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An indie game project with the goal of reviving our favorite game type, the epic space adventure! By mixing favorite aspects of classics like StarFlight, Star Control, SunDog, Universe, and Tradewars, we hope to bring what we loved as kids to the current generation. Quirky aliens, arcade space battles, planetary mining, and adventure around the galaxy -- should keep us busy developing for a while. The project is a family affair, Wife on art, son on music, and code-monkeying by me. We are currently in early development for the PC,Mac,Linux platforms... XboxOne or PS4 if we can swing it.

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2 comments by friken0 on Oct 25th, 2014

This is a big week for me. I get to check of a buck-list item! I've always wanted to make a scifi game where ships weapons can literally split other ships in 1/2. It was an indirect path to get there, but we are now there!

Initially, I thought I would be able to use something similar to fruit-ninja object splitting for ships. It sounded good in theory and it took me a couple days to get implemented but I HATED IT. If the bullet/weapon vector hit the ship where it made since to split it it could look ok, but I didn't think through the other 90% of the time like this case:

Hmmm that wont work to split ships

Of course that slice is before adding damage decals, venting atmosphere etc, but there are obvious problems. See the little bits floating? In slicing there are only two resulting objects but really it would need 6 in the test slice above. The big issue was even if I did the work to alpha test per pixel and make all the little objects and colliders, it wouldn't look feel right to slice like that.

So.... back to the drawing board. We always wanted to have hitpoints attached to main systems for failure such as engine, turning thrusters, main and secondary weapons. Now is a great time to integrate that plan into the damage system. Instead of just putting a decal on top of that section of the ship to indicate damage, how about just blowing it off the ship? Hmmm now we're talking!

Step1, I added damage decals and atmosphere venting for when something is just damaged but not destroyed. Note that each ship will have it's own damage decal and venting fx to fit the design/race. I was very pleased with the result. 

Something that was unexpected w/ the lighting system I put on the ships was that the decals do not honor the ship's normal and heightmaps. I thought that may be a problem until I saw the effect. It has more of an effect that a chunk is missing from the ship which was an unexpected bonus. I love when stuff works out like that.

Happy with that result, I set out to make ship parts destructible. For this, instead of trying to work out an 'any-angle-slicer' I decided to do it in a way that would look a lot better. First, I revisited each ship's graphic and split it into each system and assembled back to a full ship. Then each system/part had it's own collider:

Now to plan how each part will break away when destroyed. I decided on a handful of pre-planned weak points where the systems would fail and look cool/correct. Granted, this adds some extra work per ship and we have 25+ ships, but it's worth it. Then I setup fx decals on both sides of the breakaway and each side would have it's own atmosphere venting particle system. AWESOME now I can make something full fail! So satisfying:

For the Krex, the front wing like parts also house the turning thrusters. So when that part goes, so much for the player's ability to turn right! Next up, MAJOR failure :)

I must of lost 1/2 a day in pure bliss splitting the krex over and over :) Notice that the player can still control what remains. He had engines and a single of it's three canons. I hadn't finished w the code... it shouldn't have had turning in that example.

Next... let's debug it all and setup all parts to 1 hitpoint. I added some physics code so that destroyed parts can bump other parts and do damage as well:

One thing still caught my eye though. When something is destroyed it needs an explosion. It will also make the damage decal a lot cooler so it doesn't just 'pop' into the scene. It was time to implement that and then hook it all up. The Salrith was the perfect ship to test it. In the game the Salrith race is ancient and advanced. One of their weapons is pretty impressive ramming. So here goes.... how does it all come together? Drum roll.......


And THAT is how you check something off your bucket list -- IN STYLE!

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-Farflame- Aug 28 2014, 11:55am says:

It looks really nice and interesting, congratulations. Revive gameplay of Star Control and similar titles is good idea, but Im worried about one thing. And that is lack of innovation or improvement. To make basically the same game as SC may be enough to make some fans happy (and the outcome may be good) but I think there is room for improvements (well, there always is...) that can make the game even better.

For example combat system - devs of SC doesnt have many options when they were designing combat. Nowadays it can be enhanced into small fleet combat without the need to completely change core gameplay. Imagine one main ship (classic SC-style) + few (just few) AI wingers. Wingers listen to your basic orders (attack X, help me attack, defend, fight on your own...) and consist of different types of ships (defensive, support, anti-fast enemy...) depending on players choice (or they can be upgraded to have such roles). You start the game as lone ship but in the course of a story you may recruit some alien captains as winger(s) or get support (ships and ship upgrades) from alien races. So player will control one ship like in old games and wingers will add another tactical layer. More aggresive player can prefer support wingers so he could fight mostly alone, while others may play more defensively and use aggresive wingers. Enemies will have different preferences too so it will make combat more diversified and engaging (closer to real fleet combat).

So I dare to ask - what is new or improved in StarDiver? What is different from SC?

+2 votes     reply to comment
friken0 Sep 8 2014, 10:55pm replied:

Hi Farflame. thanks for the input. While we are big star control fans we are also big fans of starflight, sundog, moo and other classic space games. Considering Star Control is over 20 years old and only one of many influences the differences will be numerous. One aspect we are still debating as we playtest is one on one combat vs one/many or even ai controled wingmen. So far the most fun has been the one on one combat. It really ends up having that rock paper scissors vibe of picking which ship is best against which enemy... or which ship you are best at using for a given foe. I love fleet battles in good rts games, but I find it to fall apart in action games. Of course other's mileage may vary.

+1 vote     reply to comment
-Farflame- Sep 17 2014, 12:06pm replied:

Thanks for answer, friken.
- Could you name at least one of these differences?
- 1 vs 1 SC combat - I see but it feels very staged and arcad-ish. Maybe we have different visions about SC-genre - for me its not pure action game.
- I dont find this idea "rock paper scissors vibe of picking which ship is best against which enemy" appealing so much. Its based mostly on trial and error, not skills or tactics. Learning stage may be fun but after that fun factor goes down IMHO - because you already know the best solution (which ship to pick) and combat came to be much easier and all the same. Just my opinion.
- Maybe you could make wingmen optional feature. In wingmen mode you would fight more numerous enemies (with better AI). But it would need more work and testing. I dont know if its doable for you.

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black-lodge-games Jul 5 2014, 10:01pm says:

Found you guys on Twitter, love that you shared your Greenlight Concept stats, and I love the art and direction of this game. Looking forward to playing it!

+2 votes     reply to comment
Doci May 18 2014, 4:54am says:

Oh my god u did the models with the machine :D Amazing c:
very well done !
It reminds me a bit on Starsector !
I will follow xD

+4 votes     reply to comment
KendallCoombs May 16 2014, 7:34pm says:

Just commented over TIG after posting my own Devlog. Was lookin around to see what the others looked like and your project looks gorgeous. Ill definitely keep an eye on this one :)

+5 votes     reply to comment
Guest Apr 14 2014, 3:06am says:

This is just too good to be true... lovely. I'm just speechless, sorry. Want to play. Now. :D

+4 votes     reply to comment
Doci May 23 2014, 4:10am replied:

hahaha :D

+2 votes     reply to comment
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StarDiver #screenshotsaturday. Benev splits the Krex w/ new lightning weapon. #indiedev #gamedev #unity3d T.co

Oct 25 2014, 6:10pm

RT @akaSurreal: It's been a long time coming, but Bitcoin Billionaire has been submitted to Apple today! #indiedev #gamedev #unity3d http:/…

Oct 24 2014, 2:08pm

I've been playtesting this game for a friend. I can't wait to see it in the appstore. T.co

Oct 23 2014, 5:50pm

Sarlith CUTTING THROUGH! T.co #indiedb #gamedev T.co

Oct 23 2014, 5:11pm

Bucket-list item checked off... I can split spaceships with a bolt weapon: T.co #indiedev #gamedev T.co

Oct 23 2014, 1:04am

Added Ship damage. Loose parts. Video of krex loosing a chunk: T.co #indiedev #gamedev #unity3d T.co

Oct 22 2014, 9:35pm

@GravityRide_ or forked bolts :)

Oct 21 2014, 8:57pm

I kept working on the lighting weapon to add folked bolts: #indiedb #gamedev T.co

Oct 21 2014, 6:54pm

@spazchickens :) got the neogaf twitter list going... great stuff

Oct 20 2014, 5:17pm

Benev ship gets propulsion and weapons. zap zap... #indiedev #gamedev T.co

Oct 20 2014, 5:10pm

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