Some bad news

I think this project is shelved indefinitely. I don’t take this lightly. There are many reasons I have worked on it this long. I thought (and still think) I could handle the scope. I thought/think it would be a game I would like to play. I thought/think it would be a wonderful learning experience (and that it has been). I thought I could do it better than others, and that my vision was unique.

Turns out that last one has sort of killed me here. I just saw the most recent developer interview with the guys who are making Starmade and realized that not only is Starmade everything Gravitas hopes to be, but it is already so much more robust and well-thought-out than Gravitas has become in over a year of development.

Let’s be absolutely clear: I’m not bitter, I’m impressed. I’m excited to play it. I’m a little disappointed but I’m happy for the two guys working on Starmade and I think they have a winner on their hands. I wish them the absolute best.

And, to be honest, I’m kind of excited to move on to other projects which are a little less ambitious. I honestly, truly, deeply need to start with something small and not try to make a smash-hit on the first run. It’s not good for my career or my sanity.

I’m sorry if this is disappointing news. I’ll always have the source code here and I may do something with it for those who want to learn how I did a few things (like the planets). But, all in all, I think this is going to be a massive chapter in my development story, in which our hero learns almost everything he knows and moves on to apply it in different areas.

So, for anyone still listening, I think it’s time to tune out for now. I’ll be back someday soon. In the meantime, go check out Starmade. I think it’s going to be really cool.

Oh My Goodness

So much life going on right now. Very distracting. Things are settling out, though, and I may be able to get back into this project. Just updating so you know I still care about the game.

Vacation is over

After two weeks of various ‘vacations’ (which were, honestly, probably more stressful than my day job), I’ve got one week left until school begins again. I think somewhere I mentioned that I hoped to have a demo or something by the end of the summer. Well, sorry, but here’s the straight truth: I won’t. Those two weeks ‘off’ kind of took me off guard, and I lost a little flow on the project due to the interruptions.

The good news is, I had plenty of time to think through a block I was having, so now I’m on my way to getting projectile weapons up to speed. I’ve also decided to put aside my infatuation with doing-everything-myself and use an XNA GUI library (Nuclex) instead of trying to figure out all that mess on my own. If I can get the GUI all fixed up, that’s a HUGE check on my todo list for this game.

At the moment I’m trying to think through some combat situations. As I was adding projectiles to the physics simulation I realized I could include some fun stuff like anti-missile-missiles or anti-missile-lasers which would add some depth to the combat. Still, I want ship-ship combat to be primarily focused on gaining tactical advantage through orientation and positioning, and not as much of a gun-fest. So, weaving through asteroids will fool missiles and block lasers, for instance; or giving your ship a solid metal, shielded underbelly will give you an advantage as long as you always keep the enemy below you where they can’t target vital blocks.

Rock planet and asteroid belt

Rock planet and asteroid belt

Pulled the lever today and asteroids and planets are now officially back in the game. I’m looking into 3D noise to improve their generation. We never really got around to doing much noise work. I also fixed some physics bugs today, and will continue to tweak the engine when I have the patience.

The Rewrite (with screenshots!)

Image

It’s been a while since screenshots! I’d like to talk about why that is. If you missed it last post, I rewrote the game from the ground up.

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Why I haven’t made a Kickstarter

To be honest I thought the wave of Kickstarter projects for indie games might have subsided by now, but it doesn’t seem like it has (or will soon). I remember first hearing about Kickstarter when we began this project. There were– and still are– a lot of reasons I might want to make one. Well, I say a lot, but I’ll be honest, it boils down to two: money and promotion. Doesn’t that just sound nice to a novice game developer tackling a, frankly, altogether audacious project?

Yet, there are two good reasons, I think, to the contrary. Two reasons why I did not make a Kickstarter, and will not at least until the time comes to pay licenses on Visual Studio (a couple hundred bucks, I may not even bother). I’d like to outline a few.

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Getting excited again

Sometimes you just force yourself to work on things you know will be worth it. You set goals for getting an hour or so done a day, just to push through it. That’s essentially what I’ve been doing with this project for the past month or so. Sounds a little depressing, doesn’t it? I don’t really think so.

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