Archive for August, 2011

Hello everyone,

First of all, sorry for the lack of updates. We’ve been busy here at the forge, and we want to share with you what we’ve been up to.

Most game mechanics are done, our main development is now geared at polishing, adding details and implementing network gameplay.

One of the new improvements is the fighter’s management. Fighters were being released by Carriers on player’s demand, and the only way to select them was by clicking on the squadron icon visible on the top left area of the screen. Although this works quite well, some people found it non-intuitive because everything else in the game was just working by clicking on a ship.

To overcome this, each fighter squadron now has a ship Icon located in the average position of all fighters. Clicking on this Icon now selects the entire fighter squadron. Then, we can simply move them wherever we want, or attack a designated target like we do with any other ship.

Let me show a bit of how this works. The first shot shows a squadron of fighters leaving the bays of a USF carrier:

If you take a closer look, you may notice that fighters are casting shadows over the Carrier’s hull.

On the next shot, an Alliance carrier can be seen along with a squadron of fighters in patrol mode. Notice that there are two icons in there: one for the carrier and another for the fighters.

Here we can see the squadron with the fighters selected after clicking on the icon. With the fighters selected, we can now order them to move wherever we want.

What we have still undecided is what to do with the fighters once they are launched. Currently when we select a carrier, there’s a button to release all fighters in the carrier – the fighters aren’t launched automatically. Once the fighters are launched, the launch icon changes to the docking icon. By clicking on it, the fighter squadron that belongs to this carrier will be called and docked safely.

But what happens if the fighter squadron is lost? Should we have a timer that allows the carrier to “build” the fighters inside it, like a small factory? (BSG series style?), or should the Carrier need to get back to friendly space and stay close to a military station to replace the fighter wings?

If you have any comments on these ideas, or any new idea, share it with us :-)

The next shot is about rendering.

Everyone is probably familiar with sun shafts in Crysis 2 and other fps games where the graphics are pushed to the limits?

Well, this is basically sun shafts in space, and works better when there are a lot of asteroids and gas clouds.

Looking at the shot below, you can see the sun going through the gas and casting a shadow on the gas that comes from the asteroids.

And to finish this blog post with another shot, this one is from a USF commander, briefing the player in the control room.

The control room is the central management for the single player campaign. In it, you can check galactic news, check your achievements, and obviously be briefed by your commander about what’s going on in the war and about your next mission.

Each mission briefing is about 1:30 to 2 minutes long, each with its own animation and voice over, so we are talking at about 20/25 minutes of CGI with voice overs in this. It’s quite an achievement for a small studio like us.