Tuesday, 21 May 2013 at 13:15
So I decided that I need to make a bigger game, a game that I can work on for a
few months at least and not get bored. I shouldn’t have any complicated animations
and should be “easy” to make. A basic renderer on the top of a physics simulation
won’t be that complicated and could be fun.
I thought about remaking a previous game of mine, lolball , but all the design I
could come up with was way to complicated for what I had imagined. All hope seemed
to be lost and my motivation for creating something was low.
However, last week, I finally cracked the case. I’m going to make a spiritual
remake of Lander by Psygnosis. In it the player controls a lander spaceship
and navigates tight corridors and sometimes shoots down turrets. The twist is
that the only main thruster is directed down so to move around one has to
orient the ship and move around by combining the thruster and gravity.
This should be a perfect game to make and expand upon. Lots of possibilities for
explosions and particles, easy models to make, basic shapes doesn’t detract
from overall look and feel various fun control options and accessories and to
investigate and most importantly it doesn’t seem to be anyone that is actively
making a clone.
Since I started working on Space Hustler I’ve been thinking about what art style the game should have. The original lander had a sci-fi style and while that will work there are a lot of sci fi games and sci fi shooters especially are a dime a dozen. Partly because of this I’ve been thinking about designin a little bit different.
One idea I’ve been tossing around is the World War 2 with jet engines.
World war 2 inspirational image from here , or the following (I would assume) tyrian fan image from here :
Another design would be steampunk a more inspired design, like from Steamboy. This would require removing or altering some weapons and defence like lasers and shields and replacing the jet engine with a propeller instead, but it would set the game apart from the original Lander in style and allow for more particle effects to be added, and everyone loves particles.
Saturday, 1 June 2013 at 13:25
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the different skirmish and mission types. The original lander basically had fetch an object and destroy missions. Hopper introduced “challenges” in the form of land without taking any damage and races, and while this could be expanded upon with acrobatical challenges(move through a narrow gap) and survival challenges (survive a meteor rain) I want to expand further in the mission and challenge/skirmish varieties.
As mouse and keyboard controls are more common now since the original lander was published and hacking in basic mouse support as a test in the WebGL I realised something. Controlling the craft isn’t as hard as I remembered. So adding a few enemy landers could be fun and all the standard shooting would apply such as deathmatch, capture the flag, king of the hill etc. This calls for more weapons than lander had (more on that in a later post) but I’ve been thinking about special mission types where there are intense dogfights but with a lander twist.
One twist that I’ve been entertaining is that the player pick up object with the tractorbeam, swing and then release at the enemy.
The other twist is a little more acrobatical, but the general idea is that only thing that can hurt the enemy is the flames from the major jet engine . While this might not be feasible it is an interesting dynamic that needs to be explored.
I never really liked the cockpit view of flying and driving games. It provies a sense of realism for sure, but I never believed it provided me with a view that I liked. Enter E3 2012 and the demonstration of the Oculus Rift. Together with a helicopter like transparent sphere like cockpit the cockpit view field of view that the rift provides and the slow speed of the craft it provide a sense of realism few games can match.
the oculus rift
This solves the where you’re heading problem, but part of the game is also to avoid hitting walls. While things needs to be tested in game I have a few ideas, a system warning that emits audio when you are on a collision course with the environment, among others.
I though this is good time to talk and clarify a little about the game and blog title, and how misleading that title might be.
First and foremost the game is not set in space. The game might take place on different planets and you might travel from these places, but this is not part of the game.
Neither is hustling of any kind. You are a soldier/mercenary/technician for hire, you do your job and you get paid, so no hustling whatsoever.
I wanted to name the blog UARC as that is the working title of the crafts (Urban Assault Recon Craft) but that blog is already taken by the actual UARC (University Affiliated Research Center ) and space hustler was a name early on that didn’t fit but stuck nonetheless.
But anyway, space hustler is a working title. What will the final game be named? I don’t know.
This week instead of talking just design I thought I would be nice to share some development ideas that I’ve been brewing for a while, and it has to do with distribution of the game. The obvious choice is steam, and probably the equivalent to the appstore on ubuntu(if that still exists and is flourishing), but a part of me wants to sell the game to all linux distributions and I can’t test that at all.
The obvious solution for me is to let the others port the game for free, and by game I mean the engine running all the game specific scripts and reading the game specific data as I plan to actually only sell the content, the game/engine running the content is open source. While I haven’t decided on a license, though I’m thinking LGPL, GPL or something close, it’s pretty early on in development, and nothing game like can be seen it is available over at github .
Development on the game engine has been slow this past week so this week I’ve been thinking about the background music for the game. I don’t know the actual graphical style of the game just yet but I think I narrowed down the musical style to either some slow form of swing/jazz like this:
Given the I’ve already found some electro music that seems to be fitting and that lander used some similar music pieces, it’s safe to assume that I will be using that electro music during the early alpha builds.
I have started implementing the basic controls for both the keyboard and joysticks
and to test everything out I added basic thrust and torque controls, and while this
is really hard to control as each torque requires a counter torque from stopping
to spinning I started thinking. The WebGL version of lander and I recall the original
(I still can’t get it to play on my win7 system) let’s you enter the desired orientation
and let a AI controls the torque thrusts. This is a much easier control scheme as you don’t
have to compensate for the rotational adjustments.
Going a step further one could add another AI layer to control the main thruster and let the player use a fps-like control to control the lander. With this control system a couple of issues arise on how the camera, the input display and, most important, the aiming should work, and I’m thinking time and testing will only tell if this is a feasible input system, I believe it’s a good way to testing the AI that will be controlling the enemy landers.