The Spoon Problem and The New Website

New site upcoming

We are making a new secure website and store: morgondag.io (not up yet)!

Summary of this week’s devblog

  • New video devlog
  • The spoon problem
  • Website stuff

Video Devlog

Vendela is recovering from a bad case of the flu so Kim takes some time to talk about spoons and the new webpage.

 

The Spoon Problem

Asking people nicely to go into a monolith to buy their glittering product within a gigantic store that sells 10 000 of other goods could become problematic.  So if we ask you to go to Ikea and by our super nicely designed ultra spoon of cooking deluxe, you will be presented with a myriad of other products and services that are dragging your attention. Maybe up will not end up buying the spoon at all.

 

Did you get the spoon?

 

As a manufacturer of spoons it makes more sense to sell you the spoons directly in our new spoon store. (there are  no spoons, we’re talking about games here okay). So we’re making a store with DRM free and secure downloads. No extra hands in the pot, and we can talk to each-other (if you want).

 

Website Stuff

So we are moving to a domain that is supported by AWS, they will probably announce support for .nu sometime in the future. But there is a lot of hassle of moving the domain anyway; with mail, all the sub-domain and strange settings we have. We will be using a .io domain instead. A clean slate is nice and we can have the sites parallel until we switched all the gizmos and pages.

 

Are you into web-development and are wondering which magical frameworks the kids are using these days for the new awesome morgondag site?
The list is kinda short and sweet.

All the things AWS – They have so much stuff to offer that are great to use like lambda and serverless (FaaS), no more servers grandpa.
React – Because we need quick thin fast renderer, because doing that stuff with vanilla javascript sucks.
Webpack – Because front-end development culture is strange (also we use it to pree-compile server-side rendering)
Apex.run – Because we’re too lazy to deploy our serverless lambda functions any other way. Thanks TJ
Terraform – Infrastructure as code. Beats clicking around in a UI all day.
Braintree – We needed a global payment provider, we tossed a dice, this one won.

 

 

Tutorial Gameplay

Tutorial time!

A couple of weeks ago we mentioned Lunar Soil’s tutorial. We have only implemented its core mechanics in white/gray-boxed levels; no fancy graphics yet!

Summary of this week’s devblog

  • New video devlog
  • The tutorial
  • The lost IGS Keys
  • Blog on medium
  • The sun and ocean

Video Devlog

Check out our latest video devlog where Vendela shows the tutorial’s core mechanics:

 

The Tutorial

When you have created your alias, and finished the personality test you will be able to go through a tutorial (you can of course skip it as well), learning the main mechanics that will be needed in the game. You will for example learn how to mine, command your crew and how to build. The tutorial is dived into several rooms where the different skills are practiced. In order to proceed you will need to finish the tasks in every room. The tutorial will of course be more stylized later, especially the moon walking room which will be bigger with a more moon-like atmosphere.

 

Welcome to the tutorial
Welcome to the tutorial

 

In this tutorial room, a key is needed to open the door
In this tutorial room, a key is needed to open the door

 

The Lost IndieGameStand-keys!

A while ago in the darkness of Mordor an indie retailer fell down, slipped and couldn’t get up. Indiegamestand lost control of itself. They posted a pretty poor message here about it.  We had indeed a couple of keys up on their store for our space exploration game RymdResa. We actually never received any revenue from their sales (however, the RymdResa copies they did sold where not that many). When Indiegamestand shut down all our keys leaked. Standard practice would have been to remove and block these keys. But there was one major problem. We had lost the keys (we thought) on an old disk! This week the keys emerged while cleaning an old hard drive (!!) So we did the bittersweet satisfying act of blocking them.

 

That's a lot of pirates! OK bye
That’s a lot of leaked keys! OK bye!

 

Blog on medium

We also started sharing our blog on Medium. We actually had a blog there before, but wanted to have our own here instead; but a click of a button we now share it over there as well (if Medium is your thing, check it out: https://medium.com/@morgondag)

We also share our posts over on the indiedb site – http://www.indiedb.com/games/lunar-soil/articles It’s the same content, the only difference is the location.

 

The sun and ocean

We went to the beach today and picked up some vitamin D, we really enjoyed the sun! We also ate a vegan strawberry and tofu salad with some peanut butter sauce, super tasty.

 

Some nice sand dunes
Some nice sand dunes

 

Enjoying the ocean and the sun
Enjoying the ocean and the sun

 

Glittering ocean
Glittering ocean

 

//K & V

 

 

Extracting resources in space

Abandoned space drill in Lunar Soil

This week’s devblog is about minerals, resources and using buildings to extract more advanced types of goodies.

Summary of this week’s devblog

  • New video devlog
  • The Abandoned Drill
  • Extracting resources
  • Buildings and energy

 

Video devlog

A closer look at the buildings used when extracting resources:

The Abandoned Drill

The moons will have different environments and secrets. When going to the sulfur crater you will be able to find a strange abandoned mining drill. Someone has been there before. You might find some clues on board the space station, perhaps someone might know what it’s all about.

 

In order to activate the drill and discover what is behind the wall you’ll need to place two power-cores or batteries on the connected plates. Power-cores or batteries (we haven’t decided yet) will be quite expensive to create but will be usable in a range of places.

 

We need to start the drill and finish the work
Start the drill and finish the work

 

Sulfur crater abandoned drill
It looks like some kind of rouge miner has been here before.

 

Extracting Resources in space

Mineral resources and materials in Lunar Soil is the backbone of the crafting and building system. You can manually gather materials with your tools, tell your AI crew to do it or create more advanced machines to do it for you.

 

Mineral and items are part of your global economy, you can gather materials on one moon, bring them to the space station in order to create new interesting machines on the next moon.

 

Crystals, node and gas work in progress
Crystals, nodes and gas, work in progress

 

Buildings and Energy

Some resources can’t be manually gathered, they require machines in order to extract the goodies (for example the gas nodes). Gas can be found on many of the moons in Lunar Soil. So to start gathering gas you first need to collect the resources needed to create a refinery. Once that is done you can create a refinery kit, this kit can then be used to call down or build a refiner on top of a gas node.

 

However, these machines require energy! Energy needs to be collected locally on the moon; you can for example collect wind power or solar power.

 

Create portable wind-power in Lunar Soil
Create portable wind power in Lunar Soil

 

Oil pump-jack can pickup a small amount of gas and slowly mine oil from the ground in some areas.

 

Pumping oil in space
Pumping oil in space

 

More advanced drills extract resources from the ground where you can’t use your tools.

 

Gas Refinery and mining drill
Gas refinery and mining drill

 

Moon Environments

Lunar Soil Moon World Design

This week is all about the moon environments.

Summary of this week’s devlog

  • New DevLog on youtube
  • Moon environments
  • Awesome screenshots
  • The problems with looping

VideoLog

Showing off  the the new moon terrains:

 

 

Moon Environments

A big part of Lunar Soil is about exploration! Initially we decided to have one large moon with different thematic biomes. We changed that! Why only have one moon when you can have a multitude of small interesting and creative ones instead? It makes it easy for us to design interesting locations, add new ones and let you pick where you want to go (of course you will need to discover a location before you can colonize it which will take some skills).

 

Each moon will have different opportunities, resources, secrets and problems to solve. We took some time making sure we got the setting right this week – we’ve worked a lot with the environmental feel of the moons. The moons might look complete now but there will be a lot more things to interact and play with once we’re finished.

Screenshots

Here is a set off screenshots of the terrains.

 

A land divided by a river of lava. reaching the other side might reveal some secret location of temple
A land divided by a river of lava. reaching the other side might reveal a secret temple.

 

A cold little moon.
A cold little moon with black sand, rocks and glaciers.

 

Windy sulfur crater filled with valuable resources.Windy sulfur crater filled with valuable resources. There might even be some strange fish living in the sulfurlakes!

 

Crater worldA gloomy dark crater world.

 

Gigantic desert moonGigantic desert moon with signs of an ancient civilization.

 

A stable plateau surrounded by lava.Watching the sunrise on a stable plateau surrounded by lava.

 

The Looping world problem

Remember when we talked about looping worlds? If not, check out this post and then come back here! We got support for streaming levels and looping worlds. The system will unload and load new chunks of environments as you move through the world. Below are some of the technical problems with looping worlds that we’re experiencing at the moment.

 

Technical problems with looping

  • We need to make sure that each terrains’ seams start and end at the same height, meaning that if we have a big mountain in a scene we need to make sure the other side is as low as the first one. Otherwise there will be some unnatural gaps or hard edges which will greatly restrict us designing interesting terrains.

 

  • As the terrain needs to be cut down into chunks in order to stream we need to carefully offset and match the terrain textures. Failing to do so creates a visible seam at the edge of each chunk. Doing that manually is horrible, doing that automatically is hard work.

 

  • Buildings you place need to dynamically load and unload together with the terrain instead of part of the level which will make it much harder for us having a stable building system as we need to keep track of the original position as well as the current looped world’s position for each building, this will also take up more memory to handle.

 

  • Areas with big player impact like a drained lake or a cut down forest, need to be rechecked of their current state each time that part of the moon is reloaded.

 

  • The AI agents (your crew) will need to be close to you all the time as the navmesh needs to be recalculated when a new piece is unloaded/loaded which will consume a large amount of memory keeping track of all the chunks at the same time.

 

Is it worth it?

When looking at all these problems we are not sure if its actually worth it to have seamless looping worlds. All the problems can be solved but it would require a lot more work.

 

The main goal of having looping worlds is of course to avoid having hard/artificial edges or restricted player zones as it creates a greater sense of being on spherical moon body. This can be designed around with natural borders like mountains, craters, rivers etc. We haven’t sacked the idea yet but it’s looking quite grim for the old looper.