Back To Top

Back To Top

Journal #5 – Picking Up Veloc(e)-ity 4 August 2023

Welcome to our fifth monthly Developer Journal. 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.

This month is an update in the form of two new showcase videos!


We’ve taken a moment to showcase the first of our planned fleet of ships. Today we’re showcasing the first of Ahoy’s fleet of ships – “Veloce“. Veloce was developed using the lines of His Majesty’s Brig Speedy (1782).

Check out the latest video here:

The music featured in today’s video is a brand new rendition of the “Heart of Oak“, the official march of the Royal Navy since it’s original composition. The original piece was written in 1759 by composer William Boyce.

The History of His Majesty’s Brig Speedy

Speedy was a prominent 14-gun brig belonging to the British Royal Navy. Built in the concluding years of the American War of Independence, Speedy boasted a decorated service record during the French Revolutionary Wars. Emerging from the docks of Dover, Kent, HMS Speedy primarily served along the British coast during the interwar years. Following the ignition of the French Revolutionary Wars, she was transferred to the Mediterranean, spending the majority of her career in these warmer waters.

Here, she thrived under a series of accomplished commanders, carving out a remarkable reputation through her involvement in numerous engagements, often triumphing against formidable opposition. Commander Charles Cunningham, her first Mediterranean captain, earned accolades with multiple squadrons, contributing to the capture of prestigious war prizes such as the French frigates Modeste and Impérieuse.

His successor, George Cockburn, commanded admiration through his relentless commitment to duty. However, the reins of HMS Speedy fell into less fortunate hands with Commander George Eyre, who lost her to an overwhelming French force on 9 June 1794. Speedy’s misfortune was short-lived, as she was promptly reclaimed and reinstated under the command of Hugh Downman.

From 1795 to 1799, Downman proved his worth by capturing numerous privateers and repelling an assault by the formidable French privateer Papillon on 3 February 1798. Following Downman, Jahleel Brenton took the helm, engaging in numerous battles against Spanish forces off Gibraltar.

The last captain to command HMS Speedy, Lord Cochrane, earned his place in history by forcing the surrender of the significantly larger Spanish frigate El Gamo. However, in 1801, a potent French squadron once again captured HMS Speedy. The following year, Napoleon gifted her to the Papal Navy, where she served for five years under the name San Paolo before being decommissioned around 1806.

Why Veloce First?

You may be wondering why we selected Veloce as our first playable ship. Some of you who have followed the project for some time might even be wondering what happened to “Nemesis” (Our previously planned “first ship”).

It’s true that Nemesis (French ship Tapageur) was our initial candidate for the first ship to become playable in Ahoy. Nemesis formed the basis of the early prototyping phases for our tools development for constructing rigging, and determining which areas of optimisation were necessary to make our ships performant.

As work has progressed on these systems we came to a moment in this process where we had the opportunity to swap ships without the loss of any progress. After all, the work we’ve been doing thus far has been on establishing how we would approach complex ship mechanics, rather than specifically focusing on any particular ship by itself. Nemesis was a good candidate initially, but while work had been done on these rigging systems, we saw that Loïc’s work on Veloce had visually developed it even further (in some part due to Nemesis being off limit for further art changes while being used for systems development).

So the decision was made to switch to Veloce for two core reasons. Firstly, we felt it better represented the quality bar we are looking to set for our ship interiors. Secondly, because Veloce is based on a considerably more famous ship (HMB Speedy), which we felt could potentially grab more attention from both general enthusiasts of naval history, but also potentially open up more opportunities to collaborate with museums and institutions who can better see the application of a ship like Speedy over Tapageur.

Veloce now becomes our primary focus for systems development, and therefore Nemesis can now go through a similar process as Veloce has in terms of adding that additional detail and solving some structural issues found during it’s previous trial by fire.

Port Royal Showcase 2: Electric Boogaloo

In addition to the video for Veloce we also wanted to provide a slightly new view of Port Royal, Jamaica.

The previous showcase video was put together by Tyler in a relatively small window of time prior to the previous update and as such it’s ability to showcase the realism of the environment was somewhat hampered. Additionally, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense for Tyler to be the one to create the video in the first place, seeing as we already have a cinematographer on the team.

Maxime originally joined the project as a weapons artist and continues to push forward with bringing additional realism and detail to our weapon models. We covered some of his work on this in a previous Journal entry.

However it was clear that Maxime’s professional experience as a cinematographer would be a huge leap forward for our showcase videos, and so the initial intention was to rework the existing Port Royal showcase as a chance for Maxime to explore video production inside Unreal Engine 5.

Needless to say, we liked the result so much that it felt worth while releasing this rework to you. You can compare the final result with the original edit and see the massive quality jump and increased cinematic feel from the new video. Additionally we feel that the lighting within the environment is massively improved over the original, even though Port Royal is yet to go through a complete lighting pass.

We hope this video provides you with a little quality boost and some perspective on how important cinematography and lighting can be to the final result. It’s certainly opened our eyes to this anyway!

Wrap up

Additional to everything you’ve seen above, we’ve continued to work on optimisation of Port Royal. The latest performance reports are looking positive, and the upcoming Unreal Engine 5.3 brings in even more options for optimisation of Nanite foliage which is one of the areas that most impacts Ahoy’s performance today.

Naval guns got a complete rework. It turns out our existing guns were totally out of scale (due to a mixture of artists and reference imagery along the way), but they’ve now been brought up to authenticity standards while also getting a nice bump in visual quality too.

We’ve been able to explore music quite a lot through the development of this months two videos. While the piece in the reworked video of Port Royal remains the same as it’s predecessor, we feel that the continued exploration with Heart of Oak really sets the right tone for Ahoy’s soundtrack going forward.

The first steps for networking support of the Port Royal Experience are underway, and characters are another step closer to being available for customisation. It’s exciting to see various areas of development start to close in towards competition and watch the pace pick up across the board.

We’ve also now completed the transition of the Journal schedule to Fridays rather than the 1st and 8th day of the month. However quite ironically the next update will in fact release for Contributors on Friday 1st September, and for the public on Friday 8th…

And finally, the Steam page for Ahoy got a nice upgrade with new images.
Check it out! (and consider adding us to your wishlist if you haven’t yet)

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!

Join the Discord