In Ensign-1 you play the role of a space fighter pilot returning from a deep space colonization mission. On arrival back to our own solar system, you find Earth has been colonized by a hostile alien force. It's now up to you, with the help of your mothership, the Ensign-1, to take it back Ensign-1 allows allows for complete freedom in approaching objectives. You can fight from the safety of your spacecraft, or land and exit to explore space stations and carriers on foot. You can commandeer any spacecraft in the game, no matter how big or how small. Defend an asteroid base, or take the fight to the enemy with a huge mothership, friends manning turrets, it's your choice. The game also features a multiplayer mode where players can explore a randomly generated galaxy, either fighting co-operatively to clean out enemy fighters, or battling each other for supremacy.

Report content RSS feed Shaders and Normal Maps oh my!

I've brought shader support into the game engine, so that everything should look much more vibrant!

Posted by onionman on Apr 19th, 2012

Hello all,
It's been awhile since our last update. But I guess you've all seen that we're on Desura now! It was a huge milestone for us, and we're really happy to finally be live on a store! We really appreciate everyone who has purchased the game early and helped to keep this dream alive. Thank you so much!

Anyway, I wanted to fill you guys in on some of the work we've been doing on the game. Firstly, I have heard your cries that you want better graphics. We had some people even go so far to write they thought the game looked like it came from 1998! Okay okay, I've dug deep and learned how to write in programmable shaders. Ensign-1 now sports per pixel lighting and normal maps. We hope you like the difference!

Before After

And here are some more pics just for fun!

Mine colony with normal maps The bridge with normal maps
We are normal.....honest!

Only takes a second to say, but man it took a lot of work to get in the game, especially that bump mapping. I just want to make sure you understand how difficult that was! A patch which includes this update should be released very shortly.

In other feedback, I have heard that you guys would like mouse support added to the flight segments of the game. So don't worry that will be done...once I get around to it.

Content wise, Rustybolts has been hard at work making a variety of new ships to add into the game, which you can see here. Now these ships aren't actually in the campaign yet. The alien fighters are of course just more powerful enemies you'll meet in later levels, but the human ships will be stronger fighters which will be available for purchase as you complete missions.

Its time to be frugal, tighten your astro belt!

Aside from that, Rusty has had to spend the rest of his time redoing all the models to include normal maps, so we don't have any new missions for you just yet, but I can tease a little bit of what we're planning. The next mission we're going to have will hopefully bring you something reminiscent of Descent or Forsaken! That's right!, we're hoping to have some cool space corridors to fly your 6dof ship around in. I also don't know if you've seen Titan A.E.? With that scene near the end that takes place in the ice crystal field, but we're hoping to bring you a mission kind of reminiscent of that as well.

Anyway, that's all I've got for now, please enjoy our first ever Let's Play of the game done by the extremely cool commentator 89nephilim!

Post comment Comments
Bluedrake42 Apr 19 2012 says:

I'm not gonna lie man, when I first saw this project I thought it was complete ****. You have really polished up something that's starting to look like a respectable and original game. Good work.

+3 votes     reply to comment
onionman Author
onionman Apr 20 2012 replied:

Glad we could convert you ;)

+1 vote   reply to comment
cyxceven Apr 19 2012 says:

Aww, I never got my desura invite :(

+1 vote     reply to comment
onionman Author
onionman Apr 19 2012 replied:

Send me your name and email address you used as a supporter to and I'll get you sorted.

+1 vote   reply to comment
cyxceven Apr 20 2012 replied:

I did, twice.

+1 vote     reply to comment
onionman Author
onionman Apr 20 2012 replied:

So you did, very sorry about that!

+1 vote   reply to comment
cyxceven Apr 20 2012 says:

No problem, thank you!
I'm digging this like I did Colony Wars so very long ago.

+1 vote     reply to comment
onionman Author
onionman Apr 20 2012 replied:

Colony Wars is one of my favorites, what a good space game! You can keep your Freespace, I'll take Colony Wars!

+1 vote   reply to comment
SinKing Apr 20 2012 says:

Uv-ing isn't your artist's favorite task, I can tell from the texture stretching. Also, why would a window in space be blue? Since it's reflecting most of the light, it would certainly be rather black than blue.

So it's nice that some stuff is working already, but the design of this game is still a bit off and uninspired. I suggest making some iterative designs based on the ones you have and try to come up with something a little more detailed and refined. For examples - you probably want to move those engines and blasters on the ship (at least the rear ones) to change direction. So let your artist think about how the engines could be attached to the rest. Only when they have a clear understanding what every piece and bolt of the ship will look like, it will make sense and enhance its believability as a space vessel. Lot more work required on the concept side, but understandable you may not have the ressources available, right now.

+2 votes     reply to comment
newbie2356 Apr 20 2012 says:

aaaaaaaah that youtube video... that sold it, I'm getting this game asap. Wish I had the skills to help out developing it with you.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Sph!nx Apr 20 2012 says:

Well, I saw the potential right from the start. Glad to see you are living up to my expectations. Excellent job so far!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Munellium May 3 2012 says:

The models are better, but half of the materials still look like glorified plastic and clay. /:
Might want to work on tuning em to be a bit more shiny, or something. The bump-maps and normals are a major improvement, but you still have a long way to go before the average consumer looks at your game and says, "Oh wow, that looks awesome!"

+1 vote     reply to comment
onionman Author
onionman May 3 2012 replied:

One of the nice things about being a 2-man team is that we don't have to please everyone to survive. We're quite happy with just the kind people that appreciate our game for the unique aspect of being able to board other fighters and starships.

That aside, thanks for the feedback.

+3 votes   reply to comment
Lexusjjss May 7 2012 replied:

Indeed, that's why this game sounds so fun and promising to me. It has come a long way in a fairly short time.

EDIT: Oh, sorry, I'm also Munellium, just on my other account. =P

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Only Human Studios
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Released 2012
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