Welcome to the Signus System

I am working on polishing up the last missions of the game.  These missions take place in the Signus system.  The Signus system contains some of the hardest missions and introduces players to the heavy fighter.  Here are some screenshots.  The last screenshot takes place during a mission in the Signus system where the player is forced to fly a light fighter modified with weapons from a medium fighter (at the sacrifice of shields and maneuverability – and not enough power to shoot very many shots before recharging).

New Characters


The weakest link of our game has been the characters for a long time. Well thats going to change. I’ve been holding off posting images of the new characters until I was sure the style I wanted to go with. I think of it as a manga style mix between Bleach and Gundam Wing. Not exactly since I’m not as good at drawing the figure as the pros, so mine will be less dynamic in pose, but I think the look will still decent. These were test characters made whole, while I’m working on a character creation tool for us to make lots of characters from. Like lots of upper body uniform poses, pants, eyes, flight suit, etc.

Collision with a Grilkath

I was recording a video of Beid 1 for one of our upcoming trailers when I had a little head on collision with a severely damaged and out of control Grilkath medium fighter.  It was incredible, disorienting and had a real feeling of a thud to it, especially when the video display that shows my defense status shattered on impact.  Here’s a before and after screenshot.  (I survived the rest of the mission.  But Beid 1, being a very difficult and insane mission, left my ship in far worse shape than we see it here.)

Damage Video Displays

This is a work in progress.  We are looking into adding damage to the cockpit’s video displays.  This damage only occurs if the player receives extensive damage to the cockpit.  The first screenshot is from the game, while the second is combination of two screenshots to show what the final effect looks like.  The actual display information flickers between the display and distortion, so in order to represent it in a still image I had to combine two different frames together.  The damage effect is created by combining two textures together, each selected at random.  The first textures is a shatter pattern and the second is a distortion pattern.  There are different levels of damage, the one in these screenshots is the most severe, which renders the video display almost useless.

 

New Screenshots

Been playing around back at the beginning of the game in the Lyota system doing bug fixes.  Fixed missiles decoys, made the cockpits look better and other issues that must be fixed but aren’t really worth mentioning.  While out there in the Talwar fighter, I just couldn’t help but take a few 1080p screenshots to share.  No action here, just some of the sights.

 

Asteroids in the Second Mission

I was testing the second mission in the game when I took this screenshots.  This shot was taken while flying an F235A Talwar class light fighter in the service of the Free Republic of Vega.

 

Severely Damaged During a Mission in Beid

I was playing a mission in the Beid System when I ran afoul of several mines in a mine field and took severe damage.  Here are a series of screenshots from the rest of the mission.  Because my ship was severely damaged (the first screenshot shows the damage display), my port gun was destroyed, my shield generators were barely operable and my radar was on the fritz.  The screenshots are 1080p, but a little low on the quality side because there are captures from a video.

 

New Tutorials

One of the difficult things about creating a game based on a genre from the 90s is that many fundamental philosophies of gameplay have changed since then. Back in the 90s, gamers would buy games like Wing Commander and they would read the generous manual that came with it. But in modern gaming, reading a manual is almost unheard of; in fact most games don’t even ship with a manual anymore. So how do we explain to new players how to play a game as complicated as Eterium without forcing them to read a manual or “attend” training missions? What if a player is returning to the game after a long time of not playing and doesn’t remember all the details? Do they need to fly the training missions again, just to continue their game? Most modern FPS and Third Person games play similar to each other, so a veteran gamer can quickly pick up and play. While Eterium plays very similar to Wing Commander and other space sims, it is still a very complex and complicated game, particularly for modern trends.

Our final conclusion is to develop an intelligent tutorial system (optional of course) that will analyze how the player is playing the game, find his mistakes, and display a relevant tip for the player in a discrete location that does not interfere with the action. In the case of the screenshot below, I forgot how to turn my engines on, so I was stuck on the flight deck. The tutorial reminded me that pressing Y on my Xbox controller will get me going. (Of course our tutorial tips also support keyboard/mouse and joystick for those players not using an Xbox controller).

HUD Updates

I’ve been working on some HUD updates.  I moved the distance from target to the video display in the cockpit and added a distance target and name to the target brackets of the selected target.  I’ve also added two green triangles to help identify which ship is being targeted.  Here are a couple of screens: