Category Archives: Happenings

More AI and happenings

I was hoping to be wrapping up the basics of AI and heading into adding another weapon type then working on tactical mode. But there’s still more work to do. Recently I changed over the the save/load system so that it would be compatible with the new AI and it I thought I’d be done with it by now. It is working well for the most part, but when I went to do the same with the trading ship AI I noticed it wasn’t very compatible, so now I’m fighting with it a bit to make it compatible with the AI manager system. Its good stuff all around because this means that the trading ship AI will more modular so that it can be used for other ships – for example ferrying ore from asteroids or cargo pods from destroyed ships. While doing this I was testing the transport ship AI and noticed a few bugs here and there to the gravity drive system, as usual I think I finally have it fixed heh heh…

Speaking of AI I had a really neat moment recently, a drone fighter turned to face its target (while turning off its thruster engines) and then when facing the target the drone hit its afterburner to charge at its opponent. I guess you’d have to be there to appreciate it, but it looked and felt fairly intelligent and dramatic :)

In other news I posted about my project on’s gaming reddit here’s a link I had a good response to it so that made me glad, even got an email with some additional kudos :)

The posting made me realize that its been far too long between iterations, so I have to clean up the current version enough so that its playable and then release it, getting tired of saying: but in the in development build… besides the change log is getting very crowded.

Happenings – Iteration 11

Iteration 10 came and went so the project is officially in alpha state :) This means that more focus will be taken towards improvement and polish than adding game elements. The previous iterations had a fairly narrow focus (adding in the command ship, adding in base captures, adding research etc), iteration 11 has no such focus instead its aim is to generally improve the gameplay. This past week turrets have been given the ability to pivot (no longer will projectiles exit a turret at an angle that the barrel is not facing), multi barreled weapons have been put in place, muzzle flashes added, and other such enhancements.

For example right now I’m working on torpedos. Torpedos are a type of a missile, except that unlike standard missiles these obey the laws of the physics engine (inertia and momentum) and can be destroyed, however they pack a much more powerful punch and have greater range. Right now however torpedos are strangely wobbling in the general direction of their target… but not quite ready for battle.

Its a lot of fun doing this kind of work because visually many things are happening. Much more to come!

More happenings

If you follow the change log forums (change log for iter 9) you’ll notice the iteration 9 post is pretty sparse. Although from the view count there’s only 8 of em so you probably don’t. Those 8 views (at the time of this posting) are probably mine:)

My excuse is that I’m in finals week for the summer session. I was assigned 3 papers to do and I’m on page 8 of the required 10 of the last paper. Luckily my plans for iteration 9 are pretty modest, putting in the research system into the game. This actually is mostly gui/interface work which is already done, a free wekeend and it should be done :) Research is fairly similar in function to the Command Ship upgrades screen so that helps as well (a bit of copy and paste coding here and there). banner add offer was kind enough to offer indies like myself the chance to display a banner on their site. I jumped on the opportunity and put together a non-animated banner in a few minutes and true to their word it was on display on their site for a week.

Banner on
Click to see full size.

It was quite a thrill for me to see it, but I immediately thought I could have made it an animated gif, made it better, etc. Everyday after it started appearing I checked how many visitors went to my site via the banner. It was about 10 per day, 50 in total (over the weekend had website issues and was down for a few days). I didn’t get any hellos from any of the visitors so I don’t know what they did once they came to the site (whether they downloaded the game etc). Quite honestly I was surprised at the number, I thought it would be lower because I know from my own experience I’m pretty well trained to ignore ads on sites.

Hopefuly one day I’ll be in a position where I can repay this kindness.

Budgets, art, etc

I added a textured base model from SolCommand’s website. Looking at model in game gave me ideas. I like how it looks and imagine everything else looking similar. So I am investigating the possibilty of paing for art. There are a few choices for “off the rack art” like: Turbosquid and 3DRT . Some of the off the rack art I think would fit, but there is glut of fighters and other small ships, and a lack of larget capital ships. Plus going down this route I would probably end up with a big mismash of dissimilar styled ships and varying texture resolutions. Still I’ll probably invest in a few models and keep an eye out for more.

I also communicated with an artist that advertised on some game development forums, the artist rates were far beyond what I’d be comfortable at this point, in the few hundred dollar range per day. I would either need someone who is far more into the hobby aspect, far hungrier, and/or just starting out. Basicaly someone in a similar position to mine.

Iteration 3.5 and a Twitter account

I wasn’t planning on releasing iteration 3.5, instead the plan was to release iteration 4 in about 2 weeks, however extended a very generous offer to show banner adds of indie projects for free on their site. I jumped on the offer and in hopes of the increased traffic I “finished” two new tutorials that I’ve been working on to ease players into the game. My plan is to ask gaming communities for feedback on how effective the tutorials are in the near future. There may be some gaps that I’m missing because I’m too close to the project. I hoped to ask my wife to run through them, but simply ran out of time this Sunday. She’s the perfect candidate since her gaming world involves Solitare and a week long obsession with Zuma years ago. If the tutorials teach her how to play the game then they’ll teach anybody (which is my goal).

Also in the vain idea that those same new visitors (and repeat guests) would be interested in following me on Twitter I joined up Follow me on Twitter. Quite honestly if you asked me before I started this project whether I would have a Twitter account I’d probably roll my eyes, but nowadays I definatly see a use for it to help me spread the word and communicate with those who may be interested in this project.

I hope you download iteration 3.5 and test out the new tutorials and let me know how they work out. The plan is for Iteration 4 to also include a combat basics tutorial.

Large number of downloads yesterday

Up until now I’ve had about 330ish downloads of the prototype, today the number is 1600ish. What is going on? I can’t believe these are legitimate users (I’m not advertising heavily). is it some kind of a automated downloader bot? But if so why would it download so many times?

It doesn’t make much sense.