Thursday, 24 February 2011

Homage to Laser Squad

Obviously the whole of Stellar Forces can be thought of as a homage to Laser Squad, but here's another small touch: new deployment squares:-

Ps - No more posts about smoke grenades. I've finally released the client so you can recreate the smoke effects for yourself.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

More Smoke Grenades

I don't know why I'm bothering to post this as it's nothing special really. There was a smoke grenade explosion just inside the doorway, and I like the way the smoke has "funnelled" out the door. Who needs Havok?

Maybe if I stopped posting entries like this, I would actually finish implementing smoke grenades sooner.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Stellar Forces: Smoke Grenades!

By popular demand, I am working on adding smoke grenades to Stellar Forces.

Stellar Forces: Taking cubism to the next level!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Stellar Forces: Interior (and exterior) Design

Here's the original Assassins map:-

And here's my new one after adding and changing a few more textures:-

It's looking a bit better, but I've started to realise that the skill required for this is effectively "interior design", i.e. what kind of floor colour goes with what kind of wall. Dammit, I'm a programmer, not Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Stellar Forces: Not Enough Memory

By far the biggest of the (very few, natch) issues that players of Stellar Forces have is running out of memory when playing the game. This is undoubtedly because of the 3D, for which I use JMonkeyEngine2.

The problems typically occur when a new "visual effect" takes place, using up a fair bit of memory and pushing the client over the edge. Maybe I should get the game to create lots of "hidden" visual effects at the start, so that if the game is going to crash, at least it will do so at the start rather than mid-game and potentially cause problems.

But are there ways to reduce memory? I had a go with JConsole to monitor memory usage. At the point where the game is ready to start playing, the client is using 30Mb of memory, although there is a peak of about 60Mb just prior to gc()'ing. I need to find out if that is normal.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Stellar Forces: Texture Revamp (pt 2)

Thanks to TheAncientGoat and Phillip Taylor for showing me the error of my ways, although I was already suspicious that my method for merging textures was very cumbersome and inefficient.

Thanks to them pointing me in the right direction, I've now decided to "sort-of-texture-splat". There's probably a special name for it, known only to people who know this kind of thing, but whatever it's called I'm going to have two quads on top of each other, with one quad having a transparent texture on it allowing the other quad to show through.

Here's a rough demo I did by putting a "roadside" texture (from UFO:AI) on top the grass texture, just to prove I could do it:-

Now I've accomplished this, I just need to squirt my artistic juices and design some nice map layouts. That reminds me, I now also need to change the map editor to allow for two floor textures. A programmer's work is never done!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Stellar Forces: Texture Revamp

I'm in the slow process of adding new textures to Stellar Forces. Not completely new textures though; I'm trying to eliminate the harsh edges between existing textures.

Take grass when adjacent to a road, for example. This is the grass texture:-

And this is the road texture:-

And using the power of Gimp, I've created this which blurs the edges and makes it a smoother transation:-

Here is in action:-

If you see what it looked like before (ignore the deployment squares):-

It's going to be a long process, since for every two textures that may be adjacent, I need to create 4 "combined textures". Hmm. Is there an easier way??

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Stellar Forces: New Client Released (v1.55)

I keep forgetting to post here about new Stellar Forces client updates. However, new version 1.55 has just been released with the following changes:-

  • The size of explosion f/x is related to the power of the grenade.
  • There is only a 50% chance that an explosion will cause other grenades to explode. After a few overzealous grenades, it's been decided to temper them a bit.
  • New 'close combat opportunity attack' feature. No longer will running up to the enemy and shooting at them "point-blank" be quite so risk-free (not that it was anyway what with Death Greandes being avaiable).
  • Units will now opp-fire on the very first turn.
If you already have the Stellar Forces client, it will upgrade automatically. Otherwise it can be downloaded from Google Code.