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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingSpace sandbox cube fun [new video 2012-04-20]
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Author Topic: Space sandbox cube fun [new video 2012-04-20]  (Read 11545 times)
zoq
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« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2012, 12:49:27 PM »

Nice ! So no real objective, like in MC ?
Going from planet to planet, mining elements to build bigger ship...
At least you need some threat !

The gameplay ideas are still quite tentative, but most likely there is no real ending. There may be a way to "win" akin to Dwarf Fortress and Minecraft, but there is no need to trigger that if the player does not want to. In the first stages at least there will be no win condition.

In addition to mining and crafting I plan to add trading, pirating (and pirate hunting) and probably some way of taking territory by force. Defending your own territory may or may not be in, depending on how it feels (as of now I think "nope").
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peous
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« Reply #41 on: April 17, 2012, 01:03:47 PM »

Nice. Because one of the best things in MC, from the beginning, was building the day & defending/hunting the night Smiley
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aurasprw
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« Reply #42 on: April 17, 2012, 09:58:01 PM »

So who "are" you? In minecraft you are a person. Are you a ship in this game? How do you manipulate objects?

I suppose I might compare a game like this or minecraft to 3D paint. In minecraft there is a somewhat visceral sense that you are the one building your monuments; in this game, I don't imagine I'd get that feeling.
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zoq
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« Reply #43 on: April 17, 2012, 11:25:30 PM »

So who "are" you? In minecraft you are a person. Are you a ship in this game? How do you manipulate objects?

I suppose I might compare a game like this or minecraft to 3D paint. In minecraft there is a somewhat visceral sense that you are the one building your monuments; in this game, I don't imagine I'd get that feeling.

You are a person, who can control ships, but who also can walk around the ship and so on. Avatar-based object manipulation is normal (like in every 1st person game), but mining is probably done with short-range lasers instead of picks.
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aurasprw
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« Reply #44 on: April 18, 2012, 09:05:01 PM »

So how do you switch from viewing yourself inside the ship to outside the ship?

Also, are you supposed to be realistically scaled to fit in your ship? Because that would tend to make building a ship a lot more work than the original model seems to indicate, unless you're manipulating blocks several times your size.
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zoq
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« Reply #45 on: April 18, 2012, 11:03:01 PM »

So how do you switch from viewing yourself inside the ship to outside the ship?

There will (probably) be no "outside the ship" view. In the simplest case of a fighter cockpit, even when you control the ship you only see what the character sees from where s/he is. For larger ships, one should additionally be able to install "cameras" to the hull and view their feed.

To switch from controlling your character to controlling a ship, the easiest way is probably some "control panel" block that needs to be activated. Additionally, I am considering a possibility where the character would need not be in any given place in the ship but could control the ship just with the spacesuit. In this case, there would be a special key that switches between controlling the character and controlling the ship.

Quote
Also, are you supposed to be realistically scaled to fit in your ship? Because that would tend to make building a ship a lot more work than the original model seems to indicate, unless you're manipulating blocks several times your size.

Yes, everything is supposed to be completely to scale. Building large ships is obviously more work than building minimal-size fighters like the one I've been using in the videos, but the ASCII system was selected specifically because it should be very fast even for large ships, thanks to the awesome power of copy/paste. However, I have several ideas to make large structures faster to build with the ASCII system (superblocks and simple macros), but they are at the moment quite far ahead in the todo list.
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peous
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« Reply #46 on: April 19, 2012, 02:05:09 AM »

Found this recently : Scrumbleship

Project IndieDb page
http://www.indiedb.com/games/scrumbleship

Building a ship




Some video of player moving inside the ship


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zoq
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« Reply #47 on: April 19, 2012, 01:35:38 PM »

A new update! I finished minecraft-type block removal and addition ("mining" and "building"). Video:

. Next up, avatar movement and gravity.
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Garthy
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« Reply #48 on: April 19, 2012, 06:36:08 PM »


Looking good, I hope that things continue to go well. Smiley

..

On the topic of viewing and controlling, if one aspect of your initial design was that you had a selectable viewpoint that could be changed (which defines where your camera is located), and a selectable entity that was being controlled, and they were not necessarily tied together in any way, then:

- You could start controlling your avatar, with the viewpoint attached to your avatar, letting you wander around.
- You could select a control block of some sort (as you mention), which would switch your controls to ship controls, and your view to external ship cameras. Your avatar would just remain standing still, as your controls are no longer attached to it. Mind you, you would move with your ship.
- Hitting something like escape might automatically switch control and view back to your avatar, meaning you interact with things as long as you like, then you can wander off and do something else.
- You could select a screen block, and your control might be set to switching cameras, and your view going between different cameras that you have installed as you hit certain keys.
- You could do cool things like go into a lander, switch control to the lander, visit a planet, return, then swap back to your avatar, go to your main ship's control room, pick the right block, and be piloting your main ship again.
- You could switch to a third person view as well, even if there isn't a real in-game justification as to why you should be able to. Wink
- You might even have some sort of wrist mounted control, so that you could pilot your ship, even if you weren't on it.
- With block building, that could be something you do yourself, or you could send a drone out to do it. It would just be something that certain entities could do. As such, you could be safely snuggled up in your control room, remotely controlling a drone, which was repairing your ship. If a passing fighter shot it to pieces, you might snap back to avatar control, but it wouldn't be an instant game-over. Of course, if your ship was destroyed you might not fare so well.

All based of the simple initial idea of having the concept of an independent view that can be attached to things, and the concept of an object you are controlling at the time, with your avatar just being one of the things that you could be controlling, or could be viewing from.

Anyway, I thought I'd throw that out there as an idea. I think that you're thinking of such a mechanic anyway, but I thought I'd mention it just in case. Just a little design idea that might open a heap of possibilities later.

Good luck. Smiley
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zoq
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« Reply #49 on: April 19, 2012, 10:48:33 PM »

What you described is more or less the plan, apart from the drone idea that I hadn't thought about, but which is absolutely fantastic! Remote control entities may need to have a restricted range, or maybe not.

I can see remote control droids being very useful in preventing player character deaths as well as being able to be smaller (because individual entity's blocks can be of whatever scale instead of the standard ship scale of 1 meter), which enables movement in places that the player can't fit, which then can be very useful for example for maintenance or sabotage.
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Garthy
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« Reply #50 on: April 19, 2012, 11:21:57 PM »

I'm glad you liked the suggestion. After a hard days mining, I know I'd rather be kicking back in the control room, guiding a remote drone to do the repairs, rather than pulling on a spacesuit and doing it myself. Besides, space is dangerous, who knows what could happen outside. I'd rather stay nice and safe in a solid metal enclosure. Smiley

From a technical point of view, your drones may be just the same as the player avatar- eg. they can move around, place blocks, have similar mechanics to a spacesuit, and so forth. I imagine there would be certain exceptions too; for example, your drone probably wouldn't interact with ship consoles like you can.

From a gameplay point of view, they might be quite different of course. If you lost a drone, you've essentially lost the resources you used to build it, so there's still a sense of loss if something goes wrong- it's just not as big as an instant game over. If you lost your player avatar, that might have much larger consequenes.

Down the track, you might even add different attributes to drones, ie. they might have different capabilities, be better at certain tasks, can build/mine different things, and so forth.

I'll leave out the suggestion of AI-controlled drones as well, but if things turn out well, who knows what the future may hold? Smiley
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peous
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« Reply #51 on: April 19, 2012, 11:40:34 PM »

Good idea !
You build jour own drones using same blocks as other things, launch they from you main ship and then remote control they, for example to launch an attack or go mining in dangerous areas.
Moreover, there would be technically no difference between your drones and others ships !
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zoq
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« Reply #52 on: April 19, 2012, 11:52:25 PM »

Down the track, you might even add different attributes to drones, ie. they might have different capabilities, be better at certain tasks, can build/mine different things, and so forth.

I'll leave out the suggestion of AI-controlled drones as well, but if things turn out well, who knows what the future may hold? Smiley

The only way that is consistent with the rest of the game is that the drones are completely customizable at the block level. This also gives a natural implementation for different capabilities. I don't want that players are restricted by my imagination of what kind of drones there should be. That said, block-level customization does not mean that everything is slow to add - eventually I (or the community) will provide some basic blueprints for people who do not require a high level of customization.

You know, I would really really really like to promise movement AI, because any other enemies than just floating cubes will require it. However, AI that can move effectively by controlling arbitrarily placed and directed engines (and nothing else) is a bit tricky to implement. As it happens, I have done a robotics-related research project in the past that should be helpful (in a non-obvious way). The timetable is completely open (read: probably after most other basic gameplay components), but it is something that I'd really like to add.

The other option (and probably the first step for the true solution) is to restrict the AI to pre-defined engine configurations, after which everything becomes "just" the matter of controlling a 6 degree of freedom Newtonian body.

I am not considering a "cheating" AI at all, unless it is the absolutely only way. The AI has to obey the same rules of physics than the player does.

Edit :::

Good idea !
You build jour own drones using same blocks as other things, launch they from you main ship and then remote control they, for example to launch an attack or go mining in dangerous areas.
Moreover, there would be technically no difference between your drones and others ships !

Exactly! A drone is just a (possibly smaller) ship that doesn't have crew on-board and that can be controlled remotely. For gameplay reasons there might need to be drawbacks for remote controlling, otherwise it would make no sense at all for the player to ever jump in a fighter themselves, but regarding the game tech there is absolutely no difference.
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peous
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« Reply #53 on: April 20, 2012, 12:38:04 AM »

You know, I would really really really like to promise movement AI, because any other enemies than just floating cubes will require it. However, AI that can move effectively by controlling arbitrarily placed and directed engines (and nothing else) is a bit tricky to implement.
In fact it's quite easy. Check this article:


The physical ship


It can transpose easily in 3d.
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Garthy
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« Reply #54 on: April 20, 2012, 01:00:58 AM »

The great thing about the type of game you are making is that there are so many directions you could take it. In fact, the choices you make will likely be the thing that makes your game unique.
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zoq
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« Reply #55 on: April 20, 2012, 05:21:03 AM »

In fact it's quite easy. Check this article:


The physical ship


It can transpose easily in 3d.

That approach is actually very interesting. However, I'm a bit worried if there will be complications if the ships are asymmetrical. Also, I don't think that it guarantees the most effective solution. For example, when you want to go forward you might fire also the strafing motors.

Example:
Code:
XX
XX
XX
XX
LR
DD

"Forward" is up, X is a generic structure block, LRD are engines pointing to left, right and down. The 170 degree arc from the center of mass would fire also the LR engines, which can waste fuel (if that is in the game). Also, if either L or R is destroyed, there would be unwanted rotation.

That said, the method is so very effective in its simpleness that I really need to really consider if it can work.
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peous
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« Reply #56 on: April 20, 2012, 05:55:07 AM »

You are exactly in this case. You want to go up/forward, you have a thruster on the left and another on the right, and two at the bottom.

So no, you don't power side engines (they are useless to go forward). Their output vector is not within the angle cone.

About asymmetry, it's true. Even for a ship like
Code:
X
DD
you fire the two thrusters and you'll have an unwanted rotation to the left, because the mass center is a bit on the left.
BUT
then your AI sees that you need to turn right to face your destination. So it fires the left-rear thruster only, and goes back on the good axis. Then the two thrusters... and so on. So the ship will go a bit to the left but will keep good way to its destination.

I tested it on my (2d) game and it works, even with really strange ship structures !
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zoq
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« Reply #57 on: April 20, 2012, 05:57:12 AM »

The great thing about the type of game you are making is that there are so many directions you could take it. In fact, the choices you make will likely be the thing that makes your game unique.


This is true, and something why I'm not so worried about the fact that there are several similar-sounding indie games in development. Even if we restrict ourselves to discuss only the ones with voxels (Blockade Runner and ScrumbleShip), I would be surprised if the actual gameplay mechanics turn out to be at all similar to each other.

As a comparison, there are radical differences between, for example, Deus Ex, Counter Strike, Swat 4 and Alan Wake, even though all of them are about a person on the Earth who can shoot other people with a gun.

The spaceship simulator genre has been silent for such a long time that I actually think it's beneficial for all of the developers that there are lots of these games in the making (possibly apart from notch, who is guaranteed to get enough attention regardless).
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zoq
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« Reply #58 on: April 20, 2012, 06:00:33 AM »

You are exactly in this case. You want to go up/forward, you have a thruster on the left and another on the right, and two at the bottom.

So no, you don't power side engines (they are useless to go forward). Their output vector is not within the angle cone.

About asymmetry, it's true. Even for a ship like
Code:
X
DD
you fire the two thrusters and you'll have an unwanted rotation to the left, because the mass center is a bit on the left.
BUT
then your AI sees that you need to turn right to face your destination. So it fires the left-rear thruster only, and goes back on the good axis. Then the two thrusters... and so on. So the ship will go a bit to the left but will keep good way to its destination.

I tested it on my (2d) game and it works, even with really strange ship structures !

My apologies, I read the article so that the thruster position and not its direction was the deciding factor.
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peous
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« Reply #59 on: May 08, 2012, 02:57:40 PM »

Any news ?  Huh?
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