Iter 10 etc.

The goal for iter 10 is to add the begining of instant action mode. First stage is to create a “battle editor” allowing the player to create custom battles. The player will add objects – ships, stations, etc to the game field, designate their sides (enemy, friend, etc), positions etc and then press play and battle it out. Initially all units that are in game will be unlocked, but later on the player will unlock units via the main “story” game or pre-created battle scenarios.

The battle editor will serve a variety of purpouses, sure it is there for fun and another neat game mode, allownig the player some quick action. But there are some very practical uses concerning the development of this project. It will allow for testing art assets, tweaking game balance (how many fighters can take out a corvette?), observing/testing the AI and creating videos to post on YouTube :)

Its going well so far, a lot of the work has been completed, luckily I’m able to re-use a lot of the code already. The battle editor closely resembles tactical mode, there’s a free floating camera, the player is able to position units (same code as positioning stations), collision checks need to be performed (stripped down physics engine code) so that units don’t overlap causing unintended consequences.

I’ve reached the stage where I need to populate lists of objects for the player to add to the battle. I’ve decided to make the switch from hard coded (in the executable) asset lists and their paramaters to having the game read text files. Thus making the objects accessible to the player, I’ve been meaning to do this for a while and this will be the first step. The objects will be read into the game from xml files (easily openable in notepad or other editors), allowing for modding. Eventually a modding tool will be finalized meaning that editing the files will be done via this graphical tool rather than notepad or some other text editor. I’ve started creating this tool in a seperate (from the main game) project file, intending to one day release it as open source. I’m starting to think this over, and am now leaning towards making this part of the game itself – meaning that at least for some time it wouldn’t be open source. I’m still debating this, the pros of combining the project would be simplicity and speed for me – not having to have the same code in two different places (characteristics of objects – reading – editing – saving of files). Another pro is that the player wouldn’t have to look very far for the modding tool. The con is of course the open source nature, still I don’t know how many people would find this editor useful, it would be very specific to my project. I guess I can always seperate it out later on once the code is completed.