Monthly Archives: July 2011

Iteration 8

Iteration 8 is ready for download on the main site:

Plan is to create a new video as well. Hope you enjoy, attempt to conquer the nearby asteroid base and let me know how it goes. As the game becomes more “game like” I’ll need more and more feedback. For example it took me about 30 minutes to capture the base. But how long does it take a new player? Is there an obvious way to cheat? Is there some parts that are confusing? Some that don’t make sense? What’s fun? What’s frustrating? Any and all feedback/criticism will be greatly appreciated.

The more game like this project becomes the longer it takes to test it. Luckily I think the game is a lot of fun :)

New missiles incoming and some tweaks to the trails

Here’s a small video of some neat stuff. Before missiles were single colored ugly models (my work). Now they are sleek looking and textured (artist – Edocsil). Players may not take much notice of them (in light of all the other things going on), but to me they are amazing! The missile trails also got a tweak, before they were yellow turning to orange, now they are a bit “smokier” they start off white and end up mostly translutent to give the visual effect of fading smoke.

Also in the video is the new “rock” frigate (also modeled and textured by Edocsil). I love how bizzare it is, I don’t know if any other game has such a strange looking (but cool!) vessel.

Base assault play testing

It is interesting how different things actually play out than what you put into the game as code and logic.

Here’s a list:
I found and fixed a bug – stations couldn’t be destroyed. I don’t know how long this bug was in effect, since the enemy now builds stations this bug became apparent after I ordered the Command ship to destroy a defense station of the base I was assaulting. Speaking of stations, I recently changed the health points of stations that were being built, I made them start at 0 and increase as the station was being built (prior they started with max health even 1 second into their existance). Meaning that in theory the player could destroy the station as it was being built and not yet operational. The Command ship was firing all its guns and missiles and did put a dent in the station but couldn’t destroy it (the health generation was overwhelmed the damage), so I need to change this process and stop the station’s health growth if it is under fire. Otherwise the situation is a bit silly.

Minor bug regarding ships wanting to return to a friendly base, instead they should patrol the enemy base until the player commands them otherwise.

After defeating the defenders I realized that I have to tweak a few things, I started sending in the boarding ships, and realized that it would take quite a lot of them to kill the crew of the base which at this point numbered at over 1500. I plan on putting a cap the station’s population (this is a easy way to control difficulty as well, nearer stations will have smaller cap than further away bases). To create more strategy I plan on putting in “city” stations, which will allow for a larger work force (raising the crew cap), but they are much more vulnerable to attack since they are outside the base in a station that can be destroyed. The enemy and probably players will build defense stations around these too :)

The base’s crew generation (it is a percentage based one) was far greater than the rate of boarding ships I was sending so I need to stop the increase of population if the station is being boarded, plus put a max on population growth instead of making it a straight percentage only deal.

I also plan on putting in different ways that the player could hurt the base’s crew, for example a station that shoots torpedos (or even meteors, why not eh?) at other far away stations and bases, if shot at a base it would kill 5% of the station’s occupants (meaning that this torpedo station alone wouldn’t be enough to destroy an enemy). Plus the torpedos will have low health so that defensive stations will have a chance to destroy them. And with the city stations I mentioned, base assaults will become much more interesting. I think this will more strategy and fun to the game! Very excited about the future.

Getting ready for iter 8

Iteration 8 should be ready next weekend. Putting in the final touches now. Making sure that there aren’t any crashes, that the player can save/load etc. Also I’ll have to play test to make sure it is possible to capture other bases. If the enemy defends too well, or what not. Also this will be a test of whether this is fun/interesting :)

Once iter 8 is released, I’ll need more feedback from players, see what their impressions are. The closer we get to “alpha” stage and beyond, the more game like this project becomes the more feedback I will need. I’ll have to scour the web for willing participants.

Iter 7 and beyond

Iter 7 feels a bit sparse, my intention for it was to showcase the trading ship changes, but since I disabled “colonizing” other bases trading ships don’t have anybody to trade with. I already put in the code to capture bases into iter 8.

The process goes like this: player builds a ship, ship uses 50 crew. Ship docks at either neutral or enemy asteroid base. If neutral player takes control of asteroid base. If enemy base, the crew of the ship of 50 attack the base’s crew. At first the attackers would lose a static number of 5 “troops” per round, this felt very odd, so I made this a random number between 2 and 5. The defenders lose a base number of 5 crew each round, and then an additional 0 to 10 crew, giving it a bit of a randomized feel, but also making it in favor of the attackers.

Another aspect that I’m working is some common RTS elements, in past iterations I had a “enemy” object that just spawned shisp based on a timer, after a spawn the “budget” of ships would increase up to a maximum value. These ships would pop in instantly, and wouldn’t be linked to any asteroid base, wouldn’t take up any resouces of crew. Because I wanted this to be linked to asteroid bases (to make the enemy less of a cheater, more obeying the laws of the game that the player has to obey), I changed it so that asteroid bases queue up ships to be built, then once a pre-determined number of ships are built the base checks whether there are enemies nearby, if not then it orders the built ships to attack the player’s base.

Next up: having bases build stations, defensive, shipyards, etc.

So my goal is to make the game – more game like :) giving the player their first objective, conquer enemy asteroid bases. Will work on adding “research” in to the game as well, this is to essencially limit the ships avaiable to the player, thus allowing me to be able to control the early game. If I know that the player can only build corvette class ships then I know what I can send against the player. Also this will give the player another goal: get better tech to build bigger ships :)