Ares - 3D space shooter in 4k [Update available!]

Hi all!

I just submitted Ares, a 3D space shooter, to the Java4k competition. Ares features include a 3D engine with perspectivic correct texture mapping, depth buffering, per-pixel shading and alphablending, procedurally generated resources, complex physics, single or double player gameplay with dynamic level generation and upgrade system, and more. This is how it looks:

Use this Webstart link to play Ares right away: ares@javaunlimited. Please excuse the signed jarfile, I had to make use of the sun.misc.perf timer calls because of the restriction to Java 1.4. An unsigned version, which is exactly 4095 bytes in size, is available for download at the page mentioned below. Steer your ship using the arrow keys, fire guns using the space bar. Second player uses wasd keys to steer, c key to fire. Press any fire key to start a new game or to join a game in progress. Find more information on gameplay and techniques used at

Have fun with Ares,

Wolfgang Kienreich

“I’m a ****ing starship, I’m allowed to cheat!”
GCU Arbitrary, Culture Craft

edit by woogley: changed the JNLP link to Java Unlimited to start the download count :wink:

edit by wolfgang: changed the JNLP description, too. Thanks woogley!

edit by wolfgang: Update 1.1 available! Added laser targetting system, propulsion animation, boss opponent. Adjusted colors and difficulty levels. Thanks to moogie who pointed out bjwflate’s superior compression!

excellent! :smiley:

Looks perty!


Very nice, you actually got some gameplay into the jar with all that software rendering, I’m impressed!

Holy crap. Amazing. AND a decent framerate on my older 850 mhz computer!! Controls are responsive, everything moves with a nice smooth gradient to it, and collision detection is perfect.

THEN I noticed you also had two types of enemies (with basic AI!) and powerups. Incredible.

Pretty damn nifty!

My only problem is that it seems a bit dark…

also for your reference i am able to re-compress your jar to 3,814 bytes without a manifest or 4041 with a manifest, so you may be able to fit more in. (I used BJWflate)

Amazing work! I found it a bit hard to get through a big wave of the red guys. I’d try to circle around them when I couldn’t kill enough and I’d still get stuck and run into some and blow up. Like the concentration of them grows too quickly perhaps. Perhaps the lighting could be adjusted a bit, I agree it’s kind of hard to see what’s going on.

Wow!!! :o

Still amazed at how much is cramed in to 4K. Really impressive stuff.

I think that the difficulty level is a bit strange though, with the most difficult part coming up almost right away with piles of badies. Then it gets quite a lot easier, and I seem to die because it is really hard to see where (how far away) things are in space. Would also like to see some more difference in colors between different objects, or yeah maybe just a bit brighter might do the trick. Nice feel in movement and like how the ship turns.

Technically one of the top 4K games, and nice web page as well.

Thanks for that, I only tried rar and 7zip … frantically starts downloading bjwflat With 50 bytes left, you’ll probably get a targetting reticle and a boss opponent by the end of the week. Will also adjust brightness and difficulty levels. For the records: The first wave of baddies has intentionally been placed early in the game to show off graphics.


Wolfgang Kienreich

“I’m a ****ing starship, I’m allowed to cheat!”
GCU Arbitrary, Culture Craft

really impressive, this year’s 4k contest is on a huge level

Hi again!

I’ve just posted an update to Ares. Thanks to moogie, who pointed out bjwflates superior compression, I found the space to add a laser targetting system, propulsion animation and a boss opponent. In reaction to feedback provided by Malohkan and jojoh, I’ve adjusted colors, brightness and difficulty levels. Hope you like it!


Wolfgang Kienreich

“I’m a ****ing starship, I’m allowed to cheat!”
GCU Arbitrary, Culture Craft

Yeah, it makes me wish I never entered to show how pathetic my attempts are :slight_smile: But in my defense I must say that I haven’t put much effort into polishing (heck, even finishing!) my entries :stuck_out_tongue: … I just did it for the fun.

Pathetic attempts? Please stop that, I’m sure we all appreciate every single entry, and we’re all into this for the fun of it. Anyhow, we yet have to see woogley post about the million dollar cash price, lamp-post-wink ;D

I’m using as a reality check on a regular basis, to verify that no matter how nice my entries look, I’m still an absolute n00b compared to certain people.



“I’m a ****ing starship, I’m allowed to cheat!”
GCU Arbitrary, Culture Craft

Splendid. Absolutely splendid. So many great entries this year :slight_smile:

Holy mother of a goat!

That is beautiful.

I’d need to start now for the 2007 contest to achieve that!