So, we had to change the name, but that doesn’t matter because it was only a temporary name anyway. The new temporary name is Space Game, or Space Cunts if you ask Garry.

New camera, more speed tweaking.

This week I finally got around to trying a new camera/game view. I’ve been putting this off because it kind of undoes all the work I’ve done previously to try and make the game feel fast and frantic. Despite this, I really wanted the game to be more obviously 3D, I think it adds a lot to the game and you get to see more of the (future)cool looking environments. Obviously it’s no good having a cool looking, 3D game, but not being able to see any of the stuff you’re trying to shoot at.

Pull the camera out and everything seems to slow down. Lower it and you can’t see anything. Finding the right balance can be pretty tricky and I’m sure I’ll be constantly changing it throughout development.

I spent most of Tuesday trying a bunch of different setups until I found something decent. In the end I just raised the camera, pulled it back a bit and tilted it forward slightly. You can now see a lot further in all directions, you can tell the game is actually 3D and we’ll be able to do some cool things with the scenery and stuff later on. It looked a lot better and more importantly, played a lot better. Being able to see stuff further away changed the way I played the game quite a bit. But – it now felt slow as shit, like you were flying through mud. Not cool. So I had to change the speed of everything again to compensate.

I made a quick video of my testing. The left view is the new improved camera, and hopefully that should be obvious :)

It’s still not perfect, but it’s better.

New ability – Shackle Bot

(needs a better name) Not sure which class this one’s for yet. It’s fired like a projectile and stops when it’s close enough to shackle something. It can trap multiple enemies and whatever’s shackled can only move within a small radius of the Shackle Bot.

If you’re a good aim and fast enough, you can trap enemies with more than one shackle bot and stop them from moving at all. Perfect for grouping stuff together ready for a big AOE attack. You will be able upgrade the Shackle Bot to last longer and/or do a nuke blast on everything it’s trapped when it dies.

Ability system

Now that there’s a few abilities to play around with, I’ve started fleshing out the ability system and working on some UI for it. I plan to have a completely different set of abilities for each of the three classes. Each class really needs to play and feel totally different.

I’m thinking of having a new ability unlock every few levels and you can only pick about 6 to use at once. You will be able to change abilities whenever you want though, and that should be half the fun, trying out new builds.

I want to make the abilities customisable/upgradeable too. I’m gonna try two different ways initially. One being, every time you level up but don’t unlock a new ability, you’ll get 1 or 2 upgrade points. These can be used in any unlocked skill to pick an upgrade from two or three choices. The other way is to have crystals/gems/something instead of points and have them drop from stuff you kill. You still use them to upgrade your skills in the same way. I think both ways have good and bad points, so I’ll try them both out and see which I prefer. I’ll probably change it all totally at some point and try something else as well :)

Here’s a couple of examples of abilities with their potential upgrades:

This is how far I’ve gotten with the placeholder UI. I need to make it actually set the selected ability to one of your hotkeys next:

New area idea

Megan had the idea for a game level/area set inside of a huge space creature, ages ago. Howie liked the idea too, so he did a concept for it:

To get it in-game quickly, so that we could figure out scale and stuff, I threw it in game as a couple of 2D quads with a parallax effect. The entrance is through the creature’s mouth and I wanted the creature to look huge, so I tried a bunch of different scales.
Here’s a test video of me flying around the outside of it, for scale:

Once inside there’ll be random missions and cool stuff to kill. Mini-mission wise, I’m thinking there could be stranded ships inside that need defending or freeing. That kinda thing. Here’s a concept for part of inside:

Now we just need someone to apply for a job and model it in 3D.

Next week

– Finish ability system bits and pieces
– Make some more abilities!