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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. Mirsaneli
    Looking excellent. I have tested it. Will you add more playable characters for the final version?
  2. GAZ Vodnik

    Will you also fix gamebreaking questbugs in the original game? :D
  3. Armada
    If you're using the Itch desktop client, the game should automatically update to the new version.
    If not, have you tried uninstalling your current game and downloading the new version again?

    There will be more characters to choose than just Nathaniel, yes.

    Hopefully we won't introduce those same bugs in the first place. ;)
    Pieter Boelen likes this.
  4. GAZ Vodnik
    I'm very carefully asking:

    Is there a way to get the soundtrack? Because it sounds absolutely beautiful!
  5. Pieter Boelen
    @Flannery, @Armada and @Captain Murphy, what do you think...?
  6. Armada
    We'll have to discuss this with the composers who contributed the music.
  7. Hylie Pistof
    I finally figured out how to use the Itch client and have the latest version. The ships are still flying out of sight.
  8. Dakota Lambert
    Apologies if this has already been requested, but since the shift to Unity for NH is there any chance for a Linux/Mac Build? I for one would appreciate a linux build and could offer my testing. Unity should allow for the simultaneous release on all three platforms.
  9. Pieter Boelen
    @Captain Murphy or @Armada, does that sound feasible to you?
  10. Armada
    We do have the tools to deploy Linux and Mac versions via Itch, but we don't have the right hardware to test those builds on, so it would be up to people like yourself to try those builds and let us know how they run.
    If you're up for that, we can do a trial run with the next build.
    Dakota Lambert and Pieter Boelen like this.
  11. Armada
    Regarding the soundtrack: I've spoken to @Flannery and @Tempesta so far, and we agreed that a select few tracks could be showcased on YouTube.
  12. Dakota Lambert
    I would LOVE to test a linux build of NH. Please just let me know.

    Edit: The demo launches and is mostly playable (I need an actual mouse to test further) under WINE staging 2.12, so I have high hopes for a native build.
    Pieter Boelen likes this.
  13. Hylie Pistof
    I'm wondering just how big the world is now? If I set sail and left, then came back an hour later would the ship still be sailing? Would it be stopped? Would it fall off the edge of the world? Could I still see the bottom?

    I got called away and had to shut it down before I could do this.
  14. Pieter Boelen
    As far as I know, there is only "bottom" directly around the island. There is nothing away from the island either.
    There's definitely no "At World's End" scene awaiting you out there. And I doubt there is a border of any kind.
    @Captain Murphy and/or @Armada should be able to confirm.
  15. Armada
    If the new ocean asset works like the old one and follows the player ship, then the scene is effectively limitless. You could keep sailing, but there's nothing else out there yet.
    Things will get more interesting once we add a second island, which you might be able to sail to directly without any loading screens, depending on our implementation.
  16. Captain Murphy
    What you would eventually run into is floating point precision issues and the ship would begin to jitter and jump like crazy. Otherwise it is limitless.
    Hylie Pistof likes this.
  17. GAZ Vodnik

    I don't remember loading screens in PotC, besides the usual "Dock at port". Or do you mean something else?
  18. Pieter Boelen
    In stock PotC, travelling between islands requires the WorldMap, just like in AoP/CoAS/SD/TEHO, etc.
    That means you see two loading screens; one for 3D Sailing Mode to WorldMap and another for WorldMap to 3D Sailing Mode.
    PotC: New Horizons also has the DirectSail mode, which allows you to bypass the worldmap.
    But even then, there is always a loading screen between one island and another; sometimes more if you encounter ships on the way.
  19. Hylie Pistof
    Ahh. That might explain why I started getting errors again without sinking a ship, but just sailing away.
  20. SuperCrumpets
    True direct sail with all islands on the same scene would be absolutely perfect, land can stay seperate but i really do want true direct sail to be a thing.
    then ideally all encounters could slowly spawn just over the horizon and sail in a random direction without the current loading that makes some existing ships disappear
    Pieter Boelen likes this.

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