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Project on IndieDB: Hearts of Oak: Conquest of the Seas
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FAQ

What is Hearts of Oak?

Hearts of Oak: Conquest of the Seas is a standalone game in development by the PiratesAhoy! community, being developed in Unity.
It is a realistic role-playing game set in the Age of Sail, designed to be a fun and authentic experience that draws on our community's enthusiasm and expertise for this period.

Is it a mod, like your other projects?

No, Hearts of Oak is being developed as a standalone game from the ground up. It is not a mod for an existing game.

Is it a Pirate Game?

That depends how you define a "Pirate Game".
If you define it as a game set in the Age of Sail, that gives the player command of their own ship and an open world to explore, then YES, Hearts of Oak IS a pirate game.
If you define it as a game all about pirates... well, Hearts of Oak will include pirates and will let you play as one, but it won't beall about pirates, so in this case, NO, it IS NOT a pirate game.

Is it single-player or multiplayer?

The game is going to be primarily a single-player experience, with a few multiplayer modes. It will not be an MMO.

Is it linear or open-world?

There will be a huge open world to explore, along with storylines with a certain amount of linearity, but our focus is on player choice.

When is the game set?

It will initially be set in the mid-eighteenth century, around the time of the Seven Years' War.
We hope to eventually expand the game to include both earlier and later time periods.

Why did you choose this time period?

Our team members have different time periods they prefer, and we felt the mid-eighteenth century was the best compromise to please the most people and get everyone working together.
Another bonus of this period, especially in terms of ships, is that we can use some models from the early 1700s without them looking too out of place.
Furthermore, many ship models from around the 1750s and newer can be easily adapted for use in the Napoleonic era (late 1700s/early 1800s), which makes the production line more efficient.

If this time period doesn't interest you, then fear not, because we plan to add previews of different periods in the form of 'quick-play scenarios', which should introduce more variety until other periods are fully implemented.

What kind of quality are you aiming for with your 3D assets?

We plan to raise the bar above and beyond what we've done for the Storm games in the past, and to make the most of the modern technology present in Unity.

Our team considers this a natural evolution of the high-quality work that our mods feature, using higher poly-counts and high-resolution textures to create a truly immersive game world.

Are you sure the engine can handle such high-detail models?

We are confident that all of our assets will be properly optimised to ensure smooth performance in the game.
Our modellers are building different Levels of Detail (LODs) into their models, which will reduce the number of polygons on-screen when an object is further away from the player.
For reference, the Storm games only made very limited use of this technology, and assets such as ships and locations didn't use it at all.

Will it include ships and characters from PotC?

For copyright reasons, we will not be including any content from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise in the game.
Such content could be added as a mod in future.

Will you continue to support the Storm Engine games?

Yes, several people in our community still intend to support our mods for the Storm games.
However, due to the nature of our volunteer community, these games will only be updated as people choose to make content for them.
So depending on how many people want to support them, and how much free time they have, the amount of new content for our mods will fluctuate between a lot and nothing at all, at times.
As always, if you wish to contribute something to our mods, you are most welcome to do so!

Is it a commercial game?

We do not have any plans to make the game commercial at this time. We are working on it as volunteers, and the plan is to make it available for free.

Will there be a Kickstarter campaign?

There will not be a Kickstarter campaign for this game unless we deem it necessary in the later stages of development.

Will this game compete with other similar games in development?

No, Hearts of oak is NOT intended to compete with any similar games in the genre, commercially or otherwise. We just want to make the best game that we can without worrying about competition, deadlines or sales figures.
In fact, we at PiratesAhoy! welcome the development of other Age of Sail-related games. It proves there is an audience out there that wants these games!

Which engine are you using?

We are using the Unity engine (not to be confused with the engine powering Assassin's Creed: Unity, which is completely different).

What happened to CryEngine?

Long story short, it developed too many bugs and caused us major setbacks.
New features were poorly documented and bugs were not fixed soon enough, so we were forced to find an alternative in order to make progress.

Where can I download it?

We released the first playable tech demo in July 2015. Check our Downloads section for the latest release.

When will the game be released?

The final version is expected to take a few years to develop before it is release-worthy.
In the meantime, we are aiming to release a new build each month for players to test.
Please remember we are volunteers working on the game in our spare time, so development can be slow at times.

How can I follow the game’s development?
There are several ways you can keep up to date with the latest developments:

  • PiratesAhoy! forums: Check out news articles on the front page, and ask questions or apply to join the team here.
  • IndieDB profile: Most of our progress screenshots and videos are posted here, along with news updates.

You can also find the latest news from PiratesAhoy! on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

I want to help. How can I join the team?
First, visit our recruitment forum for a list of available development roles. Be sure to read any additional notes relating to certain roles.
Once you're sure what you want to apply for, introduce yourself in the recruitment forum and we will respond shortly.
The more information you give us about your experience and why you want to join, the better.
Will I get paid for contributing?
No, you will not receive payment for working on the project.
We are only looking for volunteers at this time, so please do not apply to join unless you are prepared to work without payment.
What qualities are you looking for?
Dedication and enthusiasm, above all else.
We need people who have a genuine interest in game development or the Age of Sail, and a decent amount of free time to contribute.
A fair amount of experience in whatever area you're applying for is desirable, but we welcome those that are still learning how to refine their skills.
You do not need any official qualifications to join, but obviously anything relating to your chosen role may be useful.

Although we are an international community, you MUST be able to communicate in written English, though you do not need to be perfectly fluent.
If your English isn't great, don't be shy to apply anyway.

I joined the team and was given a “Provisional” banner. What does that mean?
In the past, we allowed people to go straight into their chosen development group, but many people have not contributed anything to the project.
So, to offer more of an incentive to contribute, all new applicants are put in the Provisional group to begin with.
Once you have completed a few tasks for us to show your skill and dedication, you will be promoted to the group of your choice.
What is the “Top Contributor” banner and how do I get it?
As part of our incentive system, the Top Contributor banner is an award designed to recognise someone for exceptional work and dedication.
We do not have any strict criteria for earning this award; instead it is given out by our Coordinators, who monitor the forums regularly.
Visit the Top Contributor thread to see who has earned this award and why.