And another year passes . . .

Hello, again! Tonight I've got a bit more of the Landing cinematic to show - still not done, but good enough to show.

Still on the To-Do list:
Add the shadow under the fighter.
Add a shield effect when the fighter passes through the atmospheric boundary.
Add cooldown and landing jet effects to the fighter.
Hopefully the rest will be done tomorrow or Tuesday.
In the meantime - more news on the alpha! We're getting very close - as far as I know, only 2 issues remain to fix before everything is made public.
Thanks for taking a look!
And the new Alpha is LIVE!

This update lets you fly 3 of the 5 human fighters. Available are the Boomslang, Copperhead, and Cobra.
Things to note are the adjustment of the the double-tap barrel roll into a tap-and-hold strafe roll, improved dynamic music, the removal of the old testing explosion spheres, Better collisions for the alien fighters, removal of player invulnerability, better enemy wave timing, better text and font rendering, and tuned weapon sound FX.
For fun, try the Gamma Burster weapons on the Cobra. Think of them as dual-mini-deathstar lasers. They will wipe out your gun capacitors, but they will kill most light-to-medium fighters in a singe sustained shot. You have to maintain beam contact, however.
There are many more minor changes, so keep an eye out!

This update lets you fly 3 of the 5 human fighters. Available are the Boomslang, Copperhead, and Cobra.

After the update, I'm seeing some sort of corruption during explosions. I would have posted this to your Bug Reports forum, but I couldn't see a way to attach images. Is there one?

I'm running Mac OS 10.9.4 with an AMD Radeon HD 6970M. I don't encounter these effects while booted to Windows 7 on the same hardware, so it's more likely to be the operating system than the graphics card. In both cases I'm using the downloaded executable, not the Unity Web Player.

Here's a sequence of 4 screenshots. Shots 2 and 3 show the problem:




Also, after I die, I see this sort of screen where I gather I should be returneda ship selection:

I like the Cobra and its Gamma Burst. Weapons that take planning to use properly are always fun. As for the Boomslang, it turns so fast that I keep losing track of where I am. (The WC2 Ferret and Epee also frustrate me in this way, so if you were trying to match their feel you succeeded.)
Dondragmer: Yes! Thanks. That helps immensely. We recently updated the Mac build - hopefully by doing so we fixed your problem. The issue seems to be a render-texture corruption, but only in the Mac build. there's also some small sign of it in the Linux build. We don't run those platforms ourselves, so it's difficult to test. If you wouldn't mind giving it another shot and letting me know if it looks better?
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More work done on the landing, tightening up animation, effect, and adding sound effects. Next to come music, and more foreground elements when the camera pans over.
Finished the missile locking system and the Power management systems! Here you can see me quickly locking onto a Dfhertas and ripping off a Phoenix heatseeker. Just before it hits, I manage to lock on and fire a Cyclops Image Recognition missile as well.

Here, I just hit a Dfhertas with a Phoenix and then mess with a bunch of power settings after it explodes.

Here's a breakdown of how each power system works. Low is 25% power, high is 100%. Unpowered is < 25%.

Shields: Low 50% recharge rate, high 150%. Unpowered, shields drain.
Guns: Low 25% recharge rate, high 175%. Unpowered, gun capacitors drain.
Engines: Low 66% speed on regular and afterburner, high 133% + 150% fuel consumption. 200% consumption on Afterburner! Unpowered, afterburners are disabled and fuel consumption goes up.

Here's an example of the Boomslang with its engines at 100% over powered. It's pretty much the fastest thing in the game - but it's going to have a hard time shooting anything or taking more than a couple of hits.

Anyhow, now I just have to add Top/Bottom armor displays to all the cockpit status displays. Then I'll be working on further damage modelling for individual components.
SO AWESOME! Howard, you've done it again! Is it wrong I'm more excited for this little game then star citizen? (partially because it can run on my old computer). IDK it seems to me a true Wing Commander sequel would be sprite based, and it's absolutely amazing what you have done with sprites in this day and age. I don't know if you intentionally did an homage to the A-wing, but I love it! But then you did steal X-Wing's power system. Perhaps it's a sequel to Xwing. :D
Thanks, wcnut! It's more of a 50/50 blend of WC and X-Wing/Tie Fighter. :D

Eugene Indie Game Con Recap!
(and slight art update)

It was a huge success, and here's what our musician Daniel Hoffman had to say about his attendance:
"Daniel here, just got back from Indie Game Con in Eugene. It was a blast! Thanks to everyone who came out and checked out the current build of the game.

Some feedback included:
"This looks amazing. "Wow, I really like the colors!" "The art is a amazing" "It feels really great!" "Blowing up ships feels great" "I could blow up ships all day" "feels really natural" "This has a lot of potential."

Things I noticed from watching lots of people play one after another is: On the radar the large ships are confusing, if they could have a different look on the radar than a giant orb I think that would help. People would constantly orient themselves to attack them while actual enemies were wizzing behind them.

Also when you come out of the launch bay the first thing you see are friendly ships. so the first thing people do is shoot them and then feel embarrassed that they shot the good guys. If you could see enemies first then your guys swoop in would be cool.
Of course everyone knew it was Alpha and that little things like that will be tweaked.
Also Ashley who has worked multiple cons said that was the busiest table she's ever been at.

Oh and a little kid wanted to be able to ram other ships with the big tank ship. I told him I'd pass that on.

My favorite was a very young girl who had a bunch of buttons who started playing then said "I'm going to be honest, I'm just playing so I can have one of your buttons" Then after when we gave her a button she said "And I liked your game too actually."

(Ashley: Knower of Lore, and Daniel: Maker of music)

This feedback has been invaluable, and we've added the critique to the Todo list, and hopefully the next release will have it implemented.

(Art update)
In the meantime I've re-implemented a trick that somehow got disabled. It's a method to add pseudo-3d lighting on pre-rendered sprites. The trick is this - all our sprites are displayed on planes. These planes aren't merely 4-vert polygons, oh no - they're a bit more complex.

What we have is a 4x4 grid - and each of the vertex normals are bent around the edges of the plane, until they're facing the back of the plane entirely. This simulates a spherical surface when lighting is applies. And since these ships are roughly spherical (very, very roughly) this actually works very well!
Here's an example of it in action:

Pretty convincing! Especially so for quick bursts of lighting like laser bolts or explosions.

Enjoy, and thanks again to everyone who checked out the booth at IndieGameCon!
Yesterday I added shield read-outs to the targeted ship display. The day before, Jan had helped me get the armor/ship damage looking right - before it wouldn't show the proper damage for the proper angle of hit.

You can also see the updated player ship status display - it now also shows readouts for your top/bottom armors. Next up, fixing some ship damage bugs, adding more damage effects to the ships (arcing lightning, sub component explosions, engine sparks)
Until then, Enjoy!
Thanks, Klavs!

Tonight I set up the missile code to only let you fire one missile per slot (limiting the Copperhead to 5 total missiles, for example) You no longer get a new missile every 10 seconds. Sorry!

I also set up the status display representation of your missiles to do a little animation when they're fired. Enjoy!
Hello! Tonight's update brings you the working retro boosters, in the game, finally! You can now boost backwards! (At 60% of your max forward, non after burning speed) Jan finished the code for the movement earlier this evening, and I added in the effects and some tweaks in logic.



Still to do: Custom throttle animation for RetroBoost, add boosters to all ships, human and alien, not just the Copperhead, enable the AI to use this in combat, and smooth out the transition from forward movement to reversing slightly.

We've also added a bunch of new damage VFX to both enemy fighters and your own, all players now take the same damage as the enemy fighters, and the enemy damage sensing has been cleaned up, fixing numerous bugs. We also solved the issue with navpoints, making that entire system completely functional. Next up for me is the autopiloting cinematic between navpoints.

Hello, everyone! Over the last few days I've been working on polishing a rather stale part of the game - the orbit camera. As most of you know, you can trigger this by holding down tab, and then rotate around your ship. It's very pretty, but the motion of it and the general feel was very, very basic. So I took some time away from extremely frustrating bugs (more on that later) to build myself a better, more dynamic system. I focused on making the motion smoother, having the camera react to the action around it, and generally tying to make it feel more exciting. Here's where I landed!

As you can see, we also have reverse thrusters working on all the fighters, now. It definitely adds another wrinkle to the gameplay, and I know I will have to revise the missile AI so they aren't constantly fooled by it. :D

The other part this Orbit camera revamp allowed is more cinematic external shots of your ship. That being so, I took the opportunity to add a long-missing part of the game... Autopilot cinematics. These play when you transition from one nav point to the next. I'm pretty proud of how these are looking. I still need to add some trail/engine effects to the whole shebang, but it's still really neat looking.



I love the homeworld style cinematic black bars, and I always have.
Anyhow, I'm working on polishing this up, and then building the first actual demo mission! the only cinematics/gameplay loop left to do is the landing sequence, and I have a pretty good idea what needs to happen there.
Till next time!


(P.S... Those frustrating bugs were fixed within 5 minutes of Jan signing on yesterday, making me feel like a right moron. :)

What's this? Procedural facial animation and lipsyncing in Unity on a character? Yep, actually it's very simple. Now I just need to con someone into doing voice work for me.
This system takes any audiofile and turns it into an animated face. I'm adding support for emotions based on the name of the audio file being played.
This will be used as the comms screen in Wings of Saint Nazaire. There will be variations for all human pilots, capitalships and contacts.
Many thanks to Ben Chandler for the character artwork!
Capi: Well, mostly things along these lines:

Negative Flight Leader, the pattern is full.
Clear the runway pilot!
You are entering an area of active operations - break off!
You're not cleared to land, Pilot!
This is Saint Nazaire Flight Control, you are endangering active operations - Clear the area!
Saint Nazaire Flight Control, final warning. break off or be fired upon.

Flight Leader, we are clearing you for approach.
Flight Lead, Saint Nazaire Flight Control. You are cleared to approach runway 0 6 Bravo at capture velocity.
Lead, we read you coming in Too hot. Throttle Back!
Flight Lead you are in the slot 5 by 5. Engage automatic landing system.
Welcome home Flight Lead.
Good to have you back Lead.

Anyhow, I also got an update to the visuals of the character, made the voice a ton better, and added more game-consistent coloring.
Howard, I would like to do some voice work. I have pro mics and pro tools so I could record myself saying the lines and send you the audio files. Is this what you are looking for?