note to Andy: I wasn't sure if this would belong in Genesis or Other Creative Work. Feel free to move it if you see fit.After reading about the game systems that Shane and Crash Override have been tinkering with in the Other Creative Work forum, I have started giving some serious thought into developing a plugin set or a "total conversion" plugin for Star Fleet into the space shooter/strategy game Escape Velocity Nova. I had started developing 3D models and compiling data for a Starcraft plugin for EVN several months ago, but never finished it. Here are a couple of shots from it:http://brad.project-think.com/starfleet ... w-2.jpgThe
carriers had bays with 8 little interceptors just like in Starcraft. They and the scout and the arbiter all fired custom particle weapons. I hadn't worked out any good physics for the ships, though. Why did I give up on it? Eh, I didn't have any new ideas or real motivation to work out writing missions and inventing ship outfits and custom pilots and constructing all the rest of the ships in 3D.Oh... I guess I should explain what *is* this EVN game first.
Escape Velocity started back in 1995 as a *huge* hit game for the Mac. There are people today that are still addicted to the original. "Escape Velocity Nova" is the third installment of this game. By overwhelmingly popular demand, it is now being ported to the Windows platform. In fact, some people want it *so* badly that they run Mac emulators on their PCs just to play it! The Windows version is still in early beta development. This latter bit is the big reason I'm thinking about developing this plugin -- because all you other PC folk would get to experience it too. :biggrin:Okay, now, what *is* this game all about? It is an overhead-view game where you basically get to do whatever you want in the galaxy. You start out with a single small shuttle and a paltry sum of credits. From there, you choose your own path. You can be a trader and fly shipments and ferry passengers to planets and system for money. With that money you can buy a variety of upgrades or weapons for your ship or buy a new ship altogether or even hire escort ships. Alternatively, you could be a pirate and attack other ships, board them, steal their goods and credits, or take the ship itself! If you are really daring, you can even dominate whole planets and make them pay you a daily tithe. If you rather keep to yourself, you can buy an asteroid scoop and mine the drifting rocks for precious metals to sell on a nearby planet. There are several "lifestyle" options for pilots in Escape Velocity.There's a lot more to Escape Velocity than just running trade routes and pillaging, though. There are a number of different government factions and alien species throughout the galaxy. If you play your cards right, you can attract their attention and go through one of several intricately intertwined mission strings. The choices you make and how you perform in the mission strings can actually affect the overall development of the galaxy itself.Here are a few in-flight screenshots I just took. Click the thumbnail to get full-size.And here are two movies I just captured from the game. Unfortunately, the videos have awfully low frame rates (about 6 FPS), but that can't be helped because constant screen capture to disk eats a huge amount of memory bandwidth and just chokes when doing full-screen video. The game itself performs fantastically and the graphics aren't nearly as jumpy as they may appear here. Both video clips require the free QuickTime 6 Player.http://brad.project-think.com/movies/evn-demo-1.mov
(1 min 35 sec long, 2.1 MB)http://brad.project-think.com/movies/evn-demo-2.mov
(3 min long, 3.8 MB)Yes, these are both basically just suicide runs and in both of them I am using a ship with a single clumsy, unidirectional laser. But, hey, at least my fleet of ships helps me kick some ass before going down in a blaze.
Escape Velocity is also completely customizable through plugins. For developers, there's an 85-page "Nova Bible" that just barely covers all the details without any examples. Needless to say, there's a LOT that you can change. Even with all that documentation, there are still some things you just have to figure out on your own through experimenting.Here are a couple of links:"Escape Velocity Nova" home pageEV Nova for Windows progress logEV Nova FAQs pageEV Nova web boardSo, where does Star Fleet fit into all of this? Well, I want to replace the Nova universe with a universe tailored specifically for Star Fleet, complete with an array of ships, ship outfits and weapons, planets and systems, basic trade missions, and even some mission strings that can work you into becoming a trusted member of EDF, an agent for the Imperial Alliance, a Callinian mediator, or something else altogether. I don't have an outline of missions yet, but I do have several ideas for them. Over the past couple of days, I have been compiling a list of canon items that would be included in the game before creating anything new. I now have a full list of ships, weapons, and planets/systems that are used or mentioned in the series.Before I get started on the actual code, I was wondering how many of you would be interested in seeing this. It will be a HUGE undertaking if I follow through with it. Fortunately, it can partially work in tandem with the 3D models I'm doing for Genesis because I'll use the same models for the graphics in the game. Unfortunately, I'm not sure exactly when to expect an actual release of the Windows port. I could be testing this "solo" for quite a while. The progress log sounds promising, but I wouldn't expect anything until early next year. When it *is* released, though, there is one last caveat. You have to pay the US? shareware fee in order to use plugins. You can try the game for as long as you want (though, missions will also be limited) for free before deciding to pay. Personally, I thought it was well worth the price and payed just two days after it was released.Also, if Andy wouldn't mind, I'd like to borrow some of the plot points from his excellent Genesis story to be part of the mission strings. I may have a lot of technical knowhow, but I'm not the greatest writer or storyteller.Thoughts? Comments? Questions?
(Edited by Bradster at 4:50 am on Nov.
10, 2002)(Edited by Bradster at 3:56 pm on Nov. 20, 2002)