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Interstellar

by avh4 - 7dRTS / Mini LD 44 Entry

This is my first attempt at an LD submission, and unfortunately the resulting game is not particular playable. But I certainly learned a ton in the process.

Interstellar lets you chart humanity's course over hundreds of millions of years. I originally intended to have 2- and 3-player mode, but now there is only 1-player mode. You choose how to allocate your civilization's energy, and try to race for the stars. You'll see lots of crazy numbers on the screen (like 1.989 Giga-Yotta-grams, and 30.4 kilo-Yotta-Watts)--those are the kinds of units you deal with over millions of years. All of the star systems in the game are actual systems in real life.

The game is written in javascript, using node.js for the server-side code, KineticJS for the graphics, and socket.io for the network communication (using WebSockets and/or long-polling). Everything's deployed to a free account on heroku. The source code is available here: http://github.com/avh4/interstellar Kinetic's API is somewhat painful to use; next time I'll probably try EaselJS instead.

The title screen image is public domain from NASA: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17171 The music was created from scratch using a Yamaha MO8 (my first time actually using its pattern mode!)

Downloads and Links


Ratings

#7Mood3.67
#14Innovation3.62
#14Audio3.11
#17Coolness49%
#27Graphics3.24
#36Theme3.43
#36Humor2.00
#43Overall2.90
#57Fun2.10

Comments

DMT says ...
Jul 31, 2013 @ 1:52am

I really enjoyed this entry. The mechanics were intuitive, and best of all they would work on all platforms. A very soothing kind of mood and gameplay that could go on for ages it seems.

superjoe says ...
Jul 31, 2013 @ 4:48am

I messed with the pie chart but I couldn't tell how I was doing. Is anything supposed to happen? Are the numbers supposed to go up or down?

avh4 says ...
Jul 31, 2013 @ 6:41am

Once you allocate a percentage of your energy to one of the research tracks, you should see the percentage for that research task start increasing (like "Developing Chemical Thrusters (10.5%)").

Researching Stellar Mining will increase your ability to capture energy from the star, so your speed of researching will increase. Researching Interplanetary Travel will eventually give you the ability to move to other start systems. And researching Planetary Mining will do nothing (I didn't have time to get it working, but the idea was that this would be to collect minerals needed to build ships and equipment).

Makio says ...
Jul 31, 2013 @ 11:53am

I like the User Interface but I can t understand the goal of the game. this kind of interface can made great rts I think.

Jul 31, 2013 @ 1:11pm

Without a tutorial or anything, I really had no idea what I was doing. The UI is impossible to parse without some kind of analysis. I noticed you mentioned the game isn't "particularly playable" and I wasn't able to determine if I was doing anything. With that said, it's a very strong core and could be turned into something really cool. The ambient music sold me for the audio, and the graphics were clean, but I still couldn't figure out what to do. :/

AVataRR says ...
Jul 31, 2013 @ 2:29pm

Hey James/Nicolas, what you needed to do was drag the three 'development' circles on each planet to allocate your civilisation's efforts between: planetary mining, stellar mining and interstellar travel.

I think this is a really cool concept. It embodies the essence of 'strategy' really well, in my opinion. Feels like what our top politicians actually do in setting policies - but not actually implementing it themselves.

But yeah.. the game kinda gets boring quite quickly. Some suggestions to make it more interesting: Allow us to meet other civilisations and see what happens. Perhaps a slider between friendly/antagonistic policies - and we can see an explosion of cultural exchange; or exploding spaceships. ^^;

I also thought it was peculiar that my colonies had to redevelop interstellar travel from scratch - right from the stage of chemical rockets, after I had already traveled to those star systems with interstellar technology??

Great concept. :) I hope you take this further after 7drts.

avh4 says ...
Jul 31, 2013 @ 8:21pm

Regarding my comment "game is not particular playable" in the description, there are three things that I really wish I had had more time for:

- Making all the star systems you've colonized share the benefits of research performed at other systems (ideally this would involve some kind of energy cost for communicating the research, and possible require the physical transport of equipment)

- Balancing the game. Currently you just need to research Stellar Mining, and when that's maxed out everything else pretty much finishes within a few seconds. A second issue with this is that the energy output of the different systems are orders of magnitude apart form one another, so for example if you started on Sirius, you can max out your research in a matter of seconds, but if you started on Wolf 359 it'd take over a day to max out. I want to find some kind of balanced mechanic that would make this more interesting, but didn't have time to solve it.

- Adding multiplayer. Actually the backend code already is set up for this, I just didn't have time to create the game logic for how the players would interact. And also I initially wanted to have a third player that would somehow control cosmic events while the first two players competed for ownership of the systems.

But as everyone knows, lots of stuff must get cut to meet the deadline :) I do plan on working on the game some more, but I'll probably wait until after LD27 to put more work into it.

Thanks for all the comments!

karlin says ...
Aug 1, 2013 @ 3:31am

This was great, very calming, nice graphics and interesting gameplay. I'd love to see what you do with it when you start working on it some more.

phi says ...
Aug 1, 2013 @ 5:18pm

Very cool and interesting concept, although I don't fully understand the mechanics behind it. But it looks absolutely great (space is awesome).

Andrew says ...
Aug 1, 2013 @ 5:30pm

As mentioned the ui is really cool but the actual game is a bit cryptic and it took me a while(by reading the comments actually) to get it

8BitPimp says ...
Aug 1, 2013 @ 7:01pm

Nice to look at and the mood is good. I didn't really understand my aim unfortunately.

vincepascoe says ...
Aug 2, 2013 @ 5:18am

really cool Idea, I wish there was a little more choices about development. or a conflict or clock. maybe multi player could add this? if theres only so many resources in the universe then it would be more interesting on which species got to it first? great first attempt!

jonbro says ...
Aug 2, 2013 @ 11:59am

really cool concept! I could see this working great on tablets, the fixed positions + resource allocation was nice. like many others I had the issue that the goal was a bit confusing, also it started off really slow and then got fast really quick. Maybe this is what would happen with actual interstellar travel though, like getting to the first star is really tough, but then after that, they are all really easy. Not sure what you would do to make it more gamey, like what kind of challenges does a million billion years of civilization face.

srd says ...
Aug 2, 2013 @ 6:37pm

The system seems well-implemented, but there's not really a game here. A challenge to overcome a rival civilisation, or some other force that acts against your expansion, or to colonise everywhere in some timeframe would add depth.

I also had problems with the interface. The pie charts are very smooth, but they overlap a lot - it can be difficult to select a particular system.

Best use of SI units. *EVER*.

Halleflux says ...
Aug 9, 2013 @ 10:27pm

..I honestly don't know what the goal is, or what anything actually does. There isn't any explanation of what each thing does, you just have to guess. Some of the stuff makes sense, but only interstellar travel seems to do anything. I'm sure that with some more development, this will become clearer and more concrete, but at the moment, it does seem random. There is a whole lot of potential, though.

Also, about the circles for determining what a system is researching, you can do a basic check to see if the person is crossing over from the 100% total amount to 0%, which currently erases all research, and is rather annoying. You could also switch to bars instead of the shared circle.

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