But, space is full of nothing, so what is the map made of?
I wanted it to be made of asteroids. The best spaceship sequences in Star Wars, Star Trek etc are when there’s asteroids, otherwise space is just big, empty and boring.
I started out, probably 2 years ago with this idea of how I could do a spacey sort of game with asteroids as a map. I made this:
Obviously when I say “asteroids” I don’t really mean it in the way NASA would. More of a lose interpretation with a bit of creative licence, the same that means fans of Maria don’t question why rock platforms are floating magically in the air. Computer games != real life!
I developed the style above into this:
It’s modular, made from small pieces.
Now that I’m looking back, I remember that I actually really like this style, but I abandoned it for 2 reasons:
- Between each module, the seams always showed, which was really annoying and distracting. Even when lining them up EXACTLY in Unity. To make it seamless, I had to create the map in 3Ds Max and export it as 1 object. Which I think is actually great for efficiency, but what I really want to do is build the maps in Unity, as my copy of 3Ds Max isn’t a proper licensed version and only works on Windows – and I’ve been given a nice Mac by work which I’ve told I have to take home – so it seems rude not to use it :-)
- It looks great top-down, but I wanted to use billboard signs and instructions, so wanted to move to isometric. Because… isometric is cool!
So I decided to make some different modular pieces, to make space asteroid-like terrain like this sort of thing:
…and I quite liked the look of MagicaVoxel, a free easy tool that allows you to create really nice-looking stuff out of voxels. Easy is definitely good!
So I created some pieces in this style:
And I like this style, although I know it’s not everyone’s favourite. My brother said it looks more like islands in the sea instead of rocks in space. So I tried to give it a bit more depth:
At first, the modular pieces I exported from MagicaVoxel were quite high poly, meaning it took quite a while to piece them together. I like Lego, but this was a little bit extreme!
…especially when I decided to make a second cliff-face on top of the rest, for additional decoration. Although this just added to the polycount.
So after a while I decided to make larger chunks from MagicaVoxel, which would make it more efficient, and faster to piece a map together.
The result is turning into something more like cliffs than asteroids, but you know what – I’m okay with that. We don’t want the player getting confused where to go in this game, and the route should be clear.
I’ve also added collectables to the map, because all the best games have things to collect, right?
To make it a bit more exciting, I’ve added explosions along the way, to heighten the excitement – well, that was the plan anyway.
Here’s a video of the gameplay so far: