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  (10 - 20 of 298)
Bluehawk Nov 7 2014, 7:54pm says:

The Summary blurb still mentions CryEngine.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Armada_ Creator
Armada_ Nov 8 2014, 8:47am replied:

Thanks, fixed now. Must've missed that one.

+2 votes   reply to comment
Armada_ Creator
Armada_ Nov 5 2014, 7:02pm says:

To all:

With respect, please do us a favour and stop suggesting that we use other game engines.

We appreciate that many people have a preferred game engine that doesn't coincide with the one we've chosen, and that's fine, but we would prefer not to see any further comments asking why we're not using other engines. Please refer to our FAQ instead.

We're getting a little tired of repeatedly defending our decision to use Unity, and we'd much rather spend that time doing something productive... like making the game. ;)

Thank you for your cooperation, and for continuing to support the project.

+9 votes   reply to comment
Drover15 Nov 6 2014, 2:16pm replied:

It's your game... You don't have to defend yourself on the decisions you make, F*** those backseat game-devloper wanna-bes #UnityFTW

P.S. I love the work you guys are putting into every little detail <3

+4 votes     reply to comment
Manhatten! Oct 31 2014, 5:17pm says:
when i look at that, i`ll say one thing, sure the game is good but it was a biggest mistake to move from CryEninge to Unity, from lion to rabbit :)
since EaaS is released there are plenty fixes and release over month... when i looked at that island and that searched game and found this... u mean how i felt? pretty disappointed :) well what to say, choose is a free, and game even on Unity looks pretty damn good :)

-3 votes     reply to comment
CaptainMurphyDUCK Nov 3 2014, 3:59pm replied:

Every 'fix' that EaaS released ended up breaking our code. Month after month of having to step backwards 5-50% of our code base was infuriating. When we began to ask for help, or at the least a release plan for EaaS for their release cycle from CryTek, we were given a huge amount of silence, even though we have several of our developing staff on the EaaS program. We spent a week and a half in Unity (free version) and were able to replicate about 90% of what it had taken us 6 months to do in CryEngine simply because of the poor code layout and documentation of CE. It was a painful decision to make, but eye candy is not everything when it comes to Hearts Of Oak. Without solid content and stable mechanics it is nothing but an empty shell of a game.

+4 votes     reply to comment
Armada_ Creator
Armada_ Nov 1 2014, 9:38am replied:

Visually, of course CryEngine still looks better. But as for development itself, we've made a LOT more progress in MUCH less time with Unity than we ever did with CryEngine.

Besides, once Unity 5 is officially released, the game will start to look vastly improved, and we're still nowhere near final release quality yet. I don't know why people expect us to have the best looking game ever at pre-alpha stage.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Manhatten! Nov 5 2014, 3:16pm replied:

P.S Why u dont move guys on UE4, its a best looking engine for now with source code withing (around 20gb, don`t looked in code and idk its full or half or whatever but, size says it`s word).
Again good luck :)

-2 votes     reply to comment
Manhatten! Nov 5 2014, 3:09pm replied:

of course i respect choose of creator ! i`m also game developer working on ce3 and i know how it is (well they released some new codes: crysys and more for now :D :D). Well ye unity is made with C# and of course its way easy to mod, also i dont really except a best looking game in pre-alpha stage, its normal but i just said, when i looked a map just single map without content on cryengine, it was just amazing and because of that i made this comment :) i respect you guys and wish u good luck in your project, i`m willing to play, at last normal pirate game is coming here :D :D since Pirates of carribean (xbox360 version)

0 votes     reply to comment
Guest Oct 28 2014, 12:06am says:

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

CaptainMurphyDUCK Oct 28 2014, 1:55pm replied:

Each modeler has their own preference. There is a mix of 3DS Max, Maya, Blender, and even some models from Sketchup.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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