Monthly Archives: October 2012

Turret mode

The past few days have been very productive – usually after I realse an iteration the week after is barely any coding/development – due to burn out, but I feel good right now. This could be because instead of my usual “release during the weekend” deal I released during weekdays. Tinal testing Tuesday, creating the installer on Wednesday then created the youtube “promo vid” on Thursday, meaning that I couldn’t spend the entire two weekend days on working on the project instead I did it in sections – since development/work on this project happens after my day job. Anyway somehow I avoided burnout.

On Saturday I started working on Turret mode. Meaning manual control over turrets, from their point of view. This actually was somewhat implemented about a year ago. What happened was that there were some issues with it (for turrets that were side mounted), and I didn’t have nice turret art so I disabled it and moved on. Because a lot has changed I had to re-work the existing turret mode and rebuild the gui, that took most of Saturday. Sunday was a bit more polish to the gui and I started on “multi turret mode” meaning control over more than one turret. So the player can hop from oen turret to another, or grab more than one, then spin the camera aorund the ship and have the turrets track the player’s view and if the player choses fire on that location.

I think its pretty neat :) Its my hope that this will enhance the “capital ship” mode of game player, fighters are already fun to fly, but cap ships turn slow, so what their appeal hopefully will be in this turret mode.

As I was putting in multi turret mode I ran into a problem – the player ship sometimes would obscure the target – since the camera spins around the player ship – the player ship is usually in view meaning that sometimes it can be in the way of your target, so what to do? I could automatically move the camera’s psoition up and down to look over/under the ship, but should the camera move up? or down? Both are valid answers – so what I came up with is to allow the player to manually control the camera up/down movement in multi turret mode (just like the player can controll the zoom) so I think this means that multi turret mode will be more fun and active :) Hopefully players will feel the same way too.

Still a bit to go, hopefully I’ll be done with turret mode this upcoming weekend, if it takes me two weekends to get a neat feature in, I’ll take that time line and be very happy with it :)

Almost forgot – because turret mode allows the view from the turret I’ll be modifying some of the heavier turrets to have a recoil when they fire, to give a bit more to the experience.

Neat little game

Doing final bug fixes/polishes and play testing – hoping to release iteration 13 tomorrow or Thursday. What’s left is to create the installer, grab a bunch of screen shots for the website and then create a “promo” video – though I’ll probably release iter 13 first then create the video – damned things take a over a day some times.

Thoughts on the play test: very neat little game. There’s a big gap though when the player waits for resources enough to build the shipyard and the marine ships for taking over the bases. That will definatly need to be repaired with more missions, sub objectives, a iterative attack on the bases (destroy a weapon, or defenses first etc). Also the passive act of bases getting resources needs to be augmented with a bit more active form of mining, and having pirates/enemies take notice and try to grab those resources for themselves. There’s no shortage of improvements to be made, but as usual everytime I release an iteration I’m feeling pretty good :)

Here’s a very rough – sketch/draft/notes of what I plan on working on for the next iteration – after which the game would reach “beta” stage and then the focus going more towards creating a story.

add colony platform – adds to population limit – if destroyed takes populatin with it – boosts food production
pursue – engage – flee AI
some kind of a free cam to see action better in ship mode – eg: select an object press F6 to view it, some kind of a free cam – potentially as a “probe” or “recon drone” deal
free cam – potential – alt left click in ship mode to look at another target in ship mode

turret AI fixes – close enough to fire – avoid friendly fire
error correction on path finding – eg: marine ships entering in a asteroid base – if they get confused they can find their way again dynamically
billboard missiles
missiles MIRV able to shoot projectiles
skybox enhancements – tactical “see through” – rotation
hud for base and nearby landmarks
enemy base AI – store defensive ships for when attacked, or launch ships to patrol before attacks
enemy base AI – help other’s being attacked – call for help
independent/pirate stations/bases launching attacks
in battle editor – swap sides/take sides button – eg player has 5 ships versus 7 enemy ships – player clicks swap sides – player now takes those 7 ships as own and gives 5 ships to other faction – eg: easily play scenario from other side of the fence.

visualize objectives – eg: if destroy target – highlight target in a different manner, if go to, highlight target or spot on hud and tactical mode

fix turret mode – both single turret and multi turret
repair corvette
re-code transport ships to take advantage of new art (showing pods that they have)
capital ship “maneuver” mode – like in tactical mode
“collision detection” on explosions – leading to flak and area of effect weapons and push backs on death
better explosions – attach them to object hit to avoid an odd trail of hits when the hit object is moving at a rapid pace
better “landing” (use a collision box to detect)
command ship abilities
ctrl left click in ship mode to issue command ship ability – in ship mode
rock mining

Iter 13 news

Working towards it, hopefully within the span of 7 days, working on adding ships to the game, after which will work on getting them to spawn out of the gates, then play testing and bug fixing. Should be fun – looking forward to it :)

Iter 13 ETA

The goal is to release iteration 13 in about two weeks. Things that are left to do: iron out some small issues with the new ship changing interface, and add some of new Outsider ships to the game, playtest and bug fix.

I originally thought I’d update the main game to allow the player to travel through the gate, but upon further thought, I’m not ready for that yet, plus I’d rather release iter 13 and focus on the story elements in iter 14. The basics of the code is there, but I’d have to give the player a reason to do it, and since that is the realm of missiones/story I’ll leave that alone for now.

In other news, the “basic” beam weapons (and beam turrets) have been vastly improved, they are basically ready now, yay. The more advanced “particle fx” beam weapons still need work, but since none of those ships will appear in iter 13 (they will be saved for the commercial version) this portion isn’t a priority right now. There’s also been coding happening on the “shield” system, good stuff.

In other other news, this blog is a good resource for me, I read it and got some interesting reminders of previous challenges and accomplishements. So I’m glad that I took the time to write some of those things down, and hopefully I’ll get back to the semi weekly update schedule of the blog. Ditto on some of the videos, watching the old ones and the newer ones gets me motivated.