Building a pirate ship
Since the very beginning, we wanted to keep our levels as functionally accurate as possible and in the case of the Queen Anne's Revenge, this meant doing a great deal of research on 18th century pirate ships. With the help of the subject matter experts from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and those directly involved with the recovery efforts, we were able to amass a wealth of information about the structure and layout of how the Queen Anne's Revenge probably looked 300 years ago. With this information in hand, we created initial conceptual designs of how our ship would look and from this point, the real work began.
Knowing the actual dimensions of the Queen Anne's Revenge, we set out to model our level to match the relative size of the ship as closely as possible to increase the player's sense of immersion. From the rigging all the way down to the keel, The Queen Anne's Revenge level encompasses a complete pirate ship in every way possible. With the exception of the decorative details that were created in 3ds Max, the entire ship was modeled using the Unreal Editor (UnrealEd) through the use of over 1600 BSP brushes. Once we had the initial structure of the ship created we cloned two copies of it. One of these copies would be used in creating the wreck site of the Queen Anne's Revenge and the other would go through a number of modifications to become the Protestant Caesar which the player would battle against in one of the flashbacks.
Much of the gameplay on this level will take place above deck but the lower levels contain much of the details that a living breathing ship would contain. By exploring the cargo area of the ship, the player will see how pirates lived, worked, and slept aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge. Further down, the player will enter the ballast level of the ship where spare anchors, cannons, and ballast stones were stored to offset the weight of the ships tall sails. Within this lowest level of the ship the player will notice an enclosed room lit only by a single candle. This space is where the ship's supply of gunpowder was stored and due to the danger of having open flame so near to something so explosive, the single candle was stored in an outer room away from the barrels of gunpowder.