I'm writing an Armada semi-clone and need graphic artists

Discussion in 'Fan Projects & Editing' started by ZOmegaZ, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. ZOmegaZ

    ZOmegaZ Rear Admiral

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    I've had an itch to write a 4x space strategy game for some years now, and I finally started last week. I've got most of the basic engine framework done, as well as a framework for the GUI. Python being the beauty that it is, the framework allows for great flexibility in game specifics, particular ships and facilities and such, and for a proof-of-concept prject I'm working on an Armada module. The interface will be different from that of the original game, hopefully superior in layout, definitely so in graphics quality. However, gameplay will be much the same on the strategic level, at least for now. What I need are graphic artists. I could do it, but I have neither the tools nor the talent. It'd take forever and look bad when it was done. I thought that if there was anywhere I would find interested artists, it would be here.

    I need two kinds of graphics. The first is the interface. I originally considered extracting the interface from Armada, but that proved excessively time consuming for such a low-resolution result. I have most of the screens layed out, though the designs are certainly flexible if someone else has a better idea. But it needs art. Buttons, ship icons, planet icons, basic things that make an interface. A matching seperate font would be nice as well.

    The second area is portraits. It isn't absolutely necessary, but it would be VERY nice to have images to display for things like mines, the carrier, different fighters, and different planets in the screens dealing with each of those particular classes of object. The ships don't have to match the original game appearance so far as I'm concerned, though it'd certainly be a plus.

    This is going to be an open-source project soon. For the moment, it's just two of us, and my partner is far busier with other things than I. If there's interest, I'll post our list of goals for future development, and I'll post again once we have the source publicly available.

    So who's up for a game?
     
  2. Bob McDob

    Bob McDob Better Health Through Less Flavor

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    I'm certainly interested here - I don't know what kind of graphics you're looking for, specfically, but I can grab a number of shots for different ships if you so desire.
     
  3. Maj.Striker

    Maj.Striker Swabbie
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    This sounds very awesome, I'd love to help but I'm busy working on a few things for Killerwave. I apologize but maybe later I can offer some assistance. Keep it up though, I'm very interested.
     
  4. Spien

    Spien Spaceman

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    Can't wait to see what you come up with.
     
  5. MatrixCat

    MatrixCat Captain

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    Well, alrighty. You've got my attention. So what are the next steps? WCNav can extract some but not all Armada graphics - it'd need work. But I see you're not set on keeping those the original Armada feel. So where do I come in? WCNAV (and later WCMEV) were just toys not really meant to be used in production. Generally I just wanted to show the Armada ships (both mesh and textured) for what they were - beautifully done, even by today's standards...well a little low rez. So what is the output you are expecting? Or do you just the some/any gfx to patch up the Armada module? Do you have any screenshots of what you have done thus far?
     
  6. ZOmegaZ

    ZOmegaZ Rear Admiral

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    http://home.comcast.net/~dawico/Site/

    That site contains images of what work I've done so far. I've got nearly all the screens required for this module designed on paper and scanned in for your viewing and input. All of this is preliminary and subject to change, so input of any kind is welcome. The only screen I have anywhere near implemented is the sector view screen, and it's only with very basic solid colored buttons and backgrounds that I created for use until I can get some REAL graphics. However, the buttons actually do function, as do the star system icons. Their function at the moment is to crash the program, but they do it splendedly.

    So what we need are interface graphics. Where I've got a blank blue rectangle for a TURN button, I'd like one that, y'know, looks like a button. Being reminiscent of Armada is a plus. TrueType fonts are needed as well for in-game text. We'll also need symbols for fighters, transports, carriers, planets, fortresses, things like that. Finally, we'll need portraits. Where there's a little box on the facility build screen that says "Mine", we'll need a picture of something that's vaguely reminiscent of a mine. The Carrier screen would look good with a big picture of the carrier, too, as would the Planet screen with a similar picture of a planet.

    Those who can, draw. Those who can't, critique! Tell me what's wrong with what I've got and how to fix it. Throw out new ideas! For the moment I want the gameplay to be as close to Armada as possible, but this module is hardly the end-all objective of the engine, and your ideas may be used elsewhere. And if anyone here knows Python and wants to code some, say so and we'll make arrangements. Eventually, I'm hoping to expand this. Entire fleets, lots and lots of capships, technologies, more species, the entire frelling Kilrathi war. But for now, Armada.
     
  7. Kenshi

    Kenshi Spaceman

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    I'm trying my hand at the interface design. Unfortunately, Armada is the only WC game I have NOT played. So, if anyone could post a few simple screens so we can get a feel for what we're shooting for, that would be tremendous.
     
  8. ZOmegaZ

    ZOmegaZ Rear Admiral

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    Unfortunately I don't currently have Armada running on my machine, and can't provide shots of it in action. Anybody else got that capability?
     
  9. MatrixCat

    MatrixCat Captain

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    I'll try get it running under DosBox later tonight. I've been researching into 2x upscale filtering and I'll also want to take a look at the official Python pages. have you considered prototyping the game in Visual Basic? Or even Delphi? Seems either would be better suited to making a GUI based strategy game - 3D is also possible.
     
  10. ZOmegaZ

    ZOmegaZ Rear Admiral

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    It'd take me longer to learn either of those languages than to finish the engine I already have. It works quite nicely, matter of fact. A list of what currently works is now up, new screenshots should be coming soon. Python is actually quite good at rapid prototyping of applications. Pygame is a very thin wrapper for SDL, which is a cross-platform open-source project similar to DirectX. This won't be as fast as C++, but it won't be much slower, it'll be much cleaner, and much easier to build and modify. I'm not sure why VB or Delphi would particularly be better except possibly in learning curve.
     
  11. ZOmegaZ

    ZOmegaZ Rear Admiral

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    It's just occured to me that I've totally been ignoring sound this whole time. I'm sure there are free sounds effects out there, though of course any suggestion as to where to find them or what we might use would be great. But what I'm mainly thinking about right this second is music. Anybody know any good non-copyrighted music that would fit the feel of the game?
     
  12. ZOmegaZ

    ZOmegaZ Rear Admiral

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    Shots

    Compliments of Bryan. Those cover the look of the interface pretty thoroughly. It isn't particularly necessary to look like that if you've got a better idea, though. Hope this helps. :)
     
  13. MatrixCat

    MatrixCat Captain

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    Ooo. These bring back memories. I was unable to get Armada running under DosBox...how did Bryan manage it? Do you have to switch off the built-in XMS/EMS and use EMM386? I'd like to get Armada runable to "browse" the interface. Either way I've read up a bit on Python. I'll install it and try the tutorial since I'd like to update WCNAV to Python. Hopefully a file selector gadget and a bitmap output window will not be a problem. The file decoding logic will be the main problem, but perhaps I could compile that in as a Python extension.
     
  14. rampage3057

    rampage3057 Spaceman

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    If you've got an older Win95 or Win98 computer around, go to the CIC downloads page and download MyJEMM. It enables you to play Priv in Windows mode flawlessly, and Armada with occasional (but very infrequent) crashes.
     
  15. TheSeeker

    TheSeeker Spaceman

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    DOSBox + Armada

    Re: Running Armada in Dosbox:
    There are some instructions on the dosbox site, basically you have to disable ems memory, and when you want to run armada, instead of just typing "armada" at the "C:\ARMADA>" prompt you type "loadfix -65 armada". If you've got a joystick, it may be too jerky to fly with, but the strategy part of the game works ok.

    Re: Python over VB/Delphi
    I'm really not going to get into language wars here. :) Suffice to say we like Python over VB (even VB.Net) / Delphi.

    HTH
    -Bryan
     
  16. MatrixCat

    MatrixCat Captain

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    Right, I've managed to get Armada running...slowly. BTW, I'm on a W2K Athlon 1,7 @ 2,2GHz 512MB 333DDR Radeon9600XT. I'm starting the Python tutorials as we speak...er...write...as I write. My intent wasn't to start a war as I had never seen Python, I was merely reminding y'all of the alternatives. *grin* Dev-C++/MinGW/GCC anyone? =)
     
  17. TheSeeker

    TheSeeker Spaceman

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    Alternatives are good. :) Some things you might try to speed things up a bit in DosBox are increasing the cycles and frameskip. I got sorta decent results with cycles set to 18000, frameskip set to 4. That's on an Athlon XP 2500+ (no o/c), 1GB ram, Radeon 9600SE. I tried running it in a VMWare FreeDOS session, and it still wasn't that good. I've got an old DOS-only box, but I don't have an analog joystick to hook up to it at the moment. Probably get one later today, though.

    One really nice thing about python is its clean interface to C/C++ code. So, we can prototype stuff out in Python, profile the code, and rewrite speed-sensitive stuff in C/C++ if need be.

    -Bryan
     
  18. ZOmegaZ

    ZOmegaZ Rear Admiral

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    Of course, one of the joys of turn-based stuff is that there generally ISN'T speed-sensitive stuff. (Says the guy who just spend three hours figuring out why the frell releasing a dragged icon was taking forever.)

    While I'm here, by way of an update, dragging and scrolling is now much cleaner. You also can't scroll outside the boundaries of the sector any more. Amazing how nice that is, really, it was kinda disconcerting ot be able to scroll forever and ever. At the moment I'm working on Shipyards, they're not QUITE functional at the moment. After that, I'll finish up fleets, which will allow movement of fighters on the map screen.
     
  19. ZOmegaZ

    ZOmegaZ Rear Admiral

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    Shipyards work, fighter movement works, minimap mostly works except for dragging. I've got to make a substantial change to the sector view to make things cleaner, which will take time but have little obvious effect. It'll be nice to have ships always render on top of planets. After that, the hard stuff. :)
     
  20. ZOmegaZ

    ZOmegaZ Rear Admiral

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    Daily update time. :)

    With the exception of transports and movement of resources, the core game back-end is done. There are currently no outstanding bugs that I've noticed. Fighters move properly, the map scrolls nicely, whether you have an icon in hand or not, shipyards and mines both work. Docking is implemented but difficult to test as yet due to lack of interface. I'm proceeding to implement my existing interface designs with some quick-n'-dirty graphics I've built. Hopefully we'll have some real ones soon. Replacing the current ones with decent looking ones will be a relatively trivial task.

    Once that's done, there will be one major hurdle left: actual playing. At the moment, the game initializes confederation only and gives them full knowledge of the universe (all four systems of it), and the turns only take place for them. This will need to be replaced with turns actually switching from player to player. After that's in place, multiplayer and/or AI should be the last thing needed for a playable game.

    Sound would still be nice, though. :)
     

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