Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

 
Advanced search

1380562 Posts in 65845 Topics- by 58237 Members - Latest Member: Heatshell

August 13, 2020, 05:38:59 PM

Need hosting? Check out Digital Ocean
(more details in this thread)
TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsSolar War - Turn-based space strategy (Windows+Linux demo out now!)
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Author Topic: Solar War - Turn-based space strategy (Windows+Linux demo out now!)  (Read 6826 times)
Cironian
Level 0
**


View Profile
« on: January 19, 2012, 01:28:31 PM »

Solar War is a turn-based space strategy game.

In the game, the player takes command of the secretly built-up space defense force of Earth (think: an X-Com like organization) in order to defend the planet against an alien force that has set up shop in our Solar System.

A lot of the rough inspiration for the strategic elements came from the Pacific War (WW2): Both sides to the conflict will be fighting over strategic base locations, planets and moons in this case, and try to strike at the enemy homeworld (or mothership as it may be).

I'm going to write a bit more about the gameplay systems in a future update, but for now, here are some screenies of the current build:

The title screen. I didn't build this until a few days ago.



Some views of the strategic map. The map allows smooth and seamless zooming and scrolling, to better give the player a sense of scale. In this game I've just sent a fleet towards the enemy base at Jupiter.



The tactical/battle view. This works a lot like the combat mode in Master of Orion 2.



The ship designer. Once you move a bit up the research tree, you will have a lot of options here. One design aim was that there shouldn't be a single optimal way to build your fleet.



I've been working on this for almost a year, and the bits and pieces are coming together nicely by now. Large parts are completely playable, although still in need of a serious game balance pass.

My current task is to build all the system screens, such as save/load, graphics options and so on. Most of the underlying functionality, like actually saving and loading the game already works, but had to be triggered from the console until now. It's a lot of work, but despite knowing that I'm just putting on 'polish' on existing systems those things make the game feel much more complete.

So much for the brief introduction. More info to come soon, and of course if you have questions go ahead and ask.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 02:09:06 AM by Cironian » Logged

Solar War - Turn-based space strategy
Cironian
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2012, 08:27:51 AM »

Lets talk about diplomacy, since that's where I'm doing my scripting this week.

An important part of the challenge will come from managing the major nations of Earth while you wage war on their behalf. In a normal game, your relations here will have you receive funding from several powers.

Nations will grade your performance according to individual criteria: Some are mostly interested in you achieving offensive victories against the aliens, while others may be more focused on how many officers of that nationality are represented in leadership positions among your fleet, or on how much new technology is developed in your labs.



When you start your campaign, you will be free to choose your alliances. Large and powerful nations will be able to contribute more to your budget and provide more well-trained officers, but they will also be far more demanding of your performance than the minor players on the international stage.

The choices you make at this stage will greatly influence your play style and allow a different type of challenge on subsequent playthroughs.
Logged

Solar War - Turn-based space strategy
Yodhe
Level 0
***


Flying Lasanga


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2012, 08:39:41 AM »

This sort of game appeals to me, and although it deserves some kick-ass graphics to go with it, it is intriguing none-the-less.
Logged

Bunker Mentality - Post Apocalyptic Squad Turn Based Strategy RPG - http://www.justanotherturn.com
Cironian
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2012, 08:50:38 AM »

While the game is still a bit away from completion, I do indeed plan to grab up some graphics talent to make everything look better.

So, if someone reading this is interested in some paid freelance gfx work (either ship/attack sprites or interface skin) and lives in the EU (so I don't have to go too crazy about the tax aspects), feel free to contact me at: [email protected]

And since I'm writing anyway, here's some info on the technical aspects: The game is written in Java, using LWJGL as the base graphics library, with TWL plugged on top to create the standard interface elements (buttons and such).

So most of the interface is created through that library, except for the main map displays which are direct OpenGL code with a few custom shaders slapped on top to draw effects like the smooth orbit circles in realtime.

The game is highly moddable, since it pulls all of the ship stats, tech tree structure, weapon effects and event scripting from a set of XML files. Conveniently, this also makes it much easier for myself to stay on top of the various tweakable elements of the game without going completely insane.
Logged

Solar War - Turn-based space strategy
Cironian
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2012, 09:00:42 AM »

Currently doing AI coding. Soooo many details to keep track of...

Started doing work on the main AI attack planning today. So instead of pushing single units forward on suicide charges, it will now use its forces a bit more effectively:

 - Check if the approximate combat strength of those forces not assigned to some other duty is big enough to measure up to the defenders of our target (say, within 25% of 1:1 odds)
 - If so, start assigning some of those units to an (internal) task force, but stop when we are approaching overkill (2.5:1)
 - Order those ships to a chosen staging base (I still have to figure out the best way to pick one, right now I simply use the AI homeworld for this)
 - Once everyone has arrived there, link the units into a single fleet and send it to its target

There can be many of those task forces at the same time, which in theory should allow the AI to go after multiple player bases at the same time if the player leaves those uncovered by sufficient defensive units.

I think the hard part is going to be rebalancing those things when the strategic situation changes in the middle of preparation for an attack. You don't want to change plans all the time, but still want to be able to stop your units before they fly into a totally hopeless situation.
Logged

Solar War - Turn-based space strategy
Danmark
Level 7
**



View Profile
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2012, 10:02:31 PM »

Looks mighty fine. I'm guessing the biggest threat is your audience abandoning the game upon a maddeningly dull 2-hour long tutorial, one bereft of any useful explanation (an issue that plagues complex games). What are you going to do to get beginners into the game?

It looks like you're going for realism (as much as that's possible for hypothetical warfare). Is that true?

To what extent is the war asymmetric?
Logged
Cironian
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2012, 09:29:43 AM »

Looks mighty fine. I'm guessing the biggest threat is your audience abandoning the game upon a maddeningly dull 2-hour long tutorial, one bereft of any useful explanation (an issue that plagues complex games). What are you going to do to get beginners into the game?

For the very beginning, I made the campaign start with 3 smallish (5 minutes playtime total) preset battles, for a number of reasons:

It should give the new player a chance to dive right into the combat side without having to spend half an hour of learning the controls and building up their initial fleet.

At the same time, those battles allow the player to get a feel of how various types of units and weapons work by trying them out firsthand, like that missiles are very powerful at the beginning but must be conserved for the more powerful targets due to ammo limitations. That allows him to make more informed decisions about his strategy than being confronted only with a lot of theoretical info.

I also want those battles to set the mood for the story. Basically as a small "action" sequence to take the place of what an intro movie would do for a more expensive title.

After that, you have an intentionally slow start where strategic elements are added gradually through research. For example, until you reproduce the alien warp drive, you only have to worry about Earth and the Moon, since the other locations are inaccessible to you.

It looks like you're going for realism (as much as that's possible for hypothetical warfare). Is that true?

Sort of. The game is set to start in the near future with only minor advances (fusion power being one), but with the aliens bringing in their sci-fi tech for you to copy, the game soon becomes more and more removed from that.

To what extent is the war asymmetric?

Humans start out with a low tech level, but a much greater industrial base than the aliens. This allows them to throw lots of weak disposable ships at the problem until they can catch up a bit technology wise.

Then, through the course of the game, the human side will have faster research speed but slower industrial expansion than the aliens, which results in an inversion of that situation towards the end game. There, the humans will have the most advanced ships, but will be able to field fewer of them than the aliens.

The late-game difference should however be less pronounced than the one at the beginning since it's not as much fun having to swat down hundreds of trash units.

Anyway, that overall shift should keep things interesting for the player as he will have to handle a different kind of power balance throughout the game.

I hope that answers some of your questions!
Logged

Solar War - Turn-based space strategy
Cironian
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2012, 05:45:45 PM »

Friday coding means that anything goes. To close out the week I usually step away from any todo lists and do whatever the hell I feel like at the moment.

So lots of small annoying stuff got done today:

 - Made all the popup windows movable
 - While I was there also improved how popups scale to different display resolutions
 - Turned some interface elements invisible before the associated tech is researched (this should make things a little less crowded when you first start the game)
 - Fixed a display bug with officer promotion
 - Reworked replenishment of weapons with limited ammo (it's now much faster when you are stationed at a friendly base instead of in the middle of nowhere)
 - Fixed an evil bug in fleet pathfinding
Logged

Solar War - Turn-based space strategy
Danmark
Level 7
**



View Profile
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2012, 02:34:26 AM »

I hope that answers some of your questions!

Yep, that's plenty of information.

Sounds like a very unusual game. I look forward to trying it out.
Logged
Cironian
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2012, 09:51:22 AM »

I'm now at the stage of silently watching a few people just play through the first two hours or so of gameplay, to see where the interface works and where it has to be changed. That works pretty well, as that phase of the game is basically content complete: All the missing stuff is later on.

So I've been adding helping mouseovers, tutorial popups and other types of information displays to the game. Also, I've changed some things around to save the player a few clicks here and there for the most common actions. Making selections default to something that is OK for the majority of cases and other such optimizations.

New goal: To have the game ready for a somewhat broader alpha test by the end of the month. Let's see if I can pull that off.

Also, I've started actually writing down what I've changed to remind me what changes I need to watch during those tests. Here's the stuff just from the last week:

Code:
Bugfixes:
 - Fixed framelimiter inaccuracy
 - Fixed crash when no mode selected in graphics options
 - Fixed navigation tree not updating correctly under some conditions
 - Fixed the AI researching technologies that should have been disabled for it
 - Disable crew assignment button when it can't be used
 - AI now properly assigns crew to all its ships
 - AI now remembers to include shield generators in its ships
 - Shield/Armor/Structure bars in combat now update more reliably
 - Invalid ship designs can no longer be saved/built (this was leftover debug code)


Enhancements:
 - Added GDP and Population columns to nation overview table
 - Added color legend box to tech tree
 - Show missing requirements when mousing over a greyed out technology in the tech tree
 - Added more free starting officers
 - Improved preselected modules when creating a new ship design, to reduce number of clicks
 - Likewise, when adding a new missile launcher, preselect a somewhat current type of warhead
 - Installer now adds a 'safe mode' shortcut for the game
 - When mousing over a weapon, the game now provides information on its performance (range/damage etc.)
 - Newly built ships now instantly have a basic crew aboard, in case they get attacked right after build completion
 - Unallocated budget is now automatically distributed at midnight since it would be wasted otherwise
 - Hide some more buttons when they would not serve a useful function at that point
 - Added various hint event popups that explain your new abilities when you research key technologies (player can disable these)
 - Added an option to open the detail view for newly built ships
 - If a researched tech has a 'report' text, that is now displayed on research completion
 - Point-defense variants of weapons can now fire 4 times per round of combat
 - Added autoassign/unassign buttons for ship officers
 - Some overall layout changes for the tech tree to speed up the early game phase
 - Added an icon :-)
Logged

Solar War - Turn-based space strategy
drChengele
Level 2
**


if (status = UNDER_ATTACK) launch_nukes();


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2012, 10:10:39 AM »

Oh my, old school space game. With sliders and weapon slots and ship design / construction. I welcome any indie foray into space strategies with open arms. I'll be watching this closely.

Blink . Blink
Logged

Praetor
Currently working on : tactical battles.
Cironian
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2012, 03:43:15 PM »

Busy building a working website for downloads and stuff. Account management, user registration, protected download area and all that. I think this must be the umpteen-thousandth registration page I've built in my life... At least that means I can mostly do it on autopilot.

Boring, but if I want to bring in more people soon, manually sending out download links won't do it anymore.

While I was at it, I also hooked my game up so it would work as an applet on my site. Problem is that somehow the LWJGL applet loader slows my game down by almost 50%; running the same applet code directly without the wrapper doesn't have this slowdown. WTF

I guess it's some stupid event handling detail, but this is not very high on my to-do list. Applet mode was just a nice to have feature anyway.
Logged

Solar War - Turn-based space strategy
Cironian
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2012, 11:12:08 AM »

Back to building interesting things at last.

I've spent some time adding a variety of shot effects for different guns: Various colored and flashing energy beams, bolts and the like. Before this, there was only a single effect for most weapons, so it was hard to tell what exactly was happening in combat.

Like most gameplay data, these effects can be easily edited through a config file. One example:


<type id="protonbeam">
   <beamSpriteName>beam3_8</beamSpriteName>
   <effectDuration>450</effectDuration>
   <flankSteepness>1.5</flankSteepness>
   <numberOfFlashes>4.0</numberOfFlashes>
   <beamWidthTac>0.1</beamWidthTac>
   <beamR>1.0</beamR>
   <beamG>0.5</beamG>
   <beamB>0.1</beamB>
   <beamA>1.0</beamA>
   <beamLengthTac>4.5</beamLengthTac>
</type>


Also, point defense weapons now work as they should. When a weapon is built as a point defense variant, it automatically fires upon incoming missiles. Unfired weapons with unlimited ammo (beam weapons mostly) also take part in this.

Finally, some ease of use for larger fleets: Since you will later on have a large number of units in your fleet, you can now put your older ships under one of two types of AI control and focus on manually commanding your main ships of the line.


Logged

Solar War - Turn-based space strategy
Paul Jeffries
Level 3
***



View Profile WWW
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2012, 02:10:46 PM »

This looks really cool.  There have been a lot of x-com-likes coming out of the woodwork recently but this looks like it explores some interesting new territory rather than just being a straightforward retread.

I've also been playing a lot of Master of Orion 2 recently and was thinking that it would be cool to have a more asymmetric version where rather than everybody starting with the same tech level some races were more established than others and the newer kids on the block had to steal and examine other people's tech to catch up, stargate style.  This looks like it could scratch that itch.
Logged

www.vitruality.com | SPARTAN - Small Pixel Art Animator and procedural tile generator
Cironian
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2012, 01:50:20 PM »

And I just finished the last major feature missing from the tactical mode: Boarding shuttles.



Now you can send troops over to the enemy ship to capture them instead of just blasting them to space dust.

Attacking boarders get a big combat bonus too, since the defenders would be busy running the ship. And even if you don't fully capture the target, killing off some of the enemy crew reduces that ships combat efficiency.

The difficult part is getting your shuttle to the enemy in the first place. You may want to lead with a light missile salvo to make the enemy tie up some of his point defense weapons first, but even so the AI will not make it easy for you.

I still have to work on hitting the right balance in how hard exactly it should be to shoot down incoming shuttles, but it already adds a nice extra dimension to the fight. Plus, a chance at getting your hands on powerful alien guns before you are really supposed to have them should be a great motivator for some players.
Logged

Solar War - Turn-based space strategy
Cironian
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2012, 04:59:36 AM »

Want to play unfinished stuff? The easter bunny has made my latest alpha version of Solar War freely available. Head to http://snipefish.de, sign up for an account and play.

I'll probably leave public access open for a week or so. Have fun and tell me what you think!
Logged

Solar War - Turn-based space strategy
Chris Koźmik
Level 5
*****


View Profile WWW
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2012, 06:45:19 AM »

Difficulty level. You can't make the intruductory battle impossible to win on Normal difficulty setting, that's just immoral Smiley
Logged

Stellar Monarch - fast paced, no micromanagement, turn based 4X space empire builder (devlog)
Cironian
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2012, 07:49:28 AM »

Difficulty level. You can't make the intruductory battle impossible to win on Normal difficulty setting, that's just immoral Smiley

It's not that hard. I win on normal all the time. Evil

Of course, my perception might be a bit skewed after playing through those things a hundred times and knowing every trick...

Those first few battles are still missing tutorial popups. When I add those, they should walk a new player through some of the first steps and explain how to use the various weapons and units. (Here's a big tip: In that first battle, you want to close range with all your units except maybe the missile ships. Your fleet is at a big disadvantage at long range but can kick ass when closer to its target.)

For now, you have the additional difficulty of figuring things out by trial and error, but I'm hesitant to adjust the overall difficulty for that when the lack of tutorials is just a temporary state.

Here's how it should work:
Easy: Can almost be sleepwalked through by a beginner.
Normal: If you roughly know what you are doing, you will win. If not, you need luck.
Hard: Play perfect and hope you don't get too unlucky.
Logged

Solar War - Turn-based space strategy
Cironian
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2012, 12:33:27 PM »

Over the last month, I've mostly been designing and writing content. Lots and lots of content. Shocked

I've found that after a while it gets really hard to come up with new ways to write flavor text for "this is a lazor. it makes teh pew pew! it is better than the one before!".

On the other hand, I'm happy with how the special weapon abilities are coming along: Features like overheating the enemy ship, partially bypassing armor, as well as the various tradeoffs between accuracy, damage and damage falloff at range should give the player some interesting choices.

Also, I'm finally adding in-game tutorials:



These open automatically under the appropriate situations, are non-modal (don't block you from using the game interface) and close themselves once you've done what they tell you.

Unfortunately, having those features means poking into every strange corner of my code and adding special case hooks to the tutorial handler. Wish I'd thought of that from the beginning.
Logged

Solar War - Turn-based space strategy
Cironian
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2012, 07:13:04 AM »

So, rebalancing time. The old hit chance calculation which had been a part of the game from the earliest design stages went completely out the window and was replaced with a much simpler one.

The old hit calculation was born from a desire for more realism in that part of combat. This meant that different possible causes for a shot not landing on target, such as distance, "dodging" the shot by virtue of speed and just jamming the enemy targetting sensors were factored in completely different ways.

This led to nice realistic results, but it was very, very hard to understand for any player. Hell, I often had to spend a few minutes thinking about how far two factors might stack with each other. I often added a new ship module then found that in combination with something else, the ship became near invulnerable to anything.

So, now it's a more gamified system where different factors just add or subtract straight percentage values from a base hit chance for each weapon. The combat still flows quite well with this and I can just list the contributing factors in a tooltip for the player. Say, an ECM module can show "decreases enemy hit chance by 30%". Or a sensor upgrade on part of the shooter can increase the chance likewise.

Sometimes simple is better. And more fun.
Logged

Solar War - Turn-based space strategy
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Jump to:  

Theme orange-lt created by panic