Monthly Archives: July 2012

Iter 12 and going to 13

Glad to have put out iteration 12, it feels a bit incomplete and it feels as if it took longer than it should have. There’s a few things to “blame” here, though not all of them bad. First it is summer, and it has been a time of really nice weather (sunny and hot though very dry – so I suppose its reletive if you ask a farmer). Meaning that me and my wife have been going out a lot during the weekends, beaches and other outdoor activities, as well as usually a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. Nights and weekends are my primary time to work on the game, so this cut into development.

The other factor is actually art related, Drew’s friend has been helping quite a lot and so there’s been a good amount of focus on art, I often found myself tweaking textures of ships and other objects, the usual “rule of thumb” that the last 20% of something takes 80% time might not exactly apply here, but it does feel that way sometimes when I’m fiddling with a mesh to get a slight improvement that maybe is only visible to my eye.

So what does this mean to iteration 13 and the future? Well the good news for the project is that once summer is over development will speed up – due to having more time, and even in about a week my wife is heading to her childhood home for about two weeks so during that time I think I’ll revert to my “bachelor” life style of being glued to the computer.

Plans for iter 13 can be summarized by this statement – lots of little stuff and a few big things.

One of the big is coding the game engine to support “gate travel” – so the player will go through the gate and end p ina new sector. This involves putting in “invisible” collision objects – so simply put just physics “bodies” – nothing that ends up on the screen, theese will sit and wait for collisions at which point they’ll trigger things – like gate travel. Other things will be to trigger mission objectives – eg: go here.

Small things:
improved ship switching – show a “gui” that lets you select the ship to switch to, sort by distance, show info such as health, distance, target, class etc.
more hud visuals and tactical – objective visuals, show target health/speed/range in hud marker (in 3d not on the “gui”)
new weapon types and properties
ships leaving debris when they blow up

There’s more here if you are interested.

So I think lots of exciting things to come.

Bit late on iter 12

Doing final testing and bug fixes. Fixed a bunch of save/load bugs and other issues. Had a very strrange bug pop up last week and take up a lot of time to figure out (still not sure the exact cause/solution – but crash no longer triggers).

Playthroughs and polishes

Focusing on polish ahead of iter 12. So bug fixes, gui fixes, touch ups etc. Had a playthrough and that yielded about a half a dozen notes on tweaks.

The recently added “mouse over” info in tactical mode is really a great addition. Originally the mouse over info (eg: put the mouse over an asteroid base to see its name and crew count) was to help the player in selecting objects, but now has evolved into its own very neat feature. For example putting the mouse over an asteroid base lets the player see not only its name and crew count, but also its resources (and +- changes in them), shipyard queue, research queue. Thus this means that instead of the player having to look at 3 different screens the player simply has to mouse over the base to find out the summary information. This means that the player gets to hang out in a more active state (zooming around and mouse overing on objects) rather than a more passive (sitting in the shipyard or research screens). A really cool feature I believe, and I have to admit (somewhat sheepishly) that I didn’t expect this big of an impact, though it now seems obvious.

The dynamic of the player having two roles – the warrior and the leader is taking shape niceley. Meaning that the player can engage in ship to ship combat in ship mode and while waiting for these engagements will be managing the empire. This is a good sign that I’m very happy to see.