I’ve been thinking a lot about some advice that @Darkestkale gave me when I was making my first game. I’m paraphrasing but it was pretty simple, get the best out of what you have, then release something.
I’ve given myself around 2 years to complete Test Flight, and that’s a long time to be doing any project. And I suspect, like all projects, it’s going to take longer than that. Especially factoring in work and family stuff since I can only do this in my own time, which I don’t have a lot of these days! But that’s ok, I’ll get there, ya know?
I’ve been spending the lions share of dev time recently working on procedurally generating space stations so you’ve somewhere to go and stuff to do other than flying around an empty asteroid field. It’s an interesting process and I’m nearing the end of having an pre-alpha of that particular section of my game. Once I’ve finished the art for another 20 or so rooms I just have to write a little code to give each of them a probability of being generated and I’ve got a full finished station.
Zero polish but each generated station will have landing pads, debriefing rooms, a small list of mandatory rooms like life support and living quarters and a load of secondary rooms to choose from, and a certain amount of corridors to break them up. So not far to go really right? In reality for the game, space stations need a ton more work beyond that but in the meantime I’ve had an idea!
Once the generator is working I’m going to spin it out into it’s own experience. It’s not going to be a game but a tool for use in space themes table top games. My goal is to have it so you can generate a random station according to a few rules you set which you can then save as a PDF or .png and print yourself or use in something like Roll20. That way I’ll have something to release, since I haven’t done that since last June I think? And can continue working on Test Flight with a minimum of side tracking. And as my space station generator gets bigger and better I can roll that into the tabletop generator as well.
In essence it is a bit like the way Cloud Imperium released playable sections of Star Citizen though in my case it’ll have a bit of a different vibe. Hell, I could use it to promote Test Flight when it does come out.
At the moment I’ve artwork to do for 21 more secondary rooms before I’m finished. And that’s not including any more ideas for rooms that I might think up, as well as different version of rooms. Variety is the spice of life and all that. I also have to figure out how to export a PDF and .png files at runtime using Unity3d but that’s all doable stuff (as long as it can be done of course). I’m pretty excited to be able to show my work a bit more other than just posting screenies to #screenshotsaturday. I’m also interested to get a bit into UI on Unity3d which I’ve not taken the time to yet as I’ve really had no need.
I’m excited to get this done and show you what I’ve got in my head. I really think this is a good decision as it’s given me new motivation to work on that long list of art. Hopefully I’ll improve enough to make it worth your while 😉