The PiratesAhoy! Community, makers of the popular mods Pirates of the Caribbean: New Horizons and Age of Pirates 2: Gentlemen of Fortune, presents...
Hearts of Oak logo
Hearts of Oak: Conquest of the Seas is a non-commercial PC game that is to become the historical seafaring game to end them all!
Fun, realistic gameplay on land and at sea, set during the Age of Sail, will provide extensive free play, exciting scripted storylines and intense multiplayer scenarios.
Our goal is to allow anyone interested in the era to be able to live their dream!

The gameplay will be similar in style to Akella's Storm Engine-based games that we are known for modifying, but we intend to take it further and offer more freedom, immersion and authenticity. The player will assume the role of a captain and have full command of their crew, being able to delegate tasks and give orders in the heat of battle. Dynamic hand-to-hand combat will make boarding enemy ships and capturing forts a fast paced, hectic experience. Whether you want to enlist in a navy, lead an honest merchant life, or resort to piracy, Hearts of Oak will offer many hours of gameplay.

Using the power of Unity, and the knowledge and talent of our artists, the game will deliver stunning visuals worthy of tomorrow's PC hardware. You'll be able to explore a vast open world filled with highly detailed locations, ships and characters.

We are a team of volunteers, and due to the scale of this project, the game will take many months to develop. We will be releasing tech demos, alpha and beta versions over the coming months, but please be patient and have faith in our dev team. This is our dream game concept, and we are determined to make it a reality!

Help Wanted!

We're looking for talented, enthusiastic people to help us make this game a reality.
For a list of our current vacancies, and for information on how to join the team, visit our Development Roles page.
Please note that we are NOT offering payment!

If you are unable to join our team, you can still help by spreading the word! If you know anyone with the skills we need, please do point them in our direction.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Longboat on the Shore Galleon at night Docked Ships
Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest News: Hearts of Oak News 12th December 2014

2 comments by Armada_ on Dec 12th, 2014

Welcome to another edition of our Hearts of Oak progress articles!

In each article*, we will bring you a summary of the latest development news, including work-in-progress screenshots and in-game footage, along with a more in-depth look at featured content.

After a long wait, we've got some truly impressive content to show you this week, including magnificent models, materials, menus and music. Seriously!

Indie of the Year Voting

As you may be aware, voting for the IndieDB Indie of the Year Award 2014 is currently underway.
Due to the pre-alpha state of Hearts of Oak, and the lack of a public release so far, we felt it wasn't appropriate to ask everyone to vote for it, so we didn't.
And yet, thanks to people like you, Hearts of Oak has made it into the Top 100 anyway!

We are immensely humbled by your support for this game even in such an early stage of development, and we couldn't be happier with this achievement!
Now, we have the opportunity to see just how far the game can climb up the Top 100 in the second round of voting.
If you voted for us in the first round and you believe our game deserves even more recognition, then please do vote again in the second round!
You can find Hearts of Oak under Upcoming Games > Role Playing on the Top 100 page.
Please note that voting closes on 21st December.

Anything we can manage from here on is a bonus, but we continue to be blown away by your support and we're hugely grateful for it.

Engine Development

- Main Menu; Danidr
New member Danidr has taken on the task of designing a new main menu for the game, which suits the game's overall aesthetic.
Below is a concept of how the final menu could look, taking inspiration from the original concept art by Haereticus:

The background is a screenshot from the internal test build, and the menu box has several features worth noting.
The "Continue Adventure" button will allow the player to immediately pick up where they left off when they start the game; the example shown is a placeholder.
Below that we've got the pretty standard Load Game, Options and Exit Game, but there's also The Shipyard and a player profile example at the bottom.
We'll be explaining more about The Shipyard in the coming weeks.

The following image shows a working draft of the menu in Unity, which is only lacking a more detailed background:

- Substance Materials; Captain Murphy
We have been experimenting with Substances for several weeks now, as an alternative to more traditional textures.
In the videos below, Captain Murphy explains the process behind making a Substance, the key features they provide and why they're ideal for some of our needs.

Substance Overview - Part 1

Substance Overview - Part 2

- Shader Test Scene; Ashinokami
To help artists to easily see how their models will look in Unity, Ashinokami has developed a test scene specifically to showcase materials in the engine.
Below is an example featuring the Endeavour, using specially-designed materials to mimic the real properties of wood and metal:

And here's the HMS Sphynx in the same scene, but using Substances instead (as described above) and a depth-of-field camera effect:

3D Models

- HMS Bellona; Armada
This ship now has all the most basic details required to test her as a floating battery in-game, including all gunports, ladders between decks, and the rudder.
The model also has the railings installed along the upper sides of the hull.

Although she looks a bit empty at the moment and more components will be added eventually, we hope to give her a full set of guns in Unity soon.

- HMS Sphynx; Wedori
Ropes. Do you like ropes? I hope so, because this ship has more than you can count.
The devil is in the details as Wedori shows just how much can be achieved with a little time and perfectionism:


- Marie Galante; JohnV
This tiny island has been mapped from height data in 1:4 scale using World Machine, and trees have been added to populate the land.

This second image shows how the terrain textures blend naturally from rocks to grassland based on height:


To give you a taste of what's to come, we're regularly showcasing an original track, produced by one of our talented composers.
This week, we've got a brand new track called "Man O War", composed by Dastroids.

"Man O War" on SoundCloud

The composer says it represents "a battle on a man o war":

Dastroids wrote:When I wrote the piece I imagined myself on a big man o war firing cannons, and of course I was the captain giving the orders.

Stay tuned for more original music soon!


We are still recruiting all types of 3D artists, and in particular we'd like to see more people willing to get their assets into Unity.
We will also accept help from programmers and 2D artists.

As a reminder, all of our developer roles are NON-PAID positions.
For role descriptions and how to join the team, click here.


We are still accepting donations to help pay for engine add-ons, software licenses and more.

If you would like to donate to the project, you can do so through Paypal using the Donate button on .
We greatly appreciate every contribution!

You can keep up to date with how much we've raised and what we've used the funds for here.

That's it for this week's progress; we'll have more updates for you soon!
Don't know what the Hearts of Oak project is? Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
*Please note that we're aiming to post a new article at least once a fortnight. If there's a long gap between articles, it usually means we're very busy!

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Post comment Comments  (0 - 10 of 298)
Miklkit Dec 11 2014, 10:03am says:

Voting for Indie of the year is going on now and Hearts of Oak is currently in 4th place in the role playing rpg category.

+3 votes     reply to comment
TKAzA Staff
TKAzA Dec 13 2014, 5:46am replied:

Thats the top100 daily your looking at, there's no way to tell the ranking for the top100 votes.

+2 votes   reply to comment
Alexey1906 Dec 9 2014, 1:44am says:

any news?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Armada_ Creator
Armada_ Dec 9 2014, 3:08pm replied:

Plenty, though I've been bogged down with other work for the past fortnight so haven't had time to write an article.

Fear not, we'll have a new article up very soon. :)

+1 vote   reply to comment
david_the_angel Nov 29 2014, 7:00am says:

Good job so far! I have some questions about some features in the game, will you be able to sail between islands without using the world map and encounter ships at random? Also, will cannonballs make visible damage to ships where they hit, for example holes in the hull?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Armada_ Creator
Armada_ Dec 3 2014, 8:54am replied:

Yes, you will be able to sail between islands directly, but we're also going to let you set a course for your ship and then skip time until you encounter something or reach your destination.

As for damage, we'll probably end up with a middle-ground solution. Certain parts such as railings and masts might allow physical damage, while the outer hull will use 2D damage textures that create the illusion of 3D penetrations. Hopefully that will provide an impressive damage model that doesn't kill the framerate. ;)

+1 vote   reply to comment
Guest Dec 3 2014, 10:33am replied:

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Armada_ Creator
Armada_ Dec 5 2014, 8:21am replied:

Unfortunately, as we're approaching the Christmas period, most of our developers are very busy elsewhere, so it's hard to say when we might have our first demo released. That said, we are making progress, so we might have something extremely basic available for testing early next year.

As soon as we have a proper estimated release date for the first demo, we'll let you know. ;)

+2 votes   reply to comment
Guest Nov 10 2014, 5:33am says:

Cryengine? I think i'm in love with unity!!! Besides, do you guys have any ideas on when the demo will be released? I really can't wait! :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
Armada_ Creator
Armada_ Nov 12 2014, 7:42am replied:

Our lead developer is short on time at the moment, so we don't have an estimated release window for the demo just yet. But as soon as we do, we will let you know. ;)

+1 vote   reply to comment
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