In the beginning…

Hi everyone.  What is this?  In a nutshell: This is a journey by one guy to create a (somewhat) realistic space exploration adventure.  I’ll proceed to tell more about myself for this first blog post.  My journey actually has its origins in the late 80’s to the early 90’s creating small 2D games. While in school math class I figure out (on my own) the 3D distance equation, then proceeded to scale 2D sprite images based on distance (pseudo 3D!).  It got me so excited, but I didn’t know it was just the start of a longer journey – of growing up. 😉  At the time I created many (many) games on the C-64 computer (at first, text based, then graphical), and other machines.  I even learned to write some in assembly for extra speed! I eventually migrated to 8-bit and 16-bit PCs, and using Pascal, created “Wrecker” around the early-to-mid 90’s (all graphics from scratch by yours truly):

A lot of people in my school were on BBS systems (look it up lol) and they LOVED playing this game.  Perhaps one day I’ll build it again!  Anyhow, moving on, in the late 90s to the 2000s I made an attempt at a 2D editor in Borland C++ Builder:

It worked great! But the internet was getting bigger, and since I’ve been developing HTML and JavaScript since the mid 90’s I decided it was time to get rid of that non-cross platform app and focus on HTML and JS. This was the result (anyone remember trueSpace! That’s how I made the logo lol, and to date, I don’t think I’ve found an editor I liked as much; too bad):

Colossalus

It was ok, but my heart was still for 3D and creating 3D worlds. I decided to leave this after I joined a group who created Visual3D.net for a short period. During that time I dabbled in various 3D libraries and created a 3D editor for the 3Impact 3D C++ library (used to create 3DRad):

I even created a custom scripting language for it! 😉 (notice the “Script Editor” menu item)

During this time I also went to NASA’s website and got planet details and built a 3D engine of my own to render the solar system to test Microsoft’s Direct3D system (took me one week to learn [using C++ with Borland Builder] and another to complete a basic engine). Here are some screenshots:

ALL stars are NOT in a skybox! I wanted to be as REAL as possible. 🙂  I also wanted to simulated real gravity and more, but at the time (early 2000s) PCs and graphics cards were just not up to this task level.  Being discourage I put it aside, got more caught up into my regular job and life in general.

Then it happened … the Hero Engine (a big MMO engine and server platform) was free! (pay when you make money) I thought to myself, “Hey, perhaps I can just do something small and simulate going to different worlds through portals instead of a huge space adventure.”  I ended up starting this:

It was short lived however.  Another company bought the Hero Engine and started making people pay to use it, so I dropped it (had bills and debts to pay lol).  When Unity3D came around and became free (which got the paying ones upset lol) I jumped on board and started creating a 3D “Planet Invaders” style game:

Of course, I wanted shadows and other Unity features, and the price of a full version was not in my reach, and life got in the way again, and being the only developer, I never had enough time nor resources to finish it. I would have had to skin and animate a lot more stuff and other things pulled me away. Also, the real scale I wanted was just not reachable yet, so I shelved it one more time and got into other non-game related development projects. I guess my heart was still on space exploration, and this idea was just a test really.

This brings us to now.  Many years later, having learned shortcomings of my trials, gaining more experience in 3D modeling, animation, and development, including the increase in power of today’s computers and graphics hardware, I decided it’s time to give it another try.  Now I have time, AND resources!  🙂   To my delight, Unity now has manageable monthly plans, and the asset store is now ripe with some triple-grade-A level stuff, which means I can save time creating a prototype by using some existing cool assets! Also, having created my own (extremely fast) custom geosphere generator over a year back [just “scribbled” it in the BabylonJS editor lol] and shader/texture system, I’m well under way to continue in a new direction:

Welcome to the next level. 😉  Stay tuned …

Pssst! Hey you! So excited you can’t hide it!?  Fine, download and try it now! 8) Run it in “Windowed” mode, otherwise if on Windows, press Ctrl+F4 to exit the fullscreen mode. If you have problems running it, and if on Windows, try right-clicking and running play.exe as admin.

Watch a video of it here.

P.s. If you want to help the progress, visit my page on Patreon.

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