Questions regarding customization


#1

Greetings.

Im following the development of GSB, and of course am immensely thrilled by the game and cant wait to play it.

Id like to ask a few questions regarding ship customization in GSB.

  • Apart from weapons and defensive modules, how much customization there will be?
  • Will it be possible to import or at least mod in your own hulls?
  • Would it be possible to get some info on how are the GSB ship hull sprites made?

#2

The ships are basically empty shells which you fill with any combination of modules that you like. They have some very basic energy and propulsion at the start however.
It will certainly be possible to mod hulls, although there is quite a lot of data associated with a new hull, I’m sure modders are up to the task, and if I get any halfway decent tools done, I’ll try and help as much as I can. Right now, a hull is a simple text file with data like this:

[code][engineglows]
0 = 34,237,40,60,ALLIANCE
1 = 222,237,40,60,ALLIANCE

[targets]
0 = 82,65,1,1,67,47,99,88,SHIP_EMMITER_LARGE
1 = 180,73,1,1,164,56,193,87,SHIP_EMMITER_THIN
2 = 57,142,1,1,46,126,72,161,SHIP_EMMITER_LARGE
3 = 108,142,1,1,94,127,122,159,SHIP_EMMITER_LARGE
4 = 142,143,0,1,132,133,151,150,
5 = 207,161,1,1,193,147,215,172,SHIP_EMMITER_THIN
6 = 146,171,0,1,132,157,158,183,SHIP_EMMITER_LARGE
7 = 99,201,0,1,92,191,111,209
8 = 87,219,1,1,71,203,98,234,SHIP_EMMITER_LARGE
9 = 168,218,1,1,157,205,181,229,SHIP_EMMITER_LARGE[/code]

Only lots more of it. I’ll do a detailed modding guide once the game ships.
In terms of the sprites, they are very simple, in that they are just 512x512 pixel 32bit ARGB DDS files, with 4 mipmaps. There is a free DDS plugin for photoshop and paintshop pro.
Each ship has 2 sprites. One is the normal one, the other is the fully damaged one. Some of the ships (the big cruisers) also have a ‘hulk’ sprite which is used for the breakup effect.
There will be tons more information on release.


#3

Splendid, thanks for answers.

As for the third question - how are the ship hulls made - im interested in the artistic process. For example, are they hand drawn in photoshop, made with vector art, or prerendered from 3d objects? What is the general workflow, setup etc?


#4

They were done by a hired artist who made lightwave models in 3D then rendered them top-down.


#5

heh, I would gladly see some gratuitous space battles in Star Trek, Star Wars, Star Gate or Babylon 5 settings… I know it is not possible for you cliffski (legal issues, licence fees and such), but hey, that didnt stop before any modders I know:)


#6

Indeed, but not only that, I would like to see modders put together some original spaceship designs too. If I can justify doing it, it would be fantastic to have a 2D spaceship model editor that allowed amateurs to have a go at designing ships. That’s a huge lot of work, and hard to get looking good in 2D, would it would be awesome…


#7

I’d love a good ship editor to go along with the existing customization - something like Battleships Forever’s editor, but maybe with a little more freedom (there were some odd limitations with that one that I never got around). That said, I’m a novice game-editor user at best, so perhaps some of it would be best left to the modders.


#8

While it is awesome that the hulls themselves would be moddable, that’s only one half of the picture. Will it be possible to edit the existing component modules, or even to create your own?


#9

So long as there is a limit to the power of the weapons that you can create (or have some serious drawbacks to firing the Uber-weapon) I think this is a good idea. Probably for an expansion or big patch later on, though. Right now, I’d just like the game to get out to start throwing ships at each other!!! :slight_smile:

Since the question is bound to come up - a “serious drawback” would be something like what happened with the Excalibur class ship in Babylon 5: Crusade. The main weapon on the ship had two power settings. The lower setting was a normal-powered blast, and could be used without any problems at all. The high setting was MUCH more powerful, but it left the ship adrift for a minute after i was fired while the systems on the ship recharged.


#10

It might be worth using a series of sliders and loose cost/point distribution for balance. Let’s say you want to make a really powerful missile launcher… you’re going to have to drain lots of points out of it’s other stats (like reload time, weight, etc.) in order to increase the damage, range and area of effect as high as you want to. On the other hand, you could make short ranged rapid-fire rocket launchers with fast-moving rockets or blaster-type energy weapons, or an energy beam weapon that fires near constantly, but doesn’t do very much damage - but perhaps it has a special effect that means it drains energy from certain modules, or depletes shields rapidly.

Auxiliary abilities (multi-warhead MIRV-style payloads, different warhead types (EMP?), etc.) also apply modifiers to the overall cost.

If you merely use cost, then you could theoretically make a stupidly powerful laser that fires constantly and can saw anythiing in half if it so much as brushes it, but it would be so expensive that you could probably only field one smallish ship using one of them, on the scenario with the biggest budget allowed.

Of course, multiplayer options ought to include ‘cost’ caps for such purposes that both parties agree on before building their fleets and pitting them against each other.


#11

I quite like the idea someone posted on my blog about having scenarios defined where certain weapons, or classes of weapon were restricted.
I’ve also liked the idea of making the numbers of each weapon limited, or having a market for them, so that the first 50 missile turrets per fleet cost X, then X * 1.05 then 1.10 etc…