Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Ruddy Christmass

Merry Ruddy Christmas

Over 9000 hours in MS Paint

And thanks to everyone who voted for Airship Dragoon during the IndieGameStand charity sale. Airship Dragoon received +8% votes during that period on Steam Greenlight.

Next up mod tools ... and maybe a min-map ...

This blog was supposed to be the first part of the Airship Dragoon Development Post-Mortem ... but then I went to the pub, then I got chatting and then I started on the Glenkichie ...

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Airship Dragoon Pay-What-You-Want Sale! Plus V1.3 Update!

Airship Dragoon is on a Pay-What-You-Want Deal over at https://indiegamestand.com from 14th - 17th of December 2013!

Pay over the average and get a bonus map pack giving +50% more battlefields! 10% of money raised goes to the charity "Help For Heroes" which helps in the rehabilitation of physically and mentally wounded ex-service personel.

Also available is Airship Dragoon version 1.3 update! Full changelog is here.
Already bought Airship Dragoon? v1.3 and previous patch can be downloaded here.

Next up for Airship Dragoon will be modding. v1.3 introduces the ability to fully replace all troop and weapon models with custom modded versions and allows the changing of all variables and the creation of unique classes. I've tested it by swapping the models with each other and modding troop attributes such as increasing health and actions. It's not documented yet, as the big modding drive will arrive when map making tools and tutorials are released ... which will hopefully be January 2014.

There's also a video interview with yours' truly ... conducted at 3am my time, as I help walk through someone who has never played Airship Dragoon before ... nor has he read the instructions. Having never wanted to appear naked on the internet I don't have a webcam ... so thankfully I didn't have to look at myself, and thus you don't either!

Watch live video from IndieGameStand on TwitchT

And for anyone not sure if they would say:

You can always try the new Airship Dragoon v1.3 Demo!

And finally here's the long play video I made:

Friday, 29 November 2013

Airship Dragoon v1.2 Released! 75% End Of November Sale

Airship Dragoon version 1.2 is out now!

That should read -
Airship Dragoon version 1.2 is out now ... again!
- due to me spotting a minor error and then repackaging and reuploading it.

http://www.yorkshirerifles.com/downloads/airship_dragoon_patch_v1_2.exe 80mb

If you've already installed the patch a few days ago you can either download the new one ... or just update the single file change with a quick copy/paste. If you've installed it to Program Files you will require Administrator privileges to paste.

If you've got it on Desura ... you'll have to wait until it goes through their opaque system which developers don't have direct access to. (I guess so that they can check that the files are what they say they are).

Many thanks to TRON for his help in testing on irc://irc.maxgaming.net/garagegames.

Boom! And More BOOM!

I've also created a Long Play video of Airship Dragoon v1.2 to be some sort of vaguely tutorial like video but ended up getting carried away playing it (while it was in beta - so the colour coordinated range buttons * amber/black = out of range, blue = in range * aren't there). It was my first attempt at this, using http://www.d3dgear.com instead of FRAPS (which I now much prefer due to it's lower overhead and ability to do encoding on the fly) and also using a microphone for narration ... and the sound level was way too high and I immediately forgot about moderating my Yorkshire accent (ee-bye-gum) ... so BRACE YOURSELVES.

Did I mention something about a sale in the title? Yep, apparently I did.

Airship Dragoon direct from the dev at a whopping 75% off during that celebration and shopping event which nobody in the rest of the world had ever heard of until a couple of years ago but now seems to have permeated through the world. (ends Monday 2nd December).

Buy Airship Dragoon

And there's an updated demo if you still aren't sure.

And so ... time for the changelog ... and it's a bit of a whopper
  • Airship Dragoon version 1.2 changelog (save game files should be safe)
  • Fixed issue with dead troops calling for deleted list of targets.
  • Fixed issue with calling for state of non existent first player when booby traps are being set.
  • Fixed issue in deployment with Subtropical modifiers not updating.
  • Fixed some wrong pathfinding calls.
  • Fixed issue with in-game options screen thinking it was in battle mode during campaign mode.
  • Fixed mouseover on rotate trooper button to give the correct number of actions required (was 4 is now 1).
  • Fixed wrong facing normals on the meshes of Peoples' Collective Unarmed and Light Armoured models.
  • Fixed issue with audio not initializing first attempt.
  • Fixed rare crash bug with save/local files were created before the folder they needed to go in. Thanks to TRON @ irc://irc.maxgaming.net/garagegames for help.
  • Fixed typo in warning that trooper cannot carry any more weight.
  • Mouseover of all item buttons now gives basic item information in deployment/equipment screen.
  • (Item Name, Weapon Range, Maximum Damage)
  • Mouseover of all inventory buttons now gives basic item information. (Item Name, Weapon Range, Maximum Damage)
  • Mouseover of carried item and open inventory button in tactical combat screen gives basic item information.
  • Action Points increased by 25% to make game faster and more lethal.
  • This allows for either 25% more movement or often an extra shooting attempt.
  • Rocket Grenades now come preloaded like all other single-use, disposable weapons. Being the same as other disposable weapons but not working in the same way confused players.
  • Rocket Grenades no longer require a seperate frag grenade for ammunition.
  • Updated all information and icons pertaining to rocket grenades to reflect this.
  • Conscripts being promoted to Marksman class is now one third more likely than it was before.
  • Marksman class is 50% rarer than all other classes now.
  • Hidden Movement camera changes position quicker to give the player something different to look at more often.
  • Troops without weapons or ammo are noted by name and issue before deployment rather than the previously nebulous warning that someone is not properly equipped.
  • New troops deployment problems GUI for the above.
  • All virtualized enemy movement during Hidden Movement phase now happens together instead of one after another - saving a massive amount of time when the player is waiting for an enemy contact.
  • Enemy Ai turn massively speeded up if they aren't going to have a contact with the player's forces.
  • What previously could take 50+ seconds is now down to 4 (if no Ai have to engage or can spot the enemy).
  • Airship Dragoon opened to custom level creation - seperate modding tools and tutorial coming later.
  • New mods folder in /Airship Dragoon/ directory.
  • Levels are now listed for each environment when the game boots up.
  • Environmental level lists are created from multiple sources including the /Airship Dragoon/mods folder.
  • Environmental level lists randomly select the level to play at the end of deployment.
  • In single battle mode, environmental levels can now be chosen by filename or randomized.
  • New select level to play GUI for the above.
  • Reduced command calls.
  • Better quality pain/death audio.
  • Better quailty interface audio.
  • Ai more likely to get a grenade or thrown bomb over an obstacle.
  • Changed audio environments to reduce reverb/echo.
  • Added "spots enemy movement" variable to passive action hud.
  • Changed "returns fire" to "engages enemy" for passive action hud.
  • Removed the yes/no check for filling ammunition to the maximum carryable in the deploy stage.
  • Dreadnought class airship (heavy dirigible) max moves increased to 2 (1 was just too slow).
  • Frigate class airship (medium dirigible) max moves increased to 4 to reflect Dreadnought move increase.
  • Sloop class airship (light dirigible) max moves increased to 6  to reflect Frigate move increase.
  • Dirigible speed increased to 150%.
  • Added check for older saved games to update with new information and changes.
  • Added enemy deployment location/orientation to ally phase warning.
  • Added colour coded system to target range HUD so player can instantly see what is in range of the trooper's weapon and what is out of range.
  • Now targets out of range have a new black and amber button, targets in range have blue button.
  • Created new no weapon cautious movement animation.
  • Created new holding long barreled weapon cautious movement animation.
  • Created new holding pistol cautious movement animation.
  • Removed unneccessary animation files.
  • Removed unneccessary audio files.
  • New spherical blast concussion/shockwave object.
  • Added the prefix "Facing:" to the compass heading.
  • Altered settings for smoke so they climb a little higher into the sky.
  • Mouse Right-Click on inventory button in deployment screen now empties ALL of the item.
  • If you had accidentally equipped 200 bullets of the wrong type previously you had to left click the button 40 times to get rid of them all - now you can right-click once.
  • Right or left click removes armour in deployment screen.
  • Updated Pangea/main campaign documentation/instructions to reflect airship movement changes.
  • Updated troops documentation/instructions to reflect increase in Actions from 40 to 50.
  • Updated deployment documentation/instructions to reflect new ability to choose battlefield in Single Battle Mode.
  • Fixed issue with an image partially masking text in documentation/instructions.
  • Updated deployment documentation/instructions to reflect the new right-click to clear equipment slot.
Hopefully, they'll be another update next month - when ... allegedly ... I'll have map making tools and documentation on how to use them released.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Airship Dragoon Now On Gamersgate! v1.2 Change-Log Early Look.

Airship Dragoon is now available on GamersGate!

And of course it's also available on Desura, IndieGameStand and direct from the developer via fastSpring!

Airship Dragoon is also on Steam Greenlight - votes appreciated!

I've been hard at work working on the updated Airship Dragoon to version 1.2 and player feedback has been invaluable. Here's a brief look at the current change log, items which start with // have not yet been completed.
  • Fixed issue with dead troops calling for deleted list of targets.
  • Fixed issue with calling for state of non existent first player when booby traps are being set.

  • Mouseover of all item buttons now gives basic item information in deployment/equipment screen. (Item Name, Weapon Range, Maximum Damage)
  • Mouseover of all inventory buttons now gives basic item information. (Item Name, Weapon Range, Maximum Damage)
  • Mouseover of carried item and open inventory button in tactical combat screen gives basic item information.

  • Action Points increased by 25% to make game faster and more lethal.
  • This allows for either 25% more movement or often an extra shooting attempt.

  • Rocket Grenades now come preloaded like all other single-use, disposable weapons. Being the same as other disposable weapons but not working in the same way confused players.
  • Rocket Grenades no longer require a seperate frag grenade for ammunition.
  • Updated all information and icons pertaining to rocket grenades to reflect this.

  • Conscripts being promoted to Marksman class is now one third more likely.
  • Marksman class is 50% rarer than all other classes.

  • Hidden Movement camera changes position quicker to give the player something different to look at more often.

  • //Troops without weapons or ammo are noted by name and issue before deployment rather than the current nebulous warning that someone is not properly equipped.

  • //All virtualized enemy movement during Hidden Movement phase now happens together instead of one after another - saving a massive amount of time when the player is waiting for an enemy contact. 
  • //Enemy Ai turn massively speeded up if they aren't going to have a contact with the player's forces.Originally I had wanted the player to feel "expectation" at whether a contact would occur ... but people just got bored so the waiti period is getting scrapped.

  • //Airship Dragoon opened to custom level creation - seperate modding tools and tutorial coming later.
  • //New mods folder in /Airship Dragoon/ directory.
  • //Levels are now listed for each environment and then randomized when the game boots up.
  • //Environmental level lists now select the level to play serially down the list and loop back when the list is done.
  • //Environmental level lists are created from multiple sources including the /Airship Dragoon/mods folder.

  • //In single battle mode, levels can now be chosen by filename.

  • //Gameplay video tutorial.

  • //Better quality pain/death audio. 

Airship Dragoon to version 1.2 will hopefully be released (and in easy patchable form so you don't have to download the whole thing again) late November 2013.

More feedback always welcomed.

Monday, 21 October 2013

IndieGameStand Airship Dragoon Half Way To Death Half Price Sale!

Steve_Yorkshire, Thane of Corridor ... okay, maybe mild delusions of grandeur there ... Creator of Airship Dragoon, anyhow ... is officially half dead.

At least statistically speaking ...

Being ... vaguely healthy - or at least not knowing otherwise - and thus projecting an 80 year life expectancy, this week will see the half-way marker, bringing us (that's the Royal plural singular "us" - also the Golem "us") to the statistical point of being exactly half dead.

To celebrate being exactly half-dead (statistically speaking), Airship Dragoon is on sale for half price, over with the esteemed gentlemen ... and possibly ladies, I don't know these people personally ... at www.indiegamestand.com for the following week.

Airship Dragoon is also the first item on the brand spanking new indie game spotlight site http://indiegamestream.com, go have a look and if you're a developer, shoot them an email.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Airship Dragoon On Desura, IndieGameStand and Greenlight

Airship Dragoon v1.1 has shipped on Desura, and it's also on IndieGameStand.com (direct download or redeemable on Desura) and available direct from the developer.

All options are here (and so is a playable demo):

And it's on Greenlight:

About the video:
Redcoats have a bit of a scrap with the Dastardly Pirates of Pangea in the Desura version of Airship Dragoon.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Valkyria Chronicles Style Action-Tactics Template For Open Source Torque3D MIT

Valkyria Chronicles style Action-Tactics gametype template for the Open Sourced Torque3D game engine licensed under the MIT license - which means that you can do anything you like with it. I was going to put the word REDUX in the title but didn't have enough space.

This is the REDUXed version of the series of Valkyria Chronilces style action-tactics resources on the GarageGames site I created way back in the distant past when dinosaurs ruled the earth ... or around two and half years ago, before I started work on Airship Dragoon.

Going over that old code revealed some ... odd decisions ... completely unnecessary server and client calls ... and various other things which existed before I had learnt the meaning of best practise. Whilst there have been significant improvements, the Action-Tactics template is still very much derived from that.

And the source code is all here on github.

However if you just want to play through a precompiled demonstration mission without the source code - the script files are all there so you can still see how it all works - you can download it here.
http://www.yorkshirerifles.com/downloads/ActionTactics_Template.zip ~110MB
It's a zip, so remember to right click and "unblock" due to M$ silly non-informing security measures.

And here is what the whole demonstration mission looks like when played through. Looks best in HD but you already knew that.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Airship Dragoon Version 1.1 Released

Airship Dragoon Version 1.1 has been released. The patch weighs in at a mere 26.6Mb. All new purchases will automatically get the latest version.

  • Fixes an issue with veteran information not saving correctly during campaign modes.
  • Various tweaks to reduce overhead and improve performance but will probably only be noticeable on low spec systems.
If you've bought it direct and don't want to redownload the whole thing, install the update.
The update can be found here under the "Updates" section.

Zulu Nation Uses Artillery Barrage ...

It would be appreciated ... thanks.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

I Am The One Percent: Airship Dragoon is Released

Today I enter the hallowed corridors of those amateurs, tinkerers, modders and aspirers (aspirers? is that even a word?) who have actually finished and commercially released an indie game. I am the one percent.

After 2 years and 3 months (note to self, we have got to shorten the blinking heck out of development length next time around) of what seems somewhat akin to self-flagellation ... and even more disturbingly - 5 years and one month after deciding to make some sort of indie game - I have finally managed to release my first commercial indie game.

There she blows! A box shot of ... a box which doesn't exist obviously ... because it's a virtual product.


But you can't have a release ... without a trailer .. so here's one of those ... looks best in HD but you knew that already.

Also, www.yorkshirerifles.com is now a thing.

A retweet of this, would be appreciated.

It's early days on the whole shipping front. I've set up my own site shop with FastSpring (as used by numerous indies including Frozen Synapse's mode7games - and the soon to be released FriendZone American Robot Hand-Egg Simulator ... does that joke ever get old? ... er yes ... :S ).

I am negotiating with Desura at the moment, and once that is sorted out, it's time to mount an assault on Greenlight and spam the gaming press with review copies. Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey - or embarazi as they used to say when I lived abroad.

I have set up an IndieDB for Airship Dragoon, for anyone who may use it.

The whole shipping/e-commerce/desperately seeking attention thing is all a bit new to me ... and like everything else ... in life as well as development ... I'm making it all up as I go along.

Eventually I will get around to doing - what is likely to turn out to be a huge - post mortem of the last 2 years and 3 months of development.

In the meantime, you may want to play Airship Dragoon which of course has a free demo.


So, amongst all of this, I might actually get around to porting my old Valkyire Chronicles Style Action-Tactics-Hybrid over to the new Torque3D MIT version, and start umming-and-ahhing about which of the various projects whirling around inside my head will be my next game.

Softly softly catchee monkey ...

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Achievements Achieved! Anals Of History! Err ... Annals

Achievements Have been achieved. Function creep has creepeninged (!?!?!?) ... Really dumb bugs which I had not noticed before have been fixed. Post-it notes have been posted - to the bin. Embarrassing anus related typos have become history!

Maybe that should be anals of history have been rectumfied ...

Current Status:


There had been a sudden outbreak of the dreaded Function Creep lurgy and some alterations and additions found their way in. Some new animations, a lot of messing around with audio - the majority of which I then discarded after compeleting it because it sounded awful - and the introduction of Achievements ... which ... as expected ... introduced a shed load of new bugs which required hunting down and giving the thrashing of their lives.

I'll have to admit, I'm not a real fan of Achievements, nor of gamepads --- but I understand some people are, and the functionality for both are now in.

I did have fun thinking up a few of the names.

Both of the campaigns - Pangea, the Main Campaign where the dirigibles of the player's chose regime compete to conquer the Strategic map against the 5 Ai factions, and the Pirate Citadel, bonus Campaign where the player fights their way through enemy territory to storm the base of the Dastardly Pirates of Pangea - now have their own little intro screens, just to add a little description and background story flavour.

Also each of the regimes which the player can take control of or fight against now have their own visual description which displays the standard trooper alongside light and heavy armoured versions (stealth armour version isn't shown as it's the same as the light armoured trooper but in camouflage depending on the environment - and there are 5 of them, so that would have meant displaying 5 more models and it seemed a bit too much). Each regime also has a quote from it's leader - all with a heavy lean towards comedy, whether it's the Zulu Nation's horror at the cliche of leopard skin, Invincible President SteamLincoln's annoyance at having his opera disturbed and his hat singed, to a good old joke about the noble British crumpet.

Anyone good with Roman numerals? :P

I updated the whole single battle system ... for those who don't want to fight a 90+ battle campaign and just want a single, one off taste of tactical combat - apparently some people have lives ...

The new additions are the Task Force size - how many troops are deployed - and the level of technology available (each class has 4 levels of specialist items). There are seven - count 'em - levels of difficulty which increase or subtract troop experience, troop numbers, technology and budget for the battle.

Amongst all of this finishing stuff off - like the new dirigible models, new charge/sprint animations - guess which numpty couldn't get them to work before because of using the wrong naming convention even thought he coded the naming convention *cough*derp*cough* - there was a whole lot more bug fixing. Most of it was caused by the function creep, but some of it was exposed because of the function creep. In fact a couple of days ago I declared myself "bug free"! And within 5 minutes had found a new one ... I got twittered a joke about "day 1 patching".

But now, we are, bug free! Which means ... I have fixed all the bugs! ... which I know of ...

I had a few more fixes after this ... :/

We've also had ...

wait for it ...

Fame and fortune!


Okay, we haven't ... but we did get noticed in the Saturday Screenshot and mentioned in an indie news site, which was all very, very nice. And then my inbox melted under the retweets and mentions. This was pandemonium for a fella who's lucky to get 1 email a day ...

And on GameDev.net

And the offending screenshot ... which wasn't actually ... er ... offending ...


So, my post-it note pad is empty ... well, actually it's not, it's just free of fixes and functions to do. It is currently got a few notes on it about creating a "Release Candidate" and demo version. Ah, yes, the demo version I hinted at over a year ago ... and still haven't got round to doing ... ahem ...

There's a few things which I need to sort out, both code and logistics-wise for the shipping versions, and having a look at beamNG's demo release was a great help! They included the dx9updater because ...

In fact if everyone could retweet this, it might help: https://twitter.com/Steve_Yorkshire/status/366577223114838016


Thanks Gary.

Maybe someday they'll actually take notice ...

Thanks, Professor.

As I've completely gone off tangent-wise, best to end, on a video of the action, menus, regimes, instructions, options, and a little bit of the Pangean Campaign in a "Sloop" class dirigible. Starting dirigble is now randomly generated for all factions - and it really does play differently between the fast, low troop capacity one and the huge, ultra slow Dreadnought version.

Looks nice full screen on HD ... but you knew that already ...

Anals of History ... *sigh* ... Annals - what a difference a letter makes ...

Monday, 15 July 2013

Game Looking Very Much Like A Game

Game Looking Very Much Like A Game

*wheeze * wheeze * It's been a hectic old month, and that is of course, one month more than I had wanted. But now we have music, instructions ... which players will probably just ignore ... and a fair few other things. It's finally looking quite "game" like.

Gameplay instructions are done, and that was quite a task to get the neccessary information across without it being confusing or overly long winded which is something the British are really great at ... being overly long winded that is ...

The settings dialog got a complete purge. There is now an "environmental audio" channel, so you can turn the wind/rain/ambience up and down depending on how much you want to listen to the music or not.


The whole game has had all of it's user interfaces completed ... apart from a couple of changings I now want to make to a couple of things ... and there's an intro system which isn't overly long and main menu screen.

Video: 0:23 min/sec.

There's also a clickable linkage credits screen.

And Tactical Battle Mode is pretty much finished. Literally the only thing remaining is some death/pain audio, as currently it's the stock "uhhhghhh" which doesn't sound very dramatic ... :/

And here's a decent play through of a saved game. The music skips a bit due to editing things down and my PC grinding to a halt every so often under the strain of recording ... which is when I realised that I was still using a 3 year old version of FRAPS and could really do with downloading the new one ...

Video: 12:85 min/sec.

The video shows off the various screens and options and my attempts to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in a battle against the Ai.

Last up a short video showing off my take on "beam" weapons. I wasn't actually going to bother making a video for this specifically but did so to show my method of attaching a staticShapeObject with an animated texture to the muzzle of a weapon and then scaling it along the vector whilst a raycast does the hit detection and deals with impacts, explosions, debris, decals and the such like.

Video: 1:03 min/sec.

I've also cleaned up a whole host of really random, esoteric bugs which I found occur in very specific circumstances. Really, I sometimes wonder where the hell these things come from - though admittedly a couple were clear why did I think doing it that way was ever a good idea issues.

The strategic hexes have been finalized and recreated. This time they are actually using the textures of the environments in which they are based. The whole "Citadel Campaign" has been fixed and is now finished. This is the "bonus" campaign, which was supposed to be the "short" campaign but actually ended up being pretty enormous in it's own right. Captured territory in amber.

The player has to blast a path through occuppied territory, building up their core of veteran troops as they go and storm the pirate Citadel at the other side of the board. Capturing forts as they go gives upgrades to weapons. All hexes and fort locations are randomized on start of the campaign, and all other hexes have a randomized enemy force defending them to give a little variety of opponents during tactical battles.

There's still a few more things to sort out, some coding to do, 2 more dirigible models to complete, the instructions for the main campaign to write and I have 1 post-it note of bugs for the main campaign to fix.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Virtualizing The Virtual

Virtualizing The Virtual!? Is that a double negative? And if it is, does that mean that the virtual is now physical? If so, I for one welcome our new Steampunk Turn Based Tactical Artificial Intelligence Overlords ...

So, there I was, playing away, testing my game. It was night, poor visibility ... also probably in real life too ...
I was defending a flag from pirate assault ... back in the game now, not in real life ... when I realized that sometimes it takes a while for the Ai to get into the attack, especially when visible distance on the battlefield is very low. I had got my troops into my chosen defensive positions early on, and now kept clicking for the Ai to take it's turn and advance against my forces. And it was taking a while ...

Which is when I hit upon the idea of virtualizing the Ai's move. First check that they can't be seen, then make simulate how far along their path their current tactic can take them distance-wise, make sure that they'er not going to be spotted by the player's forces, and dump them at the end of their phase, decreasing their Action Points as if their turn had been taken normally. For the player, no more interminable waiting whilst the Ai to complete something that they can't see. 3+ minutes for the Ai turn could become 45 seconds.

And if the Ai could be spotted during their virtual movement, then play their turn as normal, have the player's trooper spot them, and let all hell break loose as normal.

Needless to say ... it turned out to be considerably more of a pain in the backside to get it to work correctly. First up my test function - 5 whole lines - worked lovely ... then when I rolled it into the full Ai thinking process - 10000 lines - I had to invert the values.

Then they kept falling through the terrain and other objects - make a check for that - then they all try and jump on each other - check for that - then they fall off the end of their path somehow - check for that - then they have the falling through terrain issue again - recheck post virtualized move for that. But finally it all works. The key of course was to slap the camera on the Ai so I could see what was happening when it all went wrong.

And so here's a little video of something that will never be shown in general gameplay - the Ai moving in dev mode.

Also I finally finished off the last of my character art - so here's a video of all of the different factions in various conditions.

Character types:
Unarmoured - with hat
Light Armour - helmet
Stealth Armour - helmet and camouflage
Heavy Armour - tin man with Regime flag facings (not all flags finished at time of video)

In order:
Regime/Faction - Environment - Weather

British Royalists - Temperate - Clear
Austro-Hungarian Empire - Jungle - Stormy
Chinese Dynasty - Mountainous - Clear
US Republic - Arid - Cloudy
People's Collective - Urban - Clear
Zulu Nation - Mountainous - Stormy

Followed by repeats of the various regimes in various environments with various weathers.

You might want to up the quality level - no idea why it's defaulted to 360p when it's in 720HD ...

I finally also finished the flags for all of the regimes - though admittedly after that video had been taken. I didn't want the flags to be particularly historical, as that kind of takes the fun out of it being Steampunk.

This is what the Single Battle Mode options screen looks like now:

From the left:
That's a stylized Imperial Engle on the Austro-Hungarian Empire

Union jack ensign and crown for the British Royalists

Traditional Chinese (Cantonese) word for Dragon for Chinese Dynasty - I came up with this after many failed attempts to make a stylized dragon design that I liked ... then thought that using the script for the word might be nice. Colours taken from the Qing Dynasty of the Steampunk peroid. They did have a dragon picture on their flag but I didn't like it.

Soviet Constructivist Colour Scheme for the People's Collective. Always knew that degree in art history would come in useful eventually ...

Slight change on the 1877 version of the Stars and Stripes by making the twin circles of stars into solid hoops for the US Replubic faction.

And finally, because of alphebetical order the Zulu Nation.

I sorted some really annoying issue with the Ai not always updating their aim aniation - probably self inflicted due to the manner in which I've changed spawning and mounting - and also made a rather spiffing icon for my game.

This being a MUCH larger version of said icon ... obviously.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

FAIL! Deadline ... What Is A Deadline?

It has been exactly 365 days x2 ... which equals ... er ... 2 and 2 is 5 ... erm ... er ... say about 2 years - exactly - to the day - that I started Project BADGER OF DOOM ... maybe it needs a better name :/

Sigh ... so, it's been 2 years exactly, to the day, since I started my current project ...

Originally it was entitled "His Royal Majesticnesses' Royal Corps Of Dirigibles And The Mighty Struggles For Supremecy Of The Pan-Dimensional Lands Of Pangea" ...

... okay it wasn't ...

But it was originally entitled "Royal Corps Of Dirigibles". The rest of the "fluff" was very much added for amusement as a sub-title, due to the Steampunk notion of the whole thing.

That eventually changed to "Royal Dirigible Brigade", a very much shortened version which still implied the Steampunk aesthetic of "royal", "dirigibles" and a "brigade" ... presumably a brigade of dirigibles ... possibly aquainted with royals.

That in-turn ... inturn? ... not sure if one word or hyphenated ... became the much easier "Dirigible Brigade" ... after all there are SIX playable faction, only one of which is called "Royalist".

I was fine with that for months, right until I woke up today and thought AIRSHIP DRAGOON ... and that was before I got to the pub ...

So ... we still don't really have a title ... only it needs to includes airships/dirigibles/zeppelins and some sort of military detachment like Brigades or more cavalry orientated like Dragoons ... or maybe Huzzars ... my late-grandfather was a Huzzar ... and an Irish Huzzar at that ... and a Royal Irish Huzzar. He wasn't Irish.

Also ...

... Deadlines ... and the utter lack of them. Thank the great magnet - 'cos I'd have missed it if there was one.

So 2 years to the day after I had started ... where about are we? ... that's the royal "we" of course ...

All Character models are done - all hail the great magnet - because it's been a 2 month - checks old blogs - looks more like 3 months - death march of 3D character modeling. But finally we are complete on that score.

I had to complete the Dastardly Pirates of Pangea - cue play on words about the pirates of penzance ... get it? Look, I did drama at school in the '80s ... when I say "did", I mean "took as a skive from doing real lessons" - and thus failed at exam time. Everybody wins!

This is the common enemy in Single Battle Mode and the insurgent if you don't keep the population happy in the Campaign modes. He's a red bearded hell-raiser, wearing a shiny jade smoking jacket, with a white stripe across the face giving him a New Romantics vibe.

What do you mean you don't know what the New Romantics were?

What do you mean "What The Hell Did I Just Watch!?"

How about this?


Still no recollection? Never mind, let's continue.

Pirates done, I needed to sort out the Heavy Armour character for all 7 factions.

Having already bled my fingers to the bone on making light and stealth armour, I decided that heavy armour would be a single character model, using variations on the same texture. That's when "base_my_lovely_material_option" really came into it's own. Swapping "base" with "faction name" meant that I could load the correct material at spawn and it would then have the dominant colours of the regime. I decided that the face mask of the armour should patriotically (you spell that like that right?) have the regime's flag and the back shoulder plate should also carry the flag - as a basic way of checking for identification from behind to prevent Blue-On-Blue - something I'd done for character models in "ye olde project"

Yeah ... that one ... awww ... look at them ears ...

But back to the now ...

Whilst all 6 playable factions were VERY loosely based on great powers of the 19th Century, I had wanted to make variations on the flags, to give the factions and the game it's own unique fantasy/Steampunk identity.

The US flag was kind of easy, the double cirlce of stars circa 1877 is kinda cool. Thanks to Nebraska for that. As seen in Dances With Wolves - the only good Costner film. Sorry if you're reading Kev, but .... well ... it was. :|

I almost changed it to something else but them realized that was actually the REAL Malaysian flag ... so we scrubbed that idea ...

So turning the US 1877 flag into a double ring also looked cool. And here it is on the heavy armour character type for the US Republic faction.

The British Flag has been the one to be awkward. I ummed-and-ahh-ed for some time thinking up a new design.

That was cool :) ... positively freezing ... oh hang on that's Iceland's flag ... They ate our cod in 1971 - Nevar Forget!

Let's try a version on the theme.


So, I ditched that idea and went back for the classic Naval Ensign. It's the British Royalist - so some sort of ... crown ... seemed right. And here's what we got.

It shows off the predominate red of the red coats, has a crown, Union Jack - If I was a Redcoat in a past future that never was I would be proud to leap out of a zeppelin all guns blazing with that on my shirt!

I've still got 4 other flags to design but I feel that they're gonna go much more smoothly. For the Tactical Battle part I am almost complete, with just 3 more weapon systems to finish the models, scripts and GUI's for. Here's the US Republic again, left is a Recce class trooper in Stealth Armour (camouflage) holding a "Telephonicatron" to bring in artillery, and a Sapper class trooper next to him with a single shot, FlameRocket.

In other news, I've fixed MORE bugs - where the hell do they come from? - found some others, which thankfully I know how to fix, sorted out a whole load of new stuff and enjoyed using "base_material" so much I've converted a whole load of stuff done at the start of production 2 years ago to use it, thus ridding myself of various mildly repepitive datablocks.

I encourage all T3D MIT users to embrace the power of "base" in your materials.


Can all be done with just one model. And even one texture if you use the diffuse setting on the material datablock.

So, I've got all that and 4 more post-it notes of issues to sort out. And then port it over to a finalized code-base (still using an experimental one).

So ... we missed our deadline ... but thankfully we are not beholden (is that even a word?) to external forces ... or some such gibberish. Production continues unabated. It has been exactly 2 years to the day since we began.

Friday, 17 May 2013

The Boys ... And Johnny Foreigner

We've had the Brits and now we've been modeling all the other factions. All 7 of them, with unarmoured and light armoured troops, with 4 LODs each, with 4 camouflage schemes for Stealth Armour. That's a lot of LODing ...

 Originally I had envisioned the idea of having seperate models for each class within each faction. There are 7 classes and 7 factions. My 7 times table is about the only one I could ever remember as a child ... probably because I liked the number 49 for reasons of no known certainty. 49 would have been a lot of character models ... even more with light, stealth and heavy armoured types for each one ...

Thankfully I scrubbed that idea as utterly impractical before I started, and stuck to the concept of each faction having 1 unarmoured model, 1 model with a helmet for light armour and stealth armour (with a camouflage texture depending on the tactical battle environment), and a global heavy armoured model with different texture for each faction, carrying the factions flag on it's back.

This all still requires 15 character models, 4 LODs each - so a total of 60 meshes - and 49 diffuse textures plus specular and normal mapping. All of which has been a bit of a slog ...

We've had the British Royalists for a while ... even though I scrapped the models and restarted from scratch for the third time to get mesh deformation. Being British, Royalist and Steampunk meant that they had to be The Redcoats. The Brits are actually the only team not wearing Steampunk eyewear - their goggles are hanging around their necks. Light armour is defined by the African Zulu campaign pith helmet.

And here we have the standard dresscap model on the far left, light armoured model kneeling centred, and stealth armoured model on the right in green camouflage. This texture swapping makes use of the built-in "base" skin definition and swaps it on spawn for the appropriate environmental material  - green (for both temperate and jungle), arctic, arid and urban.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire was as close as I wanted to get to zi Germans without actually having zi Germans. I wanted a European faction, and the Austro-Hungary seemed the perfect choice, a regime which spans multiple countries - Austria, Bosnia, Croatia, Czechs, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Poland (who cannot into space ...), Romania, Serbia, Slovakia,  Slovenia, Ukraine and of course including parts of zi Germans. As all troops are randomly named with national/ethnic forenames and cities/counties/states as surnames this also gave a wide selection for variaition.

Light armour centre, unarmoured forage caps flanking the sides, wandering through a rainforest, Steampunk monacles aplenty. I did have a bit of a um-and-ah about the uniform, wanting light blue and not entirely certain about the trousers which are those "flying pants" with the winged thighs that stick out.

I turned to the interwebz for inspiriation using You-Know-Who's-Image-Search and the phrase "austro hungarian empire 19th century uniforms", with safe search on.

Now we've had unexpected things thrown up before when a search for ideas on User Interface Buttons - "steampunk buttons" brought the wrong type of button ... and the ladies who were wearing them.

These are not the Steampunk buttons I was looking for ...

And it happened again ... well ... actually it didn't, it did give my the 19th century uniforms ... just in an unexpected genre ...

This was not the context I was looking for.

Anyhow, in the end I decided on a fairly realistic colour scheme of the Austro-Hungarian cavalry - the red jodpurs/flying pants being a nice foil to the predominant light blue, and a flattened forage cap.

The Chinese Dynasty. Dee-nasty or Die-nasty? There used to be a terrbile American TV show in the 1980s called Dynasty which was clearly trying to copy and cash-in on the success of Larry Hagman and co in Dallas. Over in the UK we tended to refer to it as Dysentery :P ...

China meant being able to break away from the usual style of uniform and colour schemes and throw in yellow - technically it's light amber, to go with my repeating amber and black colour scheme that can be seen in numerous places through out the game (especially on the boobytrap warning fences).

I ummed-and-ahhed again for some time about the overall colour, and decided on a green leather vest as a not to the jade emperor. The above picture is a good illustration of how I work - slapping the models into the engine and then changing the textures on the fly to see what looks best.

Unarmoured Chinese Dynasty troops to the left and light armoured walking to the right. You can just make out stealth camouflage armour in the background. They have these small spectacles perched on their nose which are half fashionable, half granny glasses.

The People's Collective is a sort of revolutionary soviet style idea for a faction.  Not so much Reds Under The Beds more Reds In A Dirigible ... and not really red either, the British Redcoats had already commandeered red as their dominant uniform.

I ended up basing the unform on a 1930s Security Apparatus Officer. "Security Apparatus" - I think the modern translation is Murderous Jobsworth Despot. The helmet is from the same peroid, looking remarkably similar to Great War French helmets, but in shiny brass and with goggles to steampunk it all up. Everyone has a little Lenin style beard and the names are all Soviet.

The Ungrateful Ruddy Colonials didn't quite make it in as a faction name but the US Republic did. I had wanted the USA to be "damn Yankee" dark blue but was hestitant on using yellow again for trim. In the end it ended up as two tone blue, dark coat dominant to light pants with a Rough Riders style slouch hat. The helmet is a shiny brass hybrid of US doughboy hat and early prototype brodie helmet.

The US has more modern, nearly cyberpunk style, one piece, wrap-around type goggles and everyone has an Abe Lincoln beard.

Finally, the last - at least in alphabetical order - regime which the player can choose to represent in campaigns and battles is the Zulu Nation.

I had wanted to steer well clear of anything to do with lions, leopard spot cloth and the whole Africa cliche. Oh ... and Vuvuzelas ...

In the end I opted for a more informal uniform based on gentleman's attire. Shirt, waistcoat, pants, gaiters/spats and a tophat and monacle. I had wanted to include the Zulu colours of black, white, red trim, green and yellow.

Initially I had made them a lot more green ... but then they looked like drunks from a Saint Patrick's parade. Adding a lot more yellow brought them too close to the Chinese colour scheme and made them look like they were wearing the South African Foot-to-ball strip. Eventually I decided on a much plainer, white, back, green dominant colour palette. Light armour is denoted as a helmet, which is sort of an ancient Greek facemask with the plume removed.

All names are (ethnic/national) given name - (city/area) family name, including the Chinese and Zulus who normally would have family name first.

Still to do ... are the Dastardly Pirates of Pangea. The enemy the player faces in one off single battle mode and who serve as the insurgents in the Main Campaign if the natives in your captured territories become unhappy with you rule. Also still to do is the heavy armoured character which will feature the same model for all factions but with different coloured textures using the material swapping function. And 6 more weapons to model and then the Tactical Battle part of the game is done.

For the Strategy Overview Map part of the campaigns I need to create a couple of new dirigibles, texture them all, and re-texture the environment hexes. There's still a few GUIs to finalize, some audio to sort out, port it all into a final codebase and make a few more code alterations which I want.

And an absolute shed load of documentation on how to play it to write.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Reduxed Get Reduxed ...

I'm beginning to hate that word ... We'll soon head to thesaurus.com to find a new one with the exact same meaning. Anhow, things which had been redone ... got redone ... for the umpteenth time ...
Yo Dawg! I heard you liked to redux, so we put a redux in your redux!
FFS ...

Anyhow, following on from a previously posted blog in Septemger 2012 entitled "Make Simple Character Model Quickly ... 40 Days Later ..." where I struggled with character limb deformations ... I have ... gone back and started it again from scratch.

And after 16 days, I can live with it ... which ... admittedly is what I said about the last effort ... but then I couldn't. Anyhow, it now deforms nicely, animates much better and ... probably looks exactly the same to the casual observer. But hey, it offended me ... and now it doesn't.

So with a fully, clean, base character mesh I can now get on with making all of the other troop types. I've also got rid of a few more of the engine's stock assets which I was using, making my own backpack ... which turned out to be an ordeal in itself for some reason ... an aidkit model and replacing the decal for moving to with a big black and amber X motif which spins.

I've made various tweaks and improvements to my scripts, and am down to just one post-it note of bugs, tweaks and balancing on the Main Campaign.

I've also redone the 4 jungle levels which I had designed. After receiving feedback that they weren't very jungly I've bent the tree trunks, added a skirt of transparent hanging vines in 2D, increased the number of said trees in the levels and created a new broad leaf plant for the groundcover, which helps to make the scenes much more crowded looking. In other words, more jungly.

I've also created 4 urban environment maps. This brings the total levels to the final tally of 20. There's a video below showing one of the maps - which just happens to be the one without any avenues of trees. I always try and give each level it's own theme such as highground, valley, rolling hills, etc, and this one is tight corners. The urban maps feature buildings - which whilst they cannot be entered directly - have ramps and bridges and crossovers. I was going for a sort of grand European architecture vibe.

So next up, an Ale Festival on Thursday! And after that, modeling the troops for the remaining 6 factions, sorting out the remaining issues with the Main Campaign, doing a whole load of finalized modeling and ... er ... stuff.