This Is Vectonic


I'm finally making a game.

08/03/2016

Around about a year ago I was driving home from work when a song came on the radio. The song in question was Erol Alkan's rework of Forever Dolphin Love. It hit me just right. It was then I had the most vivid vision of the game I wanted to make. It all came to me at once: the music (duh), the visual aesthetic and the gameplay. I've stewed on the ideas for a year and now finally have a name:

VECTONIC

So what is Vectonic?

"Hover vehicles fighting without projectiles in a vector synthscape."

I started actual work on it on Sunday night and after two fantastic development sessions have something to show:

I like the word "synthscape".

I like the word "synthscape".

The terrain there is randomly generated as the game starts. The colour of the world also changes dynamically to visualise with the music playing. I found these things easy to implement given my past experience with terrain generation and music visualisation. Here's a GIF to give a feel for how the visualisation looks:

Visualisation example.

There was a lot I hadn't dealt with in the past though such as texturing (including creating normal maps). I wanted to provide the simple vector aesthetic with subtle detail that is only really felt by the way light shines on the surfaces. This is visible as a hexagonal grid on the screenshots above.

In addition to texturing I have very little experience with 3D modeling which I'd need for some sweet hover vehicle models. All I had done was several years ago in university where I made a simple gingerbread man in Blender. Rather than just rush blinding into trying to sculpt something in Blender I went out and purchased some plasticine to try flesh out some ideas. I wanted something angular with a reasonably even weight distribution in a more or less hexagonal shape.

Foxy!

Foxy!

I like the disconnected pieces.

I like the disconnected pieces.

Now that I had a stronger idea of what I wanted I took to Blender and - Oh wait! Current version of Blender isn't working on my machine (I'm still looking a fix for this.). I didn't let that stop me though. I found a cool in browser 3D modeling tool called Tinkercad. It makes using basic shapes pretty easy without the learning curve getting back into Blender would involve. It lacks (as far as I could see) the UV mapping options I was looking for as it is mainly a tool for 3D printing. Regardless I had a pretty good model made which was closer to what I had envisioned:

Still needs work though.

Still needs work though.

Since then after talking to my brother he has volunteered to do the modeling for me. I'm so grateful for this. He's got a heap of 3D modeling experience which I'll happily take on-board. I've handed him my specs and mock-ups and so for now I'm waiting for him to get back to me with a sharper model than I could ever hope to make.

On the music end I've been curating a playlist of songs with the elements of Erol Alkan's Forever Dolphin Love rework that I loved the most. Depending on how far this goes (and I'm aiming for an actual release) I'll be looking to license these tunes. That sounds like a lot of work. Work I'm eager to do. There's so much more to do and so much to learn.

I'll post updates on my personal Twitter account @YearOfTheBob and the game's account @VectonicGame. Please give those a follow for more.

I've got mad ambition.


-Bob Hayden