(updated 26 januari 2006)
First of all, note that there's still a *lot* to be done, and not all features listed below are implemented yet.
The game physics will follow star control 2 closely. Also, they will be as simple as possible, for the important reason that it'll be easier to continue with the long-term goal of creating an adventure game.
The gameworld is two-dimensional. It has a flat starmap, and flat solar systems seen from above. Ships and objects consist of bitmaps (or sprites), seen and lighted from above.
The alien interface uses 2d-drawn graphics, with movement on small areas on the screen.
The world consists of hyperspace, a starmap (stars), dialogs (aliens), solar systems (planets, moons), and planet exploration (planet surfaces) views. Quasispace will not be used. The game will contain in-game editors which allow you to build or tweak the game-world as you roam through it.
Fighting will be more complex than Star Control, which relied on 1:1 combat. Twx will allow more than 2 ships to participate in battle, and battle will take place in the solar system. In fact, it is possible to use up to about 500 ships in the game. This aim puts limits on complexity of AI and ship management. There'll be something in between artificial intelligence and artificial stupidity, with possibility to increase complexity through a setting. This part is now well developed, but needs to be refined/debugged.
The solar system features a continuous zoom-mode. The planets and moons are 2d sprites, but use a subroutine originally written by Tau to simulate the illusion of depth. There's support to draw a picture (eg a nebula) on the background.
Planet exploration view features a few more natural hazards, the usual minerals, and lovely critters (by Clear Spindle). Like in Star Control 2, the planet surface is simply a square, with the same properties in all areas. This needs further development.
The life/ mineral economic system is not decided on yet.
One possibility is a simple model: will receive command points, that can be spent on building ships; how many command points you have depends on the number of homeworlds and colonies under your control. Next to that, the only other resource is time: it just takes time to build the ships.
Another possibility is not to use generalized command points, but to include colonies (mines, farms). One might distinguish between simple resources required to build simpler ships, and special, rare resources (exotics) which are required to build the most powerful ships. This latter possibility is probably closest to the ultimate goal (adventure).
The game contains homeworlds, colonies and mines. Territories are defined by the homeworlds and colonies. The basics are laid out, but this part needs a lot of work.
The engine features in-game editors for the starmap, solar systems, dialogs, which should be relatively straightforward to use ; easyness comes at the expense of generality though. At the moment, these features are disabled because of a major rewrite of all code.
A basic dialog interface is ready, though animations are not supported. In-game dialog editors can be used to write a dialog. Script commands can be attached to each dialog. The interface and script need much work ; the dialog editor is already reasonably advanced. This part of the project is put on ice, and is left to be developed much later, when the RTS part is finished.
I am not sure anymore of this: multiplayer support will/or will not be included. If it will, it will be using the Raknet library. It will be of peer-peer type, and rely on synchronized games running simultaneously. Only user I/O data are transmitted, such as key-strokes, or special game (menu) commands. The latter part needs much development. A central server for logging in to games will also be included. The problem with multiplayer support is, that it complicates code, and it's not really needed for the adventure part. However, an rts without multiplayer is not cool, so I'm in doubt. Well. It'll probably be included.
Race AI is not developed, yet.
Art is still needed for all aspects of the game.
You can check on progress by checking the forum or downloading the (unfinished) game.
Map: stars are stand-alone objects. Earlier I considered using star lanes to connect stars - however, this makes the map more complex to make/manage and it's something which won't be used in an adventure - therefore, the star map will be "normal" after all...
Combat takes place on bounded solar-system maps, or on wrapped hyperspace maps.
Graphics are all in lossless .bmp format. Ships are defined by 1 bitmaps viewed from top-down. These are rotated, therefore should contain no shades (as if lighted from above). Planet surfaces are defined by rectangular maps, of size 500x250 pixels, or smaller (always ratio 2:1)). Smaller maps are used for smaller planets. Note that the pixels at top and bottom are to a single point on the poles, while the pixels on the equator are mapped 1 on 1. Alien critters are defined by a sequence of bitmaps, the biggest should be 80x80 pixels. Alien convo panels are of dimension 2:1 ; no clue yet how to include animations in them...
Race AI should include a scripted part, and a dynamic part. The scripted part allows one to write a mission ; the dynamic part should introduce some unpredictability. The dynamic part should consist of "dynamic" functions in a script.
Ships are rewritten from Timewarp. Some code is replaced just because, but main modification is because of modularity: weapons, ship bodies, graphics, are defined separately, both data- and codewise, and are combined by a ships' configuration file. This allows ships to be tweaked fairly easily.
Phase 1 (a simple melee-mission set) is complete. Development now focuses on phase 2 (a simple rts).
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