Introduction

About Metal Crusade

Despite my efforts I couldn’t come up with a catchy tagline – “overhead view real-time tactical giant military robot simulation” is as condensed as I have managed so far. The game is played on a few different levels of gameplay. The main meal is of course real time combat in giant robots where you get to personally pilot one.

As the game progresses the focus shifts to customising your armament, customising your crusader, hiring wingmen, group tactics, designing your own crusaders, global strategy, taking over facilities and land and ultimately in effect running your tiny empire.

The actual fighting happens in real-time on small maps with a few hundred units at most and small skirmishes of a few dozen being the norm. The strategy part will be turn based and take place on a global map divided into hexes. The third major place you’ll spend time in would be the screen where you run your mercenary company – take jobs, customise, design buy and sell crusaders, hire squad members etc..

Why I started this project

Metal Crusade is an idea I had years ago but never had the opportunity or enough motivation to embark upon (I tell a lie, I did make an aborted attempt at making a browser game out of it). When I made the decision to switch careers from artist to programmer I wanted to use this project as a demo to get a better chance at landing a job interview. Now I realise this project is quite more than a demo would require and that it’s going to run and run and besides, it’s always been intended to be more than just a demo for me. Hence the scope being as big as it is.

My plans for this project

I plan to develop it as actively as I can until I find a job again and then continue it as a side project. Hopefully by that time it will be in a more advanced state and thus more welcoming to contributors who’d like to join in. This isn’t exactly feasible as a one man project.

Roadmap

Features for version 0.1

  • crusader animation
  • particle effects
  • collision handling
  • crusaders (loading designs from file, piloting them)
  • input, window scaling
  • basic weapon systems – cannons (operation, loading designs from files)
  • hud (dials, compass, basic radar, MFDs, message log, weapons’ list etc.)
  • targeting (under cursor only)
  • damage and splash damage

Features for version 0.2

  • loading arenas and missions from files
  • meaningful interactions between factions
  • some basic ai
  • more weapon types (missiles)
  • more MFD views and radar features
  • working on-board computer

Features for version 0.3

  • communication screen
  • more advanced ai (capable of communications)
  • non-crusader units
  • objectives
  • destroying limbs, falling over
  • heat effects

FAQ

When will an ALPHA be ready?

Sometime in late 2011 I’d imagine.

When will a BETA be ready?

Sometime in 2012 but I hope this project will just continue to evolve as long as there’s any interest in it.

What are the minimum specs?

A 3D card from the current millennium and OpenGL. I’m trying to keep the spec low enough to be able to play it on my old atom netbook.

What libraries does it use and what platforms does it run on?

It uses OGRE for rendering and OIS for input. It is intended to work on Linux and Windows. It could probably be also compiled for any platform that OGRE and OIS run on if someone wants to try.

What license is it released under?

The code is released under GPL V3 and other assets are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

(If you’re thinking about contributing: I’m not a stickler for licenses and I can accommodate your contributions as long as your license is vaguely permissive.)

Are you open to contributions/collaboration?

Of course I am. This project is free software and you are more than welcome, in fact you are invited to join in. The game is being written in C++ using OGRE as the graphics engine. I would also welcome any artists, sound engineers and musicians. Just get in touch.

Personally I use Maya for animations and creating collision meshes but that’s because that’s the only export setup that works for me and MEL is a lot faster to write ad-hoc scripts in than maxscript. But the game itself uses OGRE formats for models, anims and materials and I use regular image files for textures so you can use any package you fancy. I can write maxscripts if needed and exporters for OGRE exist for many packages.

I haven’t touched the sound system yet but I do plan to have sound effects and possibly music if any musician feels like contributing some.