At its core, the game is about designing airships and fighting with them. Ships are put together out of modules, and the layout of modules matters a great deal: everything on board is done by individual airsailors who need to run around, ferrying coal, ammunition, water and repair tools - and sometimes their fallen comrades.
You can command fleets of airships both against the computer and against other players across the Internet.
In addition, there is a single-player strategic mode, where you use your fleet to conquer city after city, unlocking new modules and bonuses with each of them.
The game has an authentic-ish system of heraldry where you can create your own coat of arms, and register it with the game forums as unique to you.
In between major releases of Airships, I like to work on things that don't require deep changes to the game's code but make the whole experience better. For version 7.2, I want to make the combat feel more visceral, which of course mainly means one thing: better explosions.
Way back in the early days, explosions in the game were just square white flashes. In version 6.3, I took a first stab at improving this state of affairs. I spent some time studying what explosions in games and in real life look like (nothing alike), and created an explosion animation made of a bunch of clouds lit up by a bright flash:
This looked more like an explosion, but it was frankly still pretty underwhelming. So for v7.2, I've overhauled things completely:
What's changed? The fireball is bigger and more fire-coloured. The light flash is a lot stronger, and enhanced by a slight whiteout flash across the entire screen. Smoke rises from the explosion site and fragments streak away from the explosion trailing smoke and fire.
Finally, there's a subtle screen shake. I wasn't sure at all if I wanted to put screen shake in at first. In general, I find it really annoying when games mess with your ability to see what's going on. But in practice, a quick and relatively gentle screen vibration doesn't bother me at all, and in fact really drives home the feeling of there being a big explosion. Still, I'll put in an option to turn off screen shake in case it causes eyestrain or motion sickness for any players.
So what else is coming in v7.2? I want to smooth out some crew animations, fix a raft of bugs and misbehaviours, and add some useful shortcuts like the ability to repair a ship to its previous state straight from the strategic screen.
And in parallel, I'm plotting and developing the monsters to come in v8:
Floathoney is a rare and dangerous delicacy. The hives of the giant bees that produce it float high in the sky and are as formidable as any man-made fortress. Rarely, a hive will be abandoned, or attacked by an even more terrible monster. It will drift and come to rest against the slopes of a mountain, or slowly lose altitude until it settles in a remote valley. Then, foolhardy apiarist-adventurers can enter the hive, scraping any honey they can find into jars, fending off any surviving bees, giant mites, and other scavengers.
Fleshcracker clanks: More terror weapon than serious military machine. The idea has been put forth repeatedly that the machine is fuelled by the flesh of its victims, but analysis of Fleshcracker wreckage shows that its "mouth" does not connect to anything other than a small holding tank. Its ability to "eat" its victims is entirely for show, and to play into local superstitions about black magic.
Highest Rated (2 agree) 10/10
Great game. I've been playing since Dev2 and it gets better each time. It's a steal for only $5. Reminds me of the Total War games with it's campaign map.
Apr 24 2014 by CanofSodaGames
Latest tweets from @zarkonnen_com
My current monster design notes on giant robot ducks: "they poop a lot". Concept may need a bit of work.
46mins 10secs ago
Emotional Support Zergling is here for you. T.co
1hour 8mins ago
2hours 9mins ago
@ProsperLoans I am getting constant spam from one of your affiliates, "Insider Offers". Did not opt in. Please fix this.
2hours 15mins ago
18hours 55mins ago
RT @glassbottommeg: Not entirely sure I agree with all the points in the Indiepocalypse article but mostly yeah. Stuff is consolidating: ht…
18hours 56mins ago
Thanks to @DRMacIver I now temporarily understand monads again. Not sure if I understand anything else in the world any more, but: monads!
20hours 50mins ago
Asymmetry warning: Buy Airships on @itchio, get Steam key. Buy it on Steam, don't get standalone download link. Them's the breaks.
21hours 20mins ago