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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Just a general purpose progress update on a few things…

In an unprecedented moment of flip-flopping (artist’s impression), development was shifted back to Unity as opposed to using Panda3D. In the end it boiled down to a question of “How well can we do this on engine X vs engine Y, and how easily can it be done on engine X vs Y?”. More specifically: “Should we use this engine we already know inside and out despite its flaws, or attempt to learn an entirely new system, workflow, and potentially slow things down immensely”. In this case, Unity eventually won out, and from that point, development has picked up pace considerably! We are trying to be mindful of Unity’s limitations, however, but hopefully due to the relatively small scope of the game (figuratively and literally) we won’t run into too many of them.

The terrain system is going very well, and I’ve been getting a good flow of textures going on for it as well. It still needs some optimization for speed as it’s somewhat slow to generate right now, but it’s coming along nicely. Screenshots of it will come when it’s further along and nicer looking – namely, when it has multiple terrain types and textures, and some issues with normal maps are worked out.

The construction system is still in its beginnings, but the basic concept and early systems are in place and well functional. Much of it will be GUI work, in the end.

A procedural solar system generator has also been written. It’s not integrated with the terrain system, but it generates planet positions, radii, atmospheres, surface gravity values, and calculates their temperatures, which sets the stage for eventually populating those planets with plant and animal life, assuming the random number generator gods smile upon them.

Not much visual stuff to show off just yet, but keep watch for the first imagery of the terrain system…


Yesterday I downloaded the trial version of 3dCoat and tried it out. Long story short, it’s a fantastic piece of software, and in under 12 hours of work (and then an hour or three of rigging and animating today), I managed to make this beautiful beastie:

You should recognize this creature from the site banner, as well as the “Outsider” concept from the first post on this blog. From a 2 million triangle detail mesh, the low-resolution mesh is a relative pittance at 3700 tris, a number which I hope to reduce further, to the point you’ll be able to have hundreds of the things on screen at once with minimal impact…

There are still some color and model tweaks I would like to make, but so far I’m happy with the result.

In-game, the hopper will be a creature of simple living. Usually found in small groups, they hop from location to location, hunkering down against the ground and eating up a chunk of turf with their mouth-foot, before spitting out the inedible portions and hopping to the next location. Primary defense is hopping away furiously. Secondary defense is the mother of all headbutts. Tertiary defense is to flip onto its back and bite large chunks out of your spacecraft.

Also, for anyone interested, here is the original piece of concept art for the hopper.


More news soon™