AirBuccaneers is a modification for UnrealTournament 2004. It contains a new multiplayer game type with airships, cannons, airmines and vari...


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AirBuccaneers is a modification for UnrealTournament 2004. It contains a new multiplayer game type with airships, cannons, airmines and various other pseudo ancient gadgets. The game is a compelling combination of graceful air ballet, fierce pirate-like action and 3D tactical manoeuvring.

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IMPORTANT: When installing full version of AirBuccaneers 1.6, remember to uninstall any previous versions of AirBuccaneers. You should not have a folder UT2004\AirBuccaneers when starting the installation.

You need a retail version of UnrealTournament 2004 to be able to play AirBuccaneers. 
Your UT2004 must be also patched to the latest version v 3355 which can be downloaded from here. The installed game files require 400 MB hard drive space.

UMOD version installation (preferred):

    * Double-click the file AirBuccaneers1_6.ut4mod
    * To uninstall use the uninstallation shortcut. Alternatively, run setup.exe in the UT2004\System directory and choose to uninstall AirBuccaneers 1.6.

Manual ZIP version installation:

    * Uncompress the contents of Manual Installation ZIP-file including folder info into your UT2004 folder
    * To uninstall delete the AirBuccaneers folder inside the UT2004 folder


Getting started

Starting AirBuccaneers

You can start AirBuccaneers from the shortcut created during the installation to the Windows Start Menu. If you didn't install from the umod, you have to start by using one of the alternate methods: 

    * Alternate method 1) Start UT2004 normally, go to the Community menu->User mods, selecting AirBuccaneers 1.6 from the list and pressing the Activate button
    * Alternate method 2) Browse to UT2004\AirBuccaneers folder and execute the AirBuccaneers.bat file.



AirBuccaneers uses the same keyboard settings as normal UT2004. The keys you will mostly need are:

    * Movement keys (forward, backward, strafe left, strafe right)
    * Action keys (normal fire, jump, crouch, throw weapon)
    * Number keys (or mouse wheel) for browsing the inventory items
    * Normal look operations (mouse)
    * Balloon steering has some evasive manoeuvres bound to control keys: Upwards blast (4xUP), Dive(4xDOWN), Fast forward or "Puhuri" (2xDOWN+2xUP) and Strafes (4xLEFT or 4xRIGHT)
    * F1 for player and team status (score, etc.) and the gametype (map objective)
    * The throw weapon key (BACKSPACE) for storing items in the wooden barrel on the balloon deck (throw them near it, and they will be stored in the barrel).
    * Pressing jump-key while in mid-air and below a balloon which is not too far away activates the rope. While using a rope use forward and back keys to go up/down. When just below the balloon press jump to board it. You can also press the crouch key to let go of the rope. 



The HUD contains the following items:

    * Inventory items you currently have. The selected item is highlighted.
    * Action Icon shown when you can use your current item on the object in front of you.
    * Health indicator showing your current health
    * Balloon crew list is shown when you are in a balloon
    * Balloon status information and altimeter are shown when you are steering the balloon
    * Remaining time of the current round
    * Compass for directions to home base, enemy base and to possible objective target
    * Scores of both teams and your personal score referred as XP (experience)


Inventory Items

    * Empty Hands are necessary for cannon aiming and balloon steering; you can also get more ammunition from the storage barrel.
    * Torch for firing the cannon
    * Cannonballs can be used on cannons (double load for increased damage).
    * Sword is used for cutting the balloon ropes and for hacking enemies.
    * Gunpowder pouches can be used to destroy other balloons, objectives and other players.
    * Telescope for snooping around
    * Airmines for laying minefields into the air and loading into the cannon barrel for cannon rocket shot. 
    * Defence Musket for blocking incoming direct cannonball hits and destroying gunpowder pouches



Hot air balloon is the most important way of travelling. It also has a lot of firepower thanks to the cannon attached to it. Balloon contains one action position. Use the steering icon near the rudder to enter the balloon steering mode. In this mode you can change the direction and height of the balloon. To exit the steering mode press action key/button.

Evasive manoeuvres can be launched by sequential key presses. 4 times UP launches the Upwards blast causing the balloon to increase height rapidly, 4 times DOWN executes Dive with fast altitude drop. Finally, 2 times DOWN combined with 2 times UP (in sequence) initiates Fast forward or "Puhuri" which increases the balloon speed for a while. In addition there are Strafes (4 times LEFT or 4 times RIGHT), which cause sideways movement to left or right. These "stunts" require a certain period of time for "recharging". Check out the status screen for stunt availability.

The balloon also contains a wooden barrel which can be used to store items like extra cannon balls. Drop items ("throw weapon") near the barrel to store them into it. Use empty hands on barrel to get items back from it. When empty, the wooden barrel automatically provides one additional cannon ball every now and then.

The balloons have weather vanes indicating the turbulence and wind directions. The turbulence affects balloon steering. Higher altitude usually means more turbulence, so watch you altimeter on the right side of screen.

The possible successful drop count (tally) is indicated on weather vane (small team symbols for individual drops and big team symbol for ace status, i.e., 5 or more drops). Furthermore, balloon and crew specific information is shown on the hud.



Cannon is used to blow up all kinds of things. Cannon contains three different positions:

    * Use the back of the cannon to enter the cannon aiming mode.
    * Use a cannonball (or two) on the cannon barrel to load it up for normal shot.
    * Use gunpowder pouches (1 to 3) on the cannon barrel to load it with flamethrower shot.
    * Use airmines (1-12) on the cannon barrel to load it with a rocket shot.  
    * Use the torch to light the firewire in order to shoot with the cannon


Game objectives

The objective of the game is to gather more booty than the enemy team. There are four types of games available at the moment and some offer alternate ways for scoring. Most of these types are used within a specific map. AirBuccaneers 1.6 contains eight different maps that serve as an illustrative compilation of map and game type possibilities.

In all maps you can get more gold for your team by fighting against the enemy team. Dropping enemy airships with crew onboard is more valuable than destroying empty enemy ships. This is the only way to score in the TeamDeathMatch maps (LakeInari, OldForest, Ruins). First team to reach the booty limit wins. Or, if time runs out, the higher score wins.

Area Domination map (HarbourRain, Tower) has a specific static area that can be dominated to get more gold for your team. Try to stay within the close range of the target and keep the enemy out. Remember that you can only dominate with balloons.

Moving Domination Target map (Louhenkota) contains flying and moving target (floating kota village), which has to be "escorted". The game type is same as area domination, but now the target area moves according to domination status.

Treasure Hunt (Harbour, Swamp) includes destroying the opposing team airships and collecting the small treasure balloons that will be left "behind". Treasure balloons can be collected by touching them with your character. Getting an enemy treasure balloon adds more gold for your team. Teams can also collect treasures of their own tribe, thus, making it impossible for the enemy to claim the price.

After each match ends, the teams will gather into the Trophy Room, which is the place for aftermath and debriefing. Glorious players will be awarded and you are free to express your feelings about the session. After the party is over, the next map will be automatically loaded and AirBuccaneering starts again.

To get more gold in the game you can:

    * Dominate the area of target ("Tower" or "Louhenkota") in Domination game type.
    * Collect treasure balloons in Treasure Hunt game type
    * Drop enemy airships with cannons, gunpowder pouches, airmines, etc. Small airships are worth 5 and battleships 10 gold coins.
    * Kill enemy players to get 1 gold.
    * Destroy empty enemy airships get 1 gold.
    * Capture enemy airships to get 1 gold.

Every time you are awarded gold while in an airship each of your crewmates also receives the same amount of gold. The team gets the same amount as a single player.


Setting up AirBuccaneers Dedicated Server

Setting up AirBuccaneers dedicated server is a straightforward operation. First you need to have a UT2004 dedicated server version 3355 installed on your server machine. After this you should install AirBuccaneers 1.6 normally to your server, see Requirements and Installation section located on top of this document how to do it. 

After the installation, you should have UT2004\AirBuccaneers folder containing the ABU game folders and files. 

Starting server

There is a bat file inside UT2004\AirBuccaneers folder named ABUServer.bat and by running it you start a dedicated server on your machine. If you are using Linux or don't just want to run the bat file, the command for starting the server is the following. You should run the command from the Ut2004\System folder.

ucc.exe server ABU-HarbourRain-DOM.ut2?game=ESCGame.ESTeamGame -log=ABUserver.log -MOD=AirBuccaneers

INI files

Unless specified otherwise, the dedicated server uses UT2004\AirBuccaneers\airbuccaneers.ini file for the settings file of the server. The file will be generated automatically first time you start the server. There is good documentation at the Unreal Admins page about UT servers and how to configure them correctly. 

AirBuccaneers has a built-in automatic teamkilling kick system and it is configured by setting a couple of values to your server's ini file (by default AirBuccaneers.ini file), and to it's ESCGame.ESTeamGame section. The file contains the section by default and has the following settings for teamkilling: 


The three TKJailLimits specify the number of teamkillings before player is sent to the jail for the time specified in TKJailTime (in seconds). 
TKKickLimit specifies the number of teamkillings before player is automatically kicked from the server and banned from entering the game for rest of the current map session.



Major changes from previous version (1.5 -> 1.6)

    * Airmine rockets are now blockable while in flight
    * Cannon exiting reworked
    * Maps tweaked: visibility and lighting improved
    * Gunpowder stuck sometimes on thrower bug fixed
    * Basecannon rotation problem fixed
    * Basecannonballs now blockable
    * Airmine is blockable 6 secs during it's deployment
    * Kickvoting menu more visible
    * Ship steerer altfire calls out target dirs (like the telescope's altfire)
    * Voice-ip portraits shown in hud when talking with mic
    * Killed players cannot use their swords one last time anymore
    * New duel map with only battleships
    * Bases protected by team mushrooms gods
    * New boost move: Fast forward and up (DOWN,UP,DOWN,UP)
    * Some optimizations increasing performance


Major changes from previous version (1.0 -> 1.5)

    * Bot AI hugely improved: includes for example better cannon and basecannon handling, use of flamethrower and rockets shots while in cannon, use of boost moves while steering, reacting to enemy boarders and own base defence.
    * Easy to use complaint system added against TK'ers
    * All airship models redone and retextured
    * All map lightings redone
    * Ship repair kits added. Are usually left behind from destroyed enemy ships.
    * Background legends and stories of AirBuccaneers accessible from the main menu
    * Gunner's mate added to help with the cannon firing and loading, the guy in the barrel
    * Lots of model textures redone & polished
    * Map added (press M to show/hide)
    * New menu and trophyroom musics added
    * New first person models and animations for weapons
    * Possible to configure server to allow use of custom characters
    * Updated to use the new UT2004 version v3323
    * Crouch bug fixed, players now fall when crouched on a dropping ship
    * Some bugfixes and polishment


Major changes from previous version (Beta 4.1SE -> 1.0)

    * New scoring system, all maps use the same booty-based system
    * Custom pirate-themed voice actors with over a hundred phrases
    * 4 unique characters with lots of custom animations and detailed skins
    * Improved models and textures for most weapons
    * Gameplay tweaks and balancing
    * All maps polished and optimized
    * More punishment for the TK'ers
    * Basecannons added
    * HUD completely redone
    * Glider added, helps to get to the own battleship quickly
    * Awards reworked completely
    * Many small changes, for example additional rope hanging point in battleship, cannon aimers take damage, bot AI tweaks, tougher times for the land loitering folks, new intro, etc.
    * Lots of new graphics
    * Many bugfixes and a lot of polishment.


Major changes from previous version (Beta 4.1 -> Beta 4.1SE)

    * Starting dedicated server from Host Game menu fixed
    * Updated to use the new UT2004 version v3270
    * Bots crashing the game fixed
    * Cannon rotation fixed when entering cannon rotation mode after a bot has used the cannon
    * Hud hint texts fixed to show (Altfire) instead of (Alt)
    * Some GUI and HUD text tweaks


Major changes from previous version (Beta 4.0 -> Beta 4.1)

    * Abandoned airships do not fly up anymore
    * Airships are destroyed automatically after 2 mins from abandoning
    * Players have all items with full ammo when spawning
    * Configurable automatic session kickban for Tkers
    * Autofire removed from sword
    * Detecting item use on cannons and airships improved
    * 3 points added to player for picking up enemy treasure barrel
    * Player model's face not visible when rotating cannon anymore
    * Possible to see what is loaded into the cannon
    * Removed inventory collect award, added most cannonball blocks award
    * Possible to block airmine rockets shot from a cannon with musket
    * Exploding airmines destroyed with a musket have reduced damageradius
    * Less damage from water
    * Level borders have winds pushing airships back towards the center of the level
    * Maps more optimized
    * Tweaked some airship and player textures
    * Possible to lose ranks
    * Charging power to cannonballs fixed


Major changes from previous version (Beta 3.0 -> Beta 4.0)

    * Ported the game to UT2004, some of the code rewritten and optimized
    * Balloons use the new vehicle code, more reliable with better collisions
    * Full bot support added, bots now fly balloons and fire cannons just like human players
    * Redone all old maps and added 3 new maps
    * Graphical improvements, more effects, new sounds and effect improvements
    * Gameplay has been balanced by modifying attributes of balloons, items, objectives, etc.
    * Rocket cannon shot (load cannon with airmines)
    * Rope added (press jump while in mid-air and below a balloon to activate)


Major changes from previous version (Beta 2.1 -> Beta 3.0)

    * New maps (5 maps included)
    * New gametypes (Moving Domination Target and Treasure Hunt)
    * Turbulence affects the steering (altimeter and weather vane included)
    * New manoeuvres for balloons (sideways strafe boosts added)
    * Tutorial level (for learning the basics)
    * Gameplay has been balanced by modifying attributes of balloons, items, objectives, etc.
    * Flamethrower cannon shot (load cannon with gunpowder pouches)
    * New visual effects
    * Balloon tally indicated on weather vane (number of drops)
    * Battleship model tweaked
    * Server code optimised for better game performance
    * ... and numerous bugfixes!



LudoCraft Game Design and Research Team

Producer & Lead Designer
Tony Manninen

Lead Programmer & Developer
Tuomo Korva

Graphics & Level Design
Heikki Korva

3D Models & Animation
Tomi Kujanpää

Audio Design & Graphics
Pekko Koskinen

Concept Art & Graphics
Jani Löthman

Server Admin & Graphics
Tomi Hurskainen

Animation & Graphics
Laura Vallius

Usability & Playtesting
Mikko Rajanen

Server Guru
Peter Antoniac

Voice Talent
Suvi Kaattari
Satu Kaattari-Manninen
Anssi Laiho
Pasi Pirttiaho

Special thanks

AirBuccaneers fans and testers (in alphabetical order):

[BL/H][email protected]_RiFt, [Hun]Foglalo, Bahamut, beefsack, BicycleRepairMan, Billy Blaze, blitZ, Bloodwolf, cajuncook, Cool Man, CptMonkf, Curry, dark-_|_-night, DonMorti, Drac, Dragon_of_Doom, drkim, Fatso666, Finkster, Fire_Bolt, Fragmaster, gray_fox, Hellmaster, HighPulp, hoak, jatfield, Killmaster, Kissamies, lehmi, Lokus, MAC, Maynard, me, Orzo, perfectwingzero, PsychoX, rhinodog, Rob, Seymour Gibbs, shadow_cast, Syphon, teh f0nx, Thanatos, The Undertaker, toolboi, xtr, Yossarian, Zealot and the rest of the crew.

People who have heavily supported our work:

Jussi "Jute" Kantola, Jari Pakarinen, Jiri Lahti, Ari Vaulo, Tarja Tanska, Ville Wittenberg, Kukka-Maaria Kakko, Matti Kurkela, Mr. Evil from Lawdogs Team and Soili Väinämö

Honorable mentions go to:

Epic Games, Steve Polge, Kyle &quot;Pezman&quot; Peschel, PlanetUnreal, HomeLAN, Johan Julin (1752-1820), SugarParticles, hauki (<2kg), DeadLines and all AirBuccaneers out there…

University of Oulu - Department of Information Processing Science


Contact information:

Team leader: [email protected]
AirBuccaneers MOD site:
#airbuccaneers channel on QuakeNet IRC

Copyright (c) Ludocraft 2004. All rights Reserved.

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