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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsHeliconian - FTL Meets Overcooked
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Author Topic: Heliconian - FTL Meets Overcooked  (Read 2883 times)
OctoMini
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« on: March 17, 2020, 07:08:46 AM »




FTL meets Overcooked
That's how the latest feedback describes the game and I have to say it's not too far off Wink


Heliconian - Starship Crew Control
I have been developing Heliconian for almost an year and now I want to share the progress with the community. I am hoping to get feedback and ideas on how to make the game the best it can be. I'm planning to release it this year on Windows, Android, and iOS. I'm developing the game with Unity.

Heliconian is a spaceship crew control and time management rogue-like. The idea of the game is to manage the crew members aboard in order to survive, to explore a star system, and to find a safe haven. I'm trying to create a game that is very simple to play, but filled with tough decisions.

You can read more and follow here:
Steam
Website
Twitter

Trailer 2 (Gameplay)




Trailer 1 (Premise)




Game Play
This is the layout of the starship Heliconian with various compartments. The colorful circles are the crew members and their portraits can be seen at the bottom. The core game play is about moving the crew members around the ship to perform various tasks.




Evolution of the spaceship
Here you see the evolution of the spaceship design. It started from the rooms and their functions and evolved all the way to what you see on the right.



I'll be posting updates soon!
« Last Edit: April 25, 2020, 10:38:31 AM by OctoMini » Logged

OctoMini
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2020, 02:14:08 PM »

Meet the Crew!

In Heliconian you always play with the same crew members. They are all different and carry out different tasks aboard. I'm planning to develop their personalities further through events and dialogues during the game play. Here are their back stories:

Orion - Pilot/Captain
Orion was born to be a leader but wants none of that. He is talented enough to be whatever he wants but settles for modesty. He has a good heart and has a knack for making the right choices. Orion is able to perform any task on board. Rumor has it he’s been genetically enhanced.

Rhombus - Weapons Officer
Rhombus is an ex-military who used to serve under the Imperial fleet. He is an expert in military tactics and has a deep understanding of spacecraft weapon systems. If you ever need a torpedo launching, he’s your man.

E-Sam - Engineer
E-Sam is a young mechanical engineer specialized in gunships. He’s extremely talented for his tender age – a quiet loner who always gets the job done. He's able to repair any hull or engine damage.

Lumen - Medic
Lumen radiates warmth and caring. She studied naturopathic and herbal medicine in the Lorga home world for years. Natural medicine is her specialty, but she isn't afraid of using scientific methods either. Whenever you need medical care, or just a person to talk to, she’ll be there.

Sirius - Scientist
Sirius is the brightest star inside and outside. She holds the highest score ever recorded on the Equinox test. She's a renown geologist and her passion is all things alien life forms. Throw any research task at her and she’ll tackle it with a smile.

Here is the final artwork of the crew members along with the sketches:

I'll post the first game play footage video real soon!

« Last Edit: March 24, 2020, 06:03:34 AM by OctoMini » Logged

OctoMini
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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2020, 02:43:38 AM »

Here are a few completed enemy designs from the Heliconian.

Gameplay footage is coming soon!

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OctoMini
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« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2020, 02:55:57 PM »

Here's the first trailer with some game play footage! Longer game play video is in the works.




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OctoMini
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2020, 11:53:52 AM »

I'm testing a dialogue system to develop the crew member personalities and to make them more alive. Now the crew members can have short conversations by themselves. The system takes into account many variables and tries to adapt the conversation to the current game situation. It considers things like who, where, with whom, enemies, health etc. Now I just have to write a huge pool of conversation strings to draw from...

I'm not sure if this is for all players though. It doesn't have any gameplay effect and it's more clutter on top of everything else that is going on. The game can be quite fast paced and sometimes it requires really tight time management to survive.

You can read more about it here.

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OctoMini
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2020, 05:39:59 AM »

Just a small update. Now we can see the outer hull of the Heliconian while zooming in. By the way is it possible to embed mp4 videos on this forum?




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OctoMini
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« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2020, 05:18:22 AM »

The latest significant update is the planet art. There are at least 80 planets in the game so drawing the art individually for each was out of the question. I ended up using a super simple method of pre-rendering several greyscale textures in 3ds Max and stacking and blending them in Unity. It's a 2D system using just a few textures. Codewise the planet generator is dead simple. It creates an endless amount of variation simply by randomly choosing the textures to use, their rotations, and their colors. I currently have a base texture for shading and 4 texture layers for the planet surface details.



To spice things up I also rendered two nebula textures, glow around the planet, a sun flare, and a Saturn rings. All textures are greyscale pictures which are colored in Unity. And again the generator simply scales, rotates, positions and colors the textures randomly to create a large amount of variation. Below you see a few examples of the kind of planets the system generates on the fly. The variation is enough for my purposes and the system is very easy to control. You can read more details here.

Thanks for reading and as always you can follow the project here on the forums and on Twitter as well.

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OctoMini
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2020, 11:43:18 AM »

The planet generator in action:

« Last Edit: April 07, 2020, 11:55:21 AM by OctoMini » Logged

Beastboy
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2020, 01:26:24 PM »

Seems like my kind of game
Good luck
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2020, 09:58:29 PM »

I like FTL and I like Overcooked, so this looks great! One of the things that I love about Overcooked and miss about FTL is multi-player. I can see that this is more management sim rather than tight player control, so that's cool. I'll expect you're going to hear that a lot!
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OctoMini
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« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2020, 11:08:24 PM »

Seems like my kind of game
Good luck

That's nice to hear. Thank you!

I like FTL and I like Overcooked, so this looks great! One of the things that I love about Overcooked and miss about FTL is multi-player. I can see that this is more management sim rather than tight player control, so that's cool. I'll expect you're going to hear that a lot!

Thank you! Your analysis is spot on. I guess this has been compared to Overcooked purely because of the time management aspect which is a big part of my game too. Let me know if you would like to try the beta in the near future. I would love it to be tested by people who have played FTL.
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OctoMini
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2020, 10:31:23 AM »

I have been doing a lot of balancing work lately to prepare the game for early play testing. Adjusting the difficulty of the game turns out to be extremely hard. Heliconian is a rogue-like in a sense that there is a lot of randomness in the game. The galaxy layout, all the planet parameters, enemies, events etc. are randomly chosen. I'm going for a difficulty level that allows really experienced players to win or go really far 75% of the time. Does that make sense?

I have been creating some visual enhancements as well. Here's a short clip about torpedo shooting effects:



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Ramos
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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2020, 05:28:03 PM »

Seems like fun, I like this type of complex simulations
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OctoMini
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« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2020, 01:58:43 PM »

Thank you Ramos! It's probably less complex than it seems though. It's a cross between simulation and arcade. Longer gameplay footage coming soon.
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2020, 04:08:38 PM »

Thank you Ramos! It's probably less complex than it seems though. It's a cross between simulation and arcade. Longer gameplay footage coming soon.

Good luck! It sure seems fun!

From a tactical perspective, what can you do? As in can, you do the management of crew to send them in different parts of the ship based on the situation?
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OctoMini
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« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2020, 10:52:15 AM »

Pretty much like you said. You manage the spaceship and the crew by moving the crew members from room to room. The exclamation mark icons in the picture represent tasks that can be done. In this example there is broken hull in three parts of the ship and the red icon tells that torpedoes can be shot. The crew members always start working on the tasks automatically when they arrive in the room. However, each crew member is unique and has a special skill set. The captain can take care of any task but the others can deal with only one specific task. Weapons officer can shoot torpedoes, medic can treat the wounded etc. Tasks are completed faster if there are several crew members in the room at once.

The game situation in the picture is quite difficult. The hull has only 3 hit points left, there is hostile spaceship shooting at us, all crew members are tired, 2 of them are wounded, and one of them is sick. Two crew members are in torpedo room loading and shooting torpedoes, but what should the rest of them do and in what order:

- Should they go to the Crew Quarters to rest?
- Should the sick captain go to the Medbay to be treated?
- Should they start repairing the hull?
- Should they go to the torpedo room to help others to load and shoot faster?

These kind of decisions form the core gameplay.

« Last Edit: April 17, 2020, 02:08:00 PM by OctoMini » Logged

OctoMini
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« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2020, 02:32:41 PM »

I have been working on some defensive systems for the Heliconian. Play testing pointed out a clear need for them. The first one is an energy shield which can block enemy torpedoes. It works only when the flight deck is manned and must be operated manually. To be protected, the player must hold the shield button while torpedo hits. The shield uses energy fast and recharges very slowly so it must be used sparingly. It ads a nice new game play element. It's not just an upgrade that can be purchased. The player has to learn to use it as well.

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OctoMini
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« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2020, 02:14:07 PM »

The next defense system is called DEW. It's a Direct Energy Weapon that disables weapon systems of the chosen enemy. The beam lasts the maximum of 60 seconds and must be controlled manually. The player can activate/deactivate the beam whenever the flight deck is manned. Just as with the shield, the player has to learn to use it well and in the right situation to get most out of it. It recharges automatically, but very slowly, just like the shield.




And here is a one new enemy design:

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OctoMini
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« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2020, 10:51:05 AM »

I'm happy to announce that Heliconian has now a Steam page. Please follow and wishlist!

Heliconian on Steam

And now to the latest updates. Here's a video of the direct energy weapon (DEW) in action. It disables the weapons systems of the enemy, but drains energy quite fast.



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« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2020, 02:01:55 PM »

When you go far enough, you'll eventually encounter a boss level enemies. This is the first of them. Compared to normal enemies, this boss has 2 separate sections that you can target. That brings some extra strategy to the combat. Do you target the weak side or the side with the heavier weapons first? The next step is to create more and even larger bosses and determine the game situations where the player encounters them.

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