Ad Astra was written in 'C' as spare time activity on a PC operating with an AMD 1900+ processor and an ATI X700 Graphics card. As the game had no budget the range of tools used to develop the application were very limited and consisted of the following :

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 97 ( Visual C++ version 5)
  • Micrografx Picture Publisher 1997 Version 7a ( came free with a Scanner)
  • Microsoft Paint
  • Creative Labs Wave Studio ( came free with a thingy)
  • Some Squared Paper and Crayons

All 3D models were developed using procedural techniques and any editors that were required to hone the structures were written as part of the game itself.

Work began on Ad Astra in March 2004 and has continued thereafter mainly in the evenings and at the weekends

Ad Astra has been designed to be a fairly transparent application such that all textures are simple bitmaps and the equivalent of model files are held as basic text documents.

For the purposes of the demo, access to the more useful internal development screens has also been granted and this section gives a brief description of how potential modifications can be made to the relevant areas of the game.

The game will automatically pick up new textures provided that they are placed in the relevant directories :

Spacecraft textures/ships
Space Stations textures/stations
Buildings textures/building
Animals textures/animals

The textures are 24bit bitmap files which are adopted at random on entry to a Solar System. The best way to cause a new one to be activated is to replace one of the existing files that is normally selected by the demo.

It should also be noted that the extreme bottom right-hand corner of many of the texture maps is used to identify a colour key. This is used to govern the transparent areas of the image.

Gas Giant, Atmospheric and Nebula textures use templates that can be generated using the Texture Design Screens. Any generated textures should be placed in the following directories :

Gas Giants textures/planets/templates
Nebula textures/nebula_templates
Atmospheres textures/atmos_templates
NOTE that only the existing filenames will be supported.

If you design any new spacecraft, textures or have some original music which you are happy to be distributed with the game then please mail them to me at the contact address.