Skywanderers – Shuttle Work


I mentioned this game in a developer appreciation post during Blaugust. It’s a bit impressive in that it’s the work of a single individual. I have access due to having backed it on kickstarter some time ago. Official webpage is here. I’d currently characterize it as a creative only alpha at the moment.

I’ve spent time with some other titles similar to this in the past. Starmade comes to mind. In theory, part of the original kickstarter package was designing a shuttle that would eventually end up in the game itself. I got the idea of making a small shuttle based loosely off of a rabbit, and drew out a plan on graph paper and attempted to design it.

old hopper.png

I consider it to be a failure for several reasons. I absolutely hate the shape I ended up with. The cockpit would have sat on top of this structure which was mostly cargo bay-ish in nature. It’s only perk was that it had a mostly functional cargo door/ramp that you can just see the top edge of along the back side. The backpack that had this clipboard with these plans would eventually leave my possession, so it will remain in this state indefinitely.

While my wife was in the hospital, however, I sat down with my graph ruled composition book and several colors of ink pen and started drawing up a new plan. I like the shape and layout of the new plan a little better, though it’s certainly less roomy than the big grey box.

hopper step 1.png

Completely ignoring the amount of effort it took to duplicate the construction platform, I started by roughing out the floor of the ship. It’s a longer most slender ship with the cockpit/head being at the front instead of on top. This stage wasn’t to bad, since I was mostly using these basic square blocks.

hopper step 2.png

After that I made another pass later on to fill in the edges and the underside. It gave it a rather boatlike sort of appearance, at least in my opinion. Those four openings in the floor are intended to be landing gear in the final setup. I don’t have much experience with that in this system, so hopefully it works out the way I want it to.

freeform block.png

Something I discovered in the process of working on it is this wonderful freeform hull block. It doesn’t always do what I want, but it’s great for areas where I need odd shaped blocks to make things work. Each of the eight corners can be moved independently of each other, allowing me to sort of mold the block into the shape I need. The only thing it didn’t really do was a nearly flat block I needed in a few places. I ended up just leaving it out entirely for now.

hopper step 3.png

This is where I ended up after roughing in the head and back line. Unfortunately it’s a little hard to see here due to the lighting. I’m sure that’s an easy fix, but it was getting a little late by the time I got this far so I didn’t try to start it back up to fix it.

I have some concerns about the current shape and finding a way to make the back/side meet up in a way I like, but I already like this design way better than the other one. There’s also an upcoming change to the block selection and how placement works that’ll probably require a rework, but I figured it would be easier to rework an existing design later. Besides, if I didn’t start on it now while it’s fresh in my head I may forget or decide I don’t like it. If that happened it wouldn’t get done at all.

I know this is way out in left field and many people dislike this sort of voxel game. I get it, it’s fairly overdone at this point, so thank you, if you actually read through it.