Project StarDiver is moving right along. Join us for a ride through the galaxy.... or at least its current, early development state!
We are a small three person family team (myself, wife, and son) and are very excited to share our progress on StarDiver with the IndieDB community. Sometimes small indie teams can get so head down in creation we get isolated from the community we love. We are going to start doing a once a week progress report to show what we have been up to. This last week our efforts were on making solar exploration, music, and aliens.
Our goal for the art, music, story, combat, and exploration is to put the player in a universe filled with life and intrigue. StarDiver is a story-driven adventure/rpg that spans numerous star systems and is teaming with alien life, conflict, and dying stars in desperate need of saving.
This last week we have taken our first steps in making StarDiver's solar navigation and exploration engine. We want the game universe to be anything but generic. So when it came to discussions about procedural generation of things, we had to take a hard look at what we should hand craft and what we shouldn't. We will be using procedural generation of planetary surfaces, clouds, and atmospheres so that no two planets look the same. We will also use procedural generation for solar system layouts, number of planets, and number of moons so no two solar systems are the same. However, everyone who plays the single player experience will have the procedurally generated objects seeded the same. So, when comparing notes with friends on locations, story, and planets that look cool or are loaded with the best resources, they will be sharing the same experience.
We may provide a sandbox experience as a secondary goal, but our primary target is an excellent single player game with a deep story arc, numerous unique aliens, dialog trees, rpg progression, and more. So on to some technical stuff...
The solar navigation and combat screenshots/videos for this update are mostly from a single solar system which is in a dense red nebula. Solar system backdrops will vary greatly depending on the location within the galaxy, the type of star at their center and the alien race which controls them. We implemented nebula clouds volumetricly so they shift and flow as you move through and add depth to the movement. Another thing we added this week was random electrical flashes in the nebula for a bit more ambiance.
Also completed was solar gravity with some fun slingshot effects -- whip around the sun to help get a great speed boost, but get too close and you will burn up skimming the sun's surface. Gravity will play a key role in combat as well, helping slow ships outmaneuver faster rivals. Watch as a less skilled rival tries to follow you through a slingshot near the star and burn up due to slight miscalculation.
Combat for StarDiver is retro, action oriented, and unique. Instead of upgrading generic hulls with generic weapons, StarDiver will feature numerous alien races who each have their own very unique ships. One example is the SunDagger, a ship from a race of beings who call stars their home. They are immune to the effects of gravity and dive through stars to pull a streaming ball of plasma to toss at foes brave enough to tangle with them. The Krex Cruiser is another example of a unique ship design. Its six long-range broadside cannons have exploding warheads with lots of splash damage, while its nose pulse can smash into foes trying to close the distance and fling them back to long range where the cruiser is most effective.
My son finished up the mellow exploration background tune featured in the solar exploration video. I'm very proud of his musical passion and skill. I think his tunes are matching perfectly with the feel we are trying to convey. Next up he will be doing another round of sound fx. I look forward to getting the nose pulse fx for the Krex ship since we are reusing the flak cannon sound. Here are a couple of other music samples:
My wife has been hard at work on alien artwork and animation. Here are just a couple of the planned alien races. Our goal is to have 15-30 unique alien races, each with their own back story, region of space, and custom ships. The project is fortunate to have my wife's artistic imagination and skill on board. Here are a few samples of her alien creations:
Our first attempts at 2D skeletal animation:
The Frik and Voolgard are getting their bridge backdrops. These still are works in progress and will get cleaned up quite a bit. We are also considering adding some bridge animation like lights flashing, things moving around etc:
Being a small and under-funded indie team, we are considering crowd funding when our project is further along. Also being techie geeks, we couldn't think of anything more fun for both us as developers and potential backers than 3D printed StarDiver ships. Santa brought us a 3D printer and we've taken a go at printing a couple of our early ships:
Thanks for taking a look at our work in progress. PLEASE, PLEASE (couple more pleases) give us some feedback. It is very easy for indie developers to be too heads down in their creation and we can easily lose motivation and oomph. Gamer feedback is pure rocket-fuel for indie developers. It gives us buckets of motivation and helps us refine the project into a much better end result!