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"The greatest warriors are the ones who fight for peace." -- Holly Near

The Sid Meier's Pirates! Challenge Pack

2014-03-16

Since creating my Iron-man Mod for Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004), I've finished another five mods and I'm releasing all six together. I call this The Challenge Pack because all but one of the mods serve to make the game more challenging. The current release of the challenge pack contains the following mods:

  • Iron-man Mod - This mod prevents the player from simply reloading a saved game after making a mistake.
  • Minor Relations / Useless Items Mod - This mod fleshes out the relationships with the minor powers (pirates, Indians, and Jesuits), which were never implemented in the original game, and gives use to the Indian and Jesuit artifacts, which were therefore useless in the original game. It also makes disguises more useful and fixes the Dutch rutter so it works correctly according to its description.
  • Realistic Cannonball Speed - This mod increases the cannonballs to a realistic speed, giving a very different and more challenging combat experience.
  • Reformulated Crew Happiness - This mod changes the crew happiness formulas to eliminate the exploit that allowed players to sail indefinitely without ever paying the crew. It also makes the crew take into account the length of the voyage when dividing the plunder, makes the musical instruments a bit more effective, and fixes a minor bug in the game's calculation of crew morale. This mod is balanced for the harder difficulty levels (Adventurer, Rogue, and Swashbuckler), and might make the easy difficulty levels easier.
  • Slower Aging - This mod reduces the effects of aging by 25%. This is the only mod that makes the game easier, but the result is more realistic and it helps with finishing the more difficult game that results from applying the other mods.
  • Tenacious Top Pirates - This mod makes the top pirates never surrender, in the same way that the main quest villains never surrender, meaning that you have to duel them aboard their ships to beat them. Unlike the main quest villains, however, top pirate ships can still be sunk.
  • Miscellaneous fixes - This mod simply fixes minor grammatical errors in the game text. It is always enabled when you use the challenge pack.
The mods not only make the game more difficult, they also make it more interesting by requiring of the player more thoughtful play and a more varied set of tactics. I challenge you to complete a Swashbuckler game with all mods enabled! The challenge pack is compatible with both the Steam and retail versions of the game.

Download: ChallengePack.zip (version 1.2.3)

To use it, replace your game executable (Pirates!.exe) with the one generated by the program. (You may want to make a backup first.)

Contact me if you have any trouble!

As a bonus, if you don't select any mods, you'll get a clean, unencrypted executable that's suitable for creating mods and applying other people's mods. (The Steam version supports no exe mods. The retail version supports exe data mods but not code mods. This version supports both code and data mods.)

Comments

Thanks! 2014-07-26 01:05PM
Been looking around for some mods that actually effect game play... finally! thanks alot for your time making this.
an anonymous Rex
RE: Thanks! 2014-08-15 02:51AM
Thanks for the thanks. I hope you enjoy it. :-)
Fantastic mod 2015-09-25 11:07AM
I just finished a Swashbuckler run with all of your mods enabled. It really changes the game for the better. Although I didn't end up needing them, I prioritized getting the jail and maroon items as a safety strat. Great work on this, and thanks for sharing it.
an anonymous Jon
RE: Fantastic mod 2015-09-26 04:25AM
Hey Jon, I'm glad you enjoyed it!
CHeers and a question 2015-12-07 04:47PM
First my congratulations for the amazing job

Second I would like to ask if the 25% less aging is moddable into higher values

Thx
an anonymous Pirata Alma Negra
RE: Cheers and a question 2015-12-08 02:27AM
The Challenge Pack doesn't have built-in support for it, but of course it's possible to create a mod that changes aging in a different way.
It's perfect but 2016-01-04 07:49AM
It is possible to stop aging by hero i want be immortal and enjoy my game with all items and ships
an anonymous Bermax
RE: It's perfect but 2016-01-04 02:03PM
Hi Bermax. The challenge pack doesn't have such an option built-in, but of course it's possible to create such a mod.
explanation 2016-01-05 02:03PM
Can you explain what should i change or how off this aging in game i would be grateful
an anonymous Bermax
RE: explanation 2016-01-07 06:36PM
Hi Bermax. Unless you're a programmer or otherwise technically adept, I think it would be quite difficult for you to change this part of the game. But if you give me your email address I'll see about sending you a modded executable.
Email 2016-01-08 04:03AM
I send you an email
an anonymous Bermax
Thx 2018-02-14 09:58AM
Hey man, just wanted to say thank you for your work on this. Cheers
an anonymous Pirate_fan
Thanks! 2018-03-17 05:13PM
Adam Thank you! I fell in love with Pirates on the C64 back in the 80's and have followed and played it on PC since. I love this game and I'm looking forward to an improved experience. Peace
an anonymous Doug
RE: Thx / Thanks! 2018-03-18 09:57AM
I'm glad you guys enjoyed it. :-) That helps make my effort worthwhile.
Thank you so much! 2018-04-11 07:28AM
I've been playing pirates! since the Amiga days, and have wanted to make the modern version more difficult and fun. I'm so excited to play esp now that the indian and mission items function!
Thank you so much for all your effort, you'll make King's Advisor for this!

Sail ho! :D
an anonymous Aaaaaaar!
Sound? 2018-05-09 12:26PM
The mod is great, but I have to play it on mute because duels became too noisy (plenty of surrender voice clips at sea, and clanging swords, and the noise doesn't stop after victory) and the same clanging swords effect disrupts my experience while I'm on a city visiting the Merchant of Shipwright.

Also, the voice clip for taunts during duels doesn't play.

Can you take a look into that, please? I love the soundtrack in the Pirates! game and it's annoying that I have to play it on mute.
an anonymous Nic
RE: Sound? 2018-05-30 09:39PM
It's the first I've heard of audio problems. Is it consistent (i.e. the battle noise continues after every victory)? If so, does reverting to the original executable (or just unchecking all the boxes and generating a new executable) fix it?
Great Modification, HELP! 2018-06-23 02:54PM
Pretty nifty program!

I especially like the way Indians and Abbots now require artifacts before helping- this definitely adds to the game.


Since you are clearly an expert programmer I was hoping you can help me with some problems I'm having with this game, maybe you can tell me how to modify certain things:


1) Duels and dancing are slow, 1 FPS. How can this be increased?

2) Montalban on the Quest map, the fat abbot, and the surrendering Ducth captain all have that "Terminator Guy" look. This is with patch V1.02.

3) The BINK videos do not work except with Swiftshader, which is too slow for overall gameplay (the laptop is a 2001 Intel Pentium 3 XP- I have reasons for using it). The images are of strange and dark, weirdly-colored and aligned quality. The RAD Video app cannot play them although the VLC Player, Windows Media Player, and Media Player Lite all can.


Thank you- by the way, where can one learn how to modify and create applications? I have website programming experience.
an anonymous GusCE6
RE: Great Modification, HELP! 2018-07-02 02:47PM
Hey, I don't think I have enough information to answer your questions. My guess is that the slow dancing and duels (and possibly the BINK video problems) are because the laptop is old. I don't know what you mean by the "Terminator Guy" look, but I'm not too knowledgeable about the game's graphics.

Creating and modifying applications are two different things. For creating applications, I'd recommend looking into some C# tutorials. As for modifying applications, it depends on how the application was written, including which language it was written in. If you have the source code for the application, that's the easiest way to modify it. Trying to modify an application whose source code you don't have is known as reverse engineering and is a much more difficult task, especially if the application was written in an older language like C++. It may take years to develop the knowledge to reverse engineer such applications, and then months to reverse engineer any particular application. Nonetheless if you want to start down that path, you can begin to learn "assembly language" and see how languages like C and C++ get converted into assembly language.
Ships 2018-07-17 09:21PM
is there any way you can make ships more real like depending on relations i know that the more negative you are with a country then the will send out ships to attack you but is there anyway to make like bigger ships and more of the come for you depending on how much a country dislikes you and also have them actively search for you like if i sink a french ship but im not close to a french settlement/city france will still send ships to go after me and also the captains are stronger depending on the ship size and fleet size
an anonymous jacktdaw
RE: Ships 2018-07-18 11:56PM
Hi jacktdaw,

I think it's already the case - although I could be misremembering - that the severity of an attack depends on how much they dislike you. It would be possible to change the game so that they also hunt you down when you're far from their territory, but it would not be a simple change.
Thank you! 2018-09-17 03:14PM
an anonymous Aurrai
Thank you so much for making this! 2018-10-25 10:55PM
I've used the entire pack to beat every difficulty from Apprentice to Rogue and I'm now about half way through a perfect Swashbuckler run, and I'm having a blast. This is now the definitive way to play the game as far as I'm concerned. I was wondering if any of your modifications gave the quartermaster an actual effect, since I don't believe he actually does anything in the base game. Thank you!
an anonymous Captain Leatherwing
RE: Thank you so much for making this! 2018-10-30 08:51PM
Hi, Capt. Leatherwing. I'm glad you enjoy it! It's a common belief that the quartermaster does nothing, but in fact he does! As I wrote some years ago on the Hooked on Pirates Forum:
The quartermaster doesn't keep people happy; he enforces discipline. Happy crews don't need to be disciplined, so instead he reduces the effect of unhappiness. He halves the number of men who desert and makes more ships eligible for stealing. With the quartermaster, a mutinous crew can take any ship but the flagship. Without a quartermaster, it can take only take the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th ship. This may sound unintuitive, but I suppose it's based on the assumption that the best ships are at the front of your fleet, so letting them steal the ships at the end decreases the chance of you losing a great ship.
Relations and sound issues 2019-07-10 02:06AM
As noted above, I also experienced audio issues with the swords clanging. This seems to happen at the victory screen and at the merchant or shipwright.
I'm playing on version 1.0 and using only the Minor Relations mod.
About the relations: is there a way to win back good relations? I seem able to anger pirate ports, but I can't figure out how restore good relations with them. Once I defeat a major pirate, they seem to hate me till the end of times.
Thanks.
an anonymous Periko
RE: Relations and sound issues 2019-07-10 01:02PM
For relations with pirates, you need to attack the ships of civilized nations, plunder treasures ships, etc. to get on their good side. Basically, be a pirate. (This is how it works in the base game.)

As for audio issues, I've never experienced it. Does it happen if you uncheck all the boxes and generate a new executable with all mods disabled?
RE: Relations and sound issues 2019-07-11 12:53AM
That was quick. Thanks for answering.
I tested with a no-mod executable.
· Sound effects during boarding battles seem inconsistent: some sounds play twice, some seem out of place, some are missing (e.g: taunt sfx doesn't play at all). It's not a big concern in this case, it just feels weird if you're paying attention to the sound.
When testing with the mod, battles seemed much more noisy and the noise carried on through the victory screen.
· While anchored in a port, the occasional sword clanging sound is heard. This seems to happen anywhere, be it tavern, merchant, shipwright or even the port menu. It's no big deal, the clanging can even follow the music.
When testing with the mod, the sword clanging in this situation was noisier and bothersome.

Hope this helps.
an anonymous Periko
RE: Relations and sound issues 2019-07-11 09:59PM
Ok. After downloading and applying the 1.02 update, all sound issues are gone. Seems that was definitely the cause; version 1.0 and this mod don't get along too well.
Now that I had some time to play with your mods, I get the feeling that these rapid cannon shots are not nearly as destructive as in vanilla. Maybe it's just a graphic thing, but most shots don't seem to even hit the ship.

In spite of these reports I'm quite pleased I found this Challenge Pack. Great work here.
an anonymous Periko
Challenge Pack compatibility question 2019-08-04 12:27PM
Is your Challenge Pack compatible with Phalzyr's PH Trainer version 3.20?
an anonymous Nitehawke
RE: Challenge Pack compatibility question 2019-08-06 05:56PM
Hi, Nitehawke. I don't know about specific version numbers, but if Phalzyr's trainer is compatible with both the Steam and retail versions of the game, then it should be compatible with the Challenge Pack too, at least for the most part. (There's always a chance that the Challenge Pack and the trainer both try to modify the same thing, but I think there would be few conflicts of that type.)
2019-08-06 06:13PM
Great! I mostly only use the trainer in auto-dance mode, since I cannot maintain hand-eye coordination long enough to complete a dance.

The areas it might conflict with would seem to me to be crew morale, since it can be set to lock your crew to happy, and aging, since it can be set to lock your age to 18 either permanently (which locks the game year to the starting year, or it can be set to change your age to 18 only in sword fights.

I typically do not use those settings, so I think I'll give your Challenge Pack a shot!
an anonymous Nitehawke
Slow game time mod/command/config option? 2019-10-24 01:08PM
First of all; Thank you for creating this excellent mod!

I just came across it and will install to yet again enjoy this game. I first played the C64 version and have loved it ever since! It sure brings back memories, to revisit it.
The only aspect I definitely do not enjoy about the 2004 version, is the game speed. I feel it is way too fast, and makes the experience more arcadey than I appreciate. I was a fan of the original's game speed + that of the gold version.
Is there any way to slow down game speed by way of the config, mod, console command or otherwise? (Apologies, if this has been requested before)

Best P/W
an anonymous Tordenskjold
RE: Slow game time 2019-10-25 12:18PM
Hi, Tordenskjold. What do you mean by slowing down the game? The aging? The ship movement (in combat or the world map)?
Slow game time mod/command/config option? 2019-11-02 01:50AM
Dear Adam,

Sorry - I should have been more clear on this. I meant slowing down game speed in the sense of ship movement (and time scale) on the world map and in combat.

Thanks.
an anonymous Tordenskjold
Great mods 2020-01-02 05:06AM
Hey Adam, thanks for your time in modding this "old but gold" gem. Could you provide a modded EXE with a higher % slower aging (50%/75%)?

an anonymous mimimito
steam game and your mod 2020-03-14 01:44PM
I read your post up top. Do you mean to say that your mod will not work if you have the steam version of SMP? I was a bit confused, sorry.
an anonymous Matthew
RE: steam game and your mod 2020-03-14 02:08PM
Hi, Matthew. It does work with the Steam version. (See the part that says "The challenge pack is compatible with both the Steam and retail versions of the game.")
Access Error 2020-03-29 05:16PM
some help please i keep getting an "access denied" error when trying to extrace the file.
an anonymous Eggs Bubba
Cannon Balls 2020-04-03 03:48PM
I like your mod except the Cannonballs. The cannonballs would be great but I just can't stand them going through ships without damaging them. Seems to give small ships a very big advantage as well, since larger ships will have more opportunities to process the cannonball.

Any way to have an option that makes them at 3X or 5X speed? Might be a lot better.
an anonymous Tim
Cannon Balls PS 2020-04-04 09:24AM
Also very minor point but I think Jesuits should offer the immigrants mission even if you have no items.
an anonymous Tim
2020-04-10 01:08PM
dude thanks for your work!!!
an anonymous angelico
Glitched through the Americas, ended up in the Pacific 2020-05-17 07:24PM
Pretty grand mod, pal! Congratulations.

I'm just not sure about a thing. I was looking for one of the lost cities near Campeche (it's always near Campeche, whyyyyy). My ship got stuck near a Jesuit mission. I tried to sail away... And ended up in the Pacific, though I couldn't sail around (or I'd try my hand at sacking Panama City through the ocean). Luckily I could reload from autosave.

I think it's an innate glitch in the game, but I was wondering if it could be fixed somehow.

A thousand thanks, and I hope these past days have been kind to you.
an anonymous Ink
RE: Glitched through the Americas 2020-05-23 08:57AM
There are a couple known problems in the map (although I only remember a place or two where you should be able to sail but can't, I wouldn't be surprised if there are places you shouldn't be able to sail but can). There's an image that describes where you can sail and where you can't. It's possible to edit this image but I don't know/remember the details.

I'd recommend asking in the Customizations & Modding section of the Hooked on Pirates forum: http://www.hookedonpirates.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=11
RE: Cannon Balls 2020-05-23 09:03AM
Hi, Tim. Sorry for the late response but I remember we tested out a variety of speeds during the initial development of the mod, including 5x at least. See http://www.hookedonpirates.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6760 There are some links there to other versions, but I think they are broken.

It would be simple enough to reduce the speed back down to 5x or 3x but you also have to simultaneously adjust the aim of the AI and I don't remember the right values for that. If you'd like, send me an email and I can try to create a 5x or 3x mod for you, but it'll only have the speed adjustment and not the aim adjustment. Nonetheless, you might enjoy it better.
RE: Access Error 2020-05-23 10:14AM
Hi, Eggs Bubba. The access denied error is because you don't have permission to save the file where you're trying to save it. In that case, save it on your desktop and copy it into the Pirates! game directory (overwriting Pirates!.exe) using Windows Explorer (i.e. the normal file manager in Windows). It should give you a chance to elevate your privileges to copy the file there (unless you're not an administrator on your machine, in which case you may have to use an administrator account or install the game somewhere that your account has access to).
RE: various 2020-05-23 10:15AM
Regarding people who want different values for the slower aging, send me an email and I'll see what I can do.
Changing graphics 2020-05-26 05:19PM
So I have been playing this game when i was 5-6 years old and I accomplished very much everything. I started to look for ways to change game. I have a question: Is it possible to change flags floating over cities(to add custom flags just like you can add flag or sail amblem on a ship) and change nation itself by any means. I plan to do change whole dutch nation into Serbian nation and a translate all the dialogues. Is this 2 things possible, and if is, how??
an anonymous AleksaM
RE: Changing graphics 2020-05-29 12:17AM
Hi, Aleksa. Graphics mods are probably the easiest mods to make for Pirates!, especially changing 2D images like flags. Changing one nation into another nation is a fairly common type of mod released over at the Hooked on Pirates forum (although without special expertise you do face a few limitations, like keeping the name lengths of certain things the same, e.g. "Dutch" -> "Yanks" in some places rather than "Dutch" -> "Americans"). Ask around in the Customizations & Modding section. http://www.hookedonpirates.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=11
Effects of aging? 2020-07-19 04:46PM
What does the effects of aging here actually mean? You age slower or your age does not affect your character as much?(Fighting speed,Charisma,etc)
an anonymous Tommi
RE: Effects of aging? 2020-07-20 11:42PM
Hi, Tommi. It means you age more slowly.
RE: Effects of aging 2020-07-29 02:35PM
Sorry, I wasn't clear. IIRC, it's the latter. Your numeric age should increase at the normal rate but your "effective age" is reduced, and your effective age controls things like fighting speed.
Effects of aging? 2020-08-12 06:29AM
Ah, thanks for the clarification. Decided to check this page once more for some reason.
an anonymous Tommi
Thrusting 2020-08-31 04:03PM
Does your mod pack fix the 'thrust' boarding exploit? If not, is it possible that you can fit it so your thrust is not faster than the NPC's to counter this exploit?
an anonymous Aaron
RE: Thrusting 2020-09-16 12:42AM
Hi, Aaron. It doesn't fix the "thrust boarding exploit". In fact, I'm not sure of what that exploit is. That said, I think it's too late for me to be creating any new, significant modifications to the Pirates! game, given how difficult and time-consuming it is...
re: Thrusting 2020-09-18 12:59PM
Hi Adam, I've been playing around with some of the mods posted on hookedonpirates and I just wanted to say incredible work, it's definitely appreciated by those of us who still play the game.
an anonymous themodelcitizen
Can't Even Get Started 2020-10-19 03:02AM
Like the subject says, I can't even start a proper game.

It always crashes right after the cutscene of the crossing to the Caribbean. Just before you're supposed to enter the game proper and sail into the random city of the country you chose.

This happens on a completely unmodded .exe, an .exe with mods selected, and an .exe with none of your mods selected but a bit of homebrew modding done to alter the stats of a ship, which I've heard people have done no issues whatsoever.

So I'm completely stumped.
RE: Can't Even Get Started 2020-10-23 12:04PM
Hi, Captain. I'm not sure what you mean by "a completely unmodded .exe". Does that mean an .exe generated by The Challenge Pack but with all mods unselected? In any case, if an unmodded .exe fails, then I have to wonder whether the problem is in your data files.

I would suggest doing a clean uninstallation / reinstallation of the game. Then check if it works. If it works "out of the box", then try replacing the .exe... If it fails, maybe check the "Data Execution Prevention (DEP)" settings in Windows. (I have no idea if that's related, and my guess would be no, but you can still try disabling it and see if it helps.)

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