Age of Booty Sets Sail for PSN Today

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Hey PS Fam! Long time no blog. It’s my pleasure to announce that Age of Booty will finally become available today on the PSN for only $9.99. I know there was a delay bringing this title to you, but we had to make sure we fixed all the bugs before we deliver one of the most original digital games on this platform.

Age of Booty

Anyway, Max Hoberman, the President of Certain Affinity and the developer of Age of Booty, wanted to give you some insights into this critically acclaimed game. He’ll also answer any questions you have about the game. Without further ado, heeeere’s Max!

This is a follow-up to my previous post, where I described the genesis of our upcoming downloadable pirate action RTS, Age of Booty. I left off with us signing a publishing deal with Capcom and beginning production. That was a year ago, and since then we’ve had a lot of time to improve upon the original design.

At this point you might be wondering what exactly Age of Booty is all about. In my last post I touched on the game’s unique combination of simple, intuitive controls and mechanics and strategic depth. But that was all pretty high-level, so let’s dive a bit deeper.

In Age of Booty you are the captain of a pirate ship, a representative of one of several pirate factions. These factions are fighting it out for control of the hexagonal seas. Yes, that’s right, the environments in Age of Booty are constructed of three dimensional … hexagons. This harkens back to the game’s early board game influences and early tile-based computer game influences. There’s beautiful simplicity in a world built of tiles. For starters, levels are incredibly easy to create and to tune, both for the game designer and for the player. (Yes, Age of Booty comes with a map editor.) Tiles clearly defined in the game world are also great for strategic planning, and so toward this end each unit in Age of Booty occupies exactly one hex. This holds true for ships and towns, a decision that created some interesting artistic challenges and that contributed to the game’s stylized graphics.

Unlike other strategy games you control just one ship in Age of Booty. I know, a strategy game with just one unit seems pretty odd. It actually works amazingly well. The camera is decoupled from your ship, so you find yourself constantly scanning the map. An overhead map is available but it doesn’t show enemy ship locations, and so this “scouting,” or spying on your opponents if you like, is integral to the game. At any given time you’re controlling your camera, controlling your ship’s movement, and managing your upgrades, resources, and infrastructure. Until you’ve played the game you won’t appreciate how much is really going on. Of course the game play movies that people have seen on the web don’t do the game justice unless you know what it is you’re looking at—you’d be better off just watching the emotions on someone’s face while they’re playing!

Alright, so you control a ship on a tile-based playing field. But to what end? While the core mechanics lend themselves to numerous game objectives, in order to focus our efforts we settled on just one for the shipping game: town control. This is most similar to territories games, if you’ve played them. Each map has a set number of towns, all of which start out neutral. When you take over a town it raises your faction’s flag. The first team to control a specific number of towns wins the game. Typical maps have between about three and eight towns, with control of two-thirds of these towns usually required to win a game. This number is set on a per-map basis, however, so a map might require control of all towns, just one town, etc.

There are layers upon layers of depth built upon this foundation. For example, if a town is adjacent to resource hexes it starts producing these resources for you when you take control of it—gold, wood, or rum, to be precise (what else?!). Resources can be used to upgrade your town defenses and also to upgrade your ship’s speed, armor, and cannons. Even though games last between just five and fifteen minutes it’s extremely rare that a team wins without upgrades, and so collecting resources becomes a constant objective underlying your ultimate goal. Sure, taking control of towns doesn’t sound too complicated, but keep in mind that there’s one or more other teams trying to do the exact same thing, upgrading their offensive and defensive capabilities along the way, and trying to pick off your newly acquired towns, which are weaker than neutral towns, and you start to see where some of the depth comes from.

There’s one more aspect of the game I want to discuss. Sharing might not be for pirates, but one of the key elements to Age of Booty is team play. Whether you’re playing the single player game or multiplayer you almost certainly have one or more teammates. These can be computer controlled players such as Pegleg Pete, your sidekick in the single player game, or friends—Age of Booty supports up to four players on a single console and up to eight networked. As soon as you have even just a single teammate new strategic opportunities arise.

For example, right off the bat teams have to decide how to distribute ship upgrades. Most maps give you enough resources for two to three upgrades at the start. Is it better to split the upgrades evenly? Or perhaps to load one player up with guns and armor (become a “tank”, as we say) while the other stays fast but weak? If you both upgrade you’ll present a powerful pair when you’re together, but if you split up you’ll likely be overwhelmed by enemy tanks; nor will either one of you be quite as fast as the un-upgraded player, causing you to lose the race for resource pickups. On the other hand, if you take all of the upgrades you’ll move fairly slowly, while your teammate will be too weak to take neutral towns without assistance. There’s no right answer, and a lot depends on the particular map and your strategy and ability to coordinate.

This array of possibilities only grows as you add a third and even a fourth team member, and sometimes a third (or more) team, each with its own strategy and agenda. And that’s just at the start of the game; as you earn more resources you’ll be faced with similar strategic decisions. For instance, if one team member has taken all of the upgrades at the start do you let him or her continue taking future upgrades or do the weaker players start to upgrade?

I could go on and on describing the strategic intricacies of the game, but I’ll leave the rest for you to discover—the subtle advantages and disadvantages of various ship upgrade types, the strategic use of Curses, pilfering native villages, the importance of positioning in combat, and so on. I’ll be around to answer questions and provide more detail on the game, so join in the discussion!

This is John D again. What are you waiting for? Go download the game. I’ll be back soon to talk about SFHD Remix and Flock! Till next time. Yarrrr!

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73 Comments

13 Author Replies

  • Looking forward to grabbing this tonight (you win my money for strategy games out of EndWar and Valkyria Chronicles for now).

    Almost as if you indicated that there will be no trophies for Bionic Commando.. that’d be a shame since I’m holding off on completing it until trophies are released.

    As mentioned, Capcom has been one of my trusted game makers since my NES MegaMan days… if you have Sony’s ear enough to get the first PSN storefront, PLEASE push for re-releases of Ps1/2 games.

  • Games only last for between 5 – 15 minutes…sounds like shallow strategy if you ask me…I’ll wait for IGN’s review.

  • It looks interesting, but i still have many games to play lol ill probably buy it anyway i guess

    Bring us mega man in Little big planet, that would be cool

  • Will future PSN games such as SF HDR have trophies as see most titles released these days have trophies built into games :)

  • Yarrr! Thanks to everyone for your support of Age of Booty. I am excited for the PSN release. I am traveling today… aarrggg… but, will do my best to answer your questions later tonight and tomorrow.

  • Thanks John.

    Another one to add to my purchase list.

    Keep up the great work !

  • some of yall attacking John like sharks smell blood in water. pipe down trophies are not that sires if any other game dont have trophies after December of 08 then yeah ok i feel yea. John on the blog to talk about this game not here the same question about trophies.

  • When people check the box with RTS as games they play, they are obviously looking for some kind of hand out or not paying attention. I thought everyone already knew this. Capcom’s PS3 games plan: Put a bunch of old games up, make new games look like old games, and make games that less than 2% of the gaming population actually plays. I picked the wrong field. I could have run for president with the likes of MM9, BCRA, and AoB on my resume. Is the development talent pool at Capcom really that bad were this is the companies only option? The simple fact that a PSN game troubled development tends to lead me away from such games. Underlining the companies trouble with new tech/schooling and with the wealth of resources at this companies disposal. Should be enough to make any investor/gamer close the wallets. I like the fact that they are giving companies there own store fronts, but was it for quality or was it for helping separation of DLC spam on the PSN?

  • Hey John sorry for going off topic here but question about Devil May Cry 4.

    Any plans for a Trophy Patch? I figure one wouldn’t be too hard right since there’s “accomplishments” *chuckles* right? lol thanks!

    Oh and my DMC4 boxart has a slight misprint on it *collectible!* zing! lol (There’s a blue streak that goes across Nero’s hair lol)

  • @John and Max-

    Hi guys- just wanted to say thanks again for taking the time to post here and answer questions and take a little heat..

    it is appreciated, and remembered!

    Now just bring Monster Hunter 3 to PS3 and you’ll be hailed as saints!

    peace guys!
    :)

  • john d tell me now that capcom had a store front to on the psn what will you guys do to show that you will fully back the psn?
    great job so far and keep up the good work!!!!!!!

    • Well, the primary reason we received a store in the first place was because of our support for the PSN. No other 3rd party company supports the PSN like we do and we\’ll continue to provide compelling content for the platform.

  • first off, i think it is awesome that you guys take the time to answer the posts.

    my problem is this:
    i purchased age of booty, and not whenever i try to download it, it says an error occurred during the download operation and then has the following code (80029567).

    how do i correct this so i can download this awesome looking game?

    thanks for the help in advance.

  • I’m having the same problem downloading as #62. Any ideas how to fix this?

  • Are we going to see IN-GAME XMB music added to this game?

    When you add that and TROPHIES I’ll join you in the sea… =]

  • Payed the money for Age Of Booty but can’t download the game.
    Help!
    An error occurred during the download operation. (80029567)
    Rebooted my PS3 and I still have the same problem.
    Pain stuff downloaded with no problem.

  • I bought Age of Booty as well and I can’t download it. Same error as #65.

    Capcom can you please tell Sony to get thier heads out of thier arses?

  • i keep getting error code 80029567 while trying to download this… does anyone know whats wrong or how to fix this?

  • Havin same prob, same error. Spent 20+ min on phone w/a rep and they ended up having me email webmaster here. Can’t download, tried plenty of times now.

  • Also getting “An error occurred during the download operation. (80029567)”.

  • error 80029567 here too :(

  • Same here. 80029567. Downloaded things before and after with no problem.

  • It’s working now!

  • So the download finally worked. But I have to ask something. I should note that I am a professional audio engineer – so we aren’t talking user error, my system is set up properly.

    How in the world did this game get shipped with the bass in the audio being completely messed up? The menu music has so much “woof” in the bass it is ridiculous, and in the game the same is true of the cannon sounds. We have to turn it down so that we can barely hear anything just to make it bearable to play. Please tell me you are aware of this and going to patch it in a hurry, because any other response would just be beyond lame.

  • Where the [DELETED] are the PS1 games???

  • this game any good guys?

    thanks,
    Lh

  • I really wanted to know if the servers of AoB are global so we from the EU territory can download now the game and still be able to play later with our friends from EU. Thank you!

  • This is beyond unacceptable now.

    No trophies, no chance in hell I’ll play it. I support games that move the platform forward, not backward.

    Capcom has made no effort to incorporate trophies into their games, even for newer games that clearly HAD the time to incorporate them, but didn’t due to shoddy development studios.

    Until Capcom starts catching up to REAL developers, I think I’ll reserve my money for games that are feature rich, no defficient.

  • I purchased this game, and the music is coming out of my receiver very loud and crackly. I have a brand new STR-DA5400ES which my playstation is hooked up to via HDMI. Where can I get support on this issue. It pretty much makes the game unplayable.

  • What is up with the thumping bass? I have to run off my sub to be able to play the game. Does turning down the in-game volume turn down just the music?

  • @ 78, 79 – I posted asking about the sound last night as well (73) and I haven’t gotten a response. You guys are right though – the low frequency audio in this game is messed up, really really messed up.

  • I must congrats you Capcom for all the work you have done with the PSN so far. You’ve had some great support for it.

  • I opened a support ticket with Capcom and just got a response to the sound issue:

    Hello Tyler,

    I have forwarded the information you provided to the development team. Does
    the issue occur if you are connected directly to your television via
    HDMI.

  • I’ll speak up to the audio issue as well.
    The bass balance is just awful!
    Please care enough to patch this… PLEASE!

  • Just wondering if you intended to include the BLOCK LIST in the friend invitation area. Why would I want to invite to a game somebody who I specifically DON’T want to play with or have contact with?

  • I am using optical audio from the PS3 to a Sony receiver.

  • Way to ignore our posts about the audio problems. The game is practically unplayable as a result – how do you guys sleep at night ripping people off like this? Pathetic.

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