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Space Flight Sim Dev Thread

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    Space Flight Sim Dev Thread

    Here's the WIP development thread for a project that myself and Count de Money are working on. Both of us loved old space sim games and lamented that no one's made a really fun one in awhile, so... since we have the UDK and know a thing or two, we might as well try?

    The biggest influence for us is Freelancer because it really allowed for exploration, you could actually fly out to that planet or asteroid belt you saw (hint: see the tiny blue orb in the screen below, we're traveling there!). Sadly, few other space sim games allow you to really explore (e.g., Black Prophecy is just a simple tiny level with no ability to explore or fly to anything you see). We've also never understood why space games don't allow you to simultaneously walk around a space station, then hop in a ship and fly. So that's precisely what we're working on at the moment, creating a very simple space station to launch your ship from and explore the solar system.

    Proof of Concept
    We created this sort of WIP or proof of concept to see if we could actually even pull off the vast distance necessary in UE. After much moaning and complaining (largely by me), we've got it to a place where we're happy. It takes about 5 minutes to "warp" across the solar system via jump gates, and takes about 30 minutes to simply fly across. We're trying to balance scale and exploration with fun and playability, and think those numbers feel about right. Here's the video of me flying across the solar system to test for scale and distance. Obviously all the artwork is just place holder stuff meant for testing and will be entirely replaced as we go along.

    Significant Work Done So Far
    - Implemented a fully functional, pitch, roll, yaw, 6 degrees of freedom flight system. This was a huge technical obstacle that I finally overcame (you'll note the lack of true 6 dof flight games in the UDK, even after all this time). Since I'm not a programmer by trade, I'm proud I actually pulled this off! Despite my occasional complaint, kudos to Epic's UnrealScript, it's actually not that difficult for a lay person to pick up.

    - A vertex shader using kismet and the material editor to scale planets based on distance. This is absolutely *essential* to selling the scale. Without it, large sized planets are completely visible and large across the map, making the solar system feel tiny. PS. if anyone knows how to turn off the HUD warnings you can see in the video, let us know!

    - Implemented everything at 1/4 scale, vehicles, player, speed, etc.

    - Completed a few simple assets for our space station.

    - Blocked out the entire space station, you can now walk around a shell of the station and launch from a hangar.

    Dan's To Do List

    - Implement mouse flight controls... this is the one that is likely beyond my programming abilities and for now and will likely be tackled much later (feel free to volunteer if you want to do it!)
    - Modify the code for our little jump gates, it's a bit buggy.
    - Add a freelook camera, in addition to current chase and cockpit camera views.

    - Finish assets for the Hangar, including landing pads, a console and general clutter.
    - Put in a Sun including flare.
    - Continue work on procedural planetary shader capable of handling very large planets (already partially done).
    - Continue work on asteroid belt/planetary ring using the particle editor (already partially done).
    - Custom ship, including particle systems and basic gun.

    Recent Updates [in editor shots]

    Reserved for updates.

    One of the early tests to create a floor texture before I start working on assets for the base interior. Need to learn some proper modeling and texturing first.



      I had my doubts when I saw the other thread, but they've been laid to rest after seeing just the little bit you're showing. Can't wait to see how this looks finished.


        Heh thanks hellclown.

        +Added custom pawn, playercontroller and gametype.
        +Implemented acceleration/deceleration system via mousewheel input (removed from to do); apparently prev/next weapon are in playercontroller, not what I would have guessed, but preserved weapon switch while allowing mousewheel to act as acceleration while in a vehicle; I actually typecasted correctly for once!
        +Implemented camera system to allow chase and cockpit cameras (removed from to do); pretty much used teglegs case switching camera code snippets as guidance, shoutout to him; want to add a mouse freelook camera as 3rd camera option.
        +Remapped controls so that Q and E now roll as would be intuitive, enter vehicle got remapped to F.

        New Problem
        - Set pawn's gravity to 0, works, then tried to use gravity volume to reintroduce gravity while in space station, does not appear to work. Likely b/c the volume is overwritten by the script setting of gravity to 0. Ideally I want the default gravity to be 0 for the player with the reintroduction of gravity only where volumes are present, will have to explore solutions.


          I've gotten pawn gravity switching to work using the gravity volume.

          I just set the map gravity to 0, and have the gravity volume set to whatever. (However this won't effect static mesh rigid bodies)


            Thanks, that works reasonably well. Though it seems just a bit bugged, if I actually set the world gravity (World Properties) to 0, it won't actually give me 0 grav, it behaves more like 0 = false. In other words, 0 seems to turn it off rather than behave as if the Zgrav value is actually 0. I've basically had to set it to like 0.00001. Still, it works, just curious if you've had the same experience.

            Spent time on some basic material shaders for use in hanger area of space station I'm building (metals, synthetics, etc). Built a basic sci fi crate to get back into modeling, detailing the crate comes up next. Gotta warm up to the eventual ship modelling, but first the small stuff like crates, floors and walls!


              Yeah I had to set my world gravity to -0.00001, it's annoying i know =/


                This is incredible. What an amazing idea! I would first like to say I'm a huge fan of space, and astronomy, and I think this is going to turn out well.

                Anything involved with space really allows an infinite amount of ideas. I already have so many suggestions, but I know you guys (maybe girls? :$) have been working hard on this, so I'll leave you alone.

                I do have one question, though: Updates after Official Launch?


                  Any chance of a basic starter level for download? I don't even need the model/textures resource, I'd just love to have a start kit for this type of project.


                    I'm making a 6 dof flying vehicle.
                    I have made the camera turning with 6 degrees of freedom by the following code

                    simulated function ProcessViewRotation(float DeltaTime, out rotator out_ViewRotation, out rotator out_DeltaRot)
                    out_ViewRotation = RTransform(out_DeltaRot,out_ViewRotation);
                    out_DeltaRot = rot(0,0,0);

                    But I cannot make the vehicle turning with 6 degrees of freedom as you did.

                    Can you post some code?


                      Several people have requested code, but I generally don't give out code that took blood sweat and tears on my end (grapple took me months, this took me weeks). However, to get you started in figuring out how to fish, rather than just giving you a fish, here's the thread where I started:


                      Then search around the forums for other code related to flight, 6dof, etc. Look at several different people's quasi-solutions. If you look at enough solutions you should be able to begin forming your own! Scripts worth looking at include the Reedemer, and you should really try to understand the Cicada and the Simobject attached to it (where vehicle physics are handled). I'm a little surprised more people hadn't simply modded the Cicada to get full 6dof (you can... it's buggy, gimbal lock, etc so I abandoned it, but you can do it).

                      It's not the world's greatest sci-fi crate, but I'm going with it for now. I originally went nuts and added a ton of detail before realizing... dude it's a crate. Low poly created as well, now it's time for the dreaded UV mapping before heading off to normal map baking land.


                        Nice! thankyou so much for the heads up!


                          Originally posted by danimal' View Post
                          It's not the world's greatest sci-fi crate, but I'm going with it for now.
                          There's nothing better than original material, whether it's a crate or not.

                          Keep up the good work.

                          - LD


                            Thanks man, love your stuff as well. So here's the low poly, in the UDK mesh viewer, with only a normal map applied. High poly was something ridiculous like 1million tris when smoothed, low poly is roughly 1k tris (I decided not to go nuts with ultra low poly).


                            I ended up taking a second try at the UVs to fix seam issues and it worked, now it lights brilliantly across the smooth edges. I have to say, when I first tried doing some of this when UDK first came out, I had so many issues with getting clean normal maps and shading it really irritated me. It's pretty clear to me that Epic has been updating both the pipeline and the renderer, it's not showing any seams whatsoever. I just did what I was supposed to do, and it looks the way its supposed to look. Awesome Epic, awesome. Off to texturing now (this might take me a bit, it's the area I have the least practice in)!


                              haven't played a space sim in years, yes the video looks very Freelancer but i really preferred the "Elite" mini jumps in towards the station, but it's your game, hope to see more soon.