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

Login with username, password and session length

 
Advanced search

1393804 Posts in 67109 Topics- by 60086 Members - Latest Member: Moto1

August 05, 2021, 03:03:52 AM

Need hosting? Check out Digital Ocean
(more details in this thread)
TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsExecutive Star (OUYA)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Executive Star (OUYA)  (Read 8984 times)
James Coote
Level 1
*


Spoon Thumb


View Profile WWW
« on: January 12, 2013, 05:38:44 AM »



Welcome to Amelia - A planet rich in natural resources.

Your company has been contracted by Amelia's owners to extract precious minerals from its abundant deposits. Use your business acumen to exploit Amelia's wealth of natural resources and build a thriving industrial colony. Flex your financial muscle to out-compete rival mining conglomerates and wrest control of the planet.


Aim

Players compete to build up mining colonies on a far-future planet. The bigger the colony, the more "influence" the player has with Planet Amelia's corporate owners. Gain enough to be granted exclusive mining rights to the planet, and win the game

Style

The game is like a board game but played on a sphere, (to represent the fictional Planet Amelia), which I've tiled with hexagon (and a few pentagons) to create a unique surface that adds extra dimensions to the usual flat board games. I've tried to take the all the good design principles of a well constructed board game and apply a unique setting as is only possible with a video game.

OUYA Exclusive

I'm making this an OUYA exclusive game, with the aim of being a launch title when the console comes out in June this year. I may bring it to android or other android consoles later, but it is really designed to work with 4 friends sitting round a TV rather than 4 friends huddled round a tablet or 4 people trying to play over the internet in real time (I have no skills at network programming Tongue)

Notes

I should have started a dev log and updated it as I went, but instead you'll get the full story of development up till now in one go, then I'll post updates regularly from now till launch

Martian Settlers was the WIP title of the game. I've now settled on Executive Star

Teaser Trailer


Finally got round to making a teaser trailer. Enjoy!


(Will open youtube)

___

History

Back in October, my current game project was dragging on and looking like it would never get finished. I'd made a lot of mistakes in the early design and they were all coming back to bite me on the ass. I'd signed up as an Ouya developer and decided to start a new game for that, in time for release of the Ouya in March

Around the same time I went to GameCity festival in Nottingham and heard Quintin Smith enthuse about board games and how board game design could be used to make better video games. I'd been thinking it would be cool to do a civilisation style game, but set on a globe instead of a flat board. However, thinking about the feature creep and scope issues of my last project, it didn't make sense to do a whole big strategy game, but rather a board game with simple rules that could be quickly learned (and more importantly, quickly implemented)

Prototype Phase

To test this, I decided to do a quick prototype. Basically I would create something similar to a well known board game, but set in space / in the future. A week of coding and some awesome MS paint jobs later and my suspicions about board games were confirmed; with their concise and clearly defined set of rules, they were the way to go



Spherical Thinking

Then I discovered an image that reignited my interest in the spherical board/map idea again. Essentially, a way to tessellate a sphere using hexagonal 'floret' patterns (with a few pentagons mixed in)



Having learned the lessons from previous projects, I gave myself a week to find a solution before I moved on. After some searches on the internet into how to recreate this pattern, I slapped a post on stack overflow's maths site on the off chance, and continued with prepping my graphics engine for a 2D board

The solution that came back on SO was not a complex mathematical formula as I'd been expecting, but was in fact remarkably simple (on the surface):



Take the 2D tessellation and create an equilateral triangle between the centre of three florets, then apply that to the triangles of an icosahedron

By Hand

Looked easy enough, but I needed the vertices of each floret as I was going to use them as tiles for the game. So I created a series of helper programs that in steps, allowed me to manually build up the sphere.

1. Make the 2D tessellation

The floret pattern can be divided up into triangles easily



By specifying only the vertices in the triangle area, I managed to get a 2D floret pattern



2. Mapping 2D to 3D

Next comes the hard part: mapping the 2D vertices onto 3D triangles. I did this using quaternions, which I had previously implemented for another project. The idea would be to take one 'edge' of the 2D floret and rotate it to match the edge of the target 3D triangle.

Then I rotated the plane of the 2D floret to match the plane of the triangle:



3. Flipping and Mirroring

Next I wrote everything into an .obj file and imported it into blender. Some of the rotations meant the patterns were inverted or mirrored (plus some had just plain failed for whatever reason. My maths wasn't good enough to debug it).

So I manually flipped, mirrored and in some cases duplicated to fill holes until I ended up with this:



4: Stitching it together

Next, I had to stitch the individual patterns together. In some cases I had to create new edges, subdivide them and then create a new face from that to fill in the holes. Other places it was just a case of merging overlapping vertices:



5. Numbering

Each tile had to have a unique number so that I could identify which ones were neighbours (and so work out when players could move to adjacent tiles). This meant texturing each with a unique texture to represent its number, that I could then parse in my program



6. Spherify

Finally, I could load all the vertices into a helper program and spherify them. This was easy, as being a 1x1 icosahedron with an origin at 0,0,0 to begin with, each vertex was a vector from the origin. All I had to do was create a vector object using the vertex x,y,z coordinates, normalise it, and the normalised x,y,z of the vector was the new spherified vertex!



I also added some mocked up UI on this screenshot. Well all of that took more like 3 weeks, but I got it done before Christmas holidays, so I'm happy :D

Textures

I quickly made up some textures to represent different terrain types. They are actually photoshopped from a real image of Mars. Satellite images of deserts on Earth, which I had originally intended to use, all have some sort of copyright protection or are low resolution

However, all the images from Mars Express Orbiter and a couple of other Martian satellites are free to use in commercial applications (with attribution).

I got mine from a slideshow of highlights on the Nasa site in the end, but there are a few other sites that also host either the entire mission data (including all those high-res images of Mars) or host other selections



I'm currently working on finding some artists to do stuff for the UI and icons, for concept art, textures and various other things that I can't do myself

Dividing tiles

I'm currently working on the relationships between the tiles, getting tiles to highlight when selected or change colour depending on ownership. Once that is done, I can get onto the meaty gameplay stuff that is going to really make the game fun to play

TL:DR

Local multiplayer board game, set on a sphere, scifi theme, for the Ouya. Let me know what you think! I'd love to get some feedback or criticisms
« Last Edit: April 16, 2013, 06:23:45 AM by James Coote » Logged

Crystalline Green - Android Games Developers
happymonster
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2013, 06:03:26 AM »

Very interesting post, thanks for all the detail! Smiley
Logged
James Coote
Level 1
*


Spoon Thumb


View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2013, 02:01:03 PM »

I found an artist to do some cool pictures to represent mines, factories etc in game today, but one of the things he asked was if the game had a story?

I decided to write up a fictional news article to give my artist a sense of where I was coming from theme-wise, as well as possibly use as some marketing material or extra fiction stuff to flesh out the world.

Here is the result:

Quote
InterStellar Business Tribune

Orion Cloud: Friday 1st March 2552
By James Coote


The recent trend for enhancing static asset returns management was continued today as TianJiang corporation became the latest investment fund to jump on the bandwagon.

After their recent acquisition of the planet Amelia in the Orion-24FF8 system, TianJiang today announced the first round of resource exploitation tenders, which included successful bids from all of the big four mining conglomerates. Infrastructure building is expected to commence immediately, with speculation that mining operations could follow as soon as next week as the scramble for resources in the increasingly competitive mining sector continues to heat up.

It has also been widely reported that the big four will each place one of their ‘new generation’ executives to take charge of operations. The executives were brought in on the back of recommendations made in the final report issued by the Federal Trade Authority’s fair practices panel into the Fedora Scandal of two years ago. However, they are seen by many as still needing to bridge the trust-gap with shareholders, who will be expecting maximum returns for their mining rights bond holders. Proving value, in what most analysts agree is a challenging business environment, will be tough at best for the executives.

Their job isn’t made any easier by Amelia’s status as a category F4-T planet. That’s the mining industry jargon for a planet being terraformed for eventual human habitation. The process takes decades, sometimes even centuries, and traditionally, planet owners have sought to offset costs and maximise the interim revenues by offering colony rights to pioneer groups willing to settle the planet before it is naturally habitable.

However, the recent fall in the cost of environmentally sustainable mining techniques has made previously uneconomical mining methods once again viable. This has allowed owners to instead auction off mining rights, and not worry about pollution and harmful waste upsetting the terraforming process.

What this means in practice is that mining operations will be strictly limited under the terms of tender to surface-bound technology. No orbital mining lasers to upset the delicate balance of the developing atmosphere. Nor will nanobot mining be allowed so as not to interfere with the micro-organic matrices that are slowly creating a fertile soil base.

The new executives will be boosted however by TianJiang’s hinting that exclusive, planetary wide mining rights may be on offer to the company most capable of delivering results.

Planet Amelia represents a golden opportunity for one executive to become the rising star of their corporation, but inevitably, it will come at the expense of others. We will be watching closely to see how the competing operations perform over the coming months to see who will become the new Executive Star

I posted up the article for comment and criticism on the SFFChronicles forum, which generated some useful feedback

On the technical front, after a number of days concentrating on the OUYA Create jam, I got a bit of work done on colouring and selecting tiles. In the end, the solution was to modify my graphics engine to add a "do not draw" flag to my meshes, so that I could load all the tile borders, draw them once, then change the colours needed and draw the ones I wanted to be certain colours over the top, flagging the rest to not be drawn


Hopefully by the end of the week I'll have sneaked in some time to finish off the tiling and show a video of tiles being selected and purchased by the player
Logged

Crystalline Green - Android Games Developers
pluckyporcupine
Level 9
****


View Profile WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 02:50:03 PM »

Game...designed...for playing with 4 players locally? What? Am I blind or is that really there?

Well, based on that alone, you've got me wanting to buy it if I ever buy an OUYA.

As happymonster said, thanks for all the little details. It was an interesting read.
Logged

James Coote
Level 1
*


Spoon Thumb


View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2013, 03:34:05 PM »

Thanks for the vote of confidence! Just hope I can match that expectation.

I'm kinda hoping the Ouya becomes famous for local multiplayer. It is one of the prize categories in this competition they're running, so someone is going to win like $2000 for making a local multiplayer game of some description (though not I, as my team is doing something completely different Tongue)
Logged

Crystalline Green - Android Games Developers
James Coote
Level 1
*


Spoon Thumb


View Profile WWW
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 02:47:11 PM »

Been busy all this week with first the OUYA Create jam, followed by a meetup of OUYA devs and fans tomorrow, then global game jam on the weekend.

Meantime, I've found an artist, Franklin Chan, who has spent the past few days sketching out some concepts for the mines and factories of Planet Amelia, as well as the harsh desert environment of the game's setting:









I'm fairly set on the style, but there are still a lot of things to work out for the art, and it's nice to give an artist some space to try different things out, experiment a bit and see what interesting things they can come up with
Logged

Crystalline Green - Android Games Developers
ROCKYIII
Level 0
***


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 08:08:21 PM »

Wow James, these concept arts look great!
Logged
galacticdeath
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2013, 11:39:50 AM »

Very interesting concept, I'll keep my eye on this one. The artwork looks amazing by the way.
Logged
James Coote
Level 1
*


Spoon Thumb


View Profile WWW
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2013, 12:21:40 PM »

Thanks!

Just as a quick update, I've been working on the mechanics of the selected tile. Unfortunately, the camera movement allows for viewing of the planet from any angle, which means the player could be looking at it upside down and askew. I've come up with a system of taking the vectors between centroids of each tile, and finding the angles between them and the vector of the player's analogue stick movement in 3D (after rotation). The smallest angle difference should be the one the player is moving the stick toward, and so the one to switch selection to. However, as of right now, it's proving a little buggy

Got my artist working on some new stuff next week, so hopefully by the weekend, will have more art to put up.

Also found a musician from these very forums! He's composed a couple of tracks that will be background music for the menus, promo videos and possibly when playing the game. I'm not decided yet if it'll work better with or without music when actually playing the game. Since the game focuses mostly on players interacting (read talking) to each other in front of the TV, it seems like loud blaring music might detract from the experience. Something to test later...
Logged

Crystalline Green - Android Games Developers
James Coote
Level 1
*


Spoon Thumb


View Profile WWW
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2013, 07:44:41 AM »

I've been wrestling with the camera controls for the past couple of weeks! far longer than I originally intended. Almost everything is in place, but the camera still does not centre on the selected tile correctly.

I recorded a video that demos the camera controls and shows the problem:





I've posted a question up on Stack Overflow and hopefully I'll get a solution fairly soon. If not, then I'll just take that feature out.

Meantime, I'm moving on to the juicy gameplay stuff at last! Should be fun, and should also mean I'll be doing far more frequent updates. There is just over a month before OUYA launches, so got to get my skates on if I want to hit the deadline and be ready and polished before then.

Incidentally, the beta version of the OUYA store is up, and Executive Star was I think the second or third game to make it on there (after my own hello world program). Still cutting a lonely figure as the only Strategy game on the store so far, but this is just the test store, and most developers are waiting till the real store starts accepting submissions for real:




« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 08:06:47 AM by James Coote » Logged

Crystalline Green - Android Games Developers
James Coote
Level 1
*


Spoon Thumb


View Profile WWW
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2013, 10:54:33 AM »

According to Stack Overflow, the bug is the result of the hilariously named "Hairy Ball Theorem" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hairy_ball_theorem), which despite it's name is a proper 3D mathematical concept.

There is not a way to solve it for a sphere however, and it will continue to cause some minor problems when people try to pan over the poles of the planet (this is the same effect that causes some games with 3D cameras such as Homeworld or Eve Online to spin around when you get near to looking straight up or down. In both games, the camera actually stops you from rotating more than +/-90 degrees (which has the added bonus of preventing you from going upside down, something that is possible in Executive Star!)

It also means I'll have to drop the "Centre Camera on Selected Tile" feature, which whilst annoying, isn't deal breaking. Sad times  Sad

---

Moreover, in the meantime, I've been doing the gameplay programming \o/

Or rather, I've been thinking about how to construct a tutorial, which has lead me to get massively sidetracked making a scalable controls screen. It looks good (though still needs some polish):




Logged

Crystalline Green - Android Games Developers
James Coote
Level 1
*


Spoon Thumb


View Profile WWW
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2013, 11:09:30 AM »

Back!

I've spend the past month doing all sorts of crazy things. Making the tutorial for Executive Star, demoing the game at the MCM ComicCon in Birmingham and at GameCity Nights in Nottingham.

The OUYA has now launched, and Executive Star is not one of the launch titles  Sad So what’s the deal? When can people expect to get hold of the game? Here is the revised release schedule:

  • 12th April – Submission to OUYA Store. This is the day I will be submitting Executive Star for approval to the OUYA Store. Assuming all goes well, it should be on the store after a few days
  • 3rd May – Security Expansion. There are some features that even with the extended deadline, I feel would be too rushed to reasonably include in the game. So instead, the Security Expansion will be available as a free, automatic upgrade to all customers

The decision to delay the game was fairly easy in the end. There could have been an unpolished and bug-riddled version on the store for launch day, but it wouldn’t have done justice to all the work that has gone into Executive Star so far, and would have been unfair on gamers who expect a high level of quality.

In the coming weeks, I’ll also be ramping up the the teasers, trailers, and being generally much more communicative, both giving information and getting your feedback. Exciting times!
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 11:17:06 AM by James Coote » Logged

Crystalline Green - Android Games Developers
James Coote
Level 1
*


Spoon Thumb


View Profile WWW
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2013, 06:42:07 AM »

Made a teaser trailer (check it out in the modified op or see it here:

)

Single player/tutorial is effectively finished. Going to be concentrating on getting multiplayer to work now. In theory it should involve simply taking the single player and making sure only the player who's turn it is can do things.

There is also the trade interface to finalise, polish and extras like gettingxbox 360 and  PS3 controllers to work.

Here is a screenshot from the pairing screen:


Logged

Crystalline Green - Android Games Developers
James Coote
Level 1
*


Spoon Thumb


View Profile WWW
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2013, 06:21:11 AM »

Well I finally got all the features completed! \o/

However, I want the game to look really professional and polished, so going to hold back on submitting to the store, probably until May 3rd.

In the meantime, I am looking for anyone with an OUYA who is happy to do a bit of beta testing, give some feedback etc. If you are up for it, you can get hold of me by replying to this thread, by twitter @JamesACoote or by email at contact [dot] crystallinegreen [at] gmail [dot] com
Logged

Crystalline Green - Android Games Developers
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Theme orange-lt created by panic