LODESTAR

Started learning blender. Fantastic program! Made an asteroid, added a planet, blew up the planet, made it pretty.

Roughly 73,728,000 possible combinations of parts and color.

Just for the pistol.

Lodestar: Stygian Skies

zero-g-adventures:

I’ve said it before, but this is a reminder to have a look at SudoPlay Games’ Lodestar.

hextilesExploring the blog as a game player, you can see there’s something big going on here, with network and exploration elements, a distinct take on voxel art, full website and forums, and the ability to buy the game and play early alphas. 

Looking around as a game dev, the project is stunning. It looks to have amassed a huge arsenal of development tools, while bringing in every game engine feature and rendering technique you’ve ever heard of and always looking great. 

I’ve been following the progress of this project for years. Despite having made the same mistake I did (don’t write a game engine!), the project has endured, going through at least two game engines and three different UI libraries. I steal liberally from the juicy graphics programming tips that lead dev Jason occasionally posts. For a while we were having a lines-of-code race, but then I switched projects and lost. (His language is Java and mine is usually C; I was doomed from the outset.)

Go see what’s going on, and maybe give it a poke. It’s been six months since the last build and the project deserves some supporter love.

Energy and Matter

The other night, over dinner, Susie and I hand a nice, long, productive discussion about currency in the Lodestar universe; mostly its purpose as a game component and how it integrates into the setting.

In the Beginning

After many generations of space travel, the Sisyphus landed on the surface of Protos and buried itself deep below the surface of the planet. It currently rests near the core, far enough below the surface where the stellar ejecta from the system’s rare ternary stars cannot reach it. This rare system and its radiation is the reason the ship was drawn to this planet in the first place.

Using the warmth from its proximity to the planet’s core, the ship’s governing system was able to shut down most of the energy flow used to keep the symbiant species, humans, alive. The energy used to warm the habitat and fly the ship was redirected to the surface to power the alien sub-quantum nanotech and build an initial paraterraforming dome. The structure not only acts as a terraforming dome and radiation shield, it also collects the radiation and other stellar particles from the frequent novae bursts that Protos must endure. This collected energy is then processed and refined into a form that can power the terraforming technology inside the dome.

Once the terraforming of the first collector dome was complete, people were sent to the surface to establish an outpost. The established outpost used the energy collected to power its various bits of technology like the Sub-quantum Location Interchange Protocol (SLIP) transport and the Matter Replication and Assembly Tools (M-RATs).

Energy

When the game begins, the player is sent to the surface with a small team of people to discover why communication with the outpost has been lost. Energy flow appears as a percentage of the capacity of the system. In the beginning the energy flow is minimal as energy is flowing from only one collector. As the player explores sectors, they will find other collectors that have finished terraforming and they can divert the energy flow from the terraforming process to their outpost. Energy collectors appear on the surface of Protos and only one can be found per sector. Diverting energy flow from collectors will increase the energy flow at the player’s outpost and allow them to create more items, create better items, and transport farther away. Players will be able to transport from the outpost to any of the diverted collectors.

Energy does not go away when it’s used, it’s merely an indication of the available power level. It can be stored in energy tanks that are refilled at the outpost. The larger energy tanks take a higher energy flow to fill, but last longer in the field. Energy tanks are used to power vehicles which, in turn, allow the player to move over terrain at an increased speed. Energy may also be used to power other things.

Periodically energy collectors that have been previously diverted may come under attack or fall into disrepair. When this happens, an event will trigger and the player will be notified. If the player chooses, they can participate in the event and defend or repair the collector in question. If a collector is lost, its contribution to the outpost’s energy flow is also lost. The player would then have to travel back to the collector and repair it to regain the energy flow.

Once enough energy collectors have been diverted and the outpost’s energy flow is at maximum, the collector’s defense and repair systems come online and it is no longer necessary to protect or repair them. By this time, the player should be close to leaving the first planet, Protos, to explore the other celestial bodies in the system.

Matter

Matter is Lodestar’s currency. Instead of buying items with it, however, the player consumes it when replicating items from blueprints. The player must have the required blueprint, matter and energy level to replicate an item.

While the energy collectors are found above ground, as a direct result of the terraforming domes, matter is found underground in caves and tunnels and comes in varying degrees of quality. Low quality matter is contaminated with non-usable material, but can be refined into a higher quality of matter. Players can also trade matter and items with each other and matter can sometimes be found at the end of encounters.

In the beginning of the game, the player has access to all of the blueprints in the Sisyphus’ database. After the player leaves the first planet, they will have the opportunity to discover new items and scan them into the ship’s database. In addition, the planets that become available as the game progresses offer higher quality matter. When an item is scanned, the item is consumed and a new blueprint is created. The blueprint can then be used by any player in the game and it never goes away.