iPad game: Earth

Screenshots from current build

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Soon, I’ll be doing a playable alpha. In the meantime, I post screenshots here every few weeks or so.
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Developer Diary: old screenshots

Week 7:Reddit/gamedev ScreenshotSaturday post

Another experimental new look. This looks particularly nice when animated – the blue colours are based on real-world sea depths, so they swirl slightly.


Wind-blown particles: using real-world data (wind U,V directions from last 12 hours, from satellite feeds), I drive particles around the planet. They follow mountains, seas, storms, etc. But … I can also interact with them, which you can’t if you just use satellite-photos of current cloud cover.

Week 6: Reddit/gamedev ScreenshotSaturday post
3d south america
3d north pole
3d europe

New 3D look. All heights on Earth are now scaled to their (relatively correct) values – but obviously made larger so they’re easy to see.

select usa

select india

Selecting countries in 3D (trailing the country-border over mountains etc)

onion earth

I present “Onion Earth” (a bug when manually calculating normals)

Week 5: Reddit/gamedev ScreenshotSaturday post
Screenshot 2013.09.08 15.06.10

Vector shapes (country outline, here in red) merged into the globe 3D space, with an experimental new way of showing text info (the blue arrow that slides on/off the screen).

Week 4: Reddit/gamedev ScreenshotSaturday post

Um … I turned off DepthTest by accident.

Week 3: Reddit/gamedev ScreenshotSaturday post

2D mode: everything together (procedural background, painter effects, antique-map look and feel, etc)

(this week’s screenshots are from the 2D prototype I built before moving to the 3D mode. I still use these to test gameplay – the 2D part is now a fully functioning game with AI and win/lose etc)

Screen shot 2012-03-26 at 00.39.06

Test: simulating a water-colour effect (As used on antique maps) to show the extent of the “bonus group” (if you control all those countries at once, you get extra bonuses).

Screen shot 2012-01-08 at 21.43.30

Bounding-boxes of countries – testing zoom-to-country (game automatically zooms in and out as you move around the interface – the idea is you never need to manually zoom, it always works out the best zoom for you). You can, of course, manually zoom (pinch/pull) whenever you want.

Screen shot 2012-02-04 at 19.29.42

All the backgrounds are procedurally generated – the rhomb lines, the compass, everything.

Screen shot 2012-03-17 at 17.25.44
Screen shot 2012-03-18 at 15.44.10
Screen shot 2012-03-18 at 15.51.14

Roads are procedural. First shot shows different ways of drawing roads, including “direct” vs “randomized wiggle”. Second and third show them being applied to the map.

The roads on the map show the actual routes you can use to move from country to country. Some countries appear to be adjacent but have no shared border, or vice versa – the roads tell you the exact connections in a diegetic way.

Week 2: Reddit/gamedev ScreenshotSaturday post

Low res, using simple white colour, with alpha slightly less than 1.

Note the anti-aliasing / border effect — the lines SHOULD be solid white, but they’re low-res upsampled, with blur, which gives a nice 3-tone line. Also note that INTERNAL borders are much brighter than COASTLINES – because the down/upscaled SVG overlaps each border 2 x (once for each country), but not on the shore.


Low res, with XOR. Should be easiest to see – but turns out it’s harder to see than solid colour!


High-res texture now. See how lines are sharper, the 3-tone border is fading out. These two screens are *both* using XOR – but one of them, since we’re higher res, I scaled the line-width down in proportion to how much I scaled the resolution up. It looks almost totally different. Elegant, but … much too subtle, I think!


Sticking with high-res country map … but back to the “solid white borders”. Using alpha = 0.85, we get a nice mix of “smooth edges (less jaggedness)” and “high clarity / readability”. We also get an interesting “ghostly” effect, where everything is a bit semi-solid. Again, where a lot of borders overlap – or where the original border wiggles back and forth a lot – you get lots of overlap, and so the white gets stronger.

As before, coastlines are dark, internal borders are bright


Final two experiments: reducing the alpha further and further, to see what effect we get on the readability (I felt the 0.85 alpha above was a bit too overwhelming, although it is very clear). Respectively 0.65 and 0.5 alpha here.

Week 1: Reddit/gamedev ScreenshotSaturday post
small-IMG_0141 Zoomed-in “info mode”. Glossy glass-effect (fan of radiating lines) on the water – hard to see in screencap, need to see this moving.
small-IMG_0205 Alternative version of “info mode” – selected areas appear with blurry overlays (more on this later).
small-IMG_0160 White globe — experimenting with different colours for the sea + background. “Space” is a boring background, and inaccurate (this is not a world-sim / space-sim). “Blue” is boring and incorrect for the real sea. White is unique for these games, I think?
small-IMG_0140 A mistake in my texture-co-ords code for upload to VBO. Oops. Looks interesting though…

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