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Journal #1 – Ahoy! 1 April 2023


What is the Developer Journal?

The Developer Journal is a new initiative to update you on the progress of the team throughout the past month, as well as an opportunity for us to highlight particularly important news and our focuses for the following month. These Journals will hopefully represent a continuous timeline of Ahoy’s development, and allow the community to get a more concise view on where the project is at any given time, and in which areas we’re making progress.

Each Journal will be released to Contributors on the 1st of every month, and will later be shared with the wider community exactly a week later on the 8th (except in extraordinary circumstances where both dates might change).

For more information about becoming a contributor and accessing these updates early, please see the contribute page:

Character Updates

One area that has seen significant progress over the past month has been characters. We’re working with a number of artists to prepare clothing sets for use by players and NPCs. Each clothing set represents a significant amount of work to research the historical designs, recreate each garment with particular attention to detail, add additional folds and decoration through sculpting, and then prepare these clothes for Unreal Engine (through the creation of a low poly, textures and materials).

The Crew Garb

These garments will be worn by the general crew of most ships (predominantly AI crew). They form the basis of the future randomized garment set which will enable us to have a huge variety of individual characters both aboard ships as well as those on shore leave.

In addition to being intended for the AI crew, some of these items will make their way into the player clothing collections as well.

Civilian Clothing

Civilian clothing represents a mixture of player and non-player clothing. In most cases, they are intended to provide an acceptable level of variety among townsfolk (AI), and will help to bring the vibrant fashion of the 1780s to life.

However, like with the crew garb above, it’s likely that some of these clothing options will be available to the player as well. One particular challenge will be how the more feminine costume would interface with our gameplay systems. It might be possible that we see a more limited selection of traditionally feminine outfits available to the player when at sea to account for this.


We’ve also been exploring how we may approach more detailed character animation. Firstly, we’ve expanded the capabilities of our character’s facial animation. It’s now possible for us to achieve much more realistic expressions, which will be vital when interacting with AI characters in conversation, and seeing them talk between themselves in towns.

(P.S. Ignore the hair/eyebrows! They are work in progress!)

When you see the Spanish Ladies for the first time.
“What a wonderfully true voice Mr. Hollom possesses.”
When the other captain is now in irons after just turning into the wind.

We’re also preparing to make full use of our own Mocap (Motion Capture) data. The Mocap technology is based on the newly launched vision-based solution, which means that whoever is acting in a particular scene has far less restriction on their movement. uses a collection of consumer-grade iPhones or other capture devices like webcams.

The test you see below was with only three capture devices, which accounts for some of the issues you can see in the processing of this data. However, later this month we’ll be upgrading to an 8 camera setup, which should provide a much wider capture area, along with greater accuracy in the data itself which will improve the final results.

Notice the strange floor angle and other body position errors? Those are likely due to the limited capture device count. We’ll see more improvement here later on!

Sound Design

As we work towards the eventual release of the Port Royal Experience, we’re exploring the sound design of these port locations through custom-built solutions for wind and weather. Sound really does make up a huge part of the experience of an immersive simulation like Ahoy.

We’ll be explaining how these systems work in more detail in the future, but you can see an early preview of some of this important work from Andrew Van Hassel, our sound designer, in this video:

MetaSounds is a new technology released with Unreal Engine 5.

Wrap Up & Next Month

This month has been a hectic one! With the launch of the website and contribution scheme finally behind us, the time on the project inside of Unreal Engine has been somewhat limited until now. That being said, the next month is an important one which will see the introduction of Andrew’s sound work into Port Royal, and further optimization work will be completed to enable more of you to experience Port Royal when it is released.

In addition to this, We’ll be working on the core systems of the Port Royal Experience to enable you to connect to and explore the town in multiplayer with other contributors. the “P.R.E Release” (ha ha) will be limited in scope to begin with, but the intention of this release is to act as a foundation for future pre-release content. Whether that would be introducing new systems to the port environments (NPCs, social features, conversations, etc.) or eventually expanding into other areas of gameplay (ships, sailing, combat).

As always, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support of Ahoy, and to our contributors for their generous donations. More important than just the extra flexibility these donations provide us, your contributions reinforce our conviction in what we’re doing with Ahoy.

Community Mentions

Another feature of these monthly updates will be highlighting any particular community member contributions that stood out to us in the past month. We’d like to bring everyone’s attention to Lieutenant Gabaret who has put together this great introductory video to Ahoy for the French community:

If you would like to be featured as part of our Community Mentions section of the Journal, please make sure to share your creations or community contributions in our Discord server!

Until next time, good day!

Join The Discussion!

Our Journal updates are often discussed at length in the official Ahoy Discord server. Whether you have questions about the topics covered in this update, or you would like to leave your own feedback or suggestions, please join our Discord server to discuss!

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