Happy Winter Veil everyone! Did you had the chance to check this year's tree for your presents? If not, make haste to Ironforge or Ogrimmar!
In any case, this seams to be a perfect opportunity to present a traveling mod: Nauticus. This is quite an unique one. Why? Well, it does something quite unusual: it keeps track of all boats and zeppelin across Azeroth, in realtime.
Yes, transportation roots have progressively become less important with the introduction of flying mounts, but they can still come quite handy. Specially if you're starting a new character, you might find yourself using them a lot.
First, Nauticus displays the precise position of zeppelins and boats both on the Minimap and World Map. The developer even bothered to give each vehicle type it's own icon, so that you will never confuse a giant turtle with a steam boat.
Second, and most importantly, it calculates the transportation route schedules. This allows you to always know when your transportation is arriving and departing, which in turn means less time waiting on platforms, less chances to be ganked, and more time having fun.
Yet, there's a small catch: the first time you install the addon, you will likely not be able to see any route. This happens because Nauticus cannot guess where the transportations will be. Only after you make your first travel on any route, will the addon track it. Server restarts can possibly trick the addon as well - at least until you frequent the route again.
To compensate for this issue, Nauticus has one more built-in feature: it shares schedules between all players using addon on the same realm automatically. So, the more players using it, the more precise will it be.
We also had the opportunity to have a chat with the add-on's author, Drool:
Hi Drool, thank you for answering our questions!
Hi Jaliborc, genuinely surprised you consider Nauticus worthy of a spotlight on Curse!
To be completely honest, I don't have an active WoW subscription to do much with it nowadays. Although, with Christmas coming up, the intention was to play some Mists and check what needed updating with the addon. (Due to its nature, the route calibration part requires many many trips that I doubt a F2P account can muster.)
Happy to answer your questions anyway.
So, the serious business first: boats or zeppelins?
Zeppelins. My main is Horde and the air up there... is a better opportunity to gank from. And more scenic.
What motivated you to start Nauticus?
Original conception was an addon called ZeppelinMaster, written by Sammysnake. It only had time schedules, was slow and inaccurate. I took the code and completely rewrote it - fixing FPS rates, adding map icons (thanks to the fantastic Astrolabe library) and increasing accuracy.
Main motivation at the time - beside an opportunity to learn Lua - was in taking a great idea and implementing as best it could, given the limitations of the WoW API.
Approximately how long did it take to finish the first working version?
Starting with ZeppelinMaster's code, and not being prolific in Lua, it took months of gradual work to get to where it's at. But every line, rewritten - probably should have started from scratch but iterative development and fixing up code is fun.
In layman's terms, how does the add-on predict where boats will be, and when they will depart?
Using the WoW API, we only have the player's location to go on, which is tracked at all times by the addon. It already knows each route in detail - the X-Y coordinates, orientation, all measured from my own journeys. If the player 'triggers' some of these coords, we know the boat's probable stage of that route. They run like clockwork, so even when it's been around 100 times, we still have a good idea where it's at.
Can we ever expect to see another addon from you?
Probably not, not unless my WoW addiction is rekindled this holiday period.
Bummers… Besides your own creations, what are your favorite addons and why?
ItemRack, because I love me trinkets. Titan Panel, because it's been around a long time and reminds of the Atari ST. Stone Cutter, because back in the day, us locks tired of giving out healthstones. Addon Control Panel, because there's a great many other addons to try.
We come to the end of the interview. One last question: which is your favorite transportation route?
Thunder Bluff to Ogrimmar. Calm and scenic, uninterrupted by load screens.
Thank you to Drool for answering our questions and developing this add-on.