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UI Work and Volcanic Planets


MawhrinSkel
(@mawhrinskel)
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Still busy here creating Shallow Space, we made some significant strides in one key area which is the UI.

 

There were some complaints that the old UI was confusing, so we've made things a little more standard - plenty more information exposed onscreen now, really starting to show off some of the ships stats and we've moved to a more darker spacebox and retextured the ships to white (instead of blue) to make them stand out more.

 

SS1.jpg

 

Alex has been finishing off the range of planets, we have them all now from lush Jungle like planets all the way down to the volcanic kind show below.

 

SS2.png

 

You can find the latest post talking about the UI on the blog along with loads more images of the volcanic planets and new UI. http://shallow-space.com


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pavlosg
(@pavlosg)
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Hello James,

 

Great looking interface and planets ! It's hard to strike a balance between intrusion and clarity for the screen windows. I really love the general feeling, the scale and depth (that is now unobstructed by the windows). Also good to see some new ship models about to come into the game.

 

I see a ship has been rotating along its movemtn axis. How do you manage such a rotation ? Is it automatic, in order to bring more weapons to bear upon the target, or do you have to do it manually ? (gulp).

 

#13 on idb at the moment. Nice, you deserve it 🙂 Once you break through the #10 barrier or around, you get all sorts of attention, get braced for it haha.

 

Don't let the gulfstream heat bathing Albion slow down your work -keep it up !


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MawhrinSkel
(@mawhrinskel)
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Joined: 8 years ago
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Topic starter  

Hello James,

 

Great looking interface and planets ! It's hard to strike a balance between intrusion and clarity for the screen windows. I really love the general feeling, the scale and depth (that is now unobstructed by the windows). Also good to see some new ship models about to come into the game.

 

I see a ship has been rotating along its movemtn axis. How do you manage such a rotation ? Is it automatic, in order to bring more weapons to bear upon the target, or do you have to do it manually ? (gulp).

 

#13 on idb at the moment. Nice, you deserve it 🙂 Once you break through the #10 barrier or around, you get all sorts of attention, get braced for it haha.

 

Don't let the gulfstream heat bathing Albion slow down your work -keep it up !

 

Hey thanks, yes it is difficult striking that balance. I really wanted the interface to look like a commanders HUD, even though it's an RTS it'll be as close to a space-sim as I can actually make it in terms of feeling like you are in control of the ships. Yeah the ships really do need replacing but it's going to cost quite a bit to get that all sorted.

 

On the big ships, the weapons are placed in such a way that something will always be able to fire. The smaller ships the player will be spending a fair amount of time making sure the ships are positioned right to maximise use of those turrets. Or you could tick the 'Auto-engage' box and the larger ships will move themselves into range trying to keep at least one heavy turret viable at all times.

 

We actually made #6 on that day! thousands of people read that blog entry so I think we're nearly ready to put it out there. I've just finished the Carrier Command panel, need to make the sector bigger, generate the enemy packs in a clump (rather than spread out) and make them work together to try and take down that station, few more ships and I think we will be ready for Early Access. Need to get some funding in, still a couple of months off yet though...

 

Haha it's not the gulfstream i'm worried about, life is catching up with me now...

 


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pavlosg
(@pavlosg)
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[...]

On the big ships, the weapons are placed in such a way that something will always be able to fire. The smaller ships the player will be spending a fair amount of time making sure the ships are positioned right to maximise use of those turrets. Or you could tick the 'Auto-engage' box and the larger ships will move themselves into range trying to keep at least one heavy turret viable at all times.

[...]

 

 

Hi Steve,

 

Got exactly the same issue. When you have say a destroyer or frigate (depends on your classification but hey you get the idea), maximizing the volume of fire for your critically few weapons is a pain in the neck. In a game I was testing the last few months, when the range had decreased, it would take half of my attention to roll the ship towards its target(s). It paid up handsomely in terms of results, but it was exhausting.

 

So I had the following idea (did not implement it): perhaps it would pay off to give 2 'roll' values for the ship: those two angles could represent:

1- the maximum fire roll angle: when you have a target in your sights, your ship will roll to present this side to the enemy. 'This side' is where most of the weapons are placed.

2- the maximum protection side: sometimes you will just want to turtle. This roll angle will present your most hardened side to the enemy. (do you have asymetrical armor?)

 

 

This would allow AI controlled ships to maneuver intelligently and present you (=the target) their most armed side. Something the enemies did not do in the game I was testing (a real trouble when engaging at long range and in formation!!).

 

Of course, by design, some ships will not have all their weapons on one side (mostly the big ones, I presume, or the escorts), so that the roll angle will have more or less dramatic results.

 

 

Choosing early access over Kickstarter will save you a lot of time. If you already have thousands of hits, you should do great ! Iceberg's interested, I presume 🙂

 

 

Pavlos


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MawhrinSkel
(@mawhrinskel)
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Topic starter  

Hi Steve,

 

Got exactly the same issue. When you have say a destroyer or frigate (depends on your classification but hey you get the idea), maximizing the volume of fire for your critically few weapons is a pain in the neck. In a game I was testing the last few months, when the range had decreased, it would take half of my attention to roll the ship towards its target(s). It paid up handsomely in terms of results, but it was exhausting.

 

So I had the following idea (did not implement it): perhaps it would pay off to give 2 'roll' values for the ship: those two angles could represent:

1- the maximum fire roll angle: when you have a target in your sights, your ship will roll to present this side to the enemy. 'This side' is where most of the weapons are placed.

2- the maximum protection side: sometimes you will just want to turtle. This roll angle will present your most hardened side to the enemy. (do you have asymetrical armor?)

 

 

This would allow AI controlled ships to maneuver intelligently and present you (=the target) their most armed side. Something the enemies did not do in the game I was testing (a real trouble when engaging at long range and in formation!!).

 

Of course, by design, some ships will not have all their weapons on one side (mostly the big ones, I presume, or the escorts), so that the roll angle will have more or less dramatic results.

 

 

Choosing early access over Kickstarter will save you a lot of time. If you already have thousands of hits, you should do great ! Iceberg's interested, I presume 🙂

 

 

Pavlos

 

It's actually not that big a deal for us because the different classes of ship have differing engagement styles. Tiny and Small craft harry the large craft so the turrets come in and out of fire quite naturally and the large craft will move to get into an ideal firing position automatically when fighting other large craft, they won't directly intercept small craft as they will be out-maneavoured anyway. When the large craft are fighting each other it has this effect that they are trying to flank each other, it's pretty cool. Doesn't do much for formations though but I can't imagine fleets of ships would fight in static formation in space anyways given the 3 dimensions of freedom - they will of course travel and begin the fight in formation.

Hah yeah Iceberg is interested, but i'm not sure what a publisher can offer nowadays besides help with translations and 'provide' a bit more of a regimented schedule. We're on Steam, which means all we have to do is focus on the fans, flesh out the game and get the timings right for the initial release. Don't get me wrong it's still a bloody complex task putting it all together but to me having a publisher just seems like we'd be paying someone to pay someone to do press releases, and I can do that myself. It's not like we have to burn CD's anymore and there is very little in the way of information about the terms of a publishers involvement on-line - have you had any dealings with them? Do they help with funding? What is it that they actually do besides take a cut? You might want to PM me the reply to that one.

Kickstarter seems like a bit of a ball ache, I think we've moved past it now. We're not pitching an idea, we have a game - whether its a good game or a great game depends on whether people are prepared to get behind us financially. A somewhat scary thought but the poetry of the situation is not lost on me.


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pavlosg
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[...]. Yeah the ships really do need replacing but it's going to cost quite a bit to get that all sorted. [...]

 

If you want to save yourself time and money at a small cost, ask your ship designers to build models sharing the same texture. With a couple of textures (say two camouflages or one texture for large ships and one for small ships/ installations) and some planning, you can reduce the time needed to make a ship to about 1 day (design, model and texturing -plus time needed to place weapon mounts and model moveable parts and time needed to make the original texture).

 

The con side is that you will loose some design freedom, the capacity to pseudo-bake the texture (bye bye edge enhancing).

The Pro sides are:

- lower cost

- less textures means more time to do them --> better quality

- lower memory use (hence lower loading times)

- you can now very easily swap your ship texture to a damaged version (or two!) at a very low memory cost

 

check the results in the bottom part of the page here (not all nor the best designs but you get the idea): http://www.ceresthegame.com/media.html

 

 

P.


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MawhrinSkel
(@mawhrinskel)
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Topic starter  

If you want to save yourself time and money at a small cost, ask your ship designers to build models sharing the same texture. With a couple of textures (say two camouflages or one texture for large ships and one for small ships/ installations) and some planning, you can reduce the time needed to make a ship to about 1 day (design, model and texturing -plus time needed to place weapon mounts and model moveable parts and time needed to make the original texture).

 

 

Sounds like good advice, I think our guys has a few trick up his sleave to keep the ship design timetable quite low anyways but i'll pass this on thanks!


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Gazz
 Gazz
(@gazz)
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So I had the following idea (did not implement it): perhaps it would pay off to give 2 'roll' values for the ship: those two angles could represent:

1- the maximum fire roll angle: when you have a target in your sights, your ship will roll to present this side to the enemy. 'This side' is where most of the weapons are placed.

2- the maximum protection side: sometimes you will just want to turtle. This roll angle will present your most hardened side to the enemy. (do you have asymetrical armor?)

Flotilla is a "small" game but what it does, it does well.

 

The bottom and front of ships is heavily armoured so that ships are practically invulnerable from those angles.

 

That means that you must maneuver to get those flanking shots in and actually hurt the enemy... while they are trying to do the same to you.

It's simply not possible to win a slugging match where ships just stand there and duke it out. This game is all about fire and maneuver.

 

Capital ships (that you can also acquire) are great... as blockers or anchors. Your smaller and more mobile ships have to do the killing, though.

 

 

 

IMO, varying armour values for different sides of the ship would offer a much more tactical game than "select all, attack-move towards enemy".

 

There would be a point in having formations in the game because you may indeed want to have smaller escorts staying in formation and covering your battleship's voluptous but soft stern.

 

It could also prevent players from using all capital ship fleets... because they'd be so slow they could be outmaneuvered by small torpedo boats...


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MawhrinSkel
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Armour and shields varying for the different sides of the ships? I don't think I'm going to go there at the minute!

 

In the short term flanking an opponent has enough advantages in terms of disrupting assaults and implementing it as you say would make things very uncomfortable for the player as the AI can already be pretty nasty. Once I have the barebones stuff in I'll take another look, but truthfully I see this as introducing a unnessecarily complex mechanic into an already complex game.

 

The player can't produce Capital Ships btw, they are gifted to the player as the storyline progresses.


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