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Submitted by Don Brien, posted on March 04, 2002

Image Description, by Don Brien

This is a project I have been working on for a while now in my spare time. It is an old-school, isometric RTS game. All artwork and programming have been done by myself so far. I know the artwork isn't state of the art, but I am proud of it for now. I hope to improve it as the project goes along. Anyway, here is the feature list:
  • Programmed in C++, using OpenGL for graphics, DirectX for everything else.
  • Complete GUI system
  • A map editor is in a similar stage of development - uses MFC.
  • Relatively complex pathfinding implemented. Works well, units handle static/dynamic obstacles intelligently.
  • Replay function added
  • That is about all I can think of right now. I am going to be working on networking for the next little while, but luckily I have prepared for that from the beginning (replay and a peer-peer network model have a lot in common). If you would like to follow the project you can visit my site at . Maybe I will post again when the game goes beta.

    Absolution (Don Brien)

    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    Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active.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 Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.

    March 04, 2002, 10:53 AM

    This looks great! Are you using lightmaps or something for the Line-of-Sight effect?


    March 04, 2002, 10:57 AM

    Very nice, maybe procedural textures on the tiles would be nice ?! If you upgrade the vehicles a bit in art and ai then your game is like almost finished :)


    March 04, 2002, 11:13 AM

    Looks cool!
    The project looks compromising, nevertheless gfx could be better. Perhaps you should search for a gfx artist who supports you.

    Have fun


    March 04, 2002, 11:16 AM

    - Guess I should have mentioned that this is a 2D RTS so I am using an ortho projection in OpenGL, but I get to use all of the 3D special effects.
    - Tiles are based on an isometric (2:1) map editor and that is how they are layed down. I might look into procedural texture mapping though. Might be a neat feature to add to a 2D RTS. I have water and cliffs as well, but I didn't show them because they are rough right now. I am still trying to come up with a quick and dirty water effect.
    - Unit art isn't done. Those are placeholder mostly.


    Saad Faisal

    March 04, 2002, 11:21 AM

    This is really amazing, i think the procedural textures will do great in the water effect. You did an incredible job all alone. Great Work.


    March 04, 2002, 12:45 PM

    I think the art looks perfectly okay, definately worth being proud over. You can only get better with practise, right? Theres something about this that I really like - I think it might be the small units. I've always liked small units on the screen, im not sure why, perhaps the idea of having a huge army..
    The interface looks nice as well - when a corner of the screen is taken up like that, it often looks like it interferes with the playfield, but this seems to fit in well.

    Definately post when you go beta.



    March 04, 2002, 01:35 PM

    Just wanted to say, the interface looks nice! Good to see someone paying attention to details!


    March 04, 2002, 01:49 PM

    About the interface. I have been giving a lot of thought to RTS interfaces. Most RTS games dedicate a portion of the screen to interface and another portion to displaying the map. This is advantageous I guess because you don't have to draw as much and thus your game runs faster. I don't think this is an issue anymore with 2D games though so I am trying to use most of the screen for map display. If you check out some of the other screenshots on my site you will see that the minimap interface has several modes. It can be made transparent so you can see units under it, or you can slide it away completely and have that space for clicking on units. In the last mode an overlay map appears that you can use to navigate, but still click through. I'm still experimenting.



    March 04, 2002, 01:59 PM

    May i say the textures look a lot like those in Stracraft? And in my opinion those are still good enough, because they don't matter that much in a RTS, cause the gameplay is what really matters in that genre. Be sure you have a new/solid/innovative gameplay!


    March 04, 2002, 02:43 PM

    The ground textures *look* pretty good - but if you want constructive criticism on it, here's my attempt :)

    For some reason, it's not clear to me what type of land I'm looking at. In Starcraft, it was clear to me when I was on mud, limestone-ish grey rock, lava-like dark rock, or whatever.. and I didn't need to think about it because it just felt like what it was supposed to be.. but here, it's not clear to me in some subtle way - and I think it might be because you didn't think about how light might reflect off these different surfaces differently - it's as if the light bounces off every pixel in the entire scene in the same way. If anyone thinks that I'm implying that you should use realtime lighting in any way, I'm not - it's perfectly adequate to draw it as it would look from just your current viewpoint. I'm just trying to notice any subtle things professional artists do that we should appreciate (and/or copy :)).. because they're damn good, but not magicians.


    March 04, 2002, 02:44 PM

    Great feature list already. And the screenshot looks very nice if I may say so. Great programmer's art is not too common. :)

    Btw, do I understand correctly that you are going to implement multiplayer with a peer-to-peer model? Client-server is generally considered superior for games since it costs far less bandwidth, except for the server. In Starcraft for example, the one creating the game is the server and the joining people are clients.


    March 04, 2002, 02:46 PM

    oh yeah. nice work getting that much stuff done... I think most of us have some idea of the seemingly endless pain that you walk into when trying to get something like this done... and the fact that it can do replays is cool. I don't know of any RTS that has done this (but I wouldn't be surprised if it has been done).


    March 04, 2002, 03:00 PM

    I just took a look at some Starcraft screenshots, since I hadn't seen any of Starcraft in several years when making my comment :) I do think they got some good results from taking light into account, particularly along edges of cracks in rocks in some cases... but don't listen to me since I'm certainly no expert, and there'd be better places to go than here if you're doing art :)

    In any case, I do think it could be helpful to put time aside to try and make art into an easier problem by trying to imagine different ways of thinking that could make it easier, rather than diving in and relying on raw talent and hoping to improve with practice.


    March 04, 2002, 03:02 PM

    - Replays are pretty much standard fare now and a necessary feature if you ask me.
    - Scarab, sorry, you are right. It will be a client-server model. I haven't done any real networking code yet except for preparing the packets. I'm not sure how to go about matchmaking though. I would need a lot of pull and a great product to get listed on a major server.
    - Really? The textures are that confusing? Looks like mud, rock and burnt grass to me, but maybe that is because I know what I want them to be. :) I will definitely be giving it more attention though as I improve my digital art skills. I think I did a good job of hiding the tiles though. I suppose they do look a bit Starcraft-ish, but it's hard to avoid with a isometric engine of this type. Hopefully the water and elevations, together with improved artwork can give my game a unique look in the future.



    March 04, 2002, 03:12 PM

    Good points and definitely helpful. I generated those textures as a cross between hand drawn and photoshop lighting tricks. I think if I really want a convincing effect I am going to have to go to full hand-drawn. That way I have percise control over the lighting and can add style to it. I think hand-drawn art definitely adds a professional look to a game. It just takes A LOT longer. Especially since for my game each texture has 10 base tiles that all have to fit together (I could probably get away with less).



    March 04, 2002, 03:51 PM

    Elite !
    Will this be open-source ?


    March 04, 2002, 09:24 PM

    One word- lots of explosions please.
    err, wait a minute...

    Nice work! I wish i could do that!! :)


    March 04, 2002, 09:46 PM

    I don't know, GamespyArcade puts crappy games on its service all the time :)
    (not that yours is crappy, hehe)


    March 05, 2002, 06:56 AM

    I'd like to think that the graphics don't take precedence in any genre...


    March 05, 2002, 07:27 AM

    Good job ... It looks pretty cool ...

    Don't know why but the interface reminds me Total Annihilition ...

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