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Buccaneer released!

July 5, 2013

Buccaneer was released today on the Turbonuke website:


The game is essentially a narrative RPG with multiple endings and a strong “choose your own adventure” style of gameplay, similar to the gamebooks of old and browser games such as Kingdom of Loathing.

To liven things up, it also includes lots of fights including 4 different extremely hard boss battles at the end of each of the game’s four different endings (lots of replay value with this one!), as well as lots of little jokes and things to do scattered around the game.. you can spend the entire game getting drunk in taverns if you want, or you can try to complete all the miniquests, find all the items, or unlock all the endings. Since it is an open-ended exploration game, it’s a kind of sandbox for the player to explore and have fun with, and hopefully everyone will have fun going through the game multiple times to dig up all the little secrets and easter eggs that are hidden in the game.

Another feature I’m quite happy with is the choices you can make… you can be a mass murdering tyrant, slaughtering crews of ships, sacking cities, or you can play benevolently, showing mercy and only attacking the more evil characters in the game. This affects your reputation score, which is used for your final ranking once the game is complete and for *one* in-game reason only.. which I will keep a secret for the player to run into themselves!

I put a lot of effort into every aspect of the game, with hand-sketched artwork throughout as well as all the animation and code, as well as extensive playtesting of the gameplay with a gaming group and the excellent feedback exchange group on FGL. While it might not be to everyone’s taste, the people who do like it should hopefully *really* like it.

Anyway, have a play through the game and let me know what you think in the comments below!


– pepper 🙂


From → Game Development

  1. Tidal_Force permalink

    Interesting game. Quite good even. I managed to finish it with two endings: killing Lord Haddock and becoming immortal (though something tells me there might be different flavours of Immortal ending, I got a very upbeat one with massive good reputation, though trying to get it with low reputation without mutiny might prove difficult). Got no luck finding island at Red Lagoon (tried adventuring there 15 weeks straight, Sea of Blades was also checked, just to be sure)

    But I have one question. Have you actually play tested conquering El-Dorado? It would be perfectly doable if crew recruitment took no time, but (if I understand boarding/port combat correctly) I was still ~130 crew short, that would take ~15 weeks to recruit.

    Logic behind above claim is the following: El-Dorado is defended by 400 armed (at least scouts say so), so I need:
    a)801 unarmed
    b)401 armed
    c)267 heavily armed
    all 3 options have same cost in gold but option c takes least time to recruit and has lowest upkeep – ration requirements, still I got 15 weeks short and I can’t imagine how I can shave off that many weeks.

    • Thanks! There is indeed an alternate bad ending for the fountain of youth (the text from the pirate king and other places hints at this).
      El Dorado has been playtested and is tough to complete, but doable… around 200 heavily armed is just enough to do the trick, there!

  2. Tidal_Force permalink

    200 you say? Did I understand it properly that combat is just a direct strength comparison where unarmed counts as 1, armed as 2 and heavily armed as 3? If so than not all defenders are armed, but report only displays most common state? Sound decision if you wanted players to attack because time is running out, but be unsure of their chances, no matter how prepared they were. To clarify, I’m not complaining in any way, just while playing (especially re-playing) I’m always trying to divine how game works and what developer(s) wanted to achieve with their decisions. I like this kind of mental exercise.

    On my second attempt at conquering El Dorado I actually got ridiculously lucky with “Brisk Winds” (getting them more than a dozen of times) and morale improving events and so I was able to gather 269 heavily armed pirates and despite running out of food keep them from revolting long enough to conquer the gold city (that was before you replied saying I don’t need that many…).

    This game indeed has surprising amount of re-playability. I felt… compelled to get Kraken ending, gather all items, check what exactly happens when evil person goes for immortality, the only thing I can’t find is that Island, well I’ll probably try again later. I also like Trophies in your game which is unusual since my general attitude towards Achievements is hatred (mostly because of those ubiquitous “kill x enemies of y type” grindfests, good thing you left those out). All in all, in my opinion, Buccaneer is a very good flash game, fun, not too long, easy standard ending with choice of other challenges, almost fully explorable before it gets boring, without artificial stretching.

    • Your understanding of the way combat works and the way the defenders are armed is 100% correct. 🙂

      Glad you liked all the replayability, and totally agree with what you said about the achievements, often I’ll play a game and it’ll have 50+ achievements just for the sake of them, often with really boring goals like “shoot 10,000 bullets”, or even worse ones like “play the game for 5 hours” or “like the developer on facebook”.. all of which are pretty terrible. A small amount of well-considered achievements are far more fun to aim for than a load of boring ones.

      Oh, and as for the island, pay careful attention to the exact wording of what the squid pope says and think outside the box.

      • I still dont get it. I clicked around the islands on the 13th week, let myself get killed by the hydra still nothing – How do I get to the island??

  3. @ JJ: Think outside the box and pay very close attention to the exact wording of what the squid pope tells you. It isn’t a riddle or anything, it’s a literal description of how to find it.

    You won’t find it by adventuring in any of the regular zones.

  4. Torg permalink

    I’m not getting it either and it is the only trophy I haven’t gotten. I have read and re–read ever word the squid pope says and I have tried a large and very varied array of things but I have had no luck. Beyond frustrated with it now to the point I’m no longer enjoying the game.

    • Ah, okay, it’s been long long enough.. I guess I can spoil it then – Every 13 weeks (when the week counter is a multiple of 13) you will see an extra island appear on the main map that wasn’t there before, just to the west of the islands surrounding the red lagoon. Click on it to get the trophy.

      • Torg permalink

        By chance…is it not marked and we are/were supposed to pay attention enough to notice it? I ask because I’ve looked, what I thought to be really well, every time I went to the map. And the thinking outside of the box clue only made me look really close to left where the stats are at instead of on the map. I mean, that’s outside of the box right? Guess I’m setting sail yet again and see what I can find. Thank-you for the game and the help.

  5. Torg permalink

    Got it! Thank-you again. Yes, I have enjoyed the game for a couple of days now. It’s engaging without needing 100% of my attention. Now that I have gotten all the trophies as good I will start a new one and play as evil. This should be interesting.

  6. Fleebasaur permalink

    I got all the trophies except the immortality every time i drink from the fountain i die i have no idea what to do. Any help?

  7. Fleebasaur permalink

    I figured it out its all in the reputation! I finished as a wealthy respected hero.

  8. Found the island without any help, but the fountain of youth keeps defeating me. Neat game; really engrossing!

  9. Earthlyun permalink

    Hey, I am having trouble figuring out how to earn the Map to El Dorado? I’ve done everything else but that and I can’t for the life of me figure it out…

  10. Earthlyun permalink

    Thanks. It worked, but I messed it up, ran out of time and had to start over. Now what?

  11. go_to_bread permalink

    Great game. While looking for a commodity trading game, I stumbled onto Buccaneer and happily dumped many hours into it until I got all the trophies. I really liked the drawn artwork, especially the Squid Pope and the ship portraits (not the battle sprites). Kaya’s looked a bit wonky though :D. The artwork reminds me kinda-sorta of the art in those Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark books, illustrated by Stephen Gammell. I also liked that the difficulty for all the endings was very well thought out. Not impossible, but also not too easy. It took actual planning and strategy to get the El Dorado and Fountain of Youth endings. I was left confused, though, by what to do once I had all the trophies.

    I was a bit disappointed that all the item prices were the same everywhere (except gems), but I got used to it and it made the game easier. I was also disappointed I didn’t get to land on “The Island.” The event was hyped up so much through the Pope Squid quest and the potential trophy that it was a letdown to get turned away when I found it.

    As for suggestions, a volume slider would be appreciated. Even a rudimentary low/med/high volume toggle will do. Flash games (and YTMND pages) always have really loud music and sound compared to other sound sources, and they never have volume controls of their own which forces me to adjust my system volume level.

    Also, I have a Firefox Add-on called Better Privacy that deletes my flash LSOs on browser close and allows me to protect certain LSOs from deletion. Most flash games have their LSO show up sometime during the running of the game, which allows me to find the game’s LSO and protect it from deletion (with my add-on). Buccaneer’s LSO, I think, appears at game close. So while the game was running, I couldn’t find the LSO (in order to tell my add-on not to delete it), and I was very nervous that I would lose my progress. I’m not a developer so I don’t know how feasible it is, but if possible could you make the gamesave LSO appear while the game is still running?

    Thanks, and please keep making games!

    • Glad you liked it enough to get all the trophies, and thanks for the comments on the art.. a lot of it definitely looks a bit wonky simply due to time constraints, I think I spent about 2 months just on the artwork for this one and still didn’t quite get the look I wanted on some pieces. The landscape pieces are my favourites. I’ll experiment a little more with art style before diving in next time, possibly going with a hand-illustrated etching style with some subtle ink washes/ colour tints. There was actually a trading system in the game at one point, with coffee, cotton and sugar for trade and worth different amounts at different ports but I took it out since I felt like it wasn’t the right game for it and there was already quite a bit of complexity in there without adding to it. Plus in a game with combat, you have to be extremely careful to get the profit from trading vs. profit from combat balance right.. so I decided that trading is better off suited to games that can fully focus on it (I recommend “High Tea” if you want an excellent trading game in a similar style).

      I’ll see what I can do about a volume slider in future, should be easy enough and something I can re-use on every game.

      As for the LSO, that might have something to do with the way the shared object is saved. Unlike a lot of game devs, I save the LSO in a defined path “pepperpunk/buccaneer” so it might take a bit more work to find it since it’ll be buried away in a subfolder somewhere. The save object is created and overwritten every time the sea map loads. I do this for a good reason… often if a developer makes an update to their game, or publishes different versions to different sites, people can’t use their save files anymore… I define the save path to fix that problem.

      Cheers! Always great to read comments like this.

      – pepper 🙂

  12. madison permalink

    how much good reputation do you have to have to not die at the fountain of youth

  13. Explosion permalink

    How do you get reputation?

  14. NYANCAT permalink

    there is this really annoying glitch that when I shoot a bird a the flee my game just keeps crashing don’t know whats happening

  15. Player permalink

    I still cant seem to find the secret island.

  16. Tom permalink

    I left a remark on your Deviant Art page. I’ll leave a shorter remark here…

    I really like this game. I want to stress how much I adore the detail that went into it. I liked the little touches, like the squid priest, and the moon monster at the fountain of youth. It was a very different take on pirate games. The prose about such things seems reminiscent of H.P Lovecraft’s mythos, what with the weird and impossible cultures and monsters ext…

    Games take a lot of work but if you were considering a sequel I strongly encourage it!

  17. Skippy permalink

    Hey, people probably aren’t still looking here but if they are I have a question, After returning to the game from a rather long hiatus I found the island and was wondering if the little event that plays is all there is or if I’m perhaps missing something and there’s more exploration to be done regarding it. Thanks

  18. Rozzie permalink

    I am stuck on defeating the monster on the fountain of youth any tips folks?

  19. Vigfus permalink

    Just stumbled upon the game a replayed it a couple of times this evening. Thanks for a fun and intriguing game with good solid bosses!

  20. Halwk permalink

    Really good game, but I have been unable to find the kraken. Help?

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