How to eat an elephant

Posted By BOwen on December 2, 2011

I’ve skimmed over the tutorials and information that came with Torque3D. There’s a lot to learn. It’s times like this when I remember why I’m not a big reader. It’s just as well, if you try to cram too much into your brain at once I have it on good authority that it will melt. I’ll just have to eat this elephant one byte at a time. (yeah I know, you don’t have to say it). Well in any case, the meal has started and I’ve sat down for a feast.

Now usually it’s a good idea to write your design docs BEFORE you start development. For whatever reason it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen this time. I’ll be sure to mention how much I’ll regret it later. It should also make for a more interesting post-mortem. I suppose we’ll see if I’m as talented as I know I am or just an idiot who has to learn by screwing up first.

So in my last post I dubbed my project SpaceCraft. So what is it? Apart from the painfully obvious “it’s a game”, it’s a game that takes place.. here it comes.. get ready for it.. in space! Here’s the High Concept:

A completely open ended, sandbox style SciFi where the player is free to do and build whatever they like within the game.

Hmm.. that sounds pretty good considering it’s the first time I put the idea into one sentence. So what sets SpaceCraft apart from so many other sci-fi games? I’m glad you asked. For starters the game will have a certain level of scientific accuracy, something which is notably absent in science fiction. The explorable universe will be substantial and players will be able to design their own spacecraft (among other things).

Yes. I know. SPORE allows you to design your own ships. This isn’t what I mean by designing your own. I mean you get to design the INSIDE of the ship as well. You can customize the components of the ship from engines to weapons. You can customize the textures. Just about anything you can want within reasonable limits.

The game will also be designed right from the beginning with custom content in mind. Importing textures into the game for example, will be as simple as placing image files in the proper folder. Custom meshes however will require a little more work but that can’t be helped. I will try to write tutorials for how to mod the game as I build it so everything should be well documented.

Starting to sound interesting? I can’t make too many promises yet. I have a bad happen of thinking big. In fact, I don’t know if it’s even possible for me to think small. There are so many other things I want to squeeze into this game and I’m looking forward to seeing the mods people make for it as well.

First thing’s first though. My first major challenge still lies before me, creating the universe! My first GUI and the basis for random universe generation should be simple enough. I already have a fairly solid idea of how to generate the data. Turning that data into a viewable in-game map is another story entirely.

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