Health bar, drag selection and selection markers

Making a good UI is necessary for a full 3D tactical combat. In an RTS game or, for example, a Total War game, you usually command your units to some strategic locations depending on what you want to achieve. However, since space is quite empty, there are no fixed reference points like most RTS games have, and it may be cumbersome and hard to order units to some specific location in an empty 3D volume. The only reason to move your ships there would be because that location is somehow meaningful related to the enemy ships’ locations, and I think that is an essential observation when creating easier-to-use UI for this kind of game. But I’ll jump off that bridge when I get to it.

In the video, I’m showing drag selection of ships. Like many other things, that is quite different to do in 3D than in 2D. You can also see some testing of UI markers like selection boxes and health bars on ships.


It is easy to make an object move towards a point in space by gradually setting its position closer and closer to the said point. However, when that object has to move itself with three rotational motors and a main thruster, and it has inertia but no drag, the problem immediately becomes a bit harder. In the video, the ship uses the said controls to fly to the set point and orientation. Many things need to be considered here. The ship has thrusters for pitch, yaw and roll and also a main linear forward thruster and smaller lateral thrusters to all other five directions. It uses the necessary information to determine how it should fly to get to the desired pose. This means, for example, that for it to stop it usually has to make a 180 degree turn well before the target point for a braking thrust. Once the velocity is small enough, it can do fine control with lateral thrusters to get to the wanted location and orientation.

Please do not mind the background noises in the video. The mic was left open I couldn’t be bothered to remove the audio from it.

First post

I have liked strategy games all my life. I have spent countless hours on games like Civilization and Master of Orion. For some reason the combat in many modern space 4X games has not been entirely satisfying for me. It seems that to get a game I would like to play I have to make it myself.