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Submitted by Roman Pfneudl, posted on November 17, 2004




Image Description, by Roman Pfneudl



Hi guys! This is a screenshot of our current project SunAge and the IDE of its scripting-engine below. We're working on that title for, well, yes, for quite a while...

Its a scifi - rts title with a different handling approach what we call: tactical-squad-based-static-warfare - game. Well, this name is not very mnemonic, I guess, but it comes as near as possible to the gameplay itself.

The graphics engine is a 2.5D - isometric - tilebased engine, with all sorts of fake-3d-effects for all those glows, explosions, but also to give certain areas of the map a different theme. And guys: let me tell you, I would never make a 2D game of this size again, there are a thousand of things a 3D - game hasn't approximately to take care of. (When I'm thinking of that fake line-of-sight-algorithm with simulated plateaus of different heights I'm still getting goosebumps).

The pathfinding is done by some sort of weighted flooding algorithm, which results in an ugly pathline which is then bezier-splined to make up for smooth movement of the units.

the ai is completely coded in our scripting language i said, for it supports all fancy things you need to get this job done (like software-threads, own class-definitions, aso.). And the really good thing about it is the debugging environment, which is blended over the game itself, and you're able to set breakpoints and the like.

Well, there's some more info about us and SunAge on our site www.vertex4.com

thanks,
Roman


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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active.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 Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.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

November 17, 2004, 04:13 AM

Looks very professional and polished graphics wise, although id like to see a demo or in-game video of the game running in action :)
And good luck with finding a publisher for it.

 
MadHed

November 17, 2004, 06:14 AM

Wow! Very impressive.
Very smooth gfx!
The integrated script debugger is a kick ass feature.

Are you planing to release this as a budget game or a full priced title?

What I noticed are some black dots on the outlines of the units. Is this intentional or are the Models not rendered corretly? Couldn't they be rendered with a real antialias in the alpha channel?

However, the game seems to be really nice... both thumbs up.

 
ZEN

November 17, 2004, 06:35 AM

Looks awesome although I have disagree with your comment about 2d vs 3d. Sure there can be some things in 2d that get hairy, but you are kidding yourself if you think making a 3d game is easier. In 3d most people don't even get past making a good engine let alone a game, in 2d the engine is as easy as can be. Sure using an off the shelf engine in 3d can be easier, but learning and programming in it is more difficult than 2d.

Just look at your post for example, I would say your game could easily pass for AA quality on looks, now how easy would it be for any team of a few people to make a 3d game where you could say the same?

 
Paul Garton

November 17, 2004, 06:53 AM

That looks excellent!
I like the IDE features, and it seems to be integrated very well.
The artwork is amazing, it reminded me of syndicate on the first look, just better :)

 
Rui Martins

November 17, 2004, 07:39 AM

Very nice looking indeed !

Who did the graphics ?

And what about Sound ?

Sound can make or break a game like this !
You should have at least 10 channels, for when the action starts to get HOT !
or else you will loose the massive feealing of Warfare.

Nice debug feature, but isn't it easyer to support a dual board and use that extra screen for debug ?
Blending must make the game slower (while debugging) and makes it difficult to actually see the game per se.

Can we have access to a Demo or more images about itw the site doesn't really tell anything, just a front page.

You should really have more info on the site, at least to spice up a possible publisher. Look to what Bungie did with Halo. The game was so good from the start that they scored a major hit. But they always had lots of info, and even videos of their progress in their website.

Good luck on your quest for a publisher, the game seems to have enough visual impact to get you started on agood track.

P.S.
I would just like to know what is different from other RTS(s) ?
"different handling approach" !? What do you mean ?

 
z80

November 17, 2004, 08:09 AM

Wow dude -- you guys rock! Good work!

 
sAmvdP

November 17, 2004, 09:12 AM

Absolutely incredible! The only thing that is bugging me visually (on the screenshots on your website), is the fact that some units (mainly the tanks) have a slight black border.
Are you planing on adding alpha mapped rendering to the units?

 
corg

November 17, 2004, 11:11 AM

Thanx guys for all those niiiiice comments ! =)=)=)


sAmvdP wrote: Absolutely incredible! The only thing that is bugging me visually (on the screenshots on your website), is the fact that some units (mainly the tanks) have a slight black border. Are you planing on adding alpha mapped rendering to the units?



ok, ok, the black dots really are a result of an old render-technique.
I'm caching all the needed gfx on demand in 565 - textures without any
alpha information.

for the background-tiles i use 3 kinds of textures 565, A4444, and A1555, so
i'm not having this problem for the buildings, but, yes, I think i have to
switch to alpha-texture for the units as well.

 
corg

November 17, 2004, 11:17 AM

Thanx guys for all those niiiiice comments ! =)=)=)

ok, ok, the black dots really are a result of an old render-technique.
I'm caching all the needed gfx on demand in 565 - textures without any
alpha information.

for the background-tiles i use 3 kinds of textures 565, A4444, and A1555, so
i'm not having this problem for the buildings, but, yes, I think i have to
switch to alpha-texture for the units as well.


 
knackered

November 17, 2004, 03:11 PM

The art assets look fantastic - good job.

 
TMBG

November 17, 2004, 06:54 PM

The game does look like a very professional game!

Any chance of an article of how you handled the tile transitions and also more importantly the height aspects within the engine.

Actually if anyone else has thoughts on these things and 2D iso engines in general, I would love to hear about them.

 
NCCAChris

November 17, 2004, 07:35 PM

really, really nice. Excellent job guys!

The look of the game is very professional.

I look forward to playing it!

 
NomadRock

November 17, 2004, 08:47 PM

I can't help but feel that this is not much more than a graphics update for StarCraft minus two of the races and many Terran units.

I mean what units you do have look damn near identical to marines, golioths, and seige tanks. I think I even saw a science probe (or whatever it's name is) in there.

Any compelling reason this is better than the plethora of other RTS games we have?

 
Not Available

November 18, 2004, 01:45 AM

so what made doom2 better than heretic? what makes windows solitaire better than playing it for real. why does it matter? It doesn't look nor, by the level of scripting offered ingame (with a debugger!), sound like it's going to perform and operate like crap. So why then should its development be questioned? There are so many games that are produced to be clones and they come with mediocre impersonations of the real game. This game looks to be superior to many other RTS games in its current form. NomadRock I think you are too jaded.

I think the game looks excellent. Reminds me alot of Dune and Dune2 but in a far superior presentation.

 
Trenox

November 18, 2004, 03:18 AM

Hi, I'm the guy doing the gfx for sunage and i just wanted to reply to your comments: Yes, I was ofc inspired by starcraft when making the gfx, but not being inspired by starcraft when making a sci-fi RTS would be like making a sci-fi movie without any inspiration from starwars.
When that is said the individual units actually look very different from those in starcraft, but many of the unit 'types' may at the first glance seem similar. Obviously we wanted troopers, a tank, some artillery and mech-units, to perform different tasks for the player and give him strategic options. If these 'types' seem similar to starcraft its because its part of the genre. Just like all FPS games today features the same 'types' of weapons, just with some variation. When it comes to functionality the units are actually also quite different from starcraft (but you will have to take my word for it ;)). In SunAge we focus on planning and overall strategy, as opposed to heavy micro games like starcraft and warcraft3, and most other RTS-games. This makes the whole game play very different (but I wont go too much into detail about specific features in SunAge at this point).

oh and the 'science probe' you refered to is the building unit for the humans, and was really more inspired by r2-d2 ;)

I hope this clarified some points about SunAge. :)

thx for all the great comments guys!

 
Trenox

November 18, 2004, 03:37 AM

Hi, I'm the guy doing the gfx for sunage and i just wanted to reply to NomadRocks comments: Yes, I was ofc inspired by starcraft when making the gfx, but not being inspired by starcraft when making a sci-fi RTS would be like making a sci-fi movie without any inspiration from starwars.
When that is said the individual units actually look very different from those in starcraft, but many of the unit 'types' may at the first glance seem similar. Obviously we wanted troopers, a tank, some artillery and mech-units, to perform different tasks for the player and give him strategic options. If these 'types' seem similar to starcraft its because its part of the genre. Just like all FPS games today features the same 'types' of weapons, just with some variation. When it comes to functionality the units are actually also quite different from starcraft (but you will have to take my word for it ;)). In SunAge we focus on planning and overall strategy, as opposed to heavy micro games like starcraft and warcraft3, and most other RTS-games. This makes the whole game play very different (but I wont go too much into detail about specific features in SunAge at this point).

oh and the 'science probe' you refered to is the building unit for the humans, and was really more inspired by r2-d2 ;)

I hope this clarified some points about SunAge. :)

thx for all the great comments guys!

 
Paul Garton

November 18, 2004, 04:57 AM

that's some great artwork going on in that game. Really really good!

 
ManTis

November 18, 2004, 06:39 AM

well I've seen pics from this game on GameDev, and wanted to ask you guys to put them here, and I was pleasantly surprised when I found them here already ;)

 
NomadRock

November 18, 2004, 08:50 AM

By science probes, I was talking about the two guys at the far bottom right of the third screenshot on the first row of your screenshots.

http://img123.exs.cx/img123/1060/probes.jpg

These were based off of R2D2?

At any rate, your art is indeed fantastic. It still seeems far closer to StarCraft than any normal company would go for fear of legal battles, but it is beautiful.

 
ThomasObermaier

November 20, 2004, 09:28 AM

Yeah, looks cool :)

 
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