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Journal #6 – The Devil’s In The Details 1 September 2023

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 we are exploring a new format. We’re hoping to give more of an insight into the process behind developing Ahoy, rather than just using these updates as a showcase of progress (though this aspect will not go away, of course).

Sound Design for Port Royal

As such, we’re hoping to bring you videos from some of the team, focused on their particular area of expertise. This month, we’re excited to be exploring sound design for the Port Royal Experience with Andrew Van Hassel, Ahoy’s Sound Designer.

In this video, Andrew covers some of the key atmospheric sounds for wind and ocean from the perspective of being on solid ground. This is a really important aspect of atmosphere building for players when both on land and at sea, but with the Port Royal Experience being part of our core focus, it made good sense to explore these sounds from this particular perspective and to start to build that surrounding soundscape to flesh out the atmosphere while you explore the town.

Andrew is a fantastically important part of the team, especially considering our laser-focus on immersion for Ahoy. We will most definitely revisit other areas of the sound design process with Andrew again in the future and as we find our feet with this new format.

Nemesis Decoration

This past month, our shipwright and town planner extraordinaire Loïc Derrien, has returned to Nemesis (French ship Tapageur) and has been working on progressing the decorative detail within the ship, to ensure it has parity with Veloce, as we saw it in last month’s journal.

Here are some images showing just how much this additional pass of decoration really adds to the look and feel of these ships.

Ship Paint, Wear & Tear

While work continues on our rigging review process of Veloce, and making preparations for sail and rigging setup (more on this soon), we have revisited some of the materials in use on our ships to enable more variety for customisation, while also enabling global wear and tear gained from the days, weeks and months at sea.

An example of the global paint damage layers which will be revealed more regionally/specifically based on where this sort of cosmetic damage is received during gameplay.

While the more obvious change to your ship over it’s life will be player customisation and battle damage, we think that one important aspect of a living, breathing world is that the passage of time should, in some way, have an impact on how your ship looks.

Perhaps it’s a few clumsy bumps against a pier, or just a particularly untidy crew. Either way, your ship should show signs of it’s (mis)use over time, all the same.

The current way this system works is that we’re blending between your original customisation choices (paint colours and wood finish) with an exposed, rougher wood surface where paint chipping and varnish or oil might have worn away. This occurs ‘globally’ (the whole ship at once) at the moment, but in future we’re aiming to have this be regional based on the locations which should see the most wear and tear, and even in some cases based on the actual in-game, perceivable events that cause this kind of damage.

A quite over the top example of the blending between the two layers. Of course, the most extreme levels of wear and tear might not be something you end up seeing, but it shows the degree of control we have over the effect.

These features might seem only cosmetic, but they will have some gameplay impact as well. Think of seeing another enemy ship which has been kept pristine, versus a ship that looks like it’s not been cared for. Both of these sights will likely give an indication of the kind of captain or crew aboard, and could change your line of thinking when determining whether to engage or not. Could they be rough and ready, with all of their effort being solely on the crew efficiency? Or are they at the end of a long voyage with dwindling supplies and possibly an easier target?

As mentioned before, the physical battle damage will be a much more obvious indicator of some of this as well, but not every voyage needs to end in (or contain) conflict. Perhaps getting your supplies from a merchant with a rough looking ship could indicate they take little care for their cargo as well? Better barter on that price!

Wrap up

That’s all for this month folks! We hope you enjoy our new team video format, which we will certainly explore more within other areas of the project going forward. We’d also love it if you could subscribe to the Ahoy YouTube channel if you haven’t already!

(We also updated the website homepage with a background video!)

As always, please join in with the discussion about this month’s update on the Discord server as well!

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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