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Shallow Space - a 3D RTS

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Hey I just wanted to start a thread about something me and the team are working on which you might like.

Before I hit you with the spiel it's probably best to just show you the latest development video:

 

So as you might have guessed by now it's a 3D RTS called 'Shallow Space.'

We cite 'Homeworld' and 'Nexus: The Jupiter Incident' as our sources of inspiration but when we examined the gameplay of these two great titles; Nexus as an RTT game with absolute control over each ship and system; vs. Homeworld as an amazing RTS featuring en-mass warfare - we felt that the ideal command experience lay somewhere in-between.

Ships in Shallow Space large and small are grouped into Wings and then Flotilla. Perks and attribute bonuses earned by player progressed Officers and equipment earned in mission will influence ship attributes and available abilities in those formations.
 

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The player configures the bulk of their forces before a mission and gets a certain amount of points to spend. They can pick ships they've preconfigured and setup Flotillas for various tasks, these tasks are further underlined by a 'Class' system which will denote the Company or Regiment the Flotilla is 'borrowed' from granting bonuses to that role. (Examples include '227th Highlanders' (Assault Practitioners,) '178th Pioneers' (Support & Acquisition,) '107th Wasps' (Carrier Command.)

Each of the players Officers grant bonuses to the amount of ships that can be commanded and therefore, the amount of slots to put ships into. The player will get a certain number of MP (military points) to spend before each mission, but they likely won't be able to fill their Battlegroup with the allowance and should instead pick the mightiest of Capital craft with a keen support function the player can then use that support function to gather resources and construct more ships in-mission in a more standard RTS fashion.

Abilities such as 'Short Range Jump' will allow you to instantly withdraw your forces from battle, terrain altering ship modules will allow you to shape the vast arenas teaming with NPC life, into meaningful areas of operations and the heavy customization features will mean the player can play out the mission exactly as they want to, rewarded by many areas of progression including RPG-style character advancement and additional ship variants and modules.

Other examples of diverse tactical choice would include:
  • Missiles/Torpedoes will come in different types for different jobs
  • A wide choice of Carriers and Corvettes
  • Ships can be rigged with different type of weapons (Turret and Fixed) with differing damage types (Energy, Kinetic, Precise.)
  • Blueprints to Hull and Weapon variants can be found in-mission and the game will feature a random loot drop system for the Single-player campaign.
  • Ships can be configured with hull and weapons modules for seemingly infinite combinations.

HeavyAndLightBranded.jpg
^^ Image from 'The Omega Directive' a fleet modernisation program we have going on in the background ^^


In addition to all the customization, the wings/flotilla system allows us to do some very clever things with the AI and the planned Officer/Crew RPG features. The player will complete RPG-like activities and complete tasks with their custom fleet such as collect incidental missions from NPC forces, hunt out enemy fortifications and progress the main quest-line set by command as well as resource collecting, unit construction and all the standard RTS fare.

Along with all this we are modernising the games assets to implement the very latest of technology with PBR rendering and the ability to ship the end game with 4K textures. The game is a single player, campaign driven type with skirmishes, multi-player planned for the skirmish modes at the least and we expect Early Access at the end of October/start of November. Advanced press previews will be available upon request.

The project is indie to the core supported with only the money in our pockets and the folks good enough to preorder so if you do have $15 lying around throw it our way and you won't regret it because you'll get one hell of a game. Edited by mawhrin-skel

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Having had a bit of a two week tidy-up of the code and some pretty successful optimisation, I started working on spawning ships from jumppoints and stations and working on the placeholder shield and hull damage and ship destruction effects. We can expect plenty more fine details in the end, Alex wants to see hull fires and supporting explosions and has already demo'd some stuff to me as he works on an effects palette, I look forward to chucking it into the pot. In the meantime the basics of the sector prototype are well under-way which you can see in the latest vid and we get closer to something playable.
 
 
We really start to get it together as a team as responsibilities are dished out and I start getting realistic expectations of the cost of taking this project to the next level. We also have a 3D modeller join the team and someone else to help assist with the administrative burden of project management and the upcoming Kickstarter, more on that over on the latest IndieDB article which fired us into the Top 100, more cool GIFs and stuff to view too in Infectious Vibes.
 
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Over on the blog I start to elude to the bigger picture where I talk about the latest additions to the prototype and start musing about the wider mechanics in play and hinting at a grand campaign, read up more in Incoming Singularity and 'The Gift' is also brought to a dramatic conclusions and is wrapped into a handy downloadable PDF available over on the blog post The Gift VI.
 
Cheers from the team!
Edited by mawhrin-skel

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The team is focusing on collecting media, quotes and words for the impending Kickstarter. The lead developer muses about the current state of play and we start to look at some early UI mockups. All this and more with new GIFs and imagery over on the IndieDB news article 'Alternate Reality'

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Brian starts to discuss some core gameplay mechanics such as asymmetrical balancing and abilities and eludes to so much more over on the blog's latest article.

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We are sad to wave goodbye to the hosted forums on SpaceSimCentral as we setup our own using the very latest in forum technology. Right from the get-go the forums have become a bustle of activity with suggestions, comments and recommendations both on and off topic - they are shaping up to be quite the wealth of information. Head over, register and get involved.

forums.jpg

Last but not least we have the latest update video 'Frigates' which shows off more of these agile and flexible craft and a new 'Battlestar Galactica' style zoom feature,

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So the crowdfunding thing didn't work out, we gathered round and had a pep talk and came back into the room shooting. We've had to look at what we wanted to achieve and what is likely we will be able to achieve without protracting time-scales, and we have been forced to sacrifice a feature or two as a result but actually we think we've come off far stronger now - read up on the latest IndieDB 'The Omega Directive'
 
Omega1a.jpg

'The Omega Directive' is all about turning the crowdfunding negative into a positive and one of those gleaming positive notes is a secondary 3D designer we have been fostering in the background. This guy has a keen eye for the details and a feature set that is bang up-to-date and having seen some of the shapes and designs coming in now - well we can't wait until we see what this guy will come up with when making some of the larger craft.
 
Get yourself on the newsletter - the exciting stuff will be passed there first and it's become a bi-monthly progress report, don't take our word for it check it out.
 
Omega2.jpg

Mechanically, progress has been sound, with the games core-engine almost completely assembled and ready for an injection of content, and the cogs of that machine lightly greased we progress some of the higher level stuff like the minimap and consolidated mission objectives UI, you can also catch a peek at unit veterancy next to the wings there hinting at the framework for Officer management - suffice to say, it's all coming along grand.
 
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Finally we opened up the game for preorders starting at just $15 and there are lots of digital incentives to increase that pledge. We hope the news will catch on because the IGG pledges have been refunded, we're back to the cash in our pockets and we have our eyes set on a high calibre of visuals and everything we make from that will be piled straight back into the game. Check it out we need help here!!

In any case, progress remains buoyant and I'm pleased to say the outlook for Shallow Space: Insurgency remains very very positive indeed.

James

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of Modding, Level Design and the Latest Action Packed Dev Video!!!

The previous IndieDB article was a little too proud and overstated, time to eat humble pie in the latest instalment that comes in a little early with interesting indications that the project continues to lurch forward at a pace and something else on the horizon...

"...that’s when I got the first indicator that I’d made a mistake. The mistake was twofold I think; firstly blasting another game to get your point across isn’t ever good thing and although I was only trying to polarise opinion on differing game styles, I think I only succeeded in sounding like a bit of a dick."

All and more in the latest article over on IndieDB

Omega6a.jpg

In the latest video you can see that we've started to branch out into questing and RPG-style objectives tracking and prepare to make the area of exploitation much much bigger with some subtle tweaks to the environment (like the grid fading at the edges.) Other improvements are too many to list: Short Range Jump ability, Ship Debris (player suggestion, nice one!) Radar effect, Couple of types of missile, New Missile Cruiser, Macromap (very exciting stuff to come here) Started created props for the levels such as varying sizes of asteroid cluster.

Look forward to us breathing life into the sector with NPC civilian traffic, we've also got the temporary models for the resource collectors so expect unit and facilities construction and drag-drop Flotilla/Wings management on the fleet panel.

Check the latest!!

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Those of you who have been with the project from the start will seen a variety of face-lifts on the website.

It is such a difficult thing to get right, we have a lot of information to present and an image to set about the game and a good website does a lot to shape the vision of the project in peoples minds.

I'm pleased to say that in this latest incarnation we are most proud: Gone is all the clutter, information is presented cleanly in a minimalistic and aesthetically pleasing manner. The site is fully responsive, ready for both mobile viewing and the variety of screen resolutions we'll encounter nowadays but most of all the site is lightning fast; backed by a solid host and ready for that surge of publicity as we approach zero hour for the launch of the Steam store page.

But before then look forward to us turning up the dial on the information flow, we'll be posting regular updates now such as: Snippets of faction history, insider peeks at development, new short story material, screenshots, videos galore and more! Keep your eye's on that prize folks.

Special thanks go to Jim and Annie Groth, a superb development team hailing from Sweeden - they join the long list of people that have worked hard to bring us all a title to remember.

So what are you waiting for? Check it out!
 
NewWebsiteSmall.jpg

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News of Shallom’s attack spreads across the empire, major press on all of the core worlds of shallow space has decided to report on it and news is spreading beyond into the deep space colonies. The faction publications have used it as an excuse to slam the Terran Confederate Navy reigniting old tensions between the Empire and Pleiades and so TCN HQ missives fly between departments as the organisation clambers to regain control of the situation.

Two reports attached for your perusal commander.

ReportTease.jpg

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This looks really cool! I love the idea of a 3D RTS. Well done. I was wondering if any games like this existed... so can your units actually go above and below along the Z axis, or does it just look like that? Because if you can't do flank from above or below then its just not the true 3-dimensional strategy that I was wondering about.

Edited by Arithmos

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This looks really cool! I love the idea of a 3D RTS. Well done. I was wondering if any games like this existed... so can your units actually go above and below along the Z axis, or does it just look like that? Because if you can't do flank from above or below then its just not the true 3-dimensional strategy that I was wondering about.


Hey, thanks very much glad you like it!

Yes the units can go above and below the centre of Z axis - it's a little misleading in the videos because the grid is always level with the selected ship. True vertical gameplay in a 'box shaped' map is quite confusing and a little tiresome, so the maps will be 'pizza box shaped.'

But the units will happily fly in any fully 3D direction to achieve their goal.

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There's a new article over on the blog discussing turrets and projectiles and how they affect the combat in Shallow Space.

Turrets have been the subject of a vast rewrite over the last week, their code has been completely purged and they have been written from the ground up to be both useful and performant in the Shallow Space engine.
 

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But why would we go through all the effort of coding turrets with arc's of fire and attributes? Well the answer lies in the intent to make the projectiles in Shallow Space simulated - so there are no fake effects or trickery and the fate of a plasma blast or cannon bullet is not decided before the shot is fired.

But what does that mean for gameplay? and how scalable is such a mechanic? All answered with a new short dev video for good measure in the latest blog article 'of Turret Theory and Simulated Projectiles'http://shallow.space/turret-theory
 

[video]https:

[/video]

Edited by mawhrin-skel

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