When we started development for SPAZ 2, we decided we wanted to develop two versions of the game. One was functional, but looked like grey cubes firing red spheres at each other. The other was a graphics version, where all the assets and environment construction took place. We took this segregated approach because we didn't want to develop all the visual technology alongside the base gameplay functionality and have them constantly collide with one another. It took several months before we folded the two projects into one. In this album we'll gradually show some early visual tests, the fusion of the two projects, and the development of the game up to now.
After one month we had a basic procedural assembly of environments. The planets are randomly generated, with animated cloud and ocean layers. It worked, but looked very waxy at this early stage. It took some time to get used to programming shaders. The environment and star colors are also randomized, informing all the light and fog layers accordingly.http://minmax-games.com/SpacePiratesAndZombies/images/SPAZ2/DevScreens//DevScreen_01.jpg
3 Months in. Lots of post effects and shaders progress. We finished a basic set of generic ship parts, however, these are baked out of Maya. The functional ships were still grey block at this point. I also couldn't help but put myself in the game as the little dudes that get sucked out of hull breaches. http://minmax-games.com/SpacePiratesAndZombies/images/SPAZ2/DevScreens//DevScreen_02.jpg
After 6 months, we finally fussed the art and functional builds together into a single project. No more grey block! Multiplayer and ship AI were coming together, allowing us to stress test the complexity of our new ships.http://minmax-games.com/SpacePiratesAndZombies/images/SPAZ2/DevScreens//DevScreen_03.jpg
Lots of early visualization tests here. We tried opening the floodgates on auto assembled ships as a test. It's hard to tell how many ship parts we're looking at here, but it's obscene. The game runs at about 1 frame a second with a ship like this, but we're happy the system didn't crash. You'll never see a ship like this in-game, but its good the system can handle just about anything we can throw at it. http://minmax-games.com/SpacePiratesAndZombies/images/SPAZ2/DevScreens//DevScreen_04.jpg
It seemed logical at the time to use a single massive texture atlas for all 100 ship parts. The idea was to save time on creating art assets, while being able to batch the rendering of these objects into a single call. Batching turned out to be impossible for ship parts since each part can be individually scared, damaged, burnt, and infected. The texture memory savings were negligible, so after a quick visual test, we decided all 100 parts needed to be individually textured.http://minmax-games.com/SpacePiratesAndZombies/images/SPAZ2/DevScreens//DevScreen_05.jpg
After the prop system was implemented, we tested a pile of different object types. A few features here have since been removed from the game. The large prop based space station paved the way for real player built star bases, which at the time was not part of the current game design. The large hollow asteroid was cut along with all other static objects. We wanted everything you can bump into to be fully destructible. Most of the assets (foliage, signage, etc) were relocated to other props and given destructible states and effects. http://minmax-games.com/SpacePiratesAndZombies/images/SPAZ2/DevScreens//DevScreen_06.jpg
1 month old working build of the gamehttp://minmax-games.com/SpacePiratesAndZombies/images/SPAZ2/DevScreens//DevScreen_07.jpg