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TorchShips - Real 3-D Space Combat  

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johngillespie
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June 5, 2012 7:22 pm  

I'm John Gillespie - developer and lead designer for a new indie space combat game called TorchShips.

TorchShips is a 3-D tactical space combat game based on real physics with procedurally generated single and multi-player missions. It will be released for Windows & Mac first, and then later for the iPad.

We've launched a Kickstarter project at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pro ... ace-combat to raise funds to complete development.

More information available is at our site http://torchships.com/ and please contact me directly if you have any additional questions.

Thanks,


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NevilClavain
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June 6, 2012 1:15 am  

Cool and original concept IMO.

About physics, is it an homegrown engine, or are you using a dedicated 3rd part (Bullet, ODE, Newton, Havok, ... ) ????


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Heliosphere
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June 6, 2012 5:40 pm  

Looks good, johngillespie. I like what you said about combat not typically being to the death; sounds like an interesting gameplay dynamic.


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DarkOne
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June 6, 2012 6:10 pm  

Nice vide showing off the game play and the flight and combat mechanics. I couldn't remember if you said the missiles were homing or not? But I like the fact that you can send off different missiles in slightly different directions to attack the target. In your ship what type of warning do you get when fired upon and how much time to you have to respond to a missile?

Nice mention of IWar 🙂


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Pinback
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June 10, 2012 3:08 am  

Torchship not doing too well, still got 7 days to go.

Where are all the Newtonian whiners this is just the sort of game they have been looking for.


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Onionman77
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June 10, 2012 6:05 pm  

Lol, hah yea.


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DarkOne
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June 11, 2012 4:05 am  
PINBACK wrote:
Torchship not doing too well, still got 7 days to go.

I hope John will still put this game out if they don't meet the mark of $40k, I know it would take more time. But it certainly has some excellent mechanics on its internals, would hate to see the game never come out.


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CaptainKal
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June 11, 2012 11:23 am  

I did my part and bacame a backer 😀


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Pinback
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June 17, 2012 9:42 am  

Only a few hours to go and sadly it look as if they will not reach there target as their are still about 29k short.

Maybe a case of just being too much of a niche for the gaming public.


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June 21, 2012 10:32 am  

Yup they did not reach there target,hopefully they will still work on the game, maybe do a demo of the game then have another go.


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June 23, 2012 5:51 am  

Looks like Torchship still a go with this announcement on their site.

http://torchships.com/

Quote:
Since the Kickstarter campaign didn’t reach the funding goal I’ve been looking at alternatives…

Below is ‘plan B’ – with estimated dates for completion.

* Set up a method for players to pre-purchase and register the game at torchships.com – using similar tiers and rewards that I used for Kickstarter for a limited time (the $1 and $10 tiers will go away and the $25 tier will drop to $20) . Once you pre-purchase you are entitled to all future releases and enhancements of the game. [done by July 1]

* Add a forum for all registered players at torchships.com. [July 1]

* Release a playable demo – it will be a single scenario around one planet against the AI – with a subset of available weapons. [July 13]

* Release the first paid version. At first the paid version will just be the demo with multiplayer enabled (co-op or pvp). [July 13]

Thank you again for all your support and I’ll continue to post updates here and at TorchShips.com.


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August 26, 2012 2:37 am  

Sad news from Johngillespie on his blog as he has had to suspended development of torchships.

http://torchships.com/

Quote:

I’m going to suspend commercial development on TorchShips.

One of the reasons for the kickstarter was to raise the funds to work on it full time through 1st release – unfortunately the numbers weren’t there (though the passionate support from existing backers was great – thank you) and working part time I haven’t made the progress I expected.

I still want to finish TorchShips – but the economics don’t really make sense to do it as a commercial venture at this point – I will still work on it as time permits and do some sort of non-commercial open source or freeware/donation release with modding support – but that will take quite a bit longer.

I will continue to post occasional updates at TorchShips.com – but they will be infrequent at best.

Thanks for your support and I’m sorry that this project did not get out the door in the timeline I expected.


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DarkOne
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August 28, 2012 6:07 pm  

It's a shame when you read statements like that, at least John Gillespie will work on it as time permits so we might see Torchships eventually.


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August 15, 2014 8:38 am  

After a long break and a failed Kickstarter their are some rumbling from Torchships about a reboot of the game.

Reboot and some design thoughts

 

 

I’m working on TorchShips again in a very limited ‘as time permits’ mode. I’ll begin doing short updates on this site fairly regularly (bi-weekly or maybe monthly). At this point I’m mainly doing design work and some testing of the tools I’ll need to get the game out the door.

I’ve changed my thoughts about the direction of the game somewhat based on more research on Atomic Rockets, backer comments and questions, and from playing a lot of the new space games like Elite Dangerous, Kerbal, and Rodina. All of which are excellent and I highly recommend you check them out – Kerbal for one is amazing – it has turned my ‘not that interested in space’ older son to someone who understands orbital mechanics. He is now interested in a space engineering career,  and can intelligently critique the physics errors in the movie Gravity 🙂

I also am inspired by the feel and engagement caused by permadeath in large unregulated multiplayer environments. Rust or DayZ are good examples of this – when this works it is very powerful – actions have real consequences and players are forced to make critical decisions that really matter – emotionally and within the game. Yes there are a bunch of retarded griefers running all over these servers – but done right these worlds have room for all types – warriors, explorers, builders, and even 12 year old psychotics….

My high level goal for TorchShips is to present as many aspects of what living and fighting in space could really be like.

Based on that the design elements have changed somewhat from the original vision, here they are this point…

  • 3-D combat & UI.
  • Newtonian physics – your ship maneuvers in 3-D space using a reaction drive.
  • Procedurally generated world.
  • Muliplayer from the start, maybe some solo missions for tutorial purposes but at core game is multiplayer. Either session or server based like Rust/Dayz or possibly one large contiguous world like Eve Online (server technology permitting).
  • Some rpg/rogue-like elements but core game is space combat and some exploration, less emphasis on crafting/grinding/leveling. Progression is ship based, not character based – you start very small (small pod with limited weapons) and work up to larger more capable craft.
  • No FTL – the games takes place in a solar system other than our own but assumption is Humanity got there through sublight means.
  • No aliens or ‘magic’ technology.


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September 2, 2014 11:10 am  

New tec demo video of the game.

 


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September 6, 2014 3:58 am  

Torchship seem to up and running again and looking for some backing.

Early Access Program

 

 

Early Access Program

I ran a Kickstarter campaign for Torchships in the spring of 2012 – though it didn’t hit the funding goal I did get a lot of great comments, ideas, and offers of support from backers.

I then suspended development for over a year, but I can’t let this project go quietly into the night. There are a lot of great space based games in the works right now (Star Citizen, Elite Dangerous, Limit Theory, and my personal favorite Kerbal Space Program) but none of them are what I had envisioned as a realistic space combat game. So I’ve restarted development and plan to keep going until at least a 1.0 release.

I’ll be working on TorchShips as time permits over the next year – with a lot of alpha and beta releases along the way.

I’ve set up an early access program with similar awards/benefits as the original Kickstarter campaign.

Remember there are always risks associated with an early access program – the game could end up substantially different from what you imagined or I could get hit by a bus. I do promise that the 1.0 version of the game will be released on time (Oct 2015) and with the majority of the features outlined in the FAQ.

Thanks for your support and I am looking forward to working with you on TorchShips!

See more details on the early access program and the reward tiers.


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September 26, 2014 10:24 am  

WIP video of an EVA suit.

 

 

 

Early art and placeholders - showing instruments projected at chin level inside helmet. Left is consumables, deltaV etc. Middle is course-line and velocity vector. Right is target information.

 


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October 23, 2014 7:51 am  

New WIP video.

 

 

 

From the YouTube channel.

 

I've changed the control scheme. Attitude change is much faster, you still have inertia and mass but you can change orientation in pitch, roll, and yaw relatively quickly. These changes are done with a single-gimbal control moment gyroscope mounted in your MMU. The gyroscope approach can produce a lot of torque for small power amounts and doesn't waste precious reaction mass.

Mouse for orientation (left/right yaw, up/down pitch, left/right with right mouse down for roll) and wasd keys for thrust forward/port/starboard/aft.

I believe this is approach more accurately reflects the future maneuverability of spacesuits and combat spacecraft. Ships will be able to change facing and orientation very quickly to unmask weapons or to use armored or less vulnerable sections of the ship to absorb incoming damage. Of course changing orientation does not affect your velocity vector - changing that will always take time and reaction mass.


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October 25, 2014 2:40 am  

Small update from TS.

Screenshot – Asteroid

 

 

screen-shot-2014-10-24-at-1-14-23-pm.png

Nice asteroid from Unity3d Asset Store. Great discussion on the forum about what space should look like – good points all – so I’ve dropped the ‘fancy’ stuff – no nebula, whirling galaxies, or pink gas clouds. Visual style is hard shadows, reflective surfaces in sunlight ‘wash-out’ the stars.

 

Bit strange buying them as I thought making em would be quite easy, looks good though.


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November 14, 2014 5:53 am  

According to the lastest blog post, their will be an early demo of the game next month.

Initial Scenario Environment, UI Update, Scaling, and Demo Schedule

 

 

I’ve uploaded a new video. The initial scenario in the demo will take place around a Neptune class planet (about 20 times the mass of Earth – approximate radius of 25,000 km) with an extensive ring system. The system star is now much closer to what it should look like – white (our sun is yellow to our eyes because of the atmosphere – it looks white in space) and with a smaller apparent size than we see from earth.

I’ve updated the HUD to give me more screen real estate – the indicators on the top left and right are live. Your suit HUD will show you remaining deltaV, maneuvering propellant (attitude thrusters), life support, and power remaining.

Most of my work over the last few weeks has been dealing with scale issues in Unity3d. Several other developers have written about this (Dave Newson, Sean O’Neil, etc). The basic problem is that Unity3d uses floating point variables for object placement and physics and that doesn’t give me enough accuracy to model a scene that could be 500,000 kilometers across or more, with scales that need to handle a person in a suit (2 meters) to a very large spaceship (500 meters) or asteroid (5 km) simultaneously.

What I’ve done is write my own basic extension to the Unity3d transform and rigidbody module that uses double precision variables. I’ve also incorporated some of Sean O’Neil’s ideas for handling the display of large distant objects (like planets) that are past the Unity3d camera far clipping plane (I’ll probably post a more detailed explanation of this with code on my product7 blog in the next few days). Units in Unity are arbitrary, in the demo I’m using one unit = 1 kilometer – so in render space the the demo the player camera starts about 40,000 kilometers from the planet within the first ring system. The demo and video have not been reconciled with realistic physics yet, the movement from thrusters is definitely overpowered at this point for example.

I do plan to release a very simple demo to the early access backers by the end of this month. The first public demo should follow a few weeks later. This demo will consist of a small part of the first chapter of TorchShips – beginning in your damaged suit with low remaining consumables, then your search for resources and a ship to captain…

 


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November 20, 2014 10:05 am  

Solo mode confirmed. :good:

Solo player online

 

 

There’s been a lot of controversy in the last few days generated by the announcement from Elite:Dangerous that they are dropping offline solo play.

I am a fan and early backer of the game, and I like what they are building so far, but I do want to make it clear that TorchShips will have a solo offline mode at launch. I won’t release a game that is completely unplayable if we go out of business in the future or a server provider goes offline.


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June 30, 2015 3:07 am  

After a long period of silence, the games early access has been cancelled

Early Access Signups Suspended

 

 

I’ve suspended the early access sign up page for now. I haven’t been able to dedicate as much time as I wanted to TorchShips and progress is slow. I don’t want anyone else signing up for Early Access until I have a clearer idea of what my progress is going to be over the next 3-4 months. I do have some small ‘toy’ demos where I’ve been working out game mechanics that are fairly complete – I’ll try to post those in the next few weeks.

If you’ve already signed up for Early Access you are still good for the rewards – but if you’d like to pull out of the program due to the delay don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll refund your money.

The reason I’ve been so slow on TorchShips the last six months is that I’m doing a large amount of development for the VR startup MergeVR. We are doing some very cool stuff over at MergeVR – the goal is bring mobile VR that works with any face and any phone to the general public via retail stores and online.  Take a look if you have a chance

 

Looks like his day job got in the way, hopefully he will return to it in the future.


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December 12, 2019 12:31 pm  

Had completely forgotten about this until an email pop up about a demo, if you want to try it then head over to https://torchships.com/ mind you it has been four years.

Torchships ‘Candle’ is an experiment in simulating exploring and fighting in space. It will begin with individual movement inside a small starting space station, progress from there to EVA, and then on to larger and more capable spacecraft.
This demo is a first test of newtonian movement in zero g inside a small station and inflatable hab.
If you see issues or bugs please leave them at the issue tracker.
Current demo version 0.002
If you already have a previous version installed, please remove/uninstall before downloading the new version.

This post was modified 1 month ago 2 times by Pinback

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DarkOne
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December 12, 2019 1:20 pm  

Wow... 4 years of silence and work was still being done in silence, props to the dev for never giving up the dream. Hopefully I will have time this weekend to give the demo a try.


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December 14, 2019 1:23 pm  

Agree always great to see a return to a game, looks to have a different art style and I would guess the demo a proof of concept.  


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