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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe Last Boundary - A Space Adventure
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Deckhead
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« on: August 27, 2018, 08:58:03 PM »


The Last Boundary was originally a very different game when I started this DevLog, but it has since evolved. You are the captain of a United Earth Empire Spaceship launched on a survey mission. You are exploring a new quadrant of the galaxy that has been opened up due to the invention of your ships new Hyper-Plasma Induced String Drive.

The player is joined by seven bridge crew members:
  • Second in Command
  • Navigator
  • Medical Officer
  • Ship's Counselor / Communications Officer
  • Tactical Officer
  • Chief Engineer
  • Science Officer

As the player makes decisions on which systems to travel through, random events occur. The bridge crew will talk amongst themselves and offer you suggestions and advice when needed.

The game itself relies heavily on random generation. The name of the ship, your bridge crew, and the star systems you travel through, are all randomly generated. The random events are obviously randomly selected from a large pool of events but are otherwise fairly scripted "choose your own adventure" sort of decisions. These events can be long or short, I suspect I will mix a lot of short ones with a few long ones.

Your ship has limited resources and so when choosing the next system to pass through, the player must attempt to balance the resources available in the system vs what the player has remaining (as depicted by the long-range scanners). Random events may affect your resources for good or bad; and may even affect the ability of your crew to perform their jobs.

I plan to have the United Earth Empire come in behind the player and begin colonising the systems that the player leaves behind so that the player can go backwards to get repaired or bring on more supplies, replenish crew etc.



Playable demo here https://deckhead.itch.io/the-last-boundary I've taken down the demo for now as the game has changed significantly enough that it now longer represents the game in it's current state.

The original idea of the game came about as I was watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. There isn't really a Star Trek game, or a game like it, that I've played, that really represents the ideas in Star Trek. It's always pew-pew zap-zap military themed Star Trek, and never the "win the battle through diplomacy" of Star Trek. Usually, the Enterprise outgunned her opponents, and they were frantically trying to think of a way of not killing everyone but instead coming to a peaceful resolution. That's what I'm hoping to capture.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2019, 03:49:02 PM by Deckhead » Logged

nathy after dark
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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2018, 10:49:16 AM »

This looks cool. Based on the screenshots with the text and choice-based gameplay, you might consider using Ink if you ever get frustrated implementing your own authoring tool! Or, at least, the source code/syntax of Ink might be of inspiration to you.
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Deckhead
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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2018, 03:35:45 PM »

This looks cool. Based on the screenshots with the text and choice-based gameplay, you might consider using Ink if you ever get frustrated implementing your own authoring tool! Or, at least, the source code/syntax of Ink might be of inspiration to you.

Thanks for the suggestion. I think the biggest difference in what I need is how tied into the game mechanics my narrative is. So much so that the editor I've made is very visual.
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Deckhead
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2018, 03:24:22 AM »

I worked some more on the authoring tool that I will use to make the game and release with the game.

You have a sort of workspace where you can move your story elements around and can then adjust them as much as needed. Hopefully I've managed to make the interface fast and usable. This has been built using wxWidgets.



I'll probably edit it as I begin to use it and think of better ways to lay things out or to keep the UI out of the way.
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Deckhead
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2018, 03:01:17 AM »

This past week I’ve worked some more on the authoring tool. I think it’s now in a state where it’s fairly usable. It probably needs a lot of work if it was ever to be a product, but right now I’m just considering it like a modding tool. The modding tools I’m used to were all buggy (like the Battlefield 2 map editor), so I don’t see it as a big deal for now.


I’ve also implemented an Animation system in the UI.


Next steps
Now that the Authoring Tool is usable and is converting story-lines (I call them Events, Episodes and Seasons) into a text format that the game engine understands; I can work on the actual playing of these stories. It works at the moment, but needs quite a lot of polish. Hopefully at this rate I will have something meaningful to show, like actual game-play soon.
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Deckhead
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2018, 02:26:45 AM »

I've got an extremely short episode written that contains what I think is most of the elements to the game. Right now I've got a sort of playable thing happening except for variable text. There are variable options and blurts said by your bridge crew, but the text displayed to the player isn't variable yet.

A gif to demonstrate.


Next Steps
  • Incorporate some graphics to give the screen a little more something interesting to see instead of some random stars
  • Position and time the blurts that are said a bit better, maybe include who said it instead of just a color?
  • Animate the yellow and red alert states so that the screen looks a little more exciting. Maybe when "green" it will just be a very slow heartbeat green
  • Have the parser recognise the variable text properly and get that output correctly onto the screen
  • Add a randomly generated crew that you can see the names and stats for
  • Find a freeware / opensource DAW so that I can create some suitable music
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Devilkay
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2018, 07:46:55 AM »

nice idea!
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Deckhead
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2018, 03:59:47 AM »

These last couple of days I've spent positioning and timing the blurts a little better, there's still some work that needs to be done though. I've completed all of the dynamic text except for the officer names, which I'll do once they have names, for now they don't even exist.

I've added the blinking lights that change based on the alert state of the ship as well. These makes things look a lot more interesting and dynamic.


Everything is fine / normal


Red Alert!

There's still a lot to do. Next up:

  • Add some graphics to the main viewer
  • Position the blurts when there are multiple at once
  • Add the officers names to the blurts
  • Add a button that will show a "chat history" with all the previous blurts and probably previous in-game text
  • Add some music
  • Add some sounds effects, like a klaxon for the red alert state and a sonar ping for the green state
  • Write a whole lot of content, score a whole lot of music, draw a whole lot of pictures
  • Start thinking about incorporating the battle mechanics
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Deckhead
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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2018, 05:39:29 AM »

Working on the music... not sure if I like this sort of sound or not (I watched Blade Runner 2049 earlier so synthy space sounding scapes is in my head).

http://thelastboundary.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/session.ogg
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Deckhead
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2018, 04:03:49 AM »

These past few days I feel like I've accomplished a lot.

  • Positioned and timed the blurts for when there are multiple
  • Randomised the crew-members names and included them where appropriate
  • Fixed a whole bunch of annoying little things
  • Started work on the sound engine, using OpenAL, so far, everything is very straightforward.
     
     
I don't really have any new screenshots, but what I do have is a list of my next things:

Upcoming
  • Finish the sound engine and implement it
  • Give episodes and events the ability to change the music or play sound effects
  • Get some damn graphics into the game
  • Add the "chat" history to see all previous events and blurts
  • Add some kind of menu to view your crew
  • Add a main menu with some graphics and sound options
  • Add command-line params to launch in a specific event
  • Saving and loading a game, though to be honest, it's not difficult
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nathy after dark
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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2018, 07:44:08 AM »

Blade Runner 2049 is awesome. I just checked and my library has a CD of the soundtrack so, gonna be listening to that a bunch now.

I like the sound of the sample you posted. I'd have to know more about the tone you're going for to say if it works though.

So are the crew members gonna be randomly generated and expendable like in XCOM or are they characters you're going to write? (I ask because you mentioned generating names)
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Deckhead
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2018, 04:21:20 PM »

So are the crew members gonna be randomly generated and expendable like in XCOM or are they characters you're going to write? (I ask because you mentioned generating names)

A mix of both. The adventures that your crew goes on will sometimes be based around a crew member, like in Star Trek. So while your science officer may be randomly generated, they will still feature prominently in the episode where they're kidnapped. Much like in Star Trek, I think crew death will be rare, but it can happen.

Obviously, a lot of my writing is going to factor into the crew members, which unfortunately means that your tactical officer will always be a gruff sort of guy, and your counsellor will always be a kind and considerate person. I could of course change this by providing personality attributes, but it would mean a lot of variable story content, which for the initial game I will leave out.

Once I have a "demo" build, with say five episodes, I'll look back at a lot of these decisions. For now I'm trying to keep a hold of scope.
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Deckhead
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« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2018, 11:34:18 PM »

I've now implemented the sound engine properly and started working on some music. I've also updated the look.


Next Steps
  • Give episodes and events the ability to change the music or play sound effects
  • Get some damn graphics into the game
  • Add the "chat" history to see all previous events and blurts
  • Add some kind of menu to view your crew
  • Add a main menu with some graphics and sound options
  • Add command-line params to launch in a specific event
  • Saving and loading a game, though to be honest, it's not difficult
  • Write five "demo build" episodes

Here it is in action

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Deckhead
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« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2018, 02:47:38 AM »

I've made a lot of progress these past few days. I've added sound effects and music. I've also created a more interesting event for testing purposes, with it's own sound effects:

http://thelastboundary.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Birunji-Engine-10_8_2018-9_26_52-PM_Trim.mp4

Next I need to:

Add a main menu
Add a menu to see the crew details
Add saving and loading of games
Create more events
Get some interesting graphics on the screen
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Deckhead
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« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2018, 02:55:22 AM »

I didn't realise I could embed:



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Deckhead
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« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2018, 06:42:29 AM »

I've now implemented the sound a lot better, events can play sound effects. There's also a couple of different background music tracks depending on the status of the ship.

I've added a main menu and title screen.

Here's a gif of a problem I've come across. In between events, there's no transition, it's just "BAM" you're in the next one. Without having a map or anything for you to decide where to go, there's no natural break that I can put in. I'll need to think about this some.



When the player clicked on "End" above, a new Event started immediately. I could use some ideas here that didn't involve me adding complexity to the game at this stage (star map etc). Maybe just a fade out / back in?

Meanwhile, here's a video showing off sound and music and menus etc.



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Deckhead
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« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2018, 04:02:12 AM »

Lately I've been working on the events for the demo-build. Not much to say about it really. I've written I think maybe 2/3 of the events themselves, but will still need to create a bit of artwork to go with it. In addition there's some additional audio to create, and I think I need to revisit some past audio as well.

Finally, I think there's some new graphical effects that I can easily do for the demo-build that will go really well in one of the events.

I'm pretty proud of the story progress. There's not really a lot in the demo-build, but what's there I think shows off what the full game can do well. The events are interconnected to a degree and some can't happen unless others happen first.

I've yet to come up with an event that can occur multiple times, but I think that's where the eventual battle events will come in. I'm alluding to how this would work in the game world in one of the events for the demo-build.

Here's a screenshot of all the story so far in the Space Adventure Writer app.



Each of those boxes in a choice to make, leading off to the next choice etc. The green outlined ones are "starting" events. The yellow coloured ones can only occur if certain conditions are met. The lines connecting them show you how the options provided link them up, blue lines are regular options, yellow dashed lines are conditional options only available under certain conditions.
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Deckhead
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« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2018, 05:08:18 PM »

I'm now looking for some feedback on a extreme alpha test build.

http://thelastboundary.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/TheLastBoundary-0.0.1.zip

Basically, I'm wanting to know a couple things:
1. Does it run on your computer?
2. Do you see any bugs or have any problems with it?
3. There's a lot of missing artwork, but does the general game-play loop work for you?
4. Are the events too short? Not enough options? Boring etc
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NovaSilisko
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« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2018, 05:17:04 PM »

Well, your very first pitch has me sold on the concept. I've felt similarly about a lot of star trek media, not just games. I'll definitely give the alpha a try sometime soon.
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Deckhead
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« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2019, 08:56:54 PM »

I'm bringing this game back from the dead.

The first steps are to complete the demo build's story and adventures and get it up and online for testing and feedback. While that's happening, I will be working on random galaxy generation to put a purpose into the game.

Your ship and crew have been blasted across space, much like Star Trek: Voyager. You have a galaxy generated and the goal is to explore and get back home. The galaxy map will give the player the general direction of Sol System. You have dwindling supplies of basic elements that you need to survive, the ship can create Air and Water for example, but it needs Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen etc to do so. As you visit different systems, you collect these elements. The Galaxy Map allows you to see what's availble one-system away, so the player can make decisions based on what they need.

As you traverse space, the game's story elements will play out. At least I think that's how it will go.
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