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.

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