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TIGSource ForumsCommunityJams & EventsCompetitionsOld CompetitionsCockpit CompetitionHard Aether [FINISHED]
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Author Topic: Hard Aether [FINISHED]  (Read 61118 times)
nihilocrat
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« on: February 21, 2009, 08:19:47 am »


Shot at 2309-04-05

Update 2013-11-10: A few people bugged me about these links not working. The only copy I have right now that's handy is for 0.1.1. I still have the source, but I'd need to find out where exactly it is, and set up an environment to compile it into an .exe, and frankly I'm a bit too lazy for that.

DOWNLOAD 0.1.1 HERE


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:
0.1.1

Run 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.

Known issues:
* 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.


The sauce:

You can check out the latest version of the source from its bzr repo here:
Code:
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)
Python-Ogre 1.6.0+
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.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2013, 09:06:58 pm by nihilocrat » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2009, 08:30:13 am »

Idea 1 please!
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nihilocrat
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2009, 08:32:31 am »

Yeah, honestly I don't think Idea 1 has ever been done; I have played "real" space sims before but they never involve blowing stuff up.

Still, ornithopters on Mars? With bombs? One way or the other, something is going to get blown up.
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2009, 09:24:32 am »

It may become hard to balance the game, so it isn't TOO tedious.
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2009, 06:41:35 pm »

I am planning to "balance" the game partially by making the player vastly superior to enemy spacecraft. I'm still trying to figure out which would be easier to implement; space-to-space combat or ortillery. I would concentrate

I still sort of feel like making a pew-pew flight game though, even though I've already made a mockup and part of the "Field Manual" accompanying the spacecraft from Idea 1.

Here is the table of contents as it is right now. I am going to try and make the manual an actual object in the game, because it would be sort of lame (but old school!) to force people to read a .txt file before they know how to do anything. That, and I want the game to take place entirely in the cockpit, including the title screen and menu.

Quote from: USN Naval Officer's Field Manual USNFM-CO-1014
=====================================================
CONTENTS

0.0.0 - Foreward from USN Grand Space Admiral Morradi
0.0.1 - Introduction
0.0.2 - Basic Space Flight Concepts

1.0.0 - Piloting Systems
1.0.1 - McConnell SH-977 Spacecraft Helm

2.0.0 - Navigation Systems
2.0.1 - Berreda Mk. 25 Sensor Console
2.0.2 - DeGauss Model A Time Accelerator

3.0.0 - Engineering Systems
3.0.1 - McConnell SP-971 Power Management Interface

4.0.0 - Weapons Systems
4.0.1 - Berreda Mk. 17 Gunner/Bombardier Sight

5.0.0 - Miscellaneous Systems
5.0.1 - Airlock Mediator

APPENDICES

A-401.0 - Opposing States Spacecraft
=====================================================
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2009, 11:26:58 am »

Posted new version of the Flamberge, and missiles!

I now have models in-game, but the Wings3D OGRE XML exporter doesn't preserve vertex colors! Anger! I want my ships to be pretty and colorful without the use of textures. There is a workaround I've used in the past, and I will probably end up using it again.

It seems this game will hinge on me being able to effectively implement render-to-texture and find an easy way to draw in 2D on said texture using OGRE3D.
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2009, 01:47:20 pm »

I like it very much!
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2009, 02:06:12 pm »

It seems this game will hinge on me being able to effectively implement render-to-texture and find an easy way to draw in 2D on said texture using OGRE3D.

http://www.ogre3d.org/wiki/index.php/Intermediate_Tutorial_7
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2009, 02:27:02 pm »

Loving this so far.
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2009, 03:15:44 pm »

Looks awesome! Love the low-fi models, and I've always liked the idea of a hard-sci-fi ship game. Turning the ship had better be a super long process!
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2009, 06:11:14 pm »

If I get the time to put icing on the cake, I would like to try and see if I can make a GlovePIE script that will let you use one or two Wiimotes, standing upright, as joysticks. Considering the way I'm planning the interface, it might be smarter to keep your mouse hand on the mouse, though.

Also, I apologize for the lack of in-engine shots. As I said above, the vertex colors aren't being preserved, and I'm a little too lazy at the moment to determine the best work-around... materials, submesh color in code, or solid-color textures, with mipmapping disabled if possible.


Hey, thanks for the link, I've seen you offering advice in the collaboration thread. What do you think the best approach is if I want to display a series of 2d sprites and/or lines and shapes on the displays you see in the cockpit screenshot, making sure that performance is going to be decent? I don't care about putting an interactive GUI on there; I think I want to implement the interactivity in 3D buttons using mouse picking.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2009, 07:04:44 pm by nihilocrat » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2009, 11:11:56 am »


Hey, thanks for the link, I've seen you offering advice in the collaboration thread. What do you think the best approach is if I want to display a series of 2d sprites and/or lines and shapes on the displays you see in the cockpit screenshot, making sure that performance is going to be decent? I don't care about putting an interactive GUI on there; I think I want to implement the interactivity in 3D buttons using mouse picking.

Np, hope it helped! There is also a tutorial for mouse picking on the same wiki I linked you to above.

As for displaying sprites in the screens, The simplest way would be to make the front surface a model that's principally a glorified quad and then set your sprite image as its texture. A OGRE Material has a bitmap texture, and you assign a Material to a SubMesh controlled by a Mesh. Another solution is to place a full billboard (that is, a billboard always fully facing the camera) in front of each panel with the sprite image on that. That would work since the panels are also facing the camera, and you would have the additional benefit of being able to "animate" the displays Smiley

If you want to draw lines and stuff you will have to edit the texture memory, though. That's relatively easy, so don't worry, just check up pixel buffers (IIRC) in the online manual and you'll be set.
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2009, 07:40:25 pm »

Got the vertex coloring to work. Made the payload bay doors more obvious, resized the cockpit a little, and added the Union emblem.



It is a little annoying, I have to set the material in wings3d to one of several agreed-upon names, and then create that material via a .material script with the correct colors and such.

I am probably going to tone down the ambient lighting so it's zero or near-zero, which is more realistic even though it's not quite as nice-looking.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2009, 07:44:14 pm by nihilocrat » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2009, 10:55:21 am »

Hey, looking really nice! I like the flat shading against the more realistic bodies. If you cut down the ambient, perhaps the vessels could have positional lights (material emissive property set)?
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2009, 08:27:35 pm »

Thanks! I think I'll add positional lights soon. I haven't yet bothered to mess with the ambient lighting yet, instead I am working more towards getting the physics working. I could go with a library like Bullet or ODE, but I think I will just roll my own because it would honestly be much quicker, and because I have zero use for the collision reaction a physics library uses. When you get hit by a nuclear blast, there's not very much left of you to react to the collision.



Here we see a ZhL-53 "Firebat" Light Cruiser (yes, I am downgrading it in preparation for a larger and more complicated model to use as the "Flamberge") on the left and a ZhL-47 "Ferret" Frigate.

Unfortunately, the red star gets messed up somewhere along import, and I can't really tell why. I might just redo that particular object and hope it fixes itself.
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« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2009, 06:51:25 am »

Looks very awesome! And looks also light, I hope my computer can run this! Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2009, 12:59:20 pm »

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."

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.

I don't know about anyone else, but the idea of long boring slogs across space and ridiculously unhelpful instrumentation and system prompts sounds wonderful. Can't wait to see more!
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« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2009, 08:22:11 am »

Just posting to say I'm currently working on the more boring stuff in the game, namely my ghetto physics system and getting the scale of everything right. For some reason Ogre doesn't want to accept the existence of my particle scripts, so I don't have particle effects yet, but they will be there once I can figure out what's wrong.

There are also little annoying issues getting my app from the SampleFramework into a generic one. I will try and at least get a non-functional cockpit up sometime soon, perhaps with some debug-only keyboard controls to move the ship.
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2009, 08:50:59 pm »

XRSSM-9 missile propulsion Test Report
======================================


Shot at 2309-03-08 03:13:24 UTC

Test Result: SUCCESS

Further tests require proper distance between SBC-309A and XRSSM-9 before ignition.

Proceed to XRSSM-9 warhead detonation testing.

« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 07:52:00 pm by nihilocrat » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2009, 06:24:16 am »

nice!  looks very good.  re; ignittion delay- also try having the particle 'flee' from the ship so the ones that spawn inside it will create a nice ignition burst! 
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