Hello, people! Game Designer Sasu here again, chronicling our progress on Interplanetary. We are still working on the alpha test version, at the moment. The game is getting prettier and the implementation of many core features, such as placement of structures and targeting, is well on its way! It will probably still be a couple of months until we can send the alpha around for testing, but rest assured that progress is happening. Maybe we'll be able to release some interesting new material, our graphics master Jukka has been working on, soon.
Today, I'd like to go into detail about one of the major game mechanics of Interplanetary. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the heart and soul of the game: The Targeting System!
The Secrets of the Targeting System
As you may have noticed at this point, Interplanetary is all about damaging your enemy and keeping yourself safe, using simple base game mechanics that will, hopefully, allow for a lot of strategic depth. The Targeting System allows you to target the cannons you've assembled during the Build Phase.
The Targeting Phase starts as you first choose which gun to target. Its placement on your planet's surface will determine the angle of targeting; it will be somewhat difficult to hit the enemy planet if your weapon happens to be on the wrong side of your planet. It's not impossible, however, since many things in the planetary system will affect the trajectory of the slug. All the planets, and most notably the sun, have a gravitational pull that you can use to your advantage. They can also completely mess up your targeting, unless you're careful.
Now that you've picked a weapon, a curve, representing the final trajectory, will appear. By moving your mouse, you can manipulate the curve to make the trajectory to your liking; a good idea is to try and make the slug follow the enemy planet's orbit. Once you've found a trajectory that pleases you, hit the left mouse button and target your next weapon. When you and your opponent have both chosen your targets and ended your turns, the weapons fire automatically.
One more thing to pay attention to is the movement of the planets: once the weapons fire, time unfreezes and the planetary system comes alive. The planets start to orbit the sun and rotate on their axes. You just need to learn to take that into account and aim accordingly, but you can also use a slider to simulate the passage of time while targeting, and even choose when each individual weapon will fire.
When the weapons fire, the slugs follow their predicted trajectories, taking into account the changes in the planetary system. You can only hope you hit the enemy planet and not the other ones, especially your own, or that your missile won't end up drifting endlessly in outer space.
These are the basics of targeting. There's a lot more to it, of course. With the basic system, it's very difficult to, for example, pick a specific target from the enemy planet or just generally to cause a lot of damage. That's why you will be able to use different weapon types with different targeting features. Details on that will have to wait until another time!