Airships 6.4 is out, incorporating observations and suggestions from the two festivals I recently presented the game at. This update concentrates on more spectacular graphics. Major changes include modules breaking apart into visible fragments and shots leaving trails and exhausts. Oh, and there is now a French translation, courtesy of the Airships community!
I just made this simplified chicken tagine-type thing for lunch, and it was really tasty, so here's the recipe for (mostly my own) reference.
No, I'm not adding a paintball mode to the game.
One of the major bits of feedback I got from showing my game at AMAZE Berlin last month was that there's a lot of potential for more spectacle in the game: more satisfying crashes and explosions and things whizzing past. We like large amounts of kinetic energy, don't we?
I've been playing Civ V again and thinking about alternate versions of the civilizations in the game. There's actually a whole lot to unpack about the Civilization series' idea of history, which is far more ideological than I think its creators realize. But for now, let's start with this: the game generally picks the era of history in which a country was at its most powerful or "iconic" as a basis.
Airships 6.3 adds lots of new decals to apply to your ships. The decal system's been around for a long time, but after the initial set of options for putting your coat of arms onto your ships, it got neglected for a while. As part of the push for increased prettyness, I added a whole bunch more, mostly inspired by real-life aerial decorations.
I spent the latter part of last week at A MAZE Berlin, an indie games festival. I had a really good time - met lots of new people, got to deepen my acquaintance with others, and met some Twitter people in the flesh for the first time.
(Click text to generate another one.)
I get a fair number of emails from online game stores, payment processors and bundles asking about becoming a distributor for Airships: Conquer the Skies. Fundamentally, I am always interested in expanding the game's reach, but here's some things to consider that will let you gauge if you're a good fit:
Version 6.3 is out, bringing many improvements to graphics and many bug fixes. I've covered the major items in previous blog posts, so I'm just going to let the changelog and screenshots speak for themselves:
As promised, today I'm going to write about the new modules that are coming in version 6.3, but first, some announcements:
If you are so inclined, you can now get Airships in exchange for bitcoin and dogecoin via coinplay.io. As with all other purchase options, this includes a Steam key.
Also, I will be at AMAZE Berlin, an independent videogames festival running from April 22 to April 25. Look out for the bearded guy with the Airships logo T-shirt.
So, to the modules.
I have given in to the lure of fanfic. Here's a take on what might happen eighty years after Bruce Wayne's death.
"It's simple. We kill the Botman."
Julia looked taken aback. She still wasn't used to Percival's rather... direct approach to problem-solving, but she had to admit he had a point.
"Well, it's not really killing, is it? More like shutting down." Play it cool, Julia.
"Decommissioning," Laura added.
Julia gave the floor a little sideways kick, sending her and the chair spinning. All the chairs in this place were upholstered with fancy leather and pointlessly high-backed. Sitting down was a squeaky and slightly mildewy embrace.
People clearly like the mod, as it's now up to about 350 subscribers and hit the Steam Workshop front page.
The major hindrance to making the mod bigger is that I'm a complete newb at Civ V modding. So far, all of the things I've introduced have been purely data-driven, just adding new rows to the list of pantheon beliefs, basically. But for a lot of the cooler effects I want to introduce, I'll have to dive into the game's scripting engine. Not sure when I'll get the time to do so, but we'll see how it goes.
Anyway, here's my future plans:
Around this time two years ago, I was working on a simple Java 2D game engine with swappable rendering implementations. It occurred to me that I needed to make a simple game to try it out and find its flaws in real-world use. Then I stumbled on Context-Free Patent Art, a wonderful collection of bad and creepy patent drawing. I decided to base my test game on bad patent art, and Patent Blaster was born.
A mod for Civilization V that introduces a bunch of religious elements inspired by HP Lovecraft. Right now, the mod simply adds some new pantheon beliefs which are powerful but have some drawback as well:
I've been at it again, playing Civ V and coming up with ideas for mods I'm probably never going to write. This time: hero units!
Each civilization in the game gets some special ability, one or two special unit types, and maybe a building or tile enhancement. This mod would also add an unique unit to each civ that can only be built once. This unit would be quite a bit stronger, but since there's only ever one of it, its presence doesn't massively unbalance play. Nor can it be upgraded. But when it dies, it produces a quantity of faith, culture or science that is its legacy.
I'm still working on Airships 6.3, and it's shaping up to be a very pretty update. Most recently, I've made particles and explosions look much better and am now replacing the simple low-res backgrounds with more detailed ones. Also, Airships has an official wiki now!
I previously wrote a post about a game jam format where you refine your game by re-making it repeatedly, halving the time allotted each time. People rightly pointed out that this would probably be horribly stressful. So here's an improved version, more of a prototyping technique than a jam format this time.
There was a Twitter discussion yesterday about a transphobic joke in the recent Obsidian game Pillars of Eternity. Here's is my attempt to convince you that transphobic details in fiction are a problem.
We interrupt our scheduled posting about landships to bring you some info about upcoming graphics improvements. Like a lot of software, Airships development runs on two rails: major changes and minor improvements. So while I'm working on adding landships for version 7, I'm also taking time to fix bugs and add polish to version 6.
There's been a lot of talk about alternate currencies recently, with Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Stellar and so on all jostling to be The Future. I would like to suggest an... alternate approach. It may strike you as odd at first, but hear me out: it has some truly fascinating dynamics.
I've previously written about the problem of rising complexity in strategy games. You manage a number of units (team members, cities, spaceships, etc.) that have some degree of complexity. As the game goes on, you need to acquire more units to succeed. But since the complexity of managing each of them stays the same, the game eventually slows down to a crawl. At the start, each detailed decision on each unit makes a meaningful difference, but by the endgame, only the aggregate of your decisions matters. So you have to either play suboptimally or spend a lot of time on boring micromanagement.
If you're a game developer, you've likely encountered these: emails from people claiming to be a Let's Player or representing a game news site, asking you for a review copy of your game. A lot of these are fake, but of course there are real ones too, which you really need to get the word out about your game.
Having separated out landships as a new kind of construction, it was time to start figuring out how to draw their wheels and legs.