Shot at 2309-04-05
Get 0.1.2 here:
This release doesn't have the manual with it! It's sort of important, unless you like figuring stuff out yourself. You can get it seperately here:
Get compo-final version here:
Other versions:0.1.1Run vcredist_x86.exe in the INSTALL_FIRST directory to install the VC++ 2008 Redistributable if you don't already have that on your system
Also, make sure your video drivers and, just in case, your DirectX drivers are all up to date
Instructions can be found in 'sbc-309a_manual'. Please post in this thread if you have any issues getting the demo running.
Basically, you are a pilot of a massive Battlecruiser (crewed only by yourself, remember, it's The Future) under the command of the Earth Union, and you must defeat opposing craft commanded by the People's Republic of Mars as part of a "peacekeeping operation" in the Mars/Phobos/Deimos system. The weapons of the day are nuclear missiles and lasers. Target your victim with the TGT+ and TGT- buttons, and ARM and FIRE XRSSM-9 missiles at them (range: 400km) to destroy them. You can also destroy them with your M301 laser at 200km or under. However, you're more likely to use your lasers to shoot down missiles shot by the enemy. Press "MISL" by the target screen to target missiles. The enemy can't use its lasers, I am going to playtest whether it's really fun or not to turn them on, because it might just turn into a boring process of flinging missiles at each other but never hitting anything.
It might be kind of hard to orient yourself. Try pitching up and down, and then left or right, and notice what happens to your heading and ANG (angular velocity), and you can probably figure out how the headings work.
* When ships start traveling very quickly in different directions, missiles will fail to reach their targets. You can always go in laser range and blow up enemies with guns.
* Occasionally, missiles will repeatedly flip, and create a sort of cool looking pinwheel effect. If they don't move at all, they tend to wise up after a few seconds and start heading towards the target.
* If you fly several hundred km from 0,0,0, you will notice the cockpit shaking. This is probably due to floating point imprecision because the cockpit is actually treated as a part of the scene, and the vertices, stored as floats, are being rendered... imprecisely.
You can check out the latest version of the source from its bzr repo here:
bzr branch http://nil.cjb.net/arbiter/
For those who want to run it from source, here are the required libraries:
Python 2.5 (feel free to try 2.6)
py2exe (for building, of course you don't need it to run)
Shot at 2309-03-24
Following is the original pitch:
A "hard sci-fi" space sim. You are the sole crewmember of a very large and very powerful spaceship. You are tasked with destroying a series of "hostile spacecraft" or perhaps perform an orbital artillery strike on an "enemy position". The problem is, since everything is millions of miles away you don't gain much from looking out the window and must rely on your instruments to really do anything. These instruments are amazingly complex and tedious, and provide much less data than you would expect from a piece of starfaring electronics equipment.
Your radar only gives terse "blips" with identifying numbers, updates at maybe only 1 or 0.5 Hz, and you have to manually send and recieve IFF codes to determine if they are hostile or not. You have an armament of nuclear missiles, but they must be aimed carefully and you need to remember to open the payload bay doors before firing. Perhaps you also have a gigawatt laser that needs to be carefully charged before firing, and can easily overheat. All the interfaces are in monochrome, and use obscure abbreviations wherever possible (SS RNG 10M KM V -1.05 5.41 0.21 ACC 2.5 G).
If you are performing an ortillery strike, you need to carefully place yourself in orbit (full newtonian physics!) and launch your bombs very precisely. If you hit the target, you don't actually see the result; it's obscured beneath many layers of atmosphere. You are rewarded instead with a terse readout: "PRI TGT DESTROYED. EST 4.5 MDEATHS."
Everything will be presented in full flat-shaded glory at either 320x200 or 640x480. It will be like 1993.
Because of some of the boredom related with travelling thousands of km, I am contemplating having all the gameplay take place within orbit of a planet. Perhaps you've got to fight your way to the other side, where a space station in geostationary orbit must be destroyed. You'd have to fight not only enemy ships, but perhaps even planetary defenses on the surface.
As you can figure from the description so far, the main weapons involved are nuclear missiles and lasers. The lasers can be used in "close" combat, where the attenuation is low enough that the laser can cause serious damage, or be used as a point-defense system to intercept incoming missiles. The enemy fields ships that are comparatively low-tech and weak, so they will either be unable to intercept your missiles or cannot defend themselves if you fire a volley of them. I want to try and balance the simulator aspect with some actual action.