Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Starship Builder - Crew & Ammo

My biggest accomplishment this week has been to add crew and an "ammunition" mechanic to weapons for my Starship Builder game prototype.

Your ship now needs crew for most systems, such as weapons and thrusters, to be able to operate. Crew can now be added by placing "Crew's Quarters" rooms into your ship. Each Crew's Quarters comes with a set number of crew, who will automatically find systems to operate.

Additionally, your ship's cannons can now only store a limited amount (5) of ammunition. If a cannon runs out of ammunition, then a crewmember must hand-carry a "ammo ball" from a nearby "Ammo Supply" (another new kind of room) to the cannon. (Yes, this is way in the future, but for some reason there are no systems to automate this.) This way you have to think about placing Ammo Supplies near enough to cannons so that they don't run out of ammo in the middle of a fight.

While crew can travel through any part of the ship, they travel much faster through corridors than through any other parts. If you want your ship to operate efficiently, then you'll have to think a lot about planning your corridors to give your crew quick access to the ship's systems.

Changes from the previous version:
  • Added "Crew's Quarters" rooms that each come with 8 people.
  • Added "Ammo Supply" rooms that store an infinite amount of ammo.
  • Ammo must be hand-carried by crew from Ammo Supplies to the cannons.
  • Click on any cannon or thruster to deactivate or re-activate it. (Deactivated systems don't require crew.)
  • Limit of 32 thrusters. Also added "wide" thrusters.
You can download this latest build for PC and Mac.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Starship Builder - Guns & Asteroids

This past week I added cannons and asteroids to my "Starship Builder" game prototype. Cannons are a new piece that can be added to ship designs, and asteroids are targets for the cannons to shoot at.

A ship brimming with cannons:

And the same ship blowing up some asteroids:

You can download PC and Mac builds of this new version and try it out for yourself!

Here are all the big changes from the previous version that I can think of:

  • You can now add cannons to your ship in the builder.
  • In the simulator, press R to spawn an asteroid at the mouse cursor.
  • If an asteroid hits your ship, it will do serious damage!
  • Parts of your ship can be destroyed by asteroids, and your ship can actually break into multiple pieces!
  • Right-click in the simulator to move your ship. (Hold and drag to adjust orienation.)
  • Left-click on an asteroid to target that asteroid specifically. Otherwise your weapons will automatically target nearby asteroids.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Starship Builder - Early Designer Interface

In a previous post I talked about an idea I have for a new game. In this game players are able to design their own space ships by placing rooms, weapons, engines, corridors, and other systems onto a grid. Everything in the game is very flexible (you can make ships of any shape, size, and configuration) and dynamic (realistic physics, weapon damage is inflicted to specific components on the grid). You can read a more detailed description in that post.

I've started to implement a very rough prototype of an interface "builder" that allows you, the player, to design your own ship and then test it in a separate "simulator" mode.

Here's what the "builder" looks like right now:

Future Walt asks you to please excuse the really horrendous purple grid background.

And here's the "simulator" showing the ship from above flying through space:

If you want to try it out yourself, here are links to PC and Mac builds.

Some basic instructions:

  1. The first piece you place must be the "Cockpit". You can place it anywhere. (Click on "Cockpit" on the left and then click to place it onto the grid.)
  2. Continue adding corridors and thrusters. These must be placed adjacent to already-placed pieces. Make a ship in whatever shape you want! But keep in mind that the thruster physics are fairly realistic, so if you want your ship to be maneuverable, then make sure to place thrusters spread out in various locations and facing various directions.
  3. Press the < and > buttons to rotate the selected piece before placing it.
  4. Hold the middle mouse button and drag to pan the view. Use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out.
  5. When you want to test your ship, type in a name and press the "Save & Test" button.
  6. Once in the simulator, click the left mouse button to move your ship to a location in space. Hold it and drag to adjust your ship's orientation.