The Ark: Relaunch – Ambient Graphics

Here we are – one year after we planned on starting work on The Ark, and planning to start working from scratch on its successor. We haven’t fully decided on where we want to take this game yet, but we are aiming to deviate a little from the arcade-game-style we gave its predecessor.

We’ve been planning The Ark: Relaunch for some weeks now, and it’s finally time to tell you what has been happening backstage. The first thing we had to do was look back at the  The Ark, and see what went right. The highlight was the aiming engine, yet even that left some things to be desired. Then, we brainstormed to come up with things which didn’t come out as we expected them to. One of these things was the enemies – and everything which came with them. They had very little Artificial Intelligence, and we aim to fix that – but we’ll talk about that on a later date. The last part was to see what was lacking in the idea of The Ark.

In the next days, we will be taking one planned feature and expanding on it. Today’s topic? One of the most obvious things in The Ark was the lack of backgrounds. There was just one, monochrome background. And we’ve got big plans to fix this. In fact, it’s the topic we’ve chosen for today. Ambient Graphics. What are these? Well, the following image shows what we mean – stars, planets and other cloud-like formations.

stars, planets and other cloud-like formations form part of the Ambient Graphics

Now drawing them manually would be an obvious pain, and in the end would still be pretty much repetitive. For this reason, we’ve chosen a more difficult road – Procedural Generation. This means that the backgrounds will be generated as the game progresses so that the user would never see a repeated background. How will we go about this? That’s a whole different (and enormous) topic which we’ll cover in the next months. Basically our current plan is to break an image like that down into different parts, that is stars, planets and the cloud-like formation. Then, we plan to work on each part on its own.

That’s the most important part of Ambient Graphics. Next week, we’ll take the next aspect – the player spaceship – and talk about our plans to give the player a better gameplay experience. Until then, have a great week!

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