13. Entering phase two!

Hello fellow martians,

Once again, there is a s*it ton of stuff to cover, but I don’t want to spam your mailboxes weekly, so I kind of wait for it to pile up. Well, it piled up. To make things easier to understand, let’s divide the entire development process into two sections:

 – Proof of work (placeholder assets purely to test mechanics and to determine if the game is actually fun)

– Making the actual high fidelity textures for the final game and refining mechanics

The last blog post covered some of the final entries into the proof of work phase. I did make a few more things after that, but they are not really important right now. Which leads us to the highlight of today’s post – the development is now in phase two – most of the things you see will make it in the game. I say most because still a lot of things will change, but this is way closer to the final product than anything seen up to this point. Alright, enough talk, lets get to the meat. (not to offend any vegans)

As you may know I started the project in Unity 2019, Universal Render Pipeline. Phase two’s foundations were laid on the latest Unity build and uses HDRP (high definition render pipeline). This is the stuff that can compete with Unreal.

This meant a complete remodeling and retexturing for every single 3D model I had made so far, but even before that I did some more digging and reaserch. A lot more research.

That gave me a few interesting ideas that you will hear about in the near future. Also this was really important as I want the game to be more of a simulator than anything else, so scientifically accurate gameplay is key.

About those high end textures I mentioned earlier – this is the 4K character model

Then I decided to scrap the old interaction system and write a new one from scratch along with incorporating IK for proper hand and body placement and movement. It was a pain, but it was worth it!

Right after the character it was time to start working on the cyber truck. As you might remember the old model did not have an interior and none of its parts were removable or openable. That changed. Dramatically.

Again, I made 4K and 8K textures for the interior / exterior.

Many tools and accessories will be made in the future, some are already in – like the scissor jack and stands.

Engine and suspension components are also added. They can be removed and changed if damaged, some will have the option to be repaired.

The next thing is the interior and tablet + UI. The tablet is activated when you enter the vehicle and all functions on the touch screen actually work. This is a whole different story – it took quite some time to write a good (awesome) car controller that will properly simulate stuff, but yeah, it’s ready.

You can see all the target transforms (vector 3 positions) that tell the IK hand where to be and how to move when pressing a touch screen button.

If I had to showcase all things made on the truck nobody will reach the end of the blog post, so lets cut it here. Next was the Starship exterior – 8K textured

the twitter pluggin hides the right side of the photo in the post, where the starship is, so to see it you might have to open it.

Even if you did not see it, don’t worry, I will be making the Interior soon, so the starship will be shown top to bottom in the next post.

I will spend more time on the next subject – the trailer. Not a trailer as in a cinematic movie, but a trailer that you attach to the truck and transport stuff. Why am I explaining this… Anyway, this is not a regular trailer. Its an AI drone trailer, that follows a beacon. You can attach the beacon to the back of the cybetruck or you can hold it in your hand. Either way the trailer will do its best to stay close to that beacon.

Some initial tests of the nav system

Now that I had the brain worked out, it was time to sort out the body. A brand new cyber truck was chopped down without any mercy to create this abomination below.

Put them together and add myself as a narrator and you get this

The other big thing (I say big cause it was a pain to make and it also looks cool) is the rock destruction system. The plan for now is to avoid repetitive work as a miner or Mars and use this mechanic less often – to unblock a pathway or something like that. Not sure if it will be fun as full blown mining mechanic. That largely depends on optimisations as well so its too early to say at this point. I looks cool tho.

By the way the plan for now is to have a “tutorial” level which will be months before the Mars mission and will be on Earth in a SpaceX hanger. That will give the player a change to mess around with all available equipment and test stuff without messing their game on Mars.

There is now a 99% ready save/load system in place and many other things that are halfway done, so I will leave them for the next post.

Hope I wasn’t too boring. See you again soon!

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