Monday, 8 July 2013

Design Diary 12_planets

Here are some early researches for background elements: planets!
Still trying to figure out the exact look and feel for the game, I want to keep it simple and graphic, not super realistic, while keeping a sense of epicness to it.. yeah..  fun ;)

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Design Diary 11: space shooter at last!

And here is the first test with me trying to split asteroids to shards.
Sounds make it feel a bit retro witch is a good thing I think  ;)

This is the first pass of course, but the whole mechanic works fine so far, so we move on the next set of weapons.
In the future we will of course have more variety in the asteroid designs and drops, harvesting should start pretty soon....

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

still there :)

Heya guys, just a little heads up to say that we are STILL ALIVE and still working on TG ;) We had lots of things to do on the side, not always related to the game , but we are still on it and will publish more dev diaries and update soon! Meanwhile, have a great summer!

Monday, 6 May 2013

design diary 10: about weapons

Now that our spaceships are flying properly, what about some shooting?
Again it is all about iterations, So let's start with the basics first.
The game will have three main weapon families ( for now ) with their own advantages and disadvantages.
The Pulse Beams, the Torpedoes and the Laser Beams.
Think rock/ paper / cisor but a liiiitle more complex
Depending on distance, ship specs ( hard points/turrets ) and environment , those weapons will give you the upper hand or become a challenge.
How weapons works:
They are all energy based, as energy management will be a big part of the game.
Pulse beams are fast paced medium range weapons, can be shot directly where you are pointing at or lock on target ( turrets )
Pulse beams can intercept and explode torpedoes.
They are the no brainer weapons really. no high avantages or disadvantages.

Torpedoes are slow loading long range weapons. They are plasma energy balls that explode on impact and destination point . 
You can shoot the straight to the direction you are pointing at or they can be directed on target ( hard point and turrets ) They then behave like a missile for a short a certain period of time before exploding.
All explosions create a range of area  damage effect than runs for a certain amount of time too. That's the important bit of these weapons as they will lead to lots of different kind of strategies: firing torpedoes in straight line ahead of the target, using them as ( powerfull ) flares to destroy other torpedoes and so on
those explosions can intercept Pulse beams, not lasers. Torpedoes explode on any contact and dont know about friendly fire.
Laser beams: short ranged weapon and highly destructive on concentrated targets.
Goes through any kind of obstacles delivering damage all the way.That's its biggest advantage, no more hiding behind asteroids there.
It is also very demanding in energy, long to reload, but deliver a long blast of pure energy lasting from 2 to 3 seconds. Laser beam users will tend to use more offensive strategies, running into the melee fast, delivering the shots and then fying away fast to take time for power up

and to resume the different advantages and disadvantages between them:
So for range we get: Torpedoes>Pulse beams>Lasers
for energy use we have : Lasers> Torpedoes>Pulse Beams
for destructing power: Lasers>Torpedoes>Pulse Beams

For reload time: Lasers>Torpedoes>Pulse Beams ( the higher values the longer it takes to reload, not always a good thing)
Lasers and Pulse beams can destroy Torpedoes
Lasers goes through Torpedoes explosions while Pulse beams are blocked by it

We will of course have other kind tools to spice up the game a little more like mines ( come in wide range of behaviors and effects )
energy scramblers, cloaking devices and drones... and more!


Monday, 22 April 2013

Design Diary 09: Cruisers and Battlecruisers

While my teammate is working on the first weapon settings, I continue to scale up the Uman fleet.
This week is the Cruiser week!
Those ship will have a different game tactic approach.
I like to think of space games more like second world war naval battles.
Till now we presented you the fighters, who have more a plane/dogfight behavior.
Cruisers and BattleCruiser classes are behaving more like boats. They are slow, heavily armored and loaded with weapons. So they'll compensate with pure fire power, targeting anything around them with a nice variety of turrets.
Should be fun to engage or control!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Design Diary 08: Light fighters video and spaceship controls

And here's a new video about spaceships and control, we finally managed to get where we wanted to, so we can now move on the next stage... Shooting!
Here is the link to the video, enjoy! Space_Fighters_Tannhauser_Gates

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Design Diary 07: Heavy fighters, design and modularity

You might have noticed already, the specific designs of the TG spaceships have a heavy LEGO influence.
Part of it must come from my own childhood obviously. Another reason is that there is some beauty about the minimalism and constraints of those small plastic boxes.
Constraints helps to create better designs. all ships in TG tend to follow those rules.
 Basic shapes put together to create a more complex one.
 Repetitivity in the elements, and reusability of the same elements from one ship to another allows to decline the ships for multiple usage while keeping a sense of uniformity and scale.
 For now the ships showcased on this blog are all coming from one of the races you'll encounter in TG.
This is the Uman fleet, closer to our design standards.
Later new blocks will be used for another race, creating a rythme, a silhouette that will be instantly recognisable. Cant wait to get started on this!
Meanwhile, here come the Heavy Fighter!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Design Diary 06: Slogs are making their first appearance!

Slogs are distant cousins of Jabba the Hut.
They are very good mathematicians and make fine navigators and technicians, exceptional at getting infos too ...if you pay the price!
They are greedy, and tough business men, very dangerous traders on the black market. When a Sloug wants something, you'd better give him fast or you are in for long lasting trouble.They have the cash, good relationship and the means... not always nice peoples.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Design Diary 05: interface first pass

When it comes to User Interface ( UI ) or simply Interface, there is just one way to do it: iterations iterations iterations. Interface is what makes the game accessible and enjoyable. You don't want to swamp the players into a one hour tutorial to make him understand how it works. He needs to understand it right away and learn its deeper complexities on the go. One rule that I want to follow is: the simpler the better, and once you get a mechanic, repeat it all over the place to make sure that when the player is comfortable with one system, he is comfortable with the whole thing.
So here is the first pass, basically the excercice was to put in there all what I needed to put to see how it goes.

Second pass has more refining already. I tried to make sure that there was no right click needed to interact with the system and the game. Spaceship management is on the bottom left, Cargo management on top left, Contacts and target management on top right and navigation management  on bottom right.Those are the full expanded menus to see the worst case scenario.

Designing in photoshop those interfaces helps also to think the whole interaction loop altogether and from A to Z . Visual  and design are one and same thing.Still need to figure out that dialog interface tho ;)

Friday, 5 April 2013

Design Diary 04: spaceships controls

One can't hammer enough how much control is important in a spaceflight simulation.
Let's face it, most of the space games ( and not only the top bottom ones ) don't offer that much control on space flight. What I mean is.. most of the time , you get to chase one each other or simply go over and over again the same target without that much control. Worse, to avoid any trouble managing those control issues, lots of games avoid collusions with lets say asteroids, where I think that obstacles should be taken in consideration to  create a more tactical and immersive experience. Eve Online on the other end  has a nice orbit mechanic, but no real direct flight controls, witch is ok for big ship maybe but not for fighters...
I'm not saying we found the Holy grail there, but we are certainly chasing after it ;)
Our first final ( V1.0)  flight sim has lots of different controls available to you.

Heading control: click on empty space to setup a heading for your spaceship.
Depending on its engine abilities and speed, it will align and follow the new direction with more or less rapidity.
Direct control: you can now turn your spaceship directly by using arrows. the ship will of course rotate at the pace given by its speed and engine abilities
Orbit control: click on an object in the game to make the ship follow that direction and try to reach it.
when flying on lock mode, you can still use the arrow keys to make some left and right  strafing. can be handy to adjust  aiming, avoid collisions and manage perfect orbits.
All those controls can be used seamlessly, so it is up to you to pilot your ship the way you want or depending on the situation you are facing.
But there's more!
All ships come with 3 different Gears to have a better control over the speed and also to address some energy management ( that is a tactic layer we are still working on, we will discuss about later ;) )

Here are our three different engines, the Arrow, the Drifter and the Orbiter.
While we are at it, I added a sneak peek of the three main categories of weapons we are going to develop soon, so that makes a total of 9 different fighters ;)

Tannhauser Gates

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Design Diary 03: player's progression

Progressing by gaining experience is the RPG basics
In TG there are 3 main ways to progress and gain Xps.
You can gain Xps through:
getting more kills
gaining more wealth by trading ,harvesting and finishing missions
gaining Reputation Points : missions grant scores that tells the game the kind of character you are: Rogue, Law keeper ,Happy trigger, Explorer, Mercenary, Scavenger, Pirate...

Those XPS will then be used to open new missions to you  and reflect your gaming style.

Lets say for instance that you chased a lot of  pirates recently, but didnt followed missions to much because you like to play it your way. just having fun in a nice spot you`ve just found. It will to a certain point attract the attention of certain companies that will need independent agents like Bounty Hunters to take down for good all piracy activity in this particular sector...that may suits your exact needs!
Following support missions could lead you to a military campaign, harassing harvesters could lead you to piracy life, all the same way.

In TG you can just play the way you like, there is a role for any king of gamer.
And that's just one of the aspects of gameplay TG will have to offer to you!

Reputation Points will  be used to unlock objectives accordingly to your way of playing.But in the same time, Reputation Points will be  used by the game to categorise your standings and npcs, depending of their standings will behave accordingly.

Basicaly, shooting down the same number of pirates in one solar system or another could turn you into a hero or a problem to be taken care of. 

You'll have to pay attention to the historic/races/allegiances/policy  of the sectors you'll visit if you want to survive.
Of course there will be some ways to wipe the slate clean, you don't want to end up like poor captain Solo, running away from all the bounty hunters from half a galaxy? Or maybe if you have a fast ship...

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Dev_video: Spaceclouds!

A first attempt with different colors and moods for the nebulae backgrounds.
 Note that we added some slight bloom effects too, and that our pilot is getting better at switching from one orbit to another ;) Again this is early an prototype and we will post more videos as it goes! 
the spaceground is just one of the layers that will be added to the visuals to give a more stylistic and imersive look to the game. We are working on this with production in mind of course, and in the end we think to be able to achieve great visual variety without too much production crazyness. We have also an idea or two that will allow us to exploit this system, we will talk about it later!


Tuesday, 26 March 2013


And here comes our first ( temporary/wip ) visual for one of the characters you'll meet in TG.
This guy is an Eluwan.
Eluwans are a peacefull very smart type of aliens. You will usually find them working in the scientist and exploration branch. They make good navigators too. Some say that they have a spiritual side and that their motivations to help find the Tannhauser Gates may not be driven by pure scientist curiosity only. 

Sunday, 24 March 2013

dev_blog depth space video

Having a top bottom display doesn't mean the game will be flat.. 
We are using a 3D engine and will use a layered technique to enhance the immersion feel, 
and provide hints of story telling as well.

Here's a sneak peek of a first rough of our multi layered space.
Does sound promising for a first early test doesn't it?


Thursday, 21 March 2013

Design Diary 02: Spaceships, Story and Roles

In TG, You are pretty much free to do whatever you want.
It is not about you saving the universe it is about you having fun in a place that has rules, story and meaning.
A good game needs a good story, we are aware of that. But games recently tends to mimic movies more and more. I miss the games that had meaning AND freedom of experience. I dont like to be told what to do at each and every step of my adventure.
In TG there will be no constrained story telling with characters telling you what to do. Yes there will be key characters, but making them allies or foes will be up to you and the goals you set to yourself.Capturing a famous pirate could become the key to access a higher standard in a solar system, or he could become a new recruit and a great asset to your crew.
The whole universe is yours to explore.
The world of TG is about the search for the derelicts of the Tannhauser gates.The reason people are looking for them are multiple.You get to choose a starting race and the backstory that comes with it. .This will set things in motion: some races will be your ally, others will become your enemy. With your choice will come also a new starting location, new advantages and disadvantages. This gives you also the possibility to explore the game from different angles.

For now on we aim at three playable starting races and see where we go from here.

Spaceships play a center role in the game.
They come in different classes and roles.

The missions made available to you  will be depending on the spaceship you fly.
If you are looking for action, the light fighters will give you access to fast pacing missions, from intercepting pirates, protecting  borders or recon.
 Heavy fighter will allow you to do escort missions, but will also allow you to go on bounty hunter roles.
 The frigate class opens to even more roles from small cargo to support or rescue missions, and its very versatile fitting allows players to adapt it to whatever need.
There are further more specific ship classes like the Explorer, Cargo and Harvester for even more specific missions.

But there's more! with bigger ships comes... bigger crew.
Heavy Fighters needs a 2 men crew ,  Frigates 3 men an Cruisers 5.
You can recruit new crew members or leave them in any starbase you board in.

They all come with stats so you better watch out who you put where as there are many key roles available that will greatly change the stats of your ship.
The crew roles are: Captain/Scientist/Mechanic/Gunner and Pilot.
Umans have average skills, and can do pretty much everything while other races have more specific knowledge in one of the crew roles.
Knowing where to find  them and get the level of reputation needed to hire the bests will be part of the game experience.
aaannnnd... that would be it for today's Diary!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

devblog: dancing with asteroids.

This video shows our first attempt at the lock-on system.Simply click on an object and the free flight switches to locked flight. Depending on the spaceship's parameters it is possible to keep on following a target even at high speeds. enjoy!

Dancing with asteroids

Monday, 18 March 2013


Here is a sneak peek of one of the spaceship class: the light fighter.
A one pilot only class ship, specialized in dogfights.
A good entry class for small missions within a solar system.

Design Diary 01: The Tannhauser Gates universe

Tannhauser Gates is a Sci Fi RPG Top Bottom Space Shooter ( SFRPGTBSS ) It is  directly inspired by the old space flight simulators game genre like Starflight or Elite, but lets simply call it "TG" for now on.
The Tittle is obviously inspired by  famous Roy Batty  death quote in the end of Blade Runner. ( sorry for the ones spoiled here ;) the quote is: "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion; I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain."
That quote really made us wonder for years what those famous battles would actually look like, and what the Tannhauser Gate was.
 In TG, one of the gates have been found. Ancient relic of a long lost civilisation, scattered in the galaxy. what was their use? are there other artefacts? no one knows.
The gates dont play a center role right now in the game anyways, but there is certainly mystery in TG.
 A whole galaxy to explore.
Umans are the closest thing you'll find  to our earthling standards. And there are many other races: the Brutos, Eluwans, Wargans, Slogs and Xerrs. That's for the known "civilised" races,we'll present them in details to you later. By civilised of course we mean: "able to fly ships and shoot at you" for starters.
But there is more!
Space is a big, cold and scary a place. Spaceships won't be only deadly thing you'll encounter up there.

Will you dare enter the world of TG?

Sunday, 17 March 2013

devblog_first video

and here's our first video!
this is a early test of flight stage one: the free flight.
the bars on the top are here to help us test different ship configuration ; velocity, mass, rotation speed.
we are integrating already new ways of flying such as lock on objects and orbit, more to come soon!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

where it all begun

This is the first draft for the game. Something that came up two years ago, an idea of a space game shooter with a little more depth , elements of roleplay, and mechanics to achieve a great game experience without relying on heavy budgets. Games like Elite and Starflight showed us the way long time ago.
Of course the game structure has quite evolved since this first rough, but it is fun to be able to see where it all begun.

Thursday, 14 March 2013


As you can guess , Tannhauser gates will be about ships.
  • you'll get to fly ships
  • you'll get to customize ships
  • Ships in TG comes in different sizes and SPECIALISATION
But we'll talk about it later.. and here comes our first pict!

tannhauser Gates, spacecloud