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Tides of War - Age of Sail Naval Combat

A topic by Wolf Pack Games Co created Sep 01, 2016 Views: 1,038 Replies: 3
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Heart-pounding naval combat with wooden ships and iron men! Take command of your ship and crew to sail into battle with iconic ships from the golden age of sail. Balance your offence and defense to outlast, dismast, sink, board, and plunder your enemies. Challenge your friends in thrilling smoke filled multiplayer battles or sail solo in missions to challenge your command skills. Become a Pirate Lord in the Brethren of the Coast or hunt down your nations enemies as the Captain of a Ship of the Line. Earn your Letters of Marque and start your voyage, if you dare.

It wouldn't let me post this in the main post for some reason, gave an error of not enough characters, lol.

Take part in large scale battles in both multiplayer and single player naval combat that spans the golden age of sail. Sail iconic ships and lead your crew in sinking, capturing, plundering, and razing enemy ships for King and Country or for your own personal wealth. "Raise the Black" against merchant ships or seize cargo for your nation is varied multiplayer battles that will test your abilities as a Captain, or lead your squadron and test your abilities as a Commodore as well. Manage officers, crew, and specialists to give your ship an advantage in situations and train and keep your crew alive to make sure your veterans can train the latest recruits. Balanced gameplay will give your decisions weight in the fray. Rush in and rely on your heavy armored Ship of the Line or slowly pick at the enemy from afar with your light and fast Schooner. Your play can be as varied as you want.

Quick synopsis: Letters of Marque is a multiplayer and single player game that is designed to allow the player to test their crew management and ship handling skills in challenging, dynamic missions and environments. Players will be in 3rd person control of their ship with 1st person views over the guns when needing precision firing control. The play will revolve around players earning/purchasing Letters of Marque to be able to play as certain countries in later matches. It will offer variable realism levels from an arcade type feel to a more realistic and challenging historical mode. We are planning to even recreate some historical battles for players to take part in and change history!

Game format: Multiplayer and Single player. Game ranging from arcade to historical based on each game that is hosted.

Gameplay Basics: Players take part in single or multiplayer battles by taking direct control over a ship of their choosing (earned through gameplay). If a player is able to board and capture a ship on the enemy team they will earn their team Gold (plus a bonus for himself) and get XP for himself. Gold is divided at the end of the mission among players that are still in the server. Players start with the ability to play as 2 starting nations with the ability to purchase a Letter of Marque to play as other nations.

Game Currency: Players complete missions to earn Gold and Reputation XP. Gold is used mostly for ship/player upgrades that are akin to tangible items. Reputation XP is used in two ways, the first is a currency version that allows XP earned in missions to be 'spent' on skills or crew updates while the overall XP earned is used to track the player's 'rank', which is used to determine what class of ships a player can use for that nation. Reputation XP is specific to a nation and does not carry over to a new nation when a player purchases a Letter of Marque. The Reputation XP starts over with that nation with a base amount.

Goals of Gameplay: Players will be challenged to complete specific goals as part of their team in a cooperative method. One player in the team will be elected as the Commodore and be able to give orders to their team, with bonuses earned in XP or Gold for completion of those orders. The XP is used to add specific skills to your player skills set and to 'purchase' crew and ship upgrades that are consumable (ammo, shot, injured/killed crew, damaged ship components). Gold can be used to add special upgrades to the ships such as hull upgrades, sail changes, gun upgrades/sizes, and crew boarding advantages. Players also manage how their crew is set up to maximize their play style.

Major Game Mechanics:

Sailing - Done in a third person view. Players in arcade mode have a HUD available to maximize wind usage, players in Historical games must use flags and other wind indicators for their apparent wind. Sailing skills of the player can affect the speed of actions, as well as the number of 'sailor' crew that are on board. More sailors means the actions will complete faster or more efficiently so ships will accelerate faster and change sails quicker. Turning will also improve as the sailors count or skill increases.

Battle - Players can fire cannons using third person view or switch to a 1st person type view looking over the area that the guns cover for more precision. Players have control over the different batteries on board separately and can manage them individually to change the shot type (double shot, single shot, bombs, hot shot, grapeshot, knipple), elevation set, and powder charges used. Ships have the ability to take damage from 4 quadrants with each quadrant able to be upgraded with components that can increase the 'armor' rating to stop shot from penetrating. Each armor quadrant can be damaged and depleted so players have to keep track of how much damage each side is taking to keep too many shots from getting through. Guns also can be damaged or destroyed once an armor rating has dropped sufficiently. Battle skills of the player affect reload speeds, accuracy, and timing of the guns (broadside effectiveness) as well as the number/skill of 'Gunner' crew type on board. If a player's ship is sunk or captured in a battle then the player has a cooldown time before (typically) respawning at the spawn point that is designated in the mission. Some historical missions will allow the player to assume control of an AI ship that is part of the fleet instead. If there are no AI ships left or respawn tickets left then the player becomes an observer for the remainder of the match.

Boarding - Players set up their crew with a third type of crew called 'Marines' that are the boarding/repelling specialists. A player can capture a ship that has not struck their colors by grappling the ship and bringing it along side. Be aware that the battle continues around the player while grappling and a grapple must be 'cut away' before it a ship is free to move again. Marines specialize in repelling/boarding, and Sailors and Gunners can repel boarders just not as effectively as Marines, and both can be augmented by optional items like boarding nets. Ships that have lost morale will strike their colors and Marines can board by using launches from the player's ship. Beware, launches can be destroyed while in transit so don't send them from too far away. They are slow and vulnerable. Once a ship is captured it is given a prize crew and the player can then give it simple orders to follow. If the captured ship survives to the end of the level then the player is given a lions share of the prize money with the rest divided up among the other remaining players.

I think that wraps up the basics. If you have further questions or comments post them here or contact us at and you can visit our new website and forums or follow us @wolfpackgamesco on Twitter.

August 2016 Devlog

Settings System
Probably one of the largest changes for this build is an all new settings and performance system. In the previous versions the options were rather limited as we really hadn't nailed down our effects stack or assets being used, but as we get more solid on those we really needed a new way to manage settings for video, audio, performance, and controls. What has spawned of this is a very robust and flexible system that can be used as framework for any of our other projects in the future. Most individual selections for settings range from 'low' (for lower end hardware) to 'ultra' (for top end machines).

The system stores these settings in an accessible JSON formatted settings file and will later allow multiple versions to be stored so a player could store a 'high', 'medium', and 'low' type of preset in their machine and not have to reset all of the settings every time.

Video Settings

We have exposed nearly every video setting that won't change the game to the point of making it unbalanced with some features allowing the player to add/remove contrast from the screen for accessibility to those with color issues in their vision. Each option for effects can have rather different performance impacts on different systems so we wanted to open up the system to be very flexible so that it can apply to the widest variety of systems. Here is a rundown of the current video options.

  • Resolution – current display resolution and refresh rate
  • Fullscreen – enable full screen viewing
  • Field of View – Adjust how much the camera 'sees' in degrees of view
  • View Distance – How far into the distance the camera will render object such as models and terrain
  • Beautify – This is an addon component that can sharpen the view considerably and can possibly replace antialiasing for lower cost
  • HDR – Enhanced colors and palette
  • Bloom – Adds a bloom effect to the camera
  • Bloom Threshold – Some of us don't want 'J.J Abrams' levels of bloom, so this allows that to be adjusted in game.
  • Lens Flare – Requires bloom to be enabled and adds a nice flare to the view
  • Sun Rays – Sun rays (god rays) enabled on the view
  • Tonemapping – Allows for various types of color tonemapping to help give the game a distinct appearance
  • Exposure – Allows to brighten up a dark screen or darken a bright one
  • Color Palette – Can completely change the type of game look and coloring though pre-made palette choice selections
  • Texture Quality – For lower hardware this can considerably speed up the game
  • Anisotropic – Another performance option to allow for different levels of Anisotropic filtering
  • Realtime Reflection – Enables a realtime reflection probe to get more accurate reflection and lighting
  • Shadow Detail – Change the fidelity of shadows being shown
  • Shadow Distance – Adjust how far away shadows render. Closer distances means higher quality.
  • Vertical Sync – Helps on high end hardware to keep it from 'running away'
  • Shadow Cascades – Helps with shadow quality over distances
  • Horizon Based AO – Ambient occlusion rendering post process
  • Dynamic Global Illumination – This can replace standard lighting, but has a few limitation and is really made for high end hardware. The results are fantastic though.
  • Antialiasing – Take the AA quality from none to maxed out

Audio Settings

This is still in its infancy but is getting some work done soon. Through this panel you can adjust the volume of different 'channels' of sound and change the number of channels (stereo, 5.1, 7.1, etc).

Performance Settings

The ocean system in the game is a major performance factor for some players. It can range from low detail to photorealistic based on the hardware that the player has. We have allowed as many options as possible to both allow players to get the best performance, but not gain any advantage on others through changes in the settings.

Control Mapping

Controls for keyboard and even controllers can be set through this panel. Every input is allowed to be mapped to any controller or interface that we can connect to, with more profiles being added every month, usually.

Greetings all and welcome to the December Devlog update!

A lot has happened since our last update, and we are anxious to share the results - and plans for the future - with you all.

Build v0.3 – Current public release

First off, let's talk about the current build on – v0.3

Early November we finally swapped out or old Test Ketches with our test Brigs – Which first of all meant MORE size and MORE firepower! The same model used is the low poly version of the more detailed model that the player will use in the coming entirely new build of ToW – v0.4

We moved to for our releases and updates, therefore making patching and updating clients MUCH easier. Be sure to download the demo through the client to keep up to date!

What does Build v0.3 consist of so far?

  • 5 Nations to play as; English, Spanish, French, Dutch and Pirate – More nationalities will come at a later point, such as China, Russia and young America.
  • 26 gun Naval Snow, based on the HMS Ontario
  • Admin panel to set up your test scene
  • 3 swappable ammunitions:
    • Basic Shot (Hull/Armor damage)
    • Chain Shot (Sail, Rigging and Mast damage)
    • Hot Shot (Heated to cause fire – which left unattended makes the gunpowder magazine explode)
    • Canister (Crew damage) and other munitions will be added later when other mechanics are implemented
  • Basic AI intelligence for the NPS's (Non Player Ships)
  • Functioning flooding and fire system on board that must be fought if occurring.
  • Test map with islands for tactical play
  • A fully working day cycle system. You can let it run its course or freeze it at a certain time of day/night
  • A fully working and customizable weather system with calms, storm, fog, rain, thunder and even snow dynamically being added to your ship

The last week we have also added to v0.3 the beginnings of new incoming systems you meet in v0.4:

  • A basic dynamic damage texture system showing the damage done by the cannons on both yours, and your allies/enemies ships
  • More dramatic updated explosions when the powder magazine explodes
  • Updated explosions sounds
  • New fire sounds
  • More visible water splashes (still needs some colour tweaking)
  • New Cannons particles

Open Testing

In addition to testing it for hours and hours internally, we have also run open servers and tested the current build with many outside testers. And we have also joined privately set up servers. It has been a blast and taught us a lot! Although the build is running smooth and very stable we did encounter a minor Networking issue that sometimes does not allow the player to connect to a server if they have just jumped out of another due to a long running master server timeout. Normally they have only had to wait for about 5 minutes and it was sorted out. Although we have looked into the matter, we are focusing on fixing this bug for the coming .0.4 build.

Should you NOT prefer to play PvP (who doesn't love a good single player match?), and purely want to test your skills against the computer, - or simply want to train and hone your skills before you meet your nemesis - you are of course fully able to set up your own server and play as single player against as many NPC/AI ships as you choose. Or even just spawn ships of any available nationalities you wish, and just spectate the carnage…

That concludes for v0.3 features. We will not add much more to v0.3 in anticipation of build v0.4

Update - weather and sky

Build v0.4 – Coming soon

The next build is the biggest update so far and features a completely reworked/rebuilt game with increased performance and vastly improved code, furthermore it will also mark a new milestone for further development as we now will start to put in the finer details such as skill systems, upgrading systems and more. Features that will be added to the existing ones to expand the game to new heights.

Update - Larger magazine explosion

Here are some of the highlights of what's to come:

  • New and even further improved water system
  • Improving and building on the implemented damage system
  • Basic skills system allowing to specialize more
  • More detailed ships for the player (Also adding a different version of the Naval Snow)
  • New Texture system to the ships – to increase the graphical visual experience for the player and allow players to customize their own paint job (based on historical colour schemes)
  • High quality cannon models and a few other objects on deck when hit/damaged can reflect that damage (or destruction)
  • Basics of the coming ship customization and upgrade systems implemented – tailor the ship to your own play style
  • Basic levelling system with implementation of new ships and ship classes
  • New WIP Menu System

Ship Modelling work & Progress

Finally, it is exciting to show you some updated screenshots of the ongoing modelling work. All of these models near completion and consequently will lead to more ships making their way into the game when finalized.

Ships based on known ships, and not 100% accurate copies

  • HMS Unicorn
  • HMS Fly
  • Pirate Brig
  • Merchant Brig
  • East Indiaman
  • 3rd rate Warship
  • USS Essex

Other ships in the making are:

  • Redone Pirate Ketch/Schooner/Brig (A facelifted version of the test Ketch)
  • Queen Anne's Revenge (The original Blackbeard's ship built on plans of La Concorde)
  • 4th Rate Warship

In conclusion, download a copy today and give it a spin. We look forward to see you on our test servers! Who knows, we might hop in and say hello!

May the winds always be in your favour and lady luck on your side!

Best regards from the Wolf Pack Games development team