fix the current system?