April Dev Recap

This month was heads-down on development with no external demos, and we’ve accomplished quite a lot.  We just learned we are finalists in the Seattle Indie Game Competition (SIGC)!

Our Busy Chalkboard
Our Busy Chalkboard

It’s time to talk about how the different combat systems work in the game.



Armor is damaged by weapons and requires resources to repair. Civilian ships have no armor; one hit from anything and they are disabled until repaired by an Auxiliary.  Military ships have armor that must be destroyed before they can be disabled.



Weapons consume resources during combat. Lasers and missiles are your primary weapons.  Lasers are fast and use fuel. Alternatively, missiles are slow and use ore. These types of differences in weapons will facilitate different tactical use cases. Damage, rate of fire, and other weapon parameters are proceduralized. Some weapons have defensive attributes. For instance, the laser can shoot down incoming missiles.



There are pros and cons to defenses. As long as you have sufficient resources, defenses protect ships from a certain kind of weapon, but they consume resources at a high rate.


Defenses completely block a given weapon: a ship protected by a plasma shield cannot be hit by lasers, but it also cannot fire its own lasers.


Defenses are unique from weapons in that ships equipped with defenses will not only protect themselves, but any ships it was ordered to cover (this includes ships sharing a formation). However, this extended functionality means the defenses will use more resources for every protected ship. As you fight you’ll see those resources dwindling; it’s up to you to decide when it’s time to run!


We’ll talk about the flak cannon’s ‘special use’ in a later update…


April in detail

In April we completely finished the action selection interface and underlying code.  It works exactly as expected.  As you can see from the image below, we’re using a new concept for contextual menus with push-and-hold for confirming orders.  We’re taking XO to several events this month and we’re excited to see how people like it!



Hedra with Push and Hold
Hedra with Push and Hold


With Jim Guthrie’s completed soundtrack in hand, our sound wizards from SkewSound delivered us a first take of a working music system!  We’ve still got work to do there, but the soundtrack plays beautifully in-game, and we’re hopeful that we will have some musical surprises in store in the coming weeks.


Last month Dominic basically finished up the tactical system and is nearly done with the formation creation system!  He also continued to clean up the codebase – we should be nearly pared down to just what we need now.  Dominic also did major tuning on our camera controls.  Lastly he designed the algorithms for procedurally creating the game universe each time the game starts.


Brian J completed the Hedra described above, tightened up the weapon system, added weapon and defensive hardpoints to all the military ships, helped a bit with formations, and worked with Skewsound to implement and test the code side of the music system.


Brian D finalized the action selection animations, finalized the destructible ship models, made some really cool breakthroughs on animations for the game, and began designing our new holographic starmap interface that we’re all working on now.


In our tradition of showing off cool ships, here’s a Flak Destroyer loaded with missile-busting cannon, protected by a shield and taking laser hits:

Shielded Flak Destroyer
Shielded Flak Destroyer


Here is our demo schedule this month:

Seattle, May 14: iFest http://www.ifest.us

Seattle, May 21: Power of Play http://powerofplay.us

Atlanta, May 26-29: Momocon http://www.momocon.com (our first east coast show!)


We are so grateful for all of your support, patience and kind words.  We hope to see you at one of the upcoming shows and thank you again so much!


Brian Jamison

Portland, Oregon