If you have read the summary of my project page you will know that I have been developing this project from conception for a little while. It’s perhaps as old as you, if not older, if you’re still at school. I have read many posts from developers about how they give up on projects; either because it’s too large or they become unmotivated, then abandon to move on to something else. No problem there. If you don’t have fun creating something then it will be a chore to do so and no love will be shown in its creation.
I have to admit, I have been unmotivated many times. Yet, it’s always rewarding when you are able to solve a problem that has been eluding you for days, weeks even. The first time I started coding the project I was stumped by something that seemed so simple yet was very difficult to implement. After many iterations and misleading solutions, I was able to come up with a final solution that I was happy about.
Fast forward to today and I still come across problems, which can be more difficult to overcome when you can’t find a solution on the internet. Persist and you will (not) succeed. Give up and you will never find out. If you don't succeed there is more than one way to skin a cat, as the saying goes.
What keeps me going is my passion for playing space combat games and also wanting to create something that can be enjoyed by me and others interested in space combat games. My dream and passion helps to sustain me, with a lot of help from God.
Since the start of this year I have been learning how to model in Blender. I haven’t done any 3D modelling since the mid 00’s in Milkshape3D. Blender was a different kettle of fish and I needed to follow a set of tutorials to learn this new program. Sometime later, I felt confident enough to try my first model.
I scanned some technical drawings of a Dralthi and Hornet from Wing Commander in to Blender for reference. It looked like a simple design on paper and thought it would be an easy starting point. Boy, was I wrong. It took around 12 hours to create the Dralthi and I needed to take some steps back to fix things I broke or didn't do correctly the first time. In comparison, the Hornet was created in probably just under 5 hours. No doubt the skills and techniques I picked up from creating the Dralthi helped with the Hornet.
Models created, I considered texturing them. You may as well get an idea of how to do so before committing to a graphics style. I soon quickly realised it would take a considerable amount of time to produce anything to complement the model itself. Now, I'm in a pickle. My 3D aand texturing attempts from the 00’s were good enough when used to represent 2D models and perhaps (barely) passable back then for an indie. Times have moved on since then. I needed a (un)original idea.
After a bit of thought and some Google searching I came across Go Beyond Retro Pixel Art With Flat Shaded 3D in Unity. Go check it out, I will be right here.
I liked the idea. Bring back the 90’s style of 3D modelling with the fidelity of the 10’s! It’s simplistic yet stylish and gives a warm feeling back to the golden era of video games (and perhaps to those of similar age to myself). Also, it fits right within my skills as a 3D modeller and digital artist, which I can develop on as I continue to learn and improve.
After some sketching, I settled on two designs for an enemy and player starfighter. The Falcon (left) is the enemy and the Arming (right) is the player. I have started prototyping a dashboard and cockpit in to the design, missing its canopy. I quite like the Falcon, though there is something that feels off about the Arming (perhaps the contrast of colours?).
In summary; as someone who will be taking on multiple roles (designer, coder, artist, modeller, etc) it’s important to keep yourself grounded. Plan what you intend to do, and keep on planning, step-by-step as development goes along if you can’t plan out the whole thing before you start development. At least, give yourself an overview of the project, with a goal to accomplish for yourself and the player.
Finally, consider how much time it will take to develop aspects of your game and weigh up time vs. quality. The quality of those models is low, in comparison to what’s out there, but the time used to improve skills and try out a new style, that I may or may not stick with, was not significant.