Boats work pretty much the same way they always have. There's very little development aside from making them faster and whether or not lily pads should destroy boats. I looked back through 10 pages of the Suggestions forums and no talk about boats.
Today, after going through over a dozen boats while ferrying building supplies from base to a new build I was doing or watching them sail off into the distance after I jumped out I decided that I hate boats in Minecraft.
I have a couple of suggestions:
First, allow us to craft a steel hulled boat, something like the old Ironclads from the American Civil War. This boat would only break if it hit a block at full speed. Hitting lily pads or squid would destroy them and not the boat. I would even be ok if this boat had a lower top speed than the regular wooden kind. It might be crafted like such:
Second would be a boat docking mechanism. I thought the simplest solution here would be to craft boat tie downs that worked not entirely unlike how you tie a horse to a fence with a lead. You'd craft the tie down and then place it next to the water. You would pull up near it in your boat and then click on it. Once you clicked on the tie down, it would attach a rope to your boat (exactly how horses are attached to fences). This would put several effects on the boat. First, the boat would "snap" into place immediately next to the shore. It would then be immobilized completely. Second, this immobilization would make the boat immune to breaking (except for punching it with your fists or tools as long as it's tied up). Third, clicking the tie down while in an undocked boat will eject your player to a solid block directly adjacent to the tie down. Several images of different boat tie downs can be viewed in this gallery I put together: http://imgur.com/a/VUGuR I imagine the crafting recipe to be something like this:
Lastly, it would be nice if we could anchor boats when we are sailing to a new area or an area in which we don't want to set up a permanent boat dock with tie downs. The anchor would simply prevent the boat from moving when you are out of it. It would also prevent the boat from shooting away from you when you jump out. You would simply place the anchor in a crafting window with the boat to receive an "Anchored Boat" or "Anchored Ironclad." A simple anchor recipe might be:
While I love the intricate docks that some people have come up with, I don't feel like we should have to go to extraneous lengths to ensure that we don't wreck our boats. Those feel more like contrivances than anything else. Give boats some lovin!
This is really funny because I've been prepping my own boat suggestion! I came to post it and there at the top of the forum was yours.
Actually, I like your Ironclad better than my own iron boat, but for the sake of completeness, since I don't want to just throw out all that work, here's mine.
It takes the same materials used to craft a minecart plus some sticks to make oars and works precisely like a wooden boat, except not breaking if it runs into something like a lilypad or a squid. Seriously, what is it with these Minecraft lillypads? Are they made of titanium or something?
Having it possible to run an ironclad or iron boat up on a beach would also be a good thing: a legal move would be from a water block to a sand, gravel, or dirt block on the same level, and vise versa. Or even limit it to sand only -- a reason to build docking areas, and makes river exploring more challenging than if you could just beach your canoe anywhere.
Of course, the minecart/boat connection would suggest Boat with Furnace, Boat with Chest, Boat with Hopper ... we could build all sorts of fun stuff. But I'd be happy with just a boat that's worth bothering to use because it doesn't explode when it bumps into any random lilypad.
(oh, and if you hadn't guessed ... yeah, full support)
Support! I also like this idea because if Mojang did anything close to this people wont go Bat-**** crazy because the boat isnt changed whatsoever. Maybe there could be some type of storage boat or something
The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
I give large amount of support for this, but I think instead of crafting a boat with the anchor, you should just right click with the anchor in your hand, clicking the boat again would cause the anchor to go back into your inventory.
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