Block Empire’s Design Mode

In block empire you will have the ability to design each and every building in the game.

Now being able to design your own buildings is purely optional. You can play fully using all pre-designed buildings. However, design mode makes it possible to completely customize the look of your nation. You can create buildings from scratch or edit pre-existing templates. You can also have as many different designs of buildings as you want for each type of building. So you could design 10 different style of houses and when your workers come to building a house you will be able to select from any one them.

Now building with different materials will effect the building. For example building with strong materials will mean that your buildings are more resilient to damage, however stronger materials will take longer to build with meaning that even though your buildings are nice and strong they will take a long time to build. Likewise building with weaker materials will mean that your building can be destroyed more easily, but you will be able to build them very quickly.

This mechanic will give you a varied strategy depending on how far along in the game you are.

Block Empire’s Design Mode

RTS Mode

Here is the first screen shot of the strategy mode.

rts002

This is where you control your army of workers. You will see a gray rectangle between the houses and wall. This is the current placeholder for a worker. Soon I will have full animations for workers. It will look sweet!

Currently you can select the worker and get him to build things, all the buildings you see here where created by the worker.

Below you can see the basic menu for building.

rts001

Currently there are no pictures on the buttons for the buildings. These pictures will be rendered from the building design. This means that if you design your own building the menus will render it for you to see.

Selected workers can also harvest resources by right clicking on the resource you want to get.

RTS Mode

Progress Report

This week I have been working on Design Mode.

Design mode is an exciting mode where the game goes from a 3rd person camera for the RTS game play to a 1st Person camera. In this mode you can move around just as you can in Minecraft. Here is where you can build anything you want. Once you have designed something, you can then send your army of workers out to build it or hundreds of them.

So if you have built an awesome looking house for your town, you get your workers out building lots of them for all your citizens to live in.

Now there are lots of different building types from housing to storehouses, from keeps to Town Halls. Each building will have different abilities, but more on that in another post.

Progress Report

Still Going

Its been a while since my last post but rest assured the project is still going strong. Iv been very busy with my real job so I havent had lots of time to code but stay tuned for regula updates this month as I have been busy on the project.

For anyone of you who are technically minded today I will talk about raycasting in voxel worlds. You see raycasting calculations are expensive and take lots of cpu time, so when you have a world full of cubes, raycasting them all is not an option. Sure you could do a broadphase detection on each chunk and then each cube but this is still an expensive calculation to do. Luckily will can apply some mathematics and using an origin point, and a vector we can trace each and every cube that the ray will intersect with.

Now there is a very good paper theorising how to do it. http://www.cse.yorku.ca/~amana/research/grid.pdf

This however is only half the problem and you also need to know how far through the current block you are and if the vector is negative you have to alter the start equation.

This foxed my for a few days and was highly frustrating, but in the end I have  a very fast and perfectly accurate raycast that even tells me what side of the cube I enter from.

Still Going

First Screen Shoot

I have decided to release a screenshot for the game.

This is the first one I have released and the game is still in very early alpha. There is currently no saving or loading but here it is.

Featured imageNow my pc is just average and the render distance is set to 25 chunks that’s way more than Far on Minecraft and its averaging 50 FPS.

This is good news for both tables and phones as I recon that you will be able to have a 16 chunk render distance on new devices, the equivalent of far on Minecraft.

First Screen Shoot

Building Your City

Today I’m going to talk about how you will be able to build and customize your City.

Before you can build anything you will need building materials. Now you can use whatever materials you want from dirt to stone, wood to gold etc. Depending on what you choose to build out of will effect the stats off your building. For example building with stronger materials will make your buildings stronger and harder to destroy. But they will take longer to build.

Larger buildings will also be harder to destroy due to there size. You therefore have an interesting mechanic where you try to balance out building size verses build time.

To build a new building you will select a citizen and click on the build icon. You will be able to select from a variety of different buildings. Each building will have its own function from houses to blacksmiths but more on this another time. What we are interested in today is what happens when you select a building to build. At this point you will be shown a few designs for your building, but just to the side there is a custom icon. Clicking it will open the building designer mode. This mode is like creative mode in minecraft. You can and remove blocks, fly around and completely customize your design. When your happy with your design you can add it to the list and the next time you select that type of building to build you will be able to select from your designs.

Designs will be stored in a master save file so even if you start a new game your previous designs will still be available to build once you have the required resources.

Now a few buildings like walls can be of any length. You can design the cross section of the wall. Then when you decide to build your wall you just have to select the length.

Building Your City

The Island

First off the world is infinite. (Well as infinite as any other type of blocky game. Ie 64 bit index numbers can only reference so far).

Even though the world is infinite the land mass you start on is not. You will be able to set what size island you start on starting from 2 miles to around 20 miles across.

You start off on the edge of the island. Resources are scarce here but the land is flat and good for building on. However you will find yourself needing to move further inland as you will quickly use up your resources. The closer to the center of the island you get the more common resources are.  More rare resources also generate the closer inland you get. However going to the center of the island is no mean feet.

On the outer edges of the island there are no real dangers. Sure there is a few but you will need to do very little to protect your people. However as you venture inland the dangers will become much more common and deadly. Monsters will get bigger, more common and a lot more dangerous. When you start out you will not have the equipment to properly defend yourself, you will need to create equipment to defend your citizen from these dangers.

As you approach the center of the island mountains will emerge. Getting over these will be a challenge.

Then at the very center of the island there is something very special. But that’s enough about that I don’t want to ruin the surprise.

Next time I’ll talk about the way the game allows you to use your citizens to build your city. You will have the ability to completely customize the look of every building.

The Island

BlockEmpire

This is the working title of my new project.

So what is it? In essence it is a city builder game. But there’s a lot more to it than that. You need to control your army of civilians to hunt, farm, chop down trees, teraform the land, build your city and defend your people.

All of this is set in a blocky world where each and every block can be modified. This places a unique strategic element to the game. More information is to follow.

BlockEmpire