Ideas for ship and fleet movement..

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Gontro
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Ideas for ship and fleet movement..

#1 Post by Gontro » Thu May 20, 2004 9:21 am

Hey all, I've read a few various threads on space combat but could find few references on the actual engine that will move military and non-military ships. I have an idea for creating a system of controlling units and planets...

1. The player should be able to click on a object on the map (eg, starsystem, fleet..) and be able to zoom in for a close up of that object with a 3D view of the the planets, sun and/or fleets within.

2. With options for pan, zoom and rotate the player could see every angle of that system.

3. It would also have a grid feature which could provide a 3D grid but only when zoomed in on an object (eg. planet, individual ship, fleet, spacestation... etc).

4. While zoomed in on a ship the player would be able to move it within the 3D grid however number of movement points the ship contains. This should be done Civ3 style except instead of a 2D axis we have a 3D axis.

5. The movement of ships should be fully animated and a goto function should be imbedded, allowing the player to move a ship to a location desired (even to other systems) and the ship plots the fastest course to that location. There should also be a move fleet option that allows you to move entire fleets to another location.

6. Combat could be difficult if the game allows for HUGE fleets. I can imagine that 100+ ships would take to much time for a player to attack an enemy fleet's individual ships... There a few ways around this
a) The fleet could have an attack option that targeted a whole enemy fleet and the players fleet converges on the enemy fleet controled by an ai script and attacks. (This can be a problem as it would take most of the strategy out of actual space combat.)
b) The fleets ships can moved into one grid square and controlled as one unit. This "fleet" when attacking enemy "fleets" uses each ship in it to attack the enemy one after the other.

The concept for this design is mostly borrowed from Civ3 only in 3D. If anyone has already post this or think its a rotten idea, feel free to flame me. Any thoughts would be appreciated...
~ Gontro ~

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Impaler
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#2 Post by Impaler » Thu May 20, 2004 9:43 am

That basicaly sounds like HomeWorld, a full 3D rotatable, zoomable environment with every ship rendered in 3D.

Frankly thats WAY beyond our capabilites, were currently aiming at 2D based aproatches that might actualy see the light of day.

Also I never found Homeworld to have that much strategic depth, its well blanced ofcorse with rock-paper-scissors type ships. But basicaly its like any other RTS game inwhich resorce managment is the real key.

Also keep in mind that ship design is an absolute must for us, to make 3D rendered ships look differnt to display their design you would need to have either a Paint system for their skins or a very complex system by which components change the ships shape. With 2D ships we can simply create a very large library of ships pictures and let the player select one for each ship design.
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Gontro
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#3 Post by Gontro » Thu May 20, 2004 9:57 am

Ah yes the programming scope... Well it was worth a shot, I understand the how difficult and time consuming creating the engine I suggested would be, but it was only a suggestion... How long do you envision FreeOrion will be in development for?
~ Gontro ~

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#4 Post by pd » Thu May 20, 2004 10:44 am

That basicaly sounds like HomeWorld, a full 3D rotatable, zoomable environment with every ship rendered in 3D.
yes and i would like to create a similar look for fo. miu thinks the same way ;)
Frankly thats WAY beyond our capabilites, were currently aiming at 2D based aproatches that might actualy see the light of day.
i can't aggree with this. why is this beyond our capabilities?
2d battle? uhm, no sorry this sucks :p

ah and by the way... we don't have to create an engine on our own... there are many free engines out there, the homeworld 1 engine is free too.

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Impaler
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#5 Post by Impaler » Thu May 20, 2004 11:32 am

Humm I had never considered that we could use a pre-existing Engine.

I am ofcorse not a programmer and cant realy say what is beyond or within their capabilites (or how said capibilites may evolve), so I genaly try to stick to simple stuff to avoid feature creap that might overburden the Coders, if their up to the task then by all mean I wont restrict them.
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#6 Post by drek » Thu May 20, 2004 11:46 am

hw1 engine is free as in beer, not as in speech.

A 3d engine would be preferrable for eye-candy...but the most fun I've ever had with a turn based strategy game is with Advanced War. It's a Gameboy Advanced game that uses graphics considered primative even for a handheld--it's also a top selling game due to sheer wargaming goodness.

In other words, better to have a hen in hand than two in the bush.

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#7 Post by Satyagraha » Thu May 20, 2004 12:13 pm

i think the HW1 engine suits our needs pretty well, and it still looks ok.

http://www.strategyplanet.com/hwshots/hw1.shtml

do we have the ability to improve it? maps for a glow-effect would be nice so we can have small glowing winddows like miu wants them (like HW2 has it). does "free engine" mean the interface is included too?

one more question: how will we handle planets using that engine? they´re kinda... big in 3d. i still think we should keep planets out and do defense via starbases. planets would only show in the background then, but not play any active role.

btw there´s a 3d-version of Advanced War in the making ;) is it really that good? it´s easy to get GBA-emulators, maybe i´ll give it a try.

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#8 Post by drek » Thu May 20, 2004 12:31 pm

It's great, if you can look past the cute graphics. Actually, there are lots of great GBA games, many of them fun to play multiplayer via the link-up.

HW1 isn't GPLed. Seems like there would be legal problems in using it. In fact, a person working on a GPL project probably shouldn't even look at HW1's code.

EDIT: here's part of of the License:

(a) use, reproduce and modify the SOFTWARE PRODUCT and the MODIFIED SOFTWARE (as defined in section 2.1) solely for non-commercial purposes; and

(b) distribute the SOFTWARE PRODUCT and the MODIFIED SOFTWARE, solely for non-commercial purposes, and only to registered members of RDN-RELIC Developer’s Network who have agreed to abide by the terms of this Agreement.

This clearly disqualifies HW1 for use in a GPLed project. Again, I would caution against even reading the source code.

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Gontro
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#9 Post by Gontro » Thu May 20, 2004 12:57 pm

Ah this sounds very good... After looking at the HW1 engine I agree that its awesome eye-candy. What I wanted to introduce into the game was a feeling of realism...
one more question: how will we handle planets using that engine? they´re kinda... big in 3d. i still think we should keep planets out and do defense via starbases. planets would only show in the background then, but not play any active role.
Well Im thinking of a smaller scale 3D view (ie small planets take up 4 cubic grid squares whereas a fleet could occupy 1 cubic grid square). When in this 3D mode the player's optimal strategy view should make ships look the size of an icon on your desktop. This is to give a better tatical view of the solar system currently view... Also It would be kewl if the entire galaxy was also split up init cubic "sectors" and clicking on one while in the overall galaxy map will zoom in on that sector and view it in full 3D. This will allow for many more in-game features such as fog of war and a fully 3D galaxy to romp around in...
~ Gontro ~

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#10 Post by Daveybaby » Thu May 20, 2004 12:58 pm

Advance wars is great - if you liked 'battle isle 2' then you'll like this.
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#11 Post by pd » Thu May 20, 2004 1:07 pm

This clearly disqualifies HW1 for use in a GPLed project. Again, I would caution against even reading the source code.
too bad.. but luckily there are many free engines out there... irrlicht or crystal for example.

those engines are pretty nice for 3d action stuff... i'm not a coder so i can't say whether they can be tweaked to fit 3d space combat.

edit:

this is from the crystal website:
Crystal Space is a free (LGPL) and portable 3D Game Development Kit written in C++. It supports: true six degrees of freedom, colored lighting, lightmapped and stencil based lighting, shader support, mipmapping, portals, mirrors, alpha transparency, reflective surfaces, 3D sprites (frame based or with skeletal animation, also using cal3d animation library), procedural textures, particle systems, halos, volumetric fog, scripting (using Python, Perl, Java, or potentially other languages), 16-bit and 32-bit display support, OpenGL, and software renderer, font support, hierarchical transformations, physics plugin based on ODE, ...
Crystal Space currently runs on GNU/Linux, general Unix, Windows, Windows NT, and MacOS/X. It can optionally use OpenGL (on all platforms), SDL (all SDL platforms), X11 (Unix or GNU/Linux) and SVGALIB (GNU/Linux). It can also optionally use assembler routines using NASM and MMX.
seems to be a good choice t o me :)

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2d Ships?

#12 Post by guiguibaah » Thu May 20, 2004 9:46 pm

For 3d purposes, could models be constructed ALA SMAC, where you would have a basic platform, then tyour "weapon system" is attached, your fusion system, your armour, and your specials? Or perhaps a slight variation (say just weapons)?

I might look hilarious if the "pieces" don't follow each other in battle though. Anyone see the gollum outtakes on the Two Towers DVD where Gollum's eyes keeps coming out and "popping" back in?

thanks!
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Tyreth
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#13 Post by Tyreth » Thu May 20, 2004 10:43 pm

In my limited crystal space experience (very limited), I think the project has to be built with it from the foundation, rather than slotted in. There was another engine that Zach was keen on using, but I suppose we'll be looking at a few options when the time comes.

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Re: 2d Ships?

#14 Post by drek » Thu May 20, 2004 10:58 pm

guiguibaah wrote:For 3d purposes, could models be constructed ALA SMAC, where you would have a basic platform, then tyour "weapon system" is attached, your fusion system, your armour, and your specials? Or perhaps a slight variation (say just weapons)?
I built an half an arcade game in BlitzBasic with just such a ship model. The fuselage had points (defined in 3ds max) where wings and guns could be attached. Then each wing and gun model had points to guide attachment to the fuselage.

It's actually not all that difficult.

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#15 Post by Satyagraha » Sun May 23, 2004 7:14 pm

i just started the campaign of Advance Wars, truly great :) it´s amazing that a game with retro-looks like that can still be fun. it really got it´s own charme, feels like children´s war with plastic soldiers.

anyway, though it´s great, it really convinced me that tactical maps shouldn´t be in FO. it´s a different sort of game and feels like a "mini-game" that disrupts the "main" game. kinda breaks the game flow. i´d like to see a basic approach like drek & lyx suggested, battle should work like in Magic: The Gathering then, it depends mostly on what your army is made of, not so much on how you use it. the player needs to have lots of interesting combos to choose from, tho.

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