Sunday, May 16, 2010

Just a short post

Just a short post to show a station I've made. The ship docks perfectly! :)

The station is 230 meters in diameter.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Again, a post of graphics features. I've delayed the coding of 'game things' mainly because now I'm not sure wether Antares will be a trading game or a simple combat space simulator. Also I'm considering rewriting the engine to OpenGL 3.2 so it doesn't get obsolete in a few years. It seems a though task.

Anyway, the new features are atmospheres and object shadows over the planets.

Atmospheres are rendered by pure raycasting, while object shadows are done by drawing the object with a special matrix that project the vertices on a plane, and a simple darkener shader.

Picture time!

This picture shows the ship landed on a Venus-like moon. The atmosphere is yellow and you can see the gas giant. You can also see the ship shadow on the ground.

This is an arid (Mars-like) planet seen from space

Another view of an arid planet

Another one, almost on sunset

Landed in an Earth-like planet

Space view of Earth-like planet

A closer view

Zoomed view of a moon of Earth-like planet from surface

A view of the ship at few meters altitude, you can see the shadow

A sunset

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gas Giant Shadows

More shaders: gas giant shadows. You can see in the screenshot below the shadow of the rings on the planet surface, and the shadow of the planet on the rings (to the right).

It is done by ray-tracing from the pixel position to the light direction. Since there are only spheres and a plane to intersect, it is feasible to do it in the GPU and it is fast.

In case you were thinking about gas giants flatteness: yes, in Antares all the planets are perfect spheres. Flateness won't add much to the gameplay (and if I don't mention it, almost nobody will notice)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

While I'm coding the gui for travel between stars, I've decided to implement shaders in the engine with the OGLSL languaje. It was easy to implement, but coding and debugging shaders is so hard! It took me one day to make the support for shaders in the engine, and two days to code and debug the shader for rocky planets with bump (or normal map). If the user doesn't have a shaders-capable graphics card, the graphics will be as before.

This is the previous rocky planet without bump:

And this is the one with bump. Click the image to see the details:

Rocky, uh?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I've made a video showing the new features of Antares. Briefly: a new cockpit and planet textures (not all types of planets though) These features will be available in the new version,, but I want to make a gui to allow travelling between solar systems before releasing it.

The video is available in HD but it is huge, you'll have to pause and let it load to see it in HD

Monday, October 5, 2009

Antares game blog: initial post

Hello there. I've finally decided to make a blog for the game I'm developing, though it's still in very pre-alpha state. It is open-sourced and you can download the latest version here. It is written in Java so you can run it under Windows, Linux or Mac. It needs Java 1.6 at least to run. As it says in the summary,
"Antares is a 3D game of trading/space combat, in the line of Elite or Frontier. Some things you can do travelling with your spaceship include trading of goods, piracy, smuggling, mail delivery, different kind of missions..."

If you have any suggestions or discover any bug, feel free to post at the project forums

Current version is It's only a few MB, though it doesn't include music files (version did include music files, but it was 162 MB) The next version will have the music files in a different zip so it will be optional to download it.

Currently you can do these things in the game:

- Navigate through the vast of the outer space (well, only in a star system that includes only a star, a planet and a test object) with your test ship. There is already the free navigation mode, the assisted mode and the autopilot.

- Land in the planet (or crash if you are not careful enough), and take off.

- Collide with the test object.

Other features currently in the game:

- OpenGL graphics (basic ones, no shaders are planned)

- Support for music in Ogg Vorbis format (.ogg)

- 3D cockpit (you can look around) with buttons, multi-functional displays (MFDs) a head-up display (HUD) and a radar.

- A galaxy of a hundred thousand million star systems.

- Each star system has planets and moons generated pseudo-randomly with a (I hope) good scientific background.

- Planets and moons surface textures are generated on the fly with a third-party noise-based texture generator software.

Though I've already written the code that generates the planets, you can't still navigate between star systems. This will go in the next version.

Oh and no, it won't be multiplayer.

Well that's all for now, don't forget to post at the forum and feel free to contribute with music or sound effect files (in any format), spaceship designs (just drawings or 3d models) or any idea you have.

Screenshot time.

This one is from the version:

In this one you can see the planet and the star:

This is a close-up of the planet surface:

This is an image of the version in progress. The planet has no texture yet but you can see the orange coloured planet because the star is a red one. You can also see a satellite mark selected in green to the left and other planet's marks around (the star and planets have a randomly generated name):

The planet and the satellite together:

And another view of the planet, it's satellite and the red star, wich is actually a close binary: