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Hearts of Oak News July 2015

Discussion in 'Hearts of Oak News' started by Armada, Jul 31, 2015.

  • by Armada, Jul 31, 2015 at 1:10 AM
  • Armada

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

    Jun 11, 2010
    Game Developer
    Somerset, England

    Welcome to another edition of our Hearts of Oak progress articles!

    Yes, we're back, and it couldn't be a more exciting time for the project. Read on to find out what we've been up to and how you can help shape the future of the game.

    Recent Developments
    During this long, quiet spell, we have been hard at work reshuffling the team and refocusing on getting a playable tech demo built and ready as soon as possible.

    And with that, we have a surprise for you: we are proud to announce that the first playable tech demo is now available!

    Click here to download our July Tech Demo

    It comes slightly earlier in this development stage than we had planned, but we felt that our latest internal build had enough features that we could share it with all of you.

    This does, however, mean that what you're getting is a VERY early build that is rough around the edges and makes heavy use of placeholders. As such, we must stress that this build does NOT represent final quality and any shape or form. Below, we'll explain what's in this build, what's missing, and what we plan to include in future builds.

    July Tech Demo Features
    - UMA Character System
    Using UMA (the Unity Multi-purpose Avatar system), we can now generate a vast range of character models on the fly, without needing to model each one individually. This also allows for deep customisation, which is opened up to the player in-game with the UMAzing asset from the Unity store.

    When you select 'Create Character' in the main menu, you will be taken to a screen that lets you generate a random character and then customise them to your liking. At the moment, the choice of clothing is very limited, but in later builds, we will improve this by adding custom clothing items including hats, coats, trousers and shoes that suit the game world better.


    Once you've saved your character, you can select them in the 'Play Game' menu, and choose the mode you want to play (Single-player recommended).


    - Basic Sailing
    Sailing will be one of the core mechanics of Hearts of Oak, and this build includes a very early system that lets you take command of a ship and use the W, A, S and D keys to steer and set the sails. Simply approach a nearby ship and click on it to take control.

    At this stage, there are no animations for the sails or other parts of the ship, so keep an eye on the 'Sails' value in the bottom right corner to see what 'percentage' of sails are currently set.



    In future builds, this system will be heavily modified to allow setting of individual sails, or cycling through a series of preset sail states, depending on your preferences. And, of course, expect to see sail animations and moving yards later on.

    If you're wondering what happened to the St Albans model, fear not! The galleon in this build is just standing in while we work out a few issues with importing the St Albans and getting her working properly.

    - Open World Environment
    This build includes a sparsely detailed set of small islands to test the performance and feasibility of an open world environment. At present, objects are rendered within 2000m of the player's position, but this may change with further tests.

    You can sail to any island you can see in the same scene, without loading screens. Depending on how the performance holds up when scaled to include full Caribbean islands, this is essentially what we're aiming to achieve for the final game.


    - P2P Networking
    As a test, we have included Unity 5's new UNET P2P networking system. This is mostly to allow developers to collaborate in a shared game world (hence the chat window), but eventually this can be expanded on to introduce full multiplayer modes.

    We only recommend giving this a try if you are familiar with Unity already, but depending on the amount of interest, we might be able to provide some tutorials on how to use this at a later date.

    - In-game Editor (experimental)
    This is another tool aimed at making development easier, which should allow our artists to add and move assets to the game while in the game itself. Currently, this only works if you have Unity installed, but in future it should offer a streamlined way for artists to populate islands with props, buildings and scenery.

    Monthly Release Schedule
    We should also explain at this point that we have a new approach to when and how new builds will be released.

    Our new lead developer, @JohnSilver, is keen to release new builds on a monthly basis, which pushes the team to prioritise new content and features, and allows us to more rapidly prototype without getting bogged down on specific details.

    What this means is that, from this point on, we are aiming to have a new build ready towards the end of each month, and a news article to go with it. Additional articles might be posted between releases, but that will depend on the time and resources we have.

    We are currently working towards the full Proof-of-Concept Demo that we hinted at in the past, and although we can't be sure when it will be ready, we will still be releasing another build next month in whatever form it takes.

    How You Can Help
    As of now, there are two ways you can help with the development of the game: either through testing the new build, or contributing to future builds.

    If you want to test the game, you can start right away by downloading the new tech demo. We need feedback from players to improve the game, and the things we want to hear about include:
    • Performance - How well does the game run on your PC? What settings are you using (screen resolution etc.) and what are your PC specs?
    • Gameplay - Is the game easy to play? Are the controls intuitive?
    • Bugs and glitches - Have you experienced anything unusual while playing?
    • Networking - Can you successfully set up a game with two or more players online? Does the game perform well during multiplayer?
    All feedback, both positive and negative, is greatly appreciated. We remind you that this build uses placeholders though, so please bear that in mind when posting any comments about graphics or model quality.

    If, on the other hand, you'd like to join our development team and help shape the game's future, then don't hesitate to contact us through our recruitment forum. As we rely entirely on volunteers, the more people we can get working on the game, the better.

    What we currently need includes:
    - C#/Unity developers
    If you're familiar with C# and/or working with scripts in Unity, you can help! If you're interested in working on the gameplay mechanics with our developers, and you have plenty of time to spare, you might be exactly who we need!

    - Artists of all kinds
    We still need to produce an uncountable quantity of assets for the game, including props, architecture and ships. If you're an able 3D artist, we always have something for you to do.

    With the integration of the UMA character system, we will also need people to produce custom clothing items for the base characters. This will have a very noticeable effect on the visual quality of the game, so this is a high priority role!

    Remember, we're looking for volunteers only. If you want to join the team, please check our List of Development Roles for details.

    That's it for this month's progress; we'll have more updates for you soon!
    Don't know what the Hearts of Oak project is? Take a look at our
    Frequently Asked Questions for more information.


Discussion in 'Hearts of Oak News' started by Armada, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. Thagarr
    Absolutely brilliant! I can't wait to give that character creation a try! :woot

    I have been having some computer issues lately, at the moment I can only get on here with my Linux only laptop. I will give it a try just as soon as I get my main rig up and going again. :wp
  2. fighterad
    Reporting Test Sys Spec i5 4690@4.4 8gb RAM 2x6970 AMD ...FHD
    some issue with camara at movment the fps drops from 60 to 20 in 2 sec when camara are moving i had seen that you have enable vsyn on unity maybe that the problem, and the particle system causing or sun shadows blips. And animation cuasing low fps too.
    GoodWork :doff
    Frames, Time (ms), Min, Max, Avg
    2083, 45937, 20, 62, 45.345
  3. Armada
    Thanks for the feedback, @fighterad!

    I did notice some odd shadow flickering when I played it. Not sure what causes that.
  4. Captain Murphy
    Usually that is caused by the shadow bias being too low in the settings. We have seen it in several instances with relation to the sun directional light.
  5. con20or
    Wow - and i was only fishing for a new screenshot yesterday!! Plays fine for me, the menu for building the face/body etc is a bit jumpy but other than that it looks great. Can you switch to first-person view somehow?
  6. JohnSilver
    The shadow issue seems to be related to OpenWorld dynamic terrain loading. I will check the parameters and do more testing.

    We will be updating the character builder to add new slots for clothes, hair/beards and other accessories. As well, the current character builder uses the old UI system, which will also be upgraded.

    I am planning to setup a network server to host games to allow people to test multiplayer.

    Thanks for all those who have done testing and as always we are always looking for top feature requests for the next release.


  7. apotek
    Hi guys
    maybe my pc it's a bit old to run properly... specs:
    Intel E6500@2933, 4GB RAM 1333, Nvidia GeForce 8400GS 512Mb HD 1360x768

    I can't move freely when try to walk around my character run from one way to another hardly can aproach my ship and take command, maybe it's time to upgrade my grapic card . . . . or the entire pc :8q, the sea not load:shrug

    HoOscr1.png HoOscr2.png
  8. JohnSilver
    Thanks for the post.

    The water not rendering is certainly a graphics issue, I will check to see if there is a compatibility setting or a shader we can fall back to.

    I would also guess that if you are finding it difficult to move around this may be because your FPS is very low, which could also be a result of you graphics card.

    For the next release I will look to support a variety of graphics settings to accommodate more users like yourself.

    One thing you may try is running the game in full screen mode rather than Windowed.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to download and run the game.


    apotek likes this.
  9. BlackFootRoberts
    I can't wait to test it!! It looks beautiful!!
  10. Flannery
    Hey @apotek
    Do you have any controllers of any kind (racing wheel, controller or joystick) plugged in your computer while playing?

    This might cause your character to move in one direction constantly.

    If so - simply unplug it and restart the game
  11. WeekendWarrior
    Wow... I enjoyed running pointlessly towards a smoking volcano with bare feet more than i should...
    Great work! This game will be greater than what we've hoped for...
    Thanks for arousing our appetite...
  12. Thagarr
    apotek and Pieter Boelen like this.
  13. Hylie Pistof
    Screenie time! :popcorn:

    HoO_July2015 2015-08-01 09-58-51-88.jpg HoO_July2015 2015-08-01 10-00-26-13.jpg HoO_July2015 2015-08-01 10-01-36-61.jpg HoO_July2015 2015-08-01 10-05-26-33.jpg HoO_July2015 2015-08-01 10-09-05-86.jpg HoO_July2015 2015-08-01 10-10-13-37.jpg

    I like the way the shadows work. I could not climb the volcano but did climb a small hill.

    Now about the loads. It seems to be poorly optimized so far with both CPU and GPU loads all over the place. It WILL get better.
    HOO new start 8-1-2015.jpg

    AMD 8370@4.92ghz and a Sapphire R9 290X 8gb
    16 gb ram @ 1920mhz
    1920X1080 resolution
    Thagarr and Red Back Dude like this.
  14. UncleJohnny
    Hey guys, great work! I just joined up to congradulate you on your progress! I love the idea of this game and have been following its progress for quite some time now, though not being a developer I really don't have any skills to contribute.

    I am however quite happy to test out any test releases you have to give!

  15. Mason Nelson
    Woah, this is a nice surprise! Downloading.
  16. Andrew Maxey
    Excellent! I can see it coming together quite nicely! :bonaparte
  17. BlackFootRoberts
    As soon I get in game my character starts running automatically......
  18. JohnSilver
    This is issue could be caused by a connected controller as was previously mentioned or perhaps incorrect input mappings. Try this, in order to fix the issue:

    • When you first launch the game you will be prompted with the standard Unity dialog which allows you to set game settings.
    • If you click the "Input" tab, you can remap game inputs.
    • upload_2015-8-3_13-37-6.png
    • The inputs for character movement are mapped to the Horizontal and Vertical axis. You can change inputs by double clicking and either pressing a key or moving a game controller. In the example screen shot I replaced the primary game control "left" with the "a" key. This would limit the controls to just keyboard input.
    • Alternatively, try moving towards a ship and take command, right now the ship movement is only mapped to the keyboard.
    Please let us know if this does or doesn't solve your problem and thanks for running the demo.


    BlackFootRoberts likes this.
  19. JohnSilver

    The more testers the better.

    Thanks for trying the demo.



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