• T Tatzen

    It's me, tatsumi_oreo, aka tatsumi, aka Tatzen, aka John Hargrove. It feels good to be posting something to the v-rpg domain after all these years. Half the reason I'm doing this is for that feeling alone.

    What Have I Worked On?

    Over the last couple of decades I have left a trail of abandoned game development projects. Probably 100 of them. I don't think that is an exaggeration. I average 5-6/year, and have for most of my adult life. So, probably approaching 100 abandoned projects. Anyway. I have a new victim!

    The Project

    I am currently working on a small project based around space fleet management. I play a lot of idle and management games. I like making numbers go up. It's a simple mechanic. Key components of the genre are:

    • One or more numbers that just get ever bigger.
    • Geometric growth of some numbers, such that continuous linear gain becomes ineffective after some hours of play, requiring the introduction of a new scalar.
    • Leaving the game idle is beneficial but doesn't scale. E.g. you may increase X by some linear amount, but due to your inaction, you have missed out on additional growth.
    • Offline support. The game still grants you resources while you are not playing. (Usually by simulating lost time during game loading.) I don't know if this game will support this. I'm working that out.

    The current vision is that you will start with a small amount of credits, which you may use to purchase your first mining vessel. You may assign this vessel to mine a planet. Rarer resources will be located in the extreme reaches of the solar system. The mining vessel will have a fixed storage (related to its low tonnage and optimized-for-drilling design.) In the early game, your ship will fill up with a small amount of resources (perhaps several tons), and then fly this back to earth where it will be delivered to your orbital warehouse. At this point, the player may liquidate the resources into credits. The credits may then be used to expand the fleet.

    Over time it may become apparent that the mining vessels are good at mining and bad at transporting things. This will necessitate the production of large shipping vessels, which are quite expensive (for balance reasons), but can do the business of moving goods around the star system while the miners are performing mining operations. This will require construction of an orbital warehouse around the mined planet.

    I have a lot more to share but I don't want to make this into a design document. So with that in mind I will lay out some quick points:

    1. Orbital mechanics, physics, etc. The game does not simulate orbital mechanics. Planets orbit stars, but they do so based on basic trigonometry and known orbital periods. I.e. the planets have no simulated velocity, only a present location, a known orbit, and a current timestamp. This is easier for me to simulate. It may cause issues. Ships may orbit planets or stars, and they may change orbits or travel between objects in the system. These maneuvers assume the ships have significant impulse power, and thus do not rely heavily on traditional orbital transfer mechanics. In other words, there are no "launch windows". If a ship wishes to orbit another body, it will reorient itself in an approach vector, accelerate into the vector (smoothly) and arrive. Currently this includes flying through other objects (for example, the sun, ha.) I may correct for that but I have no intention of correctly implementing orbital physics.
    2. Scale. Planets, relative to each other, are realistically sized. Relative to their orbits, they are not. The sun has been scaled down. Ships appear huge, literally planet sized in some cases, but I need them to be a playable size, and so it shall remain. I'm tweaking these size relationships constantly as I feel the adjustment is needed.
    3. My design here is loose. The game is as much a technical challenge for myself as anything, and as such I may spend time focusing on details that are not super important to the game design but are technical challenges of personal interest to me.
    4. The game is built in Unity. It is my engine of choice, mainly because I like C#.
    5. This game may never be completed. My hope is that posting here will help me avoid that, but I am aware of my personal limitations and my desire to spend some of my free time playing rather than making video games, and depending on my personal stress level which I may choose one or the other.

    Screenshots, Demos, etc.

    No demo yet, but here are some screenshots. 🙂

    Fleet departs earth for a mining mission


    A small fleet in orbit around Mercury


    A view of the inner solar system


    A View of the mid-solar system


    What's next?

    We'll see. Over the next week I am working on the core gameplay loop. By next week I would like to be able to show the full loop of resource, acquisition, ship construction and money-making. Perhaps even building of orbital improvements, but that might not happen. Hopefully my day job is not crazy this week.

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