Windows Flight of the Athena (Now in Early Access!)

Discussion in 'Work in Progress' started by Electros, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Flight of the Athena

    About

    Flight of the Athena is a vertical shooter with a procedurally generated campaign and scenarios. Earn new craft, weapons and upgrades as you fly deep into enemy territory to destroy their central command, and turn the tide of this war. Get it done, Commander!

    Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/751940/Flight_of_the_Athena/

    Trailer


    Features
    -Multi-class ships to fly, from the nimble skydoos to the heavyweight capital ships
    -1 to 4 player local coop
    -procedurally generated campaigns - branching missions, choose your path
    -multiple boss battles

    Current schedule
    -Nov 2017, announcement / launch trailer (released!)
    -Aug 2019, Early Access Launched
    -Aug 2020, V1.0 target

    Screenshots

    July03.jpg
    July01.jpg
    July02.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
  2. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Work progressing towards the announcement / launch trailer early to mid-November - completed the four player launch sequence which will be in it:

    [​IMG]

    Also aiming to have a GMC demo perhaps in December / January for some feedback!
     
  3. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Work continuing towards the announcement / launch trailer for mid-November - some highlights:
    -First pass of beam weapons
    -Tileset updates
    -Campaign map updates
    -Bigger explosions!
    Screenshot_5_Reduced.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  4. Gamerev147

    Gamerev147 Member

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    Love the artwork!
    It looks great from the screenshots! Keep up the good work.
     
  5. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Thanks very much, appreciate the feedback! Look forward to sharing more soon. :)
     
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  6. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Working title out, announcement / launch title in: Flight of the Athena!

    Announcement Trailer
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  7. JackTurbo

    JackTurbo Member

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    Looks great! I particularly like the star fox/FTL style approach to level selection, allowing the player to take different routes to the end.

    Only thing I would say, is I'm not sure about the music choice for your trailer. Your ship designs and design approach (fonts and colours etc) have a real sci-fi feel, but the music feels like it'd be more suited to some classic swashbuckling naval game (in my opinion at least). Obviously if that is a juxtaposition/contrast you're intending then thats cool, just thought I'd flag it
     
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  8. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Thanks for the feedback @JackTurbo - very perceptive on the level selection! Although it is node based so perhaps a bit more visually similar to FTL, the multi path approach was definitely inspired by Star Fox.

    On the music, it's actually a cut together version of the boss theme. I wanted it to be fairly epic sounding (thrown in the choir for that!) but I would say the overall tone of the sountrack is still being honed in on, alongside developing the game and setting. Perhaps I can get a couple more tracks up when they are done, to get further feedback on that. Cheers!
     
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  9. JackTurbo

    JackTurbo Member

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    Cool, serious kudos overall though its looking great!
     
    Electros likes this.
  10. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Dev update - procedural level generation

    One of the unique aspects of Flight of the Athena is the procedural level generation for certain mission types in the game. This won't be required for certain types (e.g. boss battles), but for others (like the classic start to finish shmup level), these levels will be built and so provide a unique campaign experience on every playthrough. It also reinforces shifting the challenge away from level learning, and towards situational awareness + pilot skill.

    These levels are built using a variety of input parameters (campaign progress, target length, mission type) from sets of level "chunks", using the input parameters to narrow down suitable chunks, and build the level accordingly. This also gives scope to scatter in special mid-mission events (e.g. take down a stray enemy cargo ship), which if completed will give extra resource bonuses to the player(s).

    The system is still in development and coming on nicely, but still plenty to do in terms of building and balancing the level chunks.
    ProcGenW960.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
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  11. Electros

    Electros Member

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    I've taken a small break from procedural level gen to work on characters and races - these will be threaded into the cutscenes and story, but also within the main game loop via radio pop-ups. I found it useful to split this into two types:

    Large static radio popup - these will be used within the gameloop, but not during combat, so can provide a bit of detail (or simply more verbose player taunting!)
    RadioPopup1.png

    Small dynamic radio popup - these will be short burst transmissions which can appear during combat, but scaled down in size and info so as to have minimal interference. These will be dynamically useful to pop up, e.g. during the death sequence of players or enemies, unintentional friendly collisions (oops), etc.
    RadioPopup2.png
    Having a blast creating some of the other ugly mugs to take down in the game!
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  12. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Happy New Year to everyone, I hope 2018 is a good one.

    Two major sections of the game for Flight of the Athena are the overall campaign setup + handling, and the battle engine. They have been kept independent for the most part to keep development work flowing (whilst being sympathetic to the factors that impact the other), however sufficient progress has been made to move onto the next stage – bringing the two together. This will be a significant step towards a full end to end flow for the full game, and whilst there will still be other parts to complete within this flow (e.g. Shops for ship / weapon purchases), will start to give a good idea of how progression feels, and further work around this aspect.
    CutAndShut.png
    Interface V2 is now work in progress, and should tie in nicely with the end to end flow work.
    Interface_updatedW640.png
    Mountains to do, but feels like it is slowly coming together!
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  13. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  14. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Boss work: Finished configuring all four phases for the new boss - some general tweaks and fixes to do, but the main attack / move patterns are setup.
    Campaign work: Building modular graphics sets, so it will be possible to drop any mission objective reward (arms bazaars, research labs, etc) into any region (desert, mountains, etc), e.g. The below are interchangeable.
    ArmsBazaarArctic.png

    ResearchLabDesert.png
    Next week: Campaign and Interface graphics updates (and perhaps a new boss!)
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  15. Electros

    Electros Member

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    New trailer uploaded - it has certainly been a bumpier road than anticipated getting to this stage (and lots more to do), but it is gradually coming together!

    Flight of the Athena 2018 trailer
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  16. Carloskhard

    Carloskhard Member

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    This is looking good! I really like the background and interface, but I think that most of the times the camera is way too close.
    Ship sprites shoul be more deatiled since they look too much paint-like, which takes away some inmersion.

    Also effects for ships breaking and taking hits and turning red don't look good at all in my opinion. I'm sure you coul try looking other similar games and improving those fx, since the game looks promising :)
    Good work and keep it up!
     
  17. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, great to hear what you think works and especially what could be improved!

    I'm currently working on integrating ground unit placements into the proc gen engine, and economy work, but will bear these thoughts in mind when back on the aerial graphics work!

    Been checking out Skyforce recently which has helped inform a couple of ideas, still perusing shmups (of the non bullet hell variety) to see how they handle various aspects.
     
  18. Electros

    Electros Member

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    DevBlog #4 – RPG, rogue or rogueLite Shmup?

    (Steam: https://steamcommunity.com/games/751940/announcements/detail/1689295380726775474 )

    The heart of the game

    Developing Flight of the Athena has definitely been a much, much more challenging experience than anticipated. Graphics have taken longer, as have some code elements, but the biggest issue has been nailing down the game design core, and what the game is trying to be.

    This is mainly due to being torn between wanting to create;
    -An RPG Shmup, where the main campaign could be a lengthier experience, difficult enemies could be overcome through upgrading equipment, craft etc.
    -A Rogue shmup, aiming for a shorter more replayable campaign experience.

    When researching other games in the Shmup genre with these elements, it felt as though there were quite a few offerings with varying levels of depth on the RPG front, but not much on the rogue front. The conclusion I drew was that there is a severe genre clash between shmup (heavily focused on player skill) and rogue (player skill is important, but elements of luck can play a large role, and bad luck can be fatal).

    I felt though that a faster, replayable campaign experience was where Flight of the Athena needed to be, so what could be done? The follow up conclusions were these:
    - Make use of elements that aid replayability. With this in mind, FotA uses randomly generated campaigns & paths through, procedurally generated levels, etc.
    - A full rogue option (one life and out) for those wanting a serious challenge, but also a more player friendly option for (hopefully) the majority of the player base.
    -Luck based elements should provide small peaks and troughs – for example, whether you encounter shops when you need to, event decisions having a positive or negative outcome – BUT, the overriding ability to succeed should come down to player skill. The rogue elements provide small bonuses or penalties; adding spice, not emptying the chilli sauce.

    In short, it's a Shmup first and foremost, with rpg and roguelike elements where appropriate.

    So when is it out?

    The initial plan was Spring 2018, but that clearly hasn't happened, in large part due to the elements above. I've not committed to a new release date, this will come when I feel I will actually be able to hit it. This may also be dependent on a closed beta / early access period, as feedback will be pretty crucial whilst trying to merge these elements together. Work has been progressing much faster after making the big game decisions, and I should be able to share more in DevBlog updates more frequently.

    Any other updates?

    There will be more to share in future DevBlog updates, but here's a screenshot of the current WIP arctic tundra region. The aim with regions will be to have pros and cons for each – e.g. Arctic regions could have more limited paths on the campaign map, but higher weighting on the chance of hidden credit stashes. These will be able to worked on and tweaked after the economy system has taken greater shape.
    Screenshot_220618_1_reduced.png
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  19. Electros

    Electros Member

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    As a second follow up re close camera, I have done some work in terms of;
    -Resizing the player ships to a smaller size
    -Repositioning and resizing the shadows

    This should give a lower flying feel (I hope!), and will help when the structures and turret work is properly feeding into the ProcGen engine.

    Also doing some work in terms of pacing, to take the twitch gameplay down a notch or two, less Tyrian and a bit more Skyforce - this will give a bit more leeway for the potential range of player ship strengths.
    Rescaling.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  20. Electros

    Electros Member

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    DevBlog #5 – Feeding the ProcGen Beast, Flying Economy

    Feeding the ProcGen Beast

    The procedural level generation engine is at the heart of the main shmup action, and bears a heavy burden – it needs to offer variety, progression and robustness. Apart from variety within the main created wave "chunks", work has gone into the "Special Events" system; these events will be rarer and interspersed within the standard chunks. Some will help, whilst others hinder – the repair ship special event has gone in to test the system, a couple more will be added to make sure they are slotting in ok with the other standard chunks (pirate raiders / 360º ambush are looking like the next candidates for creation!).
    Screenshot08082018_1_Reduced.png

    Screenshot08082018_2_Reduced.png
    The first pass of ground structure work has also gone in, where the wave chunks are able to call to place turrets / buildings at free positions. Much more to do in this area, but the economy work currently takes precedence.
    Screenshot08082018_5_Reduced.jpg

    Flying Economy

    The graphics for the collectible currency have been overhauled, and they are also now actually collectible, which helps! The next step will be determining the drop rates, amounts etc, and is a very important one, as it will start to shape the campaign economy for purchasing ship and weapon upgrades as you progress through the Campaign.
    Screenshot08082018_3_Reduced.jpg

    Screenshot08082018_4_Reduced.png
    That's the current state of play, looking forward to bringing further progress in the next update!
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  21. Toque

    Toque Member

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    Nice shooter.
     
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  22. BearlyBros

    BearlyBros Member

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    Looks super fun! Is there a download link?
     
  23. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Thanks! No download yet, working through my burndown list (long, but getting shorter by the day!) towards early access / closed beta - I can't wait to get a chunk of the game out and playable, it's been quite the mission!

    Will certainly post on the forums when a download is available, feedback will definitely be useful. :)
     
  24. BearlyBros

    BearlyBros Member

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    Keep at it, your hard work is paying off and I'll be following your progress and waiting patiently for a demo :)
     
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  25. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Mini update after holiday return: Campaign possible paths drawing has gone in - not exactly riveting, but important in showing the player the routes that they can take:
    Campaign.gif
    Continuing on level building, 2nd Rockies level coming along.
    Screenshot_31082018.jpg
    Proper dev update in the next week or two after getting back into the swing!
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  26. Electros

    Electros Member

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    DevBlog #6 – Regional Specialities, We Are Legion

    Regional Specialities


    Under the hood work in the campaign engine has enabled regional traits to be configured. For instance, the Arctic region currently has the negative traits "Battlefield Intel -" and "Flight Pathing -" influencing node visibility and potential flight routes respectively, but also the positive "Resource Abundance ++" which increases the chances of resource caches on the map. With a different mix of traits for the different region types, the player will need to work with the intel they have to choose the flight paths they think would be most advantageous.
    Screenshot_25092018_1_reduced.jpg
    We Are Legion

    Work is ongoing on a new boss, callsign: Legion. Quite physically formidable, he will be able to split and rejoin parts of the ship, as well as being armed with a "proper" heavy laser you will not want to find your ship in the path of...
    Screenshot_25092018_2.jpg
    More heavy lifting on the path to Closed Beta / Early Access, but lots of progress. That's it for now, till the next update!
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  27. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Been a bit quiet on the social front, but work has been steadily continuing - next pass of map assets in progress to help shape the world. Will try to get a new DevBlog entry up soon with the other work that has been going on also.
    Screenshot06122018_1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  28. Electros

    Electros Member

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    DevBlog #7 - On the (bargain) hunt, You ain't the Boss of me, Road to Release

    On the (bargain) hunt

    A mini-milestone has been reached with the working implementation of the primary weapons shop. There is still some graphical work to do to show the impact of the purchases, descriptions etc, but having this in place functionally means work can proceed on balancing economy within the main campaign, alongside finishing the secondary weapons and new craft shops also.
    DevBlog7_Shop2Small.jpg
    You ain't the Boss of me

    One of the main appeals of creating a shmup with procGen elements was the ability to create fresh playthroughs each time, and build upon the content and world – this can and will involve new maps, enemy waves, mission types, but also new bosses which can all slot into the main campaign. To that end, I've started working out the Bosstiary mode. As the boss count goes up, I thought it would be useful to have a game mode where you can practice battling against the bosses available – as well as being a pretty useful tool during development! More on this to follow as the mode is built out.

    Road to Release

    Getting Flight of the Athena to a releasable state has and continues to be an adventure in itself, but it feels like plenty is moving in the right direction. The current plan is to take it to Steam Early Access with a chunk of the main campaign and the Bosstiary mode active, to gather valuable feedback whilst the remainder of development takes place. Any bugs / defects would be welcome, but actually it would also be at a stage where any awesome boss suggestions, enemy types etc would have a decent chance of getting worked in. I'll put out a date for this release when I have fair confidence of achieving it.

    Tasks for the next couple of weeks: Next pass of wave/chunk creation, finish shop implementations, Bosstiary mode, test assets > final assets. (And probably a few critical tasks I've forgotten!)
    DevBlog7_MenuSmall.png
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  29. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Current pass of the wave / chunk creation & proc gen engine in progress, it now takes target mission length as a parameter when building up the level data. Updated my developer debug GUI display to handle a greater number of elements, as I'll likely need it for analysing when things have gone wrong!
    ProcGen.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
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  30. Walky

    Walky Member

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    Looks fun! Looking forward to play a demo.
     
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  31. Electros

    Electros Member

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    DevBlog #8 – Route one (or two, or three), Turrets for Sale, State of Play:

    Route one (or two, or three)

    The campaign map is going through upgrades currently – background map graphics are being improved, as is visual clarity of which path or paths the player can choose to take on. The navigation panel will also be upgraded to more clearly highlight actions in the current territory, and territory info for the target territory.
    DevBlog8_Campaign_Map.jpg
    Turrets for Sale

    The secondary weapon shop items are now implemented, allowing purchases of the 360º top mounted turrets. Players will have to consider purchases based on availability, play style, and whether they can afford it!
    DevBlog8_Turrets.jpg
    State of Play

    The Early Access release is getting closer (date tbc). Once there, the current state of the game and progression to the full 1.0 release will be shown and updated on the main title screen to keep players informed of the current release status.
    DevBlog8_Progress_Report.jpg
    That's all for now, till the next update!
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  32. Electros

    Electros Member

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    It's a trap

    More ambush waves are being integrated into the level ProgGen engine. As this is a vertical shooter with the main bulk of attacks coming from the top, the ambush waves are generally going to hit from the sides and below. A GUI warning system will show the incoming direction of these ambush waves to give pilots a short warning. Being ambushes though, there may be instances of being hit from both sides, or even all directions at once...
    Screenshot_20190415_2_reduced.jpg
    Like a Boss

    The Bosstiary mode is starting to take shape; it's a time attack challenge, with a set craft loadout depending on the challenge difficulty, fighting against a player selected target boss. The set craft loadouts should make this interesting, as the harder challenge difficulties could equip you with sub-optimal craft / weapon types to take down that particular boss, but it will be down to the pilot to adapt and make the best of it.
    Screenshot_20190415_reduced.jpg
    /SPOILER]
    Release me

    The to-do list of dev tasks before the first Early Access release is down to the low tens, so tentatively looking at the end of May for the first release, depending on these remaining tasks and fixes. This would give access to the first two chapters worth of content for the Campaign, and the Bosstiary mode with the currently available bosses to challenge. With that main core in place, subsequent chapters of content, bosses, events, game types etc could be added and worked in by the procedural campaign generator as and when they are integrated.

    Till the next update!
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
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  33. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Haven't posted recently as I've been super busy trying to burn down the remaining tasks before the first release, so a brief couple of recent shots below.

    New Boss - Aegis

    The third completed boss is integrated into the main game modes. Description: "Lord H'ntatha's titan class cruiser is not a fast craft, however the shield generator provides a serious challenge to any crew attempting to bring him down."
    Screenshot20190606_2.jpg
    Campaign & Console interface

    Graphical assets have been updated and are for the most part complete (though as more events / characters are added to the game, these can be slotted in as required).
    Screenshot20190606_1.jpg
    Back to work then!
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  34. Electros

    Electros Member

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    A new trailer has been released, and Early Access is targeted for the end of July 2019 - going to be a busy couple of weeks!

     
  35. Electros

    Electros Member

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    IndianaBones likes this.
  36. Electros

    Electros Member

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    Hey all - I have a few Steam keys available for GMC users. If you want one, drop me a direct message (not a profile post update!).

    Note: You will need a twinstick controller like one of these:
    Controller_W400.png

    To blow up some of these:
    Screenshot_Arctic_W600.png

    Cheers!
     

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