The PiratesAhoy! Community, makers of the popular mods Pirates of the Caribbean: New Horizons and Age of Pirates 2: Gentlemen of Fortune, presents...
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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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Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest News: Hearts of Oak: A Look Back at 2014

4 comments by Armada_ on Jan 1st, 2015

This year has been truly special for the Hearts of Oak project, so to celebrate the end of 2014, we'd like to take a look back at everything we've achieved.

To start with, we have prepared a summary video that covers all of our main accomplishments of 2014 in less than five minutes. Enjoy!

The Switch to Unity

One of the biggest and most important events of the year was our decision to use Unity instead of CryEngine. Naturally, this sparked a lot of debate about whether it was the right choice. It was a huge risk after all, especially after we'd done so much in CryEngine.
Nevertheless, it was a risk that paid off, and then some. The progress we've made in Unity outshines all our previous attempts, and we're now closer than ever to having a playable public release.

Ongoing dialogue with other Unity developers has helped us gain a better understanding of the engine and the options it provides, and has saved our own developers weeks' worth of work in the process.
Advantages like this, which were previously unavailable to us, will continue to aid progress in the future, and we remain confident that this engine offers the best chance for us to realise our goals.

Taking Donations

In another surprise turn of events, we finally decided to accept donations towards the game's development.
We were humbled by the number of people offering to support us with their wallets, so when we agreed that we needed Unity Pro to take full advantage of its capabilities, we opened the gates to accept donations for it.
This soon gave us the ability to purchase assets from the Unity Store that helped to speed up development massively, which is crucial at this early stage.

To find out how much we've raised to date and what we've used the funds for, check out this post on our forum. Every penny is spent wisely and for the direct benefit of the game!

IndieDB Top 100

This one certainly caught us by surprise. In the space of just one year, Hearts of Oak has gained enough attention to earn a spot in the Top 100 Indie Games of 2014.
Last year the spotlight was on our New Horizons mod, which had been in development for over ten years by the time it was voted among the Top 100 Mods of 2013.
For Hearts of Oak to achieve the same honour in comparatively little time (and before any public releases!) was astounding, and a real testament to our fans' enthusiasm for the project.

Our hope is that we can produce a playable test level in 2015 that lives up to the hype surrounding the game, and from there we will build upon it to make it worthy of the recognition you gave us this year.

Oculus Rift Testing

Yes, you read that correctly. We've had several questions in the past about potentially including support for the Oculus Rift VR headset, and the switch to Unity did indeed open up that possibility.
Now though, that dream has started to become a reality. Our lead developer picked up perhaps the best Christmas present ever when he acquired the Rift DK2 in mid December, and he wasted no time in setting up Rift compatibility in our test scene.

Needless to say, the results were way beyond anyone's expectations.
If you've always wondered how it feels to walk around the deck of a virtual ship (or just want to hear Captain Murphy say "amazing" countless times), then you need to watch this video:

Eye-watering Screenshots

We've posted a huge amount of images in our regular news articles over the past few months, many of which are rather picturesque. From lush Caribbean landscapes to towering, majestic warships, there has been plenty of visual eye candy to behold.

Below is a small selection of the best screenshots taken throughout the year, and links to download the full-resolution versions as desktop wallpapers.

St Albans under full sail

The beauty of this CryEngine screenshot can't be denied, particularly with the sails set and the bright blue sky as a backdrop.

St Albans in rough seas

A deep pink sky and dramatic weather effects make this image stand out among regular daytime images.

Caribbean island scene

This scene has bright greens and blues complemented by a range of little touches like coconuts and starfish, making it a visual treat.

Transom of HMS Sphynx

This ship sits proud in the water with its colourful stern and fantastic shader effects, with a subtle depth-of-field effect to make the foreground stand out.

Below deck on HMS Sphynx

The sunlight shining through gunports and gratings provides an interesting lighting effect here, and one can't help but marvel at the obsessive level of detail on display.

We hope you enjoy these magnificent screenshots, and there will be plenty more where they came from in the coming months!

How You Can Help

If you've been inspired by what we've managed so far and you want to lend a hand in developing the game, then please visit our forum to offer your assistance!
As a reminder, all of our developer roles are NON-PAID, volunteer positions. For role descriptions and how to join the team, click here.

However, if game development or art is not for you, then fear not. We are still accepting donations to help pay for engine add-ons, software licenses and more, and you're welcome to donate to the project through Paypal using the Donate button on
We greatly appreciate every contribution!

Can't contribute to either of the above, but still want to help? You can do so by spreading the word!
If you know someone with the skills and dedication we need, who might be interested in Hearts of Oak, please tell them about the project. Every contributor makes a difference.
Alternatively, we could use some help with promoting the game on various websites so that our own developers don't need to spend time doing it themselves.And don't forget to Like, Share and Subscribe to our social media profiles!

Closing Comments

Another year down, another incredible list of achievements to look back on.
We've made tough decisions, overcome tremendous challenges and had long, heated debates, but in the end it has all been worthwhile.
We're extremely proud of the advances we've made this year, and everyone involved should be commended for the countless hours they've put into bringing Hearts of Oak ever closer to its release.

We will remember 2014 as a successful and productive year, and we look forward to building on that legacy in 2015 to give you the Age of Sail experience you deserve.

From everyone at PiratesAhoy!, we wish you a happy New Year!

All together now...

Any Questions?

Intrigued? Want to know more? Or maybe you still don't know what the Hearts of Oak project is?
Visit our Frequently Asked Questions to find out all you need to know!

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Post comment Comments  (10 - 20 of 304)
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:

Wow, im hyped! Do you have any current deadlines in development or demo releases?

+1 vote     reply to comment
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
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
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