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Posts Tagged ‘muniverse’

Fake Atmosphere

Posted by (twitter: @louroboros)
Friday, May 4th, 2012 2:41 pm

(This is a cross-post from my post-compo devlog.)

I’ve been playing around with different ways to fake the atmosphere of a planet in a 2D canvas context.

That’s interactive, by the way, so mess around with it (Chrome/Chromium is recommended!). Clicking on/around the planet changes the “angle” of light. You can get some pretty nifty looking results. I made this to determine what were reasonable parameter-ranges to use to generate plausible-looking planets.

The way I get the sort of “volumetric” look for the atmosphere is really simple: I just stack many semi-opaque layers of the same gradient-filled-circle over the planet, each one having a radius slightly bigger than the previous.

I actually threw this together using with a JSFiddle which you can view/hack here.

Of course, I still need to figure out how to combine this with a surface/cloud texture (procedurally generated or otherwise…).

Space Drugs: Isn’t Deep Space “High” Enough Already?

Posted by (twitter: @louroboros)
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 8:05 pm

(This is a cross-post from my post-compo devlog.)

“High”, as in altitude. Again, no apologies.


If you’re old enough to have been a highschooler before the average cell phone had an app store, then this probably looks familiar:

SELL! SELL! SELL!!!

That of course is a depiction of the ubiquitous TI-82/3+ game “Drug Wars”.

It was a simple and extremely … er … addictive game. Buy low, sell high, don’t get caught, and don’t get robbed on the way to the suburbs to drop your stash of cocaine.

Now, as it turns out, this was inspired by a DOS game from the early 80s. Of course, there have been many variations, but I’m willing to bet that the one for the TI-83 has been played by more highschoolers of my generation than any of the “modernized” versions (/me wrinkles his nose at ‘mafia wars’).

Frontier: Elite II, a game from 1993, introduced black market goods to the space-trading from the first game. Whether it was influenced by DOS Drugwars is a mystery to me, but I know it was at least as fun to be a dealer in space as it was to be when I should have been memorizing trig equations (okay, it was definitely more fun — lasers).


So, of course, I had to include black market goods in μniverse.

There is only one illegal good so far in the pre-alpha: generic narcotics. I may add other goods that have special properties, such as firearms, nuclear waste, non-compliant computer hardware, unidentified alien technology… it’s easy to come up with ideas. But for now, just droogs.

Currently, the only penalty for transporting illegal goods — as seen above — is for the goods to be “confiscated” by the ITG (Intergalactic Trade Guard).

I should note that so far, there are two kinds of space stations you can encounter: ITG stations (below, left) and what I’m calling “Pirate” stations (below, right), which are not “protected” by the ITG.

ITG StationPirate Station

(non-final artwork)

Every time you enter an ITG station, there’s a chance your ship will be searched. Pirate stations, however, are “safe”. Thus, it should go without saying that prices for illegal goods at ITG stations are significantly higher than they generally are at Pirate stations.

To make things more interesting, I intend to introduce a “Smuggler” crewmember, whose presence aboard your ship will reduce the likelyhood or rate of discovery of illegal goods and later, fugitive passengers — a topic I’ll be discussing in a future post.

HUD you guess?

Posted by (twitter: @louroboros)
Monday, April 30th, 2012 7:59 pm

(This is a cross-post from my post-compo devlog.)

Yes, there will be puns. I apologize for nothing.


The most recent addition to the game was the heads-up-display for your ship in flight mode. It’s a subtle addition but it’s the sort of thing that makes it feel like, yanno, a game. I’m happy to say that it doesn’t act as a big distraction or take away from any “immersiveness” that the game might (accidentally) already have.

Right now, the only info the player needs to see are their shield levels. The way I chose to display this was an unassuming, white vertical bar. When you take damage, the bar shrinks accordingly. The important bit is that it does so in an animated fashion — any time the bar is shrinking, the ‘S’ (label for ‘shields’) shakes proportional to the amount the bar is moving.

Once your shields are below a critical threshold, the bar turns red, and the ‘S’ continues to shake along with the bar until your shields are repaired. I usually hate UI-nags but I make an exception for imminent death.


What isn’t pictured is that the camera also shakes whenever you take damage. The reason for this is two-fold: 1) This helps indicate that you took damage, but it also 2) can disorient you, much like it would happen if you were at the controls and a burst of plasma breaches your hull.

Along the same line, I’m considering having your craft be propelled by the shots as well, but I’m afraid that might be too jarring for the average player. Maybe in a sort of “expert mode”. ;)

Planet Concept #1

Posted by (twitter: @louroboros)
Friday, April 27th, 2012 7:44 pm

(This is a cross-post from my devlog on tumblr.)

This is a concept image for a procedurally-generated gas-giant-like planet in the game.

Right now, planets are rendered as a single circle filled with a radial gradient that is offset from its center. This is pretty effective for giving the illusion of a sphere, but it’s a boring non-textured sphere.

Currently what I’d need to add to the game would be an extra layer or two of inverted radial gradients for “atmosphere effects” (the blue lighting) and an overlay texture that is either canned or also procedurally-generated. When I figure out how to do this I’ll make a technical post explaining my technique.

Oh and yeah, I realize that the lighting is unrealistic — gas giants have clouds that align perpendicular to their axis of rotation, which corresponds to their axis of orbit around their star. Unless the axis of the planet got thrown off bigtime — which does occasionally happen with planets like Uranus — it doesn’t really make sense. Our camera would have to have been rotated, too.

That reminds me; while I wont be going to great lengths to make the game universe realistic, I’ll try to keep them somewhat-correct. More on that later.”/>

This is a concept image for a procedurally-generated gas-giant-like planet in the game. You probably see this dude over on the left right now, too, but I wanted to talk briefly about it.


Right now, planets are rendered as a single circle filled with a radial gradient that is offset from its center. This is pretty effective for giving the illusion of a sphere, but it’s a boring non-textured sphere.

Currently what I’d need to add to the game would be an extra layer or two of inverted radial gradients for “atmosphere effects” (the blue lighting) and an overlay texture that is either canned or also procedurally-generated. When I figure out how to do this I’ll make a technical post explaining my technique.


Oh and yeah, I realize that the lighting is unrealistic — gas giants have clouds that align perpendicular to their axis of rotation, which corresponds to their axis of orbit around their star. Unless the axis of the planet got thrown off bigtime — which does occasionally happen with planets like Uranus — it doesn’t really make sense. Our camera would have to have been rotated, too.

That reminds me; while I wont be going to great lengths to make the game universe realistic, I’ll try to keep them somewhat-correct. More on that later.

how do i devlogged?

Posted by (twitter: @louroboros)
Friday, April 27th, 2012 7:39 pm

(This is a cross-post from my devlog on tumblr.)

Ludum Dare 23 is over and my game has been submitted. It was a crazy 3 days of … crazy, and the most fun I’ve ever had making a game.

However, I wasn’t really done with my game. I had something playable, but I felt like I could actually make a feature-complete space-exploration game out of it.

So I decided to continue working on it.

Thus begins the devlog of the “final” version of μniverse.


If you’re here, I’ll assume you have already played the pre-alpha or Game-Jam version of the game and are familiar with what it is. If not, or if you want a refresher, check out the About the Game page to get a run-down of what μniverse is and will hopefully become.


Unfortunately, right now I’m in the process of cleaning up and organizing the codebase (one giant CoffeeScript file), so I won’t have much exciting stuff to report until I’m happy with that, but in the meantime, if you think this might be a game that catches your fancy, you should +follow me here on tumblr, or twitter, or github.


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