Dev Diary 12 - Close Encounters of the Third Kind in Starflight: The Remaking of a Legend

For discussions about the new Unity SF1 remake by Marvin Herbold
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Dev Diary 12 - Close Encounters of the Third Kind in Starflight: The Remaking of a Legend

Post by Blake00 »

Greetings pilots! This time Marvin implements radar, builds his first alien ship model and brings us a close encounter of the third kind in his Starflight: The Remaking of a Legend project. Next article will cover Mechan 9 comms! :)

We are Mechan 9. Please respond.
(Originally posted by Marvin 21/10/2018 HERE)

After a little discussion with the team, we voted on proceeding with encounters as the next big feature for this remake.

So, in order to do encounters, we need something to encounter. The logical choice for the first encounter would be to create the Mechan race and ship because they are close by (you encounter them early in the game) and there is only one ship type for the Mechans (the scout).

Here is what their ship looks like in the original EGA version (the purple area at the top right corner).


So, I brought that screenshot into 3D Studio Max 2019 and started creating a ship, using that screenshot as inspiration. One thing to note, in the original screenshot the cockpit alignment is off center by one pixel. Weird. In my 3D model recreation, the cockpit is perfectly aligned.

Here is a series of screenshots and renderings that I took while creating the ship model. I got as far as modeling the entire ship – but I am not completely satisfied with the back half of the ship. I plan to spend a few more hours improving the back half, then it will be time to throw on some temporary materials and texture maps and then prepare it for importing into Unity.


Beep… beep… beep… something is coming!
(Originally posted by Marvin 31/10/2018 HERE)

Just in time for Halloween, I have implemented something that gives the game an ominous feeling… that something is coming… for you! Muahahahaha!

In other words, I have implemented radar.

Now now, I know the original game did not have “radar”… or, did it? The original game would tell you “Movement detected” and give you X and Y coordinates that are relative to your ship. So the original game DID have radar… albeit it was a text-based one!

In the spirit (yes, another Halloween pun) of the resto-modding of the original game, the radar I have implemented is a graphics-based one, but it works exactly as the original did. Once in a while the radar will detect something and let you know it’s position relative to you, and the distance to the encounter is indicated by the loudness of the beep, and also by how intense the green detection dot appears.

This is all very much a work in progress, so there are still some things to do to improve this radar. For example, I want to make it so that if nothing is detected for a bit of time, the radar fades out.

Here is a video showing the radar in its current state. Watch this at midnight tonight with all the lights off, and pretend that monsters are coming for you…

Close Encounters of the Third Kind
(Originally posted by Marvin 15/11/2018 HERE)

For the past week or so I’ve been working bit by bit to get encounters in. The Starflight remake is made up of several “locations” in the space flight scene that the player can enter and leave. They are currently “docking bay”, “just launched”, “star system”, “in orbit”, “hyperspace”, and now the new one “encounter”. Last night I was able to get the remake to the point where the player can enter and leave encounters at will, from either a star system or hyperspace.

My first stab at the encounter location was simply to have the player and ships in the scene. But I noticed a problem when I added the automatic camera dolly system. The auto-dolly system moves the camera back and forth to make make sure that all of the alien ships are visible in the screen. With this system running, the player no longer has any plane of reference to get a feel for where they are in the scene. To make things worse, the dust particle system had the particles going in and out of the camera (instead of parallel to the camera) because of the auto-dolly… and the rotating skybox did not help things. Put it all together, the movement of things in the encounter location did not make sense and quickly made the player queasy.

So, I decided to add a grid in the view to help ground the player. I think it works. The grid also shows a boundary ring that the player can cross to exit the location. In the original game, this boundary shifted depending on how far away you were from the alien ships and debris. I’m not sure if I like that.

Currently, the only alien ships that have a ship model to display are the Mechans. All other alien ship will appear as a placeholder pill thingy. I think the next step is communications with the alien beings! Here is a video of the work done so far with encounters.

Alien Ship Scanning
(Originally posted by Marvin 24/11/2018 HERE)


What the title says – I added the ability to scan alien ships. Right now only the Mechans have the proper graphics working – all other ships will display a placeholder image.
Check out the video!

Blake's Sanctum - Starflight Series: fan page containing pics, vids, info, walkthroughs, & fan games!
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