Wednesday, 19 November 2014

It's time for another update this one I will detail some background data structure changes I've been working on and why. Also I've done a first pass on textures for a station and the freighter.

I've also updated the module status GUI details too, still unlikely to be final but better than just plain text:

Most of my recent focus has been to get shipyards implemented. To do this I've had to restructure some the custom objects I was and adjust the way the were linking to each other too. This really highlighted to me why programmers often do data design first and will layout all the data they want and how it will link with other data. I think it would save quite a bit of work if you get it close to right first time... oh well I'm still learning :)

Now I might get a little technical in data structure terms but read-on if you're interested!

This first involved the 'Ship' type, originally just had the single 'ship' object and that was working well but as I planned how stations were going to work I realised it's going to work a lot better if a create a parent object type called 'unit' then 'ship' and 'station' will be a subtype of this. the unit object would manage selection, scaling, combat, etc as these actions are shared with ships and stations. Ships have unique functions for movement, internal damage (may change later), designs, etc. Where as stations can have sectors for research and shipyards (can add production stations later too if I decided to), constructions and has a different base type for design\stats. I've completed most of this work now and have the base station type working correctly ready for expanding the functions for stations!

The other structure change was the 'Market' object.  Previously this was linked to the planet object as each colonized planet would have a market. however I now wanted markets for shipyards so construction materials can be delivered with my current trade logic and orders can be placed etc. Again this involved changing a lot of the way markets were linked and created. Now Markets are just linked to the grid directly as anything on grid can can share a market if it exists (don't want to have inter-grid trading as that is been to fiddly). I'll even create a market on grid for consturcion of ordered stations, probably a limited market so corps don't start placing random orders for items in open space, but it will use freighters to deliver station parts to the construction site without having to change much of the trade logic.

Next I'll be working on the GUI, orders and building functions for shipyards. this might be a time to revisit my ordering GUI as I want the planet and shipyard order menus to be the same and current planet one I don't think is very user-friendly. This probably goes same for the market menu, I'll have them shared and current version really needs some work to be more useful.

I've also done some adjustments to galaxy generation keeping planets a bit closer to their parent star and changed the lighting\brightness to reflect this. There has also been plenty of little additions or balances I've done as I've noticed them :)

Now on to ships and texturing... one of my least skilled jobs but still learn some tricks as a I go. though I'd say if I get anywhere with this project a texture artist\modeller is probably the first outside help I'd jump at. Here is first pass at the freighter I was doing and WIP for the station. So neither textures are finished but at least it now looks better than no textures at all.

These were taken in editor so don't show specular maps or proper lighting.

As alway happy to hear any comments, queries or feedback anyone may have to offer?


Monday, 8 September 2014

Hey Guys,

Just an quick update, I've still been progressing well on this and am getting a little excited at times with how it is looking if I do say so myself :) I've been working on the research system, including the GUI (still programmer graphics), some early resource and trade balancing. I still have to implement some of the research options so they actually effect the stat you researched, some are working as planned though.

I've also added a basic 'next unit' cycle, so when you finish moving something it will select and focus the next available ship to move. Adding this makes it start to feel much more like a game and less tech demo-y! It's amazing how even quite simple things to add make it feel so much more playable.

I plan to release another public build in the near future but I won't promise an ETA just yet as I'll probably just get distracted adding more and not meet it anyway ;) I could get back to updating the changelog on the blog but not sure if it was worth doing? Happy to hear any feedback or questions from anyone or if a few people would really like another build I could focus on that?

Token screenshot of the current research screen, mainly to show what you can do, not the awesome GUI I have in place...

Monday, 21 July 2014

Hi all, I had been holding off from a blog hoping to have a new demo release to go with it but time seems to be dragging on and I keep working on other things but not always fixing the base playability or stability just yet... oh well.

Overall I've added quite a bit since my last blog, including but not limited to: Missiles, post processing effects, turrets, sound effects, started research mechanics, module sizing, mixed planet population races, ship crew race, planet habitability (temp, gravity, atmosphere, etc)... so I've haven't been idle with it. I did quite a few fixes and performance increases too, though probably added a few things that need fixing in the mix there too :)

Here is a quick example of the post processing effect, this hasn't been tweaked at all for stars it looks way better but a bit strong on the ships a planets probably but cool to know what can happen at least

Here is what it looked like without:

Below is what some of the combat can look like now, certainly a lot better than what I start, might do a video later, as it looks better in motion:

And here is another example of missiles but also showing what I hope to do with research, though a lot prettier GUI of course! Basically you choose individual stats to research but each level has diminishing returns but is infinite though going too far wouldn't be worth it. Technically this way can't run out of things to research, also other stats for the same module still get a diminished return so you don't just automatically choose the first 5 level for each stat until it isn't worth the effort anymore you have to choose whats most useful and go for that first.

Each stat can have a different return so if damage would usually be the best thing to research you can decrease the value of research to make it more of a choice between other stats, Also you wouldn't have all stats available for research with each module but just the most useful ones for that module type, this is all just specified in the techs themselves (I don't want to have 10 choices and really you'd only even pick 3-4 of them)

This is still early stages, but to progress in the the tree itself for new module types, you can have prereqs and what level that prereq must be on, i.e. totally made up but say you want to the 'super mega blaster' you need to research 'mega blaster' MK X first (9 levels of any mega blaster stat) and also could have another prerequisite of "weapon theory" lvl 5 as well. After you have the Super mega blaster you can still continue to research 'mega blaster' if it is still in use and you want to improve it more.

This is all subject to change and testing\balancing of course but is what i'd like in it, would be great to add some tech randomization too but need to do it properly if at all so not planning that feature yet. I'd be happy to explain any more details I may have left out if anyone has questions?


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Just noticed with the ship design changes I've put in that ships costs have gone up and caused an issues with corps not been able to afford to build the basic combat ships for you. I've created a quick fix to allow corps to actually build the ships you request, also added WASD + arrow key camera control as well. Just copy over the old .exe file

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Hi All,

It's been quite awhile since an update so I thought I'd put up a new in-development version to download instead of trying to remember all the changes I've added since last version. this is very much a dev version without any polish, little testing and most features still incomplete if there are there at all, use at your own risk ;)

hopefully this will still give you an idea of what I am aiming for and a little bit of the feel of the game. Happy to hear any feedback or questions you may have with the current version and the design of it.