philadelphia (hello), chuck mangione, trees, rocks, lighting, weather, day-night cycles, chuck mangione, feels so good

04/09/2017 -

Cardami pluge (my apologies).

It took a long time to put this post out. I was working on many sub elements (trees, rocks, lighting) required for this post  — and I simultaneously moved to the great city of Philadelphia. I also had to swing around and do some errands. More on that later.

I wanted to make a jungle planet. I figured that if we had a jungle planet, we would have a lush natural world to begin realizing some of our gameplay ideas on. In order to build up the “nature” that exists on a jungle planet, we had to mingle into many separate areas: Weather, Fog of War, Day-Night Cycles, Trees, Rocks, Vegetation, and Lighting. Ultimately much of this time was spent within the microcosm of HLSL (High-Level Shader Language). Our new planet shader now draws the planet’s surface, fog of war, and some day-night shadow effects. This little pocket of code has become pretty complex as it must react to many different lighting & FX scenarios. But as I said, I had to swing by the record shop, and pick up a few classics, and so I was tight on time.

These trees are mostly created using unity’s built in tree library, with a couple of custom scripts for generating fruits and some other special effects. Notice the final tree, it kind of looks like a mangrove tree. And mangrove sounds like Mangione, as in Chuck Mangione — the phenomenal Jazz artist — I was able to pick up the record containing his hit single, “Feels So Good”.

greatbloodtree junglekelp trees mugalo maxresdefault

I also created a “rock-randomizer” that can create millions (if not a larger number) of unique rocks. It’s possible that every rock in the game will be slightly unique. I don’t know why this matters, but it is kind of neat to imagine that MANY unique models. I wrote a script that modifies a whole bunch of their properties and gives them unique surface geometry:

jungle rocks textured_rocks

These storms were a nice touch. As they rove across the planet’s surface, they almost remind you of the gentle disco-kick buried within Chuck Mangione’s hit single, “Feels So Good”. I may work on this more, to make the weather game-mechanics interesting, but here’s what we have for now:


Finally, I assembled everything into a single scene,  animated some things, and loaded the new shaders & lighting effects. If you watch closely, you can see the planet slowly rotating, day turning to night, and little shadows slowly creeping past the plants as the sun sets:

Ok, this might seem kind of random to just throw at the end of a post, but, if you get a chance, try to listen to Chuck Mangione’s hit single, “Feels So Good”. It really is pretty good.

portal os, niche legends, and u can put ur couch in the torpedo tubes

03/19/2017 -

Hey, Mugalo.

This week & last week, we worked on a user interface for the game.  Since we now have a (slightly) more concrete vision for the gameplay and game-modes, putting together a high-level UI was a manageable task. We definitely are not done w\ this, but I feel like it is good enough for a prototype. Basically there are several buttons that run along the top of the screen. These allow you to access the various game modes, check on the status of your character, and (in a meta-sense) check on the status of the simulation. Of course, these buttons will become inactive or active when those game modes are available. The design is based on the “Portal Os” — an operating system created by ancient beings which allows users to access an ancient simulation. This simulation has been running for thousands of years, and within it lies an entire galaxy of simulated lifeforms. The Portal Os allows you to control (hijack the minds) of a handful of characters living within that galaxy.  Because of all this, we thought it would be cool if the main UI was an emulation of a bizarre alien operating system. Portal, walrus, sum:  we’ve got strange symbols and an OS emulator .

~Niche Legends~
I figured I could create a hidden little area — within these posts — something that wouldn’t take up too much space — or be too distracting — just a cool little spot dedicated to niche legends. Featured this week, “Dingonek” — also known as the jungle walrus. Said to dwell in the rivers and lakes of western Africa, the Dingonek has been described as being grey or red, 3–6 m (9.8–19.7 ft) in length, with a squarish head, sometimes a long horn, saber-like canines—which has resulted in its nickname the “Jungle Walrus”—and a tail complete with a bony, dart-like appendage, which is reputed to be able to secrete a deadly poison. – Wikipedia. For those interested, there is a cave painting of dingonek.

Its pretty obvious in the title but yea, we are also trying to build a system where you can put pretty much anything in a torpedo tube and shoot it.

Finally, here are some pics & video from the UI work this week!







moving units, pathfinding algorithm, pablo cruise

03/05/2017 -

Yo-hay choy-folk! (Yo bro, it’s sunday.)

We did a bunch of work on the planet-mode this week. We are simultaneously developing a planet/asteroid editor and the ground/non-flying part of the game.  These little worlds are not necessarily planets, but may be asteroids, large cheetos, or moons — any solar system body that you could presumably land upon counts. Yup — giant cheetoh still makes the cut — because of the magnitude of the cheetoh.

So when you land on a planet, a number of odd things could happen. First you may be crashing. If that’s the case your people may be scattered across the planet with limited life support and various injuries — perhaps clinging to their tattered escape pods. If you managed to land with safety, you’re probably on a mission to gather some resources or otherwise survive until you can continue your journey toward Lilith.

Regardless, you’ll essentially be manipulating a small team of characters (six at most). This might be vaguely similar to the gameplay in the XCOM series, but it will also have heavy survival elements, resource gathering, and other general strategy mechanics. It won’t play as fast as an RTS, but it will play out in real time (as shown in the video) — and the goal of that is to generate slower and more deliberate choice-making — while still forcing the players hand with regard to the clock. This is — ofc — a permadeath game — we can’t have things move too fast!

Nerd point: The unit movement required an implementation of the A* path finding algorithm. uhh-shhhh-ok.  just sayin. maybe am a pro. maybe a pro pulls that off.

maybe pablo cruise underrated. But yeah anyway, here’s a video showing a unit moving across the planet. I’m not sure if these speeds will remain the way they are, or if the map tiles will stay the same size that they are now. That will require some play-testing and horse sense to get right. Hopefully this just gives you an idea of the general gameplay / movement mechanics:

And here are some other pictures form the week:









A little story, a little poop – perfect!

02/27/2017 -

Mugalo (hello) cadets. Plip! (At ease, finish your yogurt with fruit at the bottom, it is time for the debriefing of our most recent developments.)

Pate here to report that we have been growing our content databases and backstories, laying a foundation for the purpose of this game and achieving that purpose. Jun is hammering away creating sweet, sweet flight simulation gameplay, exploring things like warp and solar system entry, which ain’t easy peasy (but aint hardy farty either).

For backstory, we’ve essentially agreed that this game will focus on the user entering a simulation of this ENTIRE galaxy, filled with artificial life – but life nonetheless. The user’s goal will be to guide a character of their choosing across the galaxy to a land of hope, opportunity, and nonstop good times: a planet called Lilith. You gotta manage resources, ship upgrades, combat skill/efficiency, and other game aspects to succeed at this MASSIVE journey. Did we bit off more than we can chew with this game-dream of ours. Yeah, probably. But hey, we’re having fun and things are coming together. Here’s a sampling of a few basic elements that all in-game items will be composed of:

Carbon – building blocks of life, dude!

Florp – umm, fecal-leached organically reduced putty. Yeah, umm, purified poop is an element.

Circuitry – gotta build those computer systems with scrap.

Hydrogen – one of the most plentiful elements in the universe

Lithium – useful as a conductor, and plentiful on certain planets.

Ketchup-X – it’s good on fries, chicken, and has important organic and adhesive properties.

There are more elements than the ones listed, but I think it’s neat to have some real science-based resources as well as goofy ones that make us chuckle. Like, I don’t know, I get excited to think I’ll be collecting poop, LOTS OF POOP, on a huge galactic journey.

Hello this is jun now. I just saw Burt Reynolds in Boogie Nights so I’m feeling inspired. Here are three “game photographs”.

First, a popup. This is what you see when you reach a star system.  A robot sends you a nice message, and then you can enter the system if you want.


Second, ENA Vision (sight by atoms) of the heliopause turbulence around the star Muk-Qui. Stars are somewhat difficult to enter. In our game, you’ll have to effectively reduce your speed (when approaching a star) so that you don’t burn up like an on-fire newspaper flake when passing through the turbulent terminal shock waves generated by solar wind as it equalizes with the grander vacuum of interstellar space.. Fellow science nerds will get this, but also hate me for suggesting that ships burn up because of this — that wouldn’t happen. But look. It’s a game, and Burt Reynolds is really good in Boogie Nights.


Third — and maybe the coolest piece code I’ve written since last july (don’t ask):  equations that calculate time dilation due to relative velocities. Notice how the ship is young, and the galaxy is getting old. Yes, as you fly as very fast speeds, generations of life go by on planets, and yet your crew ages completely normally. This is a real effect, but I fudged the numbers — sorry science friends. STILL – this is all less cool than Burt Reynolds in Boogie Nights.


Burt Reynolds:

burt reynolds

Corporate Announcement

02/20/2017 -

Here at Jun and Pate, we celebrate Good Eezma (corporate buzzword in 3218). Therefore, we are taking first-person flight simulation to the next level — by putting the flight-person first. Please go find a snack like nachos and enjoy this game science video demonstration:

Okay enough of the soulless corporate buzz-chat. I’m here to talk about synergy.  Pate and I have been friends for a long time, but finally, we are finding a remarkable creative synergy. Why is this? We’ve cut our costs, we’ve bolstered our revenues, and we’ve built professional relationships that can last.

Sorry for being cheesy! I only wanted your everlasting empathy-friendship!

Ok well, this week, I worked on gameplay. I’m trying to get galactic flight to feel both real, fun, and unique. It’s a real venn diagram situation, and decisions, at times, feel tricky. It takes a weird amount of trial and error to find things that are satisfying in this regard — things that lovingly please the three circles — as they say. But hopefully, we’ll be able to come through on that.

To that end, I’ve limited the amount of thrust-drift (for fun reasons), added clouds & matter to space, and have begun working on the position-hold autopilot mode. Yes fine — flight mode is coming together. I want to make these planetary approaches a bit more engaging though. To me, all these little things sort of collaborate to create what is effectively a nifty toy (a flight simulator). Landing is a big part of other flight simulators, and while that is not required in space, it would be fun to “land” on stars. This is weird, but it’s one of those things where being able to crash (burning up in a star’s heliopause) can raise the stakes and make the gameplay more captivating.

good bye sweet cherrios, good bye you grainy rings…