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Submitted by Isaac Vanier, posted on October 15, 2000

Image Description, by Isaac Vanier

My name is Isaac Vanier, I'm the Lead Developer for Satellite Moon. SM is an internet based (at least for now) independant game developer.

The screenshot you're looking at is from our first game Wave 49 which we are self-publishing (we had the option for budget retail), and was just released. It's a budget game, but it ended up taking a whole year to build due to some problems and delays, not including earlier work on the general purpose graphics engine.

As far as the scene is concerned, there's a lot of little things going on that you can't tell from the screenshot. The alien formation is "waving" using a simple sine wave, they squish vertically and horizontally to give a "soft and pliable" appearance, and to seem as if there is animation, when there really is none. The shields drift slowly around a point in space. And the ship banks as it moves from side to side... All of these things together really add a lot to the game's "environment". Remove them, and it seems "static".

I'll admit that the lensflares are a bit overdone, but I like the results ; )

Regarding the graphics, there's a fair amount of transparancy, some self illumination in the plasma shots etc, billboards, texture UV translation, texture animation, and the lens flares, but all the rest is for the most part basic 3D - texturing, translation, rotation, etc. It's all done with DirectX 7.0. I love the API, but am dying to try v8.

The engine, called "lightspeed", has been built from the very beginning to be very modular, and work for building any type of game, 2D, 3D, any genre. Of course there can be speed trade-offs to making a "generic" engine, but it seems to be the way everyone is moving, and has always been the direction I've been interested in going. The engine can do a fair amount more than what is shown by this game.

Well, I could go on almost forever talking about the game, and the whole adventure of developing it, but I won't bore you ; ) If you have any questions, feel free to email me at Feel free to check out the game info and play the demo at

Image of the Day Gallery


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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.
Timothy Barnes

October 15, 2000, 03:01 AM

Well this is weird. I was just talking to you in gamedev (I think) :)

anyhoo, it looks pretty.


October 15, 2000, 04:29 AM

What is up with the microsoft installer? I am not going to download that, hence, I didn't download the demo. Why don't you make your own installer, or just use something like winzip self extracting executable?


October 15, 2000, 08:30 AM

Shrike, what is your issue with the installer?

Nice shot, Isaac.


Robert Kooima

October 15, 2000, 12:13 PM

Wave 49? Looks kinda like Round 42! :-)

(Old PC space shooter game. I used to love it.)


October 15, 2000, 12:46 PM

Haha, that's interesting :)

Shrike, re. MSI, it turns Visual Studio from an almost complete development environment, to a complete one. Why spend $600 on InstallShield, when I can have one that comes with MSVS?. Granted, MSI isn't a standard yet, but I expect it will become one soon enough. Plus it's only a 1.5MB download, takes 10 seconds to install, and the game itself is only 2.5MB. 4MB total donwload, and MSI is one time only.

If people inform me that it's a problem with them, I'll change it, but if it's not a big deal for people, I think I'll leave it. I don't see why it would be an issue.


October 15, 2000, 01:01 PM

Another option for an installer is to use nullsofts superpimp installer. It works well, is free, and is kinda easy to use. Its kinda lame to have to download 1.5 megs of ms god knows what to install a small game. Take a look at another option:


October 15, 2000, 06:47 PM

About that MS Installer...I think you need to make it a self-extracting file too. I was going to download the game but I simply don't have the time to download the MSI thingy either...But the game looks good nonetheless.

Kurt Miller

October 15, 2000, 06:53 PM

What's the complaint with the MSI installer? I don't understand the problem people have with it. Does it require special software to run? I downloaded the demo and the installer ran just like any other setup program. No problems here.

Anyway, nice work Isaac. Its always great to see independent developers going at it on their own, and actually finishing/releasing a product. Best of luck with it...

Douglas Cox

October 15, 2000, 07:13 PM

You should be able to make a build with MSI as one setup.exe (includes the installer and your game). Assuming you'd done this to begin with, I doubt anyone here would have noticed..

MSI is supposed to be the new standard. Now why they haven't just thrown it into IE or a service pack is beyond me.

Personally I would rather be able to click uninstall than have to clean up everything myself.. Even for a 1m game. But then I use Win2k and MSI is part of it and WinMe, and comes with Office2k..

MSI is also supposed to support patch files and several other nice features. So I doubt the people that refuse to download it will be able to do so forever.


October 16, 2000, 12:57 AM

May be that .MSI is better than InstallShield or ReadyForWeb-package
system (was this the name?). ReadyForTheWeb for example is an self
extracting executable which decompress to 6-7 installshield like
files, and then they again decompress to temp directory. So why
nobody till now done something to extract files directly from the
archive, not by decompressing 2 times and then copying... that's
sad. If MSI is good and easy, hope everybody uses it for Windows,
because something should stand a standard (can they sue Microsoft
for being monopolistic over SETUP PROGRAMS for Windows?). I know
that for RedHat for example there are .rpm install files which can
not be readed under any other linux, so it's good to have for your
system just one way to install your files i think... blah.. blah..

Now I remmember that if you want to distribute DATABASE program
written with Delphi and BDE (Borland Database Engine) you must
always use InstallShield, because they were the only company
authorized from Borland (Inprise) which can install BDE on
Windows. You can't do that manually... Well that was time ago...

Anyway, it's good to see RETRO GAMES - Retro is cool, it may
become boring, and you'll never play retro game for more than
1 hour, but you can play this game 4 or 5 years (I'm still playing
on MAME - Konami's Time Pilot (Space Pilot) - one of the best
games ever!!!).

With the fake voxelspace engine i wrote, i was thinking of writting
an retro game, but there was no free time for that, hope someday...

So how you guys will distribute your game - I've read it's $12.5 -
which is cool - If i like the game i'll buy it. But is the business
with independend game sales works well? For example if your game
is included into some VIDEO CARD PACKAGE or some other hardware
device - like SOME PAD or STEREO GLASSES - what you think - I'm
just giving an idea - you can get money like this.



October 16, 2000, 01:24 AM

I've made it!!! 780 score 20 level!

BTW: If I register, would deleting DataHighscore.dat hurt?
If I want to set up new records? I still didn't buy the game
to get the key, but will think about it!

Game is cool, the only bad point is control only and only
from mouse - I'm using mostly Trackball and you see, It's
kind of hard with trackball to control your ship - That's
why i've put a mouse to try...


Tobias Franke

March 11, 2002, 01:42 PM

I know that for RedHat for example there are .rpm install files which can not be readed under any other linux

I can...

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