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  DarkGalaxy  (Read 9649 times)
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Offline ShannonSmith
« Posted 2012-03-05 18:34:54 »

My latest project I'm about to get bored of:





Took a ridiculously long time to get it to look quite that bad, tried lot's of different iterations of 3D engines to get the look I was after and have it work at galactic scales (tried variations on z-buffer's, depth sorting etc). Finally got something that didn't have artifacts and was fast enough. I wanted wire-frame hidden line removal but with complex models to give it a look somewhere between Elite 1 and 2.
The good thing is the output of my current engine is just a set of line draw commands so could be used for Vectrex style glowy lines but with proper hidden line removal.

Controls are WASD + Shift (accelerate) and Ctrl (break)
Also mouse for clicking on any stars/planets to get it's distance (and crappy randomly generated name).
No FTL yet so if you want to fly to another star system you'll probably arrive around the time I finish the game (several hundred years).
Offline SwampChicken
« Reply #1 - Posted 2012-03-06 00:48:59 »

I'm a huge fan of elite so I hope that you don't abandon this project.
(I'll have a closer look at it after work today)
Offline sproingie

JGO Kernel


Medals: 202



« Reply #2 - Posted 2012-03-06 00:58:35 »

Oh man, I spent so many hours playing Elite on my C64.  I don't know anyone who didn't pretty much run guns and drugs exclusively in that game.  The cops were just so easy to take out.

Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline SwampChicken
« Reply #3 - Posted 2012-03-06 01:02:04 »

Have a look around at www.bootlace.co.uk, he had some downloadable java source for his elite remake, it might help or give you some ideas for yours. ps: I cant access the site right now (am at work) otherwise I'd post a direct link.
Offline ShannonSmith
« Reply #4 - Posted 2012-03-06 01:21:57 »

@SwampChicken Can't find anything on that site related to elite, other than it's his favorite game.

@sproingie Believe it or not but I've never actually played any of the Elite games, I just like the graphical style and space traders in general.

Game play wise I aiming for something closer to privateer (Newtonian physics in space != fun). I was even thinking about dispensing with real time combat altogether in favor of a more JRPG style turn based combat. Although I love space traders (spent many hours playing privateer) the combat is usually rather boring.


Offline uaequals_42

Junior Newbie





« Reply #5 - Posted 2012-03-08 19:17:15 »

WC: Privateer was my favorite game. :-)
Offline ShannonSmith
« Reply #6 - Posted 2012-03-08 19:31:03 »

One question I would like honest feedback on: Is this too retro? Do you think the graphical style would prevent all but nostalgic geeks from giving it a try?
Do some graphical styles age better than others?
Offline uaequals_42

Junior Newbie





« Reply #7 - Posted 2012-03-09 19:02:29 »

Is it too retro.... hmmm.

For the graphics, I would say the biggest issue with the current style is that planets and the sun are only outlines, which makes it hard to actually notice them if you are too close to them.  So currently, I think you need to at least change how the planets and suns are shown.

As for the retro look.... hmmm
I really don't know.  If the game is fun to play, I would enjoy playing it once the planets are easier to spot and not care about the lack of shiny ships and planets.  That being said, I do like eye candy. ...

You probably should concentrate on gameplay and have a little game and show it off on some space game forums (Vegastrike maybe?  Privateer Gemeni gold?) and see if they think the lack of graphics is a gamebreaker or annoying for them.
Offline ShannonSmith
« Reply #8 - Posted 2012-03-09 19:50:56 »

I agree the planets are a little hard to see and I was planning on adding continent outlines so they stand out a bit more. Also as you suggested it might be worth canvasing on a more targeted forum.

Thanks for your comments.
Offline roland
« Reply #9 - Posted 2012-03-10 06:37:42 »

option for inverting W&S?  Grin
 
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
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Offline dishmoth
« Reply #10 - Posted 2012-03-10 14:39:55 »

Seeing graphics like that still makes me go weak at the knees.  Thirty years ago there was nothing in the universe that looked cooler...

One question I would like honest feedback on: Is this too retro? Do you think the graphical style would prevent all but nostalgic geeks from giving it a try?

It will prevent a lot of people from playing.  But those same people would never play a 'space trading' game anyway, so it's no loss.

More relevantly, it won't prevent 'indie' fans from playing, and they're the ones most likely to be interested.  (Try posting the demo on TIGSource if you want to test that assertion.)

At the end of the day, I think the graphics look good.  Whether people play the game or not depends exactly on that: the game.

Simon

P.S. That all said, on the question of using pixelated lines versus glowy lines, I'd have a slight leaning towards glowy lines.  They look the way I remember wireframe graphics looking, rather than how they actually looked.  But it's a very small preference.  Pixelated is good too. Wink

Offline ShannonSmith
« Reply #11 - Posted 2012-03-10 23:48:12 »

I think your probably right my big problem is finishing and that's what I should concentrate on rather than worrying I'm building games only I would find appealing.
Offline _Al3x

Senior Devvie


Medals: 7


Indie Games FTW!


« Reply #12 - Posted 2012-03-10 23:57:16 »

I support this game, please don't let it die!  Shocked

Would be awesome if you could post more screenshots, even if it's only art concepts. And if you could, a video showing some gameplay would be a blast! Smiley

Keep it up! Pointing

Offline tberthel
« Reply #13 - Posted 2012-03-11 03:34:24 »

I love old school 3D.

Offline ShannonSmith
« Reply #14 - Posted 2012-03-11 04:56:46 »

Here is another game I am working on using the same engine. It will be a more arcade-style retro rail-shooter. This time the lines are drawn at a higher resolution and glow-filtered. It runs in a regular sandboxed applet and uses fairly minimal CPU.

Offline uaequals_42

Junior Newbie





« Reply #15 - Posted 2012-03-11 04:59:11 »

The glow filter looks really nice in your screenshot.  Smiley
Offline dishmoth
« Reply #16 - Posted 2012-03-11 10:10:23 »

Here is another game I am working on using the same engine.
I just drooled over my keyboard.

Offline ShannonSmith
« Reply #17 - Posted 2012-03-23 23:20:53 »

New Version:

- Added continents on planets.
- Added Wing Commander like Radar (don't like the Elite one)
- Added basic collision detection

It seems Markus is also considering an Elite like space trader for his next game.

Offline sproingie

JGO Kernel


Medals: 202



« Reply #18 - Posted 2012-03-24 01:49:24 »

Boooo, I love the Elite radar!  Also, any chance of using the higher-res glowy lines, maybe as an option?
Offline ShannonSmith
« Reply #19 - Posted 2012-03-24 02:33:20 »

Boooo, I love the Elite radar!  Also, any chance of using the higher-res glowy lines, maybe as an option?

Sorry but I just think the elite radar is a waste of space and not as useful for centering on a target. As for a glowy option, sure, why not. I still prefer the pixelated look and a few things that use pixel coords (such as the radar/fonts) would need some work but here you go:

Offline sproingie

JGO Kernel


Medals: 202



« Reply #20 - Posted 2012-03-24 16:55:44 »

Sure the elite radar's impractical, but then again so is manually piloting a ship with a fixed gun in front.  There's a sort of romanticism in impracticality Smiley  It can however represent distance more effectively. while the circular radar only immediately represents position, absent color or size cues.   

I'm not really complaining -- my favorite space sim of all time is freespace 2, which uses the same type of radar -- I'm just nostalgic about the funky elite radar.  It's all pretty keen looking either way.
Offline uaequals_42

Junior Newbie





« Reply #21 - Posted 2012-03-24 18:00:10 »

Tried it out again.

The planet looks allot better.  I did notice something, but I'm not sure if a person would notice it once you have collisions in place.  If you are to close to the planet, you can see the green lines hovering above the blue curve.

I keep on loosing the space station.  If you hold down shift a tad too long, you go into warp and I spent a good 10 minutes, before giving up, searching for the space station again and was unable to find it.  Three ideas for solving this, 1. have a cap on the ships speed that is much lower, with a separate key for engaging warp speed/jump/whatever ftl you are planning to have in place.  2.  Have a map and a autopilot.  3.  Have a much more gradual acceleration (instead of 2 seconds to reach max speed have it be 10 seconds or something)

Other ideas:
1. Please let us control flight direction via the mouse.  Steering with the keyboard is very cumbersome
2. Collisions.
3. Map and autopilot
Offline OverKill

Junior Devvie




Java games rock!


« Reply #22 - Posted 2012-03-26 08:41:56 »

@sproingie Believe it or not but I've never actually played any of the Elite games, I just like the graphical style and space traders in general.

Game play wise I aiming for something closer to privateer (Newtonian physics in space != fun). I was even thinking about dispensing with real time combat altogether in favor of a more JRPG style turn based combat. Although I love space traders (spent many hours playing privateer) the combat is usually rather boring.
IIRC only 'Final Frontier' had Newtonian physics and it was quite a challenge. The first Elite had the arcade style controls.

For Elite inspirations you could also check out www.oolite.org, an Elite clone, as well as my beloved X (X2,X3) series @ egosoft.com.
Though it is a slippery slope from doing an Elite / Freespace style game to a X2/X3 style sandbox game.

Btw, X3 actually had some nice controls that while not quite Newtonian, did go quite some way where if you turned, depending on mass and speed and such, it took some time for your ship to actually start moving in that direction.
Offline sproingie

JGO Kernel


Medals: 202



« Reply #23 - Posted 2012-03-26 15:41:17 »

Elite 2 (just "Frontier" here) had Newtonian flight physics, and it made the fights just plain boring.  While the relative velocities between you and your targets should have cancelled out, the shooting still somehow managed to feel more like a turret than a fighter.

Elite 1 got you into a rhythm since the enemy movements were generally so predictable.  Freespace 2 managed to avoid that by mixing things up and putting you inbetween these gargantuan capital ships tearing into each other with beams that would flash fry you if you flew into one.
Offline ShannonSmith
« Reply #24 - Posted 2012-03-26 19:27:42 »

Quote
The planet looks allot better.  I did notice something, but I'm not sure if a person would notice it once you have collisions in place.  If you are to close to the planet, you can see the green lines hovering above the blue curve.
At the moment continents are just lines hovering above the planet, I'll get round to creating occlusion geometry for them as well soon.

Quote
1. Please let us control flight direction via the mouse.  Steering with the keyboard is very cumbersome
I did have mouse control but disabled it while I was testing something and forgot to turn it back on.

Quote
2. Collisions.
3. Map and autopilot

Probably the next two most important things to add.

Quote
Elite 2 (just "Frontier" here) had Newtonian flight physics, and it made the fights just plain boring.  While the relative velocities between you and your targets should have cancelled out, the shooting still somehow managed to feel more like a turret than a fighter.

Elite 1 got you into a rhythm since the enemy movements were generally so predictable.  Freespace 2 managed to avoid that by mixing things up and putting you inbetween these gargantuan capital ships tearing into each other with beams that would flash fry you if you flew into one.

I think nearly all space-sim games tend to feel like you are in a turret and just descend to an exercise in try to lead your targets. I think I will go for a more turn-based RPG style combat system (similar to Chrono-Trigger) as I tend to find those a lot more fun.




Offline uaequals_42

Junior Newbie





« Reply #25 - Posted 2012-03-27 18:04:41 »

Quote
shooting still somehow managed to feel more like a turret than a fighter
Lol.  There was the other extreme, in Privateer, the best ship with the best armor had a very successful combat method that was hilarious.  The quickest, easiest method of killing swarms of ships was ramming them.  I never bot a missle in that game, because you are the missile. :-)
Offline OverKill

Junior Devvie




Java games rock!


« Reply #26 - Posted 2012-03-28 08:12:23 »

Quote
shooting still somehow managed to feel more like a turret than a fighter
In X2/X3 you could add turrets to ships. And you could get ships from tiny with one laser to huge with multiple turrets spewing out clouds of death. Cheesy
Piloting your armada into a Xenon controlled space with a Xenon battleship + escorts was absolutely brilliant and looked like it came straight from Lucas' studios.

I think that if you are going to go with Newtonian physics, using turrets & missiles would be the best path. Your typical 'single seated fighter' would be to much to handle and you would probably opt for capital ships /destroyers / frigates and like.
Offline cylab

JGO Ninja


Medals: 56



« Reply #27 - Posted 2012-03-29 09:15:36 »

Quote
I think nearly all space-sim games tend to feel like you are in a turret

Maybe using some kind of controlable auto-stabilization that would dampen the mass inertia could do the trick. Enabled it should feel more like an FPS style steering and on key press it would be disabled to become a "drift mode" for e.g. an attack. Making this devices tradable items with different attributes (strength of dampening, energy efficiency, time to full dampening etc.) could also add to the gameplay.

Mathias - I Know What [you] Did Last Summer!
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