Monthly Archives: August 2014

Iteration 21

Put out Iteration 21 about two weeks ago, but finalized late last week. Happy about that and then once again hit my “post bigger update” slump. I did a bunch of house keeping type things – making new assets and prepping others.

I knocked together a new ship – I had a fairly unfinished ship that I chopped up, combined with other parts and textured to create a “bounty hunter” corvette. It turned out pretty well – however it is a bit lacking in detail compared to some of the other ships. Adding this new ship meant that I re-balanced some of the bounty hunter fights and then even further modified one of the missions and to flesh it out some more. I almost forgot that I did this – I guess I’m a bit more absent minded than usual.

Speaking of new ships – I put in a ship that’s been hanging around – unused – for a few years. It was driving me a bit nuts – its shape wasn’t working for me when I looked at it in game – so I actually cut it in half then took the front half and flipped it 180 and then re-attached. Now the new carrier looks pleasing to me. I spent a bunch of time on tweaking its texturing to finalize.

And speaking of new assets – I needed a “destroyer shipyard” so I split up the existing “frigate shipyard” into a smaller platform, and re-purposed the original shipyard as a destroyer shipyard. Oh the things we must do when there’s no 3D modeler available. I’m glad that the model was so versatile and detailed to be able to create a smaller asset from it.

Other things – re-balanced /scaled missiles and torpedoes. Re-scaled all the fighters – decreased them by another 25% – I’m happy with their scale now – they look fairly small compared to larger ships :) And scaling them down has the added benefit of making them survive fights against larger ships – since they are 25% harder to hit in a sense. I prepped and tweaked a bunch of other assets – including scale.

So now that I look back at the above I actually did more than I thought – and today I started on new story content. Its getting close – I’m nearly done adding ships/stations/etc into the game that have been sitting in my dev build – exciting times – but a big challenge is coming up – how it all ends and begins.

New content nearly ready

I thought that the new story content would be finished today. What was left was final play testing and balancing. During play testing a few issues popped up – one was pacing. The mission went a bit too quickly into a huge battle, I added a slightly smaller battle ahead and spaced out the subsequent battles more via timing. Then I got my butt kicked, which – by itself – not terribly surprising was surprising to the how much, it was a slaughter. The other aspect was that there is an optional “secondary mission” that needed some ships and that just wasn’t going to happen either.

So I thought about this and listed my options. The usual approach would be to tone down the attacks and reduce the number of enemies, but the fights felt really epic. So how could I keep that epic feel but give the player more tools for survival? The answer was more defensive platforms. So I whipped up a few more via Blender and modding/chopping up some existing ones to make variants.

Speaking of existing platforms – an earlier mission has the player dealing with defensive platforms that create mine fields, these shoot small but fairly fast moving mines. There’s also some bigger mines that I wanted to use here, but didn’t have an asset/method to get these larger mines into the game world. So I stumbled upon the idea of “building mine fields” like you build platforms/stations in the game. I don’t think it is too big of a stretch or immersion breaking, the method feels fairly reasonable and logical and about 30 minutes later it was in the game – easy peasy.

I hope that adding more defensive platforms, and this new “build a mine field” method only makes this mission more epic.