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

‘Fluff’ ships

Something I got coded today on the campaign game is purely visual fluff. I have a map with different planets scattered over it, and they are linekd by wormholes that only connect certain pairs of planets, so you can’t just hop all over the place.

To make it clear that those wormhoels are, in fact, wormholes, I’ve added a bunch of ships flying back and forth along their length. The impression I’m after is similar to a few scenes from Revenge Of the Sith, where you see obvious ‘space higheways’ above coruscant with lines of ships heading back and forth. I loved that :D.

Obviously, for the purposes of the campaign game, they are implied to be personal ships or merchant ships. The space navies are your department, these ships are just background fluff.

It took me about an hour to two hours to get it right. Just drawing a bunch of sprites going between two points is easy, but they had to work within the zooming and panning interface, and also have to scale with processor speed for smooth movement. Then they need variations in speed, and have different source images (in a texture atlas). Also, they need to fade out at extreme low zooms, so you don’t waste time drawing stuff that’s tiny. lastly, they need to be batched together as an optimisation so that there aren’t a bunch of texture swaps. It’s all those fiddly bits that take the time. Plus I need probably another 30 mins to put together decent tiny ship sprites for use as final graphics. Should be easy and fun :D

In other news, Democracy 2 is still just TEN DOLLARS, because due to pretty unusual circumstances, the UK STILL has no government, and I proudly boasted it would be 50% off until a prime minister met the Queen.


BTW, the competition to win that spaceship runs out tonight. I’ll pick a winner tomorrow, so enter now, if you haven’t already done so.

2 thoughts on ‘Fluff’ ships

  1. Technically, the Labour government is still in power as under the Westminster system, there should not be periods where no Government is in power. Under this system, the Labour government has first dibs on forming a new government in a hung parliament. (I’m not British, so might be wrong). Could you elaborate further on this campaign system. Will the player’s fleets be persistent during the campaign? Will damaged ships carry over unless repaired? Will there be space stations or planetary defences ala the space battles in Master of Orion I and II.

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