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