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Novarunner's Home Videos II

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">Here is a YouTube clip of the current build, because HopeDagger asked for it. I've actually made a few fixes since then to the HUD, but nothing that you'll really notice.

Interesting features:
  • Note how utterly uncontrollable this game is, even after I've been working on it for nearly a year and a half. It's depressing that the fundamentals are so broken and I still can't figure out how to make it better.
  • Stuff is still pretty barren.
  • The "destroyed ship" lightning ball emits a really annoying noise which I luckily dampened with the soundtrack.
  • Twitter integration is disabled in the Windows version since libcurl's internal zlib keeps trying to conflict with the one that SDL_image expects. [rolleyes] I don't know if I'll have this fixed for release; the Twitter stuff is a gimmick feature that nobody will use.
  • The mouse controller is a real pain in the ass; I kept bumping it accidentally and sending the ship into a tailspin. I still do this occasionally on the Mac build and it drives me insane. I am going to go disable it right now.
  • Windows Movie Maker crashed at least 50 times trying to put this simple clip together. Microsoft seriously must have monkeys in whatever department bolted that code together.
I hope you at least enjoy this look; I'm going to take a bit of time to sit and really think if I want to officially release this and have it attached to my reputation, or just cut my losses, push it out as a "prototype game"/learning experience and then get to work on Afterglow. I know which one I'd prefer.

Edit: I'm strongly tending towards shelving the game, because there's nothing special here; I burned a year figuring out the quaternion math; while it works perfectly, it turns out humans can't really deal with rotation in 6DOF and I can't figure out how to fix it other than with nasty hacks. It makes the game virtually uncontrollable, as does the acceleration control system I've picked.

I've spent tons of time working around this problem by giving the player consistently more powerful "noob weapons," but even the ECM attack is impossible to pull off smoothly against even an idle, neutral ship.

Realistically, I should've shelved this in the first couple months of development. I think what I was looking for was a chance to redeem myself for what I did wrong with Sunrise, and I did that, at least. There's almost a game here -- but I've spent so much time working on the broken fundamentals there's no substance to redeem it. I was in denial and trying to convince myself that if I just poured effort into it and forced myself to keep going, the basic gameplay situation would be fixed.

The trading, combat, cargo, upgrade and other shop features are remarkably weak and are missing features even found in Elite. The only component of the game that works reasonably well is the data layer.

There's still so much front end work to do -- the new game configuration, key binding and preferences menus, polish of everything to make sure things fit up properly. All to configure a clearly broken game. I don't really have content, either -- two chassis models donated by Napkins, and a handful of systems with uninteresting differences.

I just don't think I'm going to be able to fix the problems with this game. It's probably better to go on to something else and maybe come back to space RPGs later... next time definitely on a 2D plane. I want to do Afterglow, and I have to do it -- I think I can top Glow and maybe even get some exposure.

Perhaps I'll feel differently in the morning. It stings to get rid of this much work because the very basic feel is so utterly wrong.
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I'm convinced full 6DOF movement with Newtonian physics requires a really helpful flight computer and user interface for it to be anywhere near controllable. I-War 2 did it right (awesome game, btw), but it's far from trivial to get it right, and probably requires a ton of AI and GUI code.

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If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. Nothing wrong with shitcanning a project if all it's going to do is waste more of your time. Conceptually, 6DoF is awesome; practically, it's a pain in the ass. I remember pouring about 150 hours into a cheesy 6DoF space-maze game, and coming to essentially the same conclusion: without hacks or a whole lot more work, it wasn't going anywhere.

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Naturally, it's up to you. I felt pretty similar about Membrane Massacre during its development more than once, "all you do is fly around and shoot enemies that barely even fight back, and all look the same" [grin], but I stuck with it until the end and I'm very happy I did. Maybe you do need to cut your losses and walk away from NR, but maybe sticking with it that little distance that's left and releasing it is really worth it. We're all rooting for you no matter what direction you take. [smile]

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It's sad to see your motivation taking a hit. If you really think it's broken than move on (I know I've been waiting for Afterglow since I was in diapers) but I hate to see novarunner go off the radar.

Nothing wrong with re-evaluating your priorities :D

edit: I second the naruto mmorpg, I'll help... let me go draw pictures.

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