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Infoslate #7 - March update

To say this past month has been intense, is a gross understatement. Regardless, progress has still been made - read on to find out what has been achieved in March for Halcyon Online.

2 months ago

Latest Post Infoslate #8 - April update by Kirk Bushell public

March has been the most intense month of my life. My wife and I bought a house, and a few days later my father passed away 😢 I launched a separate project (the one that was holding up Halcyon Online development), we moved house, we started a kitchen renovation (that had been booked in months prior), all the while trying to get some work done on Halcyon Online.

I have a wealth of gratitude for Halcyon Online as a project. Work did continue despite all of that (and in some cases, in spite of it), as it served as a valuable distraction from the intensity of the past 30 days. After the next few weeks, that intensity will be behind me, and I'll once again be hyper-focused on this dream project of mine.

So let's talk progress of Halcyon Online, providing some updates of the past month, and what you can expect in the next few months.

Game design changes

One of the more fun but complex objectives I have for Halcyon Online is "geography". By this I mean, each colonisable celestial body will have differing geographies that impact how infrastructure is built, and what resource nodes are available. This is turning out to be considerably more complex than I anticipated, but some progress has been made (hexmap generation, for instance). However, due to the complexity and its impact on the project's timeline, I've decided that this will be added to the game at a later date. It's a "nice to have" game system, and I very much want to build it - but it will have to wait. I would rather get to (and focus on) the core gameplay mechanics earlier, and ensure we get to a testable state sooner, rather than spend weeks on a system that is largely unnecessary for gameplay. Likely, I will aim to have this ready for a beta phase, rather than alpha.

Colony infrastructure

I made huge inroads this past month in managing and building out colony infrastructure. This meant writing the code that supports dependency trees, and restricting what can/can't be built based on the player's colony and empire state. Ie. A Laboratory can't be built until a Manufactory has been constructed.

This was easy to build, but difficult to architect in a way that is simple - and on the latter point, I'm not confident I've reached that point, yet. I've taken a step back to see where I can simplify the architecture to ensure it's easy to understand months or years down the road when changes may need to be made, due to the evolution of the game's design and development. Regardless, the underlying mechanics are now in the game, and I've been able to build out the Infrastructure screen, including displaying the state of each building. Eg. Whether a structure is buildable due to having the required resources, the necessary technological dependencies and more.

This dependency tree system that I mentioned can and will be used for the research aspect of the game, as well - so I've managed to kill two birds with one stone, as it were. That is very exciting, as I've saved myself some time down the road due to architecting the solution in that manner.

Next up I'll be writing the code to actually build structures, which requires the Timer system to be architected first. As I mentioned in last month's update, this can technically be viewed as the game engine, and is a critical part of the game's underlying architecture.

Combat

Fleet engagements are imho, the most exciting aspect of Halcyon Online (which says a lot considering how excited I am for all of the game's various mechanics). I spent some time this past week fleshing out various units in the game, their stats, and working hard to define their individual roles.

In Halcyon Online, my desire is to have each unit fill a specific role, even across factions (Halcyon Online will eventually have at least 3 playable factions - but more on that to come in a future article). This is proving to be rather difficult to accomplish, as the more units I add to the game, the more challenging it becomes to have each unit with a specific identity. However, that has not deterred me in the slightest! The faction we'll be launching with, now has 15 available units, and some of these units will be teased in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Humans will be the first playable faction.

Playtesters required

Last month I linked to the playtester form, looking for individuals who would like to test the various features the game has to offer, as we develop them. I've already had quite a few applicants which is incredible to see, and I'll be reaching out to some of those individuals very soon, to help test authentication, joining galaxies, and building infrastructure. Not particularly exciting features yet, but it's important that I get playtesters involved early, and often - to ensure the features work as intended, and to crush as many bugs as we can early on in the development lifecycle. This ensures that come Alpha phase, we're in a solid and stable position to have many more players join the game.

If you're interested in helping to playtest the game, please fill out our playtester application form. Be sure to include as much detail as possible if you really want to be included as part of the playtesting phases.

AMA/Q&A/Video

This week, I'm going to be doing a live stream, talking about some of the finer points of the game's design. I'm at a new place now, and the internet here is considerably better than our last location, so I'm hoping that I can (finally) start streaming content, as was my intention from the start of the project. I really want to do a devlog series, covering software architecture, game design, art generation and much more, sharing with others lessons learned and pitfalls to avoid.

The first stream will go live on the 4th April @ 2pm AEST (April 3rd @ 9pm PST), assuming I have no technical difficulties :P I'll also record this stream so that others may watch it when it is most convenient for them.

Calling all sci-fi artists!

Much of the game art will be developed by myself - this includes the various celestial bodies and backgrounds you'll see in the game. However, for more complex art such as structures, units and weapons, I need help. I'm looking for artists who specialise in sci-fi artwork, and would like to contribute to the project. If this sounds like you, please do reach out and provide some examples of your work. Ideally, you're someone who can do 3D artwork and can work to tight deadlines. I'm not asking for freebies here - if you want paid work, or would be interested in partnering on the project (as there's quite a bit of artistic work required), let me know by reaching out to me on the Halcyon Online Discord.


Alright, that's it for the March update! I didn't get as much done as I would have liked to this month, due to everything that's going on - but I suspect April (and especially, May) will result in some big milestone achievements.

As it currently stands, I'm hoping to have full colony management with infrastructure development and technology research completed by mid-May, which will be when I start getting playtesters involved to test the game's features.

What do you think? How do you feel about the game's progress, and what are you most looking forward to?

Kirk Bushell

Published 2 months ago

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