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[DevLog] Aloft - Airship Pioneers

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Been a while since I've done an update on this - I'm still working away, but mostly on fairly mundane low-level things that underpin the rest of the game (getting menus working etc...); this will probably continue for a little while to be honest as I have quite a lot to implement, but I'll be sure to post updates on anything interesting along the way (I have a couple more pieces of artwork under way at the moment).

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I'm still soldiering on with the implementation the foundational parts of the Aloft application; this is somewhat boring work but will make it easier for me the manage the code as it grows. Progress will probably be at about this pace from now on, but I'll try and post something interesting at least once a month.


On the art front we are working on a logo for the game. I felt it was about time to get one done to make the project look a bit more professional.


The basic style I decided on was one of those metal "inspection plates" that were typically attached to Victorian machines by their doting manufacturers in order to say who made, what patents applied to it or merely to highlight how ludicrously over-engineered this machine is compared to the competition. Typically they use a flowerly treatment of the company name, with some more practical down-to-earth text for the rest of the information. Almost always etched out of brass, which is heavy and therefore best.




The above were sketched by the talented Alec Beals, after we spent quite a while getting the font for "Aloft" just right; I like all of them, but am probably going to go with something based on the bottom right design. Eventually this will be fleshed out into a fully rendered colour logo, along with simpler black and white versions.


I will leave you with an interesting airship fact: For a long time the internal membranes of the gas bags inside airships were made of "Goldbeater's skin", the hammered thin intestinal lining of an ox. It could take over 200,000 oxen to provide the material for one large rigid airship; during the First World War demand was so great in Germany that the manufacture of sausages was banned(!) to ensure an adequate supply.

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Been a bit of a delay in news here, partly as I've just been doing relatively boring integration of already demonstrated prototype features and also had a couple of weeks vacation. Back now, and with some cool stuff to show to boot!


Firstly a development update: I have mostly finished setting up the basic framework of the game i.e. finite state based game control objects, basic menus, transitioning cleanly between game modes, customisable controls, loading settings from files etc.. and am at the point where today I should at last be able to get my gas simulation system up and running so I can simulate some balloons in engine; a simple step but a nice milestone in progress.


The exciting stuff is on the art front however, as two ongoing pieces have come to fruition in the last month. The first is final the logo for Aloft, which I showed sketches for previously; here it is in it's final brassy glory:




This was produced by Alec Beals, and he's done a fantastic job of capturing the engineering heavy (and perhaps slightly pompous) nature of airships that the game will focus on.


The second piece of art completed this week is something for a key menu in the game - the Aerodrome screen. Right now this screen will mainly serve as a place to launch into either "flight mode" or "design mode", but later it will be expanded to be the central hub for the planned management aspect of the game, with the player managing funds, resources and workers to complete their airship projects.




This was produced by Thomas Bagshaw, and he put a pretty spectacular amount of work and detail into this piece - click the the image to see a version of a truly titanic resolution. Though it is static for the moment, any dynamic parts of the image are layered to allow me to go in and add a bit of simple animation later.


The inspiration for the image above came from an interesting old picture I found of Shortstown in the UK, a "company town" which was heavily involved in the design and manufacture of airships. Recently it actually once again become a centre for airship development, as the company Hybrid Air Vehicles has moved into one of the gigantic old hangars to develop their Airlander lighter than air vehicles - their website is worth a look. They recently floated their airship in the hangar for the first time, and plan to begin flights soon!

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