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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Equipment Selection Done

I've finished implementing all the required code for displaying and selecting items in the equipment selection. The "OK" button is disabled unless a valid combination is selected (you must select a main and a secondary item, modifiers are optional).

However, the stats and info isn't displayed yet, just the names. When the screen is fully done, with power, cost, and space usage shown, I will post a new screenshot.

Also, I realized that "Biology" field is a bit too restrictive, since there's not much biological options aside from agriculture and some minor pollution and misc technologies. So I've changed this field to "Construction", which covers different areas that requires engineering such as colony bases, mounts, transport pods, etc.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Preview of Equipment Selection

I think I may be coming down with something, this past week I've been suffering from lack of energy, and gets tired easily. Hopefully I'll get over it soon!

This is what I've managed to get done despite that:

The buttons on top uses icon to represent the equipment type (some of the icons are incorrect, or don't have artwork for). From left to right:
Beam, Projectile, Shockwave, Missile, Torpedo, Bomb, Shield, Armor, Computer, System Engine, Stellar Drive, Reactor, and Special. The last four buttons have incorrect icons, since I don't have the artwork yet. Those will be replaced as soon as possible.

There are three lists, top one is the type of item, the middle is mount type, and bottom is modifiers. The gap between the bottom and the confirm/cancel buttons will be used to show space/cost/power usage.

If you have suggestions or ideas for a better layout, please let me know! I'm off to bed!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Ship Design Screen

The previous ship design screen felt a bit too overwhelming and cluttered, so I brainstormed for a bit, and doodled on the new whiteboard a friend gave me. I think I've hit on a good layout. I made the changes, and I'm liking it a lot better.

On top left area, under "Name" and "Add Equipment", it is where you see a list of componenets, along with their power/space requirements, as well as cost and the remove button (X).

On bottom left is the description of the item, so if you want to know how much damage your laser cannon does, click on the laser cannon from top left area, and it will display the damage and how it's calculated (type * mount * modifiers), as well as any other important information.

Top right is the size/style selection. Middle right is the list of information about your ship (space usage, cost, power generation per turn, speed, etc)

I'm liking this layout a lot better than the old one. Still working on it. Clicking on "Add Equipment" will allow you to pick from one of the 13 types, and I hope to be able to present all the options in a clean approach.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ship Design and Borders

I've started work on the new ship design screen. I think it looks okay, but the 13 buttons on left may be a bit overwhelming for a player. What do you guys think?

Also, I got tired of losing where my system is when I zoom out and don't have it selected, so I added an toggleable option (toggled by pressing "B" key) that changes the stars' color to their owner's color, or grey if unowned, and disables nebula drawing. This is what it looks like:

Feedbacks are welcome!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Video!

I've made an alpha footage video here!

Tech Screen Done, and Help Needed

I've finished implementing the user input for tech screen. You can modify the sliders or select a technology to view its description (there are no descriptions yet).

I also tweaked the technologies.xml to support the new features better. One funny thing happened, while I was testing the new xml file, I saw that there were some missing technologies from my list of researched technologies. So I went into my code and checked the loading function, then smacked my forehead. It's working correctly! I forgot that it now randomizes whether or not a technology is added to the list! So I added "isRequired="True"" to the basic technologies, and now they always show up :)

While trying to think of new technology items for my game, I realized that I may have bitten off more than I can chew. There are 35 different technology types. My goal is to have between 5 to 15 items for each type (depending on type, may be more). That means 175 technology items at minimum if 5 per type :) I'm not particularly creative when it comes to thinking of technology stuff, so this is where I need your help/creativity! If you have some technology ideas, please go over to here and post a new "issue" with name of the technology item, and explain what it does and what special features it have in the description.

Remember that each item can have a script associated with it to give it unique characteristics. For example, if I add "Tesla Cannon" which is a beam weapon, I could create a script so that it creates a zig-zagging beam which are not just visuals, but actual beam path so it could miss a ship that you've fired directly at becuase it zig zagged off the path! So feel free to come up with really creative weapons and items!

The technology types are as follows (I'll add notes where necessary to explain types):

Armor - Type of material
Armor Plating - Thickness of armor
Armor Modifications

Shield - Type of shield
Shield Generator - Modifies shield's total points and recharge rate
Shield Modifications

Beam Mount
Beam Modifications

Projectile Mount
Projectile Modifications

Missile Warhead - The explosive part of a missile
Missile Body - The body of a missile, includes armor and engine
Missile Modifications

Torpedo - Self contained torpedo body
Torpedo Launcher - Modifies the size of torpedo
Torpedo Modifications

Bomb - Explosive
Bomb Body - Armor/size
Bomb Modifications

Shockwave - Weapon that fires an wave in either a circle or an arc
Shockwave Emitter
Shockwave Modifications

System Engine - Used in space combat
System Engine Exhaust - Size of engine, the bigger, the faster
System Engine Modifications

Stellar Engine - Used in galaxy travel
Stellar Engine Drive - Size of engine, the bigger, the faster
Stellar Engine Modifications

Computer - Type of computer
Computer Mainframe - Size of computer
Computer Modifications

Special (includes transport pods, colony pods, and any other special equipment)

Infrastructure (includes radar, stargates, construction platforms, etc)

I'm going to work on ship design screen next, then ship production screen, then finally the fleet management screen. At that point, I will release the next version to those who've pre-ordered the game.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Technology & Research Screen Progress

As mentioned in previous post/comments, I've decided on a new technology system. Each technology will have an initial level, and a "fudge factor" that can affect which level the technology shows up.

For example, if a plasma cannon is level 40, and it have "fudge factor" of 15, then it could show up from level 25 to 55. Once the game starts from the game setup, all the technologies have their levels randomly assigned to different empires, and some may not even show up. So a humans empire may have plasma cannon at level 45, Zero People may have it at level 27, Space Hamsters don't have it in their list.

Unlocking new technologies for research requires you to research a technology that is in top 5 levels. When that's done, you unlock the next 5 levels, and if none is in that 5 levels, unlock the next 5 and so forth until there are some technologies to show.

Let's show how that works. If I mess up modding, and put a bunch of technologies at level range of 10-20, but none between 20 and 60, and the rest after 60, once I research something from level 15-20, it would check 20-25, and see that there's nothing, continue to 25-30, and so forth. When it reaches 60-65, it finds some technologies, and stops the search. Of course, this range would be very long to research, but it prevents locking out if you forgot to add technologies for every 5 level.

This is all now implemented. I had to overhaul some portions of my current system, but not as bad as I feared. I also plan on adding an option at game setup where if you pick one technology from list of available, you can only research that, and lose the other technologies (similar to MoO 2). Once you've researched it, it unlocks the next 5 levels, and repeat the selection process. Some people don't like that, including me, but I'm adding it as an option for those who do like that.

I also started re-doing the research screen. This screen will be for managing research output only. Once you select a technology, you can't change it until you've finished researching, so choose carefully! When a technology is researched, it will prompt you at start of your turn to pick next item to research (similar to MoO 1)

I've finished the research screen layout. Here's the screenshot:

The left 6 boxes are actually buttons, you can click on one area, and it will show a list of technologies that you've researched in that field in top right box. The sliders manage the percentage of total RP for each field. Lock button is self-explanatory. The bar next to the lock button is the progress (a percent will turn green). The empty box under list of researched items will be the technology description box. The box on bottom right is the RP output information. The left one is your planets' output. The middle is research from trade treaties with other empires. The right one is the sum of the other two.

Each box on left also will display how much RP required, and how much you've researched so far, and estimated turns before it's complete. Since I have nothing selected, it's hidden.

The interface for those aren't implemented yet (clicking, dragging, etc). I hope to have this and the prompt done this week! We'll see due to thanksgiving holiday.

Whew, this was a long post! But a lot of progress made!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Planets Screens Done, and Thoughts on Technology

I've finished implementing the "Apply" button, and fixed some incorrect icon placements in the planets screen. Everything is working beautifully!

The next thing for me to do is finish the technology system. I've redone it in the past, but I'm not really happy with the result, so I think I may re-do it again.

I'm thinking of a system where the technologies you can research are randomized (with creative trait resulting in less missing technologies). Also, the technology's pre-requisites would be randomized as well, unless they have explicit requirements in the data file, to avoid "teching" strategies like in Civilization and to spice things up every game.

For example, say Plasma Cannon is level 40. It have a random pre-requisite of a level 34 Auto Repair. You will need to research Auto Repair first before you can research Plasma Cannon. In a new game, it now have a pre-requisite of Level 37 Fusion Engine. However, if Stargate technology have a pre-requisite of "Singularity Torpedo" in the xml file, it will always have that pre-requisite. So it supports a system where all technologies have certain pre-requisites (similar to Civilization), or randomized (kinda, but not quite so, like MoO 1), or a mix of both, depending on the technology file. A technology may be a pre-requisite for more than one advanced technology, and a technology may have more than one pre-requisite.

I also am thinking of removing the "6 fields", and have a list of possible technologies to research, and you can research up to 8 different technologies at a time. To add an item to research, just click on the item that you want to research, then "Research". Once it's added to the list of items currently being researched, it can't be removed. When it's done researching, it will be removed, opening up a slot for the next project.

It looks like I'm going to do research screen first before the other screens :) Feedback/comments on this system? I'm sleep-deprived, so if the idea sounds crazy, it might be :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Planets Screen 95% done!

The planets screen is now ALMOST done! Just need to have the "Apply" button actually do something :) But that won't take too long, however I'm too tired to continue tonight.

The first screenshot shows a list of all of your owned planets. In this case, there's only one. You can filter out different planets, then modify the sliders, and hit the apply button to actually apply the changes. Notice that two are at 100%, and the third is at 50%, resulting in the first two 40% and the third one 20%? I've explained how it works in a previous post, but wanted to show it in action.

The second screenshot shows a spiral galaxy, and the planets filtering in action. The bonus icons are shown next to the population info in the planets list. Note that the output sliders and the Apply button are disabled, since you don't own all the planets in the list.

When I finish the "Apply" button, I'm going to work on improving the technology system. The reason for this is that I realized that if I do fleet management window, ship design, or production screen, the ships need to display their information in all of those. So I need to finish the technology system first before I can work on those three screens.

One thing that I'm planning on is the ability to set starting ships for each race. This will be a XML file stored along with other race data in the race folder. You can specify the hull size, components, etc, of the race's starting ships. This will be included in the next version release, as well as the three screens I mentioned above. The reason for this is obvious. We don't want space-based races to start with two scouts and a colony ship :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Deployment Woes

From the general comments, it looks like most people like the idea of stargates and their varying sizes for moving around, but not for deployment purposes.

I originally said I didn't like reserves/deployment, but thought it'd be a good compromise to support empire-wide production and trading ships. So here's a chance to try and work out a system that don't require reserves/deployment.

Since the game now handles ships on a per-ship basis, trading ships can be just a matter of selecting ships from your fleets and simply handing it over. When you give an empire your ships, they just change owner, but stay in the same location. So they will have to move it to their empire, but they could use your stargates if you have travel agreement. This part won't be a problem, and will allow me to remove reserves/deployment.

Now for the hard part: Construction of ships using empire-wide production. I'm sticking to empire-wide production, so per-planet production is not an option. One reason is the space-based races that don't even have planets to produce ships from. So we will need a system where we can decide which system to produce ships at.

I could add an option for which system a ship should be built at in the production screen. However, there are several problems that I need to solve:

What happens if the ship is halfway built, and you lose control of that system to an enemy? Is the progress lost? This would make sense because if a factory is destroyed by a bomber, the progress there are lost.

Should systems that have planets owned by you, but are being orbited by enemy fleets not output any production, research, or commerce because they're blockaded? This again, makes sense, and can really cripple you if the planets there are rich in resources. If it's your last system, then you're doomed.

Should the list of systems available for a ship to be built at be determined by the fact that you have a fleet or own a planet in those systems? Fleets are mandatory because of space-based races.

If you guys agree to the above approaches to the problems, then I will remove the "reserves/deployment" totally, and have stargates be just a tool for moving around the galaxy.

Space combat functionality

I'm trying to finalize how space combat works, and how ships should work in terms of design and functionality. I would like to hear your feedback on those ideas.

The goal is to have a turn-based combat, and yet have a fair combat. With that in mind, I'm thinking of changing how ships are designed.

First of all, I'm thinking of changing the system so it's components based. This means you can add more than one engine, for increased speed (there are two types of engines, interstellar and sublight engines), or layer on armor for a heavily armored ship designed for ramming other ships (yes, you can kamikaze your ships!)

I don't really like the idea of issuing commands, then having everyone move at the same time, for many reasons. I want the classic MoO 1/2 space combat feel where one ship move at a time. Now that the game is designed for fewer ships, I think I should go with that approach, instead of everybody moving at once. However, how to make it balanced, so the first player don't have too much of an advantage?

While thinking about that problem, I think I've hit on a solution. For those who've played X-Com, you may find this familiar. Each ship would be powered by reactors that provide power output. The more reactors you have, the more power you have available per turn. Each ship will have 100% power per turn, and each action will consume a certain amount of power, based on the power required, and the available power. Also, your ship will have time constraints. All ships will have the same amount of TU (Time Unit) unless you have technology that gives you more time.

For example, let's say a scout ship have a power reactor that provides 200 PU (power units), and an engine that will consume 20 PU per movement. It also have a laser cannon that consumes 50 PU. In combat, the player will see that moving a ship will cost 10% power per tile moved, and firing the laser cannon will cost 25% PU. So you can either move the ship 10 tiles (or less, depending on if it was diagonal or not), fire the laser cannon four times, or a combination of both.

Now if that same scout upgrades its reactor so it provides 400 PU. The scout now can fire the laser cannon 8 times, or move up to 20 tiles, based on its power output.

However, there will also be a time constraint. Firing a laser cannon (since it need to recharge and cool down) will take up maybe 30 TU? Then it can only fire three times per turn, regardless of the 200 or 400 PU reactors.

The engine moves at the same speed, let's say 20 TU, for either reactor. However, if the scout have a second engine component, the movement time cost will be halved to 10 TU, but has the twice PU requirement. So with 200 PU reactor, and two engines, it would cost 20 PU for each engine, but halve the TU to 10. However, the ship would still move up to 5 tiles, because the power will be exhausted, instead of time running out. If you replace the reactor with an upgraded one, providing 400 PU, then you can move up to 10 tiles in the same turn. Or you could move 5 tiles, leaving 200 PU and 50 TU for the laser to fire once.

The above numbers are an example only, and subject to balance. I really like this idea, because instead of cramming 30+ plasma cannons on a ship, and having all of them fire at once against the hapless victim, you have to balance the time/power usage. So if you have an ultra-powerful planet-destroying weapon that consumes say, 50,000 PU, and your ship only provides 10,000 PU per turn, you'll have to charge it up to 50,000 first, so every 5th turn you can fire it. Or you could move a bit, then charge it with the remaining power. You can pack a bunch of different weapons (no need for multiple weapons of the same type, unless you're guarding against component damage in combat) that have varying time/power consumption. So if you see a bunch of missiles, you can use your point-defense laser cannon with its low power/time usage to take them out. Or you can focus on using the big weapons against big ships.

Certain weapons will have ammo limits (particles and missiles), those weapons usually have very low power usage because they use ammo instead of power for the weapons. Shields can be recharged using PU, or left alone. Repairing using auto-repair will consume power as well. So you'll have to plan on how to allocate your PU and TU, or your ships are doomed.

There's also one other thing that you will need to consider. Each weapon have an accuracy stat and range limitations, so you'll have to consider those as well when firing. For example, a laser dissipates after 5 tiles, and have accuracy of 80%. You could fire it at any tile (similar to X-Com), but it won't be guaranteed that it will hit that tile. You may end up hitting your own or an ally's ship!

So with the above rules, the start of battle will mostly consist of ships getting into firing range, so the first player don't have too much of an advantage. I think this solution will be the best for my game. I welcome your feedback on this.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New planet screen

Things are progressing quicker than I thought. I have the display working for the planets list, but not the user interface yet. First, screenshot, then I'll explain how things will work:

Top left is the galaxy minimap. Top right is the list of planets that you have selected. If you select one of the planets, it will have the selection drawn on the star on the minimap.

The plan is to have a list of different planet filters below the galaxy minimap, and sliders that control the 5 different outputs below the planets list. Then there will be a overall output report below the sliders to show you the summary of your empire.

The list of filters would include:
Owned planets
Unoccupied planets (this would disable the sliders if selected)
Foreign-occupied planets (this would disable the sliders if selected)
Rich planets
Normal (no bonuses for construction)
Poor planets
Exciting planets (bonuses to research and commerce)
Mediocre planets (no bonuses for research/commerce)
Dull planets (negatives to research and commerce)
Fertile planets (bonuses to environment/pop growth)
Regular planets (no bonuses for environment/pop growth)
Infertile planets (negatives to environment/pop growth)

You can mix and match filters to select, for example, planets that are rich, but has negatives in other fields, and focus them on production. Or planets that have more than one bonus, you can select those specific planets and balance the outputs so it uses both (or all three) bonuses.

The sliders will be a bit different from per-planet sliders. Since different planets have different levels of output required for environment and agriculture, the sliders will be "relative" sliders. If you set one slider to 100%, and another to 50%, and the rest at 0%, it means the planet's first slider will be set at 66%, and the second slider will be set at 33%.

You can lock sliders, which will mean that those sliders are locked on all selected planets. It will be common to have the agriculture and environment locked since they automatically are set to clean/sufficient food per turn. So you can set 100% in one field without worrying about causing pollution and such. But if you really need to research something, or build something, or get out of debt, you can unlock the two sliders and slide the desired field all the way.

Let's say for example, a planet has 25% into environment, 25% into food, and both is locked. If you set all three remaining sliders to 100%, it means that the remaining sliders will have the remaining output percentage split evenly between them (50% / 3 = 16.6666% per field). If two are 100% and one is 50%, then the first two will have (20% and the remaining field will have 10%)

This will be a very powerful tool in managing your empire. I think it's possible that you will manage planets more from this screen than from per-planet in galaxy screen.

Getting excited yet about the macromanagement aspects of this game? :)

Fleet window UI done

The artist provided me with the artwork for stargates and UI buttons. I've implemented most of the functionality for those items, but rest will have to wait until I finish the technology system (transport pods and such).

Here's a screenshot:

I'm now working on the planet management screen. Maybe I'll have it done in a few days? We'll see. Then after that, the fleet management screen, then the production screen, and maybe ship design. Then the next version will be ready for the pre-orderers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Galaxy Screen done for now

I've fixed bugs in the new UI windows (Planet, System, and Fleet), fleshed out the missing features (except for the special buttons, still awaiting artwork for that), and made it so that you can't select other players' ships (you can hover over them for info, but can't select them as if you're about to issue movement commands).

I also added a check for each turn that ensures that your food production and pollution cleanup are at their optimal output (all pollution cleaned up if possible, then enough to feed your people). However, if you've locked the food or pollution sliders, they won't be touched. Other sliders, if locked, won't budge as well.

I'm feeling good about having the galaxy screen done. There's still some missing features, but they require other stuff to be implemented before I can add them.

Next up is the planet list screen where you can manage your planets. Still thinking about how to display the stargate info...

Deployments and Reserves

Ever since I made the decision to put ships into reserves when they are built, I've been gnawing on one problem: Balanced deploying of ships.

I don't want players to be able to deploy ships anywhere they want, because they could deploy in middle of an enemy terrority, making defense impossible.

On the other hand, I don't want players to be restricted to one central production center where all ships originate.

Then there's the problem of sending ships back into reserve. I don't want the MoO 3's approach where you can disband a taskforce anywhere, and it's back in your reserves after 5 turns. I've used this to recall ships from opposite edge of galaxy because that was faster than having them travel back.

So what to do? I do like the idea of building mobilization centers, but the problem with mobilization centers are that they're one price, and with my empire-wide production, it'd be easy to just conquer one system, then have your massive empire build a mobilization center at that system in one turn.

I needed something like mobilization centers, but something that can scale with the game's scope, and I happened to see a screenshot of MoO 1 with a stargate on one planet, and realized that there is indeed a solution to this dilemma!

How I envision Stargates working:
You don't have to own planets at a system, just merely have a fleet there, requiring you to actually hold the system. This will allow space-based races to create stargates without planets
Stargates will come in different sizes. The bigger they are, the exponentially more expensive they are to build. However, the upkeep cost will be very low compared to the construction cost, depending on the size, so you don't bankrupt yourself by building a bunch of small stargates.
Different sized ships will require stargates of at least their size to be able to be deployed.
Stargates not only act as a mobilization center, they also perform similar to stargates from MoO 1. There won't be lines connecting different systems because a stargate can connect to any other stargate. The pathfinding code will automatically find the quickest path, with or without stargates.
To travel to another system with a friendly stargate (either yours or an ally's), both stargates must be of the same size or bigger than the biggest ship in your fleet.
To put ships back into reserves, they must be adjacent to a system with a stargate big enough for those ships before you can disband them. This will prevent the "5 turn from anywhere" exploit in MoO 3.
Terraforming and planet building projects can only occur in systems with a stargate. This allows players to build planets in systems with only asteroids or gas giants. It also allows space-based races to terraform planets that they've devoured (replenishing their food source)

This will allow players to build one or two very expensive "Leviathian" sized stargates to be able to mobilize ships of that size, but they can't really travel through stargates due to the cost of the huge stargates. However, a bunch of small ships can more easily travel around. Of course, it's very possible in a huge galaxy to have a lot of Leviathian-sized Stargates due to the number of planets that can support such cost and construction efforts. I think this will do very nicely in balancing reserves/deployment. You can't build a leviathian sized stargate on a system you just conquered in middle of the enemy terrority unless they're stupid enough to leave you alone there for a while. But the smaller ones will be cheaper so it's possible for you to establish a beachhead there.

What I'm unsure about is how Stargates should look in the galaxy map. Should they be a 32x32 icon next to the system similar to fleet icons? This may be confusing because the stargate will be accessible from any position that is adjacent to the system. Also, how to show which size a stargate is? Ideas, suggestions, and feedback are welcome on the whole concept of stargates!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Pollution is now implemented. How it works is that a planet stores barrels of toxic waste from current output for the next turn. The environment slider cleans up the last turn's pollution. So on the first turn, you don't have pollution to clean up, but after that you will have to start cleaning up.

The more output you generates, the more pollution you generate as well. So for example, if you research a technology that doubles your construction output, it will also double your construction pollution. This will not be the same as MoO 1's pollution where eventually pollution goes away. Pollution will be a constant thorn in your side the entire game.

What if you decide to ignore pollution and hope it just goes away? Well, if you're on a terran planet, and you reach 1,000 barrels, it degrades into one of the two planet types, depending on if it's a wet climate or not, Jungle or Steppe. If you still ignore the pollution, and it reaches 2,000, it changes to Ocean or Desert. And so forth, with the threshold doubling each level. Finally if you're STILL polluting on a radiated planet, it will be destroyed and become asteroids, at which point your people are wiped out on that planet, unless you're a space race that don't care.

This is the tweaked planet UI. This was originally Terran, but I've polluted it to 4k, causing it to become Desert.

You can clean up pollution, but you cannot change the planet back without terraforming. So you gotta watch your pollution! However, on less desirable planets, the threshold is very high (for radiated, it's 128,000 barrels).

There will be random events that add a large amount of pollution and damage your precious planets. *Evil laughter*

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Finished fleet window for now

I ran into an unique situation with the fleet window. For the scrollbar, I usually pass in "itemsVisible", or how many items are visible. What I forgot was that if I show two rows of items, I needed to handle it a bit differently than normal. So that's resolved. I also improved the button handling and fixed some bugs. I added the missing UI handling (scrollbars and stuff) so now all the UI elements except the special buttons are working correctly, and drawing correctly!

I'm waiting for the artist to provide me with artwork for the other two special buttons, then I will finish up this screen. The ship info popup won't be available until I finish the technology stuff.

Anyway, here's the final fleet window (sans the "Orbit Planet" and "Clear Movement" buttons)

Next up is finishing up the planets management from galaxy screen. Planets need to degrade with pollution, as well as adding empire-wide production code handling, then the galaxy screen is done. I will then work on the planets screen where you can manage more than one planet at once.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

More work on Fleet UI

The "Transfer" button on bottom left will be enabled if you have transport pods in your ships, and you're adjacent to a system with owned planets. For now, it's just there until I implement the transport pods.

All ships will be selected by default, similar to MoO 2. Deselecting them will remove them from the current fleet when you issue movement command, again, like MoO 2.

There's still work to be done, such as a window that pops up below the fleet window that display the ship's information when you hover over a ship, but I think this is a good start!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Progress on Fleet/UI

I changed how the game handles fleets. Instead of having Ship + amount, it now stores each ship individually. To have the game work, I had to rip out the screen for managing fleets, and start on a new UI window for it in galaxy screen. After debating how to do it, I settled on something similar to how MoO 2 did it. This is what I have so far, subject to a LOT of tweaking:

Also notice the varying shades of the background stars? And the transparent window for the fleet UI? And the new selection art? Galaxy Screen is nearing its final layout, then I can focus on other screens!


One person commented asking if the ships will have transport pods. My original answer was no. But on further thought, I realized that it'd be hard to balance if you can instantly create transports and send them off anywhere. If you see an incoming fleet, you can pack up and leave in an instant. Or you can easily colonize every planet in your region by sending 1 pop to each planet.

So I'm thinking of scrapping the "transport ship" idea, and adding transport pods to ships, so it'd require you to have ships to carry people. Each pod takes up a lot of space, and have a limit on how many people it can hold. New technologies will give you new transport pods that can store more people, or reduce the space usage, or other improvements.

Then the artwork originally planned for the transport ship will be your race's "Ultimate" ship (they're 256x256 pixels).

While this may add a bit more management, it'd help balance the game. The starting fleet will consist of two scouts and one transport ship (a large ship that has all the space used for a transport pod). Or if you're a space race, two scouts and two "motherships" that generates output.

Any feedback on this idea? I haven't started on this yet, so would like to hear your opinions before I commit to it.