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Journal #13 – Figureheads & French Swords 7 April 2024

Each month we take a moment to talk with you about the development process and progress from the past month, while also highlighting contributions from the Ahoy community.

Last month, we spoke shared a look at the British Sea Service Pattern musket and the progress being made on sailing forces.

Funding Decisions

This month we’ve spent a lot of time internally discussing the path forward for acquiring funding for Ahoy. It is our current intention to pursue a crowdfunding campaign later this year which, if successful, will unlock the team’s full capabilities in terms of time commitment and our ability to expand the team where necessary to support Ahoy’s development.

The crowdfunding campaign is still something we’re figuring out. It will require a significant amount of team time to prepare content for. Our hope is to enter this new period of the project with all guns blazing, to both give the crowdfunding campaign the best possible chance of success, but also to ensure we can ramp up production even further should the campaign succeed.

Specifics about the campaign are something we have to remain fairly private about at this stage, but as we settle in our intended path towards it’s start date we’ll be able to share more details about what the campaign means for Ahoy, the team and of course you, the community.

There is, I think, as sense of renewed enthusiasm for this new direction from within the team. The disappointing news at the start of this year really hit us harder than I think we expected, but as I’ve been saying for the past few months to the team, we’re really starting to create our own luck. With each milestone in development, and with every additional month that goes by, we’re getting closer to that dream of being able to dedicate everything to this project that we’re so passionate about.

We’re hoping to bring you along for the ride in our preparations for this campaign to varying degrees. There are some surprises planned which we won’t reveal prior to their public release, but we’re really hopeful that the impact from this work will push the crowdfunding campaign forward.


Recently, we welcomed a new member to the Ahoy team. Jannis has started his time with us exploring a new asset pipeline for ship figureheads. Figureheads are one of the most obvious and important customisation options on Ahoy’s ships. Like with anything in the game, we’re aiming for a degree of authenticity in their depiction.

One of the more commonplace figureheads among the world’s navies at this time was the crowned lion. This particular design saw use across most of the European navies during the 18th and 19th centuries, and while the design language of the lion or crown might change, the overall concept was widespread.

We were already aware of a particular representation of the British crowned lion design on display in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Here you can see the reference images we were able to gather of this figurehead, and below you can see the in-progress recreation by the very talented Jannis.

We’re excited to see this figurehead move into the final stages of it’s creation, with the ‘low poly’ geometry and paint work yet to be completed. After this, Jannis will move into other areas of the project as originally planned, but I must say that I’m excited to see more figureheads like this being added to the project in the future.

More Weapons

One of our long time members, Mihai, has been working on more small arms for use by players and NPC crews alike. Here, we can see a French smallsword in all of it’s glory:

Answering Your Questions

We’re continuing to answer the questions you’ve submitted in the previous month. So long as the number of questions doesn’t exceed a certain amount, we’ll aim to answer all sensible and insightful questions that are asked! Check at the end of the Journal for a link to submit your questions.

On Sailing Mechanics:
– Respondent, Community Questionnaire 2023.
Some great questions! Naturally this area of the experience is likely to change as people start getting their hands on it and telling us what they think. For the moment, I can perhaps share the intended design and we can see what you all think!

In Ahoy's design, we aim to offer control where players desire it most. Some may prefer precise, hands-on control to ensure their intentions are executed accurately, while others may opt for a more general oversight.

In the game, you're constantly issuing orders to your crew, both players and NPCs. However, you always have the option to take direct control when necessary, such as handling the tiller.

Regarding sail management, most actions are carried out through orders rather than manual manipulation. While players can climb rigging or handle ropes themselves, it's not expected to be frequent. Still, there are benefits to crew morale if you choose to engage directly.

Generally, you're going to want to be giving out regular vocal commands (through an 'order wheel'/UI) to your crew to carry out the vast majority of actions. This provides you with ample time to manage that crew, ensure they're carrying out orders correctly, and focusing on the current whereabouts of the ship and the potential threats that may be lurking.
On Storms:
– Respondent, Community Questionnaire 2023.
Storms are indeed part of our current design blueprint. Managing sail area will be a primary concern across various weather conditions, with the risk of sail damage heightened in severe weather, akin to combat situations.

Moreover, water ingress becomes a more immediate threat during storms. Bilge pumps serve as the primary defence, but ensuring their continuous operation will require constant attention. Assigning crew members to these tasks will be crucial.

Leaving gunports open could exacerbate water intake, although we're deliberating on the extent the relationship between the visual and simulated water intake. It may be a direct correlation between visual cues, such as water height or ship roll, and actual water intake, or it might involve a more abstract representation. Our aim is for realism, as always, but it'll be an interesting challenge to implement.
On Nations:
– Respondent, Community Questionnaire 2023.
The number of nations depends on the context of the question, really. For the scope of this discussion, let's focus on playable, player-joinable nations. In that regard, there are plans for five playable nations: British, French, Spanish, Dutch, and American. These nations were significant in the historical context of the game's setting, hence their inclusion in this way.

In Ahoy, piracy is considered an action rather than a faction or nation. Therefore, any player can engage in piracy but will face appropriate consequences for their actions. While players may choose to band together under the banner of piracy, there won't be a predefined faction or group dedicated to piracy.

It's worth noting that piracy was not as widespread during this period compared to the 1710s. Most individuals involved in piracy now operate as privateers for the aforementioned five major nations, while others engage in smaller, less organized activities.

Additionally, the game will feature other nations and organizations in various capacities. Players can expect to encounter NPCs representing groups such as the Swedish, Portuguese, Maroons, as well as entities like the East and West India companies. These groups will serve as NPC-only entities that players can interact with positively or negatively based on their intentions.
On Navigation Speeds:
– Respondent, Community Questionnaire 2023.
Answering this question is challenging because much of the design hinges on unexplored technology, particularly as the open world isn't our immediate focus.

However, our aim is to depict speeds as accurately as possible. While we might slightly adjust speeds upward to ensure a reasonable distance is covered over time, these adjustments should be imperceptible to players. Even then, any alterations should be minimal.

Regarding long-distance travel in Ahoy's eventual open world, we aim to strike a balance between immersion and gameplay efficiency. We want to maintain a visually realistic sailing experience while allowing players to traverse across the West Indies in about 4-5 hours in a single voyage (although we don't anticipate this being a common occurrence).

To achieve this, our current theoretical approach involves creating "open sea" regions between mainland areas and islands. These regions are actually much smaller than the real distances they represent. While players will perceive themselves sailing at normal speed outside and within these regions, they'll actually be traveling much faster relative to real world geography due to the condensed space. Whether we attribute this to specific wind channels or simply accept it as a necessity of game design remains to be determined. 

Ultimately, this system should offer a balance of realism and practical sailing distances. It will also condense the population of the open seas into a smaller area (still pretty vast) which will mean you are more likely to come across others, even if the population of the game is lower (which we hope won't be the case, of course! :D )

Please do keep sending in your questions about Ahoy. If you have more questions for the team and would like them answers next month, please submit your questions below.

Submit your questions:

Until next time, good day!

Sincerely your most humble servant,

Tyler – Project Lead

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