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So sailing might actually be happening! This is my design for sailing. Read on to see why sailing could be one of the best updates of all time!


1 - Offer content to all players, of all levels/ account builds
2 - Bring new, unique content to all skills, to PVM, and to PVP
3 - Bring use (and maybe profit) to construction
4 - Offer diverse training methods
5 - Infinitely expandable

I know this thread is very long and you might not have time to read it all, so I would recommend reading at least the summary, core aims and gameplay sections. Most of the thread is fleshing out the concepts introduced in these sections, addressing the further details and justifying why design choices were made. If you do read it all of course, that’s awesome. (:

This thread deals mostly with the mechanics and fundamentals of the idea, so I’ve not gone into detail on the exact new resources/new bosses/graphics/numbers etc. the skill would include. Rather, I have focused on the core concepts that make up this skill, and looked at a few issues that may prove problematic. That being said, some space is used to describe details, mostly as arbitrary examples where relevant.

I hope you enjoy reading my design for this skill and if you have any further question please feel free to ask!

23-Aug-2014 02:22:33 - Last edited on 13-Dec-2015 18:26:38 by San



Posts: 4,257Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Contents (click to go straight to that section)

1. Summary
2. Core Aims
3. Basics of Sailing
4. Further Elaboration
5. Training Sailing
6. Boats
7. Miscellaneous Ideas
8. Possible Problems & Solutions
9. Anti-Botting Considerations
10. Balancing Considerations
11. Arguments Against & Rebuttals
12. Conclusion

If you don't have much time - which is understandable, this thread is rather long! - I recommend reading the summary, core aims and gameplay sections.

If you have a preconceived notion that sailing is silly and/ or useless, I recommend reading the gaining experience and miscellaneous ideas sections.

What's new in version 2?

The biggest change is that I've scrapped the idea of each sea having a unique 10x10 map in favour of one navigation map for everything. The advantages of this are that it's a more simple design, the layout of resources can be more logical and that rivers and lakes can be included. There are still seas - they're now more just general areas.

I've also gone into more detail about how the boats work. I've gone into more detail on some other things too.

Finally, I tried to clean up the thread a bit to avoid unnecessary repetition and to simplify the language.

23-Aug-2014 02:22:38 - Last edited on 13-Dec-2015 18:27:02 by San



Posts: 4,257Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile

Sailing is a skill that can be trained both solo and with teams, in which the player ventures out to sea to perform all manner of activities. The player can go fishing, freighting, salvaging, exploring, join the navy, or even take up a life of piracy!

The skill is based around navigating the seas of runescape. The player controls their boat via their navigation map, explores new areas and accesses a massive amount of new content. They must be careful, though, as there are also lots of dangers that may damage the boat, meaning they must repair it in time to avoid sinking and washing up to shore. The skill is trained in several methods as this is a popular mechanic for skills such as crafting. The skill can also (not exclusively) be trained with teammates as this was a popular mechanic in dungeoneering. My concept for sailing draws from some of the most popular aspects of skills, with the result hopefully being a skill that will be well received by a huge number of players.

My primary aim in designing this skill is that it needs to be fun. Therefore I have designed it so that training the skill is not repetitive and if anything cannot be grinded in the traditional sense. I am aiming for slightly more casual gaming where it can still be high concentration but is engaging rather than carpal tunnel inducing.

23-Aug-2014 02:22:45 - Last edited on 18-Jul-2015 16:32:29 by San



Posts: 4,257Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Core Aims

1) Old School
Sailing is one of the most old school and popular ideas never to have made it into game. Much speculation has occurred over the years that it may be added, and it has gained widespread support in doing so.

2) Ready
It's not unusual for a concept to be introduced and then expanded on later. A few examples:

Runecrafting - we could get runes from shops/ monsters, runecrafting enabled them to be created by the player
Hunter - Big chompy bird hunting involved hunting before hunter was a skill
Farming - we already had the produce, farming enabled the player to create them. In Legend's quest the player grows a yommi tree
Summoning - tower of life introduced the idea of creating your own creature... etc

I'm sure there are more examples.

For sailing we already have deep sea fishing (fishing trawler), underwater areas (rfd), ship battles (cabin fever), crude transportation (charter ships)... again I'm sure there are more.

The point is, we have isolated examples of some of the stuff sailing could offer, but we couldn't expand them without an isolated example for each, like a different fishing trawler minigame for a new kind of fish.

Sailing works because we have all this stuff, but they're disconnected... erratic even. Sailing would glue all this stuff together to allow more stuff to be introduced logically. It's happened many times with other skills. What we have currently is ripe ground for sailing.

23-Aug-2014 02:22:48 - Last edited on 18-Jul-2015 18:58:50 by San



Posts: 4,257Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
3) Accessible
Sailing offers expansions for skilling, PvM and PvP so all players will be able to benefit. It won't discriminate pures and skillers either. No other skill comes close!

4) Diverse
I don't think it's a coincidence that slayer is one of the most popular skills, neither dungeoneering in RS3. Instead of the repetition of grinding, we had diverse ways to train. Sailing can offer this via the training methods I've outlined in this thread. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks compared to the others; some offer greater exp but lesser rewards, some vice versa. What's true, though, is none of them are the same each time round!

5) Exploration
Remember when you had just started runescape? Everywhere was new. Nowhere had been explored. Remember that thrill of running around and discovering places for the very first time? When I first got membership, I just ran around, loving the fact I was charting territory I had no idea about. Imagine the thrill of getting to do that all again! Sailing offers this is quantities most other updates couldn’t even come close to.

6) Endless Inspiration
Considering Runescape draws inspiration from many cultures of the medieval time period, there is so much potential to draw inspiration to create a sailing skill, as the sea was integral to pretty much every culture ever. Furthermore, since the sea was a great unknown to all these cultures; powerful, beautiful, deadly; there is a lot of mythology and stories that are based on the seas.

23-Aug-2014 02:22:52 - Last edited on 18-Jul-2015 16:36:08 by San



Posts: 4,257Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
7) Future Proof
New trees, new rocks, new fish, new herbs, new slayer monsters, new bosses, new hunter creatures, new weaponry, new armour... the possibilities are literally endless. Menaphos, Prifddinas, Kudos Island... the Eastern Lands even. Quests aplenty. All perfect to be introduced with sailing. The skill needn’t ever be “finished”, either. There will always be opportunity for new content, making it one of the most future proof updates ever.

8) Assistive
A good way to describe sailing is “reverse dungeoneering”. Dungeoneering was a case where training other skills made training dungeoneering better. Sailing is the opposite: you train sailing to make training other skills better. Thus, sailing is an assistive skill. The player does not train it specifically, but trains it as a by-product of other activities.

9) Easy Way to Introduce New Content
Sailing as a skill is just the beginning. It's not just a skill; it's an entirely new mechanic of play. I often think that when new content is added - particularly the case with RS3 - not much thought was put into why. We end up with loads of satellite islands to the mainland, with a random portal/boat to take you there. That doesn't make much sense to me. Sailing, however, does! New content would make sense.

23-Aug-2014 02:22:55 - Last edited on 18-Jul-2015 16:36:59 by San



Posts: 4,257Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Basics of Sailing

The Navigation Map

The skill is centred on the navigation map. It is from the navigation map that the player controls where their boat will go.

The mechanic of the navigation map is the key feature that distinguishes this design of sailing from others. Common arguments against sailing are “There isn’t enough space in runescape seas for 1000 separate boats” and “Runescape doesn’t lend itself to controlling a boat”. The navigation map concept solves both of these issues, since it’s very similar to how mainland runescape works.

On mainland, there are lots of tiles and you click on a tile to go there. With sailing, the navigation map is kind of like that, however each square is a game square. Game squares are the chunks loaded at a time on the mainland, with each game square being almost exactly the size of the castlewars arena. If you'd like to see how runescape is made up of these squares, I'll upload an image of the world map with the squares overlaid to my twitter (@SomeCallMeSan) so you can see. You’ll be able to travel to any square that has water.

I believe this is the best mechanic for sailing as opposed to one where there are a set of locations that can be sailed to from a port and the player must pick one. My problem with that design is that there is no cross-linkage after leaving the port, which doesn’t make much sense: I may set off from a port to island A, then want to go to island B, which under the set-voyage mechanic would mean having to go port-island A-port-island B.

The navigation map on the other hand allows the player to sail from anywhere to anywhere which I believe provides an astronomical degree of flexibility. Plus, with it being a scaled up version of the mainland, it should be very intuitive so players will not have much difficulty getting used to it.

23-Aug-2014 02:22:58 - Last edited on 18-Jul-2015 19:04:48 by San



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Another problem is while the set-voyage mechanic is the better solution in the short run, in the long run the navigation map is by far the better solution. This is because as more resources are added, so must another voyage, which may result in thousands after a while! Having fewer voyages, though, would make for a rather empty skill. The navigation map allows for far better future proofing: once the initial mechanic is developed, more content can be added but will not add any bulk to the interface.

When you click the navigation map it will bring up the navigation interface. While the navigation interface is open there will also be another interface in the inventory region. This will have information on the square you are currently in regarding the dangers of that square. There will also be a button titled “explore”. If you click on another square this will change to “travel”, and when clicked this will make the boat to travel the new square.

The location of the boat is the central square, and moving to new squares will cause the navigation map to shift. So if you travel 1 square south, you’ll no longer see the topmost row of squares but will now see the bottommost row of squares instead, like how the minimap works on the mainland.

When on a square, you can explore it. If you have never been to a square before, you’ll have no information on it, just the explore option. Once explored, you get some information on the dangers and the threat level of said dangers. The more you explore it the more accurate this information is.

You will get a good amount of EXP the first time exploring, dropping off the second time and so on.

You can only travel to/ explore squares that have water. This means rivers could be included too, though perhaps only the smaller, lower level boats could use them.

The ports you set off from will put you on a square of the navigation map, and if you go to a square linked to a port you can choose to go to the port.

23-Aug-2014 02:23:01 - Last edited on 18-Jul-2015 19:22:33 by San



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Once explored, you have the option to travel directly to the square. If you have multiple adjacent squares explored, you can travel directly from the first to the last. You get sailing experience for doing this, but not too much, I think sailing should be trained with much more varied methods. If undiscovered, you can only travel to squares directly adjacent to squares that you have already explored at least once.

There will be multiple levels of navigation map. The higher levels will show more squares, so at higher levels you will be able to travel further at once. At first you’ll only be able to travel 1 square at a time, going up to 4 squares at level 90.

You can only travel directly to the sides of the square you’re on, that is, you can*t travel diagonally. This is because there are some locations where there is water in two squares that are diagonal to each other, but the two pieces of water are separated by land. An example of this (if you look at the map on my twitter) is the square where the label for “Brimhaven” is. You can see that the square to the south-west also has water, however the two squares have a piece of land between them.

It will also be the case that you can*t travel from a square to another that’s to the side if there’s land in between them, unless you have the sailing level to have a high enough navigation map to travel around that piece of land at once.

An example of this is if you were in the square immediately south of Port Sarim. You can see to the west also has water, but there is a piece of land in the middle. To get to it from the first square you would have to go south, then west, then north. If you’re level 1 and can only travel 1 square at a time, you wouldn’t be able to do this. However, if you had the best navigation map at 90 sailing, you would be able to, since you would be able to travel 4 squares at once.

23-Aug-2014 02:23:04 - Last edited on 18-Jul-2015 22:39:34 by San



Posts: 4,257Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
It takes a set amount of time for the boat to travel from one square to another. However I think it would be a good idea that at higher levels, when more squares can be travelled at once, the time taken from the first to the last be less than if doing each individually.

Some boats are quicker than others, so at higher levels you’ll be able to transport yourself much quicker.

If you explore a square there is a chance that you will find a resource. This can be a resource island, a fishing spot, a boss monster or (in wilderness) another boat. It is possible to find many resources at the same time (probably up to 5). When a resource is found, a dialogue box will show up in the chat window saying something like “You’ve found a resource!” . Under this will be a list of the resources that have been found. Clicking on one of these will take you to that resource. The resource islands wouldn’t be instanced.

The dangers are, well, dangerous! Dangers have a probability of triggering when the square is being traveled to and at regular intervals when idling. If you are hit by one of them, you will take damage to your boat which will then have to be repaired.

The way resource islands and dangers work is using probability. I’ll demonstrate it with an arbitrary example.

In the example, we'll say that there is a 40% chance of triggering the storm and a 20% initial chance of discovering a resource island.

When first explored, the game produces ratings for each of the dangers, but with a low degree of accuracy. For example, the storm is rated to ±30. This means the game selects a danger rating between 10% and 70%, hence the danger rating is not that accurate at first. With more exploration, this swing is reduced further until, say, after 10 explorations it’s at 40% ±5

23-Aug-2014 02:23:07 - Last edited on 18-Jul-2015 22:53:34 by San

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