Gaming MotorWings! A KSP + Crimson Skies Remake, Build your own plane FlightSim (with realistic physics)

Moach

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I have a SSD for the OS, but the game is on a standard HDD ;)
It's not a fast drive. Kerbal takes about 2 minutes to load, Orbiter 2016 with terrain about 45 seconds. But those have gigabytes to load...

My suggestion is putting a loading message, perhaps cycling through some screens illustrating gameplay (see World of Tanks while you wait for other players).

:thumbup:

This will be implemented eventually - whenever I get around making a menu system of some kind...

But next update will be all about crashing your airplane - I'm shooting for the same "failure is fun" approach of KSP. It's true that airplanes are far easier to fly than it is to shoot rockets up into space.
But the update after that will bring gunpods and things to shoot at with them. (which naturally, might take exception to you doing so and shoot right back)


I have decided this will be my next semi-major goalpost for development. (the Built-Fly cycle was my previous milestone for first public announcement)

The game will remain free until then and the Pre-Order option will begin once this new element of gameplay becomes present. Our more-or-less uneventful sandbox will at that point have truly become a game.


I had originally wanted to start off with a massive world open to explore, then add weapons later. But since there's been some delay with the release of the needed 3rd party terrain system 2.0 to the Unity asset store, (probably because of the lockdown) I'm kinda stuck with not being able to work on scenery for the time being.

So I'll sidetrack a bit and arrange for something to shoot at. :cheers:
 

Fabri91

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...

It's true that airplanes are far easier to fly than it is to shoot rockets up into space.

...

See, I'm really not sure about that: I have several friends who are more or less "usable" at the spacecraft-flying part of KSP, but are utterly unable to fly a plane: I think that it's due to the fact that spaceflight, at least once in orbit, is a series of well-separated and discrete actions, while atmospheric flying is something that requires continuous effort to keep track of a number of factors at all times (speed, altitude, trim, CG shift due to fuel use, which can be significant in KSP).
 

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But next update will be all about crashing your airplane - I'm shooting for the same "failure is fun" approach of KSP.

The problem with a plane (ground) crash is that it is immediate and total.
You can of course simulate partial damage from collisions...

If I may, why not simulate stress from pushing the components beyond their resistance threshold ? So the engine overheats, a wing becomes bent, etc ? :thumbup:
 

Urwumpe

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Well, I think there are many nice obstacles to crash into... its a bit annoying if you just bounce off the airship instead of it going all the way of the Hindenburg.

But then, the airships are still too static, maybe having them move along fixed paths would already add a lot to the city scene.
 

Moach

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If I may, why not simulate stress from pushing the components beyond their resistance threshold ? So the engine overheats, a wing becomes bent, etc ?

Definitely my plan! :thumbup:

But then, the airships are still too static, maybe having them move along fixed paths would already add a lot to the city scene.

I had thought of that also - This will actually be how they work in the finished game, and one should be able to dock with them

Crimson Skies! :heartemoji:

My feelings exacly! :cheers:


protip: Crimson Skies can still be played in Windows 10 with only minimal compatibility and patching needs. It works with no faults at all on my laptop and even it's conservative Intel HD4000 onboard graphics can run it at a solid 60fps (or as fast as your screen refresh rate goes) -- Google it for details

:woohoo:
 

Moach

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I'm currently working on the world map for MW, and figured that instead of making myself insane coming up with hundreds of names for places around an area of some 1000km², it'd be more fun for everyone if we were to crowd-source some creative toponymy.

So I've set up a thread in my still mostly unused forum for this very purpose.
Click the map below to get there and post your ideas:



Cheers! :cheers:
 

jedidia

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That seems rather difficult without any lore to go on whatsoever... You might be better off just generating a couple placeholders and then rename things once you have enough worldbuilding to go on...
 

jedidia

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Speaking about updates and changes to links, have you considered publishing the Demo version on itch.io? That would enable you to offer it for free, while also having the advantages of a managed deployment architecture like steam or GoG.
 

Moach

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Speaking about updates and changes to links, have you considered publishing the Demo version on itch.io? That would enable you to offer it for free, while also having the advantages of a managed deployment architecture like steam or GoG.

I am well familiar with it, and with Steam as well. The plan had been to publish on steam using their own Early Access platform. But since there's very little of the game to show so far, I haven't bothered much with all the setting up this would require.

it'll be on steam, no doubts, I've worked with it before and it is quite nice.

But for now, I think it's worth keeping the amount of feedback at a more manageable level. (I am basically doing it all alone)

I have only mentioned MW in three places: here, the KSP boards and the IL2:GB forums. All of which are rather above-average in terms of user thoughtfulness and maturity.

It makes for a gruelingly slow start - But with my current resources (an amount all but indistinguishable from zero) I find that taking it slow is really the only option.

It is a curious case that KSP itself was even less of a game when I first played it. But then again, I was also the very first human (besides my brother, who made it) to try it out. This was well before the first public release and my memory muddles some between what was or wasn't there in those first few builds.


If only I had an investor, someone well moneyed enough to bankroll my humble efforts into the start of a business proper. Then it'd be a whole different game, and things would happen a lot faster... Any takers? :shifty:


:cheers:
 

jedidia

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I am well familiar with it, and with Steam as well. The plan had been to publish on steam using their own Early Access platform. But since there's very little of the game to show so far, I haven't bothered much with all the setting up this would require.

Yeah, the current state would definitely be too early for early access. It would fit on itch.io, because there you can provide a free version without any commitment (and essentially without cost).
I thought it would help to get more people involved, since you can advertise it more openly and can iterate over updates faster without people constantly having to re-install.

However, you said that that's pretty much *not* your goal at the moment. I can understand that.

It makes for a gruelingly slow start - But with my current resources (an amount all but indistinguishable from zero) I find that taking it slow is really the only option.
Don't I know it... I'm in the second year of a five-year roadmap for an MVP myself... :shifty:

If only I had an investor, someone well moneyed enough to bankroll my humble efforts into the start of a business proper.
The thing you're talking about is called a publisher. I'm not sure you really want one, though :lol:
 
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Moach

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I've come to a relatively stable point in development of late, perhaps too stable if such a thing is ever possible - I'm a bit muddled as to the next step as being effectively a one-man-show, there is a lot of diverse to cover and only one of me to go around doing it.

That is to say, I can only do one thing at a time, yet there are various things which from my too-close position are hard to sort into priorities


So I figure I needed some outside input to tip the balance towards one thing or another:

With the current state of development (build Mk1c), which of the following features would you find most interesting to have come right up next:

- More Parts to build planes with and/or Tweakable, Reshapable parts (extending the usefulness of a few to match that of many)?

- More places to visit, remote destinations, diverse biomes, etc?

- Something to shoot and get shot at by? Some rudiments of aerial combat?

- Something else I may have forgotten just now?



One of the tough things with development is how hard at times it can be to see the proverbial forest with all the damn proverbial trees standing in the way...

That's when a programmer must call out to others and get some insight.


Cheers
 

jedidia

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One of the tough things with development is how hard at times it can be to see the proverbial forest with all the damn proverbial trees standing in the way...

To reiterate an old piece of wisdom from game development, "focus on your core loop". I cannot really answer the question, because I don't know what the heaviest focus of the game is intended to be. Right now I see multiple ways this could go:

1) It's primarily intended to be an actiony flight sim. In that case, get your flight model and combat halfways straight before investing too much into other parts.

2) It's primarily intended to be a building sandbox with a bit of action and campaign attached to it (basically, the KSP model), in which case you should focus on getting a solid testbed running in which people can build reasonably complex planes and have a few fun things to do with them, though that doesn't necessarily mean a full-on combat model yet. Simpler things like obstacle parcours or range shooting and a few custom crafted challenges should be able to fit the bill until the engineering is well underway.

3) The economic aspects are intended to take center stage, in which case it might be reasoable to invest heavily into a solid dynamic economic model and a bit of worldbuilding, with building being good enough to give players something to spend their hard-earned money on, and the flight model and features solid enough to have a fun flight from A to B, but not much beyond that. Randomly spawned AA batteries for some excitement might replace full-on air combat in such a case until you get around to dedicate to an actual combat AI.

If your first reaction is "all of the above", then I completely understand, but that's also part of the problem why you're not seeing the forrest. You *might* be able to get all of these three parts up to a great level at some point, but it's just as possible you'll have to move to an early access release with lot of these ambitions yet unfulfilled. *One* of those parts must be able to carry the game for at least some 10 to 20 hours at that point, or you'll be screwed.

If you can't decide, go with another old piece of wisdom: If you can't do the right thing, do the fun thing. I.e. what *you* would be most happy to spend the next year or so putting your efforts into.
 
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Urwumpe

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To what jedidia said: Don't underestimate world building. It is not just the number of locations and different biomes, but that those things make sense (Like, what sense would it make to add a vast submarine trench biomes, if a player will never notice it.)

Think of your game like an interactive movie: What kind of movie should it be for you? What would make you pay for cinema tickets and popcorn, what kind of movie would make you spend days discussing with your friends after you saw it?

Would you watch a movie that is just a collection of dogfight sequences? Would you watch it for being all about economics and accounting? Would you like to watch Xzibit do "Pimp your plane?" (Of course, we all would)

Would you ask me about my movie, dogfights would be important, but not first priority. Maybe second place. But first most, it would be playing a role in such an alternative history world. Economics on the other hand could be kept obscured from the player. The dogfights should happen for a reason and I don't like simple reasons like "They are the bad guys, of course they attack you suicidly". When I shoot down a plane, it should have consequences. When I bomb a factory, it should have consequences. When I don't do it, it should have consequences as well.


I would not so much put effort into making complex base building stuff there. First of all, because those things would make excellent DLCs, satisfy the Ferengi in you. Second because all do that right now, even if it makes no sense at all. And third: It does not add much to the game right now. A lot of other stuff would be needed first to make base building feel less like a way to waste your time in the game. It would require a lot of extensions to the storyline to make it useful. I am not even sure if it would make sense to control the base building directly or better just influence it indirectly with deliveries and interaction between characters. Its really better to add such things later, extending storyline with new gameplay mechanics to keep things balanced and integrated.

The same for many different aircraft parts - many of those can be added later in patches to the core game to build the community, some can be put into a DLC, but what should work is the central plot of the game.
 

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The plan has always been to build up onion-like, in layers of higher and higher order mechanics around a solid simulation core.

Jededia's "Option 2" would be closest to the mark, I suppose.

Basically, same approach as KSP. Though my brother has himself admitted many times about having done some things in the wrong order. He specifically pointed out how the part position and rotation gizmos came up far too late in the whole process....
Also, our game isn't KSP. Without the inherent challenge of spaceflight there is little to do but fly around doing stunts. Yet the simulation core is the foundation where all other features build up around.

I think perhaps the next thing here would be then to give the hangar another cycle of love and attention, maybe work in the basics of part reshaping tweaks before I end up making a bunch of parts which would be redundant with such capability.
This way makes it so the computer works for me, and not the other way around.

Without a team of artists to model a bunch of specialized parts, I gotta work smart where hard alone won't do.


Same goes for scenery. This is why I'm giving such care to ensure as much as possible of the terrain detail is done procedurally. But as with all things, there's a balance to it where things work best.

Yet trying to find that balance sometimes becomes such a task that the very pondering itself can become a production bottleneck.

I call this condition Developer's Block™ i.e: when the choosing of what approach is simplest proves more complex than any of the options


That's when a wise-ish programmer asks someone for help. Sometimes the act of exercising the issue into words by itself is enough to shunt the brain into a course that leads to a workable solution....

And when all else fails, I have found by experience that Programmer's Block sometimes can only be overcome with proper medication. The remedy in question being, of course: Beer.

Not just kidding, this was actually how I managed to get the project started, there being so many possible places to begin that no reasonable choice could be made.
So bottoms up and see about finding an unreasonable one instead.


:cheers:
 
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Urwumpe

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Well... some decisions that you do will always be wrong in hindsight. Sometimes you even need to take the "wrong" decision, to get something else done. Don't expect too much there.

So, you should better now work on the simulation for that it supports the features you will always need for building up the later more interesting features and mechanisms.

Maybe a small combat test would then be a good choice for finding out, which unsolved problems exist, that you are not even aware of now. Could you even write a simple "hardcoded" AI with the current features, that is capable of flying circles?
 

4throck

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Without a team of artists to model a bunch of specialized parts, I gotta work smart where hard alone won't do.
...
I call this condition Developer's Block™ i.e: when the choosing of what approach is simplest proves more complex than any of the options
...

Seems like you need to focus and scale it according to a one man team (or a very small team). You are looking at Tetris, PacMan or Flappy Bird.
So your best chance is to go for very simple gameplay.
Focus on what's different from other games, even if it's a small detail.
 
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Moach

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Maybe a small combat test would then be a good choice for finding out, which unsolved problems exist, that you are not even aware of now. Could you even write a simple "hardcoded" AI with the current features, that is capable of flying circles?


Perhaps that'd be a nice third step into aerial combat

The first would be AAA guns that shoot up from stationary emplacements here and there.

Then, the second would be to have blimps roaming around with similar guns mounted on them, any evasive maneuvering on their part would be negligible against a much faster moving airplane, so that can be left out until later....

And thirdly, we'd add in some "hard-built" airplanes to start with dogfighting AI - These would initially be fixed designs that fly more or less deterministically. (they may well cheat through physics as long as they do it convincingly)


And at a later time, we could have a more idealized "download planes made by other players, figure out how to fly them, then use them against you" type AI.... I have no illusions of pulling that out all alone though - this would be added only after setting up shop with a small dev team becomes viable (needs money)


But anyways, any of that might have to wait a bit while I continue on with the hangar - We'd still need to have guns on our own airplane, which would mean more parts, leading back to the need for another round of hangar-side evolutions.

So it seems these unfinished hangar features (internal parts, tweakables, whatnot) are not so easily left out after all.

I had first thought of implementing only enough of these to start with, but I'm finding one cannot have half a cow and still expect it to go "moo".

So I think I'll just bite the bullet and make for the full set of planned editor features, then see what can actually be safely deferred to a next cycle along the way

:cheers:
 
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