Help Available

A few players have asked for help getting started with High Frontier.  Sometimes it’s just an installation issue; other times, they’re not sure how to arrange parts in Design mode, or what to do in Manage mode.

If you’re in that boat, fear no longer!  We now have a handy Help page at HighFrontier.com.

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High Frontier version 0.12

Today we released the next major update to High Frontier, version 0.12!

v12-zoningThis version has major new functionality in city mode.  Several new tabs in the Manage palette allow you to lay paths, paint zones, and even place buildings if you happen to have one or more building mods. Continue reading

Custom Building Shader

We recently posted some of the first buildings modeled by artists hired with the KickStarter funds.  They all did great work, but we’ve selected five artists to form our core art team for the rest of the work.

One of the first things we have to do as a team is decide upon the materials the buildings will be made of.  In video game terms, a “material” is a combination of texture images and something called a shader — a little computer program that runs for each and every pixel on screen, determining exactly how the textures are combined with lighting and other data to generate their final appearance. Continue reading

First Buildings

We’ve been working with a number of talented 3D artists over the last month or so.  We asked each one to model a building for us — something with a modern-to-futuristic style.  Since it’s always a nice day on the High Frontier, but land is expensive, we asked them to put the roof to good use.  Here are some of the models we’ve gotten so far.

Office tower by Nicolas Bulchak
Office tower by Nicolas Bulchak

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High Frontier version 0.11

v11-inside-cylinder
High Frontier version 0.11

Wow, what a couple of months!  We spent most of November working on our KickStarter campaign, which was a big success thanks to all the awesome folks who supported us.  Then we got back to work on the code, working hard to write that “city mode” (which we’ve decided is a snappier term than “internal colony management mode”) that everybody’s been clamoring for.

That’s a very big job, but we’re excited to announce today that High Frontier version 0.11 is now available, and adds this city-mode view to the game for the very first time.

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STEM on the High Frontier

We’ve just prepared a little white paper on the benefits of High Frontier for STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math) education.

There are substantially more and better paying jobs in STEM fields than in non-STEM fields, but only about a fourth of high school freshmen express any interest in STEM fields, and half of those change their minds by the time they graduate.  What kids do have an interest in, though, is video games: 97% of teenagers in the U.S. play them.

So, this is a great fit — a video game that’s fun to play, and, by the way, also happens to have you doing real engineering and problem-solving in a high-tech area.  Read the paper for more!

And then please, go support our KickStarter campaign!

High Frontier KickStarter

If you follow this blog, you know that we’ve already pretty much finished the Design and Build phases of the game, but in Manage mode, we have only the external view.  We’ve been working (in separate prototypes) on the internal city view — where you can go inside your colony and manage your city in detail.

Well, just yesterday, we launched our KickStarter campaign to support that phase of development!

High Frontier Kickstarter Continue reading

High Frontier version 0.10.1

We rarely do this — in fact, I don’t think we’ve ever done it before — but we decided to post a maintenance release, containing just a handful of bug fixes.

This is rare partly because we haven’t let a lot of bugs slip out the door in the first place, and partly because we have been doing a major release every couple of weeks, until this month.  This month we’re pretty focused on two things: the internal colony simulation — which is a major new piece of the game — and the KickStarter campaign, which is quite a lot of work in itself.

But anyway, version 0.10.1 is now available at the High Frontier home pageContinue reading

On the Beach in Kalpana One

Last week we posted about placing water in the High Frontier internal colony prototype.  Since then, we’ve improved that feature quite a bit, as you can see here.

Beach scene in High FrontierWe’ve developed a custom shader that draws much nicer grass, without the usual tiling artifacts that made it look so artificial before.  And, we now switch to sand for any land below the standard “grass” level.  This is combined with a much nicer user interface that makes it easy to paint smooth, gentle coastlines and beaches.

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