Orbit Game

Hello All!

This is my first post outside of the UE4 Answerhub. I wanted to kick off my tinkering with the Unreal Engine with a little project I call “Orbit Game” (The name may change if I come up with a better one). This originally started as a game that I made in VPython. My goal is to take what I made and translate it to work on the Unreal Engine while adding more features. This involves me taking Python code and re-writing it in C++.

The Orbit game was a simple project that I came up with a while back to help me learn Python. You play as a rocket ship trying to navigate through rings in space. There are large spheres that are randomly placed that are meant to represent planetary objects. The spheres and rocket ship are given realistic masses and thus impart a gravitational force on one another. The trick then for the player is to navigate through the rings taking into account the gravitational force acting on the rocket. The player is only given the option to pick an initial direction and amount of thrust. After that, gravity goes all of the work. There will be one ring in each scenario. It is up to the player to navigate safely through it without colliding with the planetary objects. Doing so will generate a new scenario. My hope for this game is not only for it to be fun to play but that it can be a useful tool that students or anyone interested can learn about how Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation works.

My goals for the features of this game are as follows:

  1. Get it to work (duh). It definitely works in Python now, but being an entirely different language, I need to make sure that I can get it to work in C++ too.
  2. Ensure the physics is realistic. I want this to be a model of what would happen to a real rocket in space.
  3. Add code that places the rings and spheres randomly while still ensuring that each scenario is winnable.
  4. Add levels of difficulty. As the difficulty increases, the number of planetary objects will increase. For example, easy will have one sphere while hard may have three.
  5. Have an easy to understand user interface. It is vital for the player that information like mass and thrust be displayed. Otherwise, it would be impossible to predict any sort of path.
  6. Have a built in instruction manual that describes Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation and how it can be used to describe the trajectory of the rocket.
  7. Add a guiding curve that can mark out the beginning of the rocket’s trajectory given the initial direction and thrust and masses of the planetary objects.

That is what I have envisioned so far. Visually, this should be a pretty simple game, so I imagine that it should run on most modern computers without any difficulty. Later, I might consider adding other features like music, but I believe that this is a reasonable set of goals for a starting project. I will keep this thread up to date as my project progresses. My hope is to post regularly to let you know how the game is going. I am very excited to get started, and would love to hear feedback if you have any!