a space 4x game, so say we all
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50l

This project is intended to be a space 4x game. Right now there is little to speak of in terms of game mechenics. Although the time mechanism is completed as is the basic orbit idea.

This game is implemented in Rust to get every little bit of performence out of the hardware, including paralization wherever it makes sense.

Dev log

I want to set a small scope

<2018-09-05 wo> Currently the scope is unbounded. This makes it a massive project. Let’s focus on getting sol and alphacentauri functioning. This is an MVP description:

  • We have player starting in sol, and have an “enemy” in alpha centauri.
  • Two resources, money and pop, pop generates money each tick, pop goes up to a limit.
  • Can build a single ship type.
  • Can move ships around.
  • Ships can attack other players ships
  • Ships can attack planets with pop.
  • If planet dead it’s game over.

I just want to get something usuable asap, maybe I’ll try selling it. Although this is probably still not accaptable as a product. It is a good starting point. Consumers have grown to accept things such as pre-alpha, maybe I should aim for something like that (although I don’t think the above will suffice for that).

found this again.

<2018-06-24 zo>

Lets record my strugles, I havent touched this for over half a year.

So I got it to compile, then run after solving this runtime bug: https://github.com/PistonDevelopers/piston/issues/1202 and all the api changes. The only real changes were in input representation and in some piston event stuff. So the api’s are reasonably stable.

Ideas

The main resources will be money and energy. money is a global constraint, but energy is local (although can be moved).

Energy is mainly used to support buildings. But also to create fuel for ship (or depending on the engine is fuel). The idea is that energy will eventually run low, and the player really has to explore to find more.

Then to build certain things you need to mine materials. I don’t want to make to many types so I’m thinking of about 3 building materials (copper, iron, rare earth metals), then also several fuel sources such as (methane, oil) and carbon, which can act as building material and fuel.

todo list

Just to get a game like experience the following would be neccisary:

  1. Drag across the map.
  2. Revamp time controlls (at least show which are active).
  3. Ship navigation. let them fly trough the game (and stuff like drag a box interaction)
  4. A simple AI. mainly to fight against, to have something todo in the game.
  5. Combat. possible weapon types: rockets, lasers/energy, kinetic, mines, kamikaza strikes? Will just do a single type first.
  6. colonization, to expend your empire

More advanced todo items

Not necessary for playing the game

  1. import the galaxy (or generate it, probably import), currently its hardcoded
  2. save games

Research

This will help pacing the game and add a sense of progression, however its hardly a core mechanic. However its a lot of work to setup and balance. In here I just throw in some ideas.

Unlocking resources

Perhaps resources should be “unlocked” during research, so that new players aren’t swamped with stuff to do. Actually this is a nice thing about research, it unlocks stuff at a pace so you can take your time to explore new concepts. To fast research should be avoided.

Engine types

Different engine types, chemical, pulse, ion

Some kind of jump technology for later game? Maybe different kinds such as:

(I’m basically stealing this from stelaris, whatever). The inclusion of multiple would require balancing. Therefore I think first we would just pick a single one.

  • Warp bubble engines, engines that move an area of space but are heavy/costly Note that they produce bubbles so they could help transport other ships.
  • Wormholes, define 1 entrence/exit, to n-light years, but moving the exit/entrence is costly This seems more like a late game econmic “highway”
  • Lane engines, cheaper warp engines that can only follow certain routes

Game design analyses

So the game I was designing up till now may have been more a number based game but perhaps it woudln’t have been the most exciting, I’ve been watching a lot of profesional aoe2 play lately and been thinking about some of their design decisions:

Houses

In particular, they are very annoying for players why would you add such an element? First of all they allow the player to change the landscape in a limited way. Therefore even if the same map is palyed, the game will almost surely not be the same.

We could emulate such a structure with for example communication sattalites for robotic opperations. Or living habitats in orbet. The difference would be that even these would keep changing position. So I’m not sure how this would work as a “wall”.

Villagers

Villagers are there for the slaughter, which is gives one player a lot of stress, but the othe a lot of satisfication. (even the dying sounds). However the genius is that sometimes they can be turned into a dagger, which can completely reverse the situation.

Dedicated resources for dedicated strategies

For example stone to obtain a bunch of map controll with towers and castles. Also for turteling. This forces players to make decisions early on about what they want to do.

This is unlike the normal decision which are often way more mixed or unbalanced, (in civ science is for example always good).

Architecture

The graphics are rendered screen by screen with a state per screen.

The game model is stored in an RwLock, every frame the state makes a copy of the model and then renders it. If the state wishes to make changes it can be send to the model access, which is a separate dedicated writing thread. The idea behind this is that certain writes should be atomic (such as the time/resource update) and the best way to guarantee this is to just get the write lock during the entire calculation.

use 64 bit value representations

This allows a staggering amount of precision, and in Au it sort of fits the entire milky way for f64 without using heap based tricks. This allows for a crazy amount of zoom level which makes space feel really empty.

Going to another star should feel like a massive journey. Using Au as unit allows for this, but it also allows for detailed space combat: The epsilon of an Au is 0.0332174001 millimeter. I don’t intend to make the game that detailed, but I could…

And yes I’ve considered that this is slower than f32 (or i32), but the fact it can perfectly model the entire milky way is just such a big pro that I don’t care.

License

Feel free to use this project in anyway you like conform the GPLv3.

Special thanks to

Aurora 4x for inspiring me.