Part 2 of dev log 5 will deal with progress on ships and their mechanics, which is probably the biggest attraction for most players. However before I delve into it I want to mention for those that might not know that Star Zeal has full 3d, real time ship movement and engagements. This full 3d view is always active, it is basically the view of whichever fleet you are currently in direct command of via a commander character/leader. It is where most of the ship screenshots come from.
Basic ship combat mechanics:
Ships have multiple attack modes: Currently implemented are boom & zoom and chase & strafe. There will be more options added but they will come when some more of the weapons coding is completed and I test out the combat more. Each ship in a fleet can be given their own stance which controls the style of combat, however each design now comes with a default (recommended) setting which will be used when the stance is on “Fire at will”.
Ships have also received certain interchangeable external parts which add weapon slots, cargo space and other enhancements (this can be seen in the header image). The types of parts you can interchange depends on the faction, ship hull and class, for example corvettes get corvette external parts. These parts can also be destroyed from normal hit detection, unlike internal components. With this in mind I separated the main engines into an external part instead of being an internal component, so it can get hit directly by incoming projectiles instead of using RNG. Furthermore engine components automatically multiply in number and cost depending on the design of the hull. So if the hull has 4 engine slots when you install the engine component it gets multiplied by 4. This corresponds to the amount of engines visible in the 3d model in most cases.
As for the actual ship classes, weapons/components and lore behind them, I will show that off in another log. It needs a little more tlc all around before hand and a whole log part to fit in.
The tactical map existed for quite some time but only now have I had enough progress on related aspects like ships/fleet combat to really begin filling it out. It is essentially the map of the current “full zone”, the place your fleet under direct command is in. Most of the recent work went into the world space UI, to represent where ships are and what they are doing. Note that height is represented positive and negative depending on whether you are under the alignment plain or above. (Alignment plain is the grid).
Another small change is that ship classes are now represented by symbols, eg: Corvettes are triangles. I did this so its easier to see the types of ships easier both in the tactical and other places. It also saves me a ton of time on 2d icon art.
Textures and shaders have been adjusted on ships and things like the world reflections were made somewhat better than before. This removed the need to use secondary lights unless there is something actually causing extra lights. Basically, the lighting was made a little more realistic. Also, in case anyone was wondering, the dark lighting is a feature, this is a personal touch I guess. I like the mysterious feeling it gives, its meant to suit the lore I have been developing. Space is a scary and dangerous place after all. I have also added remap colors to ships so you can tell which factions they belong to, even in the full 3d view and it allows for some more eye candy variation.
In the previous log I mentioned that in this one I would talk about progress on the rpg element along with ships, however I realized that would get too long so it will be in the next log. These logs are starting to get a lot bigger than I assume they will be. I will probably have to split some upcoming parts into smaller ones. I guess its a good sign for the depth being gradually built into the game.
So with that I conclude dev log 5 part 2. Let me know what you think or if you have any questions please leave a comment below. Also if you are interested in supporting Star Zeal, check out the funding page here: https://starzeal4x.com/funding/ or simply use paypal here:
Support & Funding
Support the development of Star Zeal. Check the Support & Funding page for more details. Thank you.