Friday, 28 June 2013

Sneak peek - Resource Icons

It's been a long time since I posted content, for the obvious reasons listed in my last post. So I decided it was about time I released some Sneak peeks at the next update which I'm hoping to wrap up sometime next week.

Here they are, the Icons for the 6 resources in Starbase:

Money, sorta an alien version of $

Very simple, what better way to express electricity that a lightning symbol, has more detail better seen on a black backing.

Very essential, this icon has a neat little transparency gradient.
The symbol for Oxygen... literally, because I ran out of good ideas.

Because corn is delicious :D

And my favorite....
A building block, metallic kind of symbol.
So there you have it, all 6 resources. I also have devised purposes for all of them.

Credit and Ore are your basic Building/Researching materials and necessary in order to progress further in the game.
Credit covers your expenses, and is the basic medium used to exchange Ores, Food, Water, Oxygen & Power on the market. It is also necessary for construction and research, since you have to 'pay' the workers involved. Overall Credit is your basic currency/maintenance and trading resource. You obtain credits through tourism, the selling and buying of resources on the market and allowing merchants to visit your base.
Ores are your basic construction resource. They are necessary for ALL constructions and some research. It can be traded on the market however it's price is always in fluctuation.You can mine Ore from asteroids, Ofcourse asteroids in close proximity to your starbase are a finite resource so later in the game through use of jump gates you can send miners to other systems to harvest Ore from infinitely richer patches of space. Ore is also necessary for repairs, you cannot repair a component without sufficient Ore.

Power is hard to explain, it's kind of like a limit. Your main hub will produce a certain amount of power on it's own but as you build slowly these extra components will eat up your energy reserves. Power Generators solve this problem by producing additional power thus enabling you to expand your starbase further. The more power you have the larger your starbase can get. In addition to that some components like weapons consume larger amounts of power, so keeping high energy reserves for these powerful weapons is encouraged. If you run out of power everything begins to fail, That means construction sites work x3 slower, and food/water/oxygen production is decreased by x4. Ultimately If you don't have enough power you will eventually run out of vital resources needed for survival. Power however is also a commodity you can purchase off the market, like ore it's price fluctuates.

Water, Food and oxygen are your survival resources. Without them your Starbase will fail. If you cannot produce enough food/water everyone on the starbase will starve or die of thirst. Likewise if you don't produce enough O2 then everyone will suffocate. Starbases thrive of a healthy community of civilians who work and live on the starbase. Sorta like a city, and cities need to produce these vital resources to survive. Food, water, oxygen can all be produce via special components. Your main hub will also produce a base amount of food, water and oxygen (though not very much). As you expand and more and more people move into your starbase you will need to make more of these facilities. They can also be sold and purchased off the market, but their prices fluctuate.

So there you have it, resources and how they work. I'm looking forward to implementing these systems into the game. it should make for interesting game play, having to judge all these resources which interact with one another. By interact I mean, like food will require water and oxygen might require water as well, but water might require oxygen in a dramatic reversal... This will all come down to whatever it is you decide to choose when it comes to facilities. Different facilities will use different resources to to produce the resource you want. It's all very confusing but I promise there will be a tutorial!


Thursday, 27 June 2013

What's new?

Well not a lot to be honest. I have been slowly creating graphics for the UI and creating symbols for all the resources. Unfortunately I haven't even begun to code them in yet, not because I've run into another programming issue but because I've run into life issues.

The main reason so little work has been done on Starbase is because recently I received Design work. By trade I'm a freelance designer, and jobs aren't as common as you might think around my area. Since Starbase is a project I work on in my free time it's not exactly a plausible option to lay off work and pursue Starbase in full time development. So unfortunately I must set aside starbase for the next week or so to earn money.

My friends have suggested to me that put starbase up on Steam or Desura and charge something like $3-5 to help supplement my wage. Which is not necessarily a bad idea, just it's not really an option in the foreseeable future.The game at the moment doesn't have an enormous fan base eagerly awaiting the release, so I'd need to do some advertising beforehand. Not to mention the fact that the game is no where near completion.

But that asside what I can tell you is that the In-game UI or HUD (whatever the technical gaming term is) is basically complete graphically. I still will need to implement the programming, but unlike the mini-map I wont be experimenting with new coding so it's merely a factor of time. No images or videos today, just an update on what's happening.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Mini-map is finished!

Yay! I am celebrating a small victory here. If you were unaware this mini-map has been giving me hell and then some doing the exact opposite of what it was suppose to be doing. But that is now behind us because I have finished the programing of the mini-map which is now (from what I can tell) in perfect working order.

As you can see it may need some tweeking here and there. Specifically I will need to fix up some of the mini-map icons and work out some layering issues. But besides that all it needs now is content which I will add as I go. For the moment the mini-map is exactly where I want it to be.

You may have also noticed that the Mini-map is of better quality than that of the rest of the game. That is because the mini-map needed some very precis calculations and in order to get accurate readings I needed to work with the final product. So this officially is the first completed graphic for the Starbase project.

Oh and what's more, you may have noticed the giant floating turds Asteroids! They are randomly generated and will spawn about 6 per map so far. You cannot build over them, you cannot build into them, you actually cant really do anything with them at this time... but eventually in the game I will introduce mining and indeed make it so that larger asteroids can be destroyed using high yield explosives. This may or may not be a risky business in the long run as it will shatter asteroids into smaller chunks. So that means I'll be adding miniature asteroids as well (some randomly generated with no momentum like their larger cousins). But at the moment, all asteroids do in the game is take up space on the map and act as annoying road blocks.

Yes the asteroids current graphics are shocking, but like the starbase itself that system is awaiting a major graphical overhaul. So patience, I will get around to prettying up the game one day.

So now the mini-map is finally down what's next?
-Build/research/resources/menu buttons/tabs all need to be added.
-Main menu, in which I will be adding everything possible ranging from a load, new game, campaign, tutorial, options, and so on.
-More environmental features; Like Nebula and Suns.
-Resources! Can't build a starbase on nothing. So Right after all the ingame tabs and buttons complete I'm moving straight onto this. Possibly may add some components like solar panels, hydroponics, water collectors, Oxygen Recyclers so you can collect resources and actually build/expand. This might mark the end of my TechDev series and mark the start of my Indev series. I may have closed beta testing from that point onwards but I'm very cautious about releasing this game too early. Especially in it's current state this game gets very boring very quickly.

I'm also contemplating an internal high-score. What do you think?

Sincerely TinnedEpic - A Robots Game

Friday, 21 June 2013

HUD and other developments

I've been working solely on the HUD these past couple of days and I have 1 things to say about it...


I think that pretty much sums up my frustrations. In short, things that should be working arn't and things that are working arn't doing what their suppose to be doing.

The idea:
My menu will have 5 basic 'zones'
-Upper left hand corner holds your resources and such in an optional drop down box.
-Upper right there will be a menu button, a small tiny boz to click to bring up the 'save' 'load' 'quit' etc with room for other boxes to fit along side it should I want to add more menus.
-The bottom right will have an expandable inventory with tabs for research so you can upgrade components and new build options (limited by resources).
-In the bottom left is an expandable box for building, which is a simple click and place system (limited by resources).
-Now in the middle of the building and research tabs I placed my crowning achievement, the mini-map. An interactive display that will show your starbase (and it's components), friendlies and hostiles. It also shows weapons fire and damage in the form of red rings. It is interactive in the sense you should be able to click on it and it will take you to that location on the map relative to the mini-map main map ratio.

The Problem:
The problem is that the mini-map doesnt at this time do any of those things. Atm the Mini-map instead of displaying components relative to their positions on the map it actually removes them from the map entirely... so that was the first dramatic reversal. Second problem is that the mini-map is ridiculously inaccurate when it comes to clicking on the map to go to a location (though atm that's a bit hard to judge as well because there is nothing on the mini-map that serves as a point of reference besides the map walls.from what i can gather it doesn't matter where I click the mini-map keeps referring me back to somewhere near the bottom of the map.

At the moment I really want to get the mini-map display working so that when I start working on the rest of the game I can just add them to the mini-map as I go. But the mini-map requires some ridiculously precis numbers in-order to function correctly, 1 miscalculation can lead to the entire screen dis-proportioning. I haven't even begun on the rest of the tabs yet and so far the mini-map has taken 2 days of preparation to reach a stage where it's not working.

 I was really hoping to release some footage of the new mini-map today but in it's current state it's nothing but a fancy graphic. Because the Mini-map needs to be precis in it's mathematics I had to create the final graphics ahead of anything else, meaning the mini-map will be the first thing in starbase that has a 100% complete graphic for it. But that's assuming of course that the mini-map will cooperate with me.

On a little drawing pad I did a sketches of what I hoped to achieve with the HUD, a practical, easy to use/read design:

If only things were as simple as they are on paper.

On a side note I recently came down with a bit of a cold, which has slowed down my work a considerable amount (possibly might be why I cant seem to solve my mini-map problem). I've been sneezing a bazillion times, maybe some of my brain decided to make a run for it.
Either way I'm aiming to get well so work over the next week may be slow. I'm sorry I don't have more to show you at this time, Monday coming (assuming I'm well again) I'll redouble my efforts to nail this mini-map sucker and bring you guys some awesome updates.

Sincerely TinnedEpic - A Robots Game

Also while making the Interface I made these health 'dots' which look pretty cool.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Background & scrolling improvement

So I've made a small number of additions to the game since the last dev video. Namely in the visuals department, I'm not saying i've finally gotten around to the enormous project of mass producing sprite art or anything. It would be immensely cool if I had, but alas that is not the case.

Features Added:
-Component Highlighting
-Background placeholder
-Background Depth

Bug Fix:
-Weird Lag bug which occurred about 1-2 minutes into game play then dissipated.

I decided it might be a good idea to implement component highlighting... It will um... Well it's like umm... It looks really cool. I don't really have a practical reason at the moment for adding component highlighting. Though in the event I end up overlapping components or something similar I guess this will help you immensely by showing you what your mouse is highlighting this what you are clicking.

On top of that I've been working on some background and scrolling code, so the game finally acts a bit more like it should. Previously the camera was fixed, you couldn't scroll around the page or extend your starbase past the edge of the map. So now with scrolling enabled the Starbase can grow significantly larger.

Also with the scrolling code I decided I might add some visual, because somehow staring at a blank starless background sorta was making the little green design troll at the back of my mind throw a hissy fit (Don't you hate it when they do that?). Well either way, there are now basic stars! And what's more these stars also have depth, I took it one step further and decided to layer the background early on to create the illusion of 3D depth. This is really only visible when scrolling, this video shows:

Oh and did I mention that there is now a main hub/bridge for Starbases now? Hub has 8 hard points in which you can extend corridors off. Eventually down the track the main hub will produce base amounts of food, water, oxygen and electricity. 

Component Test Video

But before I go, I just remembered I need to add this to the blog:


Basically before I began this log I uploaded this section placement test which shows you how placing and deleting sections works using the left and right mouse buttons (probably going to change in the future). It's extremely simple, this was about 2 days work. The video shows at 1:20 just what happens behind the scene that allows you to place the sections.
 *Just to clarify now, those are just placeholder images I am using for the sections. Really simple grey boxes, just until I get the basic's down. Once the games in a playable state I'll pump out some high quality pixel art.*

If anyone is wondering I'm developing this game in GameMaker 8.1 Standard. Since I don't have an innate talent for coding and my brain seems to recognize imagery better than text. GameMaker simply makes things a bit easier for me in the long run (and it's the only thing I could afford that I could possibly make games with).

The Idea

Welcome to Starbase!

At least, that's what it's gonna be called at the moment. Starbase is a working titles, think of it like a project name. While it's an accurate description about what this game is going to be able it's not exactly what I am looking for (that and I think someone has already developed a game called Starbase). So moving on from the title debate, which I will figure out at some later stage, you'll probably wanna read more about what this game is about.

Starbase is a 2D stereoscopic Sci-fi/Space game about building and running your own Starbase. My main goal is to create a game whereby players can construct their own Starbases from scratch. You will have to deal with various issues like power output, water production, food production, oxygen production, trade, mining, science and more. Essentially building a space city which is able to sustain itself and become a productive installation.

- Custom built Starbases.
- Advance resource and trade systems.
- Difficult levels based on map locations (eg. Peaceful difficulties when building Starbases in the inner regions 'Alliance' territory, hard difficulties when building outside 'Alliance' territory)
-A.I - Traders, Raiders, Friendlies, unknowns, aliens and more.
-Random Events and Metagame .
-Linear campaign and tutorial, with custom games, survival and sandbox functions.
-Detailed 2D graphics, with 3D Stereoscopic elements.

While this is an arm full of features and planned elements I am by no means entering this project without an plan.

My first task has been to work out the bugs and kinks with the sectioning system, which basically will allow players to create Starbases according to their specifications. Being able to place 'sections' of corridor to shape their Starbases will allow for a lot of creative freedom and strategic planning. From there I'll progress to the UI and get everything working within the game. Once the UI is up I can begin working on resources and survival elements.

So quite a lot of typing, now my fingers have had their daily workout I shall leave it at that. Whew, I'll be working some more on Starbase  tomorrow, right now I need some sleep.