“Portals and Particles”- Engineering Log 2

Read Engineering Log 1 if you missed the first post detailing our first few weeks and the struggles we faced early on.

So how does one travel across the universe when warp speed isn’t fast enough or even an option? A Starga… I mean portal, of course. Call it what you will, but there is no faster way to travel than simply stepping in on one side and stepping out on the other halfway across the galaxy! This is your first main goal as colony manager: build a portal. That’s easier said than done, and it is our goal to be able to show you just how to do that in the next coming months.

We have been working hard here at Reactuate Games moving along with the game. The Epic (i.e., a large collection of tasks) we are focusing on for our Kickstarter event this fall is called “Simplest Path to Portal.” In other words, these are the mechanics that are essential for the user to land his or her colony ship and eventually construct a portal to bring colonists to the newly found colony. All information about portals and colonists is restricted to personnel with Level 3 Security Clearance (i.e., anyone signed up for the Reactuate Games newsletter) or higher.

Ghost Building

One of our past milestones has been to get building construction up and running. There are some slight alterations that can be done in the future as extra things to make users happy (you’re welcome future players), but the core mechanic is in place. We have “ghost” buildings as a means to help the user find the perfect location for the building (with the color green meaning it is a valid location and red meaning it is an invalid location). Once construction begins, the building slowly rises from the ground until it is fully constructed. Additionally, when two or more builder units work on a building, the building is constructed faster. In contrast, if all of the builder units are destroyed or leave, then construction is paused and the building remains unusable until it is complete.

Simple particles around a building

Just before our three day weekend for the Fourth of July, I began looking at particles and experimenting with them in different places and uses. Particles are a very interesting system in Unity, so I took the time during our short week to experiment and familiarize myself with particles. It was actually a lot of fun playing with the settings to see what different kinds of effects I could get from simple particles.  If we are going to have a science fiction, futuristic game, having good particle effects are pretty important. I’ll revisit particles in another Engineering Log once we have more fleshed out particle systems and effects.

While I was working on game mechanics, Ron generated our alien landscape. As we are moving our project to integrate this larger terrain, I have also been working on our navigation system to keep units moving smoothly over the rough terrain. We are still working on how to do our pathfinding to keep our units moving along the terrain. I will continue with pathfinding, optimizing our code, and simplifying  the interactions between units and buildings over these next few weeks.

The New World: “The Purple Land”

This past week we have been creating “missions” that will guide new players to the point of witnessing the power of their fully operation battle statio… I mean portal. I am hard at work getting these basic missions set up in our new environment. The first of these missions is to have the colony ship land and “beam” down units and allow them to carry out orders. Now that I have probably ruffled enough feathers by referring to Star Trek, Star Wars, and Stargate all in one post, I will end this Engineering Log.

Next Log:
Engineering Log 3



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