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First Insider : Developing IterObris : Space Dominium Game

About The Game

IterOrbis aims, to place whole game play in both space and on the planets of solar system at the same time. It will allow players, to design industry, defence and offence structures, as well, as desired land, air, (possibly water) and space crafts. Player would be required to develop technologies tree and gather resources located in strategical points. In fact, whats unique (I believe) is that resources will be retrieved from hexagonal fields on planets.

An then players will be able to compete, or allay with other players / opponents.

As the additional feature, is game modular structure alike, which should theoretically, allow easier to mod it in the future.

Inspiration

The inspiration for developing IterOrbis, came for sure from many directions. 

Perhaps I should look first back to late 1990's, where Warzone2100 (official link) was released. Really cool full 3D real time futuristic RTS. Perhaps on of earliest 3D rts on grand scale, with ability to assemble own combat units, based on developed tech tree. What is interesting, this game is still played this days by many, and has continuous updates, as is open source. I have been returning to this title for many years since.

Second significant title, would be Homeworld series. Now also available on steam Homeworld Remastered Collection (steam link). It has similar concept to Warzone2100, however, all happens in 3D space, with amazing visual effects of own times. It also has been released in 1999.

Following chronologically, next major inspiration came from Rawbots (wiki link) (released 2013) (now dead project). it had great concept of assembling own designs and war machines in futuristic environment.  Also, had capabilities of programming component, via visual programming. Due to complex circumstances, project has been unfortunately ceased. One of my gigantic creations RawBots: Mech - Antypod (image).

And very recent From The Depths (official link) (released 2014), where I spent many hours (many hundreds), exploring capabilities and limits of the game. I had great opportunity to experience early development of the game as of beginning of 2015. It is warfare crafting based game, where player can design from blocks own structures and vehicles and use them to fight against enemies. Also, now allows to program own components, using lua language. My involvement resulted for example in running multiple of multiplayer sessions From The Depths - Alpha Multiplayer Mass Handling Testing (youtube), and some other crafts and modding. I.e  FTD : Anterak : Classical Bomber : Start, Attack & Landing (youtube).

Also, I should not forget about minecraft (official link), another crafting game I played in many many hours, designing castles like Antypodium (youtube) and Castle Island (youtube). But I need underline specially minecraft mod, The Feed The Beast (wikia), where player can not only craft whats basics in minecraft, but also build whole industry, to help prosper and survive. Additionally computer craft mod allowed to program own mini robots, which did heavy work for you.

So I hope, bunch of such experiences, will allow to generate great outcome, if come to creating IterOrbis.

Game Mechanics

Mechanics of the game is rather challenging, and it has been already at least once redesigned, due to raising performance and accuracy (floating point) issues. Many hours of study prototyping and reading has been put into place, to find best optimal solution.

Since game is happening in space, as well as on the planet, player will be able to travel on the orbit, around the planet itself. Development of satellites technology, will come into critical part of the game play, as it will allow to get extra pair of eye, on what is happening in neighbourhood, like on other side of the planet. Player will not be able to see otherwise, what happens beyond horizon, or on other planet. 

This will implement need, for developing relevant strategies and tactics. Capturing more resource points ( hex fields ), will give greater gain in resources. But bet, enemy will not sleep. 

Because of 3D space and planets, gravity will become not trivial. Up can soon become down, left, or front etc. Relevant control systems would need to be implemented, to stabilise crafts, specially these in space. Player will be able to experience real challenges, in space travel.

However, players will be able to share their designs to the community, as well, as use and test others designs in practice and against each other. 

Lua scripts will be also shareable, between players, when player permit for it.

Development Challenges

Since mechanics is not trivial, compare to flat world designs, not only implementing relevant orientation representation is required to players, but also, to introduce User Interface and control systems, simple and user friendly, as much as possible for such complexity.

Then, all above need to be compatible with physics. Since due to certain limits, number of visual tricks has to be implemented. For example, high scale solar system will reach floating point errors, by the time, reaching further distance orbit. Which results of inaccuracies and tittering of literally everything. Hence, everything need to be relatively scaled down and re-positioned.

As planets does rotates around the sun on their orbits, initially they were affected by own gravity. But number computational issue has increased quadratic, to number of gravity influencing objects. Hence, miniature planets are orbiting on scaled solar system, while full scale planets are oriented at 0 origin and are static. This eliminate potential need, to recalculating position of each object every moving frame. Which is good thing. But now, facing challenge, with physically multiple worlds, overlapping each other. Mechanics must know, how to ignore relevant layers of planets and miniature of the system.

This wouldn't be normally an issue, similar as other games, where left planet is saving its own status, when player leaves planet and is loaded when player returns to the planet. However, the aim is, so each planet can prosper in real time. Just a bit like separate realms. Yet player will be able to launch space crafts or fleets between each planet, and battle, tasks, or resource gathering must not stop.

Ideally, in future, each planet would be managed by separate PC as a server, while solar system would overlook at whole space. But that very far fetch into the future. Depending on need the demand, success, and other challenges.

As one of major goals, form very beginning, is to make game modable. Which mean, many feature and structures of the code, has to be thought ahead. This is to develop as much modular game, as possible and my knowledge allows me to do so. And aim, to develop game, as it were adding additional mods. Minimising what have to be hard coded. Number of assets like textures and models, will be accessible through game folder. So such could be replaced, as needed by anybody. None critical settings, will be stored in text format, in relevant files. Also, what has to be saved and transferred between players, and none critical, will be saved in JSON format, for easy readability and future modability.

Lastly, I am only developer. At least now, where financially is not feasible to get second pair of hand to help. But what at least can do, is look and grab / buy some assets available in Unity asset store, or shared otherwise online.

Many challenges ahead to go. mostly perhaps, not even close to be aware of. Will come in time.

Initial Thoughts About Such Game Development

To reach the bottom of this topic, we would need to get back at least to 2015. Experimenting with games, modding and steep learning curve in programming, have unlocked one of floating marbles in my brain.

Initial thoughts, was wandering around 2D web game, of different concept, where player's goal, was to capture chunks, or pixels on the map. By such, it was growing in resources, and could purchase simple upgrades. I have started development, prototyping and initial web socket implementation, using node.js. I had basics of prototype working. But wasn't any close to release. Nor I wanted too, or to make money on it. I kept it as experience and fun part.

Then more experience has grown on C# and further exposure to Unity3D environment through game modding. Which resulted in thoughts, on developing such game in unity. In mid 2016, prototyping began, on enhanced previous concept. however, this time using 3D environment and hex fields instead pixels, as capturing fields.

Came to the point, where I had little tanks travelling capturing hexes and shooting each other, with physical shells. I had point, at which wasn't sure, which direction want to go next. But decide to redefined my current assets and wrap flat ground hexes into sphere, to make something even more unique. And as of summer 2016, rather continuously in free time, development is ongoing in such direction.

Development Log

Game development log file is continuously updated and can be accessed through development timeline. Additionally there is Development  Latest Updates section, which also contain interesting and interactive graphs, of the current up to date progress.

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Last Update: 2019-02-17 02:37:29

During this project putting high emphasis on optmisation from the beginning. And it will need some justification and explanations why doing so early ...

Last Update: 2018-08-25 01:00:00

Evolving Unity - Joachim Ante - GDC

Along with Unity 2018, new programming methodology has been introduced. This is ECS (Entity Component System). This brings potential massive performance improvements. However, this also requires, to change way of thinking, when programming.

Last Update: 2018-03-10 13:04:17

From many of available revenue schemes for a game, as the reward of developing, few is considered here.

Last Update: 2018-03-01 00:12:04

PipsTycoon security

It has been a while since last update, so let give some news on development.

Author Antypodish wrote:
Date: 2017-06-27 23:35:14

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First Insider : Developing IterObris : Space Dominium Game