Laserbrain Studios

Games Forum Blog Contact

Author Topic: Ascii Sector Development Updates  (Read 30433 times)

Christian Knudsen

  • Administrator
  • Ace
  • *****
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Development Updates
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2010, 06:51:30 PM »
A quick update from New York (I'll be heading back home to Denmark tomorrow). The procedures for building new fleets are now done. The size and makeup of the fleet is randomly generated for now, but when I get to the part of the game where the player will have to build his own fleet and fight these other fleets, there will be various tactical choices added to the AI fleet building decisions (such as how many resources the faction has available and how fast they need to build a fleet and stuff). I'll probably begin work on the overall faction AI next -- this decides what fleets should do and where to go and what other fleets to attack and when to build new fleets and so on...

Christian Knudsen

  • Administrator
  • Ace
  • *****
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Development Updates
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2010, 11:21:12 AM »
I've got the overall fleet AI working now. There won't be a lot of fleet stuff happening all the time, as that will be saved for the second part of the game where the different factions all try to take control of the sector. For now, fleets will just move around a bit, sometimes trying to occupy an adjacent system or engaging another fleet that's encroaching on the faction's territory. During the tests, so far I've had Pirates and Confeds fighting over Primeval 1 and Vortex Prime a lot, the Pirates trying to take control of New Frankfurt (but being wiped out by the Confed fleet), and the Confeds successfully occupying and taking control of Zepyranth.

Fleets also don't automatically and immediately take control of a system when they're the only fleet in it anymore. They now have to occupy it for a period of time. This is primarily to avoid having the player going to sleep in a hotel and waking up to find the system taken over by Pirates and being unable to leave the system before being destroyed by a swarm of Pirates. The number of Pirates in the system will now instead steadily grow the longer it's been occupied by the Pirates, meaning that the player will have a chance to leave the system before it's completely taken over.

One thing that I've noticed during testing is that you very rarely come across the fleets in the game, since the fleets are moving about and the systems are all relatively large. Because of this, I'm going to try to have fleets show up on the system map in the nav computer. This will allow the player to select a fleet (in the same system) as the destination for the autopilot (or just navigate to the fleet manually).

Christian Knudsen

  • Administrator
  • Ace
  • *****
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Development Updates
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2010, 06:10:31 PM »
Fleets now show up on the system maps in both the nav computer and the Quine. I've also made some changes so that the maps in the nav computer and Quine look and function completely the same (meaning that mission nav points will now also show up in red in the Quine, among other things) and work a lot better with the fleets being displayed and the various faction coloring of systems:





In the bottom image, I've selected the Confed fleet as my autopilot destination (it's currently heading towards the Pirate fleet at Nav 1). I've done a bit of testing and seem to have fixed all the bugs I've encountered so far. Now I just need to do a few minor things (such as making sure that non-fleet ships stay far away from fleet ships, as they have a tendency to get in their way), and then go on to a thorough bit of testing where I just play the game a lot and make sure everything is working as intended... and then v0.7 should be good to go.

Christian Knudsen

  • Administrator
  • Ace
  • *****
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Development Updates
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2010, 07:06:59 PM »
I've updated the first post with a list of the stuff I want to add before I start working on persistent ships. This will probably be split into 2-3 releases (not counting any serious bug fix releases that may be necessary).

Christian Knudsen

  • Administrator
  • Ace
  • *****
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Development Updates
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2011, 12:24:22 PM »
So... As you may have noticed, development has been pretty much non-existent for a while. This is because I was working on some rather difficult stuff for Hostile Takeover that left my brain drained (http://laserbrainstudios.com/2011/02/development-video-10/). That work is mostly done now, so I'm back to working on Ascii Sector a bit every day. I'm currently continuing work on improving the ship AI and fixing some bugs that have been reported.

Christian Knudsen

  • Administrator
  • Ace
  • *****
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Development Updates
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2011, 10:55:22 PM »
I've been doing some tests on this item:

Quote
- Escort ships should disengage enemy ships if they get too far away from the ship they're escorting (so that you can't "lure" fighters away from capitals in a fleet, for example).


And I've decided to remove it from the todo list for now. Enemy ships disengaging when you get too far away from the ship they're escorting just opens up a whole lot of other problems. One problem is that it allowed me to sit at a distance from the ship they're escorting and just fire missiles at it. It also opened up the enemy ships to a barrage of fire from me when they disengaged. I may revisit it later, though.

I fixed the issue of an attacking ship with a damaged maneuvering jet just circling you endlessly. It's not something that happens too often, but it's really annoying when it does. The fix is that the ship now will slow down to actually be able to point towards you. The more damage the maneuvering jets have, the more it will slow down.

I've also slightly begun work on the five new systems. Beyond the capital planet where you'll be able to pay off fines, I'm hoping to add Kilrathi and Retro bases in some of these five new systems. This will allow Retro and Kilrathi fleets to finally be added to the game, and extend the fleet battles from always just being between Confeds and Pirates.

Christian Knudsen

  • Administrator
  • Ace
  • *****
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Development Updates
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2011, 03:43:10 PM »
Here's a sneak peak of the sector map with the five new systems:



As you can see, there's now a system controlled by Retros and one controlled by Kilrathi. I've also added the capital system (Crydon).

I've been thinking about whether or not the player should always be able to land at Retro and Kilrathi bases. Common sense would dictate that there's no way they'd let you land, but I feel it'd be a bit of a letdown if you're not able to land there. So I've been considering adding a risk of character attacks on hostile bases. The more hostile a faction is towards you (and maybe also the more members of that faction you've killed), the higher the risk of a Retro, Kilrathi or Pirate "recognizing" you and attacking you.

Christian Knudsen

  • Administrator
  • Ace
  • *****
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Development Updates
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2011, 08:57:14 PM »
It's been waaaay too long since the last development update. As some of you know, I've been looking for a job for about a year or so now and that's been stealing a lot of time from working on Ascii Sector (I also kinda got very hooked on finishing some stuff on Hostile Takeover). But, I've now got a job, and it's pretty much the most game dev friendly job I could imagine. I'm now a freelance translator working from home, so I can take on as many job tasks as I want and switch freely between translation work and game work. I'm a happy camper!

I'm currently working to fix all the bugs that CheeseshireCat and other players have been reporting lately. Then I want to finish the five new systems and the payment of fines at the capital planet. Maybe add a few more items from the to-do list. Then it's about time for another release!

Christian Knudsen

  • Administrator
  • Ace
  • *****
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Development Updates
« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2011, 09:47:22 AM »
You know what feels really great? Having spent two hours programming in a new feature, then it just compiles without any errors and when you try it out, it runs perfectly. Feels gooood!

The new feature is that for quest dialogues, replies/questions that you've already said/asked will now be grayed out. You can still choose them, though, it's just a visual aid. Also, you can now have a conditional for each individual reply option, like this:

Code: [Select]
  Reply : 1 : No thank you.
   Reply IF Credits < 500 : 2 : Only if you pay me a bunch of credits!
   Reply : 3 : Yes, let's go!


I'm also still working on the new systems and bases. I can't quite decide if the player should be always able to land at the Kilrathi base. You'll be able to land at the Retro base, but will most likely get jumped by a bunch of Retros, but why would the Kilrathi even allow you to land when you're flying a human ship? I think I'll have landing at Kilrathi bases only be possible for the sector conquest part of the game, when you're meeting with Kilrathis to discuss alliances/truces/surrenders. Or if you purchase an ID hack that lets your ship transmit a Kilrathi ID code, or something like that.

Christian Knudsen

  • Administrator
  • Ace
  • *****
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Ascii Sector Development Updates
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2015, 08:32:47 PM »
Feels weird bumping this 3½ year old thread but...

I've converted Ascii Sector over to SDL 2 and OpenGL. There are still some issues with changing resolution and switching between window/fullscreen that need to be ironed out, but everything else went suprisingly smooth. It actually ran perfectly (except for the above issues) the first time the game compiled with all the changes. I did not expect that!

So I still need to fix the above issues and also do some more testing. I also have to set up my Mac OS X and Linux compiling environments again, since I haven't set them up again after switching computers (a couple of times). But the biggest hurdle is definitely behind me now.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 09:21:35 PM by Christian Knudsen »

Christian Knudsen

  • Administrator
  • Ace
  • *****
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Ascii Sector Development Updates
« Reply #25 on: February 01, 2015, 08:34:40 PM »
Welp! Fell into an Ascii Sector sized hole when "testing" the game. :D

The Windows version is done. Switching to OpenGL has allowed me to add the option of having the game be stretched to fill your window/screen or to force the proper aspect ratio (but still stretched to fill the window/screen either vertically or horizontally). It's definitely nice playing the game in proper fullscreen with smooth scaling.

Still working on compiling the Linux and Mac OS X versions.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2015, 08:51:06 PM by Christian Knudsen »

Christian Knudsen

  • Administrator
  • Ace
  • *****
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Ascii Sector Development Updates
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2015, 02:53:42 PM »
Compiling the Mac OS X version is going to take some more work than I had hoped. I thought I could just use my old Mac virtual machine that I had previously used, but that one was on OS X 10.4 and SDL 2 requires 10.5+. So I'll have to set up a whole new compiling environment from scratch.

Christian Knudsen

  • Administrator
  • Ace
  • *****
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Ascii Sector Development Updates
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2015, 03:14:10 PM »
This is why I hate setting up compiler environments:

So, SDL 2 requires Max OS X 10.5+ and I only had a virtual machine with 10.4. So I got my hands on a virtual machine with 10.5. Downloading it and setting it up took a while. I then went to install Xcode 3.0 on that machine. But for some reason, the Xcode 3.0 download from Apple's developer page is corrupt. It only download a 27 MB .dmg when the file is supposed to be 1.16 GB. And I can't find another download of Xcode 3.0 anywhere. Great. I check which Xcode versions are actually properly downloadable from Apple's pages. Xcode 4.2 seems to download fine. I check which Mac OS X version I need for this: 10.6.7. So now I download and setup yet a new virtual machine. I then spend another hour downloading Xcode 4.2 from Apple's developer pages. But, hey, it won't install, because this is the Lion version of Xcode 4.2 (the only one available from Apple's developer pages) and I need the Snow Leopard version. Well fuck. I double check Apple's developer pages. Xcode 4.2 for Snow Leopard can apparently only be downloaded if you're a paying developer, since this is the only version of Xcode that wasn't included free of charge with OS X. I do some digging around and find a torrent of Xcode 4.2 for Snow Leopard. Spend an hour downloading it. It accepts my system. But then fails as soon as it starts installing: "An unknown installation error occured."

I'm so tired of this shit.

EDIT: Guess I had to set the system date to January 2011 for the installer to work. Fingers crossed.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 03:33:10 PM by Christian Knudsen »

Christian Knudsen

  • Administrator
  • Ace
  • *****
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Ascii Sector Development Updates
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2015, 11:10:56 AM »
I've now wasted a day trying to get Xcode to link with SDL2. >:(

Christian Knudsen

  • Administrator
  • Ace
  • *****
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Ascii Sector Development Updates
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2015, 07:54:44 PM »
Fiiiiiiinally managed to get the code to compile without errors. The game crashes immediately upon startup when setting up OpenGL, but at least it's compiling now.

EDIT: Aaaaaaand the game now runs! Phew! I'm calling it a day now and will start doing testing and stuff later.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2015, 08:18:32 PM by Christian Knudsen »