Cosmoteer is perhaps best described as a cross between SimCity and Star Trek. It is a spaceship simulator in which you build spaceships SimCity-style by placing individual parts onto a square grid in almost any shape or configuration you can imagine. You then fly around a small galaxy, battle other ships to earn money, and use that money further improve your own ship.
Ship design in Cosmoteer is deep and strategic, not merely aesthetic, thanks to authentic simulations of ship flight, ship-to-ship combat, and crew.
Ship flight is physically simulated in 2D, meaning that it matters how you choose to place and orient your ship's thrusters. For example, thrusters positioned near the center of mass are good for forward flight, whereas thrusters positioned away from the center are better at turning but need to be counter-balanced by thrusters on the opposite side. Thrusters orientated to the sides will make your ship better at strafing, and thrusters pointing forward will help your ship decelerate.
Ship-vs-ship combat is also physically simulated. Whether and where a shot hits the enemy depends not on a die roll but on the physics of the projectile itself. Damage is recorded "part-by-part", meaning that individual systems can be destroyed and entire ships can be sawed in half. In practice, this means you have to think about protecting the most important parts of your ship (such as the Reactor and Control Room), how you protect your most powerful weapons (with shields and armor), and how your ship is shaped.
Most ship systems must be operated by one or more people, and supplies such as ammunition and power batteries must also be carried throughout the ship by its crew. Since your cannons can only shoot as fast as they receive ammo, and your shields only recharge as fast as they receive power, you must think strategically about your ship's interior layout and traffic patterns so that the crew don't get congested in tight corridors or have to travel overly long distances. You also need to think about how your ship may function after it's taken battle damage -- a destroyed corridor may cut off access between a cannon and its ammunition, effectively rendering that weapon useless. But on the flip side, you can also use such weaknesses in the enemy ships to your advantage, hamstringing them without having to destroy their heavily-armored weapons.
Last week, I released version 0.11.4 of Cosmoteer. Despite only being a minor bump in version number, this release has lots of new stuff! The changelog lists all of the many improvements and bug fixes in this version, but the ones I want to talk about here are the greatly improved visual and particle effects.
In order to realize my vision for how I wanted the visual effects to look, I knew that I would first need to completely rewrite Cosmoteer's particle code, because the existing particle code was both slow and too inflexible. By using some very low-level C# code (utilizing some great new C# 7 features), I was able to create a new particle system that is not only more flexible than the previous version, but it is also much, much faster. The new particle system can handle about 100 times the number of particles as the old system while maintaining the same framerate.
The new particle system has allowed me to create much more interesting and exciting visual effects for weapons, thrusters, and explosions.
The first visual effect I upgraded was for the thrusters:
This is a pretty big improvement from the previous thrusters, which for performance reasons had far fewer particles. (The quality of these GIFs aren't great -- you should load up the latest version of Cosmoteer to check out all the new effects for yourself!)
Then, I upgraded the visual effects for when the various weapons fire:
It's hard to see in the above GIFs, but the appearance of the laser and bullet projectiles has also received a significant upgrade.
Lastly, I upgraded all the various weapon impact and part explosion effects:
(You may notice in that last GIF that, when the reactor is destroyed, the explosion also destroys much of the surrounding ship parts. This "collateral damage" is a new gameplay mechanic intended to make you think more carefully about where you place reactors, ammo factories, and cannons, all of which cause collateral damage when destroyed.)
If you're worried that your computer can't handle all the new particle effects, then fear not, I have a trick up my sleeve! Most of the particles you see above are actually "pre-rendered" as simple sprite frame animations. The sprite animation serves as the "core" of the effect, providing most of the visual punch. On top of the core sprite animation, extra particles (such as debris pieces and smoke clouds) are created to give it more visual interest and variety. But these extra particle are entirely optional and can be turned off by disabling the "Fancy Particles" option in the game settings. With this option turned off, Cosmoteer actually renders fewer particles than in previous versions while still looking significantly better.
Last week I released version 0.11.0 of Cosmoteer. It, and version 0.10.7 before it, add some significant new features and improvements to the game's user...
Cosmoteer 0.11.2 has been released! It fixes several crash bugs.
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Installer for Cosmoteer version 0.11.11. Windows 7/8/10 only.
Installer for Cosmoteer version 0.11.10. Windows 7/8/10 only.
Installer for Cosmoteer version 0.11.9. Windows 7/8/10 only.
Installer for Cosmoteer version 0.11.8. Windows 7/8/10 only.
Installer for Cosmoteer version 0.11.7. Windows 7/8/10 only.
Installer for Cosmoteer version 0.11.6. Windows 7/8/10 only.
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