Post news RSS Another Day Designing Project Space Fall

Just Another Day In Design. In this news update we discuss some challenges in designing and debugging the game. Also discussed is our method of balancing realistic physics with design limitations of the processing power available to us.

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Well we are currently in the alpha phase in development of Project Space Fall. It has been a challenging but fun adventure getting to this point. We switched to developing our game in Game Maker Studio and I have to say I’ve grown to really appreciate GML. It is a smooth and well rounded language to create in and with this being our first game this has been an invaluable asset. I think it’s very true when they say that you need to love what you are doing otherwise the game will never get created. And I’ve grown very fond of this title and really want to see it come together in a well designed, high quality title. If you have ever published a game or tried to work on one before, you’ll understand that when you spend hundreds of hours creating a game, you’ll do almost anything to see it succeed.

The idea behind this first game is to create a world where the player can fly seamlessly between multiple solar systems and battle various AI for control. The inspiration came from an old title that I honestly cannot even find the name of nowadays. I played the demo probably 15 years ago and was hooked. The graphics were obviously very basic back then but what made it fun was the complex programming that created the addictive gameplay element. In our game, not only does the player have to fight enemy players, they have to worry about balancing priorities of which sector to focus on and then to add to the complexity they must navigate space compensating for the effects of the gravitational pull from the celestial bodies. For added visuals and to up the eye candy we included plenty of asteroids and speeding comets that the player must dodge and will explode when they collide.

I personally have always been fascinated with astronomy so that has heavily influenced the development of this title. I tried to incorporate accurate physics and current knowledge about astrophysics while balancing it with considerations for captivating visuals and fast paced action. It honestly was difficult to find a middle ground and now I see why some space games or movies fudge the line between reality and entertainment. I am very open to any suggestions for what someone would want to see in this game. I am still toying with different ideas about how to incorporate black holes into the game. Currently each game session will initialize with 6 randomly generated systems on the map. The systems are comprised of different star types in singular or binary formations. I’m looking to have around 15 different planets in any given game although I am contemplating increasing the scope of each map. It is difficult to balance different gameplay aspects such as game scope and the speed and fluidity of the action sequences.

The typical day here at Cosmic Dream Studios starts out with programming and ends with even more programming. Thrown in there are a few rounds of graphic designing and a bunch of head scratching when I’ve realized I’ve completely neglected to plan some game aspect through like I should have. I think the most frustrating thing is to spend 2 to 3 hours working on a piece of code and walk away having no clue why the stupid ship is firing backwards. But when I do finally figure out that it’s because of a misplaced bracket the joy makes it all worth it. One of the many things that keeps me going is knowing that even if a game flops at the market place, I can always look back and say that at least that game was well made. And I think that is the main ideology behind CDS games. We’re just trying to make games that are fun to play. And I know I’ve done my job well when I still enjoy entering the game stage for the 1000th time to debug.

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