Announcements: 2017 Update
Hi all, MK here. HAPPY 2017!!!
There is a lot to report on and talk about here, so this will be my longest announcements update yet. If you don’t have a decent attention span you might want to leave this page now and go watch some 5 minute youtube videos or go read Sally, Dick and Jane books.
Last year was an amazingly busy year for me with many horrible low points and a few high ones as well. These events severely effected how things have progressed on the Reef, with our favorite game mod, my book research and writing, etc… As I’ve said many times I would welcome other contributors in the history, literature and/or news segments, but so far I am still alone. So there have been long periods of quiet here with the exception of a few of our technical/video game contributors who are currently making our favorite game/mod better than ever.
To accentuate the positive first I did get the chance to hit the ski slopes numerous times last year – which is important to me at this point in my life – as I have been a skier since childhood. I am getting closer and closer to 50 years old now and know that my skiing years ahead are numbered. I also went sailing several times but not NEARLY enough as I would wish. I also took two long trips to the Caribbean and one of the highlights of my whole year was diving on the Pitons of Santa Lucia. Incredible!
Unfortunately with the few highs came many crippling lows in a septic system and leech field failure on my property early in the year and then months later a slab leak under my foundation which took weeks to fix and was incredibly destructive (still isn’t fixed in one place but capped at least). Add to this that my father who is nearly 80 caught double pneumonia on top of his COPD and diabetes condition – nearly died – and that I had to play nursemaid for weeks – this on top of other numerous family problems and way too much drama, and that pretty much summarizes my year.
When I become burned out or depressed I read and continue research and working on my numerous manuscripts which I hope materialize into several books one of these days. I failed my New Year’s resolution from last year and none are yet finished. (hangs head low) So I didn’t make one this year because I don’ wanna jinx it. I have also come up with three new inventions last year which I am attempting to patent – its easy to become distracted, but if I don’t write my ideas down and don’t try to get them documented, then I will eventually forget them.
As far as Buccaneer’s Reef is concerned and our common historical/nautical interests go – lets quickly go over what I want to talk about in this New Years update, because there are SO many things going on. First off, the site has been renewed, however Go Daddy domain support has been poor. Not only have they not been able to fix the membership sign up problems, breaking up forum topics into multiple pages, sort out numerous data corruptions and site crashes or freezes for hours, they have also informed me that our site was attacked by Malware and they couldn’t do anything about it. Not to worry folks I was assured that this attack did not compromise anyone’s personal information or compromise site security, it was strictly focused around a single set of data having to do with the site and yours truly. In other words the attack was focused on me alone. I got pretty upset about this initially in that I had paid good money for excellent site security.
The security features I purchased in our initial support package are no longer supported by GO DADDY even though I only bought it a month ago. When I talked to their rep on the phone I wire brushed him a little. I asked him if he had seen or remembered the TV commercial which talks about a Dentist not being a dentist or a Security guard not being a guard but just a dental monitor or security monitor — they don’t prevent or fix problems, they only inform you about them. “You have a cavity” or “there’s a robbery.” They didn’t appreciate my criticism and after paying an additional 35 dollars for the next level up of security software, I was told the problem was eliminated. Can you say “gouging”? I felt like I was just taken.
Anyway after a lot of other criticism I have received over the last two years about our site being clunky and looking like something from the 90s, I have decided to change over to a new host and site design later this year once I have some time – MAYBE – more about my thoughts on this at end of the announcements…..
NOTE: It has been mentioned by a couple of our members that if you have problems getting a membership on this site, just go over to Word Press and get a membership on their site and then sign up for a membership here on our site through your WordPress credentials. It will work every single time.
1. Articles: Please take a look at my latest adventure covering my last trip to the Caribbean accompanied with stunning photos I took myself – This will actually be a series of articles with part 1 HERE.
Part 1 focuses on the very Bloody history of San Juan Puerto Rico and Morro Castle. Part 2 is a continuation of that discussion with famous pirate associations concerning Puerto Rico the focus – and Part 3 will go into the historic exploration and tourism surrounding San Juan. Also look for addendums coming soon covering the other places I went to this year. Specifically I will be covering my trip to Barbados and Saint Kitts. Also there will be a Part 2 for my article on the Dutch West Indies with my trip to Sint Maarten added.
Also make certain to look at my new review on Benerson Little’s book The Buccaneer’s Realm. I had a lot to say in this review. HERE
2. Features: Take a look at the newest ship of the month/quarter and Picture of the Month. Some of these are based on new ships going into the game. HERE
- New video on my YouTube channel: HERE
4. What’s going on in the wonderful world of Pirate and Age of Sail gaming:
Caribbean: Blood and Gold: I know I said I was going to write a new review of Caribbean: Blood and Gold (the Mount & Blade offshoot) months ago, however I have just not had the time to play the game at all since all of the new features were included. I can tell you that there have been new GUI developments for tactical unit control and new quests/events written into the game as well. The beautiful colonial cities, fighting with period authentic garb and weapons and sandbox nature of this game still make it an incredibly fun ride, but they still have never taken my criticism into consideration concerning ships.
Here we have a game about pirates with only a handful of models reused with different stats as all of the ships in the game. BORING and repetitious – Naval combat gets old fast with this construct in place. If they had several dozen different ship models, you probably couldn’t get me to quit playing this game and I am still in love and envious of their great location models. – AND….. Bannerlord STILL ISN’T RELEASED! Gassssppp…. I was actually approached on Steam to lead up a modding team for Caribbean, but without a modeler who could import new ships into the game I am just not interested as I don’t currently possess the skill-set to accomplish that. Working on it though…
“SECRET BEACH” by The Quadratic Team: For those who have read earlier announcements you remember me covering the Quadratic Team development of “Secret Beach” – a COAS 2.8 derivative that is a whole new game – not unlike PO:TEHO or our own ERAS2. This game has lots of new locations as it is set in a completely new map of the northern Caribbean around Nassau and the Bahamas during the Golden Age of Piracy around 1715. The gorgeous new ships and locations alone make this an amazing new offering. I sat through their last two online sessions and participated a little as well. There primary developer METT, was both aware of Buccaneers Reef and supportive – and invited me to Skype him and talk about any questions I might have with their efforts.
I asked them if it was possible that an English version would be forthcoming. He replied that if the folks at Pirates Ahoy! took an interest it was possible. I told him I would have one of our members post the information about the effort over there, however developments just recently about how they treat our members and how they continue to libel and insult myself (which hurts me even though I know it shouldn’t anymore after all of this time) have made me change my mind about that. More about that in my final thoughts at the end of the announcements. I am still hoping for possible collaboration with the Quadratic team.
Our last challenge in colony additions are in allowing the game construct itself to handle more colony locations and people although I think we have solved those problems. They seem to have overcome these issues with a whole new fairly complete map of the Bahamas. I tried to append our own model in order to add additional islands, but the model is unreadable in MAYA. Its a kludge of tangled lines when you open the model.
I am actually considering building a whole new Caribbean archipelago map from scratch which has all of the leeward and ABC islands modeled ensuring that it is within the exact coordinates of the old map so that the locations will match up. This may be the only way forward and I would love to have help from anyone interested. I am going to start a new forum topic on this subject and show you illustrations of what I have already attempted. Anyway Take a look at these latest Quadratic Team DEV vids. I continue to be amazed by their work and am in love with their new ship models. Rider88’s snow is among them. Boy I wish he would give us some love, help us out and – give us that gorgeous ship.
Normally I would post their two last videos, but they are very long and most of the content is the developer updating their audience on their progress in Russian. If you want to see some of the new ships skim through their vids. Here’s their channel: HERE
MOTCS German COAS Mod: In other COAS related news, it seems that the German Zeerovers team are getting ready to release a new version of their very comprehensive mod as well. If you are a German speaker you should definitely check them out as this is a very good mod and I have enjoyed playing it myself in the past. Regardless of previous friction that has occurred with some of their members I am happy to recognize their awesome continuing efforts and wish them nothing but the best of luck in this new year. If you want to check them out go to: dezeerovers.net
In addition I was emailed by one of our members who took some screenshots of some of their new ships. Yo Ho Ho has been hard at work and he has built some absolutely stunning new English Restoration era warships. He had made a membership here some months ago, but since I have been away much of the year his membership hung up in this clunky word press forum methodology and I approved it a couple months after he had made it. Our member reached out to him via PM on PA! but he has not answered him. I guess unless someone can convince the Germans to share with us or if they might be willing to trade something, we will have to move on – on our own.
In my final thoughts in these announcements I do have a comment I would like to make to clear some things up about a few things said on their forum. Here are Yo Ho Ho’s new ships. Simply gorgeous! What a talent! I guess anyone who wants to play with them will have to DL MOTCS and learn German now then eh. LOL. They’ve certainly never cared about exposure over there I will give them that. I can admire that they do it only for themselves, but a free exchangeable OSP would make them much more loved and thought of better by the greater community at large.
Here is Yo Ho Ho’s new HMS Resolution and another smaller English restoration era frigate. Insert long wanting Sigh noise here….
Sea Dogs: To Each His Own: In other STORM2.8 news it appears that another DLC is in the works for Sea Dogs: To Each his Own on Steam. Some Program script/mod files were also released on Pirates Ahoy! but they appear to be full of errors so are probably not from Blackmark Studios. A small modding effort is underway on Pirates Ahoy led by Hook, and we shall be watching with interest what becomes of it. I was always hoping to support such efforts on our website here, but it appears they would prefer to stay in a place where they will always be seen and considered an unimportant tertiary effort – a primary motivation for me forming this site from the very beginning was because of that toxic climate.
In my mind – modding on both ERAS2 and TEHO would be very productive because they are like almost twin-sister games and what was made for one could be easily shared with the other. An additional reason I left PA! was because I was continually upset at how work being produced was not being shared with the whole community at large or how talented people who had produced work for other games where not being plugged to provide freeware work to our (former) community. This I think was more because of ignorance or unfamiliarity on the part of the admins of other non-PA efforts or significant contributors reputations/abilities in the wider community. It was such a shame and my attempts to bridge this gap made me into a pariah because I committed sacrilege against their SACRED Hearts of Oak project. How has that gone for them since?
This is still a huge sticking point with me and a major motivating force behind why I have behaved the way I have in so many ways the last few years. Let me ask you one question – wouldn’t you like to have the best features and content available in any freeware mod that you might want to play? I sure would! This is one of the reasons the Taleworlds / Mount and Blade community is such an AWESOME place – because those people ALL widely share everything they do in large OSPs and only ask that others credit them when they use their stuff. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Storm community would do the same? How GREAT would that be??? RIGHT? But it seems like everyone has become compartmentalized, closed, cliquish, and very few seem to want to play or work with the one guy who has been advocating and begging for open sharing for everyone’s sake from the beginning. I have always tried to play nice and tried to ask permission in this regard – more about this in my final thoughts.
Back on subject though, I actually commented on the STEAM SEA DOGS: TEHO forum just recently – First to answer a comment which I took as somewhat critical to ERAS2 and then another comment to throw my two cents in concerning the current construct of the game and its hardcore beginning/entry into the game world being counterproductive to selling more game units. Here are links to those discussions and a video of the new DLC.
Naval Action: Some interesting developments concerning this beautiful MMORG have been ongoing. Apparently this game is failing – if one takes a look at much recent commentary and videos on the subject. There are a lot of really angry people who are unhappy about a lot of different things. As a result the devs seem to be trying all sorts of new tricks from PVP rules and configs to shorter prep and pre-play buffer times, etc., but they just seem to be turning off more people. For years the devs teased many people hoping that numerous eras would be portrayed and hundreds of plans were submitted by forum members hoping for 17th century Golden Age ship and location portrayal – and untold pages of discussions about which models would make it in. Late in the alpha we all found out that only the last half of the 18th century (mostly Napoleonic era) would be considered.
Now another year and a half later we see the devs introducing a large pirate nation faction (which is historically completely inaccurate considering widespread piracy in the Caribbean was snuffed out for good around 1730). After the Golden Age pirates were an extremely rare phenomena of single small ships seen once in a blue moon. This is one reason history buffs/mavins are abandoning ship in droves on this game. Another recent development which attempts to keep these folks around – is the release of some earlier 18th century vessels – the Wappen Van Hamburg III and the Ingermanland. These models are absolutely stunning, but still set in the 18th century after the Golden Age and those players who so wanted that time-frame are all mostly gone now – the ship has already set sail – LOL pun intended. This has done nothing but piss off the remaining RN Hornblower Aubrey aficionados who have been making fun of these new ships by calling them “waffles” referring to their rich decoration.
Speaking as someone with a lot of experience debating both sides of this for many years, aficionados of history are always going to be very passionate about their preferred time-frame. Look at the previous MMO Pirates of the Burning Sea (POTBS). (I would kill to get some of their ships BTW) Even though this is an old game it still has a large active and loyal following. Why? Naval Action is beautiful, it should have easily seduced them over to the shiny new offering with state of the art graphics – right? Wrong. They did not provide these people with the immersive period backdrop which is so important to them when they indulge in their coveted gaming time.
Graphics don’t matter and will never matter to truly devoted gamers. Look at how popular Mount and Blade is. Look at how popular Minecraft, old NES games, side-scrollers, and 8 bit games on emulators all still are if they are GOOD games. Game design and the fun factor are way more important than graphics. Developers and bean-counters both never seem to take this aspect into account when they build a project already geared to a niche community in the first place. The Napoleonic/ Hornblower/ Aubry-Maturin crowd are every bit as exclusive and fervent about their own preferred time period, so when they see their beautiful seascapes littered with pirates ships and scenarios that are completely wrong – this in many ways is even MORE offensive to them – than it is for the earlier period mavens to be upset by not having their preferred models in the game. What’s the old adage? You can’t please everyone. But they are trying to – and that is why they are failing. The questions should be:
- Do I rely on a base of young players or players who don’t really care about historical accuracy or model authenticity to play when they see it as something new or when they feel like burning a few minutes/hours playing? Look at that Caribbean Hunt game. If the answer is yes to that question, then the Caribbean Hunt becomes your competition, and if they just want piratey fun, get rid of ALL the pesky little realism and authenticity rules paradigm that you’ve been attempting to follow. OR
Should we try to build a game that will attract and maintain a loyal historically aware niche following who will never tire of this kind of game because of the subject matter and how well we present it for play – an audience that we can depend on for years and will recommend the game to others like them? I believe question 2 is the one they should be answering, but there are two camps to consider if that is the route you are going to go in.
My advice from the beginning was that they should have a separate set of dedicated servers and staggered hosted events which would allow players to CHOOSE their favored time-frame sandbox with their preferred models. Many would play both and that content could even be DLC fodder which would bring in more revenue. All they would have to do is hire a couple of extra modelers and pay for another few blade clients for their server racks. We will stay tuned to see what happens. Here’s some vids of the new ships. I for one hope they will get this sorted out. I’ve often thought they could also open up a whole new customer base up if they would develop the AI and make historical scenarios available for offline players who can’t or dont wish to play an MMO:
Last item is another Russian based Age of Sail/Pirate gaming (mod?) effort that I have been watching with interest for years. They were using Storm and have since transitioned over to Unity5. The work they are doing is simply incredible and I can’t wait to see what their final product will look like. They are called “The Lost Island Team” and you might remember some other videos of their work I posted years ago concerning the future of the Storm engine. Their latest video just blows me away!!! Take a look.
ONE MORE thing: City of Abandoned Ships now available on GOG. Yup that’s right. No longer called Age of Pirates 2 because of what I believe to be license ownership maneuvering, Sea Dogs: City of Abandoned Ships can be purchased for only $5.99 and I like to believe that one of the reasons the prices had got so high on disk copies recently was because of our own mod. Jeffrey told me he saw a copy for over a hundred dollars and I saw some for around 85 dollars. Just insane! Go over to their website HERE and have a look. Please someone write a review plugging the ERAS mod. https://www.gog.com/game/sea_dogs_city_of_abandoned_ships
GOF ERAS2 VERSION 2.6.0
….AND now the best news is that the much anticipated, long awaited NEW version of the GOF ERA2 mod (VER 2.6.0) is complete. This version has an incredible amount of new content in it. So lets review some of these things.
JEFFREY HAS FIXED MAST CRASHES FOR GOOD!!!!!!!!! Yes that’s right mates! Something we have been trying to accomplish for the last 7 years has finally been fixed. This bug is finally officially squashed for good! We are in testing to tweak up mast falling percentages slightly.
New weapons: 9 new swords, 17 new pistols and pistol combinations. (bringing the total to 141 swords/handheld weapons & 63 firearms & combinations)
New items: 20 new items (bringing the total to 597 items in game) many of these modify skills.
New ships: 5 new ships (15 new ships if we go by number of different skins) a total of 203 ships and with 3 skins per ship over 600 different ships
EXCITING DEVELOPMENT! Jeffrey has changed the code to allow four and even five skins per ship! Many ships already have more skins available in game. Some are skins that I had done long ago but weren’t my favored versions. Now they can be seen and acquired!
SPECIAL NOTE: There are quite a number of new skins that have been specially made for specific historical characters. Check out Bonnet’s Revenge or Rochussen’s Eendracht as examples of this. More are in the works.
New characters: 14 new characters (bringing our playable and encounterable historical captain characters up to 136)
- Emmanuel Wynne - Alexander Exquemilin - Thomas Tew - Stede Bonnet - Nikolaus Boez - William Credo - Isaac Rochussen - Amaro Pargo - Daniel Johnson - John Bowen - Nathaniel North - Bernard Desjean - Andres del Pez y Malzarranga - Prudence "Spitfire" Stevens
In addition there have been some existing character model replacements/retextures. Look specifically at our new Danielle Sheppard and Isabella characters.
New locations! One new French town and one new Pirate colony – “Bodden’s Landing”. Numerous new forts.
NEW MOD CAPABILITIES by Jeffrey, Orazio and MK:
Lots of new skins and retexures.
Six fighters available in party.
MK’s Promotions mod fixed by Jeffrey with promotions happening more often and more titles available by nationality with historically correct titles. Promotions obtained thru governors and national questlines.
Titles can now be purchased from Governors
Flags can be purchased and also the flag perk will be automatically available at a 75 percent chance if you successfully capture an enemy ship of X nationality
NEW FLAG MOD by MK and Jeffrey: allows 5 different historically correct Naval flags for warships and 5 historically correct merchant/trader flags per each faction. Pirates now have a variety of 10 different pirate flags which will appear. So we now have 50 flags in the game. This new variety allows an immersive realism not seen at anytime before in COAS. This mod also has eliminated texture stretching so that high resolution non distorted flags will now appear!
NEW PENNANT MOD by Jeffrey and MK: Nation correct pennants now appear on your ships along with flags.
Maroon mod: If your ship is sunk you have a chance of washing up on a random shore as do your officers. Some officers may wash up with you. Others may live and be encountered again in other places. NOTE: This only applies to hero officers NOTE: If you can find the Caul or the Caul locket you can reduce your chances of drowning. The locket is not as powerful as the caul itself which ensures you will wash safely up on shore alive 100% percent of the time.
Character bios are now available in the primary interface when you right click on your own or any character in your employ.
Numerous new deck locations and new cabin model locations. Many of these are brand new scenes acquired by MK and retextured – as well as several gorgeous new cabins modeled by Orazio.
Future Work still ongoing which will be introduced in the next phase after this release:
WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS IN HERE AND SOME OF THIS WORK IS CLOSE TO BEING FINISHED. Some of this work almost made it into this new version. Jeffrey and I have both agreed that another release must be accomplished in another couple of months because we are so close on a few great new capabilities and our momentum is EXCELLENT right now. We must continue while we have this great energy and awesome synthesis of movement going forward with all of the members of the mod team doing INCREDIBLE WORK!
- So there are still MORE new ships in the works. Some of these are simply awesome and a few will be great surprises to you. They are both large and small. I will not say anything more yet!
Deck and cabin randomization with the old cabins still appearing as well as the new in a random method based on the types of ships.
We feel like we have enough characters and the vast majority of the really important historical figures are represented. We will still entertain suggestions, but think we are done. Unless its someone really great and we just neglected to get them into the game, characters for ERAS Mod2 are pretty much set. I am still taking recommendations for ERAS Mod3 (1775-1820) time-frame. Also, I think this is the last time you will see a large amount of new items and weapons introduced. Unless its a really AWESOME new weapon model or item suggestion, don’t expect very many new items in the game after this point. All this to say that our focus from here on out is NEW LOCATIONS and NEW QUESTLINES. Of course we will always entertain more good ship models of good quality if they are found, offered to us or built by our own team.
- MK’s new world map with eventually over a dozen new islands and colonies added. *NOTE: The existing large land/island model is very corrupt and hard to work with. Our island work is currently centering on visual “work-arounds” that will not actually add new models to the big world map, map but we can fool the game to making it look like there are islands there. The downside is that you will be able to sail right through them on the world map. However when you go into direct sailing mode you will be able to see an actual new island model and/or town, fort etc…. We are confident now that we can complete these new colonies and bring them into the mod based on our successful ability to both substitute old colonies and add an entire new colony (Bodden’s Landing) to the mod. In our next phase/update which should be accomplished in just a couple of more months from now – we will be bringing you more new colonies which are nearly ready now (SPOILER): 1. (English) Lucea/Fort Charlotte Jamaica, 2. (Dutch) New Middleburg/Fort Zeelandia south of Port of Spain on the mainland, 3. (Dutch) Tobago on the little island just north of Port of Spain, 4. (English/French?) St. Kitts(New island), and 5. another pirate colony on Dominica. *NOTE: Even though we will have two English ports on Jamaica, Fort Orange must remain regardless of its historical inaccuracy because its a key component to both the primary Dutch and English national/governor quests.
A new GUI tab which allows Captains to select personal FLAGS!
Buying a house with a chest like that on the ship. In addition, chests in Isabella’s house also stays constant like that on your ship.
Buying ships from citizens. Citizen encounters will sometimes (fairly rarely) offer to sell you a ship that they have no use of.
Random women in town locations may make the same lewd propositions as bar maids do.
New ships almanac which will be available in the interface to review pictures and descriptions of each of the hundreds of ships available in GOF ERAS2.
New historically correct cannon mod and additional cargo mod – MK working this one a long time. Will be finished soon.
New random video mod. In addition to loading screens it will be possible to randomly encounter short transition videos during certain events like boarding, death, going to shore, etc…
New sound mod with many more gun sounds and ship sounds available. The days of Russell Crowe yelling “Starboard Battery” are nearing their end.
New quests in development. Slow going as we learn. First will be an additional marriage quest. Anneke in Curacao. *NOTE: Isabella quest will still be in the game as well.
Pretty exciting news eh mates!
ORAZIO’S NEW GALLEON: Sant’Yago (Santiago or Saint James) based on the Landstrom plans of an old galleon model in the Museo Navio de Madrid (Madrid Galleon)
Orazio has simply blown everyone away over here. He started out wanting to build new cabins for the game and over months of learning he produced some of the most gorgeous cabin models you could ever find. These are amazing. The bed in the frigate cabin is so inviting you just want to crawl in. The details in these little works of art are immersive. From maps, globes and navigational instruments to fabrics in the bed sheets. In addition, there are peace and conflict versions which when you duel in the cabins during a fight, the tables and furniture are cleared away. If you haven’t seen these cabins take a look HERE
From there Orazio decided to attempt a ship. I must say I have been in awe watching this work of art materialize. If you want to see the germane discussion on this development take a look HERE:
I am posting the photos here on our announcements page so that people can see what a beauty she is.
JEFFREY’S STORM CODE WORK: New Horizons in 2.8!!!
That’s right you heard correctly. Jeffrey has got New Horizons working in our version of the completely new, rebuilt, improved, and recompiled source code which works in both DX8 or DX9. This is simply amazing!
In other news I am continuing my research and attempting the arduous task of compiling the indexes and bibliography work for one of my books. I am also attempting to gain permission to use a few photographs of paintings. One photograph in particular I will share with you now. When I was in Barbados a couple of months ago I found a stunning painting of the colony overlooking the harbor. This painting was mis-dated. This is the best resolution for this painting online and I have not received any answers back from Barbados from their cultural or tourism office for permission to obtain a better image. I wanted to take a non-flash photo but no photography of any kind was allowed.
The details in the painting are meticulous and it is my opinion based on the flags in the harbor (which their museum people are incorrectly calling merchant flags) and by the presence of a large French Man o War flying the Sun King’s colors in the harbor, – that this painting was painted at some point before the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and after the beginning of the Anglo-French alliance against the Dutch – so sometime between 1672 to 1688.
The ship profiles and details are consistent with this and they would have been quite different and had different flags as well after the War of Spanish Succession and Nine Years War – so the next date a large French ship would have been allowed in an English harbor flying her own naval colors would be 1715. The dress is also consistent with my belief and those who say tri-corn hats were not yet in use, simply have not done the proper research. If anyone knows how I could get a larger higher resolution digital image of this painting and a better inroad for permission to use it in my book, please contact me. I would be greatly appreciative. I will be returning to Barbados this year.
Fanciful renditions always come off as being just that – fanciful. Take a look at this rendition of Barbados from the 1690s during King William’s reign. Notice the English ships flying Dutch pennants and tricolors from their sprit masts because of their King’s Dutch nationality and that he was also Stadholder of Holland. Also notice the fanciful inaccurate rendering of the land mass.
In other research for my book I have happened upon yet another battle that Laurens DeGraaf took part in with his pirate fleet against the Spaniards. The battle was called Battle of Bajo de Alacran (Under the Scorpion) off the dangerous (navigationally speaking) coral reef islands of Arrecife Alacranes about 140 kilometers north of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. My belief is that DeGraaf was holed up there and the Spaniards came looking for him. These reef islands are now a beautiful national park in Mexico. From the pictures I’ve dug up off of Google Earth its a beautiful place and is surrounded by wrecks just sitting there stuck upon the reefs above water. I can tell you that this will be one of my sailing destinations this year! DeGraaf defeated the Spaniards at this battle but was nearly captured by Andres Del y Malzarraga. These islands would be an obvious place for DeGraaf and pirates in general to rest, hang out, repair, bind up wounds and divide loot. I am certain this place has a very rich pirate history which has been lost to time. I am dying to explore it!
Andres Del Pez y Malzarraga
There is virtually nothing in English sources about either this battle or Pez y Malzarraga. Once again Spanish sources prove to be so valuable for research. I learned about a couple of good new Spanish sources recently and have ordered one (arrived today: The Spanish Experience in Taiwan 1626-1646: The Baroque Ending of a Renaissance Endeavor by Jose Eugenio Borao) of these and will the others when complete: 1. “Victorias por mar de los españoles” de Agustin Ramon Rodriguez Gonzalez 2. “LA dificil herencia” and “pax hispanica” by Eduardo Ruiz de Burgos Moreno. Eduardo Ruiz de Burgos is arguably the greatest Spanish historian and expert on the Spanish Empire from 16th/17th centuries. He is currently writing an atlas of battles of the Spanish Empire from 1492 to the 19th century.
Pez y Malzarraga was not only a known naval officer/commander, privateer and pirate hunter, he was also an explorer. This was not actually intentional because he was sent to explore up the rivers in what is now the state of Texas with a well armed expedition. His orders were to find and destroy French colonies that were rumored to be built along the banks of these rivers. There was indeed a small colony up river in one place, but he did not go far enough to find it. However, he took the time to map the rivers, inlets and write logged commentary on the places. As such he can be considered one of the explorers of the North America even though he lived in the last quarter of the 17th century.
Fascinating personality! – and the fact that he was both hunting pirates and had had scraps with the great Laurens DeGraaf himself made him an irresistible character for inclusion in ERAS2. I wondered if during his hunting for this unwanted French colony in claimed Spanish territory if he thought he might find lurking pirates hiding in the inlets or possibly DeGraaf himself. You realize that one of the persistent rumors about DeGraaf is that he settled down in one of the French towns on the Gulf Coast somewhere between Mobile, Biloxi or possibly Lake Charles. Lake Charles was a little known pirate haunt at the time which would have been the perfect out of the way place to wait for bad seasonal weather to pass, make repairs and careen. Fascinating to consider.
DISCLAIMERS and FINAL THOUGHT:
Well we have been around for three years now my friends! I can’t believe how much time has gone by. I feel like I have done so much during this time in some regards, but in others so little. The life of a retired Army Officer with tons of time to burn and so many people that need him to help out in their lives. We now have 6,100 members. I would bet money that at least a third of those were originally spammers who were able to make memberships, but then were not able to post their spam content without our filters catching it and eliminating it. Still its a fair amount of folks even without the spammers. I wish more would participate though.
I want to take a moment to tell you where my heart is right now and what I am feeling personally – what my motivation is right now. I had planned to go back to work full time this year. There are people in my family that need money and while I can take care of myself just fine I can only help others out so much. I believe I am going to become a minimalist. I plan to sell off a great deal of my possessions this year because I have many things I enjoyed when I was a younger man that I never even touch any more. I have a large sword and weapons collection yet I have not picked up even one to spar with or went out to any events to fight, or even instructed/taught anyone in four years. I will keep a few of my favorites, but why do I need so many? I have a large gun collection in a giant safe. I took some family out and we did target shoot last year one time. It was a small fraction of my collection that was used and the last time I shot before that was two or three years before. So why do I need them? I basically have a used car lot out behind my place – My kids cars, old cars I never use anymore, etc. Among these are a couple of very valuable collector cars which I have not even driven in three years that stay asleep under their car cover cocoons. Why do I keep them? I no longer feel the need to show off or be seen in them. I don’t get the same kind of joy I used to when I would melt the tires and bury the speedo needle on some deserted road. I get no joy in it anymore.
My joy these days is in spending time with those I love – especially my grand kids. My joy is sailing and I don’t do it enough. My joy is traveling to places I’ve always wanted to go and I have been making more and more of these trips the last few years. And my joy when I am at home is reading and researching history, writing my continuing and never ending manuscripts, and playing and modding our favorite video game. I know that sounds funny, but I get a great deal of joy from my own immersive escape into our game world – so I want to make it constantly better.
So yes, this website and this game have become important to me. However, I will not allow haters to hurt me anymore. Because I have been very public in my pursuits of this hobby I have become an object of hate and ridicule. This is a sacrifice I gladly make to increase our immersive world, but how far am I willing to go with it? I have said before that without the efforts of others I would have given up on all of this a couple of years ago. Indeed I must tell you that it has been the support of others and the contributions of Jeffrey with the amazing new features and stability he’s been able to bring – in virtually rebuilding the engine into something completely new, different and original from the bug infested kludged up spaghetti shell that he began with (NOTE: If I have an idea – usually Jeffrey has a solution and its done within a few hours/days LOL – he’s like Scotty from Star Trek “the Miracle Worker”) and Orazio and all of his fine modeling contributions. Without these two guys and others continuing support, this would be a dead website and ERAS2 would be a distant memory.
I renewed the website for two years because I got a much better deal that way than if I had only gone with one, but I find that I want to build a better website which is more user friendly – more like PA!’s site with Xenforo underpinnings. However, I ask myself at this point – is it worth it to me to do so based on where my heart is right now…. where my joy is right now. I have a thick enough skin to continue on and take on the barbs, ridicule and mean spirited attitudes and lies about me from the greater community. However, it still hurts. The recent hostility with PA! which I did not start and had nothing to do with in any way hurts me. The fact that no one wants to share with us – Yo Ho Ho’s beautiful new English ship models, and Rider88’s models, hurts and HURTS badly. We have a lot we could trade and share as well, but no one seems interested, which is really a surprise to me when you consider all of Orazio’s and Jeffrey’s work. It’s world class. I would like to think my items, weapons and characters might be worth something as well as all of the ship skins I’ve done. But sadly no.
The bad mouthing is just bad. I was accused of stealing content from the Germans. I admit I did. Why? Three reasons….
- I felt justified because some of my content for GOF from a long time back is in their game. (BTW some of my stuff is in New Horizons as well but they will never acknowledge that. Craiggo wasn’t the only one to procure new ships and skins and Craiggo and I shared everything. He will verify this is true. Also Kris Wood – more about below…)
I begged the great German modeler Pgargon to build several of the ships he did. In this regard I supplied him with the plans, pictures, and details of everything he needed. There would be no Pinnace Berlin/Dutch Pinnace models and variants from Pgargon if MK hadn’t have pleaded with him and gave him the source materials/plans he needed and worked with him.
The Zeven Provincien falls into this same category. In addition, PA! deleted the original Zeven Provincien thread and work of the extremely talented modeler Kris Wood. Kris brought in the Lyon Hoy and the Centurion – BOTH because I ASKED him to. Both of these ships are used in New Horizons and in MOTCS. So they would never have had these ships in the first place if I hadn’t have been working with Kris and asked him to provide them for our games. Kris disappeared when PA! banned me and they deleted all of his work. WHAT A SLAP IN THE FACE! Right? I had payed Kris a thousand dollars. Some at PA! branded me as wrong for paying for mod work. Why is that so bad? Especially if I shared it with EVERYONE! The work was nearly finished. Soooo close. I still have ALL of his nearly complete model files. I think Orazio is of the caliber he may be able to finish the model for us now if he will do us the honor – that is, after his new Sant’Yago galleon model is finished. I believe that Pgargon intended for his models to be shared with everyone, but certain people from certain forums have been both xenophobic and not too fond of sharing. This is one reasons I would pose that he has not been around for some time as well.
Last I would mention that the gorgeous Frederick Willem zu Pferde model from POTBS which was shared with PA would have never been completed without me. I talked Damski into re-scaling and configuring the model for STORM. Not only did I provide plans and scaling information so that the model would be the right size, I also paid a lot of money to have new computer components shipped to Damski in Eastern Europe so that he could finish the work. His computer died and it was my dedication to get this ship for our games, beg and ask for updates and provide advice and real material which cost hundreds of dollars —- that is an important driving reason why MOTCS, New Horizons and all GOF mods enjoy this beautiful ship now. If you don’t believe me just PM Damski on PA! – he will tell you that what I say is totally true. So hopefully, this discussion sheds a little more honest light on the matter – RIGHT???
Was I wrong to do what I did? Yes. BUT Was I justified in doing what I did because of my long vested involvement and the situation? YES ABSOLUTELY!
Jeffrey had everyone over at PA! slathering when he showed them screenshots of their precious New Horizons running on OUR new completely rebuilt 2.8 Storm source which allows the better more dynamic swordplay, glowing lanterns at night and so much other potential. There is actually a real chance of porting whole pieces of New Horizons into ERAs now – questlines, locations, etc… already we have a better flag system than they do. However, I don’t think he is too inclined to share right now given the subsequent drama that unfolded. I think that their pride is so great that I very much doubt that they would ever be willing to unban me or apologize to me and to Buccaneers Reef publicly – even if it meant their getting that new code. Pride is such a silly thing – the greatest of all the seven deadly sins – all others derive from it. LOL
I also was made aware of a comment by one of our members who hangs out on the Kap Kronstad Spanish Speaking COAS website. I love these guys and I love KK. They have done some great things and I have learned a lot from how they made things work in their mod. KK has been supportive of us over here and even recommended ERAS to others on his site. However, in that discussion thread someone made comments that our mod is not historical because we have the buccaneers from the 1660s mixed in with the late Golden Age of Piracy crowd from 1715. So I will say this again. I have always stated that our mod covers the ENTIRE Golden Age period from 1648 to 1725. It is because this was the prevailing era of active piracy and the great naval wars between the competing colonial powers ALL together in one time frame where everything LOOKS and lives in a sort of similar historical harmony together. If I knew how we could sub-divide our mod further to make it even more time period exclusive, don’t you think I would?
The whole reason its the ERAS mod and this is module 2 is because I have been developing other modules. Module 1 is the colonial exploration era also marked by all of the religious persecutions and Catholic vs Protestant struggles (1550-1648) with Drake, Hawkins, Heyn and of the bloody Huguenot incursions, exiles and pirates. The ships and locations will be completely different and by the time we are ready to release it we will completely understand how to change the necessary locations and questlines. Module1 will be the last one we work on and is currently the least complete.
Module 3 is 1775 to 1820 and is the Era of British RN domination. A fledgling United States is a new faction and all pirates are American or (Gentlemen of Luck = British privateers). So you will never see a Jolly Roger or black flag anywhere in this version. Pirates and Piracy had been pretty much snuffed out in this era. I am actually quite far in the development of module 3 and if we can figure out getting many more island models into the game and changing the existing questlines, then I could see a Mod3 release by late this year. I have already got the ships, weapons and many of the characters already separated and sorted out. Its a completely different flavor of play and has a completely different look and feel to it – Truly a different era. I may allow a test version release only for my trusted friends – like Luke, Craigo and I know Orazio wanted to see his new cabins on more of the late frigate type ships. It is what it is – and I am sorry that I can’t please people that are even more historically maven-esque purists than myself.
To take this a little further a few of us might also try our hand at actual real development again for real money and get our product out there for actual profit. In researching licensing and re-branding, this is a very real possibility and there are legally accessible ways for this to occur. I still have some backing as well – however the question is – do I have the heart and energy right now to commit to such an endeavor. Being a subject of hatred and ridicule and feeling rather alone in that regard with a handful of supporters backing me up can be disheartening and draining over time. So with all of this said, I will hold off on transitioning the site over to Xenforo until I see how things progress for the next six months. I will also not go back to work full time yet. However, I believe I am going to start throwing my resume out there and telling people I might be available by this summer. I had three very good offers in just the last quarter, so I know that my skills, experience and background still make me desirable to certain professional organizations.
So all of this to say that the site here will be maintained for the next couple of years, but if we don’t continue to have MUCH more audience and member participation, comments, etc. OR more break-throughs; i.e. bigger island map with more imported colonies(we know how to do this now and the new towns are ready – I just need the larger island model added to or rebuilt – have workarounds at present that aren’t the desired end-state), and/or perhaps more sharing in the greater community – like more new ships from other communities, etc… then I probably wont be around too much after this year is up. If the flood gates suddenly open and we have a lot of interest with this latest version, major new breakthroughs with other things and with the new islands model, then I will wait to go back to work and will transition the site over to a better more modern host/format/technical carriage. It just depends on what happens next. What do the bones say? The bones say my heart must be in it and there must be continuing joy there. Do the bones say your heart will be in it and that you will have joy in the next six months? That remains to be seen. Lets wait and see – meanwhile I will be busy.
So to all of my detractors and haters out there I can only say – “bite my shiney metal (armored knight) ass”. To my supporters and continuing contributors I say: Thank you so much! I LOVE you guys! BOTTOM LINE: Jeffrey and Orazio – your contributions are why Buccaneers Reef and the ERAS mod is still alive.
Post Script: I was recently challenged by someone who does not believe I possess some of the sources I claim. So I am going to make this very simple. Here for his viewing pleasure and anyone else who may be interested is a small fraction of my library which showcases the bulk of my maritime books. These pictures can be viewed in large resolution for any that may wish to view the actual titles. This is only a part of my collection, but the part I feel is most important in my study of maritime history. I have an equally as large digital archive as well. Reading, researching, studying and writing about history is one of my favorite hobbies.
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