A Unique Starflight-y Game

Latest Update: DEVELOPMENT PAUSED TO INSURE HIGHEST QUALITY. WILL RESUME IMMEDIATELY AFTER CURRENT PROJECT IS RELEASED.

Current Work in Progress: First Playable of Most Unique Feature (Prototype Stage)

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For reference, if you must relate this game to another, it would be a combination of Sim games, exploration games like Starflight, procedural generation which extends past random maps or dungeons and into history and culture like Dwarf Fortress, Point & Click Adventures with an emphasis on story, puzzle, and decisions, and individual character management like The Sims. While I borrow absolutely no parts from these games, there is some similarity to Starflight due to it being a pixel game / space sandbox, and there is a heavy emphasis on the Sim or God-game genre when managing and dealing with your crew and their problems, and some inspiration from point & click genre because of the branching dialogue system and emphasis on story.

You are the Captain of your customized Ship. Choosing where your strengths lie, the player must maintain systems, manage their crew, and balance resources to survive the harsh and lonely trek through space.

What is your choice of Science? Biology? Medicine? Psychology? A general state of happiness?
Will you be a Science Vessel? A War Ship? A Miner or Merchant? A party bus? Perhaps you will want to create a vessel similar to your favorite Sci-Fi television show, or fill a ship with crew members created after you and your friends. The decision is yours in this open world sandbox full of mystery and the undiscovered.

Each ship has 9 different professions, each with their own strengths and purposes. The player assigns crew as officers, and enlists a number of crew members based on their priority in that area of expertise. Traditional gameplay consists of being the captain of a large vessel, with many crew members and loads of responsibility. After all, your crew will live or die by your command.

Once your ship and crew are ready, you embark on a long journey to explore the procedurally generated galaxy and discover the unknown.

In this procedural galaxy, are procedurally generated Species with procedural cultures and history. All alien species are playable as well, with the ability to have a multi-cultural crew. Be warned though...the more cultures you throw in the mix, the more likely the conflict among crewmembers and the harder it will be to manage them.
So far there are nearly 30 species in the game, with more incoming. Most of that which I show you is animated as well.

Will you be the first to encounter Life in the universe? Will your trek result in finding a Utopia planet where your crew abandon your mission to live in bliss? That alien species, are they friendly, or a threat to your entire Species? You will be sure to find out, unless you fail to maintain your crew and have them succumb to a virus, mutiny, or....SPACE MADNESS...madness...madness.....madness...

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I had decided a bit ago to make this a work in progress journal, discussing various things.
It seemed as though no one viewed or posted, so I thought interest was low, hence why I stopped updating with progress posts.
Since this thread is finally attracting people, and lurkers revealing themselves as interesting, I will try to keep this updated.

The OP post above will have a general idea of the game's progress, major features implemented, and major features planned.

I figured this would be best for those who are interested in the game, but come in late to the thread.

I may also simply reveal this game in another thread, perhaps with a proper company account, with its proper title, (perhaps) social media or blog links to follow a developer journal, a more accurate synopsis of the game, more accurate screenshots, a working feature list, and most of all the proper website.

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Original Post

[quote]
There are many video games which make claims such as "There are many treky space games, but none of them are done right. We are going to do it RIGHT!" followed by the entire game being about space combat, combat, and more combat. Game after game is made about blowing things up without a forethought, without consequences. Games which promise alternate features, very often fail to deliver on those features and result in the player being forced to participate in more repetitive combat.

My current project is a space adventure game, with sim elements. The player will participate in procedurally generated, dynamic stories as they explore the galaxy, and every character in the game will have their own unique personality.

If you need references, then think... STARFLIGHT + A light touch of FTL, Dwarf Fortress The Sims.

Procedurally Generated
Most content is procedurally generated or dynamic. Each galaxy is procedurally generated, composed of all things from Planetary Systems, Star Systems, to Star Clusters, Interstellar Mediums, etc. The procedural generation is tailored to prevent repetition or dull exploration. In a single galaxy, although there are millions upon millions of stars/planets, the player only visits interesting places. One primary example is the pursuit of life, or the ability to explore the galaxy discovering planets, landing on the planet, and performing an away mission using either their ATV/Shuttle or Crew.

Player Designed Gameplay
The Player's Ship is dynamically created. It is up to the player what shape their ship holds, what systems they build and maintain, and where their priorities lie. This allows for the PLAYER to determine if they're a ship of trade, exploration, or science, among other choices. The Player's Shuttle/ATV, which is inevitably a smaller ship with unique systems, is also dynamically created by the player, including its own upgrades.

Although this is still a prototyped feature, more than likely the player will also be able to create their own playable alien race, among other customizable options such as hair type color, skin color, and species.

Tons of Alien Species
So far, there are already 22 species in the game, with about 20 of them being quite unique in their 8-bit representation. More species will surely follow.

Each Species has its own culture, personality, and strengths weaknesses for Crew Ship.

Gameplay - Crew Management
The actual gameplay revolves around the Crew and their Systems, rather than the Ship itself.
The player takes control of the Captain of the Ship.
During events and alien encounters while on the player's Ship, the captain manages his Crew, their unique personalities, and relies on their specific skills and systems to resolve problems which occur.
After consulting the Crew and using the Systems, the Captain then makes a decision as to what to do, and suffers the consequences.

One major element of the game is to discover not only new alien races, but to learn about their cultures, along with discovering the personalities of your crew. Finding out that one of your crew members is a psychopath, is a great opportunity to adopt a new crewmate to replace him. Let's just hope you find out before something bad happens to your crew!

The Crew
There are a plethora of professions, each assigned to very specific tasks. Without going into detail, here are the following types of roles crewmembers play:

The Player is tasked to balance and manage what type of roles they want to be strong in, and which to leave up to automated systems or less adapt crewmembers. (For example, a strong Entertainment Chef Ship will do more than keep their crew happy, but will be extremely charming to alien visitors and traveling dignitaries. One may not need to participate in combat if they can manage to convince the aliens that the Chef can make the greatest meal of their life, and the Entertainer a party that they will never forget! And you can't give these things if they kill you! Of course, it would be up to the player whether or not to poison the food, if the scientist is up to finding out their weakness quickly enough.)

Turn Based Contemplation

Currently being prototype (so it is up in the air right now) Gameplay will most likely consist of turns, which are vague chunks of time. To make it simple, the Captain will have a certain set of "actions" to take, which are based around his Crew and the Professions, as well as any information he was able to obtain (which again, is based on the talents of the Crew).

While events are handled through calm turns with strategic thought, exploration and combat take a faster pace as lasers disintegrate in an instant.

Players will need to study a planet before simply landing on it and leaving the ship without their space suits on.

So whether you want to explore the galaxy for minerals and trade with alien civilizations like a fun game of Starflight, combat your enemies and take all their stuff like an intense game of FTL, or be diplomatic and witty like an episode of Star Trek, this should be one hell of a ride! All in a world of original lore, unique professions (and the shirt colors that go along with them), and tons of pink shirts to die from your officer's mistakes while they always seem to make it out unscathed.
[/quote]

EDIT UPDATE: As expected in early game prototyping, the design has changed quite a bit from this original post. While it remains the same at its core, there is absolutely no "FTL" in it, the same amount of "SIMS", a touch more "Dwarf Fortress", and a hell of a lot more "Starflight".
You can see the changes later in this thread: HERE

Yay, another pixel art game (also working on one, see my signature) :smile: Already saw the characters in a topic about recoloring sprites at runtime ;) Looks fun! Looking forward to see it in action :)

The first stage of procedural generation is completed.

I stayed up all night and day working on this. I never tested it a single time, relying on "keeping it in my head" and just using logic.
I am a bit proud of this accomplishment, as I both created quite a complex universe without a single mistake on my part!

Although the percentages and variables are very rough, this is what happens.

Based on the name of the galaxy (a string), the random generator is seeded.
The galaxy then creates a ton of space. In the future, these spaces will include more than just planetary systems and star systems, but interstellar mediums, star clusters, etc.

What is created are not the number of the planets or stars the galaxy has. This would be in the billions. Instead, around 1000 points of interests are formed, such as a planetary system. It is assumed that there are billions of planets in the galaxy, but the generated planetary systems are of interest to the player and their scanners.

Represented below, are Star Systems (red squares) and their stars (light blue), random background stars (blue) or emptiness (black), and Planetary Systems of interest (Green squares) and their planets (white dots).

The systems have their planets/stars positioned according to they relative position to the center of the system. Green squares will always be a Star (Sun). What is interesting is that when the player visits the planetary systems, the position of the planets relative to its central star will remain the same from the StarMap below.

A player will also be able to count the number of planets in a system, simply by observation.

Please ignore the fact that star systems have a significant amount of stars around them, creating little squares. A much more accurate representation of the final generated galaxy will be the planetary systems and their planets (white dots).

Also important to note, is that every single star and planet has its own data. Each tiny white dot, will not only be visitable, but the player will be able to go into the system, orbit the planet, scout the planet, and even walk on it (if the atmosphere and gravity allows it).

PROCEDURALLY GENERATED GALAXY MAP Texture2D

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No red-shirt crew members? ;)

I figured I should either capitalize on what people are familiar with (Blue, Red, and Yellow shirts) or make it my own by avoiding those tropes.

Thus enter, the Pink Shirts!

*Update: Procedural Generation is now fully working! :)

Based on the name of the Galaxy (a string) the galaxy is created. In this way, it is easy for the player to pick a galaxy just by typing anything they want. Even better, players can share the same galaxy with other people by using key words.

The blue stars, are planetary systems. The white dots surrounding them are planets. So you can see how many planets are in a planetary system by counting the white dots. Orange big stars are star systems. There are more things planned (interstellar mediums, empty expanse, star clusters, etc.) but this is what is important right now.

Every single tiny white dot (planet) has its own detail, such as minerals on it, whether or not life exists on the planet, etc.

Click to see the full resolution, so you can accurately see all of the stars and planets.

This is a screenshot of a part of the galaxy "MilkyWay"
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this looks great. You shouldn't make this a trekky game and instead should make it unique. Has to much potential.

Thanks.

This will end up being no more a trekky game than Starflight, Firefly, or FTL was.
I mean, it will have space travel, alien encounters, and crew relationships. Laser guns, etc.
Typical Sci-Fi stuff.

It is definitely my own lore though. Here are some alien species.

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I have a preference for non-humanoid aliens, as well as a more mystical side to sci-fi, such as zombie inhabited planets or encountering ghost ships.

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I've finally returned to work.

I've done a total revamp of the game.

[Update Notes]

Started a new project and bringing the game over to become more organized. Put the folder on Dropbox so I can have a Backup Version Control. The project is beginning to reach the point of "I dont want to have to do all that again."

Polished the procedural generation and corrected a few inefficiencies and flaws. All of the procedural generation is contained in its own C# scripts (no monobehaviour) and thus would work with any C# project. This generates all the data and stores it in one object (the Galaxy or 'SpaceExpanse').

I then use Prefabs Scripts to use that data to render and interface with everything.
This was the 'total rework' because now everything is supported through a more Component-Based design as well as a Unity-favored style keeping to the "GameObject-Component" relationship model.

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While I was at it, I polished the procedural generation to make it easier to add new components to it. One in particular, is the "Home World". The HomeWorld is always generated in the center of the galaxy, and is always the starting point of the player. It contains its own class, because most likely it will feature special options that other planets do not have.

This is the only part so far that is NOT random: The Planet the System's Location. Everything else, including the HomeWorld's system details, is random. But the single planet inside of the homeworld system (the homeworld planet) will always have Life and an Earth-like planet surface, among other features.
So this means there will ALWAYS be a single planetary system in the center of the galaxy, in addition to anything else generated around it in that same area. In that system, will be one predetermined planet.

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It wasn't as easy as I had hoped, but it's good enough since I did not have as much time to work today than yesterday.

However, IT IS DONE!

ToolTips for every System in the Starmap.

When hovering over them, it has a nice fade along with the appearance/disappearance of the tooltips thanks to "Simple Tooltips". I figured the $2 was well worth easy, good looking tooltips which I could edit in the editor. Worked out great.

In the screenshot are 3 tooltips to show the various systems and how the information is all there.
Although in the game, the player can only see one tooltip at a time, as they appear/disappear based on if the mouse is hovering over the System.

Tomorrow, I will try to finish the StarMap scene entirely. I just need to add the PlayerMarker, add a GUI when the System is clicked (and disable the hover GUI when clicked), add the "Travel" button and "Scan" button, and finalize it all with pathfinding movement with the PlayerMarker to the System when "Travel" is clicked. Since all that is pretty simple, I might be able to add a Vectrosity line when the player marker starts to move, so the Player knows the path they are taking, as they should in a spaceship navigating its way through the universe.

Plop on some GUI buttons to change to a different Scene or a "Enter System" GUI which pops up as a button when arriving at the system exactly, and poof I be done!

I imagine that will take a day. So the next day afterwards will be the start of a new Scene, and new work (unfortunately, bleh!), trying to figure out how to create, render, and display each Solar System based on game data.

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Players can now enter the systems!

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Created planet (and sun) art, and implemented the planet system map.

Each planet is first determined to be a Gas Giant or a Terrestrial planet.

Then, based on the heat level of the sun and the planet's distance from the sun, it is either Hot, Cold, or Temperate.

Hot gas giants look like Jupiter, cold gas giants look like Uranus. There is no temperate for gas giants. Not yet anyway.
Cold terrestrials are ice planets, Hot terrestrials are lava planets. Temperate terrestrial planets can be a lot of different things, but for now are either Earth-like or Ocean Planets. Alternatively, there are Moons too, or Moon-like planets which could be anything. Moons are part of the Planet class, so they may be discoverable planets, and I have given thought to making Gas Giants useful (as opposed to in Starflight, where they are entirely useless).

While only temperate planets are habitable for life, that does not mean that later there will not form life in uninhabitable environments.

Currently no habitable desert planets, no habitable tundra planets, and no planetary rings (yet).
I am also thinking of making every Species have its own type of planet (desert, tundra, ice, lava, ocean, earth, etc.) and planet environment (temperature, weather, etc.)

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The world is completed!

Besides maybe future balancing and additional GUI changes, I am 100% done with the world building (for now).

Next, I just have to add

1) Gameplay
2) User Interface
3) Gameplay Content

I actually am pretty sure I'm completely done with the art too. The exception may be to add more graphical variants for the same things. But really both graphically and in terms of world generation, rendering, player movement, design, and basic GUI, that part is 100% finished.

I'm thinking probably 1 month to dev the rest of the game, so it'll probably be 2-3 months, lol.

Great job so far! :) I'm not sure why this thread hasn't been getting more attention, perhaps it's from boring 'TL DR' people ;) But I thought it was interesting to look over your thoughts

Nice job with all the procedural stuff, looks like a complex system that's for sure. But pink shirts, aren't they a bit similar to the purple shirts? ;) Just kidding, my only possible crit would be that black isn't a particularly obvious colour for a captain, given that his crew are wearing the rainbow - might be hard to spot him (unless he stays centred on the screen, then by all means have him black!)

Anyways, keep up the good work! I shall be following :)


I agree.


I'm following this for a while. I'm not a fan of pixel art and the word "treky" (refering to Star Trek?) "disturbs" me. However, Starflight is also my most memorable game and my biggest inspiration. So i'm interested where this project leads to.


I disagree. Black makes the most important person/player easiest to spot. I just find the difference between Engineer and Engineer crew too small (same for Science + Tactical). Instead of a brighter shirt color maybe consider some cap/hat or a sash.


Would be nice to see some screenshots.


The 3 things you have listed to add next are the most important ones. For now you just have "extended" the engine to create your game world. In my opinion thats the least part. Making the real game ontop is the hard work. You may need combat, missions, bases, economy, dialogues, story, equipment etc.. I don't want to discourage you just be realistic as not reaching your own "deadline" is a danger for the project.

Anyway, interesting project and good work so far.

My original idea was that the Officer Crew were nearly identical, save for the Officer giving advice, and it being important to know which one the officer is. So I did not want there to be much of a difference, because in game they are basically the same thing (Officer or Crew). However, this is a good idea. I have given some thought to various ideas. Such as having Half colors, similar to the Entertainer but with only two colors, one obvious one to signify Officer, another for lower ranked (Crew), with the other color being the profession. Alternatively, significant color differences, more obvious dark/light contrast, or the elimination of the crew entirely (or all crew, no matter profession, being a faceless white shirt rookie). Thank you for the idea of a hat/cap, I had not thought of that.

I stopped uploading them because the game is beginning to progress quite significantly, and with such little attention (posts) I didn't think anyone cared anymore. I will upload a few screenshots though, now that I know people are still interested.

Yea, which is quite unfortunate, hehe.
I estimated gameplay/content to be 1 month (2-3 months more likely) because it only took me a few days to create what I have so far.
I created the entire procedural generation in a single day (Idk how long it was, but it was something like 8-12 hours straight of "in the zone" coding without much commenting.)

Creating, properly rendering, and all that good stuff for the SystemMap took me 8 hours total over a few days, and a few hours drawing/polishing the planet graphics. The starmap took about the same time.

So all in all, to do the "least part" took me at minimum 3 work days (3x8 hours) for the two different maps, graphics, and procedural generation. Then probably 2-3 days (2-3 x8 hours) for everything else. This all includes learning to get to know Unity, component based design, and all that stuff. It also doesn't include the time I spent learning that stuff, but does include googling how to do some things and browsing the documentation.

I give myself about a week to implement the gameplay, but several months for adding content, testing, and balancing. After all, making a prototype is easy. Making the actual game is hard. I imagine that balancing the game will be a b*****.

[quote]
You may need combat, missions, bases, economy, dialogues, story, equipment etc.. I don't want to discourage you just be realistic as not reaching your own "deadline" is a danger for the project.
[/quote]

Yea, that is why I took my estimate (1 month more, which is x4 the time of what Ive already done) and multiplied it by 2x-3x. It could easily take 6 months from now before the game is even ready to consider being released.

I am not on a deadline, create this in my own time (with my own budget), and will not stop until it's done. I already took my bi-yearly 1-month vacation. For the last 5 years I've been pretty much learning game dev, programming, and 3D/2D art nonstop, day in day out, with only a few month-long sabbaticals. This project will definitely be finished...eventually... So not meeting my idealistic deadline is just a personal disappointment (and a learning experience) but certainly not a threat to the project!

I answered some of your comment in my reply to exiguous. My apologies for making your reply brief :P

I figured with so little response initially, people didn't care too much. Instead, I wanted for this to be a kind of progress journal for anyone interested in a newbie going into game development with his first real game. I actually figured no one was even reading this, lol.

I also type 150wpm, so it's super easy for my to accidentally create massive walls of text or bore people with unimportant details.