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.
Whilst perusing the Unity Asset store for spaceship ideas I came across an interesting asset pack. The Ultimate Spaceships Creator. A large collection of spaceships with modular components. Meaning I can customise quality models to my hearts content and “build an infinite number of spaceships!”. I really like it. Therefore I dumped my old models in favour of these.
One draw back to this is that this particular asset pack does not have any cockpits. The good news: the same creators of USC are working on a modular asset pack that includes cockpits which I will be looking to add upon release.
I always liked the idea of dying spaceships spinning out of control before exploding. And now they do! Once your target hull buckles it will randomly spin out of control before disappearing in a glorious explosion.
I’ve added a third person camera. I really liked that perspective in certain space games. I think it really opens up the view and of course you can see your own glorious looking spaceship getting shot up.
A new heads up display was needed this 3rd person view. A lot of work went in to it and its now fully functional. I just need to add some new indicators to the cockpit view (for the new slide and speed match functionality). Of course all the graphics are still considered place holder until they are firmly set, then I’ll add appropriate improvements.
Plenty of other features and changes have been gone in over the last month, here are some off the top of my head:
Improved indicators for target bracket, hits and leading shots.
Lead targeting on ship components.
New missile models (blink and you will miss them)
Match speed – with 3 range modes (long, medium and short)
Refactoring code for hot deployment (still needs plenty of work) which will allow me to make code changes while the game is running.
This is going to be a short dev diary. I have to admit it feels a little strange to be writing one so far in development and as a first on here. I’ve been posting GIF’s like the one below on Twitter and IMGUR and a few people have been making references to Wing Commander and X-Wing games.
Back in the 90’s, Wing Commander was my goto game. You can make a lot of comparisons on this GIF alone. However, while I may be aiming for a similar art style I want game mechanics that are more modern.
One obvious to spot modern mechanic is the lead targeting. The X-Wing games where a frustrating experience to me, trying to shoot down fighters without knowing where to lead my shots against fast moving targets. The guns will also swivel, to a degree, so you don’t need to have pin point accuracy. Just put the yellow marker close to the cross hairs and start firing.
The game also has Newtonian physics for movement and rotation. Now I can hear some groans but let me assure you this is not realistic Newtonian physics. Sure it takes time for your ship to start travelling on a new forward direction after making a 90 degree turn but I’m aiming between realism and arcade so you can have fun with drifts and use directional thrusters to evade weapon fire and line up perfect shots without having to perform another bombing run.
If you ever played the Freespace series of space combat games you’d remember the dizzying amount of keyboard controls. While AT hasn’t quite reached that amount or complexity there are quite a few. I’m not sure how I will handle this with Joypad users, as currently using button modifiers is not an option, but for HOTAS users it shouldn’t be too problematic if you have enough buttons. I will have to see and make considerations once all features have been locked down.
Currently I have been working on adding visual effects for weapon hits against shields and armour and engine trails. Next up will be adding more choosing and adding more suitable sound effects, I’m no sound engineer, which directed me to purchase several sound FX packages. Once in I’ll move from GIF’s to short video’s so that the audio can be shown off, which will also improve the visual quality which gets nerfed by GIF compression.