Note: this is not the final version, but it’s close enough to show. In particular, the atmosphere and clouds are being reworked.
Mars is used as the model for Dead planets, seeing as how Mars is an actual dead planet.
Below is the artwork for Arid planets. If you compare this to the earlier Desert and Barren planets, you can see a clear progression in habitability. Part of this is reflected in the landscape, and another part in the way the atmosphere is drawn.
The Arid planet has a fuller, more Earth-like atmosphere while the Barren planet is almost airless. The Desert planet is in between.
These are the items left to complete for the next alpha. This will be a private alpha (invite only) and will include everything planned for the first release except:
All of those things, especially ship combat, have logically felt like the final things to be added since so many other systems need to be in place before they can work. They will be in the beta.
Anyway, here is what remains to be done for the alpha:
My current plan is to work on polish items until the 1st of December, when I will start on the remaining functional piece for the alpha, diplomacy. I have written this code once before, with the original Java MOO, so I expect this to go pretty quickly since there are no significant UI changes involved.
AI polish consists mainly of teaching the computer how to use the reserve to speed up development of new colonies and to increase output of colonies with research or industry bonuses. In addition, I will be significantly enhancing the AI ship design, thanks to expect advice from the RealmsBeyond forums.
Saved games is something I’ve never done but I don’t expect it to be too challenging since this is a commonly-solved problem.
I believe that artwork will take the most time since there is a considerable amount of artwork remaining to be done for the game. The goal is for the alpha to have all-original artwork with the exception of ship icons, which are planned to be updated in the beta.
The artwork cannot be rushed since we have one illustrator and he has to sleep occasionally! However, his work is so amazing that I am willing to wait as long as it takes. This has the advantage of giving me more time to polish the game and the AI along with not having to devote every waking part-time hour to work on Java MOO.
That’s where the project is at after about 9 1/2 months since it began. I’m pretty happy with the progress.
Below is the artwork currently planned for Desert planets. As many MOO veterans know, the verbal distinctions between Arid, Desert, Minimal and Barren planets are pretty thin. In MOO1, Barren are definitely the least hospitable, followed by Minimal. After that, I’ve chosen Arid to be the most hospitable of the four.
Here is the desert artwork:
I’ve spent the last two weeks coding up all of the logic for the Galactic Council… when they meet, the order and tallying of the votes, the selection of the leader, declaring final war, and empires being happy or upset if you did or did not vote for them.
In addition, I’ve developed a workable UI that goes through the voting process very much like the original game. I scavenged a lot of graphics from the original game to serve as placeholders until the new artwork is done, so it’s not worth wasting a screenshot on.
However, below is an example of the Alkari very upset that I did not vote for them! All that’s really left of the council vote is a few minor touchups in the code and the eventual incorporate of new artwork.
In a couple of weeks I will start on the last big piece of functionality before the alpha test: the diplomatic options. Between now and then I am setting aside some time to do nothing but polish existing code and other little things I’ve avoided while doing feature work.