August 26 2023

5 min read

Leo's Hard Work

I am most fortunate and grateful for all that Leo has done for the project! He has been steadily chipping away at the massive backlog of models for awhile now. This month would be a great time to show off all the pieces he has modeled.

Engine Slot

As mentioned in previous articles , the ships are highly configurable. Engines are typically responsible for maneuverability alterations. We also added a small graphical tweak which alters what particle effect comes out of the ship's exhaust pipes to boot!

Dieselpunk Engines

Leo did a fantastic job designing these Dieselpunk style engines. We wanted to dip into other "punk" styles and felt the game didn't purely need to have only steampunk specific tech.

In general, the Dieselpunk engines create obscuring smog wherever they go; which could be advantageous or obnoxious depending on how one uses it. Dieselpunk engines also have maneuvering advantages which cut down on penalties for some specific maneuvers.

Steampunk Engines?

Okay we also dipped our toes into Teslapunk too. A tribute to my favorite historic scientist and engineer, Nikola Tesla. Leo's model actually can't be done full justice here in the web GLSL digital card format (glsl is canvas shader black magic, nothing to see here). There are difficult to remove artifacts with semi-transparent effects like electricity. Things like this will be in full glory in the unity game client.

I wonder if this Tesla engine mod has too many effects? It does have a penalty which lowers your evasion by one to try and balance things... You can get it back with a bonus evasion by getting your ship shocked, which is fun yet dangerous.

Quirky Engines

Making a game is alot of work. It is often a kind of stress relief to place within it ridiculous things that would likely never exist. You can imagine how wild the specification requests for these models was like.

Regardless, Leo got on the same page and took it to another level. These quirky engines are among my personal favorites of his work! You can really see Leo's creativity shine here!

It may go without saying that all of these effects have to be balanced further. I'm convinced that even after we complete all this graphics work, there will be plenty of time required to playtest and establish sane defaults. As mentioned prior in Article #8 Cursed Problems In Tactics Games ; I believe metagame is actually impossible to balance in isolation without community input.

What's Next

Ugh, I wanted to be further along with this article and processing Leo's models so that I could show all of them. Even after spending a week processing models and fixing up the GLSL so that we could finally get performant web digital cards, I still could not catch up to Leo!

Despite this, I'll just do another article on his work, and process his latest 9 models! Yes NINE. Actually, I think we have likely entered a phase where it is time to always show work in the monthly article. Our cycles are getting tighter and a little more visible as we go. There are less systems to build out than in the beginning, so we are mostly iterating on the graphics for this year and likely next year too.

Next month will talk about the above models, and continue showing off new things. There are actually older models by Metasmasher we haven't yet gotten into proper format that could also be put into this process. ; Those older variants were still made back when we didn't know what we were doing, and will take a little more work to integrate; but it is still the plan to do so!

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