BackgroundAfter seeing an online talk about the LHS Bikeshed project, we decided something similar would be a fun project to do from scratch ourselves. The general idea is that of a team-based flight simulator inside a caravan, with a number of interactive controls to "fly" the ship.
Such a project presents a lot of challenges and problems, from fitting it all the controls into a small space, integrating a number of physical controls into a game, having these controls distributed across multiple clients, and making the game playable!
PlanningThe first plans were drawn up on scraps of paper, and shortly after transcribed into Google Docs. A crude sketchup diagram was formed, and this was altered as plans progressed. A lot of ideas about how the gameplay would work were thrown about (and many discarded shortly after). The sketchup diagram quickly became the record of the physical control layout, and also gave a good idea of the parts required. A lot of the gameplay mechanics evolved along with alterations to the physical layout, as it became more evident what the exact roles of each player were going to be.
Game EngineAround the time we were planning this project, the AWS Lumberyard product was released, which seemed like an interesting and easy to use product. It very quickly became evident that the platform was heavily tailored to FPS games, and certainly not a space flight-simulator, for example, in the amount of work it took to "turn off" gravity.
The sensible choice therefore seemed to be Unity, as this is a very flexible game engine that is cross platform and easy to develop in. Within a few hours, we had a simple level in which you could fly a ship round a (small) planet