Drovoid has evolved. This major update revisits several aspects of the game, to make it closer to my initial vision.
The first major feature is a complete revision of the module system, to make things much less complicated, and much more enjoyable. It is now very simple to make autonomous ships. This is mostly due to the introduction of three new AI modules that define three ship classes: Fighter, Miner and Defender.
A fighter is, well, an aggressive fighter ship that will attack on sight any enemy ship (by 'on sight' I mean within scanning range). A miner is an autonomous miner that will manage containers and refinery modules in the best possible way. A defender is a passive fighter that only attacks aggressive enemies, and will stick around its starting position. Perfect for local defenses.
Now, and that is very important in-game, all ships have some common behaviors:
- When selected you can manually control any ship (Space+mouse to move, Ctrl+mouse to fire)
- When selected, right click on any other ship and the selected ship will start following it.
This last point means that you can easily create flocks of ships and move them to specific locations. This is in particular useful to attack a large enemy, or to start a mining outpost. Ships indicate their target with a red line, while a blue line indicates which ship they follow.
So, doing simple things in Drovoid is now super simple. Does that mean we lose the ability to do interesting, potentially complex ships?
Not at all.
Let me warn you, I went a bit crazy on this :-)
Drovoid was initially meant to be a coding game. I diverged from this by attempting to come up with a system that would involve only module assembly.
Well, I figured, what the hell, let's do a coding game! (might have been around October 21, 2015).
So, now, you can FULLY PROGRAM AI modules (did I just yell?). This is HUGE, because you now can add a 'Program' module to your ships, and directly control each and every other ship modules - and even remotely control other ships. Not only this, but you can easily embed ship blueprints within a program, so that ships can spawn other ships! (and recursively so). All ships and modules in the game, since its beginning, have been using this programming language (based on Lua, with a few twists). Drovoid runs a (minimalist) operating system in the background to share time between ship AIs, with CPU quota limits on players.
Yes, this IS huge. Oh, and it works in multiplayer.
Watch the video to see this in action!
Want to give it a try? Download the new demo:
The demo is limited to Level 1 and programs that are 256 characters in total length.
If you enjoy the game, please consider supporting it. It is only 6$/euros during the alpha and the first thing any money will bring are public servers (it really needs to be tested at a larger scale, and I am convinced this has a huge potential for wreaking havoc in space :) ).
This is also a fun way to learn programming basics. An initial, but quite complete coding documentation is here.
Other minor notes:
- I revised the power cells. They now automatically turn on/off to recharge. Also, modules only use power when they actually do something: a laser module that is not firing is no longer using power. This makes power management much less frustrating and more natural.
- I made countless performance improvements. Things should be much smoother also on lower end PCs.
- Slightly improved sound effects.
- The map now shows you which parts of space you control. A red background means that you are outnumbered. A green background means that you are in control. A good goal is to turn the entire map green.
- I had to remove the floating labels (allowing to fast forward to ships) due to performance reasons. These will come back at some point.
- Game balance still needs a lot of adjustments, this is work in progress.
- There are a few known bugs regarding the interface. Working on it! In general if you get an exception, click on 'continue', close the game, restart. It should be fine.
- Servers can now be password protected; this is recommended if you play with friends.
- The arena is available, ship upload is moderated (I'll do my best to accept ships under 48 hours). But if I am overwhelmed I'll be super happy :-)