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We have plenty of news to share with you regarding our latest project, Hearts of Oak: Conquest of the Seas, including some major announcements.

Posted by Armada_ on Oct 9th, 2013

Ahoy everyone!

We have plenty of news to share with you regarding our latest project, Hearts of Oak: Conquest of the Seas, including some major announcements.

Engine Changes and Collaboration

It seems fair that we start with perhaps the most important announcement:

We are no longer using the Unreal Development Kit for the project.

This is because of a number of problems encountered by our programmers while trying to prototype some fundamental game systems, combined with the fact that the engine is not sufficiently 'future-proof', considering the project's expected development time of several years.

In addition to this, we have joined forces with the development team behind the CryEngine-based project "Drake's Legacy"As both of our teams share the same ideals for an open-world seafaring game, we decided to combine our efforts and eventually merge both projects together.

In light of this, we are now evaluating two alternative engines:
Ogre3D - Combining this open-source engine with separate plug-ins gives us the potential to make a bespoke engine tailored to our needs.
CryEngine (version 3.5) - The potential of this engine was demonstrated to us by the Drake's Legacy team, though it is currently plagued with bugs.

Before we're able to commit to one of these engines, we will temporarily be using Crysis 1 (CryEngine 2) to test our assets in a game environment. Some of these tests are demonstrated by screenshots in the teaser trailer below, which also features original music, concept art and renders. Enjoy!

Progress Update

In other news, here is a run-down of the most notable assets we're currently producing. Follow the links for more info and images.

WIP Ship Models (incl. nationality, type and launch date)
Unknown Single-masted Sloop, early 1800s
English Sixth Rate Sphynx, 1775
English Bellona-class Third Rate, 1760
French Hébé-class Frigate, late 1700s
French Frigate Panthère, 1725
Russian Kreyser-class Frigate Rossiya, 1728

Completed Ship Models
English Fourth Rate St Albans, 1737
(shown in the trailer's CryEngine 2 screenshots)

Misc 3D Models
A variety of buildings, weapons and other smaller items to populate the game world
See our Game World Content sub-forum for more details.

Terrain
Accurate representation of several Caribbean islands in progress

Music
Main theme in progress (preview in trailer above; full version here)

More can be found over on our forum at www.piratesahoy.net/forums

Recruitment Message

We are currently in need of some more people who would like to help coordinate the project, especially those with a lot of time and dedication. This involves welcoming new members, allocating tasks and overseeing the development process. Good spelling and grammar are highly desirable, given the importance of communication this role entails.

Considering our recent engine changes, we will now be looking for programmers with knowledge of either Ogre3D OR CryEngine. However, only ONE engine will be used for the final game, so please be aware of this when signing up.

We are also seeking LOTS of 3D artists to help us produce the many assets needed to fill the game world. Whether you're interested in making small items, characters, buildings or ships, we need your help! Modelling experience is preferable, but those willing to learn in their own time are also welcome.

Musicians willing to produce original tracks for the game are welcome, too, preferably with a fair amount of experience.

For all of these roles, please remember that the project is NON-COMMERCIAL, so we are seeking VOLUNTEERS only. We need people who can dedicate themselves to the project, so please consider this carefully. If you wish to apply for any of these roles, please visit our recruitment forum and introduce yourself. All help will be greatly appreciated!

Be sure to watch this space for future updates. Until then, fair winds to ye!

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Post comment Comments
SinKing
SinKing Oct 10 2013, 5:34am says:

These ship models are so funky! Love the accuracy and detail. Hmm, the engine change surprises me. Surely things will take longer with Ogre and I don't understand the licensing options for Cryengine. Can't you make a prototype, get into alpha-funding and kickstarter and buy Unreal Engine 3 for this?

I'm quite sure EPIC would not be impossible to negotiate with and lower their prices a bit for a project like this. Plus Unreal Engine 4 is coming out soon, so that prices might drop on 3.

Whatever you do, keep this vessel afloat! :)

+5 votes     reply to comment
bava101
bava101 Oct 10 2013, 7:21am replied:

This game is going to be free, so there´s no real need for kickstarter campaign. And as far as I know, both Unreal and CryEngine have their limitations regarding an open-world setup (map sizes etc). But I´m just an humble ship modeller, so I hope one of the tech guys drops in and gives you a more precise answer :)

+5 votes     reply to comment
Armada_
Armada_ Oct 10 2013, 10:30am replied:

The thing is, we WERE trying to make a prototype in the Unreal 3, but our programmers encountered too many roadblocks and ultimately deemed it unsuitable for the project. Then the Drake's Legacy guys shared their experiences of the CryEngine and how it has great potential, which is why we're looking into that now.

+3 votes     reply to comment
DaveW
DaveW Oct 10 2013, 1:47pm replied:

Epic's licensing terms are rigid - it's royalties or an upfront cost. And Unreal Engine 4 won't be very compatible with 3, seeing as the entire scripting system and lighting engine is being replaced. Cryengine is much more future-proofed in this respect because it already has native C++ scripting and a unified lighting system.

CryEngine seems a much better choice for a game like this. OGRE is a good renderer but you'll have a lot of game coding to go on top of it. Seeing as licensing costs are irrelevant then I'd suggest CryEngine.

+1 vote     reply to comment
SirTorgrad
SirTorgrad Oct 10 2013, 6:30am says:

Words can not descripe how much I want this. Give me a tall ship and a star to steer her by!

+5 votes     reply to comment
JohnMacNair
JohnMacNair Oct 10 2013, 7:33am replied:

Nicely said old chap.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Guest
Guest Oct 10 2013, 7:30am says:

Guys....incredible.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Edrahil
Edrahil Oct 10 2013, 9:13am says:

This is damn amazing. Unbelievable! I hope you guys make this game true! This might be the best age of sail game ever.. what am i talking about, this WILL be the best game ever made!

+4 votes     reply to comment
Edrahil
Edrahil Oct 10 2013, 9:15am replied:

forgot to mention, I'm glad to see the piratesahoy community and the drake's legacy modders join together. The more manpower, the better. (i guess?)

+2 votes     reply to comment
Armada_
Armada_ Oct 10 2013, 10:32am replied:

The collaboration is a great thing indeed. We've learn a lot from each other already and we're all determined to work on the project. :)

+2 votes     reply to comment
Yarpen93
Yarpen93 Oct 10 2013, 1:03pm says:

Really great work, guys. I don't know/remember if you mentioned something about it, but have you thought of making a Kickstarter?

+1 vote     reply to comment
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