Lost Sea Interview: Surviving Procedurally Generated Archipelago

Aidan Price, Game Designer at Eastasiasoft speaks to GamingBolt about the upcoming 3D action game.

Posted By | On 26th, Feb. 2016 Under Article, Interviews | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet


Not too many games are based on the famous Bermuda Triangles but Eastasiasoft’s Lost Sea is planning to change that. Lost Sea is an upcoming 3D action adventure game for the PS4, Xbox One and PC that puts player right at the heart of the world’s mysterious place and features procedurally generated islands. The player needs to find resources, upgrade their ship and fight off against enemies.

Sounds like an intriguing concept, right? GamingBolt got in touch with the game’s designer, Aidan Price to talk about how the game is shaping up.

Lost Sea is billed as a strategy title but seems to be an action RPG. What inspired the use of multiple different genres here?

We wanted to make a game where players wouldn’t be forced to be good at combat in order to progress. Initially we had these very complicated systems, that over time became more streamlined as we attended shows and took player feedback on board.  Now a lot of that has been rolled into crew recruitment so you can select crew who might augment your combat ability, or allow you to access more items, level up faster and so on.

For a game that takes place in the Bermuda Triangle, is there actually a conclusion to the game?

Yeah, there is a definite end state. With Lost Sea we wanted the player to have a constant goal to be working towards, in this case it is heading towards a mysterious portal at the centre of the Bermuda Triangle.

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"With Lost Sea we wanted the player to have a constant goal to be working towards, in this case it is heading towards a mysterious portal at the centre of the Bermuda Triangle."

Can you outline the basic gameplay for us and what players will mostly be spending their time doing?

As you mentioned the moment to moment gameplay resembles an action RPG. Since the island is incredibly hostile a large part of the time will be fighting critters and circumnavigating hazards to try and achieve your goal.

Will there be naval combat of sorts or can ships be built specifically to explore other parts of the archipelago?

Nope! Unfortunately not. It’s something we looked into, but we’re only a small team and after looking into it we quickly realized it is essentially an entirely new game that we would have to build on top of the core, island exploration game.

How does the procedurally generated nature of the game affect missions, side-quests and other areas? Will there be any reason to re-explore old areas?

Yup, you might find a certain crew member who can build a bridge or allow you to open a locked chest in which case you might want to backtrack. In terms of missions and side quests we don’t have a formal quest system, its more a case of the player thinking “oh, I’m a bit low on health, I’d better back track to the ship to heal”.

The look of Lost Sea seems to hide an incredibly complex system. What other aspects can we look forward to besides managing crew members and which genre fans will find the most to like?

As I mentioned a little earlier, it used to be much more complicated, and attending lots of shows really allowed us to stream line the game. A good example of this is the tablets. Initially players had to collect various amounts of different resources, and what we discovered is that eventually it always boiled down to one resource type being the limiting factor. For example 3 screws. Since hunting down those 3 or so core items on each island became the main focus, gathering the rest became boring, busy work. Instead we said what if you only have to collect a few items on each island and made it a little more engaging than resource gathering was previously. Now the main systems are exploring the island, managing crew, combat and researching player skills and ship upgrades.

How was the development process on the PS4 and Xbox One? Did you run into any obstacles while developing for either platform?

It’s been ok for the most part. Making games is always hard regardless of which platforms you’re developing for. On this project we used Unity which really sped up development but also caused a few issues, but overall we’ve been very happy with it. No platform specific problems though (fingers crossed!)

Furthermore, what is your take on the differences between them?

They’re really very similar at this point. Both have their differences here and there but overall, it is much, much easier than it used to be, and again using an existing game engine like Unity really simplifies the process.

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"The plan was to release end of 2015 but we decided to add some extra features, for example boss battles at the end of zones, which pushed the release date out a bit."

Is the game going to run at 1080p and 60fps on both the PS4 and Xbox One?

Yup! We’re pretty much at a solid 60 FPS at the moment without any real optimization. We’re still testing though so you never know if there is one particular particle effect, boss, etc that will slow things down. The plan is 1080p and 60 FPS for both platforms though!

What are your thoughts on the indie development process for consoles now versus five years ago?

So much better! It’s amazing. Even as little as 5 years ago it wasn’t really taken seriously. You had the Xbox Indie section which had a very niche following, and now they have indie games headlining the keynotes at E3.  Again, having cheap and easy to use tools means literally anyone can get a game published on console.

Do you plan to support Lost Sea with post-launch content and updates?

If there is a demand for it. We don’t really cut features during development and go “oh save that for DLC”. Right now we are just focused on getting the core game finished and released on all platforms!

When can we look forward to Lost Sea releasing? It was originally marked for a 2015 release.

The plan was to release end of 2015 but we decided to add some extra features, for example boss battles at the end of zones, which pushed the release date out a bit.

Is there anything else you want to tell us about the game before we let you go?

There isn’t any one particular thing, all I’d like to say is keep an eye on the blog (lostseagame.com) and twitter (@lostseagame), because as we get closer to release we’ll be posting more up there. In particular we’ll be going into a bit more depth about the different areas of the games development which I look forward to talking about!


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