After that I came home and started working on the project, which I've given the (not necessarily permanent) name Libertas. Anyhow I fixed up a bunch of dangling bugs: problems with assets not getting removed on screen transitions, exception that gets thrown when you exit, etc. I also fixed up the collygon collision a bit - due to some floating point error in the engine bouncing doesn't really work quite right. With a little finesse I've got it working, though currently it just inverts your velocity vector instead of realistically bouncing you. Thats not too hard a fix, but its lower down on the priority list.
I never really intended the initial AWSD control scheme to be permanent, but I hadn't come up with any great ideas for a new control scheme. I think I want to make it mouse based, the ships heading will follow the cursor, left click will fire, and the keyboard will still control the throttle. I think this will make it easier to steer. Also I'm considering dumbing down the physics, maybe make the ship decelerate slowly anytime you aren't using your thrusters.
So up until now the only ship in the game was the player, but really thats boring. So I'd like to implement some kind of simple enemy ship AI soon. Realistically, it probably won't happen this week. I'm going to stick to some simple scripted stuff for the demo mission, and maybe throw in some stationary weapons platforms that will shoot at you. One of the biggest issues with the enemy AI is how to make them move, the player continues moving in the same direction once they get going, regardless of how they turn (unless they reapply thrusters). If I use this scheme with the AI ships, it could be difficult to make the ship move around accurately, but if I don't, it will seem like the ships are moving unnaturally compared to the player.
Without getting too ambitious, I've got a basic idea in my head what the demo level will consist of. You'll start out launching out of a friendly station on the map, and get some text cues that introduce you to the controls and direct you to kill some dummy satellites. Being realistic, I probably will only get about that much done, but in the future I want to evolve the mission to let you raid a small pirate base. Really the biggest obstacle is generating the art, I've managed to not do a terrible job so far, but it is time consuming.
I implemented a basic HUD today, the players shield and HP are displayed bottom center, and then a list of the equipped weapons is bottom right (similar to Freelancer). Right now theres nothing in the game to damage the player, and no way to change the weapons, but everything is set up so that the HUD updates itself to reflect the current player status. My next goal is to add a basic object selection system (cycle through nearby stations, nearby ships), and have it point you towards what you have selected. Without a minimap this is going to be key for a map of any size. A minimap will come eventually, but one step at a time.