The return of piracy to the Caribbean was marked by one feature that wasn’t present in any version of the original game - Weather. Although many pirates dreamt of the addition of this wondrous natural phenomenon, it wasn’t until when Beta was released that sailors began to feel the taste of fresh water as it fell from the skies - as a surprise update no less!
Joining me for our first Content Spotlight is John Cote, the developer who conceived of this idea and brought it forth to our live servers.
Lord Midhav: So John, how long have you been playing the game for?
John Cote: Only for about a year and a half, since March 2015 when I joined TLOPO. I didn't play the original game, although I always wanted to.
LM: Oh, that's cool. How exactly did you come across this community and join the development team then?
JC: I had been silently following the "post-Disney" POTCO community for around a year prior to joining TLOPO. I was intrigued by TLOPO and its progress after the team released a video showing their progress with Potion Brewing, which was more than anybody else had accomplished.
LM: And so you contacted one of the devs I assume?
JC: Yeah, I talked to a developer and was on the team the same day I saw the video.
LM: Awesome. So tell me, what inspired you to create the addition of weather to the game?
JC: Of course. Initially, it was just rain, which wasn't my idea; Disney themselves had rain in POTCO beta, so I thought it'd be cool to reimplement that feature and make use of it. As I was working on it, I got the idea to create an advanced weather AI that changes between different stages of weather.
LM: Are you referring to an upcoming update to the weather system?
JC: Well, yes and no. The current weather system does change between three different stages of weather. In the future, they will be improved and more will be added.
LM: How exactly does the weather system work right now? What exactly made it possible in the first place?
JC: The current weather system runs in a cycle. Every 15-30 minutes, a different weather stage is randomly chosen by the server which updates everybody's game. Weather is not the same between all oceans, so it could be raining on one ocean whilst only being overcast on another. Integrating weather into the game was relatively painless as the game is already mostly designed to handle changes like that.
LM: By "oceans" you're referring to districts/servers yes?
LM: What keeps it from raining indoors?
JC: Simple checks in the code that check if a player is entering an interior when it's raining and turns off the rain effect if that's the case.
LM: What did your daily workload consist when creating the weather system? Was it in any way time consuming?
JC: Usually I am either fixing bugs or adding new features. More recently it has mainly been adding new features, so creating the weather system didn't take time away from other work because it's all I was working on. Creating it was indeed time consuming; it took a few weeks of consistent work to complete an initial, functional implementation of the system.
LM: And by adding new features, you mean reimplementing the ones that were present in POTCO prior to closure?
JC: By adding new features, I mean actual new content. Whether big or small, anything that wasn't already in POTCO. The rest of the team works on existing POTCO features, typically.
LM: Can you give us a hint of at least one new feature that you've worked on so far?
JC: Sure. I can't give out too much information as it's still being worked on, but it involves the ocean water and its behavior. It's only visual, just like weather, but I think players will like it.
LM: Sounds great! Lastly, what can we expect from weather in the future?
JC: A ton of stuff! I plan on adding many more stages of weather with more seamless transitions, as well as lightning. There are some more planned updates for weather but the ones I mentioned earlier are confirmed.
LM: And that about wraps our interview. Thank you, John.
JC: No problem. Have a good one!