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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsCorsair - A 3D sandbox space game
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nestoriaan
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« on: February 17, 2016, 02:18:21 am »

Corsair - DevLog

Corsair is a 3D sandbox space game that is currently in an early phase of development. In the game you can mine asteroids for resources and use these to manufacture ship parts. With the parts you can build your own unique spaceships and explore the world around you.



Update (15/3-2016):

Corsair has a brand new web page! In addition to the new look, there is now also the option to sign up and become a Council Member. As a part of the Council you will receive the latest news about the game before anyone else!








The game is being developed by a two man team and we have worked on the project in our spare time for a couple of years now. Progress is of course slow when you cannot spend full work days on a project, but we really love working with this game and try to put as many hours into it as we possibly can!

We started developing Corsair in three.js, but about a month ago we decided to migrate to Unity 5, a decision we have not regretted.

The last weeks of development have been all about recreating in Unity what we had already done before in Three. Now we are at the stage where it is again possible to build things in the game using modules and connectors. The process of remaking stuff in Unity is both frustrating and rewarding. We are however convinced that the end result will be better than what we had!

Here are a few of images and gifs to give you an impression of how the game will look:



A Lynx shuttle cruising towards a small asteroid field.



A small spaceship flying past.



A Spaceman with plenty of resources floating around.



A Lynx shuttle doing some rather reckless flying.



Stop motion-gif of the building of a small spaceship.



A Spaceman mining resources from an asteroid.


More screenshots and gifs from the game and the development process can be found in our Imgur albums:

New screenshots

New gifs

Earlier screenshots

Earlier gifs


There is also a teaser video on Youtube. Much has changed since we made it, but it still gives a feel for how the actual gameplay will be in Corsair:



« Last Edit: March 15, 2016, 06:13:11 am by nestoriaan » Logged

Oli414
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2016, 05:36:47 am »

Looks fun!
Will there be larger asteroids/planets that you can build on or something like that?
I quite like the graphical style, is this going to be the final art? I love the simplistic look.
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nestoriaan
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2016, 06:08:18 am »

Hi!

Thanks for the kind words!

We have not decided yet if there will be planets you can actually visit. If we go down that route it will in any case be a future addition and nothing we prioritize at the moment.

Anchoring things to asteroids, or even building inside them, is a neat idea that we have been discussing.

Regarding the art style we really wanted to keep it simple and clean. Having moved to Unity there will be a slight upgrade in the graphics department compared to the images in the first post. There will for example be cast shadows, but the style will still be very recognizable.
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nestoriaan
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2016, 04:35:18 am »

Corsair - DevLog Update


Building with modules.


After finally being able to build again using modules and connectors, most of last week’s  Corsair development was spent on producing a skybox in Unity that is at least of the same standard as the one we had in Three. We now have stars, god rays and dust. The dust/nebula areas will still require tweaking however.



God rays in action.


Dust still needs tweaking!

In addition to this we also added a bare minimum of modules to the game. Now we have one bridge, one engine, one tank, one control thruster, one weapon and two cargo holds that we can play around with.

All our models are made in Blender and then imported into Unity. The process is relatively smooth, but things like colliders and materials still need to be added after the models are in place.

The materials still requires a bit of work since we needed an organised library in Unity that can be reused for our future models. One of the fun parts of this task was to create a reflective material for the glass windows of the Gelmer Bridge. After some experimenting the material now reflects the skybox and the sun!



Gelmer Bridge with reflective material.

Smaller additions to the game are a new program icon, a custom cursor, and a dialog banner.



Icon


Dialog banner.

The next step will be to implement flying in the game. We know from our old version of the game that this stage will require quite some tweaking, but it will be awesome when we can fly around in the world again!
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nestoriaan
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2016, 04:58:24 am »

Corsair - DevLog Update

This is just a short update with a couple of screenshots and a gif showing the building process in Corsair, now when the basic modules we have added. More modules will of course be included, but those we have will suffice for testing purposes.





Building with the basic modules.


At the moment we are continuing to work on the implementation of flying. It is a process that will take some time, but it is important to get it right. Hopefully there will be an update about this part of the game shortly!
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2016, 08:37:55 am »

I dig the concept of creating your stuff in space XD, good job!

Is this game going to be a sandbox or is there a clear objective/stages? Also how different will the ships behave depending on how you build them?
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nestoriaan
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2016, 12:29:38 pm »

Hi and thank you!

The game is mainly going to be a sandbox, but we would like to add some sort of quest/mission system in the future. First we need the sandbox part to be functional and fun however!

Regarding the behaviour of the ships, we are actually working on the steering at the moment.

As of now a ship’s mass and the number (and types) of engines you add to it will affect the acceleration. In the same way the mass and number of control thrusters you attach will affect how fast the ship can turn.

To simplify the building, and allow for more varied designs, we will probably ignore the exact placement of the engines and only take their direction into consideration. For the same reasons the control thrusters can be placed wherever you want, and still help with steering in all directions.
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nestoriaan
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2016, 05:07:13 am »

Corsair - DevLog Update

Last week’s work on Corsair was mainly focused on getting the flying right. This required quite a lot of testing, and we expect that the steering system will need some more tweaking in the future as well.








Steering tests.


With the steering in place, we really wanted some particle effects for to the engines, something that also required some testing and tweaking.




Engine FX tests.


Finally we have also introduced two new modules, and added more details to a couple of the old ones. The new modules will be used in the prologue of the tutorial that we have now begun to work on in earnest.




The new modules; a bridge and an manufacturing unit.


The most important (and frequent) feedback we got from the old web-demo we released in November, was that we needed to give the players more help getting into the game. Therefore we have begun making a tutorial that will hold the player’s hand a bit during the first minutes of the game.
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nestoriaan
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2016, 06:12:36 am »

Corsair - DevLog Update

Just a short update. Corsair’s website has had a total overhaul, and we have added the possibility to join the Council!

As a Council Member you will receive regular updates about the progress of the game, have access to a special online forum, and have the option of testing development builds of the game.


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nestoriaan
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« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2016, 02:28:54 am »

Corsair - DevLog Update

Since last time we have continued to work on the tutorial for the game. It might sound slightly odd that the tutorial takes such a long time to make, but there is a perfectly good reason for this. We are basically remaking everything we had already done before, but now in Unity, and as we work on the tutorial, we implement the various game mechanics in the order we need them.

We are now finishing the first chapter of the tutorial, and since this chapter includes how to get resources from an asteroid, the mining process have been the focus during the last weeks.

Graphically this chapter required a Mining Pod, several UI-elements, a new model for the mining drones the player will fire against the asteroid, goods to be mined, and several particle effects.

Several of these assets require some more work, but the important parts are at least in place!





The Mining Drone.




Mining effect.




The mining process.
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nestoriaan
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« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2016, 10:16:10 am »

Corsair - DevLog Update

With the mining process in place the work on Corsair has moved on to manufacturing. This is the step where the player use a Manufacturing Unit (MFU) to combine various resources and parts into modules that in turn can be used to build ships (or other types of constructions). It will not be the only way to get hold of modules, but it will still be a relatively important part of the game, especially early on.



Ship based Manufacturing Unit.


In addition to code and UI elements, we also needed a number of new models for the various recourses and parts:



Shuttle hull.


Lynx shuttle.


Electronics


Silicon


Polymer
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nestoriaan
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« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2016, 05:05:22 am »

It has been some time since the last Corsair update. The reason for that is that we have put a lot of work into things that are not very visual. A lot of time has gone into testing multiplayer functionality. In addition to this we have also spent quite some time planning and doing boring administrative things.

The last few weeks we have mainly worked on zone maps, some new modules, and even more network testing.


Zone map.



Several interconnected zone maps.


The modules are specifically for use in the very early stage of the game when the player will  build a first small space station.


Basic Habitat module wip.



Basic Habitat module.



Vehicle Assembly Facility wip.



Vehicle Assembly Facility.



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« Last Edit: October 14, 2016, 05:05:52 am by nestoriaan » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2016, 04:22:33 am »

Hey there, cool game you've got here!

I just played the demo. Here are some notes (that you might have heard before):

  • The demo needs to start with the help screen open
  • The demo should start in movement mode
  • Moving and turning is extremely slow. Even if it should be "slow", it needs to be faster than it is now
  • I only figured out how to make one part, an electric part. Not sure if there's any more yet, but I'd suggest making the recipes available from the start and not hiding them
  • Targeting the other asteroid didn't work. Not sure if clicking on it was enough, but there wasn't really any idication of what to do
  • Clicking objects needs to have a higher threshold for mouse movement while clicking. Even the slightest movement will make the click not register

You might be way past these issues already, but I thought it was the most helpful feedback I could give. I hope some of it is useful!

Are you planning on doing Early Access or anything like that?
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nestoriaan
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« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2016, 01:26:42 am »

Hi EyeSeeEm!

Sorry for the very late reply. Just missed your post completely!

Thank you for trying our demo and giving such a detailed feedback, your observations are accurate and noted!

We will however not update the demo in its current state. It was made a year ago in three.js and was more a proof of concept for ourselves than anything else. We are currently making the game more or less from scratch in Unity. Even so, we will certainly keep all the input from people that play the demo in mind, and try to correct as much as possible when we recreate the various parts of the game!

Regarding Early Access, that is a route we have in mind and we are also now considering a more standard type of distribution (as in a downloadable app from Steam type) rather than being browser based.
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nestoriaan
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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2016, 05:10:08 am »

Work on Corsair continues. Yes, it really does! Smiley

The last weeks we have been looking into some basic NPC-behaviours such as avoidance, mining and harvesting.





Avoidance testing with some placeholder models.


In addition to this we have also worked on a couple of new modules, and prepared the (re)introduction of the Lynx shuttle by giving it engine and thruster effects.





Hangar bay.





Control thruster and engine effects for the Lynx shuttle.
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nestoriaan
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« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2016, 06:48:53 am »

Hi again!

The grind goes on and sometimes it feels we are all over the place. But there is a plan, we promise! Smiley

Since the last update we have been working on 3D-gauges. In the web-demo we had 2D-gauges, but when we moved to Unity we only used placeholder IMGUI-elements. These of course has to be replaced at one point, and we have therefore experimented with various 3D-gauges and buttons in the same retro style we had in the demo.











Various gauges and buttons.


In addition to this we have been testing a new more detailed type of asteroid.




The new asteroid variant.


Finally we have added three new support ships. These are a Confederate transport shuttle, a Confederate mining shuttle, and a Separatist heavy fighter.


Transport shuttle Margay


Mining shuttle Skimmer.


Separatist heavy fighter Banshee.


In addition to these the old reliable all purpose Lynx shuttle is of course still in the game.


Lynx shuttle flying past a small mining carrier.
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nestoriaan
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« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2017, 10:41:28 am »




Finally the new shuttles have been imported into Corsair, and their stats tweaked.



We made a simple test course to help us give each shuttle the correct stats.


All the four shuttles in space.


In addition to this we have been doing some testing and bug fixing of Corsair's building mechanics. This is a big part of the game and we feel that it really has to work smoothly. It will probably still require some more work, but for the time being it is good enough.


Building a small ship.
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nestoriaan
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« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2017, 09:31:36 am »

With the new shuttles out of the way, priorities shifted to another part of Corsair that were in need of an overhaul, the manufacturing system. One of the most frequent comments we got from people testing the web demo were that they had a hard time figuring out how the manufacturing worked.

We originally intended manufacturing to be a bit like a puzzle where the player would try various combinations of resources, and hopefully get pleasure out of finding the correct recipes. To make it a bit easier we limited the number of resources you could find close to the spawn point and did not introduce more until the player had managed to build the first shuttle.

In reality despite the gradual introduction of new resources, the system was still much too difficult. Even with only a few resources available it was hard to find the correct combinations, and almost as difficult to remember them! We also faced a problem when we wanted to add new things that could be manufactured. A few combinations of resources ended up resulting in an ever growing list of choices we had to present in a relatively limited UI.

The big MFU that the Spaceman could magically produce out of thin air (vacuum?) was also slightly annoying. If the rest of the system had been perfect we could certainly have lived with that, but now it was just another ugly thing in an already counter-intuitive system.

Because of this we decided to redo the whole thing. What remains now of the old system is basically the idea that you convert resources into either a middle stage structure/hull, or directly into a finished module.

We removed the MFU and instead gave Spaceman the ability to convert a Polymer resource floating in space into a basic Habitat. For this we needed a new Polymer model that looked less like an icon and more like a small rock.



The new Polymer resource model.



The Habitat module.


The Habitat is both the possible starting point for a space station/spaceship, and the location where all manufacturing takes place. To be able to manufacture anything the player has to enter the Habitat. While inside the player can choose from a list of things that can be manufactured on a terminal screen. The available choices in the list depends on the extra facilities that are currently connected to the Habitat.



The manufacturing terminal as seen when inside the Habitat.


If the player wants to manufacture space shuttles, a Vehicle Assembly is necessary, to manufacture more advanced ship modules a Module Workshop is needed, and so forth.



The Vehicle Assembly module.



The Module Workshop module.


To manufacture something you now only have to press the build button, as long as you have the necessary resources in the cargo hold. If that is the case the module/shuttle/structure is created in space, right next to the Habitat. Hopefully this system will make manufacturing much easier and more intuitive.



The manufacturing process.
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« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2017, 12:22:12 pm »

Looks like you've put a lot of work in to this. Great job so far!

Quote
We originally intended manufacturing to be a bit like a puzzle where the player would try various combinations of resources, and hopefully get pleasure out of finding the correct recipes.

This stuck out to me. I'm glad to see you've moved away from the experimentation route with recipes. I often see this as a common pitfall in indie dev as the developer feels they want to give depth to something by making the player work for it.

I've often fallen for the same trap, but the question I always ask myself: "Is this something I would enjoy doing in a game?" Understandably everyone is different and has different enjoyable elements, but at the end of the day you should be making the game you want to play, because there are probably other people just like you.

Keep up the good work and good luck! Smiley
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nestoriaan
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« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2017, 10:33:04 am »

Quote
I've often fallen for the same trap, but the question I always ask myself: "Is this something I would enjoy doing in a game?" Understandably everyone is different and has different enjoyable elements, but at the end of the day you should be making the game you want to play, because there are probably other people just like you.

I agree, that is good advice!

It can however sometimes be difficult to determine what you yourself enjoy in a game. Often the joy is also pretty random. I for example found it extremely rewarding the first time I correctly guessed a crafting pattern in Minecraft (it might have been the stone shovel). It was one of those moments I will not forget, but at the same time it was a moment that could easily have been frustrating instead, and it was not the core of the game, just a small part of it.

In our case we also struggled with constructing an element of skill for the old manufacturing system. If you cannot figure out what resources you need to produce something, it only became a frustrating guessing game.
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