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Mar-06: Shiny
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Magnulus



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 556
Location: Bergen, Norway



PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It might not suck, but it wouldn't be Starscape any longer.
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Fost
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

konedima wrote:
How about to keep people like AND people like me satisfied, make it 3d (as in flight-sim 3d) but also include a 3d-rendered 2d version.

We couldn't do that - firstly I suspect you'd end up compromising one or both designs; to do it right would be like making two games. A huge proportion of game development (at least ours) is playtesting. I think I even worked out on Starscape that this was way more than half the man hours spent working on the game. So even if there was a way to produce two great games from one, we'd still need to spend equal amounts of time play balancing them.
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Fost
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anticheese wrote:
Generally indie 3D spacesims suck.

Actually I'd have to agree there. Out of interest though, is it just indie 3D space sims or the genre in general? I only ask because 'Elite' is one of my all time favourite games.
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Magnulus



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 556
Location: Bergen, Norway



PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still, though, if you do like they're doing on Archon: Evolution, there's not a lot of playtesting needed, other than to weed out bugs in the graphics. From what I can tell, at least. They've just mimicked the gameplay of the original exactly and put on new graphics, etc. I should think an approach like that would lower the playtesting time and give more time to actually developing it.

/me dreams about playing Starscape in 1280x1024 with antialiasing... *sigh*
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Fost
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Magnulus wrote:
/me dreams about playing Starscape in 1280x1024 with antialiasing... *sigh*

There's no point in anti-aliasing in Starscape - all the sprites are already anti-aliased. (stop thinking in 3d Wink ) Actually, I've played Starscape at much higher res on a development version (bigger play area of course, there's no point scaling up sprites.) Boss battles are particulary great; you get a really fantastic sense of scale at higher res. Unfortunately, there's a couple of AI issues, and if fixed, would require another playtest (i.e. man months of work...)


Last edited by Fost on Wed Mar 15, 2006 2:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Magnulus



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 556
Location: Bergen, Norway



PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ohhhh... So THAT'S why you never had higher resolutions! I always figured it was because you wanted to restrict the player's freedom in order to balance gameplay. As in limiting what we can see so there's a greater risk of throwing yourself unsuspecting into a boss' electrical currents, for example.

Regarding the AA, I knew there was AA in the sprites already, and I actually wondered for a moment whether I should add the AA bit. But playing it in 1280x1024 with 3D models and anti-aliasing still would have rocked. I added the AA because that's one of those things that really just pushed 3D graphics towards photorealism when it started coming properly. There is a HUGE difference between World of Warcraft with 4x AA and WoW with no AA. Not to mention that the screenshots look a lot better.

So, yeah... that's all, really.

Of course, 3D starscape is just wishful thinking. Maybe in the second Starscape in a few years. ^_^
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Fost
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Magnulus wrote:
Ohhhh... So THAT'S why you never had higher resolutions! I always figured it was because you wanted to restrict the player's freedom in order to balance gameplay.


Starscape 1.0 ran at a maximum of 640X480, and so when people asked if it could be played at higher resolutions with a bigger play area, we tested it out. 800X600 pretty much just worked and all we had to do was increase the sound stage. Above that, there's some work that needs doing because AI is optimised slightly for enemies that are way out of range, and it's not as simple as just increasing that range. That's one of the thing that allows us to get a lot of things on screen at once, and allows ships to flock together/ leave when damage, time their attacks and so on. When the play area increases, we start to hammer the CPU and even the graphics card loads more - Starscape may be 2D, but a large boss battle in a high res play area fills up the screen with sprites pretty quickly. Hardware I think has moved on enough for us to perhaps increase out minimum spec though.

Magnulus wrote:
1280x1024 with 3D models and anti-aliasing still would have rocked.

Ahh, I understand what you mean now - if it was 3D, yeah. Funnily enough, I don't think a game like Starscape benefits much visually from being 3D. Unless you have per-pixel lighting, self shadowing, normal mapped models with max anti-aliasing on, it's not going to match something that's been rendered out. If course, that's where things are going these days, and you can't deny that Joe Public frowns on 2D games (sadly).
Of course, 3D starscape is just wishful thinking. Maybe in the second Starscape in a few years. ^_^[/quote]
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Magnulus



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 556
Location: Bergen, Norway



PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fost wrote:
Ahh, I understand what you mean now - if it was 3D, yeah. Funnily enough, I don't think a game like Starscape benefits much visually from being 3D. Unless you have per-pixel lighting, self shadowing, normal mapped models with max anti-aliasing on, it's not going to match something that's been rendered out.


Yeah, you'd need some insane effects for that to work, and the minimum reqs would jump in the air, so I can see how it wouldn't really be worth it. At least not with today's standard computers. You'd alienate a good part of the otherwise potential customers, which isn't a good idea when you're not Blizzard or Bethesda. Or id software.

Fost wrote:
If course, that's where things are going these days, and you can't deny that Joe Public frowns on 2D games (sadly).


There's a chance that things are changing, though. With production time and production costs as high as they are now for the blockbuster games, I suppose we might be seeing more "low-tech" games on the market. Alien Hominid raced onto the console market and sold fairly well from what I've heard (though I may be wrong). It's diffucult to say, but with Xbox Live distribution, etc, 2D games are brought to the attention of people who might not see them otherwise, and there's a chance low-tech games could have a revival of sorts.

I'm just speaking out the area between my buttocks, though. I don't really know anything about neither public opinion nor the gaming business at large.
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simonb



Joined: 03 Apr 2005
Posts: 100
Location: Auckland, NZ



PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fost wrote:
Anticheese wrote:
Generally indie 3D spacesims suck.

Actually I'd have to agree there. Out of interest though, is it just indie 3D space sims or the genre in general? I only ask because 'Elite' is one of my all time favourite games.


Thats because Elite is the best game since sliced bread. I wish someone would make a newer game like it.
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Anticheese



Joined: 17 Nov 2005
Posts: 159
Location: New Zealand



PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fost wrote:
Anticheese wrote:
Generally indie 3D spacesims suck.

Actually I'd have to agree there. Out of interest though, is it just indie 3D space sims or the genre in general? I only ask because 'Elite' is one of my all time favourite games.


Mostly indie games..

Few really dissapointing commercial releases too..

But, That said there are some good ones out there.

And on the subject of Elite, Where could I get it and how can I run it on WinXP?
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simonb



Joined: 03 Apr 2005
Posts: 100
Location: Auckland, NZ



PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can download it from quite a few places. Seach for 'Frontier: Elite.' Try running it on a Dosbox if it doesnt work with XP.
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Magnulus



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 556
Location: Bergen, Norway



PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never got further in Elite than trying to dock. KABOOM! and that was the end of that. It's one of those games I've just always been desperately trying to get the hang of since everyone else thought it was awesome (even better than that Sliced Bread game) and not managing to even play it always made me feel a bit of a retard.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anticheese wrote:
And on the subject of Elite, Where could I get it and how can I run it on WinXP?


If you want to play Frontier, or First Encounters, then it's 5, since it's now been released as shareware.

Get the Shareware version from the elite club

Then (if you are playing First Encounters), get JJFFE, which is a reverse engineered executable that runs on XP, fixes a few bugs, and adds a couple of features.

As for classic elite (which to be honest, might not look as good, but is a lot more fun in my opinion because the combat is actually fun), your best options are:
  • Elite+ The updated official PC version of elite, which had most of the additional ships and hand coded missions from all the other variants.
  • Elite: The New Kind A reverse engineered PC version of elite with all new added missions and fractal planets by Christian Pinder. This is a good as elite gets, but was forced to be removed since it didn't use any of the original elite data and had to be removed (it's not a mod, but essentially a complete remake of the original and so a huge copyright breach). So, illegal, but you may be able to find copies of it around if you search for it. Sometimes called 'Elite: TNK'. There's lots of ports of this, which is why I think it was taken down - the pocket PC version directly competed with Frontier Development's own pocket PC space trader - Darxide EMP.
  • Darkness Falls: Essentially an update of Elite: The New Kind, again by Christian Pinder, but now with help from Ian Bell (who co-wrote the original Elite with David Braben, but signed away all rights to it). This has updated graphics, and was adding more and more missions, and ships but suffered the same fate as Elite: TNK. Extremely rare these days.
  • Oolite: MacOSX and linux only (currently) recreation of the elite universe which was started as a response to the removal of Elite: TNK. I think they are going to remove all the original names though to avoid copyright violations. Has already added lots of missions. PC port in the works, but progressing slowly...
  • ArcElite: Archimedes Elite was a completely re-written version of elite and had lots of features that none of the other games had. Widely regarded as the ultimate of the official versions, although the best way to run it is under virtual RiscOS which is pretty expensive.
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01d55



Joined: 12 Mar 2004
Posts: 79



PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just downloaded oolite, and oh my god, there's no learning curve! It's a learning right-angle!

It seems, on superficial examination, to be Escape Velocity in 3d.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

01d55 wrote:
It seems, on superficial examination, to be Escape Velocity in 3d.

Sort of - EV Nova is Elite in 2D.

If you think that's hard, try navigating round the solar system in frontier Smile
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