Take care of a colony of space ants, while expanding your station and dealing with threats. The gameplay is in the direction of Dwarf Fortress in the setting of Space Station 13. The game features 2D graphics but 3D gameplay. There's detailed engineering for electricity, atmospherics, liquids and plasma. You'll need to serve the needs of your ants, which have ant-like biology, while protecting them from dangers, keep your production chain running and perform scientific research, all while constructing your space station.

Report article RSS Feed Antstation progress week 33

Saves, art, UI, storage, construction and bugfixes.

Posted by antstation on Aug 18th, 2013

This week I did a lot of testing how everything from the past week works together, so I don't have as much to show as usual.

It was very useful though. I fixed a lot of buggy things caused by all the systems interacting. While this will probably be a continuous process while I implement new features, it's easier to take a critical look occasionally, rather than keep on fixing all the collateral bugs appearing with each feature. I find it requires discipline to just look the other way when you notice you just broke something. Then you can correct it properly when you devote some time to it.

I reimplemented saves as well. Everything in the game is now saved (objects, ants, rooms, etc) It was quite an overhaul, but I doubt I'll ever have to spend much work on it again, unless I run into a barrier forcing another rethinking. It's easily expandable with new features and not particularly susceptible to bugs.

Now, for some more fun things. Ants use containers to store objects, which can store more objects than just leaving it on the ground. Together with the tube transportation system, storing stuff is getting pretty interesting. Here are some ants using the containers.

Cables are now constructed from cable coils. The more nodes the cables has, the more cable coil you'll need. I improved the construction logic a bit in general,  such that an object drops its building materials for re-usage when it disintegrates from lack of maintenance. The gif below shows how that process goes, at 2000x speed (since disintegration from lack of maintenance takes a while).


I went on to implement deconstruction, since it's a logical next step. In the gif you see a construction worker deconstruct a container (leaving its contents afterwards) and subsequently deconstruct a wall. Halfway the deconstruction you can see the atmosphere starts leaking out of the half-constructed wall. The ant grabs a spacesuit to be able to work in a low-pressure environment and finishes the deconstruction.


I redid some part of the UI. It's still clunky, but it's getting better. It was trivial to use the preview box for cables for all other objects as well, and it feels really natural. In addition, I made a menu at the left bottom of the screen which gives access to all kind of central things, like movements, mapmodes and gamespeed. I also implemented tooltips. The obscure abbreviations will mostly be replaced with icons!


So, due to all the engine stuff I have relatively little to show. Luckily, Heartvine (heartvine.tumblr.com) has been very busy to provide proper art for Antstation. Most art is now Heartvine's. This gif below doesn't feature all new art yet, but shows a new selection box, direction arrows, starry sky, doors, goal posts and a meteor.


This gif does have all the new art included and shows: teleporters, lamps, vents, ramps, grate floors, steel and glass sheets and stairs.


Finally, here's normal walls, reinforced walls and shield walls (both with and without electricity). I place them in a very illogical manner, though.


Next week I expect I'll go back to features. Feel free to leave any comments and questions!

Post comment Comments
rsdworker
rsdworker Aug 18 2013, 5:16am says:

nice - good to see Z layer working but i hoped the elevators would be in - to transport ant and/or goods up and down

the teleporters look nice

+3 votes     reply to comment
antstation
antstation Aug 18 2013, 6:15am replied:

Thanks. :)

Z-levels have actually been fully functional before I started writing weekly progress updates, so I've not been giving them much attention.

Elevators are already in the game, they work a bit like transportation tubes though. Such that an ant just steps in and steps out at another levels. They also don't have new art yet so I didn't show them this week.

Z-level and movement related items currently in the game:
-Stairs
-Ramps
-Elevators
-Transporters
-Pole (to slide down a Z-level)
-One-way arrows

+2 votes     reply to comment
rsdworker
rsdworker Aug 18 2013, 7:33am says:

i had idea for art design
elevators needs one car in shaft - when elevator isn't at floor - a empty shaft (darker platings - no tiles floors) like one found in Maintence area in SS13
my idea
each floor = elevator requires is doors at each landing - to prevent ants falling in shaft also call buttons at each landing
so if two elevators next to each other - requires a linked call buttons
the doors would be simllar but either glassed or solid
the main controller for elevators would be ideal - means player can disable or enable or lock the access from main controller for elevator
the transporters are different - requires a control panel for link to distant transporters

for big stations - a hozional elevator or train could transport ants and cargo to far away places - like turbolift

+2 votes     reply to comment
antstation
antstation Aug 18 2013, 7:43am replied:

That's how I planned to implement elevators initially. And with the possible intention to move on to a monorail system. The problem is not so much the logic how an elevator works, but to teach the ants how to use an elevator. It requires a lot of coordination and interaction, and creates a lot of exception scenarios.

Which is why I chose now for the current implementation. I might still try to implement a box-based elevator later, but it's low-priority compared to more core features.

+2 votes     reply to comment
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Antstation
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antstation
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