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

GSB 2 Shields

I’ve been working away on GSB2 while I wait for some people to do work for the Democracy 3 Extremism expansion. There isn’t really enough polished stuff to show to people yet, but I have got quite a bit of extra fluff sorted out. One thing I’ve got vastly improved is shields. In GSB 1, shields were basically assumed to be a sphere around a ship, and things impacted on the outer shell like this:


For GSB2 I wanted shields that reflected the shape oif the ship, and eventually concluded that a combination of a grid (or in this case below, hex pattern) a blast texture and the alpha map of the target ship would let me convey the idea that a blast was absorbed at the last few millimeters by a tight ship-hugging energy field:


It looks much better animated, as usual. it really works very nicely in very dark-battles, and I think it leaves plenty of opportunity for me to customise ships shields using different energy field colors and patterns.

I’m currently working on a combination of better parallax effects for debris and smoke, and also the GUI for choosing missions, which will look totally different. GUI stuff takes ages, and the whole GUI will get a re-design from scratch. I’m just working on the basic systems right now. With the battle effects, the module mechanics re-write, the online challenge system to revamp, steam achievements and so on, there is a ton of work to do, without considering new sfx and music… Still it’s definitely making progress and I’m still aiming for late 2014.


10 thoughts on GSB 2 Shields

  1. But how will that fit into the mechanics? What about the fighters shooting from inside the shield bubbles? Is that scrapped now?

  2. Looks fancy, I like it. Moving a bit towards Star Wars and away from Star Trek here, but I don’t mind it that much. Don’t like the turret placements at all though…

    As for mechanics, maybe fighters will have an extra chance to pierce shields, as they get close enough to see and fire at less protected parts?

  3. Improved graphics are cool and all, but its not really why I buy your games. Will their be new or improved game mechanics? Ship designs? Ship equipment? :(

  4. Yup, mechanics are definitely going to improve, and I am going to ask the community if they still like the fighters within shields mechanic. I like it, but I want to check that’s not just me. It’s easy enough to give a shield penetration bonus to ultra close range fighter weaponary.

    I’m not making GSB a graphics driven game by any stretch, it’s just I’m working on the graphics right now and haven’t got started on the design re-vamp.

    1. I know this might be a true HELL to code but.. wouldn’t be epic to have multiple shield mechanics simultaneously ingame? I’m thinking in something like having classic bubble shields, ship-hugging energy fields, and large fleet-sized siege shields (one specialized ship to protect them all against siege weapons), each one of them with their own advantages and disadvantages :D

      Another idea is truly large scenarios combined with later GSB 1 direct control (improved) and with numerous random anomalies, physical objects and other things in them, (probably randomly spawn), Making each battle unique, even more than with GSB1

      As most of GSB one modders, i have just too many ideas to share, including NPCs (randomly generated pirates, alien lifeforms, patrols), random space anomalies, AI tactical sense and more, many more… thus reading that you will consider asking to the community sounds awesome!

      Looking forward GSB2!

  5. Nice. Will there be an opening animation like a ‘shields up’ so you see all the cool ripples?

  6. Another thing you might consider to add to the illusion of 3D is if you had a ‘rotate’ feature. Like if you could see the under belly of the ship. Perhaps a fighter could spin or something. That would also open up ‘under belly’ features so you could have layers or more locations for your guns.

  7. Hi Cliff,
    I just saw this today, and coincidentally, I was talking about the possibility of GSB 2 with my roommate tonight. I am no modder, just a fairly happy GSB player. There were four suggestions that I had that you might consider.

    1. I believe you’ve said one of your influences for GSB was the Honor Harrington series… it would be awesome then to see more ship types based on that series, with the possible exception of podnaughts (as they changed all battle types going forward). There’s a great website that lists the types with tonnage, weapons, etc, that you may find interesting:

    2. Building off the previous comment, instead of having modules that are defined by what ship they fit on (and being scaled accordingly), why not use the components of those modules instead and allow them to fit on any ship, but vary the number emplaced. For example, currently, my fighter can shoot a missile, as can my frigate and my cruiser, with differing ranges and damage potential. Putting aside the missile itself for a moment, and just looking at the launcher, perhaps a fighter can only fit one launcher, a frigate can have 5, and a cruiser 10. In that way, it is less about the type of module (fighter vs frigate vs cruiser) and more about the number of weapons that can be emplaced. Holding differences in ammo aside, a cruiser is going to fire 10 times the number of missiles as the fighter, and have the potential for 10 times the damage, but the launcher remains the same. This would simplify ship design somewhat (or so I believe). Power, weight, and crew requirements could scale the same way, perhaps with modifiers (maybe cruisers have available more powerful computers, which modifies the number of crew needed).

    3. Ammunition type and capacity now becomes a factor. Borrowing from Weber and White’s “The Stars at War”, a fighter might carry only a single capital ship-sized missile, requiring it to return for rearming after a strike. Cruisers carry a much larger capacity. Frigates, with less tonnage available, might have to chose between maximizing the number of launchers at the cost of ammo capacity (letting them strike hard in the beginning of battles but lowering their endurance) and eliminating some launchers to make room for additional ammunition storage. Larger ships might have longer ranged missiles (SBMs) which take up more space, or cram lots of regular missiles (CMs) for “normal” range, or a freaking lot of anti-fighter missiles (AFHAWKs) that take up little room. Etc. Finally, (and again borrowing from S at W) instead of giving missiles a minimum range, launchers could be switched into “sprint mode”, firing high velocity point blank shots at the cost of burning through ammo stores at a prodigious rate.

    4. And my last suggestion: For the most part, I enjoy that I am the admiral, not the captain. I make the battle plans, the captains fight their ships. However, I would make two changes to the player’s ability to affect a battle. First, I would allow the player to designate task forces (which must contain a minimum number of ships to be so designated). Second, during the battle, I would give the player the ability to send three commands to the fleet as a whole or to individual task forces: Hold fire, Weapons free, Withdraw. That would largely address the problem of ships firing at inappropriate targets (the admiral would have the fleet or task force “hold fire” until appropriate targets entered range) as well as allow for a bit more freedom in planning.

    I love GSB, and I am very much looking forward to playing it’s successor. Campaign mode is the closest thing I’ve seen to playing out one of my favorite sci-fi series (I am reading “The Shiva Option” for the umpteenth time), and whatever you choose to do, I am certain I will be again a very happy player. Thank you!

Comments are currently closed.