Planetbase is a town management sim whose claim to fame is that it takes place in space, meaning it’s not enough to just worry about whether your citizens are happy and well fed in their newly built settlement. You also have to worry about whether or not they have enough oxygen or too much cosmic radiation. How much you have to worry about this depends a lot on the planet you choose to settle.
Since I’m going into this game blind I only have access to the easiest of planets: Class D. It’s a dustball with a thick CO2 atmosphere and while humans can’t breath that the fact that it at least has an atmosphere should help with everything from providing wind power to screening out a certain amount of cosmic radiation and debris. It would also make this an attractive planet for terraforming but I don’t think this game cares about so oh well.
Anyways, first up we need to name our base. Now let’s see… who do we know that both desperately needs a way off planet and has enough money to fund a space program?
Why none other than Fault, who as you may recall ended her last adventure by kind of sort of betraying her orders from a powerful Emperor and thus winding up on his hit list. Still, at least she managed to amass a large fortune in the process and what better way to spend that than on space exploration.
Extensive experience with stabbing monsters totally qualifies Fault to run a space based industrial firm, right?
Thus is born “Fault Inc”.
No, this has no impact on the game at all but after the last two Let’s Illustrates it would be sad if Fault didn’t at least get a cameo in this one.
They can do full 3D.
This is exciting because it used to be that the only way to share 3D content with your users was to ask them to download and run a a suspicious standalone exe file. But now you can share your 3D ideas directly through the browser they already trust.
Of course, there are limits. The browser may already know how to render 3D graphics but you still have to send the user a copy of all your models and texture and users aren’t going to wait around for hours while you send them ten gigs of data. So you’re unlikely to be hosting full triple A games on your blog.
But there’s still a lot of cool stuff you can do with a mere dozen megabytes of 3D data. Games, simulations, interactive presentations and so on. It’s not going to be replacing the fast and reliable text based Internet we know and love anytime soon (or ever) but it can certainly enhance an existing website.
Always Turn Right
So what shall we do to practice our browser based 3D skills?
Well, lately I’ve been playing an unreasonable amount of dungeon crawlers. There’s just something about exploring a labyrinth in first person that’s more exciting than doing it from a third person eagle eye view. Probably the suspense of not being able to see what’s around each corner combined with the sense of scale you get from actually being in the dungeon.
So let’s build ourselves a first person, grid based maze. Just a maze, mind you. No combat system or treasure chests or anything. Just the maze exploration system.
Now before we start talking about our code let’s go over what our project needs to actually do:
- Draw textured squares to represent walls, floors and ceilings
- Accept user movement input
- Force the user to move in a grid pattern
- Keep track of the shape of the maze
- Prevent the user from walking through walls
Pretty easy and straightforward as long as you have a reliable way to draw 3D graphics. And thanks to the smart people in charge of browser design we do.
So next time we can start experimenting with actual graphics code.