One year ago we have released Gravonaut on the Apple App Store, a scary time for us, our first app into the wild. Gravonaut has been successful for us, many high scoring reviews, free updates that add a slew of new content to the game and even award nominations. It all started with this teaser image:
To mark Gravonaut’s first birthday, starting today, December 20th till December 26th, Gravonaut will be FREE on the App Store in all regions. Those who have purchased and enjoyed our game thus far, thank you for your support! Those who have yet to pick it up, please accept this gift and try it for yourself, we hope you like it!
Infinite has seen some major improvements since our last developer diary. Previously we have stated that we were having issues with getting optimal performance on the older iOS devices such as the iPhone 3G or iPod Touch 2nd gen. After much code cleaning we have managed to get the game running at a stable and playable framerate, a major increase from before. We are still aiming to have infinite run on the older iOS devices. This was only some of the early passes at optimization thus far, once we hit that phase fully, performance will be higher.
Today we are going to be talking about the galaxy map. The galaxy map is a major part of the game, it acts as your hub overworld for all the games levels. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working on our galaxy generator (which we have been previewing over twitter recently.). This generator is fairly simple in concept but is very complex. The generator has sets of variant designs of galactic gas clouds, depending on how you play the game and where you place your stars on the galaxy map will affect which clouds form, their position, alpha index and which tone from the colour spectrum your galaxy will glow. The more stars you have, the more dense and detailed the clouds become and the larger your galaxy appears.
As you can see from the image above (which is completely randomly generated! Not yet finalized) there are many layers, patterns and colours to this galaxy. For testing purposes, this galaxy has no stars in it, in game, there will be many. This is a full zoom out perspective of the galaxy of its current size. The more you play, the larger the galaxy becomes. There is no size limit to your galaxy, it becomes literally infinite. Every single person will each have their own unique galaxy, no two users will have the same. Visually we have worked with more realistic graphics and while it looked really good, it did not mesh well with the rest of the game, so we took a more stylized approach to the galaxy visuals to match how the solar systems look.
We have also implemented a pinch to zoom system, this will allow you to get a very close perspective of your galaxy and see all of your stars up close. There are some more features we have planned for this that we are not quite ready to talk about yet as we are still testing out this feature. The above image is an example, you will be able to zoom in much further than what you are seeing now.
Previously we have revealed our two game modes “Prime” and “Eclipse”, these are two of several modes that will be in the game. In order to access these modes, you tap the galactic core and bring up a menu where you select the mode you wish to play. Once you have your mode selected, you are then to place your star anywhere in the galaxy that you have unlocked. At first, you have a small area near the galactic core that you can place your stars in, once you have reached a certain number of required stars, you unlock the next tier that expands your placement area, again, the more you play, the larger your galaxy becomes.
What is beautiful about the galaxy map is our seamless transitions and loading system. From when you’re at the main menu which will zoom in towards your galaxy, to when you place your star and zoom in on your solar system, it is all seamless. This is very important because we wanted to have that connected feel and add to the whole grand scale of your galaxy, not broken up by load screens and obtrusive menus.
The galaxy map has been a very big task and challenge for us, however it is a key part of the game. We have a few more plans we still have to implement including some social features that we are looking into as well. Some stuff is placeholder or will change by the final version so take what you see as a representation of what to expect in the final game.