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Realtime MO Space Strategy
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The game test has been complete. Briefly the result you may review here
I made gameplay video for the game:
Latest achievements :)
After some time, planning to start test game party.
I've added video reel with 3D preview of spaceships, which mainly will be used at the battle screen.
">Video on youtube
I was ill last week so there is nothing to tell something new about the game (the only thing - I've fixed the issue with the strobing lazer effect, it was just a bug ). So, I'm laying out something that I made a couple of months ago but never mentioned it before.
This is a refactored Theora Video Plugin for Ogre (available for download), which is initially was created and currently supported by Kreso (from Ogre forums) but I completely refactored the library and fixed a number of threading issues with the library. Yet the theora and ogg header parsing code was done well, the stability and rendering smoothness left much to be desired. This job took for me a week of work.
So, to conclude the job, to test high resolution video performance I've quickly made the ">temporary video.
Final battle screen improvement, all kinds of weapon added, + explosions. Long way of Ogre related bug-fixes is behind (all the job was made for an 4 hours, remained week was spent on Ogre), not all bugs are yet fixed though.
The final update in a mean of visualization of automatic battle. Sounds are yet needed, right meshes for different ships and different lazer/cannon animations. Later, I need to bind all that animations with correspondent ship modules, using Scenario Editor, which, in turn, I have to modify to support these changes. But that's not complicated at all, just building a folder structure and a couple of lines of C++ code.
But what really needs an improvement, to prepare game for an online games/tests by anyone who wishes - a GUI, as I promised earlier. I'll start this week to apply that cute screenshot graphics to the actual game screens. I hope it'll not take long.
Well.. Here it is.
New battle screen view
I've just completed this implementations & video yesterday night and quite happy with a result. In 3D space with such a small efforts you may do beautiful sceneries very fast .
There are a number of improvements: smooth ships animation, meshes refactored (however, no bump normal mapping yet [sad]), twitchings in orientation removed (some still exists, though), reflectance, object flyby mode (with 'shift') and a skybox, of course , which gives 60% of visual impact of all the scene.
Of course there is a lot to do - scene utterly misses lazer & cannon rays & explosions. I'm not even mention about right meshes for the ships (actually, there is a different kinds of ships are taking part - carriers, tankers, fighters with battle cruisers). Next - icons (friend/foe) & statistics information about ships.
After that, I may consider battle screen as being done. Gui redesign is upcoming.
I'm still fighting with proper lighting in Ogre shaders. I've redone Berserk mesh, by manual silhouette outlining, as a result I've got cleaner normal map, however during render there is a still a bunch of unsightly bugs on it. In spite that World Space Normals gave benefits to avoid any addition calculation in shader related to tangent space & stuff, I've concluded that idea with these normals don't worth it, because:
World space normals need higher texture resolution to get same smooth result - but that not the worsest, I guess data amount is comparable with providing "normals & tangent vectors information with mesh data + tangent normal map"
On UVW Unwrap borders of the mesh there are visible darken areas, because normal blends with background. It is solvable by disable antialiasing during normal map rendering, however light fracture is visible anyway in place where UVW was unwrapped. As an example, let's consider ring as a mesh. When you're unwrapping continuous, looped 3d ring surface to non-wrapped 2d surface, there must be a cut somewhere, so along this cut you'll see fracture during rendering, because normals, which was naturally blended on 3d mesh, can't be blended anymore because they're located on the opposite borders of the texture. This issue can be solved in some particular situations by using 2d texture wrapping (for example, I still believe that for continuous mappings, like Spherical mapping, it'll work flawlessly), but generally for complicated unwrapped mesh this is not possible. Tangent space normal maps almost lacks this problem (or the effect is neglible), because they're representing just a deviation from regular 'normal map'.
On World Space Normal map you simply can't draw additional noise, make corrections in Photoshop.
I'm tired to cope with a number of issues & bugs in export software, relating World Space Normal maps. I guess it happens due to infrequent usage of this kind of maps.
Anyway, normal maps issue is solvable. I started to make smooth track approximation by having only 3d points & orientation in point. I was trying to use OgreQuaternion::Intermediate, OgreQuaternion::Squad API, however it seems nobody really knows how these 2 functions are working coupled. So, after observing some twitching weird rotations with my Berserk's, I've read some documents and found SimpleSpline, RotationalSpline classes, which seems hiding from me quaterion spherical interpolation particulars.
I'll try them today.
And the last, I've had to do this long time ago, but better later then even more later . Two new wonderful music tracks for Tachyon Wars, generously provided by Jake=]:
Ambient piano track for starmap screen
Ship design screen track
Here, " target="_blank"> I've released video with new battle video screen.
Added camera flyby, and corrected lighting effect for the mesh. Next step - lazer/gun tracks & rockets [embarrass].
It took me almost a week to work out all the issues with Ogre of wrong light calculation by sampling the normal map . At final stage, after solving a bunch of very annoying (for example, I was struck that my Boost::Asio network library just broke up) but non interesting stuff, I finally came to the understanding that mesh too, exported to the Ogre, has different axes than it has in 3d editor. Additionally, world space normal map, generated in editor, has editor's axes. And normal map itself was greatly corrupted by my wrong, inexperienced low-poly generation & export [totally].
Currently I've regenerated low-poly mesh - it's still ugly but at least almost no buggy lighting with normals - I'm hoping for my artist to generate a bunch of low polys of our ship designs with textures - unfortunately, it's a low priority task. And for now, I quite glad with the result. Let's wait for more improvements.
This is a carrier, which was rendered for the game around a couple of months ago, just I haven't released any results until the client become assembled back again :)
So, now I changed my mind, because release is just delaying due to intensive UI refashion. Client is still downloadable & even playable, however you'll meet some clumsy things in UI at couple of places.
& by the way, this is the Berserk, how it was turned out finally.
We understood, people like red colours.
In parallel, our artist is doing game UI look, here is the draft
Only bottom buttons is worked out in details for now.
Started to redo the battle screen to the 3D, because battle itself happens in 3D space, so visualization must reflect it.
This is " target="_blank">old style battle
And this - " target="_blank">new, started just 2 days ago - exported mesh and applied normal&diffuse map texturing with simple pixel shader. Study the Ogre engine possibilities~~
Ships doesn't really fit to the screen - camera setup e t.c. is still TODO (i'm going to do camera flyby) and the light is rotating around some axis - to show that models are in fact 3d & to ensure that render works.
Here is a compilation of 7 ships, which is already ready for the game.
They are intentionally not a shades of gray, because this is a strategy game & player will see these ships almost always as an icons - so he has to be able easily distinguish among them. However, I'm going to keep some color sets for ship classes:
Big cruisers - almost colorless - for serious appearance
Peaceful - something neutral
Small fighters - colorful, because always small
Please help us to choose the best looking ship[attention] We can't fix upon it.[rolleyes]
I have no idea how to form a votings here, so via comments is okay. Plus you may offer your own ideas too.
GUI designers positions is still available.
Shortly, sample screenshots from my favourite GUI styled games is in the 'package'.
And this is screenshots from the game itself, which I offer to redraw with a new GUI style.
The game data is on place already, all is needed is to change the GUI look&feel, highlight controls (buttons, menus, lists..)
All is acceptable - from ideas, lone controls up to ready sketches. I'm particulary lost myself with GUI & don't know how to help it.
I forgot to mention, that I'm a indie developer, i.e. project is my sole development without any external financing. I've just got a couple of offers where people want to discuss the compensation first. I thought that posts on gamedev.net just imply that offer here is non-commercial.
I can't pay the market prices, but the game is going to continue being developed, so here you have a chance to contribute something for an upcoming game. Game surely will be released because I've spend 3 years already on it - no way back, and honestly I'm very close to the first real beta games - we've already made a couple of play testings.
Hello to everybody again.
I think it's time to start making the game UI [wink]. We can no longer keep this GUI for the game, probably I've reached the psychological limit, when I can cope with this totally unfinished interface, always postponing it on the future. Because so many people are already interested in the game, it becomes difficult continuously say excuses for interface. I want to focus on GUI developing now.
But there is some problem, my artist, in spite of that he creates great ship images, he's unable to create GUI view. And what about me - I probably too.
All we need is some sketch, an idea of how could it looks like. In the package attached you may find current screenshots from the game - I believe the GUI behaviour won't change dramatically, so it is okay just redraw the same screenshots in the Photoshop with new panels & ornaments. Later, following the best sketch, I will splice in on graphical elements and renew my GUI completely.
Simplicity, gradients, a minimal (but necessary) ornaments - this is the key (no rusty iron frameworks please [wink]). Slightly transparent menu backgrounds, plastic-futuristic GUI view.
I mostly inspired by these GUI examples:
GUI feel in Civilization 4 (in package).
Star field view & icons as in Free Orion.
And simplicity & ornaments of bottom panel in Space Rangers.
Star field in Sword of the Stars also attracts me, however I have doubts that we can reuse it somehow (in package).
Additionally, due to introducing sound library in the game, the sound content problem suddenly popped up. I added some temporary music, mostly for reference - I have to remove it later. I want to mention the Infinity-Fantasia music group, which is included in game distrib (resources\sounds\), or one of the you can check from original location. This great music defines the style of music, I would want to have in the game. Plus, button/menu clicks, lazer shot sounds, background noises is needed.
So, shortly GUI designer, and musician help is urgently needed. Any volunteers?
Contact me at: email
After first posts at GDNET I've got a lot of offers from different people. Quite shortly after publication. Because at the same time I've run a game testing session, I was just overwhelmed by the amount of comments and popped up rapid bugs in the client. So, I was quite busy with all of it. Up to this moment I fixed a lot of bugs and added a set of features (for example - battle logs, star aptitude highlight, planet bombing, patrolling, hints, music), tuned game balance..
Now I want to announce a regular update. Distrib became noticeable bigger, due to introducing game graphics (at last we've got off the ground!) for some of the ships and modules. Plus some half-temporary, nice music.
Server is online - feel free to login & check the game.
We've, with my friends, deployed first game testing. Found a lot of bugs & necessary improvements, here is a couple of screens from it.
And this is how battle screen now looks like:
A little bit better than before, isn't it?
I currently stopped server for developing, it will be available soon - I'll make post here when it will happen.
I decided to put some gameplay descriptions, what is currently working, and what is planning.
Game is from classic 4x genre, "eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate", however these days there is no so much strategy game like Master Of Orion. Currently box-office hit genre games monopolize the market: this is MMORPGs and shooters. I heavily missed kind old days, when games asked for brain, not for reaction mixed with boredom. So, I decided to make the strategy game I want.
I have to accent that this is not the "Dream Game" where people usually put everything possible to simulate the world up to the very unnecessary details. I'm properly estimating my possibilities - I decided to deploy the game on stages, with minimum playable features on the first one.
So, Im presenting now the first release of "Tachyon Wars". Gameplay, as I call it, closed, i.e. this is fully playable demo. Currenly it is possible to:
Develop & colonize new planets
Design new ships from hull and modules
Build, fly with ships, load/unload cargo
Research another stars + fog of war
Automatic fleet battles, and even it's possible block the enemy colonies (they're stopping making research and build ships)
What is planning:
Chat, Voice chat
3D battles preview
Empire control windows, statistics & so on
Game hugely lacks of good artists who could help me to make GUI, all icons for science & ship modules & so on. But not only graphics, I need to develop web site with game party management functionality; music. And another good C++ programmer could be very helpful.
Frankly, beta testing is also needed :) Don't hesitate to download the client from the link below and test it on 'sand-box' server - game speed there currently 100 times faster than normal. If you will need some personal account - contact me somehow. It is also possible to start dedicated party with normal game speed to play in and feel the full scale game.
Im continuously developing the game at free time, for example yesterday I fixed some battle field issue, when ships didn't want to fly directly to each other but doubtfully prefered the center of the field. Now it's working. However, in compare to 'graphics effect' based games, the work result is not displayable and battle field screen still looks like this:
Catch up, guys, Im planning to be here for a long. :)
Hello. This is introductory post about game, which Im writing already around 3 years. This is slow realtime continuous (so, game plays even when you're sleep) mass multiplayer online space strategy game. This game resembles "Stars!" popular in closed circle of people.
Screenshots you may see here.
Current game client here.
There is also a tutorial, however comments (frankly, as all web site) on russian language, but game itself on english, I hope. This all is during the developing stage only, it's planned to be multilingual.
Currently Im trying to keep game server running 24/7. Passwords for login to test the client: test/test; psam/123qwe.