Early Inspirations for Starcom

Do you remember the first video game you ever played? I used to think mine was Zork, played on our family’s home computer. I remember unwrapping it on Christmas and being excited just looking at the box. It took me several years to beat because in those days if you got stumped, you had to … Read more

Technology Tree

As the player explores the universe of Starcom: Nexus, they will become more powerful, able to tackle greater threats and dispatch earlier enemies more easily. The game features two progression mechanics, both of which gradually transform your ship from a simple shuttle to a might battlecruiser. The first mechanic is expanding their ship with modules constructed from resources. The second, … Read more

Alien Worlds, Part II: Interaction

In the last post I explained how the game generates endless interesting looking planets of various types. Game play-wise, I want planets to be a little like treasure chests in fantasy RPGs: sometimes dangerous, sometimes empty, often rewarding and always providing the potential for mystery and discovery. When players reach a new planet, they can conduct a … Read more

Alien Worlds, Part I: The Visual

No game about space exploration would be complete without planets. The original Starcom Flash game had them, but they were purely ornamental landmarks. There were a half-dozen or so bitmaps with color tint shifts to give the illusion of greater variety. As decorative features they worked quite well: the game would have felt much less rich without … Read more

Orienting the Player in a Large 2D World

In a 2D world, whether top-down or side-scrolling, as soon as something moves outside the screen’s bounds, it’s gone. In a large universe where the player can freely move in any direction, keeping the player oriented is a challenge. It’s particularly difficult when your universe is literally the universe and the background is often just a field … Read more

How to Manage a Very, Very, Very Large Contiguous Universe

This is a technical post on managing a large universe is Unity geared mainly towards other developers. As always, features described are about a work in progress. The finished game may differ from what is described here. The player is exploring a large 2D universe in their spaceship. Some parts of the universe have been … Read more

Categories Dev

Havok Defense

In the original game, there was a “Havok Defense” passive upgrade that could shoot down incoming missiles and fighters, but was a fairly minor effect. In Starcom: Nexus, the Havok system will still exist, but as a short lived power up you can activate as needed. It will be much more powerful than the original … Read more