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Lost Stars- Programming An Android Game From Start to Finish.

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Originally posted on our site HERE.

 

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Building the Tools You Need

 

Lost Stars started as a humble little triangle. At first it could scarcely move around the screen. We started with the basic Android SDK and Eclipse, and built the game engine from there. If you start with a professional game engine (such as Unity) then this stage would be spent learning the aspects of the engine that you are planning to use. For us, we began writing the code to handle the sorts of images, sounds, and events we planned to include in the game. Many of the decisions made at this point in the process carry through to influence every decision you make later on, so the design aspect is critical. The better you plan out your game now, the less you will need to rewrite and rework later. A big decision for us was using a grid based system to track the positions of objects in the world.

 

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It Isn’t a Game If You Can’t Do Anything

Once you have a working framework for the game, you can start building your game objects. We quickly added a placeholder UI for movement and weapons control. Terrain and collision would follow soon after. Our decision to use an underlying grid system made terrain collision exceptionally easy to track (both simple to code, and very fast for the CPU to process).

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The Best Games Have Antagonists

With the most basic elements of the game done, we turned to adding AI controlled ships. The AI went through many iterations. With varying degrees of aggression, accuracy, preferred distances, etc. We finally settled on a set of variables that felt like a tactical brawler. Happy with the combat aesthetics, we proceeded to add plenty of weapon choices and balanced the ships accordingly. At this point you could abandon the project, say it’s done, add some random spawn elements and a kill counter, essentially a survival game. We had bigger plans.

 

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What’s in a Story?

If we wanted to have an extensive story driven campaign, we were going to need more tools! We needed to make a map editor, and a set of tools for decoding our map files into gameplay elements. With these we could quickly and efficiently put together all of the terrain and enemy placements for each level. Despite this, it still took months of work to get every mission built, balanced, tested for errors, and finished. The end result? Over 30 story driven missions. Wavemode and Endless helped the game feel whole, and allowed us to explore the more personal aspects of spaceship brawling.

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Never Finished

With the various game modes done, we turned to polishing. Making everything look and feel the way we wanted it to. Lost Stars has come a long way from the simple little triangle, but it also has a long road ahead of it. With more updates planned for the near future, we hope you will stick around for all the exciting things being added to Lost Stars.

Matthew Parker
Programmer and Creator

 

If you want to see more, check out our website HERE.

 

Or get the free demo HERE.

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