Hello, My Name is Jason Reinsvold

I am also known as LostVector.

I’m currently (still) working on a space game which I’m calling “SpaceCraft… something something”. I’ve been in the process of converting my pre-alpha prototype from Flash to Unity. I recently tested my new Unity build on my iPad and my Android Phone and both are running smoothly. Stay tuned for more info to come. Sorry I have not posted more updates recently. I will rectify this.

-Jason Reinsvold

New Frontier

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I’ve often referred to myself as an “indie flash game developer” with respect to LostVectors.com. This has been true for the majority of this site’s existence. However, within these past few years I’ve been expanding my skills and lately I’ve been toying with Unity. Specifically, I wanted to see what it would take to port a version of SpaceCraft (currently developed in Flash-Starling/Flox) to Unity.

I got a version with simple combat functioning within a couple of days. I tested the performance and it seemed to run comparable to the Flash/Starling version. I might still have some room to optimize but so far a Unity version seems feasible.

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I imported my ship data from the current web version of SpaceCraft to test actual game data in the Unity version (without having to build the UI system to create new ships from scratch).

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So now there’s no doubt that I can make a 2D space game in Unity, but one of the major advantages of using Flash/Starling was the ability to us Flox for the back-end. A big part of the SpaceCraft is the user-created content. So if I’m going to create a Unity version, I need a new back-end system (Flox does not support Unity). After some googling I came across GameSparks. This looked promising so I created some prototypes which helped me successfully prove the feasibility of GameSparks as a replacement of Flox for storing player data and storing and sharing player created ships.

Gameplay – check
Back-end – check

Now what about UI and being able to port to mobile?

Unity export to mobile – check (Unity is great at publishing to all sorts of platforms)

That leaves UI.

With Starling/Flash I was able to utilize a framework called Feathers. This framework was great at getting high-performance UIs up and running for Starling/Flash games. It provides some nice built in components and features but was a bit cumbersome to work with because it was all code driven; you could not drag-drop UI elements within an editor like Flash and then load at runtime.

Unity up until version 4.6 had a really poor built in GUI system. Most Unity UI development was done using a third party UI framework, the most popular being NGUI. This is $95 on the Asset store and was pretty much a must buy prior to Unity v4.6. Since Unity 4.6, Unity has unleashed its revised GUI framework uGUI which comes built in. Both NGUI and uGUI are similar in how you work with them in that with them you can create UIs from within Unity and save them as “prefabs” for later use. This is a much more powerful approach than a purely code driven approach since it enables rapid iteration and adjustment; you can see pretty much how a UI will look without having to compile and run your app. Since I tend to create gameplay features as I go (I don’t have it all figured out from the beginning) it’s nice to be able to change things quickly. With Feathers, it would take time to change anything already implemented in a UI and when you only have a few hours here and there to work on this project you tend to find excuses why the existing UI is good enough. When you can rapidly change and iterate, you are more likely to try out new things that may or may not work out.

I’m currently developing UIs in Unity with uGUI (since it’s free) and I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience. My initial task with UI was to convert the existing SpaceCraft Build Ship UI. I start out with just laying out components that look the same. I had planned on then adding functionality to match exactly the current functionality, but it was so easy to imagine and lay out new UI elements that I started re-designing things in the layout stage.

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The ghosted image is the reference from the existing version of SpaceCraft. I then placed this into Unity and started building UI elements right on top. I was able to even use my existing TexturePacker sprite atlas from the Flash/Starling version to get UI and Ship Part assets into the Unity version. As you can see, I’ve re-imagined some of the layout a bit, but this is still not final.

I’m still hard at work on things. Still making games :)

Stay tuned for updates.

SpaceCraft: Particles!

I’ve implemented some long overdue visual effects with the help of particles! Check out the new VFX in battle mode in SpaceCraft.

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Particles!

  • Explosions got way cooler with the addition of some particle effects.
  • Rockets now have trailing smoke (easier to identify rocket projectiles).
  • Damage to ships is visualized with streaks of smoke.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed bug that allowed Guests to vote on ships viewed from the leaderboard.
  • Added missing color information to ball and oval parts; filtering by colors now should show them correctly.

General Changes

  • Changed minimum battle view zoom level to further out so that you may see a better overall view of the battle in all of its glory.
  • Alternating space background for each battle.

Gameplay Balance

  • Rockets and bombs no longer fire in bursts; all their damage potential is added into a single mine/rocket, and the burst timer is reset upon firing.
  • Increased speed of rockets, reduced turn rate of rockets.

SpaceCraft: New Features and Enhanced UI

Check out the latest updates to SpaceCraft. New Parts! Weapons! New Battle Mode! New Look!

New Features:

  • New Look! buttons and layout have been enhanced and reskinned
  • Enhanced Battle mode gives rewards for victories – unlock new and rare parts!
  • Outfit your ships with weapons and other components to prepare them for battle in the new build mode.
  • Get inspired and browse through lists of existing top rated ships in the new “Leaderboards” feature

Check out my youtubes where I show you how to build a ship and equip it with weapons in the June 2015 update.

SpaceCraft, Space Junk

I’ve updated SpaceCraft with a ‘quality of life’ improvement; In addition to Like/Dislike you now have the option to “trash” vote. What this does is acts just like a dislike in terms of star ratings, but it also it has a chance of causing the ship to be removed from the voting pool if enough people agree that it is space junk.

SpaceCraft, The Journey Continues

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to update SpaceCraft with more features, but rest assured that I have not given up on this project. I still have several features planned, and it’s truly inspiring to see so many great looking ships already created in this stage of the project.

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So stay tuned. You should be seeing many more updates on a more frequent basis in the near future. I’ve been a bit busy with life and such, but with things settling down I should be able to get some more development time in soon.

Specifically, I think I shall be working on some new social features like friends and followers, as well as improved ways to vote on and browse ships.

Thank you all who have continued to participate in this project! Keep on building! As always, any and all feedback is much appreciated.

Sincerely,
LostVector

Happy Pi Day!

What do you get when you divide a pumpkin’s circumference by its diameter?

PUMPKIN PI!

In a high school Math class, the teacher asked us that question and I was the only one to raise a hand to answer. I’m guessing there were others who got the joke but didn’t want to sound like a complete dork by answering. I had no such reservations.

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So anyways…

It’s Pi day so celebrate by playing the latest update to SpaceCraft! It’s like a good-for-you desert for your mind. So be creative and start building some more spaceships with all new parts!

The latest update includes:

  • Added tons of new parts
  • Improved the Battle Mode Demo – (the battle mode from the main menu)
  • Improved voting system – Removed the cooldown timer for voting. You can now vote as much as you want, and for every 30 votes you get a reward
  • Fixed a bug that caused ships to disappear when make new ships from being auto-logged in
  • Improved the Shop – reduced the cooldown of the deals, and increased the total number of parts available for purchase.