Thank you for helping me find some cool GIFs of the game. Below (converted to video for space reasons) are the three best ones.
With the game gearing up for release, I'd like to show people all the cool things about it. For this, I've put a GIF creation tool in the game's replay system. So when you replay a combat, you can hit the GIF button and record a short animation.
Now it's a question of finding some cool-looking GIFs, and this is something you can help me with.
Anything that shows off the game, the details, the combat, the designs - modded or not. Make them, share them in places, link me to them. Of those I get sent in the next week, the creators of the three I like best will get a custom coat of arms and a sticker, and the very best one will also get a gold-print Airships T-shirt.
Would you like to make videos or streams of Airships: Conquer the Skies? Here's some helpful info.
I am happy to announce that Airships: Conquer the Skies will be released on August 16, 2018.
It's been five years of development, nearly all of it with public builds available, going from a ship construction prototype with weirdly greenish-tinged wood to its current state, with multiplayer, dragons, landships, and well, more ship design.
Today also marks the release of dev 10, the final major pre-release version, featuring conquest multiplayer, a tech tree, and graphical improvements.
Doctor Heidegger. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to meet us.
No problem at all. It's important that the public understand the important work we do here.
Yes. Can you give our listeners a brief introduction?
Of course. The Ontology Ward is a somewhat unique part of the hospital. While elsewhere, purely physical ailments are treated, here we concern ourselves with problems of meaning and categorization.
For Global Game Jam 2018, my partner Rae made a great short twine game about numbers stations. When they decided to make an extended version of it, I promised to write a soundtrack. Now, I'm mostly a programming type of person, but I do like to dabble.
This update is all about aesthetics. Ships in the game, being made of blocks, have always looked very, uh, blocky. Numerous mods have been made to address this, but mods are limited in what they can do.
The main technical change this update introduces is pixel-perfect collision for modules. This means that you can have complex, rounded shapes that collide correctly, rather than having weird non-collisions or collisions at a distance.
The next content update - and the final one before dev 10 - is going to focus on ways to make your ships prettier.
I did Ludum Dare 41, which was about combining genres. I was looking at random genre combinations when I got horror/sports. This piqued my interest because:
So I decided to make a gruesome turn-based hotseat sports horror game. Potentially as a way to process school sports memories.
With the conquest multiplayer alpha on the way, my gaze now turns towards upgrading the conquest gameplay in general. If you recall, I did a big thing late last year where I asked players what they'd like to see in the finished game. Apart from conquest multiplayer, the most popular item was deeper conquest gameplay.
I'm implementing this on top of the changes I made to the game for multiplayer, which means you're going to have to wait for quite a while yet for this all to arrive, but then it will arrive all together in one glorious dev 10 update.
The first step I'm working on is the introduction of smaller towns. There's a big demand for bigger maps that take longer to play through. But instead of making a huge mosaic of dozens of empires, I'm instead keeping the number of empires the same and making them bigger. Each empire will start out with a capital city and three smaller towns (usually) surrounding it. By conquering towns, you can chip away at the might of other empires and increase your own.
So here we are, two months later, with the third instalment of the strategic multiplayer dev log. While Christmas and a busy January took their time, a lot of work has gone into making the details of conquest multiplayer work.
The setup GUI now works in the same way as resume, with a set of slots available to players. Any number of players can join in LAN and server-based MP mode, and players can also spectate.
This page was published entirely by accident, but I'm gonna leave it up. Enjoy some super-early Airships builds!
This page lists dev builds
for those who get to access them. Please do not redistribute the link or the builds. Feedback to email@example.com .
Want to get the occasional update on things I do?
This is my Global Game Jam 2018 entry on the theme "transmission". It's a short experimental piece of interactive fiction, where I tried to do A Thing with stories.
You are very, very hungover. An alien admiral urgently wants to talk to you. If only you remembered why.
Ludicious 2018 once more featured the Ludicious Unconference, organized and hosted by yours truly. Participants suggested topics, split up into discussion groups, and finally presented their results.
This is the third time I've done the unconference, and it's worked the best yet.
The first time, we had a lot of attendance and a good location, but a bunch of overly talkative academics wandered in from Davos and tried to turn the event into a seminar for their ideas. One of my favorite things about the unconference is that it's a hierarchically flat space - it doesn't matter if you are famous or new, you can propose topics and talk about them in the same way. They did not get that memo.
The second time, we were given the main conference hall of Ludicious, which is a lovely space, but it's huge and dark. We frankly felt lost. I think we had a decent attendance, but my memory is of the entire event camped out in one corner of the room.
This time, we had a good space, a decent number of attendants, and everyone participated in the right spirit. We had good conversations and ended up with six lovely handwritten posters summarizing things.
I definitely hope to do it again next year.
A game can either have an open world where the player can move freely, or a world that changes as the plot advances. If it has both, the player will miss out on most of the game's content. There are some approaches to deal with this, though...
So I've been thinking about the Skyrim Problem in RPGs.
In Skyrim, pretty much the first thing you find out is that big scary dragons have returned. And the main plot is about the return of these dragons. But there's also hundreds of side-quests you can do at your leisure. Indeed, once I stumbled into the nearest village after my dragon encounter, the first things that happened to me were a quest to deliver a ring, and a nice man who wanted to teach me all about smithing daggers.
But think about your character: would they at this point care about rings or taking up a career in smithing? Might not the whole dragon thing weigh a bit more heavily on their mind?
And indeed, you can play Skyrim like this, actually taking the dragon threat seriously, moving to warn and defend people as quickly as possible. This will also mean you skip most of the game. But you can also do all the side quests, and the dragons will wait politely as you learn how to make daggers or fix people's love lives, only arriving at the maximally plot-convenient time once you decide to take back up the main quest.
Now, some people don't mind this contradiction, but for me and a lot of others, it destroys my suspension of disbelief. It's a role-playing game, yet it wants me to play the role of a weird, endlessly distractable person whose dawdling somehow never matters.
Not all story-driven games are like this, though. Here are three ways to get around this:
Hey look, it's the traditional end of year post thingy!
As is also kind of traditional this year, let me start this off by saying that it was 1. a good year for me personally, and 2. a shitty year for the world. I didn't get negatively affected by Trump and Brexit because I'm far away from them in a bubble of privilege, but plenty of people I know and love have suffered because of them.
So what did I get up to?
A procedural generator for science-fictional planets. Source
So after the initial rapid success of getting conquest multiplayer to work, it was time to see how much the multiplayer really kept in sync. It looked like it was in sync, but not every small divergence would be visible, and those small divergences could spiral into larger ones.
Asteroid Storm is the first game I made and released to the public.
I found the original downloads and am re-releasing it on itch.io for posterity. You will need a classic Mac or install an emulator to get this game to run.
I'm embarking on an attempt to make multiplayer strategic conquest work in Airships.
First off, to be clear, this may well not work. I wrote the strategic conquest code without thought to making it multiplayer, which means I now need to try and refit it for this purpose. It's entirely possible that I can't get it to work consistently, or that performance or UX problems make the experience a terrible one.
Still, lots and lots of people insisted they really wanted this feature, especially cooperative strategic multiplayer, so I'm giving it a try. If, after a few weeks of work, things are still a complete mess, I will shelve the attempt.
I started working on this about three days ago, having formulated an approximate plan:
I recently implemented a combat replay system for Airships: Conquer the Skies. The motivation was to allow players to play back past fights to analyze them or simply enjoy the carnage. I also wanted to make it easier to create GIFs and gameplay videos.
The game uses lockstep multiplayer: the starting state is synced, and then only player commands are exchanged. The game state stays consistent between players because it's deterministic. This makes creating a recording system pretty straightforward: save the starting state and the commands issued, and the fight can be played back.
The cool thing about doing replays like this: because a replay is literally the same combat being played through again, the game can offer the player the option of re-inserting themselves at any time. This works by turning off the replay of stored commands, giving players control of their chosen side, and installing AIs in the opposite one. Which I think is a pretty neat and unique feature. Rewrite history! Could you have won that battle? What was it like from the other side? Would a different tactic have worked better?