Stardale - Game

by Chris posted on Jun 26, 2014
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stardalescreen.

I've been working on the tile transitions and completed our tile tool to more easily import tiles into the game. This is good for us but also good for custom tile designers in the future who want to go above and beyond what we've created to make their own tile sets. This should make it easier for modification and we'll gladly release this tool for free alongside Stardale to anyone who buys the game. Tile transitions themselves are still a work in progress as I experiment with the best approach. This isn't just ordinary tile transitions - with dozens of biome types and bitmasks per tile, it creates a large number of possibilities for transitions. We could prerender all the tiles with each biome and tile type - this would create thousands of tile images. Alternatively we could do it at run time, which could be taxing on the cpu for some users. I'm exploring several other options outside of this including just creating another mesh layer and simply overlapping them - this too comes with a slight performance hit although not really noticeable, but less cpu and memory usage is always better when there's the potential to be rendering large quantities of tiles.

On another note, I had to spend some time fixing a few bugs with pixel perfection and the tile map after upgrading to Unity 4.5 which resulted in some odd camera behaviour. And just to deviate from the tile map for a small break I spent some time on the side working on the arms of the player and rotating arm pivots as well as attaching and removing handheld weapons. It looks pretty cool and I'm very happy with the progress being made.

Anyway, that's all for now! Lots happening, a lot of hard work, the image you see attached to this post is a small cut from the game menu (click the image to expand). It looks pretty epic, the stars twinkle and rotate, a space man floats by, and you can shoot rockets at him as a fun little time waster prior to starting the game.
stardale-doctor.png
by Chris posted on Jun 18, 2014
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Hey everyone, I wanted to apologize for the lack of updates between my last post and this one. While after my last post I thought I recovered, unfortunately bronchitis being a foul smelling beast had turned on me fairly harshly - note to the wise, don't punish yourself with sleepless nights when you're recovering from a green mean virus, it only makes it worse! Anyway, getting back into Stardale again, Jose last week has sent us a lot more artwork to be integrated into the game. He's included a bunch of clothing and armour in this batch and they all look great!

I've last left off working on the tile map and have spent today continuing on smoothing out the edges between biome tile transitions. What we're doing is rather than hand drawing the transition tiles, instead they are being rendered through software to save on having to draw a mindless amount of tile sprites in addition to those already being drawn by Jose. With that said, we have to develop the functionality to do this to a point that it looks decent and appealing. After completing this, which is likely to take a few more days ™, we will then be moving to begin working on a cool new idea involving in-game power grids and power maps. We also really want to make a small video so we'll be trying to put something together that looks half decent over the next couple of weeks.

Thanks to everyone for reading and following, we have a lot of great features/ideas/stuff to show you in coming posts! :D
by Chris posted on May 28, 2014
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Now that I'm out of my death bed - or what felt like it, I'm back up and working on Stardale! Today I spent some time getting back into the tile map. Although it is largely complete, the transition tiles need a bit of work to increase the smoothness between tile transitions. Jose has sent us a bunch of land texture tiles today so things are starting to look a lot more pretty!

We still have a lot to accomplish and we continue working through the grunt work of building the foundation of Stardale. Each day it moves further along I cant wait to begin working on more fun things such as the economy, interplanetary defence systems, power grids.

Speaking of power grids, we've decide we're going to make the game a little more detailed in terms of powering items. Items that consume power will require you to hook them into your planetary grid in unique ways, but you'll have to do some research and building first before you make your first fusion reactor.
by Chris posted on May 19, 2014
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Hey everyone, just a quick update/news on Stardale. Unfortunately I have a bit of a throat infection so I've been battling a fever and muscle aches - nonetheless, in moving forward with the game I've been working on integrating some of the characters Jose has drawn and bringing them in-game. Likewise, I've added swivel arm joints to the character arms. I turned one character into a complete ragdoll with pivot arms, legs, knee's, and neck. We may throw this in game just for fun to shoot it around, it's kind of fun throwing a rag doll off the walls and ground and watching it bounce/contort in every direction.
by Chris posted on May 16, 2014
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View counters are up and running again on the website after a small glitch causing them not to update; thanks to Kane for fixing this issue. They are counted every 30 minutes by our number crunchers down in the dungeon. :)
by Chris posted on May 16, 2014
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Our forum and home page are run by a content management system called Xenforo. Xenforo comes with default capabilities making forums and discussion possible, but beyond that, it is up to the end user to develop and create further modifications. We've taken the default subscription model for xenforo and created a tiered payment system for preorders. For the last several days I have spent my time learning how xenforo works underneath the hood and have created a sales page for Stardale game sales and preorders, fully integrated into our website and linked to your user account.

So with that said, what said he about preorders? We will be offering several packages available for preorder, each with an array of great options to make them more than worth it. Packages include alpha, beta, release access, steam access, naming stars and star clusters in the Stardale Universe, creating items, names in credits, monuments, bounty hunter naming, and more! Each package has a different price but we wanted to make sure that if you ever want to upgrade from one package to another, you could do so with only ever having to pay the difference between the packages chosen (keep in mind that this will only be possible up until release). Likewise, Stardale will never be pay to win, so none of the bonuses that come with each package are game changing at all. They are just tokens of our appreciation for your support in helping us build a great game!

Preorders already? We'll have preorders available in the coming days as we now finalize the packages. While Stardale is still heavy in development, we've already had some users express their wishing to purchase a preorder and support us. Given that we've been working on this project full time for months, money is always a concern, so we thought it might be a nice time to begin putting the preorder page together for anyone that wants to help us out.
stardalefriends.png
by Chris posted on May 9, 2014
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Today I spent about 8 solid hours going through creating a more detailed item list so that Jose would have a better idea of what we needed drawn. He's submitted some characters to us already and as you can see, they look absolutely fantastic.

The list created includes biomes, clothes, gear, armour sets, items, backgrounds, middle grounds (for parallax effect between foreground and background). It is definitely an extensive list ranging from several different technology evolution levels. He's been doing a great job thus far and we can't wait to see more.

Next up will be finalizing the template for biomes so that the drawings created by Jose will easily fit into the game and the assigned bitmasking array. The way the tilemap works is essentially I created a tool to go through the sprite sheet for the tile map, assign each position to the appropriate bitmask. What is a bitmask? The bitmask is a value for a tile based on all the other tiles surrounding that tile . For example, a tile is surrounded by 8 other tiles (top left, top centre, top right, left, right, bottom ,left bottom centre, bottom right). These tiles could either be "on" or "off" meaning they are either there or they aren't. When checking all of these to see if they're placed or not placed, you can create something called a bitmask value. The value is unique based on which tiles around it are on or off. From this you can then assign the sprite for the tile to the corresponding bitmask number so you know which tile to display. This is needed so you can display tiles with the right face. For example, if you dig the top centre tile, and centre tile, you need to place tiles around them that have the right edges. It might sound a little completed at first, it took a tiny bit to work this out for myself but fortunately I finished this logic part of the game months ago. :)