January 25, 2011

Designing the Progeny

It's been a hectic couple days. My Mondays through Wednesdays are basically spent face-first in expensive textbooks, so my game development time is pretty tight. I have managed to squeeze in some work here and there, though.

I've started digging into designing the layout of the inside of the Progeny. Level design is an interesting art, and I admit I'm quite new to it, but I understand the basics. And I have to say, I'm pretty excited about what I have in store for the opening scene in Skybrawler. I don't want to give away too much, so I'll just say that there will be a bit of room for exploration right at the beginning.

The Progeny itself is an interesting machine. It was never intended to land; it's a space-only vehicle. As it turns out, the best possible shape for such a vehicle of that size is quite simple: it's a sphere. It is structurally the most compact; it doesn't have any protrusions that can get snagged on space debris, and it has the lowest surface area to volume ratio out of all possible geometric shapes, allowing the Progeny to retain heat quite easily. And because the ship was meant to last at least 2,000 years floating in space, efficiency is a high priority.

The Progeny's mission contains a simple and straightforward plan for colonization. The Progeny first enters orbit around the target planet to observe and collect data for approximately one week. The data collected includes information on local languages, customs, wildlife, plant life, planetary maps, resource locations, etc... This information is then transferred to the computers on the colonization pods. When data collection is complete, the operation is ready to begin.

The Progeny is equipped with specialized colonization pods which contain equipment for specific purposes. For example, one of the pods is for agricultural work, one is for engineering, and so forth. At the start of the operation, all passengers migrate to their designated colonization pods to prepare them for landing. The pods then eject from the ship and descend to the planet, slowing their falls with rocket thrusters. The thrusters guide the pods so that they land near one another, and upon landing, the pods burrow somewhat into the ground to transform into stationary buildings. If all goes according to plan and the pods land safely, the basis of a city is ready to go.

That's the plan, anyway.

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