You are reading material prepared during the development of the pirate life simulation game Corsairs Legacy by Ukrainian Mauris studio in order to popularize the marine theme in general and pirate games in particular.
Learn more about the Corsairs Legacy - Historical Pirate RPG Simulator project and add it to your wishlist on the game's Steam page.
Continuing the topic of one of the best Russian franchises of games about pirates and naval battles, Sea Dogs, we want to note that we interviewed most of the developers of add-ons for both the Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships and Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales.
Now we will talk about mods, or more precisely, about one specific build of a considerable number of different modifications, accompanied by the transfer of most of the game to the MaelStrom Engine. To be more precise - about the Corsairs Ship Pack or just a ship pack.
Creating modifications is an issue moderated a little more than nothing. This has both its pros (for example, freedom of creativity) and cons. The main disadvantage: no matter what game you take, a fairly small percentage of mods do not break its game design. As a result, the game runs the risk of starting to work against the player, decreasing the desire to continue with every minute spent in it.
This problem is always faced by people who approach the issue of creating their own build of mods, and solutions are often found, if not always. Some do not look for them at all, leaving everything as it is. Build stability issues are a separate topic for discussion.
At first, the ship pack was heavily criticized for both the technical component and the content. Over time, the authors fixed some of the errors, the build had a certain audience, and the criticism also did not decrease.
We decided to find out how the creator, Alexander, looks at the Corsairs Ship Pack build, as well as how the situation developed initially and later, what advantages this build has in comparison with the “Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships”, about players feedback and what steps did the creators take to improve it.
The interview is being conducted by the head of the Mauris studio, Volodymyr Bondarenko. The interview itself is divided into three parts.
Volodymyr: Today we are talking with the author of the Corsairs Ship Pack, which replaces the Storm Engine with the MaelStrom Engine, which shows higher stability and allows you to get the game without crashes in 2021. Also, the guys made a lot of improvements, revisions, and expanded functionality. Today these are not just ships, this is a full-fledged mod that changes the version of Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships, which was created in 2008.
Volodymyr: Alexander, hello!
Alexander: Hello, Volodymyr!
Volodymyr: Please tell us how you got started with Ship Pack and what kind of team do you have?
Alexander: It was the end of 2017. On PlayGround.ru, I found a pack of ships that was made a long time ago on the “vanilla” CAS (City of Abandoned Ships). In general, I was very fond of ships and marine themes. And so I began to understand the code a little and in general how everything is working. In fact, I am not a programmer, but more of a humanitarian, but if I start to understand superficially, then I will also master it further. Most of all I like version 1.3.2 of Age of Pirates 2: CAS. I'm really into this hardcore from BlackMark Studio. I decided to collect all the ships that are possible in one pack. I found the scripts of Age of Pirates 2: CAS 1.3.2 AT and started adapting this pack there. And I did it. Then I started downloading various add-ons, such as “Secrets of Far Seas”, and “Pirate Story”, I studied various forums, and sites, and searched for ship mods. I took all this in my pack and it began to “grow”. Then I learned about New Horizons from PiratesAhoy! and started taking ships from there too. There was a lot of work then, I was really busy, but I liked doing it. Then I watched “Sea Dogs: To Each His Own” (aka TEHO) for a long time, and I liked Sita's interface, so I decided to download it and take it. And Matvey, the author of Age of Pirates: Secret Shores, helped me to adapt and get it into the pack. Well, the name was born by itself “Corsairs Ship Pack” — that is, a corsair pack of ships. Then I also contacted the author of Sea Dogs: New Abilities, Rastiodor, who helped me a lot in many ways, especially coding. He embodied all my ideas, and together it came out very cool. But since then Rastiodor left his corsair mod building, Matvey was busy plus small hate from different streamers, I somehow “faded”. The fact is that I needed to play my own game more to understand what was inside, but I never played it. I spent that time improving it more. And so I stopped this process until a certain point.
Volodymyr: Please tell me, how many people are on your team? I understand that you are alone now, but how many people are there now? And how has your team grown?
Alexander: Firstly, Corsairs Ship Pack is not my only major project. Among my works are Sea Dogs, Space Rangers, Mount and Blade Warband, and X3 Albion Prelude. And at the end of work on "Space Rangers" I began to cooperate with a very promising person — Greg. And in the course of this, I told him about the Corsairs Ship Pack and advised him to play it, but also downloaded it for myself. In the end, I understood why a lot of hate poured out on me earlier. I began to understand that there were a lot of errors. The main problem was the old engine, in which it was impossible to use polygonal ship models. We decided to create a server and “finish” what we have. At this time, some guys that I talked to while still working on the Ship Pack on my own, joined me. And then I stumbled upon the MaelStrom Engine, with which we began to work further. And so far we have 7 people on the team.
Volodymyr: Why did MaelStrom boost development so much? Why did you once again believe in the Sea Dogs and why did you start actively developing the project?
Alexander: Yes, such powerful engines are not nonsense, but I didn’t know that there were such cool updates. I read the patch note, immediately bought it, and downloaded it without hesitation. It turned out to be just what we needed. I was especially hooked on it by some features: personal races for ships, and fixes of various bugs. In fact, on this engine, bugs are very rare.
Volodymyr: When you read the list of updates that you release, it seems that you work 24/7 and this is your main activity. Is this true and how do you manage to do everything?
Alexander: Yes, often we do it almost 24/7. But this is not the main activity. Everything is done with pure enthusiasm and very quickly. The guys throw in a lot of ideas and sometimes I just don’t have time to collect and process everything. As for the other members of the team, I can’t say how they are doing with finances, but for myself, I’ll say that I earn money in other activities, but I can combine everything.
Volodymyr: Tell us, what innovations did you make to your Corsairs Ship Pack besides adding ships?
Alexander: The main innovations are the expansion of everything that we already have. That is, we are improving the RPG component, transferring some interesting quests and events from other projects. We are reviving outdated add-ons, however, we do it in a smart way to make the game look cohesive. And most importantly, no matter what they say now, we do not pretend to anything. If we took someone's code, someone's resources, models, and characters from somewhere, we always write where we get it all from. In the upcoming version 2.1.0, we have made the "Creators" button, where we have listed all the authors and their works that we used.
Volodymyr: Have you thought about renaming your Corsairs Ship Pack to some name that would more accurately identify your mod with what you are currently doing?
Alexander: Many people asked us about this, and I thought about it myself. However, it was Corsairs Ship Pack that is streamed a lot, and gamers continue to stream now. Many streamers brought a lot of people to our server. Therefore, he became quite famous and recognizable. It's not that I'm chasing popularity, but it has already become a standard or something. The name, like the game itself, personifies the fact that it has a very large pack of ships. Therefore, probably, the name will remain so - “Corsairs Ship Pack”.
Volodymyr: Tell me, why did you decide to do it based on the CAS (City of Abandoned Ships), and not the TEHO (Sea Dogs: To Each His Own)? You said that you like it and you are a fan of the hardcore version of TEHO.
Alexander: I don’t want to throw mud at anyone, but I don’t like the linearity system in “Sea Dogs: To Each His Own” at all. I couldn't even leave the city. But in the City of Abandoned Ships 1.3.2, everything is in moderation, it is moderately hardcore and there is complete freedom of action. Rewriting all this on the TEHO engine is an extra cost of labor and time.
Volodymyr: Just at the beginning you said that you are a fan of hardcore and TEHO, and now you say that you didn’t play it much and didn’t even leave the city. Can you explain how?
Alexander: The fact is that I like action more than stories. I like the dynamics in the game. And TEHO is hardcore in the way that you need to constantly run around, look for something, and guess. I have lost the habit of such games where you just need to sit, think, and figure something out. I'm used to where the arrow shows where to run or something.
Volodymyr: So there is no arrow in the CAS either, which shows where you need to go.
Alexander: Yes, there is no arrow, but there are at least some clues. Well, it is already more familiar to me, so it's a little easier. And everything that we already know, we are trying to remake so that it is interesting and, in some way, easy. Let's say the same Askold quest, we made some very logical hints that allow you to make this quest passable.
Volodymyr: Yes, a popular quest, it has been talked about a lot before. Tell me what are your plans for the future?
Alexander: We have a big update coming up - this is version 2.1.0 of the Corsairs Ship Pack. And in just a week there will be a beta test. The update will include global changes in combat mechanics, reworking sabers, rebalancing weapons, and improving the RPG component. This update is so big that the list of changes contains more than what was released in the release of version 2.0. And soon, we plan to play version 2.1.0 ourselves, so that we, as developers, understand what is happening in the game. And, accordingly, we will rest for about a month. Well, then we will look for other “dead” projects in order to “revive” them again. In the same New Abilities, we want to make an achievement system. I also have an idea for a late game, but I won't talk about it for now.
Volodymyr: Tell me, why in 2021 the best option for a Sea Dogs fan is to play Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships on which your Corsairs Ship Pack version 2.1.0 is installed, than any other add-ons and versions of Sea Dogs?
Alexander: I will not say that it is better, but I will say that it is worth a try. I do not force anyone, because we made the pack as if for ourselves, but at the same time, we took into account the wishes of the players and fans. We made a lot of optional mods, that is, everything can be customized. I would also recommend playing Corsairs Ship Pack, at least for the sake of the MaelStrom engine. The difference here is very noticeable.
Volodymyr: It was a rich and interesting interview. Thank you Alexander for this. I hope that version 2.1.0 will be the top one and will be liked by both you and your audience. Wish you luck!
Alexander: Thank you, Volodymyr! It was nice talking to you. All the best!