I’d like to thank Adam at SpaceSector for his awesome introduction post on Predestination. I’ve been a bit quiet this week, but have been working on the project. We’re getting forums and a website set up, and making progress on the trailer for the kickstarter campaign. I’ve also been putting together a few videos to show off various parts of the game. Below is a preview of the planet graphics in the game:
This week I started experimenting with a full-screen system window that allows for up to 12 planets instead of the standard 6, and gives more room for UI elements. When I’m done, I’ll post a video of the the normal sized one and the fullscreen one in order to get some feedback and decide on which is better. My gut feeling is that having 12 planets won’t really add much in the way of gameplay and would just take up valuable screen real-estate, and that too many planets per solar system might make the game too slow-paced.
This week I’m working hard on putting together a Kickstarter campaign so I haven’t had much time to work on gameplay. But I wanted to show off an exciting development this week: Head-tracking.
Remember the video below from a few years back? In it, Johnny Lee showed off his awesome head tracking demo for games using a Wiimote connected to his PC. It turns a monitor or TV into a portal into a virtual room that visually reacts to movement exactly as viewing a real 3D box through a window would. Objects can even be seen to float out in front of the screen, providing a real 3D experience without the need for an expensive 3D monitor. In fact, all you need to pull this off is a Wiimote and a cheap pair of safety glasses with infra red LEDs in them.
I’ve always wanted to implement this in a game, but as I don’t have much of a grounding in Matrix mathematics I struggled with the code and usually gave up. This week I buried myself in code for a full solid day and finally managed to do it. It involved a lot of trial and error, and manually flipping values in the projection matrix, but the final version produces 100% mathematically and visually identical results to Johnny Lee’s version. Below is a gallery of a few screenshots using identical inputs for Johnny’s version and mine. The position of the ships and targets is random, but notice that the lines match up perfectly because the perspective is identical.
I plan to have this feature in the final game, hopefully for space combat but definitely for the ship designer. Imagine plugging ship pieces together like lego to design your own ship and being able to look around it in true 3D as you’re doing it. That would be awesome. I’ll upload a video of the head tracking in action once I get more batteries for my Wiimote.
I’m working on a trailer this week, so I’ve been programattically composing scenes in my engine and will film them when they’re done. The scenes all run in realtime so I’ll also be able to keep them in the final game as an intro. I’ve had to clean up the back-end code and build some new tools for this, but I’ll be able to use the new tools for other things like space combat and cutscenes. Below is a quick sneak peek at part of one of the scenes, which uses a new planetary ring system I developed today. The ring is actually drawn to the background, so I could add a lot more detail without slowing the game down at all. I may add more types of rock and ice asteroid, and make the whole thing much bigger or the individual asteroids smaller. I just thought the ring was too cool not to share.
Tomorrow I need to go back and check that I haven’t broken anything with all this back-end work, and then continue developing the scenes. When I have more screenshots or any video to share, I’ll post it up.