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UNION Cooperative Spaceship Sim


WiredMark
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This is this latest footage from my game, UNION:

@WiredMark on Twitter

 

 

P.S. Yes, this game was inspired by the concept of Artemis, however I have a very different vision for UNION.

 

Edit: I added a music track to the video.


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Pinback
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Nice vid  WiredMark .

 

Is you ship design influenced by I-War.


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WiredMark
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Hi PINBACK,

 

I only just saw your reply, apologies for the delay.

 

I've never played I-War, though I'll check it out.

 

The ship in the video is called a Kite (or "Kite class frigate") and it's shape is inspired by birds of prey (not the Klingon kind).

 

It is being designed as a good all-rounder in terms of speed/range, armaments and cargo capacity. It'll be one of the starter ships in the game.


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Pinback
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No worries about the delay can some times be months before we hear back anyone. 🙂

 

I should have also mentioned that I war is also called Independence War, just depends on which part of the planet you live on. 


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SolCommand
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Hey mate.

I really like the concept of your game so far and if you don't mind, could you tell us a bit more about your game, such as background story, maybe some details on what is the main purpose of the player in this game, like becoming the ultimate explorer/trader/merc. Will the game be mission scripted and carry the player on a linear path or is it an open sandbox universe where you can do whatever your heart desires ? Is the game mainly a shooter or will you be able (and encouraged) to do other things such as mining, crafting or whatever ? Also, one good bit of info would be to hear what are the features that will make it unique or stand out out from the crowd.

I'm also particularly interested in your ship design, more specifically:

- how large they are, in meters

- can you choose available stations on the ship only via that menu or you can also walk inside the ship and locate that particular station by yourself

 

etc. etc. Questions are many at this point but I'll stop here for now 🙂


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Zacharyah
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Rad stuff. I recently got into Artemis, and while I love the idea of a bridge simulator, I chafe under the restrictions of 2D movements and beam weapons. I'm excited to see how Union turns out, since it seems to take what I consider to be the good stuff from Artemis and adds the stuff I think Artemis is missing.

Just thought I'd let you know that I'm a fan.


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WiredMark
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Hey mate.

I really like the concept of your game so far and if you don't mind, could you tell us a bit more about your game, such as background story, maybe some details on what is the main purpose of the player in this game, like becoming the ultimate explorer/trader/merc. Will the game be mission scripted and carry the player on a linear path or is it an open sandbox universe where you can do whatever your heart desires ? Is the game mainly a shooter or will you be able (and encouraged) to do other things such as mining, crafting or whatever ? Also, one good bit of info would be to hear what are the features that will make it unique or stand out out from the crowd.

I'm also particularly interested in your ship design, more specifically:

- how large they are, in meters

- can you choose available stations on the ship only via that menu or you can also walk inside the ship and locate that particular station by yourself

 

etc. etc. Questions are many at this point but I'll stop here for now 🙂

 

Hi SolCommand,

 

 

Apologies for the looong delay in replying, life (and work) took over for a while there and I had to put UNION on the backburner. It never left my mind though, and I'm back working on it now (with a vengence!).

 

 

UNION has a fairly detailed, and rich, history. It started out as a table top RPG which I wrote for friends years ago. Here is a synopsis.

 

 

 

A "Brief" History Of UNION

(from the UNION perspective)

 

In 2143 A.D., after years of abuse and numerous wars, Earth's ecosystems are collapsing. In an attempt to save the human race the remaining governments joined a new federated body called UNION. UNION is mandated with spreading the human race to distant stars in order to give humanity the best chance of survival. A new experimental faster-than light-technology, based on the work of the 20th century physicist Miguel Alcubierre, has made this possible (with speeds of just over the speed of light).

 

Over the course of the next 39 years thousands of colonisation ships are built and sent out to the stars, each containing anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 souls in cryogenic statis. These ships are sent to systems which are likely to have suitable planets, however the autopilot will continue exploring until it finds a planet which can support life. Travel on these colony ships is free, however the colonists must first sign a contract with gives UNION rights of governance and access to the resources of the planet, it is envisioned that one day all of the colonies will be part of an intergalactic UNION (when technology can facilitate it).

 

After the great exodus, and with strict population (birth) control measures in place, Earth's population dwindles to just over 2 billion. Renewal programs begin in an effort to rebuild Earth's ecosystems. Over the next five centuries years these programs return Earth to something resembling pre-modern times. With human populations remaining steady under 2 billion and the Earth's ecosystems healthy and stabilised, UNIONs attention turns to the stars.

 

There is one overriding issue for UNION, resources. The 39 years of building colony ships has stripped most of the accessible resources in Earth's solar system. In the time since no inter-system spaceships had been built, due to the prohibitive resource cost and the 5 year travel time. UNION scientists begin working on the Alcubierre drive, looking for ways of improving it's speed and thereby making nearby colonies in Centaurus (the Alpha Centauri system) accessible. To do this not only must they build a better drive, they must also invent new means of powering them.

 

On the 600th anniversary of the first colony ship leaving Earth, the first exploratory survey ship is unveiled to the world. It is christened "Envoy". Capable of travelling at over 30 times the speed of light, what took 5 years to travel for the colony ships can now be covered in 2 months. An expedition is mounted to Centaurus, it's mission is to locate the colonies and welcome them back into UNION.

 

The exploratory survey ships arrives in Centaurus to a warm welcome, however this is short lived when the Centauri (as they now called themselves) hear of UNION's plans to hold them to the contract that their ancestors signed, to be under the governance of UNION. The Centauri colonies has only fairly recently found peace, after a century of inter-colony wars. They had paid for their independance and meant to keep it.

 

As the Envoy is preparing to return to Earth, bringing back news of the refusal, two Centauri spaceship attack on the ship. The Envoy manages to destroy the Centauri vessels, but not before sustaining heavy damage. Fearing more attacks the Envoy leaves Centaurus, heading for Earth.

 

Upon hearing of the hostile actions of the Centauri, UNION forms the UNION Battle Group (UBG). A fleet of 12 warships is built to accompany the refurbished Envoy on another expedition. As the Alcubierre drives and their special power cores are prohibitively expensive these warships have no faster-than-light capability. Instead they are carried in the bubble of a large carrier ship.

 

The Envoy, accompanied by the new UBG fleet, arrive in Centaurus. Contact is made with the Centauri colonies but relations are poor and all claim to have had no part in the earlier attacks. Upon moving deeper into the system a fleet of 18 Centauri ships, representing the colonies, demands that the UNION fleet leave the system. A standoff ensues, with UNION making demands to be allowed to investigate the earlier attacks and the Centauri refusing and demanding that the UNION fleet return home.

 

With both sides on high alert, and with weapons armed, it took just one errant shot by a Centauri (which it is now thought to have been accidental) to provoke a war that has come to be known in UNION as the Repatriation War, between UNION and the newly formed Centauri Alliance.

 

 

 

The Players Role In UNION

Players play as either UNION or the Centauri Alliance, six years into the Repatriation War. UNION has gained almost half of Centaurus, but is now stretched thin making it difficult to hold and expand it's territory. The Centauri have suffered many losses, but are now entrenched in their positions and have been using guerilla tactics in an attempt to disrupt UNION supply lines and reduce their fleet size. UNION have the advantage in sensor and shield technology, however the Centauri through years of war have refined their hulls and weapons. The coming months will decide the future of the human race.

 

 

Ship Size

The ships that patrol each territory are generally Destroyer class ships, with a length of roughly 160 metres.

Honestly though I haven't much to say about the ships other than size. I've had two modeller friends offer to help design and to model ships but they've been unable to do so due to life commitments (home and work). I'm just continuing with development of what I can, and I'll find a designer/modeller at some stage.

 

 

Choosing Stations

The scope of UNION is already large, with it's networking complexity and simulated power, heat, damage and sensor systems. For that reason I'm sticking to UI stations, though I'm putting all I can into those. Here's a picture of the work in progress Engineering UI:

 

7xBSlKG.png

 

 

 

 

Rad stuff. I recently got into Artemis, and while I love the idea of a bridge simulator, I chafe under the restrictions of 2D movements and beam weapons. I'm excited to see how Union turns out, since it seems to take what I consider to be the good stuff from Artemis and adds the stuff I think Artemis is missing.

Just thought I'd let you know that I'm a fan.

 

Thank you very much Zacharyah, it really means a lot to me that others share my enthusiasm for UNION.

 

You can find updates, and lots of progress pics, here on the UNION IndieDB page.


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DarkOne
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Hi WiredMark, as I offer to all developers. If you need forum space to discuss your game you only have to ask and I will create one for your game here, all I ask is that you use it.


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WiredMark
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Hi WiredMark, as I offer to all developers. If you need forum space to discuss your game you only have to ask and I will create one for your game here, all I ask is that you use it.

I really appreciate the offer, but I don't think UNION's following is large enough to sustain a forum yet (though it was be great if it was!).


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WiredMark
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Hi all,

 

 

Here are some examples of power management with the Engineering UI's "wheel":

VvzL7DUh.png

 

qSdZt0Wh.png

 

htuT6tfh.png

 

NK5nAnsh.png


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Pinback
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Nice looking  layout WiredMark, I take it that this is all controlled by the mouse.

 

That would make a great touchscreen interface as well.


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WiredMark
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Nice looking  layout WiredMark, I take it that this is all controlled by the mouse.

 

That would make a great touchscreen interface as well.

 

Thank you. It has been my goal to make it accessible via mouse and touch interface, with connections made by dragging from core "nodes" to the system in question. Double tapping a node or system will remove all connections to/from that node/system, making it easy to quickly change te configuration.


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Pinback
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Any plans for a mobile version of the game?

 

Just thinking this sort of game where each person takes a station might work well on the IPhone/pad devices.


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WiredMark
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Any plans for a mobile version of the game?

 

Just thinking this sort of game where each person takes a station might work well on the IPhone/pad devices.

 

I am building it with tablets in mind, and all UIs are designed to be used with touch, so porting it to iOS and Android later on wouldn't be an issue.

 

Initially it'll be available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

 

The game is being designed (both in networking and gameplay) to be played primarily over the Internet. Local/LAN play is great but I know from experience that it's difficult to organise those on a regular basis.

 

 

It's important to emphasize though that while the technical details are important my primary focus is in making it fun to play.

 

When designing the game I didn't think of what systems would be cool, instead I focused on stories. I thought about the situations that I wanted to be possible, and designed the game around those. I'm creating UNION because I want these experiences myself.

 

An example of this:

I thought about a situation where your ship was in a battle with another and taking heavy damage. There's an asteroid field nearby and your captain orders you to retreat into it to hide.

 

I wanted to accomplish that without any gimmicks or abilities, I wanted to make it possible as part of the world. So I designed the game so that everything gives off heat to some extent. Ships have a heat signature too and if this is weaker than the surrounding heat (such as from asteroids) then the ship becomes invisible to sensors.

 

So in the battle above, the captain orders Helm into the asteroid field and once there he orders Engineering to drop power, going into a kind of silent running mode. You drop off the enemy ship's sensors, so the only way for the enemy ship can find and lock onto you is visually. Tactical can use the cameras mounted on the ship (for external views) to visually spot and lock onto enemy ships (this is a manual process however).


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WiredMark
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Long time since my last update. At the moment I am only working on UNION in my spare time, which has been limited as of late.

 

I have made progress though, and finally have something new to show; the Engineering UI.

 

f067k3w.png

 

This is the UI which the ship Engineer will use to manage power and damage control.

 

Power connections are made from the Core to each system (shields, weapons etc.) by dragging from a Core node (the circles surrounding the Core) to the system.

 

Hovering over a system, hull segment (the white bars surrounding the "wheel") or shields (the blue bars surrounding the "wheel") will give detailed info on it in the top left (in this image Forward Shields has been hovered over).

 

Clicking on a system (or hull segment) will show the player options for that item (e.g. power settings, heat/coolant management, repair options).

 

Presets allow the player to quickly switch between configurations. Two presets are provided by default, Standard and Cruise; other presets can be created by clicking Save beside one of the custom presets.

 

Heat is one of the most important elements for an Engineer to monitor and manage. Too much heat can damage systems and it also makes your ship easier to detect, lock onto, and hit.

 

Each system, and the Core, has a stability rating (0% to 100%). This rating is from a combination of the system's heat and the integrity. High heat and low integrity lower the stability of the system. Systems with a low stability are more likely to suffer faults (fire, power surges, explosion), especially when they suffer damage.

 

The picture above is of the in-game UI, however it is not yet complete. I have to add the elements which will be common to all screens and there is still a lot of programming to do to get everything fully working.

 


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WiredMark
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Hi all,

 

 

Just a quick update of my progress on UNION with an animation test of the Engineering UI:  http://www.indiedb.com/games/union-cooperative-spaceship-simulator/videos/ui-engineering-screen-animations-wip#imagebox

 

I tried uploading it to YouTube for embedding but for some reason the quality was extremely poor.


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Pinback
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Looking good

 

Like the idea of the custom presets 😎


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shadmar
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Nice consept! 🙂


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WiredMark
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Thanks guys. I have taken off a few days from my day job next week to work on Engineering, I hope to have a video of it working next weekend.


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WiredMark
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Hi all,

 

 

The Engineering UI is progressing very well, here is the latest screenshot:

 

lnCqrYj.png

 

 

The left side of the wheel is now dedicated to showing the details and options for the selected system.

 

Each system (Weapons, Shields, Engines etc.) has modules connected which draw power from it (such as turrets for the Weapons system). You set the power draw for each of these modules independently via sliders.

 

The icons (and numbers) along the top left show the status of the selected system. From left to right these are Charge (the power stored in this system), Recharge Rate (power coming from the core), Heat, Integrity (health) and Stability (a low stability means there is a greater chance of fire, power surges and/or explosions).

 

Stability is primarily based on Integrity, but is affected (negatively) by Heat. If one of these negative events does occur (fire, power surge or explosion) the strength of the event is based on a combination of the system's Charge and Heat (depending on the type of event i.e. a high Heat will cause a fire to do more damage, a high Charge will cause a greater power surge, which can damage the core).

 

The current options for each system are displayed under the status bar. These are:

  • Shutdown - Disable this system, cutting off any power connections from the core.
  • Repair - Shutdown the system and begin repairs. Consumes a Repair Crew for the duration of the repair.

  • Flush Coolant - Use as much coolant as is needed to reduce the system's Heat to 0.

  • Power Dump - Dump the Charge from this system into another. A percentage of the Charge is lost and Heat is generated in the system which receives it.

 

 

I'm working on the animations for power connections at the moment, which is why there are none on display here.


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