Humble beginnings of the Frame-Slot system

Hey All,

Eric here. I’m going to give a glimpse at the humble beginnings of our new building system. So, my goal today was to get a rough prototype up and running for the Frame-Slot system. I just wanted to prove to myself and Derek that it worked. So I made a simple Frame and a placeholder Module. In the empty spaces of the Frame, I have trigger colliders called Slots that look for things tagged as “Module.” When the Frame’s Slots detect a Module, they activate a function on the Module’s script. This function makes the Module assume the position and rotation of the Slot, ditches the Module’s rigidbody, and parents itself to the Frame. It is rough and jerky at this point, but we can make the transition smoother in the future. I then made sure that it worked on all 6 sides of the Frame, which it did. When I attached the current Satellite Dish mesh to the Module, it snapped into place just as easily. This was rad because it confirmed, to me at least, that this was the right building system for Drift.

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In the end, Derek and I will make various different types of Frames, which can be used on their own or snapped together with other Frames to form interesting ship structures, and then these Frames will be filled in with even more varieties of Modules. Each Module type will have a different look and function. So, for example, one Module could be a window, another an exit & entrance hatch, another is an oxygen generator, and some just may be different types of walls. By placing these Modules where you want on the Frames, players can create a ship that suits them aesthetically and serves their purposes functionally. Because Frames can be combined with other Frames, players who started with a small dinky craft can build up into a massive starship or space station.

Now that we know ‘it works,’ Derek is going to work on designing Modules and Frames. I’m going to continue polishing up the system and adding some gameplay and visual tweaks to make it feel just right.

Stay tuned!


A Quick Look Behind the Making of the Naut Mesh

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Spent the evening working on a new mesh for our astronaut avatar.

The original was created when we very first started making the game – and my skills with blender were pretty grim.  Then, I essentially took the primitives (the basic sphere, cube, cylinder shapes) and plopped them down into Unity. Meshes overlapped, and it was very messy. The “Naut,” as we called him, was at best an abstraction.

I made it my mission, today, to come up with something better. Over the past week I’ve given blender another shot, while in the past I shook my fist at the software for its complexity, these days I feel a little more benign. A combination of finally gaining the muscle memory necessary to manipulate the camera and following a few simple tutorials gained me the ability to create a slightly more complicated mesh, as you can see above.

Take a look at the comparison shot below. A big improvement, if I do say so myself.

Of course, the process isn’t over. I think that this new Naut is, at best, an in-between stage. Despite the improvement he’s still a bit crude. I see him, however, as the result of learning a number of complicated procedures. The next step will be perfecting those procedures. I’ll apply what I’ve learned with greater efficiency and finesse.

Hope you enjoyed this little look at the process.


Playing with Friends and New Meshes

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Eric and I made a great breakthrough in the past few days: we got a build of Drift working with multiplayer. The two of us are living on two separate coasts of the U.S., so that gives me a lot of pleasure. We’re able to play the game together as we make it.

Another breakthrough: the 3D design software Blender has previously been a huge hassle for us. In the past its free, but largely opaque. Just recently, though, we’ve run across a few tutorials that allowed us to build (very slightly) more complicated. Here’s the one that helped me learn about booleans.

Very encouraging stuff. I am learning more and experimenting with blender. Next step – more complicated meshes, and texture mapping.