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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St Albans in August Demo Open World Environment Basic Sailing In Action
Blog RSS Feed Post news Report abuse Latest News: Hearts of Oak News July 2015

9 comments by Armada_ on Jul 30th, 2015

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

Yes, we're back, and it couldn't be a more exciting time for the project. Read on to find out what we've been up to and how you can help shape the future of the game.

Recent Developments

During this long, quiet spell, we have been hard at work reshuffling the team and refocusing on getting a playable tech demo built and ready as soon as possible.

And with that, we have a surprise for you: we are proud to announce that the first playable tech demo is now available!

Click here to download our July Tech Demo

It comes slightly earlier in this development stage than we had planned, but we felt that our latest internal build had enough features that we could share it with all of you.

This does, however, mean that what you're getting is a VERY early build that is rough around the edges and makes heavy use of placeholders. As such, we must stress that this build does NOT represent final quality and any shape or form. Below, we'll explain what's in this build, what's missing, and what we plan to include in future builds.

July Tech Demo Features

- UMA Character System
Using UMA (the Unity Multi-purpose Avatar system), we can now generate a vast range of character models on the fly, without needing to model each one individually. This also allows for deep customisation, which is opened up to the player in-game with the UMAzing asset from the Unity store.

When you select 'Create Character' in the main menu, you will be taken to a screen that lets you generate a random character and then customise them to your liking. At the moment, the choice of clothing is very limited, but in later builds, we will improve this by adding custom clothing items including hats, coats, trousers and shoes that suit the game world better.

Once you've saved your character, you can select them in the 'Play Game' menu, and choose the mode you want to play (Single-player recommended).

- Basic Sailing
Sailing will be one of the core mechanics of Hearts of Oak, and this build includes a very early system that lets you take command of a ship and use the W, A, S and D keys to steer and set the sails. Simply approach a nearby ship and click on it to take control.

At this stage, there are no animations for the sails or other parts of the ship, so keep an eye on the 'Sails' value in the bottom right corner to see what 'percentage' of sails are currently set.

In future builds, this system will be heavily modified to allow setting of individual sails, or cycling through a series of preset sail states, depending on your preferences. And, of course, expect to see sail animations and moving yards later on.

If you're wondering what happened to the St Albans model, fear not! The galleon in this build is just standing in while we work out a few issues with importing the St Albans and getting her working properly.

- Open World Environment
This build includes a sparsely detailed set of small islands to test the performance and feasibility of an open world environment. At present, objects are rendered within 2000m of the player's position, but this may change with further tests.

You can sail to any island you can see in the same scene, without loading screens. Depending on how the performance holds up when scaled to include full Caribbean islands, this is essentially what we're aiming to achieve for the final game.

- P2P Networking
As a test, we have included Unity 5's new UNET P2P networking system. This is mostly to allow developers to collaborate in a shared game world (hence the chat window), but eventually this can be expanded on to introduce full multiplayer modes.

We only recommend giving this a try if you are familiar with Unity already, but depending on the amount of interest, we might be able to provide some tutorials on how to use this at a later date.

- In-game Editor (experimental)
This is another tool aimed at making development easier, which should allow our artists to add and move assets to the game while in the game itself. Currently, this only works if you have Unity installed, but in future it should offer a streamlined way for artists to populate islands with props, buildings and scenery.

Monthly Release Schedule

We should also explain at this point that we have a new approach to when and how new builds will be released.

Our new lead developer is keen to release new builds on a monthly basis, which pushes the team to prioritise new content and features, and allows us to more rapidly prototype without getting bogged down on specific details.

What this means is that, from this point on, we are aiming to have a new build ready towards the end of each month, and a news article to go with it. Additional articles might be posted between releases, but that will depend on the time and resources we have.

We are currently working towards the full Proof-of-Concept Demo that we hinted at in the past, and although we can't be sure when it will be ready, we will still be releasing another build next month in whatever form it takes.

How You Can Help

As of now, there are two ways you can help with the development of the game: either through testing the new build, or contributing to future builds.

If you want to test the game, you can start right away by downloading the new tech demo. We need feedback from players to improve the game, and the things we want to hear about include:

- Performance - How well does the game run on your PC? What settings are you using (screen resolution etc.) and what are your PC specs?
- Gameplay - Is the game easy to play? Are the controls intuitive?
- Bugs and glitches - Have you experienced anything unusual while playing?
- Networking - Can you successfully set up a game with two or more players online? Does the game perform well during multiplayer?

All feedback, both positive and negative, is greatly appreciated. We remind you that this build uses placeholders though, so please bear that in mind when posting any comments about graphics or model quality.

If, on the other hand, you'd like to join our development team and help shape the game's future, then don't hesitate to contact us through our recruitment forum. As we rely entirely on volunteers, the more people we can get working on the game, the better.

What we currently need includes:
- C#/Unity developers
If you're familiar with C# and/or working with scripts in Unity, you can help! If you're interested in working on the gameplay mechanics with our developers, and you have plenty of time to spare, you might be exactly who we need!

- Artists of all kinds
We still need to produce an uncountable quantity of assets for the game, including props, architecture and ships. If you're an able 3D artist, we always have something for you to do.

With the integration of the UMA character system, we will also need people to produce custom clothing items for the base characters. This will have a very noticeable effect on the visual quality of the game, so this is a high priority role!

Remember, we're looking for volunteers only. If you want to join the team, please check our List of Development Roles for details.

That's it for this month'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.

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Hearts of Oak August Tech Demo

Hearts of Oak August Tech Demo

Sep 2, 2015 Demo 0 comments

This is a follow-up to the July demo which reintroduces the St Albans model and adds new sailing commands, including cannon firing. Installation instructions...

Hearts of Oak July Tech Demo

Hearts of Oak July Tech Demo

Jul 30, 2015 Demo 7 comments

This is a very early test build of Hearts of Oak, and although it's not quite the full Proof-of-Concept Demo (currently in development), we thought we...

Post comment Comments  (30 - 40 of 339)
Guest Feb 15 2015 says:

will this have mac support!? i made the move to mac a few years ago now for professional purposes and i really miss new horizons :( i don't wanna miss this too!

+1 vote     reply to comment
CaptainMurphyDUCK Feb 16 2015 replied:

We are planning for Win32, Win64, Mac, and Linux support.

+2 votes     reply to comment
cutlass117 Feb 9 2015 says:

Good day!

Will you be releasing a tech version or an alpha build any time soon?

I have taken great interest in this and would love to have a play myself.


+1 vote     reply to comment
Armada_ Creator
Armada_ Feb 12 2015 replied:

We've recently taken a fresh look at our design document and release schedule, and our current plan is to have the first playable version (focused on the core gameplay mechanics) ready in the next couple of months.

+1 vote   reply to comment
BogdanM Feb 13 2015 replied:

That is really good news! I'm really looking forward to playtest the game. It looks amazing so far!

+2 votes     reply to comment
Guest Feb 1 2015 says:

If this doesn't get finished, I'll eat live kittens. I swear!

+4 votes     reply to comment
Trebgarta Jan 24 2015 says:

What I'd like to note is that how clean every ship looks. For example, HMS Sphnyx. This could be fine when theyre first put to sea, but will sea erode ships after some time? I'd love to see a ship with dark, eroded colors and a lot of moss underneath, it could be an awesome feature.

The images could be WIP, I just wanted to ask will there be dynamic erosion for ships, possibly?

+4 votes     reply to comment
CaptainMurphyDUCK Jan 26 2015 replied:

If you watch some of the videos about Substances and how they work, they show the method of aging painted surfaces and wood with dirt and wear through procedural generation. By applying those substances to the meshes we can simulate aging to the ship over time by adding in dirt layers and wearing down the painted areas as well as changing the specularity/metalness values to give an aged look.

+4 votes     reply to comment
Trebgarta Jan 26 2015 replied:

If its really possible, please do! Also, maybe the ship could take a performance it when that happens so you need to dock it for maintenance some time. Just Ideas.

+1 vote     reply to comment
MajorJohnAndre Jan 11 2015 says:

This looks amazing! keep up the good work! can't wait to play.

+1 vote     reply to comment
OffGrid Jan 2 2015 says:

Wow! Very impressed and excited for this project. Love the concept and the artwork looks fantastic! Keep up the good work and the best of luck to you in 2015. Happy New Year!

+2 votes     reply to comment
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Hearts of Oak: Conquest of the Seas
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