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Old October 21 2010, 02:39 AM   #1
My new bridge simulator game

I love Star Trek, and since you do too, I want to tell you about my latest game.

I'm a veteran game developer, and since leaving my last industry job in 2003, I've been a full-time indie game developer. I've sold several PC games from my websites and I've made 3 Iphone games, and ran an MMORPG called Blade Mistress for 2 years. Basically, I'm lucky enough to follow my muse, and make the games I feel like making. Which brings me to Artemis.

Long ago, when my buddies and I all had Commodore64s (like, 25 years ago), I had an idea. I could link our computers together and play a game like the Star Trek bridge. One machine would run the simulation and the "main screen". Each other machine would be a bridge station, like Helm, Science, or Weapons. That idea has lain dormant in my brain for a very long time, but recently my muse told me "Make it. Now."

So I did. Working non-stop for about 8 weeks, I made Artemis, a multiplayer, multi-computer networked game for Windows. Artemis simulates a spaceship bridge by networking several computers together. One computer is the main screen, while the others serve as one of five workstations (Helm, Communication, Engineering, Science, and Weapon Control). The actual gameplay of Artemis is like Super Star Trek; your one ship warps around one square sector, protecting space stations from a multitude of alien ships. Once you've used your torpedoes and energy, you can replenish by docking with a space station.

I've put a lot of cool things into Artemis; some are my idea and some were suggested by my testers. There are three different enemy races, and each race has three classes of ships (Cruiser, Battleship, and Dreadnought). Most ships (including the Artemis) have forward firing arcs for all weapons, but the dreadnoughts have rear-facing beams, too. There are space minefields you can lead your enemies into; an expert Helms officer might even navigate through them safely. There are nebulae. Enemies in nebulae don't show on the LRS or tactical views, but you can also hide from enemies in them, and perform sneak attacks. There are space anomalies that only the science officer can detect. She can guide the Artemis to pick up valuable energy from these bits of space junk. The Comms officer can ask for an enemy's surrender, which they MIGHT do. If you run out of energy in the middle of nowhere, your engineer can convert a torpedo into extra energy to help you get back to the station. The engineer can also shunt power between Artemis's systems, strengthening the forward shield during a head-on attack. And all of these things can be tuned so you play the mission you want to play.

But what I'm most happy about is that Artemis is a social game where several players are together in one room. I always envisioned that, while they all work together, one player plays the Captain. The captain sits in the middle, doesn't have a workstation, and tells everyone what to do. My testers really enjoyed this aspect, because the Star Trek shows have already taught us all how to behave on a ship's bridge. Every crew is different, but they all have fun working together to save the quadrant. I've compiled a set of YouTube videos showing people playing together;

I wrote Artemis in C++ using DirectX 9. It's a native app, and doesn't rely on the .NET framework. I use my own engine that I've grown organically over the last few years. I've tested it on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Basically, it needs DirectX 9 to run.

So if you've wanted to play as Kirk, Spock, Worf, or any other bridge officer, I've made the game for you. Please give it a try, and tell me what you think. Thank you.

P.S. Now that I'm selling Artemis, I've been poking around, and I've found an RPG Star Trek Artemis entity. That has nothing to do with my Artemis, and I didn't know it existed until after version 1.0 of my Artemis was complete. I just thought "Artemis" was a cool name for a spaceship (and I'm sure they did too).
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