It's 2010, and Aero Empire is getting ready for the long stretch to game completion. We've hit several setbacks and bumps which threatened to veer us off course, as all projects the size of Aero Empire are bound to hit, but after some reorganizing and some feature changes, we are back on course. Our new years resolution is to release Aero Empire in 2010!
First, let me formally mention the demo you may have heard us mention in comments. The demo game is meant to give players a taste of the gameplay in Aero Empire, as well as give us valuable feedback and balancing for the final game later this year. The demo will consist of the Gyro stage of the game. It will follow a short story in Aero Empire's universe, where the player is a gyro pilot aboard a carrier airship. There will not be any between-mission gameplay in the demo, it will focus mainly on gyro to gyro combat and dogfighting. We are a little over halfway done with the demo, and plan to finish the demo by January 29th. The demo will represent a complete stage, along with a lot of the game dynamics and logic needed to run the full game, so we will be fully prepared to fly off from the end of the demo into the completion of the game.
The design for the HUD (Heads Up Display) and controls for the Gyro.
Many of the shown components have been finalized, and others are under production.
As the focal point of the demo, the Gyro has been worked on a lot. Many sprites for the HUD, weapons, and damage effects for the gyros have been completed, animations for the gyro have been finished, and the Bomb Chute (which pilots can swap with the Rocket Pod to change their gyro from an interceptor to a bomber) has been modeled.
Finished Gyro Animations
Bomb Chute attachment for Gyros.
The original concept art can be seen here: I106.photobucket.com.
The code for the demo is progressing smoothly, the above components are being integrated into the engine and the controls/animations for the Gyro are almost done (just require a few more tweaks), so expect some in game videos of flying gyros soon.
Preliminary model for the small carrier airship.
The Feature Changes
As mentioned in the first paragraph, we have done some reorganizing and decided to make some feature changes. This decision was not made lightly, but it was obvious that everyone was getting overwhelmed with the size of the project, which was making it hard to plan things out and also decreased team motivation. As I thought about Aero Empire and how to simplify and streamline the project to make it easier to tackle, I realized that the problem was that Aero Empire was really two games, not one. The first game was more of a twitch based combat game focusing on the dynamics of airships and gyros. This included the gunner stage, the pilot stage, the captain stage and the commander stage. The second game was more of a strategy game focusing on the dynamics between nations, and commanding entire armies of airships. This encompassed the general stage and the admiral stage. So, I decided to split Aero Empire up into those two games. The first game mentioned will be made first, as we have already done more work on that and it is closer to the original idea of Aero Empire. The second game will come later, as a sequel to Aero Empire.
The first game of Aero Empire will be released before the end of 2010 (as opposed to early 2011). The game will follow a storyline that centers around the Andashan character as he or she rises from a gunner to a commander, and will take place before the start of the second major war. The game will focusing on smaller battles, focusing more on the dynamics between gyros and the different airship types instead of massive armies. The battles will increase in size as tension between the nations rise and the war is all but officially declared. The game will include twitch based combat with squads (for the wing leader of gyros, or a commander of a handful of airships). All nation dynamics will be scripted in the story, as these are more suited for the second game. The game will have a definitive end, as the main character's career will end one way or another with the start of the war.
The second game will start with the official declaration of the second war, and will focus on the dynamics between the nations, and include larger battles with larger ship types. We will start production on the sequel sometime after the completion of the first game, and the release date is undecided as of now.
One last thing I would like to mention is that we are in need of a particle effect programmer for creating particle effects for both the demo and the final game. If you've had experience working with particle engines and animating particle sprites, then feel free to contact me. Also - don't forget to vote for us in Indie Game of the Year 2009! We really appreciate the fan support :) .
Look forward to the demo release and the full game release in 2010!