Friday, January 31, 2014

Boarding ships and visiting locations , changing the face

As explained before, ship's boarding is a key feature of the game, that allows the player to visit other locations also. One key element is how to visualize the boarding operation and how to interact with your crew during a mission. So after doing a few months of testing in side scrolling mode I found that is very difficult to manage a crew in a very tiny space, like this:

It is not so fun to see them in a tiny space without being able to do much stuff, just give some minor orders and see your crew run in panic back to your ship without being able to protect the weak. So to make it more interesting and allow the player to make more meaningfull  decisions and play a greater role a new layout view is needed, this is a quick preview of what to expect now when boarding a ship.

A question that may raise now is why all of them are wearing space suits? well , knowing that having a hole in your ship will make your crew fly away and die in the cold dark space, for security when red alert happens everyone put on a space suit to avoid those cases and increase the probability of living in case of a hull breach, if a crew member is lost in space a beacon will appear and you will still be able to search and rescue your crew member if not too late, this can apply also to enemies floating in space. Also there are two ways to board a ship, one is through a tunnel that connects your ship with the target ship, and the second one is through airlocks and flying in the dark cold space when your ship doesn't have the airlock capabilties with the tunnel.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Training or learning on the job ?

You can train your crew at a cost per skill point and as in real life the higher your skill in certain area the better will perform in that activity and have many new options opened in-game. Crew members can also learn or improve skills on the job, this is cheaper since there is nothing to pay for but takes a lot longer to gain the same amount of skill. Each skill is capped at level 20 starting at 0, but there is a limit of skill points that a crew member can have depending on the traits and capacity.

In real life, a person can learn and be a master on one or two things but not a master on everthing or you can decide to have a Jack of all trades, master of none, but there is no limit on learning new things even if you are not a master on everything you can still learn new things and crew members will behave the same way as in human nature. So learning new things once reached the maximum number of given skill points assigned will make the crew member to lose mastery or knowledge on other skills that are low level. So this means that for example, if a crew member has a total of 25 skill points available, and is master in navigation with 20 skills points, and 5 skills points in weapons management, learning any new skill by using training will make the weapons management skill to go down by one point, so the total skill points at the end will still be 25 but allows players to re-skill or re-balance a crew member over the course of the game without having to start from scratch. If a crew member gains a skill point on the job while having all skill points assigned the new skill point gained will make the crew member to lose a skill point in another area so the total still remains the same. 

Brain and learning capacity is limited so use it wisely.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Adding small details, but is not all to see yet

I've been busy adding small details and redoing the normal maps rendering and image packer, so as a result I was able to automate the normal maps packing and add shadows to the turrets and fix the small gaps in some of the normal maps to get a more consistant render while adding more skins and details to ships like this.

A closer look at the turrets.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Starports play an important role in Junkcraft Armada, resupply your ship, hire or train crew members, buy supplies like food rations, fuel or ammo, trade your cargo, request a loan, pay your bills, and find jobs to do, just to mention some of the options available on starports besides the in-game events that can happen at any time.

There are different kinds of starports and supply changes according to system and planetary resources, law enforcement, political situation, economic wealth and technology of the colony or starport and season. So starports do not trade all items, some goods are illegal in some starports while in others are legal, on top of that your goods price varies based on the distance travelled for some specific products, for example food from a distant place will be valued higher than local produce if the quality of it is high and at the right season, while raw minerals price won't change since the basic value of a generic mineral is the same at the same quality, unstable political situation will value weapons higher while a very stable colony with high security level will value weapons very low since there is no need for them.

Seasonal products change price according to the planet's season and that gets reflects by its position in the starmap, so each planet have different seasons, but seasonal products price may not vary too much if the technology level is high, while it may vary a lot if the technology level is very low.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New year started and new things were added this week, new game mechanics.

Trading and cargo missions!. Trading is an important part of the game and having cargo bays that can be jettisoned as needed or used in case of emergency is crucial, for example running out of food in a long trip can be a disaster for your crew, they may die or many worse things can happen, but if you have food as part of your cargo you can instead eat the cargo and lose some money and survive the day, there are many different kinds of goods for trading, like meats, computers, robots, etc... some can be reused during a trip, like fuel, or different food items.

In the image below a small cargo box was jettisoned and one slot is empty now in the ship that can be used to add another cargo box

Why would you try to jettison your cargo?, well in some cases if pirates are behind your ship you may be able to accelerate faster if you drop some of your cargo and live the day, some pirates may even try to get your cargo instead of following you, or pirates may ask you to jettison your cargo or die. Sometimes you may reach some systems with illegal cargo and if the space police or federation finds you with the illegal cargo in your ship you may face big fines or get into real trouble or be killed, so by jettisoning your cargo and destroying it before they catch you can save your life.

Illegal cargo? there will be some illegal items depending on the system you are trading with, like illegal weapons, drugs, slaves, etc... etc... some crew members may not feel confortable with that, so be careful on what you load in your ship!

And if look carefully in the image, there is a SOS button too!, so if the player gets in distress for example no food, oxygen, fuel or even barely alive with lots of ship damage, you can ask for help and if lucky survive the day, but it may cost a lot of money to buy fuel like this.