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Announcing New Horizons Remastered - Bringing our best work to Unity

Discussion in 'PiratesAhoy! News' started by Armada, Jul 1, 2017.

  • by Armada, Jul 1, 2017 at 12:33 AM
  • Armada

    Armada Sea Dog Staff Member Administrator Project Manager 3D Artist Storm Modder

    Jun 11, 2010
    Game Developer
    Somerset, England
    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. The target won't sink in this demo, but later versions will enable sinking as well as 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.

    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.
    The demo only features basic exploration and combat.

    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 will be a pause in development over the next week, but work should resume steadily after that.

    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.

    In the meantime, have fun in New Horizons Remastered! :cheers
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017


Discussion in 'PiratesAhoy! News' started by Armada, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. Captain Armstrong
    Finally got chance to play it! loosing topsails in redmond harbour was quite the feeling. The music is wonderful to actually hear while sailing! fits the mood quite well-though I cant wait to hear more of those tracks in game as the situations they suit become playable. Everything looks so much better than in the storm engine, despite the age of the models. And what actually is higher poly *cough cough* Rossiya *cough cough* looks downright fantastic! General gameplay is very smooth- only bugs I noticed were either very minor demo ticks, or were present in POTC anyway :p I'll list them though, for thoroughness:

    -I couldn't switch views with Tab either aboard ship or ashore.

    -I think others have mentioned this, but the bow and stern chasers could fire at a semi-automatic rate.

    - A few times while sailing, I noticed spray higher than it should be-almost as though the spars of the Rossiya had a wake through the air which would trail the occasional specs of water.

    - Camera and movement was a bit different relative to stock potc. Sidestepping in fencing was something I used fairly often, and this system doesn't seem to allow for that-a and d turn the character instead. The camera doesn't automatically follow the direction of the character model as it did in potc, so this was more smooth for the camera-but may need accounting for in the fencing system.

    -I got stuck on the head of the Rossiya xD and couldn't get back over the bulwark-so I went to the main menu and tried to start a new game. It would load and then go back to the main menu instead. Restarted the game and all was well. There were a few spaces were I got stuck due to the original level design-but could've got out if jumping was implemented. I love that once I'm off the path, I can go anywhere!

    -Rossiya's lateen faces the wrong way relative to the wind :razz Also a few sails missing, but I reckon this is natural enough due to the early state of the demo. I noticed there were no splashes from missed shots, nor running rigging-but I reckon this is for the same reason.

    Some side notes:

    -The longboat and cutter aboard the rossiya look like great candidates to replace the equivalent stock models!

    - A toggle button for making the UI invisible would help a lot for making pretty screenshots.

    -This demo has my head spinning with all the ships and battles and tales that could be reborn! :dance

    I'll post my screenshots once I figure out a new spot to host 'em.
  2. Armada
    Thanks for the feedback, @Captain Armstrong! I'll try to address each of your points:

    1. There is no on-deck camera view yet, which is why you can't switch views. We'll add this later.
    2. I'll have another look at the cannon fire code for the chasers and see if that can be sorted out.
    3. I think the ocean system has a setting for the spray particles. We can adjust this if needed.
    4. The new camera movement is indeed not ideal for fencing yet. I'm thinking of adding a lock-on system like most RPGs have now so the camera and character will face an enemy, allowing you to sidestep properly. This will need a bit of work to set it up properly with the correct animations, so it may not be ready for several iterations.
    5. The colliders are very rough at the moment, so I'm not surprised you got stuck. :p I think @Captain Murphy has fixed the main menu bug, though.
    6. OK, so I kind of dumped the lateen in with the other sails while I was getting the yard turning to work. :wp There are missing sails because I need to extend the procedural sail system to allow non-right-angled triangles and gaff sails. Once that's done, they will be adapted to use cloth simulation instead of the current billowing effect.
    7. Good point, those boats (I think they were made by KrisWood?) would be good for more general use.
    8. Agreed, hiding the UI would be useful.
    Captain Armstrong likes this.
  3. Armada
  4. Captain Murphy
    A note about using Itch.io for the deployments. This allows us to keep everyone on the same version MUCH easier than forcing downloads constantly. It will auto-patch as necessary when the itch client is opened. We REALLY encourage you to use the client.
  5. sixthrate
    What's new/different in this build? I couldn't find a changelog on that page.
  6. Captain Murphy
    These are all patching builds to fix bugs.
  7. Captain Murphy
    You can find some of what has been patched here:
    WIP - v0.1.1 Changes
  8. Sharlatan
    Hey guys!

    So excited to learn about this project and great work so far!

    I'm not sure if I could be of help in any capacity but I'll just let you know that I might be interested if there's any use for me :)

    • I've got a degree in Computer Science and am working as a software developer, so, I know a few software development principles and have at least a vague idea about how to write code that doesn't suck too much. It also means that I'm not entirely new to most tools of the trade like Visual Studio, Git, testing frameworks, design patterns, etc.
    • I've already dabbled around in Unity a bit and the engine's not totally new to me.
    • I really don't have that much time I can guarantee I'd be able to spare for the project. There are a lot of things going on in my life right now and it's really hard to say how much I could effectively spend on this project
    • I have no idea if I'd be up to the task (but am willing to learn, of course!). It surely would also depend on what tasks I'd have to tackle. I mean, I feel confident enough to say that I probably could e.g. recreate most SNES games, concerning the programming part. Given enough time, that is. But when I think how I would tackle something like a proper 3d fencing system or a ship battle AI, I feel like I don't even have an idea about where to start and that this would be a monumental task for me.

    No idea if you have any use for me, either now or in the future. But always feel free to ask!

    Anyway, I wish you the best of luck and can't wait to see this project come to fruition! :)
  9. pirateking
    Hello Guys!

    Now have downloaded the demo and wow it looks great.
    I have some little Question:
    1. Did I understand right": That in this Project we can select between different storylines like in the ather New Horizon Mod?

    2. When did you think can you release the full Mod?

  10. Pieter Boelen
    Eventually. But not yet.

    When it's done. ;)
    ANSEL likes this.
  11. Captain Murphy
    Has anyone had a chance to test the time compression?

    Also, there is a x64 version uploaded on Itch.
  12. Tempesta
    WOW! Just wanted to congrats to all the crew for this awesome venture you mates started.
    I would be really honored if some of my tracks could be part of the soundtrack too :napoleon
    Anyway, canĀ“t wait to keep trying the upcoming builds!
    Pieter Boelen likes this.
  13. jaco
    Time compression? How?
  14. Captain Murphy
    When you start the game there is a window that shows you all of the 'input' commands for the game. You can see at the bottom of the list a time compression set using the "+/-" keys on the number row. From there you can reassign them to whatever you want.
    jaco likes this.
  15. Pieter Boelen
    I think it's a safe bet to say your music will make its way in there too.
    It's too good to leave out, after all! ;)
    Tempesta likes this.
  16. pirateking
    Ah ok.

    But please make also Storylines so that I can use me Update Mode.
  17. Hylie Pistof
    I DLed the X64 version but did not try time compression. The ships did some interesting physics stunts like flying and rolling in mid air, but eventually settled down and all went well after that.

    My average gaming system is capped at 150fps and that was where it stayed during it all.

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