Aphelion – February 2010
Aphelion (\a-ˈfēl-yən, ˌap-ˈhēl-\) is, literally, the point at which the Earth is furthest from the Sun. I am using this title as a metaphor for human progress. Certainly the further we have gotten from the Sun, the greater strides our species has made.Aphelion is a hybrid FP/RTS multiplayer game of exploration, psychology, and consciousness. Players in Aphelion cannot chat, text, or communicate with audio. While highly competitive, players in Aphelion also cannot harm one another. This is a playable environmental demo made in Unity3D. A brief design doc will be presented.
Play Aphelion: HERE (6.41mb)
[single player, web browser, non-network, will prompt for plug-in]
Aphelion has sprouted from all the work done in Inverse Game Design and has a checklist of its own, being that the original milestones for Director are nearly all built-in or assumed parts of Unity3d. Things such as character control, gravity, raycasting, attaching scripts to models, model animation and importation – all these things are simply part of Unity 3D’s natural function.I will be working on networking and gamepad/joystick control for Aphelion next, as well as a separate project – a human future space opera type of game that I am keeping under my hat.
The Screen Captures
These are all screen caps from Aphelion running. Aphelion takes place on Enceladus, Saturn’s moon. You can see a geyser in some of the stills. The game makes a lot of use of depth-of-field and white-on-white, highly stylized and attempting a fresh angle on the FPS/Third person Genre.
The square in the upper right is the character view, where the character is looking. When interacting with objects in the game such as levers, operating controls, assembling parts, you will see the player’s hands through this view. The rest of the UI is under development.
While the characters cannot directly harm each other, they can effectively “thwart” one another and trouble the plans of fellow players. It is assumed that in a future that has consciousness turned loose on the surface of one of Saturn’s moons, individuals are possessed of incredible resources, and the “suit” would be difficult if nearly impossible to damage.
Players are all color coded, and start off at their own “base” structure. Everything a player has or can utilize has that player’s color, as a tag on it. Players can only leave their base for a short period of time before needing to return to recharge. At lower levels this is an extraordinarily short period, perhaps 60 seconds. Players can, however, get energy from any base, regardless of color/player affiliation. It should be noted that once a base starts to charge, it will dispense infinite energy to anyone in its radius – for ten seconds. It will then need to wait another 60 seconds before charging again.
Players collect resources and equipment from around the frozen desert. Many of the items are not useable by the player (wrong color-code). At some point players need to decide to cooperate with others to get items of their color code, or go out and take these items from other players.
Other hazards, natural resources, obstacles and events surround the environment. Meteor showers, radiation storms, eclipses, can all create advantage-yielding situations and create complexity.
The Depth of field effect is being used to emphasis a turbid composite atmosphere containing various solutes.
Checklists and Milestones
__ Authoritative vs. non-authoritative networking (decision)
__ character – fix painted weights in right hip
__ Dualshock 2 mapping
__ – rumble the POV cam
__ mesh on/off for pick-up and drop
__ – that goes into an inventory system per Adobe Director
__ mini map, regional map per Director
__ player-related sounds
__ scion and building add/subtract (nanolathing)
__ – fix scion wheel collider
__ additional character animations
__ energy exchange systems (health, energy, resources, etc) per Director