Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hello Again!

I've been on a little break from commenting lately.

This has been due to a number of things, including just flat being tired. But it's also due to my spending time working on a "galaxy engine" intended to serve as the base for two game concepts I've developed.

This engine ("engine" really overdignifies what I'm creating, but it's standard usage) will ultimately display millions of stars, from some 100,000 real stars we know to many more procedurally generated stars. Each star will have a chance of having planets, which will be appropriately textured; some planets will have life; and some planets with life will have sentient civilizations living there. In the current version, I have some 40,000 real stars that you can fly among in accurate locations, so that well-known constellations can be recognized from the general location of our Sun.

The version I have running at this point is so hideously ugly that it does not bear posting a screen capture of it here. I am currently banging my head against the wall trying to figure out how to display spherical objects at a specific size based on the apparent magnitude of a star seen at varying distances, but without breaking the bank in the number of objects that must be created in a limited amount of system memory. I know it can be done. The SpaceEngine ( from Russian developer Vladimir Romanuk accomplishes this (and much, much more) in an eye-poppingly beautiful way. But it's no fun feeling too stupid to be able to figure out how to do it myself.

At any rate, if I can ever develop the necessary technology to resolve the "dynamic apparent magnitude" problem that also allows me to have millions of procedurally generated stars and planets, then I can start working on the actual gameplay bits I've had design documents on for years now. And that'll be nice; I'm looking forward to actually implementing some of the game ideas I've been yapping about for so long. I'm really feeling that that's necessary if I'm to have any credibility when I suggest to professional game developers how they should design their games.

I'll keep you posted on that. (I know you're anxiously awaiting that information. :) ) Meanwhile, I think I may soon resume having general comments to make on game design, so watch this space!