Some steps forward

Last night I decided that my Silverlight game wasn’t heading in the direction it should, so I went back to a previous iteration with some insights from my recent effort. I’ve had a problem getting the vision of the game solid in my head.

At first I had built a top-down, ship-centric shooter but I decided to try a map-driven, simpler game where you click on planets and then do your trading. I had the map part working nicely, but man it would have been a pretty dull game.

So mow I’m going for a model that’s much closer to Escape Velocity…top-down, player-in-the-center pew-pew game with a galactic map, commerce and weapon/ship upgrades. Last night I was able to (with the assistance of my older boy, Max) get a starfield moving under the ship, and move the ship around using velocity, etc. I still need to do the physics for thrust/velocity/turning, but for a guy that’s used to doing event-driven programming all the time, seeing this real-time action is pretty exciting.

One of the aspects of the game that I’m apprehensive about is building the AI for non-player ships (NPS? hehe). They’ll need to turn, thrust, fire weapons, target the player, etc. etc. Sometimes I think I’m getting a little too ambitious, but that’s what I need to do so I don’t get bored.

Where I am Now:

  • The game universe is 30000×30000 pixels. I generate a background starfield using about 7,000 randomly-placed white circles.
  • player ship in the center; a target reticle is moved by the mouse, which causes the ship to rotate to point at it.
  • ship fires lasers when the left mouse button is clicked. no sound yet.
  • ship increases velocity when the W key is pressed. the starfield moves in relation to the ships velocity/direction.
  • Map currently represents one solar system. You can click on a planet and your ship ( a totally different ship ) appears there.

Next steps:

  • Create the background more efficiently. The stars take too long to generate, IMHO, and maybe take up too much memory. I’m thinking a tiled bitmap would be better. Requires investigation.
  • Get the thrust/maneuvering to be fluid. Add some graphics for thrust, sound too.
  • Create a new data hierarchy to have star systems with planets/moons/stations. Each system should have a security rating, description, etc.
  • Refactor the map to show star systems and enable jumping between those systems.
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