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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsWings of Saint Nazaire (Retro Space Combat) New Alpha Live! (IMAGE-HEAVY!)
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Author Topic: Wings of Saint Nazaire (Retro Space Combat) New Alpha Live! (IMAGE-HEAVY!)  (Read 21617 times)
DoorKnobHandle
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« on: May 23, 2014, 04:55:50 PM »



Wings of Saint Nazaire is a retro 2D space combat sim in the vein of the Wing Commander- and X-Wing-series. You launch into space, you dogfight your enemies, you shoot one or two of them done, you get blown up, you try again!

We're a team of three people (Howard Day, our artist, Daniel Hoffman, our composer and me, Jan Simon, the programmer), we're using Unity3D and we've already got a public alpha out, available for everybody to play, test and give us feedback on. Please visit our official homepage: http://www.wingsofstnazaire.com to give it a try.










A human fighter, the A-21 Copperhead, is being refueled in a hangar.
A shot of the five human fighters that you can fly in the game. From left to right: F-207 Boomslang, A-21 Copperhead, B-19 Hognose, AF-33 Cobra and the AS-42 Diamondback.
Ingame screenshot of you leaving the launchtube of your carrier in an A-21 Copperhead.
Got him!



Yes, Wings IS a 2D game - although we are using 3D acceleration of course, all ships that you see are NOT 3D models! We pre-render 2D images for every possible angle that you can see them from (544 for a normal fighter) and then display the right sprite. This is exactly what the early Wing Commander games did - we're doing it this way because we absolutely love the retro effect this has. It's hard to tell for most people but almost everybody agrees that it, almost subconsciously, has a really neat nostalgia effect!

Also, being the programmer in the team, it was a hell of a lot of work to get to look right... Lips Sealed

If you prefer seeing a Youtube video that features gameplay instead of download/loading anything, we've also got you covered:

is Howie, our artist, giving some insight into Wings. Note that it is a bit old, however.

Approaching the Saint Nazaire, a big human capital ship.
We are planning to include missions on planet surfaces.
LOOK TEH LENZ FLARE!!1!1!!!
Cool lighting effects on the cockpit glass for extra immersion.



You can click all of these images to view them fullsize or just visit our website to find many more. It also has a music sample and a really cool wallpaper!

We're working towards a multiplayer release first, the plan is to have 5v5 competitive matches. One side plays as humans, the other as aliens - each pilot can pick from five flyable ships per race. Each of these have their own specific roles, such as interceptor, bomber, heavy fighter.



Space Balls anyone?
Dogfighting in the AF-33 Cobra, a heavy gunship.



Please let us know what you think, especially if you had a chance to try out the alpha (you and two wingmen fly around in a Copperhead fighting endless waves of enemies, it's very casual because we set the difficulty very low - you should have no problems getting used to the controls hopefully). Mouse and keyboard as well as external game controllers such as gamepads, joysticks, flightsticks etc. are supported! You can rebind your keys and axises in the options menu.

In case you've missed it, we already have a PLAYABLE ALPHA on our website that you can play in-browser OR download (Windows, Mac and Linux are supported), the link is HERE!

If you want to stay up-to-date, you can make sure to follow us on TWITTER as well!



The A-21 Copperhead, a medium-range air superiority fighter.
The AF-33 Cobra, a heavy and slow gunboat.
Pirate ship variations.
A civilian ship design.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 12:50:43 PM by DoorKnobHandle » Logged
DarthBenedict
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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2014, 04:41:04 AM »

The demo was fun.

Would be nice if it was possible to turn your head within the cockpit, and I'd consider making the trigger default to shoot on controllers.
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Christian Knudsen
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2014, 05:58:21 AM »

As a Wing Commander fan, this looks right up my alley! Hand Thumbs Up Left

Are you guys the old Pioneer team? I remember the name Howard Day and his awesome models from the CIC forums.
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pluckyporcupine
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2014, 06:40:52 AM »

Awesome, you guys have a devlog now! Played the demo for this a while ago after it was recommended to me. It's pretty awesome. Great visual style. Looking forward to more!
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Howard Day
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2014, 10:34:05 AM »

Darth Benedict: Thanks! Unfortunately, turning your head in the cockpit isn't something our art style allows for. I totally agree that it would be cool, but I don't see how we could do it. Sad Here's what the cockpit art currently looks like:

There's room for some panning, but not enough to completely crank the players head.
And we're still very much messing with the controller button layout - I happen to agree with the trigger as primary fire. We'll see if it changes!

Christian Knudsen: Yay! It's just me, I'm afraid - but yes the old Pioneer stuff was mine. This project was in fact a result of Pioneer failing. I wanted to not be as reliant on a programmer for gameplay and visual systems, so I picked up unity and learned. Now, about 75% of the code in the game is something I wrote. Jan's gleefully knocking that percentage down every day, though, and I'm glad for it.

johnki: Glad you like it!
« Last Edit: May 24, 2014, 10:45:02 AM by Howard Day » Logged

Main Art guy on Wings of St Nazaire, here's our Devlog, and my Personal Website. SPACESHIP!
atmos
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2014, 10:41:35 AM »

Looks awesome. Will definitely try the alpha and give you further feedback. BTW is there any crafting or other method for upgrading your ship or weapons in the game?
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Howard Day
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2014, 09:40:28 PM »

atmos: Thanks, we really look forward to your feedback! As for crafting/upgrading... not as yet, no. I'm not really certain how we'd go about doing that - since each fighter is more like a f-18 on the deck of a navy carrier - all their weapons are pretty much interchangeable, and the airframes are mostly the same. Individual pilots don't get to customize their fighters all that much, but the load-out for each plane is determined by the mission. Maybe the solution here is to enable more varied load-out choices with higher-level players? Feedback on that idea would be great. :D 
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DarthBenedict
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2014, 04:45:05 AM »

It might be possible to get a cockpit interior working kind of like a transparent foreground skybox, but it would massively increase the amount of art assets each playable ship would need. Still, when I played the demo I spent more of my time looking at the minimap than the gameplay which is a shame when the effects look so nice.
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Gregg Williams
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2014, 04:57:54 AM »

Eyes glued to mini map seems to be a big part of my wing commander memories. Though pretty sure you could look out side of cockpit in wing commander.

Anyways just wanted to follow this, somehow this right here is why I started indie dev, yet I never actually took any steps to doing it. Looks really good.
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DoorKnobHandle
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2014, 10:32:05 AM »

Thanks for the feedback, guys!

@Gregg Williams: You can look outside of the cockpit in Wings, even in the playable alpha. If you hit the Orbit Camera button (default is TAB on the keyboard), you get a third person camera. That's kinda our way of allowing people to take a look around!

That's how these shots were created:

« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 10:48:41 AM by DoorKnobHandle » Logged
eobet
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« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2014, 07:45:47 AM »

Cool to see a thread about this here (had to follow on Twitter previously)!

Have you begun experimenting with scanlines and CRT filters yet?

EDIT: Here's one I just came across, for example, with brightness compensation:

https://github.com/libretro/common-shaders/tree/master/crt/glow
« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 12:06:37 PM by eobet » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2014, 08:01:54 AM »

I have to say I was initially skeptical about a space combat using Saint Nazaire in the title, given that it was a naval operation, but I am blown away (hur) by how fun this is to play. I love the aesthetic and feel of it.
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Howard Day
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« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2014, 05:54:42 PM »

eobet: Thanks, Sir or Madam! We've done some style work and some experimentation on faux-scanlines and CRT distortion...And we're all very much in agreement that it's just not for this game. I've done a lot of work filling these scenes and world with as much detail and visual queues as possible - and unfortunately that sort of full screen effect just blurs and makes that very same detail go away. We're not going to do that, as we feel that it's a fullscreen effect that detracts from the whole, rather than adding to it. Sorry. Sad

imaginedd: Thank you, and we're glad you like it! The in-universe justification of "Saint Nazaire" is that all the Procyean Star Navy ships are named after WW2 battlefields/operations.

So, I've been meaning for a while to answer in more detail a question that came in a while ago - namely, how we do all our cockpit displays/graphics/effects. To do so, I'm also going to show some work in progress of our latest human fighter, the Diamondback. It's very unfinshed.
Here's what it looks like so far:

This cockpit belongs to the most advanced, cutting edge human fighter in the game. As such, the instruments and displays are slightly different from other ships. There's only one screen, for instance, and all the wiring is run through flex tubes for easy access and re-routing.
To do the displays for this (and any fighter) we rely on a simple trick - objects and parts of the display are moved from behind the cockpit sprite to infront of the cockpit sprite. This means that the major shapes of the cockpit must be geo. Like so:

We simply move the display elements out along the Z towards the camera. To do a growing fuel bar, for instance, We'd create the geo flat/planar, and then angle it slightly.

whichever side is closer to the camera will appear first, so you can have the fuel bar follow a path.
All the cockpit displays are made of these little animations. Each one is exported separately, and then driven by code to display the proper sequence. When it's all put together, it will look very much like this:

Anyhow, hope you enjoyed this glimpse into how we do cockpits in WOSN. I'd love to answer any questions you might have, or clarify anything confusing.




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eobet
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« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2014, 02:07:42 AM »

eobet: Thanks, Sir or Madam! We've done some style work and some experimentation on faux-scanlines and CRT distortion...And we're all very much in agreement that it's just not for this game. I've done a lot of work filling these scenes and world with as much detail and visual queues as possible - and unfortunately that sort of full screen effect just blurs and makes that very same detail go away.

But... you are restricting the resolution to double or triple pixel size... or am I missing a setting? Can you go full screen in this game with 1:1 pixels?

If so, then of course you are right. If not, then scanlines will literally not take away one iota of detail, since they just cut out half of your already doubled pixels.
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Juan Raigada
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« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2014, 07:53:13 AM »

I really like the look of this.

A couple of questions:
1- Are you using polygons for the bigger ships? If so, is there any reason but aesthetics not to go that way for the fighters?
2- I find it impossible to control with the mouse, but the gamepad seems to have a limited turn rate compared to what the mouse offered.
3- I hit an enemy capital ship and I got teleported very far away... I'm guessing this was a bug, so there you go.

Other than that, this is quite impressive, and what I got to experience of the combat seemed really fun. If you can hook into this a WC2 style story and cutscenes, this is going to be great!
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Howard Day
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« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2014, 03:27:22 PM »

eobet: We are in fact, offering the ability to go full screen at 640x480. Sad 
Juan Raigada: Thanks Sir!
Couple of answers:
1.) Yep, polygons are used for the larger ships. and there's no reason at all to not go that way with the fighters as well. The only reason we're doing it that way is that we like the look, and there's more an enough space shooters with regular 3d-poly fighters. Also, we like the nostalgia factor.
2.) That shouldn't be - we'll definitely look into the gamepad controls. they should be identically as maneuverable as the mouse.
3.) Eeee, yep, that's a bug. We're still working on the damage system, but a full burn collision with a cap ship should smear you like tomato paste. 

WC2/WC1/Tie Fighter-style story is exactly what we've got in mind. :D
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« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2014, 09:49:12 AM »

I've been very busy on the netcode recently. Switching to an authoritative server was the best decision we've made so far. The peer-to-peer code ended up being very messy, now it's much cleaner and more flexible. I'm not looking forward to having to deal with client side prediction etc. too much though! :p I also took the time to add some of the animated GIFs that you can find in this thread to our official website.



Howie, our artist, tells me he's just about done with the 4th out of 5 human cockpits, the Diamondback, that you could see a couple posts back. These do take a LOT of work so we're all really happy with what we have so far. Just the Hognose left on the human side of things. Alien cockpits are a bit easier because there's not so many stylistic expectations and such, you get away with doing more! I've seen some test renders and ideas for really cool, water/liquid based alien cockpits that are super cool (albeit not quite ready for the public eye I believe). Stay tuned!

EDIT: Scratch that, here's the Alien work-in-progress:



Also, here's how the Alien ship selection screen will look like (this is a Unity scene, requires the Unity Web Player): http://hedfiles.net/WOSN_Alpha/GrottoTest.html
« Last Edit: June 03, 2014, 10:43:49 AM by DoorKnobHandle » Logged
Howard Day
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« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2014, 09:56:28 PM »

Got the Cloak-shader working on the external Diamondback sprites!
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« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2014, 06:41:40 PM »

Really excited to see more of this  Kiss
Cloaking is perfectly kinda visible.
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« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2014, 08:23:12 PM »

Been following you guys for a while now, glad you opened a devlog. Honestly I'm more excited for this and Enemy Starfighter than I am for Elite or Star Citizen. Not to knock those games-- I hope they turn out great-- but it feels like you guys both have better senses for the core gameplay loops. Plus SC's missile lock-on reticle is the most obnoxious thing ever...

Anyway, cheerio!
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