About this project
- What is Blackwake?
- The Game (Talks about public matches and cooperation with strangers)
- Follow us
- Kickstarter rewards
- Why is your goal so low?*
- Why Kickstarter?
- The Team
Blackwake is a multiplayer team-based shooter centered around naval battles for PC and Mac. Set during the Age of Sail, Blackwake focuses largely on team-based tactics and overall team cooperation. Organizing a ship broadside, assisting your captain in navigating various weather conditions, or just being part of the gun crew - there are many roles to be filled in this shooter.
As gamers, we’ve always searched for a pirate game that made you feel as if you were actually part of the crew rather than just commanding AI or playing in an RTS perspective. The results of our search were disappointing as nothing was at the level we were hoping for. This lead to the creation of Blackwake.
Not only did we want a strong and immersive crew experience, we wanted it to coexist with a sailing experience. Successfully launching a devastating broadside will require strong communication between team-mates.
Blackwake takes inspiration from Pirates of the Caribbean (the films), Pirate Ship Wars (Garry's Mod) and even the old Battlefield: Pirates mod. Our goal is to make a valuable contribution to the naval genre, as Blackwake creates the experiences we have been after ourselves. Made possible using the Unity game engine.
Blackwake is match-based, playing out in simple faction vs faction and/or objectives in a variety of game modes. Winning will require teamwork and planning. The captain will have the ability to broadcast commands, but the crew will still need to pay attention and carry out these orders. Victory relies on the abilities of both captain and crew.
While there are many roles to choose from, Blackwake does not force you into roles. You are free to do whatever you feel is beneficial for your team at any moment. This ensures your experience will not be hindered by any forms of class based match making or grouping. Structuring yourselves is still an excellent choice, however. Options like this allow the match to be more strategic, opening the door for more competitive play.
Getting a public team to cooperate on a ship.. like that'll ever work...
Our first step to preventing this disaster was removing classes. One person cannot bring the entire team down by being bad at their role - because anyone can perform their role. This allows more flexibility and also an easier learning curve as new players won't be pressured to keep up, instead helping at their own pace.
In Blackwake you can't exactly exempt yourself from cooperating, either, unless you go AFK (which there is a timer). What are you going to do, shoot the ocean?
The entire crew has one mutual goal and the team will gain points as a whole as well as individually. This mutual goal means even if you don't like your team or wish to cooperate you'll still be firing at ships and boarding, both contributing to victory. If your captain is good, you'll find yourself following their orders whether you meant to or not.
Blackwake is built on simple mechanics that can become complicated in execution. You can always up your game, and with multiple ways to win your approach could be completely different from the enemy!
The captain will be the leader of the ship. It is the only true role in Blackwake. The captain can steer, order someone to steer, broadcast commands, talk to other friendly captains, and perform any task the crew can. The biggest responsibility of the captain will be strategy. You can decide on your own, or talk to your crew about your teams strategy. The captain may also be overthrown at any time during the match with a vote.
Will have the ability to issue orders to the crew - when followed will result in bonus points for the team in addition to the points rewarded for the action performed. For example: If the captain broadcasts to fire a port side broadside, and you fire your cannon while that order is still active, you will not only receive points for any kills and the ship hit, but also have a bonus tagged on.
Will choose a name and flag for the vessel - When a match starts and you're the captain, you will be prompted to name your ship. The HMS GiggleBear may pack a deceptive punch. We're also looking into custom flags that will either be chosen or uploaded, to be displayed both on the ship and when you win.
Can be overthrown - Is your captain giving you a one way ticket to Davy Jones' Locker? Start up a vote to put someone else in charge. We're also planning on keeping track of your wins/loses as captain and displaying them in a captain rating, which should help make this decision easier.
You are the work force of the ship. You are the living, breathing, organism behind the ship. Until cannon balls crush through, that is.
Can load/fire cannons - Cannons will need to be loaded individually with the option of multiple shot types. Take on your enemies with grape shot, grapples, chain shots, or ordinary cannon balls. Will repair holes Just took a hard hit? Better find those holes or a loss is imminent.
Will man the pump - Buy your team time to recover by pumping water out of the ship.
Will repair sails - Speed penalties aren't fun, especially when you're being chased. Chain shots will be ripping your sails left and right, repairing the sails may buy your team time for your next move.
Will put out fires - In Blackwake, fire is rare but also extremely contagious. You'll want to throw buckets of water on it before it gets out of hand! Will repair cannons Broadsides have a small chance of ruining your cannons if struck, repairing these will keep your firepower at it's maximum.
Will board - While your ships are being reeled together by grapples your arms may be spaghetti, as you know what will be coming next. Boarding is a completely viable option for winning. Simply show the enemy you're the boss by standing on their ship while they're all dead. Simple in theory, bloody in practice.
Team based sailing - Blackwake is a game with heavy focus on team cooperation and tactics. While Blackwake does not force roles and players are free to perform any task, there will definitely be value in having a well coordinated team to take on the threats of the seas. The captain will have the ability to broadcast orders, and the crew will have the option to follow them - or rather - collectively vote to over throw the captain in an attempt to turn the match around!
Various ship sizes - We plan to have multiple different ship types in the game, from cutters/schooners to frigates and possibly manowars. This will add a lot of variety to the game for a different experience. Ships are planned to hold 8-40 players each depending on size. This number may increase, as we can only be sure once we begin testing.
Ship destruction - In Blackwake holes will be blown, sails will be ripped, and cannons will be destroyed. All of these can be repaired by the crew. Each will have it's own consequence if gone ignored, such as sinking, speed reduction, and reduced firepower.
Melee & ranged weapon combat - The game will feature an assortment of 18th century firearms, each with their own strengths and flaws of the era. You can expect boarding to be a fun-filled, chaotic experience.
Objective based game modes - Not only will traditional deathmatch modes be in Blackwake, we will have modes that focus on various objectives and even scenarios. Assaulting and defending trade ships, capture the treasure, and domination are just some of the ideas we've thrown around.
Varied weather & Environments - Each match on the open ocean randomizes the weather and time of day. From the calm seas of day to the chaotic storms at night where timing is everything. Rock cliffs, ice bergs and sandbars, you can expect to get a lot of variety every time you play.
Headgear - Add some uniqueness to yourself. We are also looking into clothing depending on the art demand. Neither of these will be micro-transactions. We hate them. Looking cool and adding some flavor to yourself is part of the game, not something that should be monetized. The decision for Kickstarter exclusives was of a different nature. We will not be doing anymore paid exclusives.
Ranking system - You'll be able to feel a sense of progression into the pirate world the more you play Blackwake. Unlocking weapons that are not necessarily stronger, but different in their use. With this you'll also unlock clothing items as mentioned above. Other players will be able to tell you're a seasoned pirate based on your looks and rank.
Things we'd like to do (but not guaranteed):
Sea monsters - We'll just let your imagination take this one. We've thrown around ideas and are excited to get a chance to try it.
Land/Sea simultaneous battles - Matches with multiple conflicts happening at once is something we've discussed. We're excited to try new things in the future to expand gameplay in a few areas.
Of course, we plan on adding to Blackwake for free post-release. So the doors are always open for new things! We will not be doing Steam early access (the Kickstarter is your only chance!) and we do not want any sort of micro-transactions (see above under 'headgear').
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In November 2014 we had our first Kickstarter campaign. It did not go as well as we had hoped. The game wasn't very far along and we launched at a very bad time of year. Our previous goal was $34,000 AUD and we only reached $7,683 AUD. Even though we didn't hit the goal, it was great seeing support for the game. We continued development shortly after the campaign ended.This time, we've decided to lower this campaign's goal to $10,000 AUD, 1/3 the amount compared to the previous one.
So you may be thinking, how does only 10k/AUD (~7k USD) help?
We've shifted around our personal finances and are willing to make lifestyle changes so our goal can be so low. These changes, plus Unity pro becoming free and the progress we have made since the last Kickstarter still brings us about 10k AUD short of what we need.
Simply saving up 10k wouldn't be very fast once you factor in living expenses, and that would be full time, leaving little time for Blackwake. This is why we came back to Kickstarter.
With everything above in mind, the 10k from the Kickstarter will allow us to dedicate our time to Blackwake until release and also help with servers through the testing phase.
We're going to try our best to finish Blackwake even if funding is unsuccessful, but any amount, even over the funding goal, will be used to push the development of Blackwake faster and further. Without funding we'll be developing in the little free time we'd have, possibly adding years until release.
Supporting us would mean the world and any amount will truly help the development, we take this project very seriously.
Funding mainly allows us to cover server costs which are very important for alpha/beta testers (you awesome backers) and stability during game release.
After our previous unsuccessful campaign in 2014 we scrapped much of the game, redid the design, art and visuals. We've had to personally cover even more of the costs to be able to reduce the previous funding goal to the current one.
We expect that we will be able to have closed Alpha testing for Kickstarter backers ready by the start of 2016, with the final game being completed between the mid of 2016 to end of 2016 (This is an estimate, there may always be unforeseen problems).
The team consists of two developers from across the globe. From the US, Dakota fills the roles of programming, character art, character animation, and composing if needed. From Australia, Tyler fills the roles of weapon and environment art, weapon animations, PR, and sound design. Both contribute to the design of the game. Over the past decade both have worked towards a goal like Blackwake with skills they've developed in their free time.
Risks and challenges
We have been working on Blackwake casually as a side project since late 2013 and we are extremely committed to completing the best possible game we can.
Creating a game with only two developers is definitely a challenge, but we have not become consumed by the "feature creep" mentality. We have focused on the absolute core fundamentals of match based gameplay, which is why we have set our goal at $10,000.
We feel extremely responsible for backer money, and further to this, we want to deliver an awesome experience leading up to the release of Blackwake especially with our closed Alpha/Beta testers.
We see Blackwake as a foundation and even after release we plan to support it with fixes and new content to keep players satisfied that we will see this project through to be the best it can be.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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