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spaceslingers spaceslingers devlog

Creating Nebulae

Not much fanfare for this update, just a million little tweaks that collectively make it more of a game than it was previously. Options menu works properly now, with the only thing that’s not functional being the resolution changes. I still want to add a v-sync option, but I forgot to do it when I was making the graphics and haven’t gotten around to adding it in yet. Making the nebula was both fun and frustrating. Originally, I had a single image that tiled, which you can see in the last spoiler screenshot above, but I really didn’t like the obvious tiling so I always knew that I was going to redo it. Problem number 1 was making nebula images. I use Inkscape for graphics and I didn’t really have a clue how to make a nice looking nebula, but after a lot of trial and error and deep diving into the internet, I came out with a relatively simple method that ended up making some really nice looking nebula. They pop a lot if they are on their own on a black background, but it was much too noisy to simply add them in, so I had to lower the opacity a lot, which removes some of the impact of them, but ends up being much better for the game overall.

Then I had to come up with a nice way of getting them to exist without tiling. I went into optimisation mode and tried a few techniques to get them filling the screen nicely without hurting performance. I eventually settled for placing them on a surface and then only drawing the part of the surface that is in view. This meant I could draw them all with a nice gpu_set_blendmode(bm_add) so that they would combine their visuals in a glowy way, rotate and scale them and not have the constant impact of batch breaks (the game barely chugs along without any nice visual flair, due to my poorly optimised physics code). And I could also save the surface to a global buffer so that when the level gets restarted due to failure, it can just read the buffer instead of recreating the whole scene (also prevents me from having to save the positions and settings for each nebula). I’m really happy with how they turned out.

Then finally, there’s various tweaks to little systems throughout the game and a lot of rejiggered graphics: blackholes, whiteholes, planets, asteroids and moons all have new graphics, as well as the popups that occur upon failure or completion throughout the game. The audio options took a lot of work to function smoothly, and they still need a touch more work to get perfect, but there’s always tomorrow. That’s about it, it’s one of those major, but somewhat minor updates.

By RefresherTowel

I'm a solo indie game developer, based in Innisfail, Australia.

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