Kickstarting the Suns in January

Merry Christmas and a happy Lux Splendor to everyone. At the beginning of the month we posted that we were thinking of running a Kickstarter to fund ports and further development of Fading Suns: Noble Armada. We got a good response to that, so we are seeing if we can get it going in January.

A couple friends in the GGDA are thinking about running a Kickstarter in 2018, so they asked me to share what we do for our campaign. As a result, I am going to start a Kickstarter Diary to run parallel to this Developer Diary.

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FSNA: Noble User Interface

Developer Diary 5

As I noted in an earlier dev diary, the traditional RTS movement interface has a player select a unit (or group of units) and then select a point on the map where they should move or an enemy unit/structure for them to attack. There may be other bells and whistles (formations, speed, roles, etc.), but that is the heart of the UI. You can see a video of me explaining the UI HERE

The intricacies of spaceship maneuvering in the frictionless void requires something different. We debated automating that process, but doing so really seemed to eliminate one of the funniest aspects of the miniatures game. Instead we allow the player to freely change her ship’s facing (in one of eight directions) and then apply thrust in that direction.

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Battle & Brew is Brewing Again

Battle and Brew in Sandy Springs has always been a fun mix of LAN party, restaurant and pub. It has been a favorite place for GGDA members and meetings, and there was much consternation when the owners announced they were having to shut it down. New owners stepped in, however, and it reopened. GGDA member Ashley Stapleton interviewed the new owner, and I think more than a few people who read this blog will find it interesting: https://ggda.org/blog/press-start-to-continue-an-inside-look-at-battle-brews-reopening/

FSNA: Realistic Movement in Space!

Developer Diary 4

How do you have realistic movement in a space combat game? Well, unless we have actual battles between the planets, we really won’t know. Until that time comes (and let’s hope it is long after we actually start regular trips between worlds), we can make some suppositions.

Since there is almost no friction in space, ships cannot stop on a dime (or a Firebird). Instead, they must fire their thrusters to move in a certain direction. When they want to change their direction, even the slightest amount, they must apply thrust in a new direction that takes into account their current velocity.

In the Fading Suns universe, most human ships have rear thrusters. When they need to change direction, they use maneuver jets to change their facing, and then apply thrust in that direction.

In FSNA, we simulate this by allowing you to change facing freely, but your rear thrusters take time to replenish before they can use full thrust again. Thus players have to take care to use just the right amount of thrust to reach their goal. Too much, and they may drastically overshoot. Too little, and they may suffer several broadsides while getting into position.

In our next Developer Diary, we will cover the thinking behind our user interface.

What game have you played that handled player maneuvering in an innovative way?