1. Table of Contents
3. Licensing and Distribution
4. Author's Notes
6. Game Controls
8. New for Release C (SVN 335)
9. Known Bugs with Release C
10. Release D and beyond
Galactic Artifact is a real time, non-combat game of space exploration. Alien archaeologists are in search of a prized galactic artifact, hidden away somewhere amongst the stars, and have sent you on a quest to find it! You are in command of a star ship, ready to explore the galaxy, discovering hidden artifacts along the way and making a bit of profit on the side. You gather and these artifacts and sell them to the alien archaeologists for cash to upgrade your ship, or trade them for information that provide clues to help you complete your quest. As you accumulate more information, the region of the galaxy that need be explored is reduced, until the quest is completed and the prized artifact is found.
Galactic Artifact can be played as a single player race against the clock, or as a multiplayer race against other players.
Galactic Artifact is available for Windows and Linux, and will be ported to the Pandora console once it is released later this year.
Seven players race one another in a quest for the Galactic Artifact.
For details on licensing, please see the LICENSE file inlcuded with the game.
This game is an alpha release, and is not yet a completed game. The game has been released at this stage to gather feedback from the GP32x.com community, and to test the multiplayer aspect of the game. At present, the game is closed source, but may be released as open source at a later date. The game is free to play and will remain so after release.
Since I'm still piecing this game together, the licensing is a bit piecemeal:
The source code has been released under an "educational use only" license. You are free to examine, modify and compile the code for personal purposes, but you may not redistribute any portion of this code without the author's permission, nor redistribute binaries containing this code without the author's permission. The author reserves the right to change the game license at a later date.
Dynamic Libraries for SDL, SDL_gfx, SpriG, SDL_image, SDL_ttf, SDL_mixer and SDL_net distributed under the Lesser GNU Public License (LGPL)
Sounds for the game have been downloaded and licensed via soundsnap.com. Sounds may not be unbundled from the game as per the soundsnap.com license. (Feel free to download them directly from soundsnap.com)
Heaven Gate by warg, licensed via soundsnap.com. This song may not be unbundled from the game as per the soundsnap.com license. (Feel free to download this song directly from soundsnap.com)
ZeroG, Anti Gravity, Eta Carinae, Space Radio by Harmonics of Frequency Modulation and distributed under the Creative Commons License.
CargoHold.bmp, CargoIcons.bmp, Industrialist.bmp, Industrialist_face.bmp, Futurist.bmp, Futurist_jaw.bmp Copyright 2009 Pat Ferguson. These images may not be unbundled from the game, redistributed or ported without the author's permission.
Galaxy160.jpg, Galaxy480.jpg, Galaxy1440.jpg, Galaxy4320.jpg, and Galaxy12960s.jpg by Trevor Bradley, released under the Creative Commons License.
This version, Release C (SVN Build 335), is a follow up to the pre-Alpha Release A (SVN Build 55) and Release B (SVN Build 234). Many additions have been made to the game in the past two weeks, most of them having to do with improved multiplayer stability.
As this game is an alpha release, it is not yet complete. Most of the user interface needs to be reworked. Most the graphics and text to the right of the galaxy screen have to be redone, though some are starting to take shape. There are many features I am working on for Alpha Release D, and many bugs I am already aware of. See the and Release D and beyond sections below for more information.
This game was coded in C++ using the SDL 2D graphics library. It makes use of SDL_ttf, SDL_gfx, SpriG, SDL_net, SDL_image, SDL_mixer libraries. The code was developed using Code::Blocks on Windows and KDevelop on Linux.
GalacticArtifact0335.exe is a compiled version of the game for Windows. Dynamic libraries are included.
GalacticArtifact0335 is a dynamically compiled version of the game for 32-bit Linux.
The src directory contains the source for the game, released under an "educational only license". You are able to compile and run the game to create your own server and clients to connect to it for personal purposes. You are not permitted to re-distribute the source or binaries without the authors' permission. (But just ask, we'll probably say yes!).
NOTE! To curb cheating, you will not be able to connect to the main game server without using a pre-compiled binary. Compiling the game from source will only allow you to play a local single player game, or connect to your own server.
NOTE! I'm presently looking for someone who can help me compile 64-bit Linux and OSX versions of the game. If you're able to do this, please get in contact with me using the feedback form on the website.
The files in the Fonts, Music, Sheets, and Sounds directories are all required for the game to operate properly.
Either the numeric keypad or mouse can be used for game control.
Zoomed Out (Galaxy Levels 0 through 6)
|1-9||Zoom in to sector 1-9|
|*/HOME||Zoom in to ship location|
|CTRL+1-9||Pan to neighbouring sector|
Zoomed in (Galaxy Level 7)
|1-9||Move cursor (5 tabs to next star)|
|ENTER||Travel to star/Revisit Aliens|
|CTRL+1-9||Pan to neighbouring sector|
|ENTER||Next Screen/Select option|
|ESCAPE||Quits the game and returns to the main Menu.|
|P||Pause game (single player only).|
|T||Multiplayer chat (new!)|
NOTE! As per request on the forums, the keys QWEASDZXC also work for keypad navigation, which should allow laptop users to navigate more easily. Space or backspace can be used to back out of a sector. In addition, the arrow keys can work for navigation, but you may have difficulty navigating your ship in dense star clusters.
Zoomed Out (Galaxy Levels 0 through 6)
Left Click or Mouse Wheel up on a sector to zoom in
Right click or Mouse wheel up on a sector to zoom out
Left Click and drag to pan to neighbouring sector
Zoomed in (Galaxy Level 7)
Left Click once to move cursor
Left Click twice to move ship
Left Click and drag to pan to a neighbouring sector
Right Click/Mouse Wheel down to zoom out
Mouse wheel up/down to choose option
Left Click to select option
NOTE! Mouse interface is not yet completely implemented for the interface screens. You need to use a mouse wheel to select an option. Clicking anywhere on the screen selects an option in this release.
For Release C, the game menu is little more than a placeholder. It does allow you to select between a multiplayer network game and a more sedate single player game, as well as a new single player "Easy mode" where you start with a fully upgraded ship. Other features will be added to this menu in later releases.
The game menu is a placeholder for now, but allows
you to select between network and local games.
Note the new easy mode for local play.
Unlike the real Milky Way with it's 100 billion stars, the Galactic Artifact galaxy is a flat cross section made up of approximately 40 million stars. The stars can be found in the central core, in one of two major or two minor arms, or in the galactic halo.
The galaxy is divided up into about 4.7 million sectors. Each sector is designated by a seven digit number containing the digits 1 through 9. Each time you type in a sector digit, the galaxy map zooms into that part of the galaxy. Sector 555-5555 is in the exact center of the galaxy, and 111-1111 is a starless region on the very edge of galactic space.
The galaxy map is divided in 9, each region of the map labeled with a digit from 1 to 9.
Galactic Artifact is a galaxy wide search for a special artifact. The galaxy is populated by three races of alien archaeologists, all keen to find evidence of past civilizations:
When you start the game, your ship (denoted by a circular coloured cursor) is circling a random star on a minor spiral arm of the galaxy. Your ship has 40 liters of antimatter fuel, you have 100 Melnorme Spacebucks to your name, and your ship has no upgrades. Your ship will move very slowly and you will burn fuel very quickly.
Early going is hard. You ship is slow, burns fuel quickly, and your radar is so primitive
you can barely find an artifact! Best to upgrade your ship quickly before you run out of fuel.
To zoom into the galaxy and find your spaceship, you can either type in the sector number (note the small numbers at the corner of each of the nine blue squares) or press * (or HOME) to fast zoom to your ship's location. You can also use your mouse to click on your ship's location and zoom in.
The green selector cursor scans stars and allows you to navigate your ship. Moving the cursor with the keypad and hitting ENTER will allow you to travel to another star. CTRL+1-9 will allow you to pan to a neighbouring sector. You can also use the mouse: click on stars to move your cursor, double click to move your ship. Once your radar is upgraded, moving the cursor allows you to aim your radar in a particular direction.
At the start of the game, your ship is equipped with a primitive radar device for detecting alien worlds and worlds with artifacts on them. The radar's rotating arc will flash and make a noise if it has detected an artifact or alien world. A purple flash and high pitched radar noise indicates an alien homeworld is somewhere in the radar beam. A green flash and a low pitched radar noise indicate an artifact is somewhere in the radar beam.
At first, you can't even aim your radar. With radar upgrades
you can actually see the location, type of artifacts and alien
stars, and eventually artifact value. Omni-directional radar level 9
(shown above) lets you find artifacts in a sector very quickly.
A low value Ancient artifact,
a medium value industrialist artifact,
and a high value Futurist artifact.
Note the new graphics for Release C.
If you travel to a star system with an artifact, you will collect it. Artifacts are collected automatically and placed into your cargo hold if you have the space to carry them. Artifacts come in three types: red for Ancient, blue for Industrialist, and green for Futurist, and three values: $ for low value, $$ for medium value, and $$$ for high value. If you take an artifact to an alien world of the same type they will offer to take the artifact in exchange for information about your goal. Or you can sell the artifact for cash.
When visiting a star system with an alien homeworld, you will be hailed. Aliens send greetings and offer to trade artifacts for information about your quest, and offer to purchase artifacts from you and upgrade your ship at the market.
Early in the game, it's best to sell your artifacts for cash so that you can upgrade your ship. However, not all aliens pay the same price for an artifact: Aliens will pay triple for artifacts that interest them. It's best to be market savvy and sell to the highest bidder.
Market Value of Artifacts
|Market Value||Market Value tointerested aliens|
|$ Low Value||M$10||M$30|
|$$ Medium Value||M$40||M$120|
|$$$ High Value||M$70||M$210|
These artifacts can be sold for a lot of money.
You'll need all that cash for expensive ship upgrades.
Note that aliens pay triple for artifacts they're interested in.
NOTE! Artifacts are now colour coded on the market screen to let you know what type they are. This is an interim solution. A better market screen will be developed for a later release.
Upgrades are important. Without them,
you're not going to get very far.
There are six different upgrades you can purchase for your ship
NOTE! Radar only works if your ship is actually in a sector! You need to travel to new sectors to scan them.
NOTE! Watch your fuel carefully! Running out of fuel is the best way to lose in the early game. Later versions of the game will have an expensive rescue option for stranded players, as well as better indicators for low fuel.
NOTE! There is presently no way to discard cargo, or swap out cargo for a different artifact if your cargo holds are full, so be sure to empty your cargo holds frequently. The ability to flush cargo into space will be added in a future release.
Aliens will trade artifacts of interest to them for information about the location of the prize artifact. Information is the ultimate commodity of the game. It excludes a large portion of the galaxy from your search. With the right information you can find an artifact in a matter of minutes and win the game. Even with the best radar, a random search of the galaxy would take days or weeks!
NOTE! In the early game, you may not want to trade artifacts for information. Expensive artifacts can be sold for a lot of cash, and that money can be used to buy critical upgrades your ship. Be sure to sell artifacts to aliens who would be interested in them for a triple cash bonus!
Alien Archaeologists love to share information, but at a price.
Futurists give information about square sectors.
Note the excluded red region on the minimap.
Information takes the form of an excluded region of the galaxy map:
Ancients give circular information, about how far an artifact is from your present location.
Cheap ($) Ancient artifacts will buy information that the artifact is a circular area, between two distances a wide range apart. Average ($$) Ancient artifacts will buy information that the artifact is in a circular area, between two distances a medium range apart. Expensive ($$$) Ancient artifacts do both, and let you know the artifact is in a circular area, between two distances a narrow range apart..
NOTE! Ancient Artifact information has been changed for Release C. Now all artifacts give a range of two radii.
NOTE! Two expensive ancient artifacts can be used to triangulate artifact position!
Industrialists information gives a galactic compass direction to where the prize artifact can be found.
Cheap ($) Industrial artifacts will buy information that the artifact is NOT in a certain direction.
Average ($$) Industrial artifacts will buy information is in a certain direction (e.g. North)
Expensive ($$$) Industrial artifacts will buy information that an artifact is in a specific direction (e.g. due north-east) and exclude a larger area of the galaxy from your search.
NOTE! Aliens always give the same information for an artifact of a certain value. Two artifacts of the same value traded in for information at the same alien star will provide the same information, and be a waste of precious money! However, if there are two different worlds of aliens in the same sector, they will give different information.
Futurists give sector information, including or excluding map sectors from your search.
Cheap ($) futurist artifacts will buy information that the artifact is not in a nearby group of sectors.
Average ($$) futurist artifacts will buy information that the artifact is not in a larger area of sectors.
Expensive ($$$) futurist artifacts will buy information that the artifact is in a different sector.
NOTE! Futurist Artifact information has been changed for Release C. Artifact information now properly reflects exclusion from other sectors if you're close to the artifact. Even though Poor Futurist artifacts exclude a small region of the galaxy most of the time, if you are close to the artifact, they exclude a much larger area.
NOTE! Futurists correct map data. Futurists give their information by looking at your current sector location (e.g. 555-1341) and looking for digits out of place. If while trading an expensive Futurist artifact for information, if the prize artifact is in sector 431-4141, and you're in sector 555-5555, the Futurists will tell you it's in a sector with prefix 4. If you were instead in sector 431-6141, they'd tell you the artifact was in a sector starting with 431-4...
When you gather information, part of your map and your minimap will turn red. Red areas are areas of the galaxy where your artifact will NOT be found. Explore and search for information in the black areas of the map.
Combined Industrialist and Futurist information
exclude a large portion of the map.
The minimap gives an overview of your position in the galaxy, and will also display information received from aliens.
NOTE! The minimap will be upgraded in future releases to zoom in when a large area has been eliminated from your search.
The overview panel, to the left of the minimap, gives different information depending on what you're doing. Zoomed it, it shows how far away a star is, how much fuel it will take to get there, and how long it will take to get there. When zoomed out, the Overview panel gives information about the sector you're looking at.
NOTE! The Overview panel needs a major overhaul and will be upgraded in later releases. This panel will eventually show graphics of stars, aliens and artifacts.
Messages about your progress are displayed in the messages panel, below the minimap. Messages tell you which stars you have visited, the name of the artifact you have found, and in multiplayer about what your opponents are up to.
The cargo hold gives an iconic summary of artifacts you have collected. The names of the artifacts you find are displayed in the message area. The X's indicate the maximum size of your cargo hold, as determined by your cargo upgrade.
As you play you will initially gather artifacts to sell for cash to improve your ship, and later trade those artifacts for information. As you explore space, the region of space where the artifact must be will be narrowed down to a tiny strip. Sometimes there are a few aliens in this space who can help you, but once you narrowed down your search you may just have to move fast and scan those last few sectors yourself!
NOTE! The more space that is excluded, the harder it is to find good artifacts to trade for information. You may have to enter the red region of space to find the very best artifacts to sell for information. "Shopping trips" to the core are useful to pick up a wealth of artifacts to trade for information. Once your search is limited to just a few sectors, zooming out one level and using the powerful "Super Radar" (Radar Level 10) is also useful for finding that last artifact.
The more information you trade for, the smaller the space you need to explore
This player is almost there...
After gathering enough information and some determined searching, you will eventually find the artifact and be presented with a victory screen and a time of completion. (Hit ENTER to quit the game from the victory screen.) Or a multiplayer game, another player could find the artifact first. You'll see a consolation screen detailing the artifact you almost found, along with a cursor showing the artifact position. The network game will restart 30 seconds after the last artifact was found.
Victory at last! 31 minutes is a bit slow, but not if you're taking screenshots.
At present, multiplayer network play is much like single player local game. A color for your ship's cursor and a name will be assigned to you. You can see where your opponents ships are, and get some hints as to where they may be searching.
NOTE! At present, there is only one network server, which is configured for a maximum of 32 players. I have tested the game with 8 players on a local network and the server appears to work well. I've also tested the game over wireless to simulate a network connection and it also appears to work fine. 32 person multiplayer is untested, so please understand if there are server crashes or if the whole thing doesn't work. If the server goes down, please send me a message via the form on the web site.
In theory the game server should be able to take more players, but I have no idea what that would do for game balance. The maximum number of acceptable players will be fine tuned over the coming weeks.
Release C focused on refining the multiplayer experience, but there were many other updates as well.
Here are all the changes that went into Release C:
I need to take a break from this for a while, and won't be releasing debug/test versions for at least a week after release. Release D will arrive sometime around the end of February, and will add more features to the game. Where I focus my work will depend on the results of feedback from Release C. Release D will also be an alpha, incomplete release.
Thank you for taking the time to read this document! Please post your ideas for improving the game at the GP32x.com forums. Please report any bugs on the feedback form on the games' webpage.
I have many people to thank in getting this game to this stage. GP32X's gp2x and Pandora developer forums have been a huge help getting me off the ground. Lazyfoo's SDL Tutorials have been invaluable getting me started with SDL.
Thanks also to the folks at #sdl and #c++ on irc.freenode.net, and to #gamedev on irc.afternet.org for answering multiple queries from a frustrated programmer at the oddest hours of the night. Thanks the members of the GP32x.com forums for many ideas and extensive testing of the game.
Thank you to Pat Ferguson, who has started work on the game graphics and music. Hopefully Galactic Artifact will have an even more polished work in the future.
My wife has played a crucial role in game testing and in selecting names for artifacts. My children have also playtested the game and have had a helpful hand in some of the interface design, choosing colours for the multiplayer spaceships.