This week, we’ll be doing an overview of the new unit and upgrade menu system. Infinite has some elements of a strategy game in its DNA, the basic structure that is quite common in some real-time strategy games such as unit building and unit upgrading is featured in a light, alternative form in infinite. First, lets go over the unit system.
The menu system we wanted to be very simple, elegant, and match the overall feel of the game. Keep in mind, the visuals for the menus are not final, but is a step in the direction for how we want them to appear.
As you can see, this is the unit selection menu. On the left, there are five units, these range from planets of different sizes (for example, a Mercury sized planet all the way up to a gas giant like Jupiter.). There are more units available in the game including non-planetary units.
Beside the planets is a resource metre, unlike the resource metre that runs in the HUD, this will show the resource cost for each unit / upgrade that is required in order to build. Once you have selected your unit, tap once to show the units cost, tap again to confirm your selection (this method is not yet final).
This is the upgrade selection menu. Same concept as the unit menu, however, based on the upgrade mechanics. Once you have selected your unit currently in game, this menu will appear, allowing you to further upgrade that unit. As shown, there are currently four types of [planetary] upgrades available. Basic upgrades such as a single moon to orbit your planet, or advanced upgrades such as planetary rings. These upgrades have special bonuses and effects to each planet. The four shown here are just some of the upgrades available.
Once your unit or upgrade has been selected from the menus, we then move on to the build phase. For this phase, we’ve added a time based construction method. Select your unit and this build icon will appear on screen.
These build icons will replace the menu when it is time to construct or upgrade the unit (keep in mind both build icons will not appear together, only one will appear for its respective menu. We are just showing both for demonstration purposes.). Normally the circle will be empty with only a “+” symbol in the middle as the touch indicator. To build, hold your finger on the circle, the inner (gradient) circle will begin to grow larger towards the outside circle, if both circles meet, the unit construction / upgrade is complete and the result will appear in game. If you release too soon, you must start over again from the beginning of the build phase. Depending on the unit or upgrade, each will have a different timing variable that will determine how long you need to hold the build icon for, usually the better unit / upgrade will take longer to construct.
This is how our current unit and upgrade system works and looks, bare in mind this is not final and will probably change in the end product. One thing I would like to mention is that the menus will be hidden and tab on the edges of screen will allow you to bring them up anytime, this will allow the user to have more screen space to see the in game action.
We are in 2012, a fresh new year and a chance for us to really set ourselves in the right direction. We hope everyone had an excellent holiday and a happy new year! This update we have quite a bit to cover, we have had some major progression since the last update. First and foremost, let’s talk about Nexus. The biggest factor in holding back our development has been time, we were lacking an adequate amount to pour into development and attempt to work on the game as much as we could, when we could. We have (and will be) doing some pretty major life changes to ourselves to accommodate more time towards Nexus, over the next month we can work far more than we ever have and quite soon we will be working full time at Nexus. This is a big step for us personally and is a greater leap towards realizing our dream.
Another big change is that we have now hired on a new member to the Nexus family, his name is Daniel Brear. Daniel will be our new lead programmer and is currently tasked to be working on our new unannounced project in development. We are very happy to have him on our team, his experience and skills will help the development progress improve greatly.
Now it’s on to infinite. Since December, we have worked quite a bit on revamping and implementing new systems towards the gameplay. We have also been working on trying to achieve a performance mark on the older generation of iOS devices. First, we’ll go over some of the new changes to infinite.
We have redesigned the HUD for infinite (as shown above), as seen on the previous screens there was only a “hit point” system. In this new version, we have expanded this HP system to be more cohesive to how the planets HP actually work. We have now included a new style resource system that shows the current amount of matter collected (previously was just a numeric value). If you look at the top of the image, you can see a very long horizontal bar stretching across the screen, this is our new experience point system. Not quite as in depth as say an RPG, but every action will earn you experience points that go towards unlocking new content. This helps improve the flow of the gameplay as well as gives the users a visual perspective on their gameplay progression (your current level will be shown as a numeric value in some form so you will have something to compare to other users.). We wanted to keep the HUD extremely minimal but also show enough information to keep the user understanding of their current status.
We have also done quite a bit of code rewriting, not only has this help performance but also has us doing better code practices to make everything run faster, smarter, more efficiently. The core gameplay has seen quite a facelift code wise and our galaxy map is now half the amount of code than its predecessor. Removing useless functions or by having one function to run multiple actions instead of many independent actions for example. The effort was well worth it.
We have been also refining the gameplay, improving how gravitational forces work in the game, working on new units and enemy types. We have other parts of the game that we are working on still, just not quite ready to show those off just yet, soon enough however. We want to nail the gameplay first, once we have the feel just right, then we can be more comfortable working on other scenarios for game types.
As we have stated before, we have been working with the talent of Tyler Jones of Indiglo Rush who has been composing the soundtrack to infinite, we have been receiving constant updates to the musics progression and from the sounds we have been hearing, the tracks are coming along quite well. He has been setting the mood of the game and we hope to share some of these samples in a future update.
Infinite is a very experimental and difficult game to develop. We plan on doing a private testing session soon to gather feedback on how we can improve the game. We are pushing ourselves to make this a great, unique game experience that we hope everyone enjoys. 2012 is a big year for us, not just Nexus, but us personally.