New space stations and 3d pathfinding system

In this article I'll show you how the 3d pathfinding system works and the new procedurally generated space stations.

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In recent weeks I have been working on improving the gameplay and giving more variety to the game.

One of the most important things I'm working on is the new AI. The artificial intelligence used in early prototypes worked quite well in open spaces, but making all battles in an open space makes them repetitive. For this reason I decided that the game must have battles in space stations, around great asteroids or in the middle of devastated battle zones.

The first problem is that the old AI couldn't avoid obstacles and decide routes, so I had to do a 3D pathfinding system.

In this gif you can see the first test of the pathfinding system:

In red you can see the zones with obstacles, green nodes mark the path to the target.

The system sets the right path. The problem is that looking for the shortest path makes the ship pass too close to the obstacles. By following this path the ship would be likely to collide.

The solution is to give weight to the nodes creating a map of heat. The system will try to avoid the reddish areas so that collision possibilities are drastically reduced:

I'm still working on AI to make it smart and less repetitive, but the 3D pathfinding system has been a breakthrough in order to create more complex environments.

I have also been working on a space station generation system. During the game, you will encounter a lot of space stations. Originally the stations were only shops where you could repair the ship, buy new weapons and systems and recruit crew. Now they can be allies or enemies. If we find an allied station they may ask us to help them refuse an enemy attack. If it's an enemy station, we can destroy its defenses and try to assault it to obtain a great booty.

To have a great variety of stations I've decided to create them in a procedural way. The system creates stations with docks, defensive weapons, generators and everything a station may need. In this gif you can see a small sample:

It's pending to add new station styles for each faction and more modules for more variety, but the basic system works.

In the next article I will show you new features, such as the docking system and the new shield system.
By the way, excuse me for this silence of almost two months! I promise that from now on I will try to publish an article every two weeks!

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