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Something that I would really like to see implemented into the game would be boat linking, as I think that it'll open up an immense amount of potential for different variants of boats. It'll also allow the creation of mobile naval bases (and also make them sturdier, I'll elaborate on that later on), which would make the oceans a much more interesting place and more than just a "glorified salt puddle".

One way that boat linking could be implemented is to add an item similar to the boat patch that can be used between boats that are relatively close to each other, and it'll link them together (pulling them closer to each other so that they touch, if necessary). A link can be broken anytime by a hammer, which would unlink the boats and make them completely separate entities again. Linked boats would practically function as a single boat, but there are certain exceptions for which they'll function as separate entities, such as their HP or their leaks. A steering wheel is also only able to control the masts that are on the same platform as it, so big boats would need sections that are specifically dedicated to masts and sails. When a boat that is linked gets destroyed, it's no longer considered to be linked and would drop its ressources like a single boat will, while that the rest of the link remains unaffected. When linked, boats would share any thrust/friction that they receive from masts, anchors or paddles that are on them, which means that the bigger the boat, the more masts/paddles it'll need. Functionally-wise, it means that the amount of thrust/friction that a group of linked boats gets would be divided by the amount of boats that are in the link. An example in the screenshot at the bottom of the post:

Considering that the boats in the image are linked as a group, they are totalling 7 boats, 8 masts and 6 anchors. In this case, the maximum thrust that the boat can have would be around 1.14 times (8 masts/7 boats) the thrust of a single mast, and the capped amount of thrust that a group of boat can have would still be at 3 masts (for those that don't know, the thrust of 3 masts is the current maximum amount that a ship can have in-game). The maximum amount of friction that the group of boat can have would be around 0.857 (6 anchors/7 boats) times the friction of a single anchor, which means that it'll slow down at a lower pace than a boat with one anchor. Boat paddling would also be divided by the number of boats, so to paddle the boat in the image below at the same speed as a single boat being paddled by one person, 7 players would be required to paddle at the same time.

Following the same logic as with the thrust/friction thing, knock back that is applied to a group of boats would also be reduced. The boat in the image, for example, would only receive 1/7 of the knock back that a single boat would receive. 

Now, how would this open up more possibilities for boat building and make naval bases better? I'll start off with the naval base part, as it's something that I found out the hard way recently. As of now, one of the greatest weaknesses of naval bases (even those with anchors on every platform) would be waves or collisions of any sort. While that anchors slow down any movement made by the boat, it doesn't completely immobilize them, which means that a Gnarwail taking a splash nearby is enough to upgrade your naval base into an underwater one. Platforms tend to be extremely close to each other, so a strong push (from a wave, Malbatross, Gnarwail, etc...) would set off a chain reaction that makes platforms collide into each other, which puts leaks in them while sending them off in several directions. Boat linking would prevent this, as linked platforms would have no collision boxes between them. If a linked base was to get hit by waves, it'll simply be pushed away, as it'll also get a knock back mitigation from the amount of boats that are linked. As a plus, it'll also open up the possibility of relocation for naval bases, which could be a fun thing to do once in a while.


As for opening up potential for boat designs, it'll allow players to be much more creative with their vessels. People seldom mount Houndius Shootiuses or Winona Catapults on boats due to a lack of space, so having the possibility of linking boats in order to make bigger ones—thus getting more space—would enable players to create ships that are more designed for combat while remaining reasonably mobile/flexible. An example of a smaller set-up would be two boats linked together with one acting as the weapons platform and the other acting as the propelling platform, while that larger set-ups could be floating fortresses with Houndiuses and catapults covering every direction. Boat linking can also be beneficial to boats that aren't designed for combat, such as farming or transport boats, and having a large naval platform that you can easily move around would be very convenient for pretty much any purposes. Mobile pig villages, anyone?


One last positive thing (depending on how you look at it) I feel that such a feature would bring would be the need for better communication to operate larger vessels. Currently, a boat only requires a single person to captain properly, and the captain tends to get quite grumpy if any of the other players onboard touch the controls. If boat linking were to be implemented, mega boats would be possible, which would be very likely to require close-knit cooperation and teamwork in order to function properly. If we look back at the concept screenshot below, the player controlling the engines (the platform with the masts and anchors) can barely see what's North of the boat, which would result in a boat crash as they can't stop in time (8 masts to close and 6 anchors to drop, which would take a minimum amount of 15 seconds for a single player to do). Other players on board would be able to move around and give out warnings on threats that the pilot can't see, and they can be of a priceless help with dropping the anchors and closing the sails when a stop is needed. I feel that all this would make boating much more fun and interactive, as working alongside a crew in order to pilot a huge vessel sounds more entertaining than sailing alone. 

It's been a while since I've last visited the forums, so I apologize in advance if the suggestion has already been made in the past! 


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