Saturday, July 31, 2010

Space Escape Progress - Sling Shot Boost

Space Escape is at that point where new features are pretty easy to add. I've been getting some feedback and making adjustments I feel are for the better. The ship should be much easier to steer now, along with more powerful thrusters. You can even fly away from Earth directly now. However, that won't get you the big boost in speed.

The hard sci fi feel to the game will start to break down here. I haven't put any fluff behind it yet, but I've added a gravity drive. It isn't just another means of moving through space, it actually picks up strong gravity fields nearby to propel the ship. The effect you'll see from this is the closer to Earth you are as you slingshot around it, the more of a boost you'll get. The effect is multiplicative, so even edging just a little closer can mean a lot. When the engine kicks on I warp the screen by increasing the field of view on the camera. I also start a looping sound effect. It actually sounds like it's revving up (or spooling, or just growing), and all I had to do was change the pitch. These values need a lot of tweaking though, as too much field of view and too much pitch can ruin the effect.

Can you beat this speed?
Overall I'm still pretty happy with the progress. I wish I'd had the game in a state to get feedback sooner, but getting the theme of the game down was pretty important to me on this one. That's one thing that's changed little. I must admit, now that it's gotten this far, I'm not sure if I want to put it down. I want to move onto the next game, but I feel like I'm over a hurdle and it's more fun than before to just keep adding features and shine.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Space Escape Progress - Victory(!) and Navigation

Amber is a common HUD color, and it doesn't mix with the green.
With this new sitting of Space Escape I've added two new key features: The ability to win the game and some more navigation assistance.

Victory comes when you simply pass a certain distance away from the sun. You'll be returned to the menu upon completion. I would like to eventually add some performance data.

The navigation assistance I thought was pretty helpful. The amber rings appear to be a projection of your onboard HUD (much like the compass). While you don't need to fly through them to win, they certainly can give you an idea of how it works.

There's still some polish to add, but it's starting to feel like a full game. This comes in good time, as I can feel my motivation begin to wane. I'd like to move onto some other games. I can feel the itch (:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Space Escape progress - the compass

I like the idea of a game world and HUD being stitched into the same universe. It seems to meld well in a sci-fi setting as well, where you can easily understand a computer rendering a lot of data on some display for you, plus a bunch of extra stuff. Minus the interpretive sensors, your computer does this already.

I felt like this could be pretty useful in Space Escape, because where your ship aims is not necessarily where you are going, and having your bearings relative to the Earth is pretty important when one is setting out to do a gravity assist maneuver.

After some work, I turned up with this:

Degrees show exactly what it's for, and it follows the Earth as you move about.
This is artwork I am capable of doing from front to back. I used Blender and its cylinder prefab model. To make it so the number you are facing is not mirrored, I inverted all of the normals. The texture is painted within the inside of the model. While working on this I found out that both Blender and Unity support Photoshop's preferred PSD format. This makes it nice because I'm always a save key-command away from seeing my work in-game. To get the texture to appear as it does in the game itself, I had to set its material to particles/additive.

I'm not familiar with how Quaternion rotations work, and I'm still wrapping my head around some of Unity's rotation math. Getting the right kind of code took maybe an hour of actual work, but this is the behavior that drives the... behavior:

All of this is viewable from the web player here.