Boats have always been an interesting feature. Instead of players slowly bobbing through the water, they could spend five planks on a boat and sail wherever they were going. Then people grew tired of how often they broke. Eventually, 1.9 changed boats so they could only break with a player/mob's intervention, always dropped themselves, moved slightly faster and could hold two players and/or mobs. They also added six new types of boats. Then 1.13 came around and gave players a reason to use boats with new structures and biomes in the oceans. However, for a long time, the community has requested better boats, namely customizable additions. That brings me to the suggestion.
Boats have had little improvements outside of 1.9's boat rework and 1.13's ocean additions. To my knowledge, their main use is still for ice-boat paths in the Nether. My suggestion revolves around another rework of the boat system to make them as customizable as possible. By doing so, there may be a possibility of a server-wide naval battle.
First, normal boats will continue to have a static speed of 8m/s. However, their maximum health will increase from 4 (2 hearts) to 20 (10 hearts). In addition, any boat without upgrades can be instantly destroyed and drops itself when hit by any sword or axe for convenience's sake.
When a boat is right-clicked while sneaking, a new boat GUI will open.
(This is only a rough model based on the Horse's GUI. I am by no means a graphic designer.)
Each bar has a specific item or set of items that causes the boat to upgrade.
Starting off, the two bars directly to the left of the main boat display can have boats balanced in them. These upgrade the boat's "tier" which in turn increases its length, health and speed. Each tier also unlocks another armor slot and another "Additions" set.
The boats we know and love will be the first tier of boat, called "short boats." Short boats have a max speed of 8m/s and a max health of 20. They also have the first armor spot and the first "Additions" set available.
When one boat is placed in, the boat extends and becomes a "middle boat." Middle boats max out at 10 m/s and have their max health increase to 30. The first two armor slots and two of the three "Additions" sets are available.
With two boats placed in, the boat becomes a "long boat." Long boats are the longest of the three and maxes out speed and health at 12m/s and 40 health respectively. All three armor slots and "Additions" sets are available for use. Additionally, long boats cannot be sunk when sailing over bubble columns.
Furthermore, all boats will hold a minimum of two people/mobs (more on that later).
When a boat of any tier is destroyed, all upgrades are destroyed with it. All mobs will be ejected as the players would be, and one normal boat will drop for each boat that upgraded its tier (up to a maximum of three).
Regardless of the boat's tier, the banner slot below the addition sets will be available. Placing a banner there will cause it to display on the front or back of the boat. It switches location every time you place it in, so it can be customized to the player's desire. Placing a banner does not count as an upgrade, and the banner will drop alongside non-upgraded boats when it is destroyed.
It may sound like each tier of boat is just a direct upgrade in terms of speed and survivability. At this point in the post, that is true. However, later in the post there is a section on boat speed mechanics that should rebalance it. Before that, some other points need to be covered, as they factor into boat speed.
As a boat's tier increases, it gains more armor slots. Each slot can hold one of three items: a clay block, an iron ingot, and a Netherite Ingot. Each upgrade increases the amount of armor a boat has at the cost of speed.
The clay block adds a thin protective seal that doesn't protect much but is better than nothing. It increases the boat's armor rating by 2 (one full armor icon) and decreases its effective speed by 1m/s.
The iron ingot adds some real protection with an additional 3 armor rating but decreases the boat's effective speed by 2m/s.
The Netherite ingot is by far the most protective, but it is also the heaviest since each ingot takes four Gold ingots. A Netherite ingot increases the boat's armor rating by 5 points but decreases its effective speed by a whopping 4m/s.
With all three items in the slots, the boat will have 10 total armor but have its effective speed decreased from 12m/s down to 5m/s.
When I was developing this idea, I initially decided that the order they were placed in wouldn't matter, but each item could only be placed in one slot, so to max the armor rating, you'd need all three items. I still stand by that statement, but please mention in your comment if you'd prefer each item to be usable multiple times.
Additional slots are unlocked based on the boat's tier. Each additional set has a slot at the top and bottom in addition to four in the middle. Either a chest or a banner can be placed in the top and/or bottom slot. Each chest adds another three slots that items can be stored into for a total of 18 slots (or two chest rows). Placing a banner adds a visible yet simple sail to the top of the boat which allows it to move faster, and adding another banner expands the sail to look fancier and be more effective than a plain sail. Sails cannot be customized outside of the 16 base colors, and even then, only the first sail in order will have its color placed. The order moves from left to right in the top row followed by the bottom row.
Each tier also unlocks four boxes in each addition set. The left column is for placing carpets. Despite not appearing visually, each carpet added increases the number of players/mobs that can ride in the boat by one. This way, a maximum of 8 mobs/players can ride in a boat at once. However, this comes with a cost: each mob/player over that initial two decreases the speed of the boat by 1m/s. It can be counteracted by placing a wooden or stone shovel in the right slot. The shovel adds a set of oars that a player can use. By using these oars, the effective speed of the ship is increased by 2m/s. However, this bonus only takes effect when the player/mob at the oars is rowing. When these additional oars move, it only increases the effective speed of the boat. The boat doesn't actually move.
There is a special bonus with oars: if a villager or illager (it keeps correcting to village) somehow finds itself in front of a set of oars on a player boat, they will start to row and won't stop until they disembark. (To disembark a mob (not a player), simply right-click them when they are in the boat. Or destroy the boat.) This gives the larger boats a use even in singleplayer.
Alternatively, the right slots can have bows or crossbows placed inside them. Although the player/mob loses the ability to row, they gain the ability to shoot while moving. It draws arrows from their inventory but shoots a shot that does 5 damage each and has the velocity of a max charged shot. For crossbows, fireworks are also functional. And as another bonus: when a skeleton or stray is at a bow/crossbow mounted to a boat, they will shoot at any other players or boats they see. They can't turn around, so they can't shoot at you, but be warned, because if you step off the boat, you may be skewered.
Bows, crossbows and shovels will lose durability when mounted to a boat. Bows and crossbows lose one durability per shot while shovels lose one durability per 20 blocks they sail. The oar problem could be circumvented by placing a Diamond shovel in, which is why I chose to limit them to wood or stone. However, for oars, bows and crossbows, the Unbreaking enchantment will take effect at durability loss. Finally, Infinity will also be functional for bows and crossbows.
Each boat has a max speed (MS), that being how quickly it can move under perfect circumstances (being either 8m/s, 10m/s or 12m/s). However, the boat's effective speed (ES) reflects how fast it actually moves based on a variety of conditions such as armor and environment. (Note that the effective speed can NEVER be higher than the max speed of the boat, with one technical exception).
A boat's effective speed will be modified when the following conditions are met:
When a clay block is in an armor slot, decrease ES by 1m/s
When an iron ingot is in an armor slot, decrease ES by 2m/s
When a Netherite ingot is in an armor slot, decrease ES by 4m/s
When on land, decrease ES by 6m/s
When a long boat is in a bubble column, decrease ES by 2m/s (for short or middle boats, sink it)
When more than two players/mobs are in any boat, decrease ES by 1m/s per excess mob
When a sail (banner in addition slots) is in place, increase ES by 3m/s (can only occur twice per boat)
When a player/villager/illager is in a spot with oars, increase ES by 2m/s per mob fitting the condition (only when that player/mob is rowing)
If a boat has reached its max speed, the first sail that would bring it over the cap will instead increase its max and effective speed by 2m/s.
Potential other additions (please mention in comments)
Sails could gain their own special hitbox that can't be damaged. Instead, when a crossbow is fired at it, if the player has String and a Tripwire Hook in their inventory/main hand/offhand, one of both will be consumed, and the player will be pulled across to the sail. If they don't die of fall damage, they will have successfully mounted the boat and can attack anything onboard. This would have interesting implications in PvP servers.
Village piers could have a chance of spawning a short or middle boat.
Additional sea structures could be generated, namely sea bases or boats that haven't sank.
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
Watch out for the crabocalypse. Some say the day will never come. But it will.
Feel free to drop by for a chat whenever.
If you'd like to talk with me about other games, here are a few I play.
Team Fortress 2
Borderlands series (Borderlands 2 is my favorite game, ever. TPS combat is a lot of fun and makes up for the lower-quality story, in my opinion)
Elder Scrolls series
Warframe (IGN is something like That_One_Flesh_Atronach)
Pokémon series (HGSS forever)
Left 4 Dead 2 (Boomer files always corrupt though)
SUPERHOT (SUPERHOT is the most innovative shooter I've played in years!)
Dead Rising series (Dead Rising 2 is one of my favorite games, and the 3rd was a lot of fun. 1st has poor survivor AI and the 4th is bad)
Just Cause series
Come to think of it, I mainly play fighting-based games.
Sounds very complicated for me. But I think the idea needs refining, not demolition. Durability increase: I approve that! Tiers: I'd rather have only short and long tiers, with long boats made by upgrading placed short boat with item. Also, I think that boats should drop all items used for upgrading. Armor: I would rather ordinary armouring method - mutually exclusive. Armour tiers - lightweight, weak leather, heavy, strongest iron and prismarine, that acts as intermediate, but is only marginally heavier than leather and only marginally weaker than iron. Short/long boats need a stack of 6/10 cows/ingots/shards respectively. Leather stack slows 1 m/s, PM slows 2 m/s, Fe slows 4 m/s, and provide 4/8/10 armour points respectively. Additional slots: 1 for shortboats, 3 for longboats, mutually exclusive with passangers. 1 sail max, no customisation limits for banner (shields say hello). No carpet options. No weapon or oar options, all oars are included already and cannot be removed, control by movement keys. Ranged weapons must be brought by passangers themselves. No mob can use oars (unless illagers become vikings and start boat raids in some update), preferably except some utility working golem, but not as cheap as snow golem nor as heavy and expensive as walking tank iron golem. Perhaps a man-sized redstone golem. Speed: I propose to give small boat higher maximal speed than large boat, and make buffs and debuffs operate on percentages, as well as make maximal speed impossible to exceed by any means. Potential additions: The mounting seems tad too complicated. Village has bridges that aren't meant for naval transport. Abandoned vessels - sounds way too familiar.