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UNION Co-operative Spaceship Simulator


WiredMark
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Hi all,

UNION is a co-operative spaceship simulator where one or more players work together to pilot a ship, taking on one or more stations (Captain, Helm, Tactical, Engineering and Science). It is inspired, most obviously, by Artemis Spaceship Simulator, however this will be a very different game. The other major inspiration is submarine simulators, such as the Silent Hunter series, which I love.

The game is completely network based. Even the "singleplayer" will run on a local server, so that you can invite friends to join you at any time.

I've been working on UNION, part time, for over a year now. A lot of that was spent researching, building prototypes, and generally trying to figure out how to create the game. In the last few months I've started to make real progress in the game, completing the network infrastructure, implementing a networked physics simulation (with collisions that cause damage), crew management and the beginning of the Helm Station flight system.

You can see images of this here: http://imgur.com/a/Rui2m

I have two modelers working on ships for the game at the moment, there is a placeholder ship in the game currently (which will become one of the ships later).

If you'd like to read more about the game I have a basic features overview (work in progress) here:

https://docs.google....sJivto1k-U/edit

I don't have a website up for the game yet, so I'm going to use this post as my dev blog, posting updates and hopefully getting feedback.

When I'm happier with the flight system/controls I'll post a build of the game here too.

All the best,

Mark


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WiredMark
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I've just added maneuvering thrusters as well, these fire to rotate the ship:

Yrq3l.jpg


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SolCommand
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It all sounds pretty cool. Can't wait to see some sort of video with it or more screenshots.


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WiredMark
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Hey SolCommand!

I was using your models (which are great) in UNION up until three weeks ago. I'm still using the asteroid facility until we move onto modelling stations. So thank you very much for that.

I'll make sure to post updates here as often as I can.

I can grab a video of the engines/thrusters in action if you're interested?


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WiredMark
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Something that I continually wonder about.

What do people think of a "complex" flight system. By that I mean 3d space, momentum, detailed engine control etc.

I think it's really going to need a joystick or joy pad to fly proper.

What are your opinions on that?


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True
 True
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'WiredMark' wrote:

What are your opinions on that?

I don't have a joystick or similar hardware anymore. just mouse & keyboard. If you want to create a game with a limited (but maybe dedicated) userbase go ahead and require joystick input for your game. =)

If you want to adress a wider audience you might have to implement simplistic and realistic steering, though.

cheers!


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WiredMark
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'True' wrote:

If you want to adress a wider audience you might have to implement simplistic and realistic steering, though.

cheers!

Ah yes, very good point.

Another option might be to have controls like Nexus or EVE, with the ability to take direct control.

Edit: Actually now that I read that, I think that helm should always be in direct control of the ship.


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DarkOne
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I look at it like this, your an indie developer. You need to eat and survive to keep your game and yourself alive. So the more control options you can put in to sell copies and not affect your vision of the game the better. I would like to see more Track IR support and anything to make it more realistic. Complex flight systems, should the player even have to worry about this? Just recently I watched that Star Citizen video that covered ship control and I think they did a good job taking something complicated and making it simple or least seemed simple. But in the end it all depends on the 'pace' of gameplay, does it need to be simulated or twitch based?


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WiredMark
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Very well put.

I think that piloting needs to be simulated, rather than twitch based, since the pilot doesn't do any of the actual targeting. Their job is all about positioning.

This is making things much clearer for me though. I do think the flight system needs to be simulated, as it is at the moment, but I'll add an autopilot system where you can control the ship via commands (much like EVE). Since I want the game to be playable by one person, that's a requirement anyway.

Having a pilot is very benificial though. The autopilot will do things like fly to designated areas, orbit a target etc, but it won't do the kind of precise positioning that a human pilot can. For example sensors are also based on a simulation, with objects (including ships, asteroids, anomalies etc) giving off an energy signature based on their heat output and detection based on sensor strength and distance. A pilot can mask his/her ship's heat signature (making the ship invisable on enemy sensors) by flying close to a stronger signature (this would most likely require the engineer to reduce the ship's heat output as well). That would be possible with the autopilot, but it would require some manipulation / micro management.


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DarkOne
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Not knowing the complexities of UNION yet, you could allow the player to create some maneuvers that are saved for battle (kinda like in Star Trek). Not knowing how complex the user interface is its tough to estimate how much of a need this will be. I guess from a player perspective, if I should be able to play in SP mode, then flying the spacecraft should be one of the easier tasks, and shouldn't be a burden especially when engaging in combat. Nothing will frustrate a player mode than controls that get them killed. It's different when they get owned in combat because of choices or skill, but to get owned because your ships flight controls are shoddy is a different matter <img src="' http://spacesimcentral.com/forum/public/style_emoticons//icon_e_smile.gi f"' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />


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WiredMark
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'sscadmin' wrote:

It's different when they get owned in combat because of choices or skill, but to get owned because your ships flight controls are shoddy is a different matter <img src="' http://spacesimcentral.com/forum/public/style_emoticons//icon_e_smile.gi f"' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

Oh absolutely.

Honestly the AI for ship control is something I'm unsure of at the moment, but I'll make sure it's solid when the time comes. My point was more that having a human pilot gives you much more flexibility and precise control than an autopilot ever would.

The first release isn't going to be playable in singleplayer, as AI control of the ship (and NPCs) won't be added until later.

Right now my focus is on making it a great multiplayer game first, so that'll mean just having manual piloting to begin with. I am going to look at how I can make it easily to fly with a keyboard and mouse.


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WiredMark
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Here is a video of the multiplayer flight physics:


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WiredMark
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There's probably nobody reading these posts now, but what the hell.

I've really taken the flight system to "the next level".

Each ship in UNION now has 12 thrusters and 2+ engines which are individually simulated to maneuver the ship.

There are two major benefits to this. The first is much more control over the flight system, ships are much easier to pilot now, and they'll only get easy when I add the mouse controls for piloting.

The second is that it gives each ship their own flight characteristics, each really does have it's own "feel" now.

Later on when I add damage to the game damaged thrusters will affect the maneuverability of the ship.

Finally I did a test with 12 players on Wednesday, the most yet, and worked wonderfully.

CfCGz.jpg


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Jmink
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What happened to the game?It was abandoned?Would I like to download it ...


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WiredMark
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What happened to the game?It was abandoned?Would I like to download it ...

Hi Jmink,

 

I had to put the game development on hold for a good while, but have been back working on it for the past six months. It's nor ready for release yet, but you can see the progress on our Steam Greenlight page here:  http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=472342843

 

Thanks!

 

Mark


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Jmink
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Hello Mark,

Thank you for the simple fact you have answered and are concerned about his fans (yes I am a fan for his work with UNION). I really enjoyed the game and I think it has great potential. I would like to know the date when it will be released (as received green light from the community), if it will be in the first person (as Pulsar) and will have the ability to land on planets, of course, if you can tell me. Oh, and a tip, make it more forward, the ships can be created by players (if you can). May the force be with you!


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WiredMark
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Hey Jmink,

 

 

Thanks for your interest and kind words!

 

Our current target for release is early 2017, we still have a lot to do but we are entirely dedicated to making UNION a reality.

 

UNION is a space sim where you command your ship using screens, like this one. If you've ever played one of the Silent Hunter games (you can see a video here), then you will have an idea of what I mean.

 

Players will definitely be able to create their own ships, or customise the ones which already exist.

 

 

All the best,

 

Mark


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Jmink
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Hello Mark,

Do you plan to make an early access? If you want, do it on Steam because it already has a guaranteed customer! May the Force be with you!


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WiredMark
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Hello Mark,

Do you plan to make an early access? If you want, do it on Steam because it already has a guaranteed customer! May the Force be with you!

 

 

Hi Jmink,

 

We will most likely have an Early Access release on Steam, but only when UNION is feature complete (we will add content during Early Access, but all of the core gameplay will be in place).

 

Thanks again for your support. 🙂


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Jmink
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Hello Marky, just have a little doubt, when you plan to launch the Early? A tip, spear before or after the month of June, not to compete with the No Man's Sky! May the Force be with you!


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WiredMark
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Hello Marky, just have a little doubt, when you plan to launch the Early? A tip, spear before or after the month of June, not to compete with the No Man's Sky! May the Force be with you!

 

I don't think we'll be releasing on Early Access until the start of 2017, we really are dedicated to making a high quality game.


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