12. Spawning, 3D printer, Cables, soundtracks and more…

Hello and welcome to the latest blog post. I know last time I said it’s the biggest update…but now…things will get crazy. The truth is that the more time I spend developing new features, the lest time I get to spend talking about them. I mean, I can only do so much in 24 hours every day, so I need to prioritize. Bottom line, I think you all will agree that it’s better to actually make the game rather than just talk about it and all it’s features. Well, I think I have found somewhat of a balance – a few months of developing and then a nice summary here in the blog section. So then, lets get started!

Starting in the correct order:

The Cyber truck folding solar panels (currently just the 3d models and animation, needs a control script, but that’s power management, which will come later)

The next one is essential – everything on Mars will need maintenance. All equipment has components and they will have a life span, after which they will need to be replaced or repaired. There will be certain events like solar flares, that will damage equipment as well, so repairs are pretty important. The basic mechanic is ready. I have already mentioned this but I will do it again – dust will also build up on stuff and will need to be cleaned.

Small details are important. I’ve always enjoyed little mechanical details in games so I will put as much attention into this game as possible. One such detail is the popping screen for the crane, it can easily be made stationary, but there is nothing cool about it. Also the screen is actually a POV from the crane’s camera.

I’m still experimenting with how I want the item placeholders to look and highlight. At first I was considering making them invisible 100% of the time, but then It will be really hard to know where to place each item. For now they are on all the time, but I will probably restrict them to be active if the player is within a certain distance and holding the correct item I guess. Let me know what you think!

Minor tweaks on the 1st person helmet and the animation for the “pip boy” tablet.

A major change was porting everything to Unity 2020.3.7 from 2019. The change brought a lot of issues that were fixed, but it also unlocked a lot of doors. Many useful things were added in 2020+, so it was worth the trouble. One such thing is animation rigging and IK, which made (easily) possible thing like the 3D printer, but more on that later.

Base building will be done via the crane. I wrote a script that imitates electromagnetic force as seen here:

and here

As the script imitates real world physics and magnetism, it has some aspects of lifting objects with different mass that are a bit too real and might be a pain to play with in the final game. I have a few ideas on how to smooth things out and if they don’t work I will resume work on a crane with a regular hook. Once again, let me know what you guys think will be better.

I will briefly mention that I played around with cinemachine and the results are awesome, but that is a topic for another blog post (and a nice video). Another one of those brief mentions goes to all the habitat building videos I posted on twitter as I am currently reworking the entire system from the ground up (its now the 4th time) as I had some way cooler ideas and I was generally not happy with how it was working previously. Aiming for perfection here!

Next up we have one of the 3 soundtracks that I was able to produce. I am new to cinematic and ambient music and digitally creating music in general. I do play drums and guitar (and some piano) so that is a major help in terms of music theory and a stepping stone in the area. I’m happy with how they turned out, there will be more soon. Btw I edited the track in the video at least 6 times since it was uploaded so that is not the final version.

The 3D printer will be an essential part of building the base. The idea is that the player will only be able to print stuff that make sense. For example you as the player will be able to print tiles that can be attached to the walls and roof of the habitat to protect from radiation. The tiles, just like everything else 3d printed, will be created by Martian dust as filament and organic compound as a glue. The dust is collected by a little vacuum robot roaming around. The glue will be created at a chem station (work in progress) .The printer’s arm is an IK rig that will actually move realistically (within the printed object’s bound’s etc.) There is more work to be done, but this will give you the basic idea.

The cable system is one of the most important systems in the game in my opinion, so it will need even more work, but so far it looks good (it can look way better in terms of cable simulation, but it gets really CPU intensive). Right now the whole idea is that cables and hoses are in reels and the player can wind and unwind them to keep everything clean and tidy. The ropes are optimized a lot but can still pose a risk in terms of performance. I need to conduct more testing and see if I can find a feasible option to keep them in game. Another alternative which is really cool is also an option, but I will discus it if we need to go there. Right now things seem to be under control for that system.

I’ve also added a ton of little features like reflection probes, electrical components (3d models), making the trailer attachable and a lot more.

The other major aspect of the game is spawning. Naturally every spawnable object will be inside the starship and will be brought into the game via the elevator. All game objects apart from the 3d printed ones will be created that way. I am ready with the basic system:

After finishing a few core system I will focus on an early trailer. For that I made two “shorts” in outer space with the starship.

And that’s it for now. I have a few big things cookin’ right now, so by the next blog post there will be major stuff ready and hopefully the early trailer will be up. See ya!

7 comments

  1. Great!!! Amazing really. I don’t know how you wrap your mind around the creation of it.
    I am writing a book about Mars . When it’s done I will send you a copy.

  2. Looking great! If you’re looking for testers, I would love to help with that. I actually tested another Mars game called “Take On Mars” during the alpha and beta stages.

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