Ok, so most importantly, we now have a Steam Greenlight Concept page set up. Please come over, follow us, rate us, fav us, leave a comment and share DSS with your friends on steam.
This is the first time we attempt to leave the gamedev and indie circles to reach a broader audience. We need every help we can get.
A few weeks ago I wrote about my approach to doing nebula backgrounds, which - in short - is rendering out a partlcle/fluid sim and paint on top of it.I've continued on this path this week although I'm going to switch things up a little. Starting off the week, I repeated the above procedure and created this "swirly" nebula:
Which is based on this particle cloud and rendered from the inside looking out.
Depending on how you shift the colors, in-game it can look like this:
Or maybe this
I'm aiming to make things epic. The problem with this kind of epic is, it can be too much. If you add your units on top, it gets confusing easily, because the background is demanding attention and might even be distracting. For perfect visibility of your units at all times, you'd want your backgrounds to be as flat as possible, no drastic changes in value and contrast. but flat and monotone. This of course is boring and not epic.
So, I knew I needed to find a balance and maybe find a different kind of epic. I also knew at this point, that I can easily create countless nebula variations and bring them into the game. What more is there? I took a step back and looked at what visual other elements I'd like to have in our space backgrounds.
I make no secret of being heavily inspired by Homeworld (2 specifically). What they did 10 years ago, still boggles my mind. If you take a look at the backgrounds in HW2 you'll notice, that they do in fact have vast areas of flatness and plain nothingness. You also notice how they have few, usually just 1-3 focal points. Furthermore they are specifically arranged to have a horizon, which helps tremendously orienting the player and is why you don't need a grid in HW. They also feature big soft gradients, which is one the visual elements I explored next:
You can notice already how much volume everything appears to have. I've added the "fake" asteroids to the skybox to push the depth and atmosphere even more. They also make a lot of sense in the DSS setting and I had surprisingly never considered doing this before closely looking at the masterpiece that is HW :) In the game, with some units and "real" asteroids on top, it's looking like this:
Here's another angle, with additional fog:
If images are worth a 1000 words, than videos are worth a 1000 images:
Finally, here's a concluding image, because you know, green light :) There's a hint of another element in there: big dark clouds, which I'm going to explore next.
Comments, critiques and questions are much appreciated. Greenlight follows, favs and comments even more so :)
Till next week!