Hearts of Oak: Conquest of the Seas is a non-commercial PC game being developed by PiratesAhoy!, and 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.

Post news Report RSS Announcing New Horizons Remastered

We've embarked on a new project to port our best work to Unity. Read on for details, then download the demo!

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Ahoy, everyone!

Today, I'm very excited to reveal New Horizons Remastered; a new project to immortalise our much-loved New Horizons mod for PotC in the Unity engine, as a standalone game.

Starting right now, you can play a short tech demo that incorporates several assets and locations from the New Horizons mod and reimagines them with modern graphics while emulating the same gameplay mechanics.

Click here to download the demo

Read on for a brief description of how this project came to be, what the demo includes and where it will go from here... as well as what this means for Hearts of Oak.

A Fresh Start

Many of you may have followed our progress on Hearts of Oak, which was the PiratesAhoy! community's first attempt at building a new game from scratch in Unity. Despite making more progress than some of us dared believe was possible, that project unfortunately came to a halt last year following the departure of key developers. We tried to keep it afloat with a smaller team in our spare time, but eventually this proved too difficult due to other commitments.

Despite this outcome, we knew the potential for a Unity-based pirate game was still there, so a very small team of us decided to try again. We started to port PotC to Unity to see what was possible, and quickly found that this approach worked in our favour; we already had the content and a template to work from, so the scope was smaller and more manageable than before.

Demo Features

Land Exploration and Melee Combat

Several locations ported from PotC are available to explore, including a port scene, town and tavern, all with real-time global illumination and improved materials with specularity and normal maps. The area should feel very familiar, and that's exactly the point. When you see an icon appear in the top left corner of the screen, press F3 to teleport to that location.

If you take a stroll along the sea wall, you'll find a very angry NPC who is more than happy to fight you. Combat currently works similarly to PotC, using E to sheath/unsheath your sword, Left Mouse to attack and Right Mouse to defend. In this demo, the NPC stays still so you can easily avoid him, but he has the ability to follow and attack you at will, which will be enabled in a future release.

Sailing and Ship Combat

Walk over to the edge of the pier, and you can step on board your ship and explore the deck and cabin. If you then approach the ship's wheel, you can set sail and navigate your way around the island. Sailing works the same way as the Storm Engine games; use W and S to raise/lower the sails, A and D to turn, and Space to fire the guns if a target is in range. The ocean is calm for this demo, but it's capable of large waves all the way up to storm conditions.

You will find a static enemy ship floating just outside the harbour, which you can attack once you get within range, which is fixed at 300 yards for this demo. Your ship has been given very powerful guns that should destroy the target in 5-6 broadsides. Later versions will enable full AI patrolling and combat. You can try ramming it if you want, though.

An All-new Soundtrack

A lot of very high-quality music was composed for Hearts of Oak, but only a fraction of it ever got used. Now, New Horizons Remastered uses some of this music for the first time, completely replacing the music from PotC. Enjoy a tranquil track in the port and town, or visit the tavern for a jolly soundtrack truly worthy of its name.

Future Prospects

This demo is just the start. Looking forward, there are several key features this game will include:

More Custom-Made Assets

Almost any ship, building, location or prop that was custom-built for our mods can be ported to New Horizons Remastered. This opens up a vast library of original content accumulated over many years at PiratesAhoy!, all of which can be given a new lease of life in a modern engine.

Improved Combat

The current fencing system is extremely simple, and could be vastly improved by taking cues from both CoAS and more modern RPGs to make the experience much more dynamic. More fencing moves could include parrying, heavy and light attacks, and a stamina bar to manage them.

A Renewed Focus on Storytelling

The aim is for quest writers to have an easy way to port their quests from PotC or CoAS, opening up new possibilities for storytelling. With the freedom provided by the Unity engine, old quests can take advantage of far more powerful features including in-game cutscenes, dynamic events and custom gameplay mechanics and animations.

FAQ

Does this mean Hearts of Oak is officially dead?

Yes, development on Hearts of Oak has stopped.

What about all the assets you made for Hearts of Oak?

Thankfully, quite a few assets can be reused, including buildings, props, ships and other models. This extends to sound effects and music too, as seen in the demo.

Why didn't you announce this new game sooner?

We wanted to make sure we had a working, playable demo before making any announcements. We felt that it would have been unfair to announce another new project without something tangible to back it up.

Why did you decide not to continue Hearts of Oak instead?

Ultimately, this was a question of team size, resources and feature-creep. Making a new game from scratch was a mammoth task, and although we made quite a few assets for it, it was difficult to manage a large team of volunteer contributors. Due to the scope of what we were trying to make, the exact specifications kept changing, so our programmers ended up rewriting the code several times. In the end, it simply proved unsustainable.

So, what exactly is New Horizons Remastered?

It's a single-player open-world pirate RPG set in the Caribbean. You play as a captain with your own ship, and can freely explore and forge your own career as a naval officer, merchant or pirate.

Do I need PotC to play this game?

No, it's a standalone demo. It is not a mod for PotC or any other game.

What does this mean for the New Horizons mod for PotC?

New Horizons Remastered does not replace the original mod; it is being developed separately. Development will continue on the New Horizons mod for as long as there are modders willing to work on it.

Why choose to remake New Horizons, as opposed to PotC or CoAS?

This new project started as a PotC port, but due to potential legal issues surrounding the name, we decided to use the New Horizons name instead. As the New Horizons mod was the original inspiration for Hearts of Oak, it seemed like the natural choice for a spiritual successor.

What content are you going to include in the game?

At this stage in development, assets from PotC and CoAS will be used as placeholders, while custom-made assets will be used where available. The ultimate goal is to replace all the old assets with custom ones so the game will truly stand on its own.

Will you include assets from the PotC films, or any other series?

No, this game will not include any content related to the PotC franchise or any other franchise covered by copyright law.

I've modded PotC and/or CoAS before. Would I be able to help make this game?

Unity uses C#, which is very similar to the C-based language used in the Storm Engine games, so you should be able to adapt without too much trouble. You would need to learn how to use the Unity Editor in a basic capacity, which doesn't take too long. Once you're familiar with it, you'll appreciate how intuitive it is compared to using the Storm Engine's modding tools.

Let us know what you think

Although this demo is very basic and does have one or two minor bugs, we'd still love to hear your feedback.

There are other elements of this demo that I've not had time to detail in this article, but feel free to ask any questions about what it can and can't do in its current form.

Please visit our forum for more information: Piratesahoy.net

In the meantime, have fun in New Horizons Remastered!

Comments
isa0005
isa0005

Awesome! :D

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***Geroj***
***Geroj***

Yes to ALL

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Extradaemon
Extradaemon

Fantastic news, will you be making any improvements to melee combat at all? CoSH made some fantastic improvements that really made the system much more fun, and since you're free from the original game to an extent, introducing those changes would be a great move imo.

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Pieter_Boelen Creator
Pieter_Boelen

For starters, the intention is to stick to the template set by PotC. But with the new engine, indeed we'll be free from the Storm 2 limitations so eventually I'm sure we'll aim to improve on it.
For example, I personally quite like the way fencing works in the Star Wars: Jedi Knight series.

Reply Good karma+7 votes
CIS_Droid91
CIS_Droid91

Nice... <3

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Jhonny44
Jhonny44

Excellent! Good to hear that the standalone New Horizons/HOO is still in the works! The best thing about this remaster is that it will bring back the feeling of the old POTC games without the stability issues that come with the STORM engine! I'm getting pretty familiar with the object based C# and I'm starting technical programming (Technisch Informatica) in September, so if there is a need for starting programmers..:) Keep up the good work!

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Pieter_Boelen Creator
Pieter_Boelen

You'll certainly be welcome on our forum:
Piratesahoy.net

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Karyl_Reyne
Karyl_Reyne

Can't believe it yet...

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Yarpen93
Yarpen93

I saw it on the forums, it's pretty awesome. One question though, isn't there going to be "legal" problems if you use PotC stuff? We all have heard of certain companies shutting down fan made games to protect their IP.

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Armada_ Author
Armada_

We're currently using locations and character models from the PotC game as placeholders to get things started. Our intention is to eventually replace the old assets with new ones for the full game. We're already using community-made ships and music in the demo, for instance.

Reply Good karma+2 votes
javaPhysician
javaPhysician

YES! There aren't a lot of pirate-themed "pure" RPGs, so this I am stoked for!
Hell, I'd even buy it on Steam (or throw money y'all's way so ye can buy yerself some more rum).

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philliefanboy
philliefanboy

Yes! I did have a copy of the original but lost it many years ago and this is just what im looking for thank you hope the team can push through the hard yards to make this a full game

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Pieter_Boelen Creator
Pieter_Boelen

If you want to try the original game with our of, feel free to let us know.

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imado552
imado552

great news ! and good luck can't wait for it to be fully playable (full version)

just a question with the limitations of the storm engine gone you will have no engine limitations to improve New horizon features (maybe add new ones)
and so here is my question : will you make any improvements to town managements for conquered towns and will there be any features related to the lands acres gained when serving a nation ? , and on conquering towns/islands features will there be more improvement to it like any nation can conquer others lands and at the same time reclaim theirs ?

in general improvements to these features and i can guarantee that they will become the most popular features in the game

anyway good luck and cheers!

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Pieter_Boelen Creator
Pieter_Boelen

Short term answer: no.
Long term answer: yes, of course! Provided somebody will actually step in and make that happen.

That particular feature you ask for does not relate to game engine limitations though. It could be done within the Storm engine for sure. As long as somebody actually does it. Which hasn't happened.

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imado552
imado552

ah i see then looking forward to it and good work so far
thanks for the replay!

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Flam1ng_Dem0n
Flam1ng_Dem0n

After such a long period of silence I was wondering what had happened. Is Captain Murphy still on board? You said that many key developers left, does that include him as well? I know that he was part of the team from back when it was on CryEngine 3.

Also you spoke about assets being ported from from PotC, does that mean assets have been ripped and are being used in New Horizons? Wouldn't this spell issues for this game as that's a illegal practice (even if it's a free game isn't not accepted by the original developer or often the community).

Either way I hope this does well and goes somewhere.

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Pieter_Boelen Creator
Pieter_Boelen

Captain Murphy left the Hearts of Oak team quite a while back, same as myself. But he never left the community and has been giving very valuable support to New Horizons Remastered.

Existing assets are being used for the time being to help get the project off the ground. But of course the intention is to swap out any stock game content as soon as possible. Thankfully there is a huge wealth of mod-added content that can safely be reused.

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nicobelic92
nicobelic92

шикарно, только подумал перепройти вторых корсаров и тут на тебе))

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Pieter_Boelen Creator
Pieter_Boelen

According to Google translate, that means:
"Gorgeous, just thought to pereproyti second corsairs and then on you))"

But what is "pereproyti"?

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Guest
Guest

It means playing the game again.

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arash3589
arash3589

This sounds amazing! Great work guys!

I don't know if this might be even possible to implement but may I suggest a few options to be added to the game if possible?

Would it be possible to "tow" a captured ship to a port instead of deciding either to exchange it with your own ship or sinking it when your company is full? Or even exchanging it with another ship in the fleet rather than your own?

Would it be possible to improve and arm the sailors on the ships with better equipment so that they are armored or carry pistols in fights with some investments?

Would it be possible for the player to buy resource producing camps (logs, sugar, fruits and the such) for their own trading empire?

I know these might be a lot to ask from you but I think they would increase the enjoyment of the game for many :)

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Pieter_Boelen Creator
Pieter_Boelen

I'll start with the same answer I gave to imado55s above:

Short term answer: no.
Long term answer: why not? Provided somebody will actually step in and make that happen.

As for more specific answers:

- PotC limits your fleet to 4 ships. There is no reason to impose that same limitation in NHR, so I imagine adding extra (prize) ships to your fleet should not be a big issue.

- The NH mod for PotC already has the "Weapons Locker" feature for that purpose. I'm sure that NHR will eventually have the same; or maybe even something better.

- The NH mod for PotC has the (admittedly very weird and (un)intentionally funny) "BuildingSet" mod that allows you to make such camps wheverver you want. (Seriously, WHEREVER!!!) I talked with one of the developers and he thinks adding this to NHR will not be easy. But one day, we do hope it will happen.

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arash3589
arash3589

Thanks Pieter for the fast response! And to reply to your answer I have to say long live the long term then! :D

Awesome awesome, I know it's a hobby project for you guys and all the work you put in there is much appreciated.

Just a question about the "Weapons Locker", so for every single sailor you'd have to purchase armor, gun and sword (300+?) and after you take casualties you have to go do some more shopping?! I was wondering if a mechanism like: if you invest x per person your sailors would be equipped with guns or armor or whatever. But hey you guys are the boss!

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Pieter_Boelen Creator
Pieter_Boelen

In PotC:NH, you only need to find weapons for the sailors who are involved in boarding. A scene only ever has about 20 sailors, maybe less, on your side. So even for a ship with 300 crew, you only need probably 25-50 weapons (you'll want to keep some backup!).

But I agree this system is not ideal, so possibly once we get to the point to implement something like this in NHR, we can rethink this approach and come up with something better like you suggest.

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djempuiw
djempuiw

Very excited! Thank you very much!

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ThegnAnsgar
ThegnAnsgar

Will we get new updates on New Horizons Remastered on this page, or is there going to be a new Moddb page for it?

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Pieter_Boelen Creator
Pieter_Boelen

We haven't decided yet; probably there will be a new ModDB/IndieDB page for it at some point. But setting that up takes time that could also be spent on development, so for now the best places for news are:
Piratesahoy.itch.io
Piratesahoy.net
Moddb.com
Indiedb.com

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Armada_ Author
Armada_

We'll probably set up a new IndieDB page for it at some point. In the meantime, you can check our Issues page to see how development is progressing between releases: Gitlab.com

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