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Learn more about Absolute Territory’s development in this interview

Skyward Flight FM interviews Dan about Absolute Territory

This month I was fortunate enough to be asked to take part in an interview covering Absolute Territory, and a bit about Digitum Software (that’s me!).

Check it out, over on Skyward Flight Media.

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Absolute Territory: The Space Combat Simulator Steam Store Page

Absolute Territory Demo Released

Absolute Territory takes inspiration from classic space combat simulation games from the ’90s and ’00s and adds features for modern gameplay and offers expanded replayability with Steam Workshop support.

The thrill of space combat with infinite replayability. Play the demo.

Absolute Territory takes inspiration from classic space combat simulation games from the ’90s and ’00s and adds features for modern gameplay and offers expanded replayability with Steam Workshop support.

The demo is only available during the Steam Summer Game Festival, don’t miss out, head on over to the Absolute Territory Steam store page and download the demo.

Singleplayer Campaign

Download and play to enjoy the first 3 missions from the Absolute Territory campaign (all 100% created with the in-game mission editor). Before jumping in, be sure to familiarise yourself with the basic controls of your ship by trying out the two tutorials and/or reviewing the reconfigurable keybindings.

In the campaign demo, you will fly patrol, raid an enemy depot, and strike down enemy transport.

Space flight simulation a step above others

As there is no drag in space your fighter wouldn’t normally fly where you pointed it after a turn. The on-board Reaction Control System (RCS) will attempt to compensate for your direction changes and maintain manageable speeds using the ships’ thrusters and main engines. Each ship in Absolute Territory has it’s own mass and thrust power and won’t handle the same.

Rotational thrusters will rotate your ship and attempt to compensate for any outside forces (collisions) which would turn you off course, and be mindful of oversteer as these fighters can turn fast.

Hit the afterburners and perform huge drifts while keeping your guns on your nimble opponent, or disable RCS and slide past large and slow targets while you pummel them into scrap metal.

Instant Action

Squadron

Fly against waves of enemy opponents. Can you win this simulation by going up against two types of Endophora fighter?

Mission Editor

Try the mission editor to create and play your own custom missions.

The mission editor in Absolute Territory provides a limited experience from the paid version. This demo offers restricted ship and weapons selection, and will not be able to create any conditions to drive events/storyline nor publish your missions to the Steam Workshop.

Wishlist the retail version

Absolute Territory is in development with a planned release for later this year. Wishlist and follow to show your interest and be notified of progress updates and its release.

Add to Wishlist on Steam
Absolute Territory: The Space Combat Simulator Steam Store Page

Know thy Level Editor ABSOLUTE TERRITORY DEV DIARY #24

Design and create missions like the dev, then upload to the workshop, or download and play shared missions. Steam Workshop support has to be one of the most exciting features to have in Absolute Territory alongside the Level Editor, and this is why…

What is Absolute Territory?

Absolute Territory is a space combat simulator born from my nostalgia for playing similar games back in the ’90s and ’00s and of course taking inspiration from sci-fi TV shows and movies. I have loved the idea of flying around in your space ship, overcoming the odds against an overwhelming opponent, and making a name for yourself.

202006 explosion

Where did the inspiration for a Level Editor come from?

I played a lot of Wing Commander as a teenager. As a franchise, it provided an experience that was originally relegated to watching on TV. Even though it hit and missed in some places (WC: Privateer being a hit and WC: Academy being a miss) to me at least.

The Level Editor in Absolute Territory was born from the disappointment of Wing Commander Academy. OK, I’m sure you are wondering “Why? Just, Why? You said it was a miss?” Well, it was, due to its implementation. You see, at the heart of the game, you made your own missions to fly. For me, the idea of being able to create an infinite number of missions to continue flying sounded awesome. The reality, it boiled down to placing down some opponents and hazards at a Nav point, then flying said mission.

That was nothing like the type of missions you would experience in Wing Commander 1 & 2 where you flew scripted missions that could react to you the player and other in-game actions. Absolute Territory would need to include a more in-depth Level Editor.

When Freespace 2 released it came with a Level Editor that was used to create it’s campaign missions. But heck, that thing was on a whole new level, separate from the game itself. I didn’t have the internet speed or the time to try and spend dozens of hours on something that complex. I gave up after an hour. The Level Editor in Absolute Territory would need to toe the line between having depth and feeling ‘out of your depth’. Removing the need of spending many hours figuring out how it works.

What does the Absolute Territory Level Editor do differently than the competitors?

Yea, I’m going there. Comparing to competition from decades ago to Absolute Territory, as a sole indie developer. On GoG, those games are still being sold and therefore I’m competing against AAA studios that are defunct or long since moved on to bigger and better things while the games live on supported by dedicated communities.

To answer the question, here was my statement of intent in creating the Level Editor:
1) The player (you) can design complex missions that the video game developer (me) can do.
2) Create scripted missions with a minimum of fuss and very little typing.
3) An easy transition between creating and testing (playing) your missions.
4) Share your missions for others to play in a couple of clicks.

202006 shield hit

Design complex missions that the video game developer could do

Each mission in the Absolute Territory campaign was created 100% with the Level Editor. No hacks or hardcoded workarounds. You can re-create the same mission I have made or you could go above and beyond to make more unique experiences.

Create scripted missions with a minimum of fuss and very little typing.

Scripted missions are when some action or background event is triggered to start a new or repeating action. This could be spawning in enemy reinforcements or forcing a mission failed condition if the player didn’t complete an objective on time.

Absolute Territory calls these Conditional Actions, which are made up of three components: Trigger, Condition, and Action. First, you create a trigger (the starting point for an action), define a condition that must occur, then add whatever action(s) is to take place when the condition happens.

You can chain up triggers where a logical progression must take place, disabling and enabling, allowing them to be repeated or called only once, or delaying the action from taking place.

This gives the Level Editor in Absolute Territory the depth needed for allowing the player to make missions more involved than placing down some random opponents. Though the limitation is the conditions and actions that are implemented and to add more would require hard coding, as opposed to a scriptable language that you could just write yourself. Yet, that is where the depth is while maintaining an easy to use interface, with visually understandable blocks (in effect) as opposed to lines of text for those who don’t have a coding/scripting background.

202006 level editor triggers

An easy transition between creating and testing (playing) your missions

You have created a mission and you want to test the results from within the Level Editor? Just click the Launch button. You are straight into the game. Play your mission, then exit out to continue working on your mission.

Share your missions for others to play with the minimum of fuss

Ready to share your creation with other Absolute Territory players? No problem, from within the Level Editor hit F2 to bring up the Steam Workshop Publisher form. Fill in the title and description for your mission and click Upload.

Fancy playing another player’s mission? Head over to the Absolute Territory Steam Workshop Community page, browse and subscribe. Then, open up the game, head into the simulator, and select Workshop Missions from the Game Type selection to see all the missions you subscribed to.

The Demo and Steam Summer Game Festival

The Steam Summer Game Festival was delayed. Therefore the demo got delayed. As soon as the Festival is underway (June 16th) the demo will be available. I’m looking forward to reading your feedback and hopefully see some videos and streams of your gameplays.

Be sure to wishlist and follow to stay notified of the demo and full release and development updates!

Add to Wishlist on Steam
Absolute Territory: The Space Combat Simulator Steam Store Page

Campaign and demo coming very soon – Absolute Territory Dev Diary #23

The last several months have been difficult for people all around the world. I pray this announcement finds you in good health and in improving circumstances.

I have been very fortunate to be still employed and also working (not at home) throughout this crisis. I had several weeks off before the lockdown came into effect and by the end of that time, I was relieved to get back into work (even though I spent the whole of that time working on Absolute Territory). I think that must come down to not managing my time better and neglecting other areas in my life while I single-mindedly continued to work on Absolute Territory (and still do on my downtime ːlunar2019crylaughingpigː).

Release date expectations
The good news, I am aiming for a release date for Absolute Territory towards the end of 2020!

Campaign
Over the last few months, I have been working on the Absolute Territory campaign missions. Everyone one of these missions has been handcrafted within the in-game level editor which you can also use to create your own personalized missions and upload to share with the rest of the Absolute Territory community on Steam. The process is quick, taking a couple of clicks to upload and share.

The campaign story is around a faction of the Endophora (your opponent during this campaign), named The Order of Linnaeus, who has invaded Imperial space and laid claim to Bold Peace. You will find yourself going against Order forces, driving them back out of the sector. Each campaign mission in Absolute Territory brings unique experiences.

Absolute Territory has a full flight roster of eleven fighters across Imperial and Endophora . Five of which have a full 3D cockpit.

Options on the go
Graphical and audio options have been made available during the missions. Simply press Escape (or start button on your controller), drop into the options menu, configure to your liking, then exit out and test your changes reflected in the game instantly.

Warships
No space combat game is complete without having huge warships to either protect or destroy. Absolute Territory brings three huge warships into the conflict. Two destroyers (one for Imperial and Endophoria) and an Endophoria Cruiser, that’s in addition to the transport ship already available.

Situational awareness improvements
To enhance your situational awareness a small but very useful change is to include the name and distance to your target on the offscreen arrow indicator. Cycle through all your targets and know exactly what you’re targeting, even when they are not directly in front of you.

Tutorial Controller Glyphs
The tutorial missions in Absolute Territory introduce fundamental concepts of flying and fighting. Controller Glyph’s already cover keyboard & mouse and Xbox controllers to ease learning controls. This has now been expanded to include glyphs for PlayStation 4 controllers.

Performance Improvements
Minefields were costing twice as much CPU usage as Asteroid fields, after some investigation I was able to reduce this cost and it’s now on a similar level of performance.

Absolute Territory AI gains more improvements to help reduce the number of incidents where they find themselves stuck against Warships. It does happen much less, but I’ll admit it can still happen. I’ll be looking at ways to ensure that they can recover themselves.

been many other performance improvements in scripting, mostly to due with displaying text on the screen, towards reducing CPU cost and garbage generation for a smoother experience.

Demo & Wishlist
A demo for Absolute Territory will be made available during the Steam Game Festival. It’s already packaged, uploaded and ready to be downloaded when the festival goes lives at 10am Pacific time on June 9th, 2020.

Finally, head on over to the Steam store page, scroll down and hit that wishlist button! Every wishlist helps towards showing Steam that this is a game worthy of the algorithm’s attention.

Add to Wishlist on Steam
Absolute Territory: The Space Combat Simulator Steam Store Page

Steam Workshop Support – Absolute Territory Dev Diary #22 (11 Mar 2020)

Welcome pilot!

It has been another busy month where I had the unique opportunity to work on Absolute Territory for the past month on a full-time basis. During that time I ran a closed beta, squatted many reported bugs, added beta tester feedback, making many more improvements.

Some of the new features covered in this month’s dev diary include:

  • Tutorials
  • Transmissions (creating dialogue from NPC’s)
  • Steam Workshop support

Watch the video or read on below:

Watch this dev diary video
Add to Wishlist on Steam
Absolute Territory: The Space Combat Simulator Steam Store Page

Tutorials

Work has begun to include tutorials covering the different aspects of piloting your space combat fighter. They make use of a couple of new features added towards helping the player learn the controls. These tutorials are entirely scripted using the in-game level editor, and something the player could re-create themselves.

Transmissions

There was no way to convey the complex information needed to best instruct the player to pilot their ship. Transmissions have been added to solve this problem. Transmission sources can come from disembodied or embodied NPC’s. If the source is from an embodied NPC you will be able to see who is talking to you via the white bracket around the transmission source.

Help Glyphs

To further guide the player, help glyphs can be displayed to show relevant and appropriate controls on the HUD. These are context-sensitive and show help glyph for the currently used controller (if supported) with the correct keybinding (including user-defined). Currently, Help Glyph’s support keyboard, mouse and the Xbox 360 gamepad. Do you have a favorite controller not mentioned, post it in the comments below, as I look to expand on controller support.

The tutorial using help glyphs and NPC transmissions

Steam Workshop

From the conception of the level editor, one of the development goals was to have the ability to share missions with other players. With the majority of the features locked down and implemented, I was able to redirect development time into this area. From within the level editor, you can now submit your custom missions to the Steam Workshop using the publish form.

Fill in the title and description form your workshop item and hit submit. The level editor will then publish your workshop item with all the relevant files needed for other players to subscribe and play. You can make any last-minute alterations from within the Steam Community Workshop page itself.

Do you want to update your mission? Just load up the relevant mission, enter its Workshop ID and submit, your changes will automatically update your Workshop Item.

202003 Publish Mission

Have any feedback or suggestions or questions regarding this month’s dev update? Post them below.

Closed Beta and other Juicy Details – January 2020 Developer Diary for Absolute Territory: The Space Combat Simulator

Greetings pilots!

In this month’s dev diary I cover all things juicy which help improve the aesthetics and feelings of the game, along with some not so secret details about the closed beta.

Watch the video to find out more:

Add to Wishlist on Steam
Wishlist Absolute Territory: The Space Combat Simulator on Steam

Absolute Territory – Developer Diary December 2019

Greetings Pilots!

Welcome along to the Absolute Territory Developer Diary for the month of December 2019. The last month has brought in new post-processing visual effects, music, and more level editor improvements for more flexibility and provide easier use.

Read the Full Diary over on IndieDB.com

Welcome along to the Absolute Territory Developer Diary for the month of December 2019. The last month has continued to bring more challenges as I work towards a release date. The road may be long but I can see whats on the horizon for that all important 1.0 release.

Absolute Territory Developer Diary December 2019

Now witness the power of this fully armed and operational level editor – Absolute Territory Nov 2019 Dev Diary

Welcome along to the November 2019 Dev Diary for Absolute Territory. In this developer diary I demonstrate the full power of this fully armed and operational— level editor! Most work for the last few months have gone into Conditional Actions allowing the player to create unique and exciting missions in an easy to learn environment.

You can read below for a summary of whats on offer or jump straight to the dev video where I show you how to create your own custom mission.

If you want to read up more on what the level editor has to offer, you can do so on this steam announcement post.

Absolute Territory November 2019 Video Dev Diary

POWER TO THE FIGHTER! ABSOLUTE TERRITORY OCT 2019 VIDEO DEV DIARY

Greetings pilots!

This month has flown by, in part due to a well needed holiday. Now that I’m back, I’ve been continuing work on the Level Editor towards allowing you to create your own missions with a greater range of variety.

Here’s the run down on what’s discussed:

  • Current expectations for release.
  • Power management
  • Conditional Actions
  • Showcasing the heavy fighter and bomber.
  • What I will and won’t be doing next.

Absolute Territory is available to wishlist on Steam.

Wishlist on Steam | Itch.io | Game Jolt | Twitter | Website

Return of the Cockpit – Absolute Territory Sep 2019 Video Dev Diary

Here is the rundown for this September 2019 developer diary for Absolute Territory:

  • Steamworks Integration
  • Release Date Expectations
  • Controller support improvements in-menu/in-game
  • Space Mine Fields (Hazard) and Nullifier Fields (Cancel out Hazards)
  • New ships
  • Return of the cockpit
Absolute Territory September 2019 video dev diary

Absolute Territory is available to wishlist on Steam.

Wishlist on Steam | Itch.io | Game Jolt | Twitter | Website