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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsCaptain's Way - Spaceship crew management sim
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orseoste7o
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« Reply #40 on: January 06, 2017, 08:14:59 pm »



I've made two major additions since my last post; actually losing the game when your captain dies, and rewards and being able to continue on when you clear a wave. Due to the nature of the gameplay I'll also have to ensure players have the option to surrender when put into a situation where it's impossible to win with all weapons being destroyed for example. Or perhaps you can turn on a distress beacon, which would increase enemies aggression but if you survived it for say, 30 seconds, you get to re design your ship from it's wrecked state and retry the round?



Rewards involve cash, crew and upgrades. You'll always get cash, 1-2 upgrades most rounds, and crew are rare.
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orseoste7o
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« Reply #41 on: January 10, 2017, 05:38:54 pm »

Hi guys, just another quick update on where I'm at with CW. With the kickstarter and alpha just around the corner, I've started to shift focus from content to getting the game fully playable by the general public. In the alpha you'll just be able to repeatedly build/repair/upgrade your ship then test it against a few waves of enemies. Which you can do right now, 100%, what's missing is things like a settings menu, tutorial, introduction, a 'set up' screen for naming captain and crew etc.

So those are the things I've started working on, I've been researching how to do input boxes, setting up a settings.ini to read from and started re-coding things to accommodate a changeable resolution. Right now it can be quite messy at times...



Also in my other dev blog on the GMC, I was asked why the game ends when the captain dies when logically somebody else would just step up. This is for sake of clarity more than anything else, and also to allow for more tense game play situations. The biggest reason is that when you're ship is blown in half, the game follows the half your captain is in. This is easy to explain and make sense of when your ship is being blown to pieces in game. Anything else I tested wasn't as intuitive or viable. Initially the ship broke up around it's center of mass, which isn't immediately clear to the player without ugly HUD indicators, and when the block under the ships center of mass is destroyed, the entire thing goes up.

Basing the game around your captain also allowed me to have a central character to invest the player in, and allow for these heroic stories similar to all those sci-fi movies where the captain is the last man standing trying to keep the ship together after all the crew have sacrificed them selves for the good of the mission. It also makes the game more difficult and 'rogue-likey' in general, which I enjoy.

There is potential for this mechanic to feel unfair at times with your captain being able to die just as easy as any of your crew, and if feedback from testers is too negative about the mechanic I can easily base destruction around a 'power generator' part or the pilot seat instead. It's something I'll only be able to decide on in alpha I think, when I finally get the game into tester's hands.

Some other more recent screenshots:





Till next time! This might be the last post in a while as the things I'll be focusing on for the rest of the month aren't very screenshot friendly.

« Last Edit: January 10, 2017, 09:03:27 pm by orseoste7o » Logged
orseoste7o
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« Reply #42 on: January 16, 2017, 09:16:36 pm »

Just a quick update guys, works been continuing on basic functionality needed to get the game to a state where its playable by the public. For the last few days the focus has been on saving and loading, which means refactoring lots of code and standardizing variables so I can loop through everything and save things to .inis easily etc.



I've also started considering larger changes to set it further apart from captains forever and FTL, to make it more it's own game and more of a 'next step' then a clone. These changes involve the game based around a large galaxy star map, and having to manage supplies (which double as fuel like in FTL) that are also physical objects on board your ship you have to protect.

Should have some big news to announce soon! Till next time.
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orseoste7o
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« Reply #43 on: January 18, 2017, 10:32:50 pm »

Hey guys! Some large news. Due to reasons, I've had to take a step back and really consider what Captain's Way is, where it'll fit in the market, and what's it's selling pints. A big issue I've kept running into a lot throughout development so far is that Captain's Way has always had a bit of a identity crisis, is it a fast paced shooter like captain's way, or a crew management/spaceship sim like FTL? Balancing the two has been really tricky, as I'd have to get both aspects of the game to the same level or better than the game's competitors, when the competitors are very good games that are purely focused around one mechanic or idea.

So what I've been prototyping new ideas and play testing a lot, and what I'm going to do is go in the direction of more FTL sim/crew management then space shooter. The real time physics based battles are still there, everything works the same, the only major change I've made so far is that the ship is now piloted by AI.

So ship design and booster placement and everything is still very important if you want your ship to be able to effectively blow up bad guys, but this let's me concentrate on creating layered problems and recreating that feeling of being a captain of a ship under fire. Another small change I've made is reducing the amount of crew members you have, and slowing up combat in general. Everything is much more deliberate now, and you spend the time freed up from piloting ship moving crew members between seats to utilize different weapons, shields and boosters.

From here on out I'll be focusing more on the parts that make my game unique. These being the crews influence on the ship and battle, the design of the ship, the space environment/neutral monsters and more varied problems on board the ship itself.
The game already feels much more cohesive and unique, and it's nice having a single focus rather than keeping track of what were 2 completely different games at once.

Hopefully you guy's agree with the new direction I'm going! Let me know what you think.

TLDR: Fleshing out both the captain forever ship controlling and shooting with the FTL crew management wasn't working. I'm now concentrating on watching your AI controlled ship do it's own thing while managing the crew inside.
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orseoste7o
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« Reply #44 on: January 21, 2017, 09:53:51 pm »

Hi guys!

With the decision to move the game in this new direction, and a increase in scope I've decided to reach out to artists to overhaul the game's graphics (again) and work with me to finish the game. This should add a more professional touch to the game and allow me to cram more content in the game without having to do all the art too, which so far has probably doubled development time.

Anybody can apply, you can be anywhere in the world, you can work whatever hours you like provided the work gets done in time for release. This is a contract job, not a permanent position. I'll be looking for artists until I find one that fits the bill so there isn't really a cut off date for submissions. I'll go by your rates if you're an established pixel artist or we can sort out some sort of hourly rate if not.

In terms of what you'll be drawing, you should be able to get a pretty good idea from this devlog and the trailer. Ship parts are 32/32 as are crew and boarders. Enemy ships can be anywhere from 40x40 to 400x200. Environmental props would also vary greatly in size. In regards to backgrounds, I do already have randomly generated nebula but I would still need planets and star-scapes and whatnot.

Work would start after successful crowdfunding (with maybe 1-2 pieces beforehand for the page), so we would need to sort out rates beforehand so I know how much to ask for. We would communicate via email and maybe skype if needed.

In regards to style, it's largely up to you, you can put whatever spin on it you want. If you want more direction, I think something reminiscent of 70s and 80s science fiction movies and book covers would ft the game quite nicely.

If you're interested, shoot me an email at [email protected] with a portfolio or some of your previous work. If you have neither, potential art for the game also works. Smiley

In regards to the game's development, recently I've started implementing chat bubbles so you can see your crew talk to each other as you command them about!

« Last Edit: January 21, 2017, 10:03:31 pm by orseoste7o » Logged
orseoste7o
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« Reply #45 on: January 29, 2017, 03:18:03 am »

Hey guys, sadly not much to report. I've got a lot of submissions for artists, which is great, so much talent on these forums. I just want to get the absolute best fit, so I'm taking my time discussing styles, samples and availability with everyone.

I have however made good progress on crew speech. The goal is to have crew talk dynamically as you command people around the ship and things happen. If you tell somebody to man a seat, your captain tells them to man the seat and they acknowledge it, for example. I'm hoping to expand it so crew reports enemy positions, talks to each other and comments on the goings on in the ship, such as that weird lump a alien boarder left on their chest when they got attacked last round.

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orseoste7o
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« Reply #46 on: February 01, 2017, 06:46:41 pm »

Lots of changes are afoot folks. I think I've finally nailed down how exactly the game needs to change to better fit this new direction.

For starters, I've decided to implement ship controls at the bottom of the screen. This lets you toggle between manual and AI control, and give commands to your ship when it's in AI mode. Depending on how things come along, I may remove the ability to toggle the AI back to manual control.



In this early system the first two buttons are manual/ai control respectively, then 'target nearest', 'select target', 'retreat', and 'rotate'. I'm considering changing 'retreat' to a simple move command. Let me know if you have any ideas that would work better!

I've also gotten basic starmap generation working:







I'm aiming for one big galaxy rather than a few sectors like in FTL.

After I've finished the ship commands, my focus will be on types of enemies and other hazards that will effect the crew and inner ship systems rather than outer ship enemies. Hoping to announce the artist soon!
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orseoste7o
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« Reply #47 on: February 05, 2017, 03:23:12 pm »

Hey guys! Work continues bringing the game in this new crew management direction. Number one priority is getting ship AI controls working, I've made good progress:



I've also decided to opt to replace the 'retreat move' with a simple move command. The end goal is to have the ability to control your ship manually completely irrelevant so the player can concentrate purely on the inner working of the ship, but for now there just isn't enough to do.

Another system I want to talk about is 'crew mood'. I've currently got a problem where the most efficient, effective ships don't really look livable or all that nice really. To make the most effective ship you  currently just minimize spend on walls and floor, to cram as many guns on as possible. This makes for boring, unrealistic and easy ship design. To correct things I'm going to add 'crew mood', a meter that is influenced by the state of your ship and crew. Having a more spacious ship will give a positive modifier to crew mood, while having it super cramped will have a negative one. Losing or gain crew, how damaged the ship is currently, and events like 'the crew has come down with a cold' also effect this meter.

To go with this system I'll also introduce a bunch of furniture and decorations you can put in your ship to increase crew mood. Bad mood means higher chance of your crew causing drama and problems for you on your journey, while high mood will mean crew might occasionally offer you a chunk of their savings for example, or be motivated to research a new part in their spare time.
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« Reply #48 on: February 11, 2017, 11:35:27 pm »

Sadly not much visual I can show off recently, but I feel like I'm finally coming close to an agreement with an artist and other 3rd parties. Once I've sorted all this out development is going to kick into overdrive.

However I did have time today to do more work on crew control. As I'm shifting towards more crew centered gameplay, It's become obvious that the player could use more precise control, and there needed to be less automation. Originally you simply set crew member's destinations and what they did when they reached it was context sensitive. They prioritized shooting any visible boarders, then sealing any nearby breaches, and finally using any control panel they happened to be sitting on. Which isn't really ideal if in the moment to moment gameplay you really really needed to activate your ships weapons for just 1 second.

With the new system, if you click on a seat the crew member will stick to the seat and control it like his hands are stuck to it like glue. Clicking on a breach will prioritize sealing it above everything else, and clicking on a boarder will get the crew to follow it around the ship trying to kill it. This should potentially make the game much less frustrating combined with the pause mechanic, and allow the player to direct their crew exactly how they want to.
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orseoste7o
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« Reply #49 on: February 20, 2017, 04:03:50 pm »

Hi guys! Sorry for the lack of updates recently, my life has been flat out.

I do however, have this mock up of what Captain's Way will look like under the new artist!



The end product will also use an updated nebula algorithm and textures to go with the new style:

« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 04:48:13 pm by orseoste7o » Logged
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« Reply #50 on: February 25, 2017, 03:03:49 am »

Quick update guys. Work continues sorting things out with the artist, a potential producer, and on the star map.
I also figured I should show some more regular old game-play, because it's been a while.

Here's the ship commands in full force:



Here's an updated mock-up from the artist with my new nebula and me experimenting with a different color scheme with the HUD:



And finally here's where I'm at with the star map right now, you can currently travel from node to node:


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« Reply #51 on: February 26, 2017, 02:52:56 am »

This is a great devlog with woefully few comments! I've just read through it all and watching the features be born and improved was a treat. I hugely admire FTL and think that the similarities it shares with CW are only in your benefit, though I'm glad that in your most recent mockups it looks like you'll be putting some distance between CW and FTL in terms of the UI - your crew-list in particular was very similar.

It's clear that you're making awesome progress, keep it up! Toast Right
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orseoste7o
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« Reply #52 on: February 27, 2017, 04:02:32 am »

This is a great devlog with woefully few comments! I've just read through it all and watching the features be born and improved was a treat. I hugely admire FTL and think that the similarities it shares with CW are only in your benefit, though I'm glad that in your most recent mockups it looks like you'll be putting some distance between CW and FTL in terms of the UI - your crew-list in particular was very similar.

It's clear that you're making awesome progress, keep it up! Toast Right

Hey, thank you so much! I've been wondering recently if I've been doing anything wrong regarding my posts here due to the lack of replies, so this really warms my heart haha.

I've definitely tried designed the game so now the proper physics based battlefield with multiple ships enhances the FTL like crew management of the game, not exists separately, and I do see what you mean about the crew list. At the time the design made the most sense, but I'll look into how it could be changed and improved so CW looks like more of it's own game. Thanks for your feedback!
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orseoste7o
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« Reply #53 on: March 01, 2017, 05:49:32 pm »

Hi guys, just thought I would share this overhaul the artist has done of one of the faction's laser ship:



Really puts my sub-par pixel art skills into perspective, but it goes to show how much having somebody who specializes in art can help your game's overall value.

Today I'm going to start work on enemy boarders who can bypass your walls completely, and teleport directly inside your ship when they're close enough.
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orseoste7o
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« Reply #54 on: March 07, 2017, 04:27:32 pm »



Today I finished implementing 'Teleboarders'. While their main strength is their awesome name, Teleboarders can actually just teleport straight on board once their close enough to your ship. This was a great way to give you something more to do with your crew without needing your ship to be breached, which I feel should be a much more critical event. Teleboarders are 'uh oh' moment compared to a 'oh shi-' moment when your ship gets breached, crew gets sucked out and outer boarders swarm in from outer space.

Outside of this though, the majority of the work I've been putting into CW has been on the kickstarter page, which I'm not quite ready to show off yet. I'm also working on a new trailer to go with the kickstarter launch. 
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orseoste7o
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« Reply #55 on: March 08, 2017, 07:51:05 pm »

More progress! This post I'd like to talk a little about the star map.
Here's what I've got so far:



Instead of multiple, mostly linear sectors like in FTL, CW has one big open star map. Difficulty increases as you get closer to your goal, indicated by the red rings. The more red the star is in, the more danger it presents. The color of each star represents the faction it belongs to, stations are shops, and you can see stars get  crossed out after you've been to them as you won't have an event twice on the same star.

I rather enjoy the look and style of what I have here now, the star background will likely be overhauled though. There will also be a HUD of some description eventually too.
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orseoste7o
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« Reply #56 on: March 26, 2017, 06:29:37 pm »

Hi guys, sorry for the lack of updates recently! Development on Captain's Way has actually been all out the last few weeks, but it's all been more on creating trailers, assets for crowdfunding campaigns, and talking to investors and artists and whanot so not much to talk about here haha.

What I have done on the game itself though, is worked some more on crew control so crew members go back to using seats after their done shooting people up and whatnot, and added some different enemies and continued work on the starmap. In terms of enemies, I've added a cruiser which shoots slow moving fireballs, which don't damage your ship itself but mess up your crew pretty bad if you don't move them out of the way.





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« Reply #57 on: April 02, 2017, 06:03:29 pm »

Hi guys, still not much to show sadly. I'm building up to this point though, and when I reach it the floodgates will open up and content will come pouring out. Programming wise most of the work has been on bugs and balance, and making the game playtester ready. I've also had to recover from turning 21 the other day Toast Left I have also had time to add a much awaited feature for those who don't want to spend time building a new ship every time they die; template ships!



This also reduces the risk of new players not having a great time with their initial time with the game via not knowing how to build a ship, as in Captain's Way badly built ships often mean a quick death.
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« Reply #58 on: April 06, 2017, 12:17:22 am »

So the next phase in CW's development (besides getting funding together) is tying all the different aspects of the game together. This means the battles and the ship building with the star map. For me to be able to do this, I needed to finish the star map first though, and then implement events. Today I made big progress on the starmap, in that now the entire thing including factions, shops, player position and goal position are generated by the game instead of manually placed by me like they have been thus far. I can also save and load starmaps and the progress the player has made on them.

Check out some of the starmaps I've generated:







Next is adding some more functionality to the starmap, so players can pan and shift the camera around more easily. Then I'm adding events, then I'm tying those to ship building and battles. Exciting stuff!

I do however, need ideas for what else the player can find about the map other than shops, normal stars, and the goal. Due to the nature of how the map is generated there is currently large amounts of stars that branch out apart from the easiest route from start to finish, with no reason to waste time and explore there.If you have any ideas as to what the player could find there, let me know! I'm thinking some large amount of treasure each play through on a single star, or some other risky but highly beneficial detour. Open to any and all ideas!
« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 12:51:51 am by orseoste7o » Logged
orseoste7o
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« Reply #59 on: May 03, 2017, 03:52:26 am »

Hi guys! Sorry for the huge delay in posts, I've just been waiting for feedback from a bunch of third parties. Good news is I finally got it! Their main concern was clarity with the games graphics in pitching, so that's what I've been working on.

The main changes I've made are adding black outlines to crew to make them stand out against the ship, and making stations light up when being used, and otherwise be dull and lifeless.



I've also added supreme commander style icons when the player zooms out past a certain thresh hold, so the player can tell where crew and stations are while getting a better view of the battlefield in general.



Hopefully more news soon!
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