First Command is a 2D top down game that takes advantage of the simplicity of two dimensions. In the first version players will fight over contested star systems that provide the backdrop for epic space combat. Players can walk around dynamic ships while they are in combat and the ships can suffer from damage. Players can pilot the ships and man their guns. They can also leave their ship and board enemy spacecraft to destroy them from the inside. Players can build space stations around planets to capture them. As players get kills and capture planets they will earn credits they can use to buy better ships.
Larger ships will come with crew members. Gunners for example will aim and fire weapons that the player is not currently commanding, allowing larger ships to take advantage of all of their weapons at once, and engage multiple targets. Engineers will attempt to repair the ship in flight so that the player can continue to focus on what they are doing, though they can make the repairs themselves if they chose. Marines will protect the player’s ship from enemy boarding parties, or board other ships with the player to take them over.
All this and more can be found in First Command…
Ladies and gentlemen, life support is now functioning. This week was a massive undertaking that involved connecting and re-engineering way more systems then I had expected, but I am happy to say I did almost everything I was planning. The only thing that is not yet working is characters getting sucked out into space when you open a pressurized room. I am actually going to save that one for a week of its own because it is looking like it is going to be a major challenge and I want to make sure I do it right. However, the ventilation, life support core, doors and broken seals as well as several functions leading up to them are now all working.
The life support core is an in game object on the ship that can be turned on and off by interacting with it. When powered it divides the air it creates between all the vents that are attached to it. This means placing too many vents on one system will result in very limited air flow, and inversely placing very few vents can ensure breathable atmosphere even if there is a leak. The vents themselves can be also be individually powered down to disable life support in specific rooms.
This brings us to the rooms. While the ship is made out of individual square modules, the modules that form a single room share life support. This means that larger rooms contain more air and take much longer to pressurize. It also means that modules that do not have vents of their own will still revive oxygen through the room they are part of. Modules that are destroyed create large leaks that quickly bleed off atmosphere into space. Similarly opening doors to a vacuum, wither that be to space or depressurized rooms will result in the air being vented. This necessitates the need for small air lock rooms since it take so long to fill up larger rooms.
When characters run out of air they now lose one health per second and space suits have not yet been implemented so if you find yourselves floating in space you could be in trouble. To get everything working I had to back track and fix the interaction script to be case sensitive. It is now much more modular and adding additional functionality will be much easier. Of course to easily test all this I needed a better interface so with the life support we have also gained a working HUD that displays both health and the oxygen level in the room the player is standing in.
However, with all of this good news there is also some bad news; at least for First Command. For those that don’t know I am in college for game design at Full Sail University, and I am getting very near to graduating. Next week begins my final project, a four month period where I will be working with a team to create a commercial-level prototype for a game. It is an awesome thing to do as a final project and I have been excited about it since I started the degree. However, it also means that I am not going to have nearly as much time, if any, to work on First Command.
I am by no means giving up, nor do I even plan to stop entirely, but things are not going to go as quickly as they have been the last few weeks. That said I would still like to keep posting some sort of weekly news to tell all of you a little more about what my plans are for First Command and where we will be going next. Hope to write again soon.