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Please take the time to answer the polls! - New planet stuffs - Texture overlays for spacecraft.

Posted by b5cully on May 29th, 2013

Please take your time and check out the following polls! Your help is greatly appreciated! 

On which device will you play StarFire?
What graphics do you think would look best on StarFire? 
What concepts do you think would be interesting to add to StarFire?
Would you be interested in helping out the project StarFire?
How would you want to help out with StarFire's development?

As far as I am concerned the poll is 100% anonymous (but it may track your location, it seems) If you have something to add, a suggestion or an idea, please leave a comment on this article.

Since I am currently recoding a majority of the game, the information passed on here is of great importance and any poll result that makes me reconsider the (not yet 100% determined) decisions I have made can change the final game entirely.
If you wish to help StarFire out in any way other than answering these polls (for which I have to say: thank you thank you thank you!) please do so and send me a private message - I can use all the help I can get to keep this baby alive and growing. 


In other news, I managed to come up with some interesting regarding orbital movement: Moons orbit around planets, and the planet orbits around a central sun.


Technically it's also possible to make entire star systems circle around a galactic center, but I think that's probably gonna kill your computer. :D 

Another thing I plan to do are texture overlays. Using these it's possible to display visible conditions to the spacecraft, like damage, burns, heat, rust and so on. Decals and stripes as you know from fighter aircraft are also possible using the same technique. Click on the image below to check out some samples I've created.

Texture Overlays

Another thing I have finished is a pretty neat debugging console that displays status messages in real time, which can be hooked up later to a server for fully automatic bug reporting.

Progress is there, just extremely slow!

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Lunarts
Lunarts May 29 2013, 4:12pm says:

Very smart move of verifying your public opinion using votation polls, do not do that only now, deploy some more polls in the future, that way the game will be more like what the players will want to play, and their engagement with your project will increase a lot.

Bug tracking is very important too, all the work spent in better collecting bug data will surely pay off as soon as you face a big bug.

I had personal experiences with both subjects

Keep it going and good luck

Lunarts

+2 votes     reply to comment
b5cully
b5cully Jun 1 2013, 6:46am replied:

It's indeed interesting to see people's opinion, but sometimes they not always consider/know technical aspects which can change a decision completely. It'd be unwise to add a feature just because a majority wants to have it, when you know for sure it will hinder your project's development (due to complexity, time consumption, etc), in that sense it's always good to have a "veto" in such matters. But despite all of this, it doesn't mean there cannot be compromises between the end user's desires and a coder's needs.

Bug tracking makes your own life easier too when you test stuff out yourself, so creating reliable in-game debugging tool should be of high priority, I think.

Thank you a lot, and I hope your own project is going well too!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Lunarts
Lunarts Jun 1 2013, 3:23pm replied:

Exactly. You cannot give them everything they want, but by means of feedback gathering you can try to implement what is possible. Players usually only see the graphical, sound and plot parts of the game, but the complexity of coding new functionality remains hidden, unless they notice many bugs, only then they notice the code.

Lunarts

+2 votes     reply to comment
Insolent.
Insolent. Jun 2 2013, 7:26pm says:

The new textures look great! I definitely think these work well, and fit into my preferred visual style for the game, "realistic." The other shipbuilding and simulation games in the genre right now tend to have a more pixelated or stylized look - if you go full realistic, you'll be unique in that sense.

+2 votes     reply to comment
b5cully
b5cully Jun 2 2013, 7:43pm replied:

I see where you're getting at, and I have considered this as well, however "full realistic" is draining on the time I have available when I should be coding things, and it's even more severe considering I am a one man army here (it wouldn't be as bad if I had a team backing me up). In terms of uniquess you are 100% correct, but this unfortunately isn't quite realizable considering effort and time I have available. (I spend +10h on a single texture, minus rigging and creating the model according to the standards I need, which is another +5h work, to make you aware of the dimensions I'm talking about here)

So for now, I am considering to use realistic low reso textures, with the huge "But" that I am trying to make these as good-looking as possible. A few examples I have already posted: Indiedb.com and these are much more time efficient than the high reso ones I have made, while looking at least just as detailed (I actually have a better overview making smaller textures which causes me to make the details harmonize better, and it also adds to the fun).

What I am definitely going to do is to add the possibility to let the user change textures if someone with enough time and patience wants to create a texture pack for this game. Should be a good compromise, I think.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Insolent.
Insolent. Jun 2 2013, 8:05pm replied:

Ah, well the examples you've provided *are* what I meant by "full realistic" - you're going for a more realistic look than any of the other games in the genre, which are pixellated or stylized. Your realistic style also complements the more complex geometry of your shipbuilding parts. I guess I'm just saying I like your current examples, so keep up the good work!

+1 vote     reply to comment
b5cully
b5cully Jun 2 2013, 8:17pm replied:

Oh, I thought by "realistic" you were refering to the graphics of like EVE online or similar game series. Glad to have that clarified.

Thanks for the feedback! :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Guest Jun 29 2013, 8:51am says:

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b5cully
b5cully Jul 4 2013, 5:52pm replied:

Most what you have mentioned is already planned in a similar form as you described, especially FPS elements and structures. I am still stuck making the basic engine for the game, progress being there but very slow, so I will not be able to implement any of these concepts anytime soon. The editor will work different to "just place blocks", as it's going to be a bit more like the ship editor in Galactic Civilizations.

There is going to be both an open source and commercial version of StarFire, it is designed to be easily extendable after all.

I will contact you in the next few days, regarding the help you mentioned.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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