I had very little spare time lately. The blog posts about the development will follow at a later time.
Until then a new beta for Birth of the Empires is out. Now with achievements. Get it for: Windows, Linux and Android. Also available for beta testers on Google Play.
On the desktop limited modding is supported. Launch the game with “–editor” to run the editor. Only the ship editor is functional. However all files placed next to the .jar have priority compared to internal files. Thus for example, if you create a data/ships/startships.txt with modified info, the modified file will be prioritized for newly created games.
Bugs can happen, achievements might be altered in the future (or even deleted).
Phase two: Baby steps
At first I didn’t had a clear plan. I drew up a few plans, laid out some of the things I wanted in the game. Then I started looking for an engine. I browsed through most known cross-platform engines and discarded them one by one. Some because they weren’t open source, some because they were too complex for what I needed. Then I found one to my liking, libgdx. It had all I needed, a good 2D framework (and also good 3D support in case I decided that I would need it), it was cross platform, open source and had an active community. A match made in heaven.
I started to play around with the engine and found it to be perfect for my purpose. I generated a small random galaxy and played around with moving sprites left and right. It didn’t took long until I realized that I can’t do this without proper graphical assets so I remembered an open source game I used to play. A clone of one of my favorite 4X turn based strategy games, Star Trek: Birth of the Federation. I joined the forums and created a poll whether I should port BotE to Android or to write a new game using assets from it. The community nowadays is mostly dormant but the feedback was positive so I contacted the original creator of the game SirPustekuchen. He explained that he’d give me permission to port the game, however the assets are mostly created by others so the chances of using them in commercial projects are slim. Oh well, I never actually planned to make money from the game so I didn’t mind that aspect at all. I needed to make this game to provide a distraction from work’s daily routine. So it began.
It took me about a year on/off to port most of the single player functionality and to partially redesign and implement the GUI. I was writing code like never in my life. Sometimes I was obsessed, I went to sleep writing stuff and woke up the same. And then sometimes got tired of it and shelved the whole thing for weeks. At some point while I was nowhere near an Internet connection my SSD gave out after an especially productive day with no backup. It was a frustrating setback. I sometimes asked myself if I could really pull it off or I should give up as it ate up a large chunk of my free time. But then in the middle of April 2015 I felt it was ready to be released to Alpha on the Google Play store…
Adventures in the land of game development
Phase one: in the beginning
I have always liked computer games, ever since I came in contact with them more than 22 years ago. Back then it was a different world. I grew up in a country which, when i was in school, was making its first steps in discovering capitalism. Computers back then cost more than a year’s salary for some people. But I was lucky and came into contact with them fairly early for my generation via a laptop which my mother used to bring back from work. And with it a completely new and exciting world of PC games. Since then I grew up, grew older, but my love for games never stopped. As many gamers out there I always wanted to make my own game. I had feeble attempts in the past, but I never really finished any of them. Then I got employed and completely dropped any gaming related hobby projects I had. But two years ago nostalgia overcame me…
I was a late adopter of smartphones and only rarely played games on them. With good reason. At some point it was very hard to find quality games for smartphones. Then while playing Planet Stronghold an idea dawned in my mind. Smartphones are the ideal platform for turn based games. So I started looking for quality turn based strategy games, a genre which I really love ever since I got grounded because of Sid Meier’s Civilization II, I simply couldn’t stop playing. Yet the results of my search were disappointing. There was nothing with the scope and depth that I wanted. Then I asked myself: why shouldn’t I be the one to make one? But there were a couple of problems…