Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Damage Effects Editor

My editors and tools are always really bad. Something has to give when you are a lone developer and with me it’s tools. I’m slowly getting better at it. It’s just a time thing. Today I spent most of the day getting my feeble ship hull editor to let me graphically position and assign particle emitters to damage sprites. (Screenshot below).

basically when a ship gets hit a pre-defined chunk of a damage texture gets drawn at the impact point, and it comes with a number of attached particle emitters. they are only visible fairly close up. there is also an additional temporary emitter that’s much bigger, but these ones are the tiny sparks that flicker over the burning hull of the ship after the smoke and flames have died down.

It took much longer than it should have to get this in, but it’s good because previously I placed them by hand in paintshop pro, then noted the pixel position and copied it to a text file. (laborious eh?)

This way I can placed dozens a minute and thus there will be a lot more of them :D. Tomorrow I’m going to do nothing but set up fleets and play out battles to check everything works and that the range of weapons and defences is acceptable.

6 thoughts on Damage Effects Editor

  1. Ya know, another great way to test balance and get a feel for what is an acceptable range of weapons is… a public beta… Just a thought.

  2. Yes, balancing will be a bitch. It always is. I betatested quite a few games myself, and balancing is the one thing that will take a lot of time. You can do some stuff fast, but not here:)

    I wish you luck if you are going to do it all by yourself cliffski – I would advice a closed beta, or maybe beta for pre-orders, or sth…

    PS. I would be very dissapointed, if after a week or so, the community would find *best* fleet setup, with like just one or two counters for it. If you will balance badly, it may end up that way, you know…

  3. It should not be possible to have a ‘best’ fleet’, because of the differet scenarios. In some nebulas, weapons have 25% shorter range, drastically rebalancing each weapon. In some scenarios, your fleet has only 50 pilot, ruling out masses of fighters or lots of frigates. And each ship and race will have certain bonsues, meaning a fleet that kicks ass against the federation may get blown apart by the rebels, etc etc :D

    Plus I’ll test a lot, and also keep an eye on potential balance patches post-release.

  4. I understand the difficulty in what I’m about to propose, but hear me out.

    Think about how cool it would be if the placement of the damage vent was organic.
    If they were placed based on where damage was being done, rather than the same places over and over again.

    I just worry that with repeat plays, that if every time a class of ship takes damage that if you see the same damage vents appear in the same position over and over that maybe the ‘static’ ness of it will shine through.

    A game like this is bound to be replayed a lot. I’d imagine you’d want each time you play to be as original and different as possible.

    If the ships always get damaged in the same way, every time, it seems like it’ll lose a bit of it’s organic magic.

    Of course this is just me theorizing based on reading your blog posts. Perhaps it’s not an actual issue at all :)

  5. It is an issue in theory, and I sometimes can notice it because I know how it works :D. However… I’m certainly not done in the damage texture placing side of things, so there will be more variety than you expect.
    plus… trust me… in a big battle with 50+ ships on each side firing in a battle that may only last 5 minutes, the last thing you notice is whether or not damage textures repeat.

    Plus the particle effects are all entirely randomised and they tend to obscure a lot of the underlying textures and make it seem less static that you might think.

    But this is good feedback.

  6. @cliffski:

    My concerns have been put at ease with your description of how large the battles are and the fact that the particle effects are random and obscure things.

    I enjoy reading your blog posts, I hope you still enjoy writing them :)

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