Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas!

This year has been a very interesting one with lots of new ideas put in game and a lot of game mechanics that were not initially thought in the scope of the game, but it is giving it a lot of fun and allowing me to build the game that I want to play.

Enjoy the holidays and wish you Merry Christmas!

My crew is also celebrating and looking forward for the alpha release next year! see you soon!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Food!, restaurants, cantinas and others

As mentioned before, food rations were available for long trips, but are boring to dead to eat and after long time your crew mood will deteriorate, so it will be very important to visit space outposts to resuply and visit fine restaurants, fast food restaurants or maybe cantinas, here is a sneak peak of a fast food restaurant where you can order your food and then sit down on any table, and if lucky you can event talk to other people, maybe get jobs or negotiate sneaky deals.

Different food items can improve mood over time and bring joy by eating the food they like the most, different restaurants serve different food plates and different prices! the people you may find on each kind of restaurant will vary too, so if you want to meet smugglers you may want to go to a cantina for example, so you can sell also illegal goods if you are in that business.

And finally, nothing better than having my crew enjoying lunch together.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Warp, battery and power distribution updates

Power generators provide the electricity around your ship, different components can be added to your power generator as seen below, also a power button was added to all systems so you can decide at any time which systems to turn off if you need extra power for something else like life support or weapons.

Also a battery system was added this week, so excess power is stored for emergencies.

And finally, a more accurate traveling calculations and warp control, now you can decide the warp speed to travel and know ahead of time what will be the estimated time for arrival (ETA) on screen

You can choose to go at 100% of your maximum warp speed or if needed you can push it over a little bit more up to 10% more but that will consume more energy/resources and will degrade your warp components faster or even destroy them if the maximum warp speeed is overclocked over long periods of time. For example, the image below shows the warp core system panel, and if warp speed is pushed up for too long components like the warp coil seen below will degrade from 100% to 0% over time, at 0% it will get destroyed and you will need to get replacement parts, when a components gets destroyed like the warp coil, the maxium warp speed will also drop according to missing parts.

When boarding enemy ships you may also get some replacement parts from their panels or even steal them if you like, anything can happen, even pirates can steal some of your components if they are able to break through your security.

That's all for this week!.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Electronic system panels and automated tasks

Inventory items were added recently into the game, now you can equip crew members with different kind of armor types, boots and guns. Food will be also displayed in the inventory as well as medical kits and many other things. One new addition on top of that is electronic components, now each system in the ship has a control panel where components can be arranged to make the system work as seen below.

Different components will be needed to make sure that the system will work properly, you can still use low grade components and get lower than expected results in the performance of those systems, you will find that for example a turret will show up 4 lanes of components and if some portion of it is broken the performance of the turret will degrade or you can utilize enhanced components or researched ones to improve efficiency. Since all the system modules in the ship can be modded it seems that there will be a lot of micro-management and a lot of work to make sure that all systems are working, but that's not the case, crew members if assigned to fixing tasks will actually go and fix those panels for you , for example an engineer will make sure that all the components are in place or at least make sure that is patched with the parts you have in your ship, they will go and pickup the parts from lockers or other places and install them as needed, but you can also manually do different configurations to suit your needs and the repairing team will still fix those panels if something gets broken if you have the electronic parts needed.

Whenever a crew member is tired or hungry, they will try to find the best place to get their need fulfill, hungry? then go to the proper food source, if you assign a bunk to a crew member they will go there to sleep when tired, but there may be situations in which you really need those crew members working regardless if they are hungry or sleepy, so raising the status to red alert will put everyone who is capable of performing a duty to do so, so you can make sure you have your pilot, gunners and others ready for combat even if they need to sleep, eat, get medical attention or any other task. Crew members will also make sure your ship stuff is properly stored, for example you can drop guns on the floor and other stuff, but that is very dangeous in space with so many bad things to happen, so free crew members will store those items in proper locations if there is empty space, the last thing you want to have is guns on the floor and get a hull breach and lose all those guns into space, or get your food spoiled if not properly stored in the food refrigeration system.

So in summary, there is a lot of new AI written to automate tasks, you are the captain of your ship so you shouldn't be micro-managing everything to survive, you have to use your crew to get to your goal but if you really are the micro-manager type you can still do that as needed, the main purpose is for you to set orders and expect your crew to follow them the best way they can under the circunstances, but don't expect a baddly injured crew member without legs to stand up and walk, there are physical limitations being put, but instead of walking they may float in space if gravity is disabled. Gravity and inertia control in ship will be the next major update, more details later.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Added inventory!, each character will have an inventory, the use of the inventory will allow for example a doctor to carry many medical kits, and medical kits do have a consumption level depending on the use, food also use space so be wise to choose your equipment when going outside , more weapons, armor, or other things to choose from.

Recently I had my crew feed prisoners but found that they were actually picking only one food ration at a time so it was taking a lot of travel time spent when I had many prisoners, so an inventory allows them now to carry multiple rations and distribute them properly.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Time, search and rescue , sleep and injury system

Until recently I had this feeling, why should I leave an injured crew member behind in battle? or let it burn when fire is spreading everywhere, with no capability of pulling injured crew members from those dangerous places it became frustrating in some events, losing them because I couldn't extinguish the fire on time, well not anymore, now you can carry injured crew members and put them in a safe place so medics can cure behind the lines, or you can carry enemy robots destroyed and try to hack them or get spare parts from them, but beware trying to hack enemies can result in booby traps too!, in a future update funerals will be also available for the fallen ones, why is this important? your crew interact with each other so losing a friend will affect them and having a funeral will help them overcome the loss, though if some crew members do not care nothing will change for them.

Also added current local time in your ship, this will allow the player to know the standard time in your ship, why is that necessary? well crew members need to eat and sleep, so according to the time shown on the corner you can see when night time is coming, though there isn't really a night time in space, but still your crew need to sleep. In this case I overworked my crew and they slept on the floor, later I will show the crew bunks where they can go and sleep. There is also a robot carrying another broken robot which I am planning to hack later. Robots do not need to sleep but need to recharge.

Beware, do not leave bodies to rotten in your ship, your crew will be affected emotionally if they see dead people, some may not even properly sleep for a long time.

Lastly, I've been working on the injury system, now crew members health can be monitored and see which part of the body have been damaged, they can loose limbs or internal organs and more advanced medic facilties will be needed to repair or replace limbs, a missing leg will not allow a crew member to walk, or a missing hand will not allow a crew member to wield double handed weapons like rifles, only pistols. Depending on where the injury happened some crew members may develop phobias.

Some body parts will be easily replaceable with 3d bio-printers and other machines while others may permanently affect your crew member, a damaged brain will impair some of the capabilities but if proper equipment is acquired it may be possible to save them, I will leave the medical facility for another post.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Crew in your ship

So far until now all screenshots have shown crew members in space suit only, but that just changed and now your crew will be visible in their own clothes inside ships, only space suits will be needed when being in space or while going to places without life support.

This will add a lot of variety to the game and the look of it. Space suits have a color per ship so you can easily identify the crew member belonging to the ship and the ones that are yours, this will be very useful when boarding ships but when a crew member is not wearing a space suit a casual cloth will be displayed.

Another important thing to look at is that each crew member do have an area in their cloth that will change color according to their duty, so for example a crew member assigned to security will have an orange section in the uniform as well in the suit so you can easily identify by colors the assignment, but if you have difficulties differentiating colors you can always look at the window and see the icon assigend to that crew member.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Temperature in your space ship

Temperature plays a role as a new game mechanic. Part of your life support system allows life to survive by providing oxygen but also a good ambient temperature, with oxygen but not adecuate temperature your crew will burn of freeze in space.

When being closer and closer to a star the temperarature of your ship will increase over time and damage modules, your crew will also suffer burns and may die due to the heat or start fires inside your ship too!. Having a fire incident in your ship will also raise the temperature of the modules on fire and melt your ship's hull and armor having even more leaks.

Now you can also check the temperature inside of your ship like the image below, in this case I am too close to a star and things started to get too hot for my crew to survive.

Turning your systems off can lower the radiation leak your ship makes into space making it more difficult for enemies to find your ship or track it, but it also means that it will slowly turn colder and colder and that will affect how your crew react and survive, but if you are close to a star the temperature will raise a lot faster and be more dangerous. If you have lots of robots in your ship the temperature ratio will not affect them that fast compared to humans, lack of oxygen do not damage robots and allows easy fire management. Hull breaches decrese or increase temperature depending how close to a star is your ship, and makes your ship leak oxygen, if too much oxygen is leaked you won't be able to recycle your module's oxygen properly and some human crew members may die over time or go crazy!, but you can replenish your oxygen levels in space stations or other places.

In the following screeshot, the ship is located far from any nearby star and all systems were turned off, after some time the temperature dropped very low and started to affect your crew.

And here is when fire spreads with taking any action, some areas are getting hotter and hotter to the point that it will be very hard for your crew to get in there to extinguish the fire.

Much more to share soon.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The prison in your ship

The prison is a new working module for your ship as seen below.

Just make sure doors are locked or they may escape...

You may be able to save enemies and put them in jail until you reach a starport and deliver them to justice and get some reward, also slavers may have many prisons in their ships so you may be able to save and free the good people. But also means that you may decide to go the dark path and use it to imprison others, is up to you to decide which path you want to go.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Many updates, lights, cockpit chair , system modules and robots

Many new items were added in the past few weeks to the game, now to fly a ship you need at least one crew member sit in a chair like the screenshot below.

Also, many more options become available whenever a crew member has access to a console and when some additional systems are added to your ship. For example we have a gun locker and a food dispenser in the corner of the command center module seen below.

A gun locker allows storage space for the armory and equip your crew with weapons, but if not enough lockers are available you won't be able to securely store them and avoid enemies to get access to your arsenal. Food storage allows your crew to get proper food and adds food storage into your ship, lose them and your crew may die of famine in a long trip, so make sure you have enough storage for long trips. Other consoles allows you to have access to different options, like being able to have an Oxygen overlay to see the oxygen distribution in your ship, low oxygen makes it harder for any fire to expand, but overtime it will make hard also for your crew to get proper oxygen, and if any crew member stay for too long he or she may die.

In this screenshot you can see the O2 availability in your ship, have a breach and oxygen will drop very fast and if your O2 machines break you may not survive for long. There will be many ways to replenish your O2 in your ship but that will come into another news later.
Having access to your main consoles allows you also to lock/unlock doors for safety purposes.

Also, there may by places where light is not available or if there is any power failure, and you will be able to see what your crew can illuminate as seen below:

You may have noticed also that there is a new type of character standing in the gif above, that one is a robot. Not so long ago robots were added to the game but didn't have any animations, now fully animated into the game, more to see in the next few weeks.

Also some new animation added when using small airlocks.

More news to come soon.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Locations lights and shadows - mechanic

As you cruise the vast space with your ship you may encounter places like asteroids with caverns, derelicts and face events in which you may not have full visibility to see ahead, in those cases your crew will be able to turn on their helmet's lights and show up a portion of the screen. Here is a screenshot in-game with the shadows casted by your own crew, some parts of the ships are not fully visible due to the lack of lights.

In some other situations you may decide to turn off completely your ship to avoid detection, you won't be able to maneuver or activate any other system so only your main control center will have auxiliary lights like the red ones below, but the rest of the ship will be in complete darkness, your crew will have manage that on their own.

Low visibility affect accuracy and many things will not be available to your crew to attack or repair for example. Exploring unknown locations like caverns or dereclicts will have similar setup with limited visibility to the unknown, so you will have to be careful how you deploy your crew in the map and how to interact and advance forward, there may be enemies hiding in the shadows...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

One year ago I started a summer challenge...

I just noticed today that exactly one year ago I started my summer challenge, to make a new game and put some new ideas on it during the summer and at the end I am still working on it adding lots of new features and having a lot of fun working on it. Junkcraft Armada is becoming the space game I wanted to play, travel through the universe, handle your crew, do some jobs and complete a mission by saving the universe, it is a quite ambitious game since there are a lots of assets and a lot of procedural content, a roguelike adventure.

Here is a new screen of the latest update.

You can set your weapons to target specific parts of an enemy ship, so you can disable thrusters, or hit a fuel storage module for a big explosion and disable more parts of an enemy ship. Depending on your sensors power you will be able to see more details on the enemy ship, like module status and some of the upgrades so you can plan your attack.

This week also, I rewrote all the weapons code and now it is very easy for me to add many different weapons without having to customize in code much, so a wide variety of weapons will be introduced in the next few weeks, initially I was planning for 5 different types of weapons but now I have way more and still growing. I added beam lasers which took me most of the week to implement due to the collision detection algorithm but now it is working.

Just a quick screen showing up a beam weapon firing.

Many more features coming soon, just hoping to finish the game before the end of the year crossing fingers.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

New designs, new shadows, new shaders

Lots of updates and many new skins added to the game, it is taking quite a lot of time to do blog updates because I am having a lot of fun designing new ships and other things. Took over a week to redesign the shaders to calculate shadows on the fly, now that the new shader is working along with the normal maps you will be able to see even more details on each of the modules.

For example this is one of the new ships:

And ow trying to dock to a newly designed space station (still WIP) for repairs , trading and other things.

Also, you can upgrade or sell modules, sometimes you may be able to recover debris or modules from defeated enemies, plug em into your ship and sell them in your next stop and get some quick cash, in this screen you will be able to sell your excess modules.

Some other ships added.

More screens to come soon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Handling events and how complex can it be...

Lately I've been adding new events into the game, just to illustrate how events are being handled here is a screenshot.

There are quite many different options that happen on each event so there is a lot of dynamic part based on decisions you made in the past, for example this event is called when the player hails a pirate ship, there are many random parts of the event and the response and options the player will see depend on the crew, your resources, your cargo and many other factors, those will affect what the player will see when playing. So each gameplay will be different and decisions made during those events will change also future events, for example if the player decides to join the pirates guild there will be a few occasions in which that option will be available, fail to do so and the option will never be available, or if player refuse to do so the pirates will remember that and will respond accordingly.

Another example of how decisions affect your crew, for example giving up your cargo without a fight will affect your crew member's loyalty, some are really blood thirsty and won't give up without a fight till dead, some others will be fine, so you need to know your crew, and remember that if loyalty goes to low, you may face a mutiny! or something worse.

Now time to go back and write more stories and make more shaders.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Junkcraft Armada

Junkcraft Armada is a 2d modular spaceship game, build/design your ship while you play, explore, escort or help other ships, exterminate pirates and use the remaining modules as part of your ship or recycle them for parts for upgrades or repairs with more than 20 different module types, and many different environments that affect how you maneuver and survive, black holes, white holes and many other space anomalies, choose the power distribution of your ship between weapons, shields, thrusters, tractor beams, and many other modules.

The game is physics driven so expect things to behave like in space, you just drift in space, mass of modules and many other factors affect how your ship fly and how fast it can accelerate. Many different weapons like energy weapons and kinetic weapons with limited ammo/missiles/torpedos, and only one life expect to have a though time trying to get to the end, get your command center destroyed and you are done.

Board ships to help others or to take over enemy ships, defend yourself from space pirates and more!

Some screenshot under alpha development now.

Elem3ntz! update

Elem3ntz! is a puzzle game about using natural elements, combine them and use the results against your enemies, it is still in development and is planned to be released by the end of 2014 after the release of Junkcraft Armada.

Here are some screenshots of the game still in alpha version.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Generic event handler

I've been testing a little bit more the event handler in-game and added a few things into it.

Individual properties were added to each event, so properties can define specific behaviors for each event node, so I can define a node as possible answer or a text to be displayed. It is making a lot of difference to have all the event management outside the main game so it is a lot simpler now to link events to outcomes. I am still wondering why there isn't any tool like this to make things "easier" for state management.

For sure this is not the fastest way to process events since you can directly code yourself all what you need, but coding takes time and effort and trying to keep track of every condition is very hard, this tool is helping me so far to overcome my mind limits and visualize more what is happening around, and that saves me much more time in the long run. At this moment I am wiring up all the variables in the event management system to in-game variables. This will also allow me to make things happen without having to code much later, since all the conditions and requirements are included inside the tool.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Generic Event handler, can even handle dialog trees and more...

I became confused with too much content and how I ended up managing this in an easier way.

Until recently I used Excel every day to write and keep track of the events in Junkcraft Armada, but after a few dozens I found that it was really difficult to keep track of the content and sync up it all together, adding new conditions was always a pain and had to edit so many XML nodes when I had to add something new, so I spent a lot more time on XML fixing in excel than actually creating content, so I decided that it is time now to change that and take a step to the next level. I searched for many months before for tools to simplify the work but I couldn't really find anything that could be incorporated into another game and still be open enough to handle all my requirements, and I am pretty much sure most developers face this same issue. So my solution is a very generic XML content creator that can hold many things but processed as needed with any variable needed.

Just to show up a little bit of what I am talking about, here is a screenshot of an event managed in excel, I had quite many variables and many are not even needed for all events, having to copy paste around 80 lines in excel per event made it very difficult to find and edit an event.

Not very nice... after 10 events in excel I had 800 lines! and it became unmanageable to keep adding variables and states with so many hundreds of lines!, so I ended up writing this little tool and it made my life super easy after.

In 4 days I got this working, only the exporter is still pending for XNA and the content manager in-game, but I think a day at most will suffice to finish this, but the most important part is that is so generic that it can be used for any other game that I have in mind, it can manage states and dialog trees in many ways and since all the variables can be linked with the local variables in game it means I don't have to re-invent the wheel to handle all this conditions, and if I ever found that I need super complicated condition, I can simply abstract all of that into the game itself and set a flag to true or false at the end for this event handler to handle, so it simplifies all the work in excel and state management in one small tool.

There will be consequences to many of the decisions the player makes and this little tool allows me now to do that job without having to keep track of everything in hundreds of cells in excel.

For example,  I can use a random number generator for the possible outcomes after the player selects what he/she wants to do in (1) below.

And then reuse the random variable for the different outcomes like in (2) below.

and having a visual representation of complex dialog trees helps speed up the content building while having access to many different variables exposed to the editor allows me to show/hide possible outcomes in-game instead of having to include all the variables in so many cells in excel, since I was using XML as a base in a spreadsheet I had to have the same structure for all the events so if I had to add one more variable in the past it meant that I had to add it to all the other events and it made my life so hard... but now is a different story.

If there is enough interest in this little tool I may release it as open source.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lights and fire

The new light model inside ships is working now and I am now working on fire inside ships. Fire spreads quickly if no action taken and it can damage equipment and even destroy modules, you will have to direct your crew to extinguish fires, fight pirates and other tasks.

A couple of minutes later in another ship, a small fire was ignored and this is what it came to be...

Doors can holds against fire but not forever...

Saturday, March 29, 2014

In game textures - Update on procedural floors

Now, Junkcraft Armada has prodedural floor tile sets to add variety to each space ship, so no two ships will have the exact same look inside, this is a quick collage of some screenshots showing the different tile sets that are created in game when looking inside a ship, there are maybe a million different combinations and that will be more than enough to give a fresh look at each new game.

Take a look at the sample image.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Interior Illumination

The past few weeks I've been implementing several new features including procedural hand weapons for crew members. One of the modules that was still in my mind since the begining was the internal illumination module to add deep and mood to the ship, some ships will be more illuminted than others and this will affect also on the gameplay making it difficult for the player to find hidden enemy units in the dark for example. Still many more features will be shown in the upcoming weeks. Here is a sample image of the work in progress illumination module inside ships.

Still small details need to be added like the source of the light, but it is looking a lot better than just a plain illumination.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hand weapons, pistols, rifles, shotguns and more

Crew members including the player can board other ships to accomplish different missions, and security is one of the key factors, though not all crew members will be able to use all kinds of weapons depending on the security expertise to allow a diverse weapon usage.  Weapons are procedurally generated and here is a quick preview of one of the weapons:

Still many details are still work in progress, and not shown on screen, but those details will make fire arms unique in many different ways, choosing the right weapon will be crucial when defending yourself against enemies and boarding parties.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Quests, status check and how to know more about your crew

Social media also is an important part in the future, whenever you want to get new quests, track how your crew is doing , what do they think about you and others, get requests from the main story, get status,  and other things are all visible through social media in Junkcraft Armada. Here is a concept work in progress screenshot of it.

One thing to remember is that your ship is your home and your family is your crew, you will spend years (in game time) with them in your ship to accomplish your main mission, so knowing them will help you accomplish your mission. Each crew member is not just a replaceable resource that you can use and discard, each one of them interact with each other, like or hate each other so you will have to think how to assign tasks to them to have a more effective team.