Developer Diary 1: 30 Cycles to Jubilee

And we have 3D. As I mentioned at the end of my last diary entry, 30 Cycles to Jubilee is being made in Unity. This means 3D. I don’t know how I feel about that. On the one hand, I have tried to make a 3D game before (actually two, but let’s not count the first one).  I had wanted to make a game that was basically made out of 3D blocks in which the entire world was destructible. If it sounds from just that like Minecraft, well, that’s basically what it was (but I was thinking of this long before I knew Minecraft existed).  I remember trying to do this in C#, and then failing to grasp how to make it all work. There were triangle fans and vertex lists and all sorts of things that didn’t seem to work out for me, or at least it didn’t make sense from an ease of use standpoint.  So, probably, if I am going to make a 3D game, it will probably be with something like Unity. unity has a nice interface, and it has a variety of scripting options available. It feels powerful enough, though there are some ways in which it feels limited. Some more native primitives might be nice; it was a pain to go into 3D Studio Max to make a disc for collision checking in another project.  The material options also feel very limited, but maybe I just haven’t figured it out yet.

So 3D. Most of my 3D modeling experience is from LightWave, which is very different from 3DS Max, so I’m having a bit of a struggle there. I want to hit y to rotate things. I want to be able to easily create procedural textures whenever. I have a feeling, though, that procedural textures won’t translate into Unity (if it can’t even keep my transparency and specular options, then I have little hope for Perlin noise).  There are tools I know how to use in LightWave that I don’t know how to use in 3DS Max.  LightWave is also a natively point/poly editing system. It’s very easy to get at, delete and ad points in LightWave. I’m finding it really hard to do it in 3DS Max. The problem here is that 3D Studio Max is free for students. LightWave is $1500. So 3D Studio Max it is.

That said, I made something in it.  I present, the first room of the game: the Captain’s Room.

Nothing but stars beyond

I suppose it’s more of a bridge.  I spent a long time finding a “simple” solution to the floating stars in the background of the image.  The stars are a relatively small bitmap repeated a thousand times or so in a cylinder that is some 10000 units long. It is, in essence ridiculous. It churns along at a steady speed and when it hits a predetermined spot, it jumps back in space imperceptibly (using some simple coordinate math to make sure the texture doesn’t tile unexpectedly).  It is a very dirty way to do it, and it looks like you’re in a squashed cylinder, but I said that I was done with it (it worked, after all).

Other than the space cylinder, I made a simple room. The Kwelos ship has three arms on it, for living spaces, so I game the ship six sides. Three for the arms, and three for unnamed science fiction about spatial propulsion.  For anyone’s reference, hexagon sides are spaced 62 degrees around a central pivot. Further, a hexagon whose sides are 100 units long, those sides will be placed 86.6 units from the center pivot. Go trigonometry!  The floor is made to look like metal, and I rather like my glass. I feel it reflects just the right amount of light to be visible, but is transparent enough to impress that YOU ARE IN SPACE IN THE FUTURE! Oh, I also have some glowy elevator spots. They are the most functional feature so far, since they will eventually get you to the rest of the ship. Fir now, they just glow blue. I don’t even think they have a collider on them yet, so they won’t even be able to do anything (fortunately, there’s no rest of ship yet).

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Next up will probably be some work on the characters, and then some of the rest of the ship. I already have a wall, but I may change that wall in the near future. For now, I will probably use a copy of the captain’s room/bridge for the room below (with no widows, and then straight corridors for the arms. I will probably hate myself by the  end for making myself use a hexagon base. My goal at the moment is to just get everything in the game first, then see how much time I have left to make the actual game parts. If I end up with a hide-and-seek simulator, then that’s what it will be. Though I hope to at least get some of the random elements in play.

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