A freeform space-based realtime strategy game where the player controls groups of starships and fighters. The game is built around a randomly generated starmap which the player must rid of all enemy ships. During this quest, stations around the map can be used to purchase ships, weapons and modules. The enemy will be trying to seize control of your stations, and take the sector for themselves. Through a variety of mission types, you must capture stations and push forward until the Dust Zone is safe once again.

Report RSS Dev Blog #7: Grab Bag

Another month with lots of tweaks and improvements. Read on to find out what's been happening with Fleet.

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This month's update is a little later than usual - quite a lot going on, but I've found the time to improve quite a few features of Fleet. So let's get into it and see what's new.

Starmap UI
The starmap is looking much, much less hideous than it used to. It features a much more simplified display, with tooltips for more detail. The map can be scrolled just by dragging, instead of fiddling with scrollbars.

The new star map

The clearer presentation is aided by a much nicer map generating algorithm. Previously, the map was more like a web, with systems linking to 5 or 6 neighbours and resulting in a cloud of dots with many possible routes.

The new algorithm has a much lighter touch, with destinations arranged more like branches. This creates focal points where control of certain locations will determine access to groups of others, and will be key to the player's strategy.

And when displayed on the map, it just looks cooler than the old way!

Deploy!
Gone are the tabs for swapping between deployed and undeployed units. Instead, there's a single list which ends with a "Deploy" button. Clicking it brings up a menu of ships that are available to deploy. It's a small change, but it feels much faster and slicker than swapping back and forth between lists.


New Carrier
My aim is to have a new spacecraft each month. This month sees the debut of the Odyssey carrier. It's pretty enormous and is bristling with light turrets. It'll be able to defend itself from light assaults on all sides, but its real weapon will be its fighters.


More On-Screen Information
Health bars are now visible on selected units, not just for the hull, but also for each turret on the ship. This still needs a bit of work to make it easier to see, but it makes quite a difference having that visual feedback.

Formations
This is still at a really early stage. The game will now try to arrange ships in a line. If you try to move one ship onto another, they'll instead start a line formation instead of fighting for the same spot.



It's been a very bitty month, with no big features - just lots of little ones! There are many more tweaks and improvements that are pretty banal-sounding but really help improve how the game feels. Next month will likely be the same, along with more work on getting the AI in shape. I hope to have some GIFs of the AI in action for you to see in April.

So, until next time, spacers!

Comments
Nanoelite001

Looking good :) the odyssey looks amazing

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DiscoJustice Author
DiscoJustice

Thank you!

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go0der
go0der

The simplified objective reminds of the star trek ASCII game. Its a great way to go for a fun, compact experience but you still have freedom.

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ImperiaI
ImperiaI

The carrier looks A.W.S.O.M.E

And sleek UI Design is allways a good Idea.

I would lilke to know why you choosed Unity as Engine for your game,
are there some benefits it provides for spacegames compared to other popular engines like Unreal Engine and Cryengine ?

Really like to know that because im quite attracted by the Unreal Engine at the momment.

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DiscoJustice Author
DiscoJustice

Thank you!

The decision to use Unity was mostly cost-based, at the time. It was free and did pretty much everything I needed. It was really great to be able to pick it up and develop whatever I liked in it for no cost at all. Now, of course, CryEngine and Unreal Engine have got some nice cheap monthly deals that make them much more accessible to indie developers, although you'll have to sacrifice a slice of your earnings.

I've not got much experience with Unreal and none at all with CryEngine, so I couldn't advise you on their shortcomings. Star Citizen is using CryEngine, I believe, and Unreal Tournament 2003 had a map where you flew fighters in space, so both engines can probably deliver what you need.

Since the new price announcements, I've heard a lot of indies expressing interest in UE - based on their comments, it seems like a competitive choice.

If you want to build a space game, I think that any of the three engines will work for you, but I couldn't say which would work best.

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Dust Fleet
Platforms
Windows
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DiscoJustice
Engine
Unity
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