Why create Space Frigates?

This blog is dedicated to a hobby project I’ve been working on for some time now called Space Frigates.

I plan to blog about everything dealing with the creation of the game: the technical details, the game design decisions, the marketing decisions, etc. Basically, I want to share my whole experience with this project.

So what is Space Frigates?

Space Frigates is a multiplayer, real-time, browser based arcade game. You pilot a space frigate that is equipped with a powerful laser which you use to vaporize anything that moves!

It is in alpha at the moment but live and free to play here: www.SpaceFrigates.com

So why create Space Frigates and what influenced it?

Compulsion to Create Games

I’ve been creating games for as long as I can remember. Literally.

I didn’t just play with wooden blocks, I arranged them into opposing forces of enemy ships (built based on patterns I would reuse over and over) and then simulated battles with rough rules how each side would shoot at the other.

When I ran out of quarters at the arcade, I would go home and draw out my own mazes on paper, cut out playing pieces, make up rules and start rolling dice.

When I played with my GI Joe figures, I organized them into a league of football teams. I would then simulate football games based on my own rules and even keep all the statistics recored in a Trapper Keeper.

When I played Dungeons and Dragons I loved being the Dungeon Master.

So when my parents got a PC in the early 80’s I knew right away that I had to make games on it. After playing Zork for days and days and days of course. Mom helped me type in what seemed like a million lines of MS-Basic code straight from a computing magazine and then I sat and debugged it until it worked. The game wasn’t that great, something about a robot running around a parking lot or something, but I learned a lot of coding anyway.

Many years later when the iPhone came out I thought it would be fun to create a game for it. Then the App Store was launched so I wrote a strategy based football game called Gridiron Football. It retrospect it wasn’t that great but I did make enough money to pay for my new iPhone. And more importantly, it was fun feeling like part of something new.

So anyway, I love creating games and it has always been a fun hobby for me. So for the most part I’m creating Space Frigates because I can’t help myself. 🙂

Retro Arcade Games

As a child, I spent a lot time in smokey bars and neon lit arcades playing video games like: Pac-Man, Defender, Space Invaders and the like and I still enjoy the “retro” style many of these games had. So a lot of look of the game and it’s simple controls are inspired from that era.

Star Flight

I also played early PC game titles and especially loved Star Flight. Today, Space Frigates does not have any of the open world exploration that Star Flight had but my long term vision is to get the game to that point. So that players can have the experience of being the captain of their own space frigate, exploring a digital universe with their friends and blowing up plenty of stuff along the way! Again, Star Flight had a great, simple interface that has influenced me.

Science Fiction

Of course, I love science fiction and Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica were huge influences on my young mind when they came out.

Open Source

As a software professional, I have benefited so much from the Open Source community that I wanted to put Space Frigates out there as an OS project. Maybe nobody will ever even look at the code but you never know. Maybe if the game is good enough people might even want to contribute to or fork the code? That would be pretty cool!

github.com/dhardenb/space-frigates

Multiplayer, Real-Time and Browser Based 

I really wanted to create a multiplayer game. And something browser based to make it easy to get to and play. I want to be able to call my brother across the country and say, “hey, jump online and check out this new feature!”

As it turns out, writing a web application to be used by multiple people is not that hard. It is kind of expected, right? But having multiple people use a web application to play a real-time arcade games turns out to be non-trivial! 🙂

So I’ve really had to learn a lot about writing networking code. I’m horrible at it but we’ll see how it goes. The game is able to be played by multiple players today but starts getting really choppy after three or four players jump in. But, there are other such games out there so I know it can be done.

Conclusion

Those are some of the reasons and influences behind the game. And also a little about design choices.

My plan is to use this blog going forward to hopeful keep my inspired to make a little progress everyday. I’ve been picking at the game for a long time but want to really take it to the next level where more than just me and a few folks I trick into play testing play it.

I also plan to use the blog to share information about how I’m building the game. The technology behind it. The challenges. The failures. The progress.

Do you create games? I would love to hear what inspires you, please comment below!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s