You can see the trailer here (

Hi guys. My first post here, I was referred by the good folks over at the LWJGL forums :slight_smile:

I want to tell you about a (needless to say, Java) game I’m working on - Starfarer.

A little blurb to set the mood:

[quote]Two hundred years ago, the galaxy was ravaged by war. The story of Starfarer concerns a sector left largely untouched by the flames. Humanity has been slowly slipping into anarchy, and few outposts of civilization remain - it is a time of frequent conflict, rampant piracy, and shifting allegiances. A time of great profit for the few traders able to ply the old trading routes. A time of great danger and greater opportunity.
It’s a single-player, sandbox-style sci-fi roleplaying game. You explore the different star systems, build up your character and your fleet, establish outposts or trade, and engage in lots and lots of fleet actions. It’s been in development for about a year, and a beta version will be out in the coming months. Here’s a link to our site, with lots more info about the game and a bunch of screenshots:

And here’s a screenshot just to get you started:

If it looks like something you’re interested in, consider following our RSS feed. We’ll be posting regular updates … well, as regular as it can get while still making progress on the game proper :slight_smile:

Thank you!

Looks very cool. Any chance you’ll post video?

Yep, for sure. Actually working on it - hopefully it’ll be ready in a week or two.

Lovely backgrounds, how did you make them?

Also the particles/glow/bloom effects look great, how are you rendering them?

Looking forward to the a demo, great job!

Looks very nice! ;D

That’s the Orion nebula, courtesy of NASA from this gallery - all public domain stuff! There was some fancy photoshop work involved to make it fit in with the rest of the game, the details of which I’m not familiar with :slight_smile: The image is pretty big (2048x2048) so randomly offsetting it, especially at a lower resolution, gives some variety for free.

Most of the particle stuff is using glBlendFunc(GL_SRC_ALPHA, GL_ONE), with various textured-quad particles - so it’s what you’d expect in that regard. One thing that works well almost across the board is a particle that’s bright in the middle, and doesn’t just use a super-smooth linear/quadratic transparency dropoff towards the edges. Like a small bright particle superimposed on a large dim particle. You get a more nuanced look with fewer quads. YMMV, though, since so much of it was just tweaking the relative sizes of things until it “looked right”.

Not quite sure what you mean by glow/bloom… the ship engine glows? Those were actually pretty tricky to get, and ended up nothing like what I thought when I first approached them.

The “heated metal” look around the nozzles is just a particle at the base of the engine flame. The actual flame is where the real fun is. The base for it is a scrolling, tiling texture that looks kind of like a sine wave with a reflection around the X axis, really rather non-descript. That’s rendered a bunch of times, going from short and wide to thin and narrow. There’s yet another pass to render a flame-shaped dim outline that you can’t even make out specifically, but that makes the overall flame look much smoother.

Thank you!

Looks cool. Btw I love sandbox and rpg games so I can’t wait to try it out :slight_smile:

Thanks for the explanation, good tips with the particles.

I thought you were using the so-called ‘bloom’ effect to achieve the glow, but sounds like your using the particles. There’s some examples of bloom here (

Nice job with the NASA images, they really suit. I thought you might have generated them somehow.

Thanks! Looking forward to releasing more than just screenshots.

Ahhh, that. Thanks for the link - never knew the details, and that’s a nice simple explaination. Seems like an awful lot of trouble if one is not already using shaders, though the results are impressive.

I wish. Tried that, using noise etc, and the end result was passable, but not in the same ballpark as the stuff created by the big bang :slight_smile:

Here’s what that looked like btw:

The above is just perlin noise for the blue bg, with the same noise matrix used to affect the probability of generating stars.

The nice thing was you can generate it on the fly, but pretty much have to use FBOs for performance, and that means putting in fallback pbuffer code when FBOs aren’t available, and that was just a big pain. Could of course just generate and then save it, but then it’s no longer dynamic… When I saw the NASA stuff, though, it was pretty clear I should just stop going down that path. Until that point, I thought the above looked kind of good :slight_smile:

The game looks beautiful - the style kind of reminds me of Master of Orion II except actually pretty. The premise also seems like it could be awesome; really looking forward to this one.

Could someone post some screenshots in here?
(the main site is blocked for me)

Thanks! :slight_smile: MOO2 is definitely a big influence. Going for less big-picture strategic and more focused on a single fleet, though.

Weird, any idea why? If you PM me your email I can send you a zip w/ the screenshots.

Looks and reads very nicely.
And yes, it really does remind me of Master of Orion II and Galactic Civilizations II. Which is a GOOD thing!
And if it runs on *nix systems, all the better (GCII does not really).
I would LOVE to play it.

Keep up the great work!

Well, we finally finished the trailer! You can see it here (

It’ll definitely run on Linux - I’ve been testing it out every so often on a Ubuntu box (one with an embedded graphics card, no less) and everything works just fine, thanks to LWJGL. The lack of a dedicated video card is… well, it’s not nearly as bad as I expected :slight_smile:

Wow looks great, even better in motion. (can’t say the same about the choice of the trailer music :))

I’m going to flex some showcase moderator discretion here and move this to the Featured Games Section. The level of polish already shines through, games like this come along rarely :slight_smile:

Will be reviewed once released.


Thank you, this just made my day!

I’ll update the original post once the alpha is available for download, or there’s something else noteworthy enough :slight_smile:

Looks great, but it’s got a bad name. I thought it said starfarter at first >_>

Ha ha, I like the name, but that’s a funny thing to read. :slight_smile:

Awesome graphics. I love the realism of the beams, how the shields react with the environment and being pummeled, planets rotate and its atmosphere, hows damage can be dealt to different areas of the ships hull , gun rotation and recoil, and every single graphical detail that is in there, the particle effects on the explosions, projectiles and exhaust is super. The artwork on the sprites is awesome.

Hard work comes to mind :slight_smile:

Whoa, I’m amazed you picked all that out of the trailer. Thank you! I think for most of these, I was working on and thinking, “I wonder if anyone is even going to notice” :slight_smile: