Monday, September 19, 2011

Starship Builder - New Art (again)

My previous attempt at creating a new art style for Starship Builder was such a failure that I figured I'd try again! I'm not thrilled with the result, but I do think it's better than the original, and much better than that previous attempt.

Here's what it looks like:

Future Walt thinks that those sickly green people are really ugly.

Download this latest version for PC and Mac.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Starship Builder - Multi-Ship!

The past few days I've been working on a big new feature that I've been wanting to add for quite a while: multiple ships! That is, each player can now control up to four ships. I think supporting multiple ships per player is important because 1-vs-1 ship combat, while fun to watch, can be a bit dull and non-interactive to actually play. By allowing multiple ships, I'm opening up more tactical possibilities, such as flanking and maximizing the strengths and weaknesses of different ship designs.

Once in the simulator, you can add a friendly or enemy ship by pressing either the "Spawn Friendly" or "Spawn Enemy" buttons. Once you have more than one ship, simply click on a ship to select and control that ship. The rest of the game works just the same.

Download for PC and Mac.

Here's a full list of the latest changes:

  • Added support for up to 4 ships per player.
  • Ships are now more intelligent about how they fly to a location: they will fly directly to the location at the maximum speed and then will rotate into final position once arrived.
  • Bullets now fly through space twice as fast.
  • Big performance improvement to physics calculations.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Starship Builder - Automated Crew

Before I talk about the latest new features of Starship Builder, I want to mention that I decided to dump the new art style that I tried in my previous post. While much cleaner and more "slick"-looking than my original uber-crappy programmer art, the new style just didn't *feel* right for a game based on a detailed starship simulation. Also, it reminded me too much of the art style of Captain Forever.


In recent versions, it was possible to directly control the crew of your ship, explicitly assigning them to various stations. This proved to be too hard to manage, especially as ships were constantly moving about and rotating -- it was too hard to select the desired crew and tell them where to go.

So in this latest version, you no longer have any control over the crew on your ship, who are now completely automated. The crew will now by themselves seek out jobs to perform -- you don't have to worry about that. Different jobs have different priorities so that, for example, the person manning the Cockpit will never leave his job to man a cannon. Eventually you may have a way to adjust the priority of what jobs the crew is performing -- say, manning weapons versus repairing systems -- but this feature is not implemented yet.

However, you do have control over which systems are activated and which are not. By default all systems are active, but if you select one or more systems and press the C key, then any crew manning those systems will automatically leave and find other jobs to perform. Press the C key again to re-active the selected systems.

Download for PC and Mac.

Here's a full list of changes:

  • Player no longer has control over crew. Crew is now completely automated.
  • Select systems and press C to toggle them on and off. Deactivated systems use no crew.
  • To move the ship, press M and click the destination.
  • Can double-click a system to select similar systems.