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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:

 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go8x7G4NPkA

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.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AGnxIO0BoM
 
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.

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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,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2RjQyW4FOE

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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!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PvUOAfhxZQ

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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.
 

turretarcs1.jpg


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://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ASzuSYJuWM[/video]

Edited by mawhrin-skel

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There are 8 human factions in the Shallow Space universe:
  • The 3 core empire factions with overall control of the majority of humanity.
  • The 3 mighty corporations, nipping at the emperors heels for dominance
  • The 2 subversive authorities living outside of the core worlds of Shallow Space in the fringe colonies nibbling at the edges of the Imperium.
Some of the factions are further split into subordinate authorities or companies, some with Elite units and/or special abilities.

Find out about the first revealed faction; the 'Mineral and Fusion' corp over on the freshly revised Shallow Space blog... here

[Abbreviated: MFC] The second of the major corporations, MFC was quick to follow other corps path to riches through the accumulation of resources in the historic Sol system, however their claim to fame was the construction of a safe fusion reactor, the basis for all future civilization.

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A number of you have requested a breakdown of how the project is progressing in the form of a Roadmap.

We're pleased to say that after a weeks hard work the new Roadmap page is now live! There's plenty of information over there presented in a clear and easy to understand format and the headings in the roadmap section expand to reveal more detailed subheadings and descriptions.

Screenshot-2015-06-30-01.26.48-e14356551


Of course the information provided is just an estimate but do check it from time to time because as well as keeping you informed, it'll also keep us organised and we'll be updating it frequently.

Head over and check out the new Roadmap page.

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New ship model unveiled over on Indie DB in the latest news round-up 'Some Semblance of Order!'

Also covered is a general report of progress, we talk about the reasons for putting up the new roadmap page and there's some fresh media in the galleries showing off the new 'Status Indicators' with ships now able to hide in asteroids and nebulas.

"Work on Omega continues with a Medium Corvette model being unveiled, the artists now report they are ‘in the swing’ but there’s a short break while one of them disappears on holiday for a week. You can view more angles of this great ship over on the blog site soon (Category: Omega) and take a look at the forum posts while you’re over there, plenty of people with some interesting things to say have gathered there."

Check it out!


sspace-2015-07-01-17-58-45-22-cropped.jp

Edited by mawhrin-skel

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plc-logo-teal-reduced.png


New faction up: Pleiades Corporation [PLC] with accompanying star charts over on the blog.

The Pleiades Corporation controls the Pleiades Stellar System, a full ‘core’ system of the Terran Imperium. Settled in 2362 by the presumed lost worldship UES Halifax, the Halifax governors set about extracting mineral wealth from all corners of the stellar system and returning it to the populated twin worlds of Paradijis and Eden.

ShallowSpaceMedCorvettesRearLogo1.jpg


Also some images of our latest Pleiades ship dubbed the 'Medium Corvette' also with a 3D sketchfab view of the model again, over on the blog smile.png

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The perk delivery and ship/officer name collection system is now active!

If you’ve already preordered check your e-mail for an automated message from backers AT shallow DOT space which will contain a username and password for logging into the website.

All ranks have received some bonus stuff right to their portal so do check your e-mail not to mention that we really need those names! So be sure to login and submit them.

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Captains be sure sure to upload those photos via the instructions in that e-mail. In case you've forgotten a hand drawn sketch of a face of your choosing is going to feature in-game!

For more information, see the latest blog post. Edited by mawhrin-skel

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Recent open communications have been intercepted between Samuel Shallom (under the assumed name of ‘SHALLOMATRON’) and other mercenary and pirate perpetrators.

The discussion thread was found on a recent publication of ‘Illegal Refreshments,’ who are the reporting arm of the APF (Allied Pirate Forces.)

Intelligence from other sources confirms a small scale operation is being planned but the location of the operation and registration/type of the craft involved are as yet unknown.

Head over the the blog and read the latest instalment of Lore set in the Shallow Space universe and be sure to checkout the 'Story' category, there's a hell of a lot more where that came from!


ShallomsInfamyLow.jpg

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There's a new post up over on the blog discussing status effects and just how exactly we intend to form the maps in Shallow Space. Obviously we all know space is an unforgiving void but it makes for a very boring play area if we leave it as such, so we'll need to create areas for the Players and AI to hide and take advantage of.

But how will these areas affect the ships and combat? How can we shape the void into a meaningful area of operations? Find out in the latest article 'of Terrain in the Void and Status Effects...'

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An extract from the latest post:

"To further complicate the mechanic different classes of ship will be affected differently by terrain. So a wing of Corvettes might traverse the expanse of a dense asteroid cluster far quicker than a Flotilla lead by a capital ship which has a severe penalty to movement to avoid damage. The player will be able to see the effects of a piece of terrain by hovering over the the representing icon in the macromap after they have scanned it."

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Also, work has been progressing on the Ship Configuration screen. It's exciting to be able to expose more of those variables we've been relentlessly preening in the background and we're further excited by the fact that this forms another solid section of the spine of the game (and it's great fun slapping modules on those hulls!)

Head over to the gallery to check out the latest imagery.

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aim-logo-red-reduced.png


The latest faction blurb has been posted; the Alliance of Interstellar Mercenaries.

AIM exists as an umbrella outfit for those rejected by the conventional military but don't feel the calling of the more maniacal operations of the pirates.

AIM is as a legally justifiable although morally questionable entity subcontracting a variety of services mainly to the corporations. Their only allegiance is to the coin they are paid.

Abbreviated: AIM] There will always be those people who have a ‘certain kind of a skill’ but cannot or chose not to operate in the official military machine. The Battle for the Pleiades System and the resulting ‘Race for the Blankicite’ saw a massive arms race and mass military spending followed by budget cuts and discharges of personnel. Those cut loose found that in the wild west that was the Shallow Space colonies their skill set was very much valued.

Find out more about them here.

Also another ship is born from the preorder funds, the 'Light Corvette' joins it's bigger brother which together form part of the PLC faction line-up. Keep these ships coming by pledging to support us.
 

ProwlingBranded.jpg

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A new Corvette is born from the preorder funds; if you were following the twitter you’d have seen it a little early. This Light Corvette forms the second ship of the nine ship Pleiades corporation line-up.

PLCLightCorvetteFrontBranded-e1437859027


Head over to the blog to see more images and the 3D turntable and if you haven’t already pledge, and help us make many more of these beauties!

ProwlingRearBranded1-e1437859155928.jpg

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Worlds collide in this weeks instalment of lore as we explore Samuel’s involvement in the Gift.

This weeks instalment of lore comes in audio form voice-acted by our very own resident author John Harper, a traditional transcript is also available - both on the website: http://shallow.space/shalloms-personal-diary/

"I have to admit, walking onto the bridge of the TCN Concordia, its captain’s gaping throat gurgling blood over his chair, I felt a sense of accomplishment I have never felt before. It was a hare brained scheme to lift this ship, but Marlon came through, true to his word, and now I feel closer to my goal than ever before."
 

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The latest development video from us, not recommended if you have a heart condition, definitely recommended if you're looking for a kick!!

There's a hell of a lot of new stuff crammed into this one so expect a full debrief on the blog early next week.

Essentially though apart from the obvious Ship Configurator:

- We have the 3D improvements to the UI, spheres show ranges (Green - deep scan radius, Red - weapons radius, Yellow - status effects radius.)
- Status effects (more info) and scan ranges added.
- A new artist makes his mark with some beautiful background artwork.
- optimizations to turrets go in and fixed weapons get a rewrite - both now using completely simulated projectiles (more info.)
- All factions (all 9 of them) now represented as entities in the alpha.
- Drag selection box rewritten to allow Battlegroup formation moves and grouped Corvette wing moves.
- Enhancements to the fleet UI to support drag selection groupings.
- Game ported to Unity 5.1

Crank it up and enjoy!! (I know my hearts still racing...)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj8PEN67868

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A cogent summary of progress over on IndieDB as some more budding contractors join the team and we hint at some of the customisation options that recent advancements bring.

Also catch a sneak peek at the latest ship that’s about to hit our screens, the PLC Heavy Corvette!

“The game engine is progressing at a phenomenal rate, at lot of the stuff I did last month paved the way for this rapid progress so mechanically we are witnessing some of that enhancement as the roots start to bud on the surface. It’s shocking how quickly we are moving towards the ‘end-game’ scenario now with the planned ‘Overlord AI system’ and the Map editor looking pretty close on the todo list.”

Read on in 'Limit of Exploitation'

vlc-2015-08-02-18-51-58-41.jpg

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The latest OMEGA ship model is up for show; a 'PLC Heavy Corvette' joins the three ship line-up.

HeavyAndLightBrandedReduced.jpg


A 6 man ship with 4 medium fixed weapons mounts [FW-M] and a medium [M] turret point, these craft normally form the pointed end of QRF (Quick Reaction Force) response to an incursion.

PLCHeavyCorvetteSideBrandedReduced.jpg


This puppy is 2.5x the size of the Light Corvette, so you can imagine how big its carrier is going to be!

PLCHeavyCorvetteTopBrandedReduced.jpg


View the 3D turntable over on the blog.

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