Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Announcing: Project MBC3D

No, I didn't cancel Prince Dallio. This project has been in the conceptual stage for a while now. The difference here is, it's actually a REAL LIFE project with other REAL LIFE team members, not interwebber drones.

Several years ago, Chad Austin (I think) a.k.a. AegisKnight a.k.a aegis a.k.a. The All-Knowing Chad Austin introduced the SausageDance crew to an obscure game called Moonbase Commander. We played it heavily for a while, but it fell out of rotation, maybe due to the pisspoor networking/game customization options.

I took the liberty of passing the game onto my real life friends (you're welcome, Infogrames), and we all loved it as well. The gameplay was refreshingly simple, and you always felt like you let yourself down when an opponent found a chink in your setup and brought your whole base down. We played it heavily for a while, but it fell out of rotation, once again.

Fast forward to March 2009. After getting out of the hospital and feeling much better (another story entirely), I had the game-making itch something fierce. I tossed the idea out, almost sarcastically, that we should remake Moonbase Commander, but this time it would be in 3D. Then a pause. Then I realized that was a great idea.

The idea evolved a bit, and we decided not to remake the game inch-for-inch, as we wanted to maintain some kind of artistic integrity and make our own game. However, for the base engine, we aim to copy the mechanics of MBC fairly closely, and branch off from there.

I found Panda3D, a 3D engine using Python, and I decided I'd use it for the project, as I'm the head programmer. After tinkering around, I managed to generate some terrain and put objects on it. Here are some screenshots of my tinkering:


Minimum Overkill said...

I didn't say this last time. But, welcome back, Nemesis.

Real life partners? :o
Well, this effectively sidesteps that usual problem of a team member faulting, since you can real-life kick them if they stop working on it. :D

I haven't played Moonbase Commander, but it sounds neat. Also, nifty screens. Are those randomly generated terrain and item placement, or are those just test maps you've manually "generated" so far?

Anyway, keep it up.

Thrasher said...

The terrain is generated from a heightmap. The items are randomly placed, then I cast a ray down onto the terrain and orient the objects based on the normal of the polygon the ray intersects. This actually works with the way the game places objects (the ground is "sticky"), so I don't need to worry about sliding them or whatever.

egometry said...

I'm shocked. This is an actually-interesting idea.

James Gibbs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zwanglos said...

Best idea ever.

So are there gonna be any gameplay changes?

If the game ever gets completed you should tell the Penny Arcade guys about it. I remember reading about the original MBC on their site in the first place, Tycho was obsessed w/ the game.

Alan said...

The screenshots aren't much yet, but this is definitely a good idea.

I recommend that you start by duplicating the mechanics of the original game as closely as you can

Do you plan to make the game open source, freeware, or commercial?

Donkyhotay said...

I'm project administrator of project tether. We're working on an open souce remake of Moonbase Commander written in python called MoonPy. It's still beta but playable with all the major gameplay elements in place. If you're thinking about making your project open source it might be a good idea to combine these projects. Project website is at