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Space Game: Luminous Sky

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Synopsis
Luminous Sky lets the player take his place amongst the captains of the most powerful war machines in the universe, fighting for the prosperity of the Luminous Empire.
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Background
The Luminous Empire is gigantic, encompassing millions of stars, making it impossible to rule more than a few core worlds. To enforce law and justice across the universe, the privilege to rule is sold to the the highest bidder.The contractor is allowed to adopt and enforce laws in his fiefdom as long as he is paying his lord the lease he promised. A whole new economy arose, allowing corporations to buy authority and rule supreme. While this system allows the empire to persist it is the seed of immeasurable degrees of corruption and tyranny in worlds too remote to be overseen by the central authorities.

The obligation to pay for the right to rule is a constant threat to peace. Thousands of conflicts arise every year and end regularly with the devastation of defenseless worlds which are becoming pawns in the hands of ruthless corporations clinging to their sovereignty.
To shield the core worlds from the shadows of war the imperial high command maintains a fleet of powerful warships able to counter possible insurgencies within sight. Minimal influence over the authorities of remote sectors is obtained by a small number of independent space ship captains in the service of the high command who act as spies, messengers and executioners. While bound by oaths of loyalty these captains themself frequently become subdued by the promises of wealth and power from corporate operatives creating a labyrinth of intrigues and conspiracies trapping honest and rogue captains alike.
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Planned Features
Luminous Sky offers strategic combat between space ships of enormous size and power.
Assume the role of the captain of one of those powerful vessels and test your skill and cunning against the rest of the universe.
Each ship features unique attributes and most importantly: a unique weapon layout.
The same ship with a different weapons can enable completely different tactics just as the same weapons on a different ship would.
Choose between heavily armored battleships firing in all directions and agile light cruisers avoiding enemy fire while exploiting the enemy’s weak spots.
Buy new weapons, improve your ship’s systems and build the most powerful war machine in the universe.
Hire a skilled crew and improve your crew members’ abilities from fight to fight.
Adapt: a seemingly impossible encounter might simply require a different strategy.
Position your ship perfectly in space. A weapon not pointing towards the enemy is a useless weapon.
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Progress
The current version includes the following features:
Randomized asteroids.
User interface for controlling space ships.
Space ship navigation.
Primitive AI for testing purposes.
Automatically tracking turrets.
Effects for turrets and projectiles.
Almost finished first space ship model.
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Most recent video

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Screenshots
screen1.png
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Release
maybe

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The original first post (video removed):

Hi,

I started working on my first project a few weeks ago. To get some feedback and keep motivated I want to present my progress in this thread. As the forum category suggests everything, including the title are ‘work in progress’ and will probably change at some point.

The game I am working on is heavily inspired by the combat mechanics of Eve Online. I always liked the feature of controlling huge space ships via mouse clicks and indirect orders like ‘move there’ and ‘orbit that’ instead of using a joystick or something like that. I simply cannot imagine anyone would controll a gigantic, futuristic space ship directly.

What I missed in Eve Online was that the actual weapon layout did not matter. You always had two turrets visible on your ship for every turret equipped and one of them always had a line of sight to the target. I am trying to do that a little bit differently. I plan to give every weapon turret its own micro AI that tries to track the targeted ship. That way the orientation of the player ship itself and the positioning of the weapons on the ship hull will be key to successfully fight off the enemy ships.

Because game developement is obviously very complex and it is easy to get lost on the way I will try to take very small steps that include an update of this post. Every post will include a short overview over the next step I will take.

Step 1: Ship Navigation

The first step was to create a basic system for moving space ships and to create a basic user interface. The interface is again inspired by Eve Online and includes giving commands via mouse buttons, context menus and a side bar.
The movement system is a combination of the ‘movement component’ for translation and rigid body physics for rational movement.
I hope the following video gives you an idea what is possible right now:

( There was a video here)

The icon in the bottom right corner will be used to give feedback on the ship’s systems like shield, armor etc. I will also include small icons for every turret that show whether the turret has a line of sight and if not, how the ship must roll to get that turret into fire position. Those features are however planned for a later step.

Step 2: Roadmap

The next step will be:

  1. to set up weapon modules for space ships and line of sight testing.
    2. to add controlls for controlling the ‘roll’ of the ship to optimally position the turrets in space.
    3. to add a very basic AI that tells hostile ships to orbit the player ship.

So much for the first post. I would be grateful for any feedback.

I played eve online quite a bit back in the day. It looks like you’re on the right track in that video. good work

I managed to get quite some stuff done over the holidays: All tasks of step 2 are successfully implemented.

  • Ships can mount turrets that test their line of sight to the selected targed and rotate towards the target if a line of sight exists.
  • The ‘Roll’ of the ship can be controlled to get more turrets into fire position.
  • Hostile ships are controlled by very primitive AI that lets them find the closest enemy. The enemy is selected as target and orbited.

But enough words, see for yourself:
https://youtube.com/watch?v=JWe3FXpFJSk

Step 3:

  • Bug fixing: I noticed quite a few small bugs that I ignored so far. I should probably fix those before things get out of hands.
  • An alternative control mode when the camera is focused on the ship. Using the invisible reference plane is not very usefull in that situation.
  • Add a simple fire effect to the turrets.
  • Finish the ship model and find out how to texture stuff. I always avoided that. Texturing sounds so complicated.

Today I am abusing this thread to ask for a little bit of help.
I more or less finished the model of my first space ship. I played around with the material capabilties of the Unreal Engine but I have to admit that I am pretty much lost. The things I tried so far look even worse than the placeholder material.

I am looking for an effect like chipped-off paint at the edges of the model. Or maybe a general tutorial for materials. I already know the videos from Epic but they are not particular helpful for something like this.

Here is a picture of the model so far:
ship.png

I would be grateful for any help.

you could try using the quixel beta … its free until september…you will need photoshop to run it and if you want to follow the tutorials on quixels site its easier to use maya to make the normal maps and also assign material colors with the nightshade blockout tool…thats how the sci-fi corridor example was created…its well worth looking at the steps he outlines on the site for texturing in ue4 whether you use it or not…there are some users on the forums here very talented with ue4 materials who will hopefully give you some tips…your game looks cool

Thank you for the helpful hint. Quixel is really awesome. It does pretty much exactly what I am looking for. Even in my unskilled hands.

Unfortunately I don’t have Photoshop but at least I can use the trial version to play around with it for a month and then decide whether its worth the investment.

I am happy to report that the next step has been successfully taken. Before I start writing too much, here is the video:
https://youtube.com/watch?v=n1GN2kDBu8M

I know, the space ship texture looks horribly blurry. My UV-map is very bad and I wasn’t able to improve it. Most of the resolution is wasted on barely visible details while the large visible parts get only a few pixels.
I will ignore the texturing from now on and focus on the gameplay first. When I have a playable prototype I might be able to find someone with some actual expertise in that area who is willing to help me.

My plans for the next step are:

  • Implement a damage system: Hitpoints, hitzones, death, etc.
  • Improve the HUD to give feedback on the ship status.
  • Implement some kind of database system for storing and accessing the game state.
  • Bonus: Create a start menu scene and maybe a menu for customizing the player ship (select Turrets, etc)

Within the next few days I will also write up my ideas and plans for the project and improve a little bit on the presentation of the whole project.

Big fan of eve myself, been playing on and off since around 2006 or so, keep up the good work man :slight_smile:

Awesome work on the turret effects. Great idea to have the direction of the ship affect the weapons. I will watching this thread with much anticipation!

Controller Tips

Hello there!

I watched your videos and liked a lot, good progress u did so far :slight_smile:
I’m building a solar system simulator (study project), by now the level design and sound effects are ready and I’m currently trying to build the controls and UI, but programming its not my strongest (even through blueprints). At first google earth controllability was the reference i would like to implement, and seeing your videos it looks like u achieved a very similar result, so I’m wondering if you could help or make a tutorial about this controllability u did on your project.

check it out the first preview: https://youtube.com/watch?v=CqwzpXWAnM0

I appreciate any help you could give :smiley:
Best Regards,

Bruno Brito

Thank you guys for the kind words.

I would be happy to share anything I made so far. My user interface is made completely with Blueprints. When I started I was planning to ignore Blueprint since I was very sceptical towards visual scripting but somehow I fell in love with it. Now, everything except the rigid body stuff is made with blueprints. So, if you are interested I can simply send your the blueprints that make up the user interface. That would be my custom PlayerController class, my HUD class and a few Interface Blueprints.

I could also write a small tutorial explaining the features with a few simplified examples. Or a combination of both…

PS: Your solar system simulator is really cool. Are all the planetary movements to scale? I never imagined planets are rotating that fast. I also like the custom sound effects for every planet and your sun material really looks like a hot ball of gas.

Thank you very much for your feedback.
Yes, movements are in scale, preview speed was aprox. 1 day/seg, I will make a time/speed slider later. By now I’m prioritizing the controller part and would be great to study those blueprints, and if you could make a tutorial with that combination u said would be superb!

It’s looking good so far, Keep it up.

I have updated the opening post to something a little more fancy :slight_smile: (Does anyone know how to deactivate the ‘thumbnail function’ of an attachment? I would like the first picture to be shown in full size by default.)

The game will probably not be focused on story. The background story is just to create a world for the game to exist in.
I am currently working on a small tutorial about the user interface and will post it in the tutorial section as soon as I am done.

The turret effects look interesting, I would work a bit more on the tracer, However i was wondering if you have thought about a shield or similar functions around your ship? That would be interesting to see returning feedback of impacts on the shield.

Hi, nice job so far ; did you manage to learn a little bit more on texturing? I suspect that you could find some great tutorials on this subject out there.

I am thinking about how to implement something like shields that light up at the point they are hit. However, I don’t know enough about materials to do those effects right know. I am planning to accomplish a few smaller and simpler things with materials before doing the shields. I am currently trying to use dynamic materials in the HUD to give feedback on the ship’s systems. If that works out fine, I will maybe try the shields in the next step.
If you know some good tutorials on dynamic materials, some links would be much appreciated.

I finished the first part of the tutorial. It can be found here: https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?12426-Tutorial-An-Eve-Online-style-user-interface
If I missed something or someone is interesed in another part of the project, please ask.

Nice stuff you are working on, Praseodyl. I enjoyed playing EVE (to some extend) because of the fact, that it has the gameplay style it has. I just also played Nexus: The Jupiter Incident again and noticed, that you command a single Ship in SP (in the beginning) and it kinda feels like an EVE Online Singleplayer, with less features than EVE tho.

Really like the idea and thank you a lot for releasing a tutorial on how to re-create this with BPs in UE4 :slight_smile:

Thank you for the encouraging comments. They are really helping me staying motivated.

I decided to declare the fourth step completed even though there are still some issues I am not happy with.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=L_JAagJQVVs

The damage system is working (The player ship takes damage but does not get destroyed in the video). Every object has 8 hit zones: Front-Top-Left, Back-Bottom-Right etc. This should give the player a lot of possibilities to position his ship cleverly to absorb as much damage as possible before getting destroyed. However, this system has one big disadvantage: If the borderline of two or more hit zones is pointed towards the enemy, it is almost pure luck which zone is hit. This makes ships a lot more durable than intended. I will correct this in the future by distributing the damage across the hit zone itself and its neighbor hit zones depending how close to the border the hit occurred.

It is now also possible to save a ships current state and create ships with modified attributes at runtime. Strangely, ships created this way ignore all input to the movement component. I tried to find the cause of this but was not successful yet. Ship instances placed in the editor do not have this problem. Maybe someone has an idea and can point me in the right direction.

I also implemented a primitive start menu but decided to postpone all further HUD development until UMG is available.

Plans:

In the next weeks I will mostly do some cleaning up. I discovered a lot of code needs improvement and I think I should take care of that as soon as possible. So that will be the top priority for now. The second goal will be to create some kind of demo mission that I can use in the future to demonstrate all features. As a bonus I will try to make a few generic assets to improve the visual variety. I hope I will learn enough about modelling and texturing this way to make decently textured space ships in the future.