A Day of Infamy: Buccaneer Demo Available.

Ships! I hate those guys!

There’s been so much serious mining of the comic Pirate meme in the last few years that I’m kind of at a loss at how to introduce this now-available Steam-distributed Indie game. Why not just the facts, for once? Just to see how it feels. Buccaneer: The Pursuit of Infamy is the product of three and a half years of love from ex-Codemasters Stickman Studios and looks fun in a novel-concept and execution way. The demo features ten of the game’s fifty-five (count ’em!) levels and a multiplayer one too for 16-player cannon-balling. I haven’t had a chance to play it, due to being deep in something else for a large post later, but I’m going to definitely give it a shot later. Maybe even a grapeshot. Ah! Ah! Ah!

Leave me alone. It’s early. Video beneath the cut.

Oh – and an interview with the developers over here.

Hmm. Just the facts felt dirty. Won’t do it again.


  1. theotter says:

    join steam group theotters at link to steamcommunity.com

  2. Plopsworth says:

    Look like it’s set on ludicrous speed and scale.
    The ships’ riggings and masts tower over the towns while they speed away at what must be closer to thirty knots.
    *Suspends C.S. Forester and Patrick O’Brian o-phile grognardy sense of disbelief and want of tacking*
    *downloads anyway*

  3. Hermit says:

    Mutliplayer is an intriguing prospect. May have to look into this later. Though what we really need is a multiplayer version of Sid Meyer’s Pirates!

  4. Erlend M says:

    Reminds me of the good old Pirates! game. Except that this is apparently level-based, what’s up with that? I don’t know if it’s possible for a good pirate game not to be free-form adventuring. Or to deviate from Pirates! at all. AT ALL.

  5. Heliocentric says:

    I’m holding out for “A day of infamy: Voyeur” I hear they have a campaign mode where you try and monitor and ex in an escalating battle against restraining orders if you get spotted. And you will if you want to get the ‘wakka wakka wakka’ achievement for masturbating in public through steamworks.

    Too much?

  6. Heliocentric says:

    And ex-> an ex

  7. Stitched says:

    Spinning camera work…making me sick…(hhuuuuurgh!)

  8. koizure says:

    Love Patrick O’Brian. Also liked Master and Commander.

  9. Fede says:

    In the interview they talk also about the speed, they did want it to be fast paced.

    Another O’Brian fan here, now reading the (just released here) 19th book.

  10. simon says:

    Is this an arcade version of the Sid Meier game?

  11. Wisq says:

    Plopsworth: Actually, that’s the normal style for this kind of game, apparently.

    Unfortunately, this looks almost exactly like “Sid Meier’s Pirates!” (the later 2004 version), and to a slightly lesser degree, “Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat”.

    The naval combat part of those games, that is, since they seem to have forgotten to add anything else. Which would be perfectly fine, if only the naval combat stood out more.

    It’s prettier, sure, but it still seems to be that same console-friendly sailing style where you sail your impossibly-fast ship around like a speedboat and occasionally push buttons to fire.

    Granted, that’s apparently all they wanted to do anyway:

    Buccaneer is not a sailing ship simulator, but rather a fully 3D arcade experience.

    From a business standpoint, that’s probably a good thing. Judging from my experience with submarine games, I doubt the average gamer has the patience for a real naval simulation.

    Still, it seems a weird choice to take the core sailing part of Pirates!, remove everything else, and make it mission-based rather than sandbox style. Unless it’s some test to see how far you can bend a winning formula before it breaks. :)

  12. Xercies says:

    When will we ever get a GTAesque Pirate game…

  13. Tei says:

    I like the graphics from the screenshot. I have played “Pirates of the Burning Sea” (the MMO), and is great fun to shot down these french and england privateers (reads: pirates). Now.. this look like a more detailed, big version (in the graphics sense) of PoBS, thats must be a good thing… I hope.

  14. mashakos says:

    these guys did no programming, and were coasting on 6 months’ worth of coding work from friends based purely on good will? That is freaking unbelievable.

    I want their address book!!!

  15. Plopsworth says:

    Well, it’s not bad for a budget game made by two people on the venerable Tribes 2 Torque engine.
    For what it’s worth, it has some nice details (the hammerheads circling in the reefs) and simple enough and responsive controls. Akella’s pirate games are more to my taste though. There is no such thing as wind in this game, for instance. Even the pennants’ and flags’ directions are just relative to the camera angle. A sailing game without wind is a bit like a racing game without gear-changes.

  16. Heliocentric says:

    @plop, like trackmania of naval gaming then?

    I’m sure they could add wind and relitive travel speed to a hardcore mode. Even if it didnt effect the visuals in any way other than an on screen arrow.

    I’m sad they decided to go with levels rather than “world” but Anno had levels but you could happily set up a skirmish and have long drawn out mother land+island skirmish battles.

  17. araczynski says:

    is it steam only? i was getting interested until i read that “steam distributed” part…

  18. Okami says:

    When will we ever get a GTAesque Pirate game…

    It allready exists and it’s called Pirates!

  19. Harvey Greensall says:

    Hi All, I’m one of the two that made Buccaneer. Just thought I’d check in and see if we’re getting a flaming or not 8)

    So, yeah, thanks for the comments, it’s cool to finally get our game out there ! Yes, it is only on Steam for the moment, we needed to concentrate all the multiplayer servers and stuff in one place until we find our feet a bit. It’s a scary business throwing it out there as it is. Obviously we don’t want to be isolated in the Steam universe for ever, so watch this space I guess, they have been awesome though, both them, and their community, I’ve not really used it much other than HL2 before now, but I’m pretty impressed I have to say, well I don’t HAVE to say 8)……Yes we’re two artists that have made the game, with 6 months code help from outsourcers and a chance 3 month block when a code mate was inbetween jobs. As for the control method…oooh, the debate goes on 8) … Yes, it’s a W,A,S,D control system, with left and right mouse buttons firing cannons etc. It’s meant to be more like contolling a ship than sailing one, believe me, it’s hard enough in the MP sessions, without having to get past 7 other players, all stuck in one corner of the map trying to learn how to tack away from them…Basically think of contolling a remote control ship, but with guns! Well, we think it’s great fun 8)



  20. caesarbear says:

    I looks like yet another Pirates pretender, and absolutely ridiculous, but I’m a complete sucker for anything with masts.

    Too bad realism hardly ever finds it’s way into sail combat games. Akella were the only developers to even try. What a shame.

  21. Darth says:

    “Mutliplayer is an intriguing prospect. May have to look into this later. Though what we really need is a multiplayer version of Sid Meyer’s Pirate”

    What, like a Pirate MMO where you compete for control of the caribbean by capturing ports who’s resources allow you to build ships in an Eve-style trading system, complete with detailed 48-player ship-to-ship combat and avatar-based sword fighting?

    Its called Pirates of the Burning Sea.

    Unfortunately, it sucks.

  22. Junior says:

    Damnit Harvey, now I feel bad.

    Really really disapointing, I’ve been looking for something to fill the piratey hole in my heart that Pirates! put there. And this really isn’t anything close, no wind, no sailing (The sails actualy move left and right as you steer), no cannon loading and the anchor is more like a handbrake. Maybe I’m not getting the nuances of ship to ship combat here, I just ended up sailing in circles with them as we traded shots at the water, whenever I crossed his T all four of my shots missed. But, I should really look more at what it is than what it’s not.

    It’s a very pretty game. It has some nice details. It hooked me long enough to see if the Dread Rose was different to the Kraken. Just not my cup of tea.

    I DO hope you do well though, I’d like to see more piratey games about, so I can scratch that itch and drench myself in rum.

  23. Maximum Fish says:

    Just wanted to add, now that he’s been mentioned, that Patrick O’Brian is the greatest author to ever live, for all love. Koizure, a glass of wine with you sir! But back on the videogame front, what the world needs is a Silent Hunter III for Nelson’s navy; hardcore elements there for people who want to immerse themselves 100%, and the option to let them be handled by the cpu or disabled entirely for the more casual audience, ideally a bit more personality and/or narrative than SH3, and is it too much to hope for someone to finally get the audio/visual for firing a cannon right? Cannon balls with smoke-trails like missiles (ie Pirates!) look retarded, and when 200 pounds of metal hits a wooden vessel, you’d expect more than a few puffs of smoke and some fire (ie the Akella games). Also there’d have to be a madeira drinking, Boccherini playing minigame or something…

  24. Harvey Greensall says:

    Thanks for checking us out, got as far as the Rose, that’s a pretty impressive run..nice one.

    LOL !! wooh, you guys are harsh !!, well, I guess it’s not for everyones taste, but I assure you we made the game with gameplay at the heart of all our decisions, we had no management team to bow down to, no budget or timeframe to adhere to, we just made a game that we would like to play, it’s why we packed our jobs in to do it….and it IS spot on in muliplayer. I’m not hoseing the wind debate either, I think you guys have a point, I really do, believe me, we wanted it in too, but we did loads of tests and it was a nightmare with everyone stuck in one corner, ‘how do you go against the wind?’ etc. Gameplay won. For our particular game it hurt the fun of the game.

  25. Citizen Parker says:

    I stumbled upon this one in my bored early-morning hours. I didn’t see any single-player option in the demo (perhaps it was updated recently or perhaps I was out of sorts), but had a good bit of fun in an MP match.

    I especially enjoyed the variety of ships available. I think my only complaint on that variety was that as a healing ship, absolutely no one ever knew I was healing them without some sort of indicator of it happening. Perhaps some animation of supplies being thrown across, etc? Otherwise, the dual mechanics of capturing flags while keeping the Duchess and Willy from the other team made for some very interesting moments. I hope more people steal that idea of combined game types from you.

    Keep up the good work. If I can find the single-player levels and they turn out to be as fun as the multiplayer game, it’s a definite purchase for me.

  26. Okami says:

    Guess there’s something in the water today. Why all this sudden hate for a little indie arcade game? Maybe it’s just that we get to see the dark and ugly side of pc gamers: elitism, snobbism and a fetishism for realism. It’s a frigging arcade game, NOT a simulation.

    I’m with the devs on this one: The addition of wind direction would have done nothing to make the game more fun. Fun: You remember? What games are supposed to be! Same goes for smoke trailing after cannon balls: It might not be realistic, but it makes it easier to keep track of shots fired.

    So stop trashtalking this game. It’s an arcade game with pirate ships and doesn’t want to be anything else. Complaining that this game is no realistic depiction of naval combat is like complaining that Super Mario Brothers doesn’t feature enough real plumbing!

  27. Erlam says:

    “I think you guys have a point, I really do, believe me, we wanted it in too, but we did loads of tests and it was a nightmare with everyone stuck in one corner, ‘how do you go against the wind?’”

    Having done something similar, I can see why you made this change, and why people are asking for wind. In the end if you gave them wind they’d suddenly go “wow, he’s right, this is annoying!” so my advice is to stick to your guns, err, so to speak!

    Far too many games are touting ‘realism’ these days by shoehorning something that is annoying and difficult into an otherwise fun experience.

  28. Larington says:

    Thing is, if the developers tried to duplicate Pirates almost exactly, they’d be accused of being lazy or unoriginal or whatever. Let ’em try doing things differently folks, theres no real harm in that.

  29. Maximum Fish says:

    Well a case-in-point would be Sid Meier’s Pirates, which though it had some wind factors considered, it was by no means a ‘simulation’, but still an amazingly addictive game, more so for it actually. For my part, i wasn’t even talking about this game, because i haven’t tried it yet, and there is definately a place for more arcade-oriented games. Pirates, for my money, still beats the shit out of every one of the Akella or other more “realistic” pirate games, and this one could too.

    Still, I maintain (going back to my tangent) that you could do the simulation (it’d work better as a royal navy napoleonic wars game than a pirates game) and have it not be boring and stale. I generally have really low tolerances for simulations or any game described as “hardcore” but i enjoyed SH3 a lot.

  30. Koopa says:

    This should be in first person, I wanna be in the middle of the action! And a mini-game between fights to scrub decks.

  31. Al3xand3r says:

    As much as I love indies (hey, been going around telling ppl to buy Aquaria and such long before they got on Steam), this is totally not a novel concept and isn’t done in any sort of novel way. Go buy Sid Meier’s Pirates! instead, you’ll have tons more fun with that one. Unless you try the demo and you actually find the multi player engaging for more than a few rounds. Otherwise, steer well clear really. I liked the simple but sweet visuals.

  32. Al3xand3r says:

    For the record, I bought this when it first got on Steam, having been looking forward to it ever since their initial GarageGames dev snapshots. I just kinda wish I hadn’t, unless this studio manages to make a good engaging experience in the future, then I won’t feel as bad for it.

  33. Harvey Greensall says:

    Jesus! ‘UNSUBSCRIBE’ !!

    All we wanted to do was make a fun game. We’ve tons of people doing just that, having a good laugh with the game we made, we never set out to make Pirates. Didn’t even want to. It’s a completely different game.. I think I’ll leave you guys to it.

  34. Al3xand3r says:

    Well, I’m happy you have tons of people, maybe your next game can run on more than 6 months of contributed coder work. Nothing against the coders, what is there seems very polished. It’s just that, what you see as “completely different game” I merely see as “vastly more limited game”. Replace open world with closed levels, replace open quest and task choice with preset missions — which while they have nice variety, in practice you do a few different things, not unlike Pirates! — and what not. Basically, the single player to me felt like an afterthought to the multiplayer, just outfitting levels with AI, a purpose, and an overaching goal/ship upgrade path to go through as you play. And the multi player, I guess it just wasn’t for me. I should have expected the game wasn’t for me when seeing the demo only included multi player I guess, but hey, I’m a sucker for supporting indies.

  35. Al3xand3r says:

    PS: Glad you have “tons of people” having fun, that ensures the studio’s future then. Maybe you’ll try a game with a larger scope then, maybe permanent coders, maybe if the game is as limited as this, it’ll be of a theme and style that fits it more. Maybe I’ll buy again.

  36. Dinger says:

    congrats on your release and the demo on Steam. Don’t let these guys get you down. After all, how seriously can you take a blog that misspells the title of your game?

    Anyone else want to take a crack at explaining the game, without reference to Pirates! and using the word ‘Appletini’?

  37. Wisq says:

    The big difference I noticed between this and the prior piracy games is that there’s no auto-aiming of cannons. That makes the single-player a fair bit harder, but I’m thinking autoaim would’ve somewhat screwed multiplayer, so it’s a good call.

    It seems to me that multiplayer is where this game is really going to shine. The singleplayer “speedy naval pirate combat” thing has been done to death, really, and making it mission-based is a change from those games that I’m not entirely sure is for the better. But throw a bunch of other players in there, and I imagine things get pretty fun and wacky.

  38. Al3xand3r says:

    Eh, “the blog” was actually pretty positive on the game, even in its just-facts-ness, you know. Why would you put “the blog” you’re visiting right now down? His problem is with the commenters who didn’t like the game. And as for who he can take seriously, he can probably take it as seriously as he takes people who do like the game and mention as much really.

    As for how the game is, try the demo, it’s not big. That explains it well. For the single player, imagine the same thing, with AI units wandering and many different locations and preset goals like destroy 10 fishing huts, destroy 2 cannons, destroy 5 ships, escort ships, chart islands — ie sit around various locales a lot while destroying other ships around there inbetween — and other such tasks. I’d only recommend it if the demo really hooks you on multi player. Like, REALLY HOOKS you.

  39. turban_man says:

    Woo, another game to add to my (mostly terrible) collection of Pirate (not pirated) games, e.g. tortuga: two treasures, Age of Pirates: Carribean Tales, etc

  40. caesarbear says:

    Relax Harvey, being critics is just what we do. If you’re fishing for uncritical complements, you’re in the wrong place. But read between the griping and you’ll see plenty of praise for the game being a very pretty and cute bathtub style casual multiplayer game. It’s just something that doesn’t grab me right now, not for $20. I myself have played plenty of bathtub sailing shooters before. I personally would prefer an attempt at a more “on the deck” style of game. But feel free to ignore me, I just have the compulsion to comment on and berate the gaming industry at large. It’s what sites like this are for.

    As to the folks who say wind is a bad idea. In a bathtub game, sure. It requires the game to be plotted around it, rather than tacked on to previously well-charted gameplay. I’m on the lookout for a game that tries to navigate into making winds and waves act as an anchor for gameplay. Instead of rigging a simplistic unchanging telltale for wind, unfurl a canvass of shifty details that force tactical decisions. Make the briny deep a cutthroat character as well.

  41. Cabley says:

    Al3xand3r: The demo seems to now have Single Player missions though, so you know exactly what you’re getting :)

    I had a quick go, and quite liked it. Agree/Disagree (delete as appropriate to your views) with the wind comments, don’t think the game really needs it. Need more people to play multiplayer though, didn’t find a game :(

    For the single player though, some good production values in it. Seemed very stable, functional design, and nice graphics. Good work!

  42. pepper says:

    This game is quite enjoyable, although i got shot out of the water the first 2 missions i tryed, so i upgraded the ship, and managed to sink 2 of em pretty unharmed! All of you saying it should be something else give this a go, i havent tryed MP yet because there werent any servers, but just look at this game for what it is!

  43. Scandalon says:

    Your game uses a subject for it’s inspiration that I have an obsessive interest in, and does not live up to the expectations in my head of the game that I would make if I had unlimited funds, time, and a perfect team of coding/modeling/gameplay geniuses. It is therefore rubbish, deserving of condescension and belittling. I demand satisfaction!

  44. Heliocentric says:

    Looks like the framework of an excellent game. If the dev can “enhanced edition” the game and add some grognard options in the menu/server settings it could be pretty epic, is the multi purely counter op or can you work together against ai? I’ll play this demo when i get home. To the furious defender harvey. Chill, once you ask for money you lay yourselves at the mercy of the customer. That includes demo’s as they are a method of accruing sales not just a gift.

  45. Harvey Greensall says:

    Indeed, point taken. Well, at least we’re all pretty passionate about our gaming eh?

    And all this stuff is being taken on board too, especially comments about the MP servers,etc. At the end of the day, we did this to make our own game, we always set out to make something we thought to be good, and if we make enough we’ll hopefully have the funds to make another. We’ve lovingly slaved over Buccaneer for years now, so it’s a new deal for us both letting it loose on the public, and taking the comments of fans with the flamers…it’s a very strange experience that’s for sure!

    So, good or bad, Big thanks for the comments so far !!

  46. pepper says:

    Harv, you definitely did a good job, it just needs some adjustments to make it better, good luck!

  47. Plopsworth says:

    Part of the dichotomy and polarisation in the commenting is probably just due to the extreme emptiness of the whole “sails on the high seas” genre. The genre is a massive reserve of untapped potential. Then when something shows up with a blip on one of the most neglected “radar-frequencies”, if you will, of the community, everyone gets excited hoping that it’ll be the game they’ve dreamed of making or playing themselves. Add to that the renewal of coolness of pirates again (Pirates, Ninjas, and Dinosaurs. Something every boy likes!) by a certain blockbuster trilogy and you’ve got two overlapping sets of expectations from two very different directions.

    On the one hand, you’ve got the general pirate fans, and on the other hand you’ve got the age of sail enthusiasts. The game pings on both collective sonars. We grognards can be a picky bunch, as we’ve played boardgames of the genre, grown up by the coast, read historical fiction which has taught us our mizzen-masts from our foremasts, or some combination of the above.

    It’s pretty comparable to the void in the World War I flight genre or Western games. Compare that to the overabundance of serious war/terrorist-shooty-splatter-gravelly-voice games.

    Part of the joy for me was just seeing some actual pretty looking sailing ship models in a modern release along with the cheery tropical (Blue Skies, people! Blue!) environment (Actually hearing the first mate exclaim “YARRR! PLUNDER!” made me grin from ear to ear) and the incidental detail like the gulls and the hammerhead sharks circling around, or raising crew morale by deploying grog rations.

    So, the sooner people like me realise what this game is and isn’t about, the better we can calibrate our expectations. It’s a bit like Outrun Coast 2 Coast, covered a few weeks back. And while some stylized graphics might have made it easier to get over that initial suspension of disbelief (as in TF2), or some sort of alternate-universe steampunk visuals, try and take it for what it is, and for what it’s trying to be. What is it then? A very neat arcadey sea-action budget title with multiplayer capabilities made by two people on a shoestring budget. Grognardy types: pretend that they’re galleys and you’re recreating the battle of Lepanto :p

    For the O’Brian-ophiles: check out East India Company , coming Q1 2009.

    As for me, Captain Plopsworth is planning on giving the multiplayer a whirl and trying my hand at the forward-shooting powderkeg-dumping schooner tomorrow when I have a day off.

  48. Al3xand3r says:

    I don’t think most people’s concerns were realism or anything of the sort, despite the talk of wind stuff. Most referenced Sid Meier’s Pirates! (or the excellent 2004 remake you all should buy) for a reason, heh.

  49. Mister Yuck says:

    Where’s the love for Hornblower? Only one C. S. Forester comment on this whole argh blargh blargh blargh.

    Anyway, realistic age-of-sail naval combat wouldn’t be much fun. It’s so hard that it took hundreds of years for the actual navies to start figuring out. Ultimately, the only successful players would be the one’s who read up on their history. The real fun in multiplayer games is figuring out your own strategy and endlessly honing it.