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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 Murphy
    Technically the islands would each be in their own scene but they would load asynchronously and relative to the player. That whole concept is way down the road and won't be in the game for a long time.
  2. Homo eructus
    Just as reference, Man O' War Corsair, the Warhammer pirate game, uses Unity as well and has a very big map with direct sail and encounters without loading screens. Of course that's from a professional, if small studio with an actual (if not huge) budget behind it, but it's definitely technically achievable.

    Also, it doesn't have to render full 360 degrees big islands because it's mostly just one long continental coastline
  3. Captain Murphy
    Yes, it is possible. In fact the technology is not that difficult to initially work into, but it introduces more complexity than it returns in terms of functionality. Unfortunately everyone is focused on what could be possible when we are focusing on what is achievable, quickly. Having to track all those objects in a completely different set of x/z coords including any velocities and such is more than we want to try to handle at this stage. In a year or two? Sure. But right now it would eat a ton of time, a ton of effort, and not really add a lot to the gameplay.
  4. Homo eructus
    Yeah, I can see how that would be more trouble than worth as a starting point. I only brought it up as a reference for what could be done in the futre. I assumed this thread's comments were more for wishful thinking than anything else, as I assumed the down-to-earth sensible talking is being done in the development forum, but it's better not to get too carried away anyway.

    Needless to say, I'll be more than glad to localize NHR in Spanish when it comes to that.
    Pieter Boelen likes this.
  5. 9tailedfoxdragon
    Oh that water looks gorgeous. Its almost drinkable.(please do not drink real sea water).

    also im finally learning how to use unity.
    hopefully i will be able to see this develop into something awesome.
  6. Pieter Boelen
    :rofl :rofl :rofl
  7. Captain Murphy
    I am just really touchy about NHR going the way of HoO with massive scope creep taking its' toll on the project.

    I have a localization asset we will be implementing fairly early on, so we can hopefully make localization a breeze.
  8. Pieter Boelen
    Indeed whatever is done, it MUST be kept simple to start with. Any needless complexity that can be avoided must be avoided.
    You have my full support on that. :onya
    Captain Armstrong likes this.
  9. con20or

    I'd be happy to start just sailing around in a updated sailing model killing auto-generated ships and getting a feel for the new system - everything else stems from that I suppose in a way, trade, travel, adventures on land - they all need the ship part working.
    Pieter Boelen likes this.
  10. A.H
    Awesome news! I had mistaken this for Blue Horizons, which I already saw the announcement for, so this is the first time I noticed New Horizons new update.
    Good job to all you folks that are keeping naval history genre alive!
    And booo to all them zombie, fantasy, laser, call of duty, superficial artificial games! :bonaparte
    Pieter Boelen likes this.
  11. vlad1777d
    Can I download Unity project, maybe, to make some editing (little code changes or adding models) ?
  12. Armada
    The project is closed-source, so we're not currently distributing the code freely. If you have any models you'd like to add though, please let us know so we can consider it for a future release.
  13. TCO 006
    just played it and it's quite good, I like ship models and sea. Good luck :)
    Pieter Boelen likes this.
  14. imado552
    just two questions :

    will the problem of collusion for the new buildable building feature be fixed so you can't just god through houses you build and will the limit of 15 can be changed ?

    will modding will become easier like adding new locations and new stuff as well new features ? since i think we don't have the limitation of the engine anymore ?

    thanks and good work so far!!
    PS: graphics are good!!

    will the number of fleet stay limited to 4 ships can it be extended and can we perhaps allow some of our fleets ships to guard some places like conquered towns so if i have more then 10 ships i take 4 and make the rest patrol my town and attack any enemy ships?

    sorry for many questions !! again great job!
    and i know it won't happen any time soon since you are all occupied but just wanna know if it is possible that would be amazing and we can all who love modding help with what we can to make your work easier at least a little bit !
  15. Armada
    Yes, this will be fixed once the feature is implemented. We can add objects with colliders and even update the walkable area for NPCs in real time, so this would work as it was always intended.

    Adding new content as mods/DLC should be easier, yes. New features are not bound by the Storm Engine's limitations, either. ;)

    There's no reason to keep the limit to 4 ships, so this could be expanded. The UI will likely be overhauled to accommodate this as well.
    I can't promise specific AI abilities yet, but telling a ship to guard something should be possible in theory.
  16. imado552
    Hooray!..finally we are gone from these limitations ! and time for modding is back !
    time to go back working on my asian towns models since it will become easier to implement !
    and some story lines !!

    well glad it can be changed as for ships maybe add an option in the command when you command it to guard you or one of your fleet ships maybe you can ask it to guard the town fort or the port which the ship follow the command and will not follow you until you order it back and so can be moved from your fleet to the defending patrol ...
    well sorry excitement got me ! anyway thanks for the fast replay and good luck with your work !!
  17. pirateking
    Hello I have a Question.
    Can we download the Game normal or did we need a special Program to download the Game?
  18. Pieter Boelen
  19. pirateking
    Ok. Fine does don't need the itch Program to download it.
    What does mean x86 and x64 ?
  20. Pieter Boelen
    32 and 64 bit.
    Don't ask me why programmers decided to call 32 bit "x86", because that sounds needlessly confusing to me.
    It's a global thing though. :shrug

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