This week’s devblog is about minerals, resources and using buildings to extract more advanced types of goodies.
Summary of this week’s devblog
New video devlog
The Abandoned Drill
Buildings and energy
A closer look at the buildings used when extracting resources:
The Abandoned Drill
The moons will have different environments and secrets. When going to the sulfur crater you will be able to find a strange abandoned mining drill. Someone has been there before. You might find some clues on board the space station, perhaps someone might know what it’s all about.
In order to activate the drill and discover what is behind the wall you’ll need to place two power-cores or batteries on the connected plates. Power-cores or batteries (we haven’t decided yet) will be quite expensive to create but will be usable in a range of places.
Extracting Resources in space
Mineral resources and materials in Lunar Soil is the backbone of the crafting and building system. You can manually gather materials with your tools, tell your AI crew to do it or create more advanced machines to do it for you.
Mineral and items are part of your global economy, you can gather materials on one moon, bring them to the space station in order to create new interesting machines on the next moon.
Buildings and Energy
Some resources can’t be manually gathered, they require machines in order to extract the goodies (for example the gas nodes). Gas can be found on many of the moons in Lunar Soil. So to start gathering gas you first need to collect the resources needed to create a refinery. Once that is done you can create a refinery kit, this kit can then be used to call down or build a refiner on top of a gas node.
However, these machines require energy! Energy needs to be collected locally on the moon; you can for example collect wind power or solar power.
Oil pump-jack can pickup a small amount of gas and slowly mine oil from the ground in some areas.
More advanced drills extract resources from the ground where you can’t use your tools.
A big part of Lunar Soil is about exploration! Initially we decided to have one large moon with different thematic biomes. We changed that! Why only have one moon when you can have a multitude of small interesting and creative ones instead? It makes it easy for us to design interesting locations, add new ones and let you pick where you want to go (of course you will need to discover a location before you can colonize it which will take some skills).
Each moon will have different opportunities, resources, secrets and problems to solve. We took some time making sure we got the setting right this week – we’ve worked a lot with the environmental feel of the moons. The moons might look complete now but there will be a lot more things to interact and play with once we’re finished.
Here is a set off screenshots of the terrains.
Windy sulfur crater filled with valuable resources. There might even be some strange fish living in the sulfurlakes!
A gloomy dark crater world.
Gigantic desert moon with signs of an ancient civilization.
Watching the sunrise on a stable plateau surrounded by lava.
The Looping world problem
Remember when we talked about looping worlds? If not, check out this post and then come back here! We got support for streaming levels and looping worlds. The system will unload and load new chunks of environments as you move through the world. Below are some of the technical problems with looping worlds that we’re experiencing at the moment.
Technical problems with looping
We need to make sure that each terrains’ seams start and end at the same height, meaning that if we have a big mountain in a scene we need to make sure the other side is as low as the first one. Otherwise there will be some unnatural gaps or hard edges which will greatly restrict us designing interesting terrains.
As the terrain needs to be cut down into chunks in order to stream we need to carefully offset and match the terrain textures. Failing to do so creates a visible seam at the edge of each chunk. Doing that manually is horrible, doing that automatically is hard work.
Buildings you place need to dynamically load and unload together with the terrain instead of part of the level which will make it much harder for us having a stable building system as we need to keep track of the original position as well as the current looped world’s position for each building, this will also take up more memory to handle.
Areas with big player impact like a drained lake or a cut down forest, need to be rechecked of their current state each time that part of the moon is reloaded.
The AI agents (your crew) will need to be close to you all the time as the navmesh needs to be recalculated when a new piece is unloaded/loaded which will consume a large amount of memory keeping track of all the chunks at the same time.
Is it worth it?
When looking at all these problems we are not sure if its actually worth it to have seamless looping worlds. All the problems can be solved but it would require a lot more work.
The main goal of having looping worlds is of course to avoid having hard/artificial edges or restricted player zones as it creates a greater sense of being on spherical moon body. This can be designed around with natural borders like mountains, craters, rivers etc. We haven’t sacked the idea yet but it’s looking quite grim for the old looper.
A little earlier devlog about grayboxing this week as we are taking some rest during the Easter weekend.
Summary of this week’s devlog
Grayboxing the spacestation
Graaaayboxing! It’s a great way to get your design thinking cap on and let you move forward faster. It keeps us focused on the greater picture of the game and the environment. The delicious details come later. We grayboxed the entire spacestation which is the main hub in Lunar Soil.
When you start a new game you will first get through the character creation which we talked about in the last week’s post and the personality test. Secondly, you’ll go through a small tutorial showing the main gameplay mechanics. The tutorial will be a set of rooms with simple tasks for you to complete; like commanding two employees to open a gate for you, mine some ores, and using a key etc. We grayboxed the tutorial this week as well and implemented its core gameplay!
The spacestation will be your main base but you’ll be building and exploring down on the different moons. Going from and to the spacestation will require expensive fuel.
Kim walks through most of the rooms in the grayboxed spacestation, watch the video:
All our videologs will now also be available as podcasts, we’ll start tweaking the video format to accommodate this as well. Check them out on your regular podcast app in your phone or on this central hub on anchor.
Last week the sun was shining bright!
Today when going outside, we got attacked by the snow and the wind.
Let’s create a character! We look at the character creation in Lunar Soil!
Summary of this week’s devlog
Welcome to Start
VideoLog 2 – Vendela talks about the character creation
More character creation
Personality test and traits
Welcome to Start
We made a simple start screen! Quite funny that we haven’t had one for a couple of months now. We have been busy creating game-systems and designing parts. But now we are moving towards putting the pieces more together again; and where not to start but at start?!
As you see, there’s a small signup button in there (for the newsletter), we are setting things up so we can give away in-game codes for funny clothes and other in-game items.
Our second VideoLog
This time with Vendela and the character creation; check it out:
You watched the video right?! Right? Good. In the character creation screen you will be creating your character; choosing your looks.
How about making your very own Leela inspired space exploration character?
The UI is still very rough but, as you see; the core actions are there.
For some reason you can pick your size?!
Things to put under your spacesuit and intergalactic indoor mining hat. Hair!
Things to see with!
After you’ve created your character, you can design a pretty company logo.
The Company logo creator. Look at that stylish Morgondag logo.
We went a little overboard and made a couple of cool shiny ones to choose from.
Personality Test and Traits
After you’ve created your character and company you will take a small personality test. The result of this test will give you a set of traits for your character, we rambled a little bit about it before here. We’ll talk more in-depth about how they affect gameplay and your character later.
The statue of M, player in a spacesuit and the bunker entrance.
We made a quite simple stone texture with silver horns. The 3D module itself is available below! If you’re on Windows 3D paint should already be the default tool which you can use to paint the deer.
If you make an awesome painted deer we would love to see it!
Steam steam steam
We made some simple build-scripts for Lunar Soil for easier building and uploading of the game to various platforms. We’re using Unity but when we’re switching target platform we have to sit there and wait all day for the assets to be recalculated, then we have to sit and wait for the build to finish. When working with a larger project like this that takes forever. So now we’ve a simple script that compiles Mac, Win and Linux 32 and 64 bit builds in one go. Then if we want it to; it uploads the game to our internal branch on Steam, itch.io or other places. When uploaded it sends a message to our chat channel.
Yes yes it’s dowwwnloading! Steam is a pretty slick place to distribute alpha builds on.
We have a terrain generation process where we can create detailed and interesting pieces automatically. When these are done we refine them manually to clear some of the rough edges. However, the system hasn’t been able to add textures automatically until now. We are tweaking the system to use more textures based on height now. So we for example, can have icy snow at the top of mountains and sand or dirt at the bottom. Hopefully we’ll have some more interesting outside screenshots in the upcoming month’s posts when this system is ready.
Steam is a good place for us to share some early builds for testing and validation as well as alpha and beta builds; more on that in the future.
Want to follow the Lunar Soil progress? Well then you should continue to read this awesome blog because we’re going to continue posting something new here every week. And don’t forget to play your free copy of Spacebase 19!