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An RPG, RTS, and sandbox space exploration game all-in-one.  Explore, trade, build, and fight in a beautiful, procedural universe.
An RPG, RTS, and sandbox space exploration game all-in-one. Explore, trade, build, and fight in a beautiful, procedural universe.
5,449 backers pledged $187,865 to help bring this project to life.

Tactical Interface Tech Demo

Posted by Josh Parnell (Creator)

Given that we're about to hit twice the goal, I figured I really needed to push another tech demo out!

"Tactical Interface" Tech Demo

Over the weekend I worked a bit on an idea that I had related to fleet command. The "tactical interface" that's demonstrated in this video is a pretty neat and painless way of issuing orders when you're right there, in combat with your fleet. The main feature that makes this interface so intuitive is the ability to select in-game entities by simply clicking on them directly. A second nice feature is the radial menu that pops up when you right-click an entity, which makes it very easy to, for example, tell certain members of your fleet to attack, follow, move to, scan, or dock with a certain entity. Please note that this interface is really only intended for situations in which you are in close proximity to your fleet. There will be a different interface for managing fleets that are far away (more like a traditional, top-down RTS interface).

As always, watch it in HD to justify the two hours it took to upload ;)

Some Notes About the Demo

  • Although I didn't show it, you can, alternatively, select units by clicking on their name under the "Pilots" list.  This makes it easy to give commands even if you can't see the unit on screen.
  • In the future, you'll be able to select multiple units and issue commands to them all at once.  Furthermore, you'll be able to drag selection boxes in order to quickly select a group of ships.
  • You'll also be able to assign numeric groups to specific subsets of the fleet, and select them using standard RTS-style numeric hotkeys.
  • There will be lots more information on the tactical interface!  Right now, it's pretty barren...but the general concept is that it is intended to give you an at-a-glance overview of the system, surrounding entities, and your assets.
  • It features some new music composed over the weekend.  Unfortunately, this track didn't turn out that great in my opinion, so it may not make the cut for the game.
  • I know you're all tired of fog by now.  There won't be that much in the game, I promise.  Sorry!


"No more badges, Josh!  Please!!! Anything but more badges!!! Will it ever end!?!"  No.  No, it won't.

Thank you all for tuning in, and I look forward to surpassing the Mac/Linux stretch goal!!!


Jan Marten Krol and Felewin like this update.


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    1. Bele on

      @Cameron Holly, yes we will be able to target specific sub systems such as thrusters and disable them.

      @Jan Panek You could always group all your wingmen into one group, and then issue the attack command to that group.

    2. John D on

      Absolutely lovely Josh!

    3. Missing avatar

      Jan Panek on

      Hello, thank you for another update. I have just two small things. First Kra'hen is a name of race from Imperium Galactica 2. I do not think it is copyrighted, but still may look like stealing.
      And the second, would it be possible to make that when you click on the enemy ship, ther will be an option like Attack all, which will make all your wingmen attack the selectet target? Would be faster then having to select them first, especially when you will need the target destroyed as a priority.

    4. light487 - Kickstarter Junkie on

      @Josh can you do a badge with a greenish hue to it, please? :)

    5. Missing avatar

      Alter Ego on

      Can you implement rotating asteriods? They seem so static to me.

      IMHO two things make asteroid fields really challenging: numbers of asteroids and asteroids in motion :) I was watching Star Wars II the other day, and I realized the fight in the asteroid field was to great because they were rotating differently.

    6. ReptilianSamurai on

      The new demo looks fantastic! It looks like the tactical overlay puts things in slo-mo, which is nice, but sometimes I'd like to be able to set up a bunch of commands to execute simultaneously so it would be great if I had the option to pause the action while I set up my commands to be executed once I unpause. Would that be possible?

    7. Flendon on

      I love it. I like that you can target your own ships for realism. The ships look pretty similar though. I'm guessing you will include some easy way to determine friend and foe in the future. If you accidentally target your own ship will any sort of warning be available?

    8. Missing avatar

      Cameron Holly on

      A few questions about NPC orders:

      Will we be able to have NPCs mine with us?

      Can we set priorities for orders? For instance, "Follow me but attack if enemy appears" vs "Follow me unconditionally and don't engage"

      Also, will we be able to attack specific components of enemy ships, such as engines to disable them?

    9. Nick Hanson

      I'm hoping it will be easier to see damage when the game is released and it's just not implemented yet? Maybe I'm just not noticing the detail (just checked out the videos at work... not in HD) but there doesn't seem to be any lasting damage to the asteroids you shoot and even when the capital ship blew up after the beautiful explosion the remaining "hulk" doesn't seem different from before it blew up.

    10. Missing avatar

      Valeroth on

      1. I'd really like to see some area of space that has black starry background. To many space games don't have stars.
      2. I really like the radial right click menu. More games should have them.
      3. I very much like the tactical overlay (with time dilation).

    11. Netzbummler on

      @Ben: Hmmm, a salvageable shell sure sounds like an interesting idea. Hopefully, Josh will consider this.

    12. TanC on

      Will the explosions be extra huge towards the end? I kinda feel like there wasn't enough "bang" towards the end when a capital ship goes boom! Also, seeing that the shell of the capital ship will remain after the explosion, will there be like a "wreck model" of the ship in the future? Of course all these shown right now are concepts but I was just wondering if it will be implemented in the future? Thanks!

    13. Netzbummler on

      @Will Lowe: The first thing I thought when seeing that menu was "Homeworld claw formation FTW!" XD

    14. Missing avatar

      Jon Lauridsen on

      Don't turn down that fog, I for one will search for a system dense and murky like that. That's assuming fog density is randomized.

    15. Josh Parnell Creator on

      @Iceciro - The former! As in, "I will not be implementing a high-level scripting language engine in LT." I'm sure there will be numerous things that you can tweak in configuration files (perhaps I will even provide interfaces for these) to change the "magic constants" used in the generating algorithms, AI, etc. But I don't consider that modding, I consider it tweaking. When I say no modding, I mean, as in, there is no mechanism for you to, for example, design an introduce a new interface into the game. Or program a new AI behavior, or something like that.

      @Styggron - Bahahaha thanks for giving me an excuse to keep making badges ;)

      @KahunaKevin - Yes on all accounts!

      @Netzbummler - Can't give all the soundtrack away for free...else there's no point in pledging for the soundtrack!! But I'm pleased that you like it :) It definitely needs improvement though.

      @Rad - Yep, again, this interface is for a very specific purpose, not for general high-level RTS control. But for me, it is far more immersive than traditional interfaces, and that was my motivation for it. I will really enjoy flying into battle and issuing commands without ever having to see an obtrusive menu. Nonetheless, you can expect all the powerful, abstract and automatable interfaces that other games have spoiled you with!

      @Willie - Thanks very much! Very nice compliments.

      @Alex Hooi - Yep, sounds good. Hotkeys for everything!

    16. Missing avatar

      Iceciro on

      Do you mean "no mod support" as in
      "I will not be providing modding tools" which is understandable for a one man team
      or do you mean it as in
      "i will aggressively attempt to make it difficult to mod/hardcode things that don't need to be"?

    17. Styggron on

      oh and I LOVE the badges....keep em coming! :-)

    18. Kahuna Kevin on

      You joke about shooting asteroids, but will we be able to shoot/mine asteroids for resources? Will asteroids have procedural amounts of minerals percentages determining their shape, size and color?

      Any comets or fast moving space debris to mix things up?

    19. Will Lowe on

      A homeworld mod would be awesome with this engine

    20. Netzbummler on

      Josh, first things first: Thank you for these awesome explosion. Don't know how you always come up with such cool ideas! XD

      Second: Can you plz post this sound track on your SoundCloud page? I really like how it sounds.

      Third: Man, you just showed veteran space game developers how things are done. Again! Please keep up this level of awesomeness! XD

      Fourth: 100k, here we come! XD

    21. Missing avatar

      Rad on

      Looks quite nice.

      Even so, the things I actually needed to do at the tactical or strategic level in space sims or space RTS would be mostly and trivially automated in the very few games that supported doing so. And with games that supported no such automation feature, I always preferred more abstract representations not quite as camera angle and zoom-level-dependant as the 3D environment. They're both easier to use, and better able to display more information.

    22. Willem on

      Again, with update 7, I am incredibly impressed. The interface is brilliant Josh: simple, functional and intuitive. I always liked the radial menu approach (in games like Torment for example), I feel it works very well to me. You consistently impress me Josh, not just with your technical skills, but also with your design skills for game systems. One can see that you do your homework and keep it functional and simple, I appreciate that. Only thing I would like to add: I echo Alex Hooi: give us the option of assigning hotkeys for issuing orders (for the more "hardcore" players :)). Other than that, brilliant as always, very very impressed.

    23. Missing avatar

      Alex Hooi on

      Implementation's looking good! :)

      If I may suggest, perhaps add shortcut keys for the commands as well, i.e. hold shift and click to issue an attack order, press G for "Guard/Follow" so players don't need to keep opening the radial menu to issue orders.

      The less steps a player needs to issue orders the better. :)

    24. Matt Dubois on Tiki Cocktails
      "Looks REALLY amazing! One small suggestion: Display the large radial explosion after the smaller explosion clusters."

      +1 to that. Seems like it'd be a more natural progression to me. Also, I'm sure you plan it, but ships breaking into chunks would be cool - and also quite natural, considering they're /made/ of procedurally generated chunks. :)

    25. Matt Dubois on

      This is so ridiculously intuitive! Why has no space sim done this before? I love it!!! Aaahhhh!!!

    26. Missing avatar

      Victor Tombs on

      It's very early in the morning here in the UK but I wanted to thank you for another great update. I really like the simple to use interface you are developing.

    27. Styggron on

      Josh sorry I have to say it again...... every single update you do is just mind blowing !!! One day I'm going to say "I have that guys email" :-)

    28. Josh Parnell Creator on

      Thanks very much all!!

      @KahunaKevin - Oh wow...duh...I just changed that and it looks way better...I am rather stupid sometimes o.o

      @theStormWeaver - Sorry, probably no mod support! :/

    29. Chad Fenwick on

      Looking awesome, can't wait to fly my own ship!

    30. Kahuna Kevin on

      Looks REALLY amazing! One small suggestion: Display the large radial explosion after the smaller explosion clusters.

    31. Missing avatar

      theStormWeaver on

      Milky Way and Pegasus Stargates at 2:22

      Game looks amazing. Looking forward to playing it.
      Think this will have mod support?

    32. Greg "Scorpio" Myers

      Looking fantastic Josh!

    33. Blood Dragon on

      "Guard" it is! :D

    34. light487 - Kickstarter Junkie on

      My bad :) I normally read the updates thoroughly but I was distracted by the awesomeness of the video :) hehe

    35. Missing avatar

      nin on

      Looks great!

    36. Josh Parnell Creator on

      @light - Hey now, it's in the update ;) "Although I didn't show it, you can, alternatively, select units by clicking on their name under the "Pilots" list. This makes it easy to give commands even if you can't see the unit on screen ... You'll also be able to assign numeric groups to specific subsets of the fleet, and select them using standard RTS-style numeric hotkeys."

      @Blood Dragon - Sure! Good idea. I think "guard" will be the term :)

    37. Blood Dragon on

      Enjoyed the new vid. It's really nice to see this game getting more and more fleshed out. With the tactical interface is there going to be an "Attack my current target" or an "Assist" radial option when right clicking your own ship, with nearby fleetmates selected? That would reduce a few mouse clicks and shave some time down in the heat of battle.

    38. light487 - Kickstarter Junkie on

      Great update. Thanks for the video and the words.

      I noticed you had a list of "Pilots" on the left.. are you thinking of having groups/pilots that you can use to select for these actions? So rather than having to select them in the world to start the action input, could you select them from the list (eg. your list of wingmen or other allied ships) and then click on the target in the game world to get the radial menu rather than selecting them in the gameworld?

    39. BruceP - Chameleon Prime

      Looking cool, Josh. :)