Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Modular spacecraft

Because of the nature of the conflict between the Terran Federation and the Rising Hand, many starships in the Heresy War universe came to cover more than one role, be it civilian or military. The first to employ this philosophy were the members of the Rising Hand, who could not afford to build massive fleet of specialized spacecraft to suit their needs; therefore, their focus went to converting existing designs or re-building ships from parts of other ships and turn them into versatile weapons of war.

As developers we faced a new challenge: to build spacecraft that are recognizable, functional, and can support multiple configurations for various roles. To solve this, we designed the roles that a ship would fit in its respective army, and built the hull in such a way that it supports various multifunctional modules, standard for the faction that it belongs to.

In the following images we’ll give you some examples by using one of the ships that you’ll encounter often in the game, the Intruder class corvette.

The corvette’s hull sports a number of magnetic locks that are commonly found on Core vessels as attachment ports for turrets and other modules. This is how the base hull of the corvette looks like without any add-ons.

The heavy assault refit is used when corvettes are employed in capital ship combat, but also versus other medium targets that have a degree of maneuverability. A 1 meter thick blast shield is fitted in the frontal slot of the corvette, helping it withstand a great deal of damage from capital ship fire.

This is an ultra-specialized refit used only during assaults of capital ships or star-bases. While the corvette is able to dish out an incredible amount of damage to targets that stand still, it is a sitting duck versus fighters or any other maneuverable craft.

When intelligence suggests a large fighter force, the corvettes are usually equipped with this setup. Here, all armor and heavy assault weapons have been removed and replaced with rapid-fire point defense turrets, which are a nightmare for every Rising Hand fighter pilot.

The micro-carrier load-out truly shows the versatility of the Intruder. While in this state, the corvette is able to carry, along a complement of point defense and heavy turrets, one fighter wing. This is extremely useful during covert operations behind enemy lines, where fighters cannot normally go because of their limited range.

All these are just a few examples of what kind of modifications can just one ship take in our game. For more information check out our upcoming updates.

Thank you for reading and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Surprising development

Yes, we are still alive :)

Basically , our team has been hard at work on locking down the features list for the full game, and implementing some new stuff such as:

  • Weapon systems and devices - this basically includes what the ship can use against an enemy or to aid an ally. We also have plans for non-aggressive utility devices which alter the gameplay quite a bit
  • Communication systems - we all love to taunt the enemy or to boss around the wingmen. Now everything is possible with the help of a few key presses :)
  • Input enhancements - force feedback , gamepad or joystick controls will be present with all the bells and whistles. You'll be able to use the XBOX 360 controller as well
  • Multiplayer - this is really the biggest thing added to the game in the past few months. So far a classic free for all mode has been tested, but more complex modes are in the pipeline.
On a totally unrelated note, we have tested the game on the lowest configuration to date, an Asus EEEPC 900HA. Here are the specifications
  • Intel Atom CPU 1.6 GHz
  • 1 GB ram
  • Intel Mobile 945 Express video card
The game's performance was surprising, even in a state where optimizations are pretty much missing. We had to disable some of the unsupported features such as pixel and vertex shaders, full screen bloom and some other minor things in order to get it started. In spite of all this, the graphics still remained decent, and the frames kept playable values, with the maximum at 80, and an average at 15. Mesh-heavy levels dropped to 3 fps sometimes

Here are some screenshots :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Modders rejoice!

Hello and welcome to the first in a series articles about the development and state of Heresy War. The first subject that we will touch here is modding, namely what can YOU as a fan can do to customize your experience, and what are the limits to the changes that you can do to the game.
Well, since Heresy War is a PC game and because we want it to be a modern one, we had to think from the stat the whole architecture with flexibility as a core principle. And this is mostly because we don't want a "Game Over" screen at the end of the built in campaign. Instead we want the game to have a much longer life through our online updates and why not through hundreds or thousands of community developed mods.
And so, you'd ask "
How will I be able to tweak something at Heresy War?".
The short answer will be trough the "
Heresy War Modding SDK" that will be freely available at the launch of the game.
As a long answer I would say that there will be a level editor (the actual level editor that we are using to develop the game), there will be tools to convert various public 3D formats to Heresy War 3D format, a model viewer, special effects editor and a well structured documentation of the whole SDK.

A shot from the level editor
The same mission in the game

I also can say that almost every aspect of the game will be tweakable from a script or from a tool, without the need of touching actual game code.
For example one can add new ships with completely new cockpits and new HUDs (and here I don't mean just changing the HUD's style, but actually adding new elements and new features); another person would like to add new levels or even new linear or nonlinear campaigns or why not, link the campaigns together. All this will be possible. And that's still not it :) maybe someone has a great new idea one that we've never thought of and the systems we've implemented in our mission editor are not enough for him to put he's idea in Heresy War, but this will not be a problem because Heresy War has a powerful scripting engine that can access and control every aspect of a level. Actually, our level editor saves parts of the levels as script projects, which can be edited with a simple text editor.
How fast can I test my work?
We try to focus our tools to be very efficient in terms of creating content for the game. That’s why most of them are very handy and easy to use, even by the novice.

The model viewer in action

If you’re trying to make a new ship, for example, you will need to go through an initial setup phase that you need to do only once. This setup phase consists in creating the shaders for your ship (really easy and fast), and setting up the ship for the model compiler. After you do this, export the ship, compile the model and test it in our Model Viewer. This tool allows you to access your own models very fast, and view them in “ideal” conditions, without going through the hassle of creating a level that has your ship in it, or going through the game’s loading time.
If you’re working on a level, after you hit the “Export level” button in the mission editor, you’re ready to go and test your level by just starting the game.
"How about total conversions?" you might ask.
Well, since everything can be changed easily, from the first menu page to the levels, weapons, ships, and even the “game over screen” ... I guess total conversions will not be a big problem for an enthusiast team. Hopefully with this few lines we've made some space-sim modders a bit more happy and, why not, eager to start a new mod :)


What's this all about?

Hi there,
Basically, this blog exists so that you can be informed about the development process of Heresy War, our progress, what's new and cool, and so on and so forth.

Here you will find articles and news stories that are updated on a regular basis. However, for more information about the game's universe, factions, gameplay, etc, keep visiting our
game's site at www.heresywar.com.
Also, for questions and comments don't hesitate to visit our