EV Nova for the Nintendo DS

A logical platform for such a unique game

Just throwing out the idea for Ambrosia and the EV dev community that it strikes me that Nintendo DS (and the new Lite version's success), with its dual screens, stylus & button controls, might be a great platform to do an EV based game for. There's NOTHING like it on the DS or any other handheld for that matter, so the market "might" be ripe.

I'm not sure financially how viable it is -- programming aside -- given the packaging and marketing costs, but it strikes me an exciting new market for the EV universe. It could be realtime or turn-based, but the graphics, animation and general UI seem adaptable to the DS.

http://www.nintendo.com/channel/ds

Just a thought.

GRITBOY::OUT

You may find this thread interesting.

Edwards

One thing you'd have to consider is the control scheme. While the DS's stylus allows for a bit more flexibility than, say, a PSP, is it enough (along with the 8 buttons the DS has) to replace the keyboard of a computer? I find this doubtful.

It is a cool idea, in any case.

There are button combos. And some options from ev (cargo ejections, escape pod, etc) could be menu-based.

Thanks Ed. I'd missed that awesome thread. Haro's mockup dual-screen is a great example of "roughly" how it could work, and the new DS Lite has a much better screen, button arrangement, stylus, etc., and had 100+ new games announced for it at E3 (on top of what's available). Hopefully Ambrosia might consider doing it, or licensing it out to a DS developer. Hell, for that matter, there may be some EV mod developers/programmers already who could make it happen with the right incentive.

GritBoy::Out

me quoted from t'other DS thread...

Hudson, on Jun 16 2006, 07:38 AM, said:

It's an interesting proposal, and the DS definitely represents the best console for an EV port. I do find it slightly bizarre that y'all are thinking so literally in terms of control methods. In the DS you've got a whole new realm of control options, yet everyone is approaching the problem as though you're trying to duplicate a keyboard.

I also don't see the value in a direct port of an existing EV title. You're going to have to re-build the engine in order to take advantage of the input options, and to restructure the engines RAM usage. EVC's interface was functional, but doesn't really translate to a screen of that size, space is at a premium, so you're going to want to completely redevelop/redesign both the styling and IA in order to get the best out of it. Because of the reduced screen size, It'd be worth thinking about some scalable graphics system, possibly wireframe based, that functions along the lines of Ares zoomy-in/out doo-dad. Otherwise you're going to completely loose perspective flying larger craft that start approaching the actual screen. It might also be worth considering displaying ALL interface options as transparent HUD components, so you'd see the depths of space below - expanding the effective arena you can see.

Given that EV* requires a goodly number of keys, I'd be looking to develop a new way of browsing those options via the touch screen. But because that would require taking your fingers of the controls, the fundamentals of how you execute basic vessel controls may need a serious amount of thought.

I may get around to posting some thoughts later. As a professional interface designers, an idea like this kinda gets my pro creative juices flowing... erm...

This post has been edited by Hudson : 16 June 2006 - 01:46 AM

The screen is a fraction small for what EV has traditionally done, but I don't see any reason why that should stop anyone -- small but awesome graphics have been the watchword of the Nintendo handhelds for years.

Control schema -- I would have envisaged touchpad steering. I also don't see any reason why you couldn't use the stylus to target vehicles/spobs, etc. Sure, you wouldn't be able to target ones that are offscreen, but this would be a different game to EV.

@pipeline, on Jun 19 2006, 12:06 AM, said in EV Nova for the Nintendo DS:

Control schema -- I would have envisaged touchpad steering. I also don't see any reason why you couldn't use the stylus to target vehicles/spobs, etc. Sure, you wouldn't be able to target ones that are offscreen, but this would be a different game to EV.

That would have been my thought. The only problem with that though is that you end up removing the effective use of one half of the console's buttons, if not more. If you're going to be using the stylus for basic ship control, you won't be using either the direction controls, or the four buttons along with the shoulder button on that side (depending on whether your left or right handed) and it'll probably reduce the effectiveness of the buttons on the other side of the console too as I'm guessing it'd be quite difficult to support the console and hit the button's you've still got access to.

If you could find an effective way of transferring the vast majority of in-game controls to the touched, It'd work.

I had Inkscape open when I clicked on this topic, and boy was that a coincidence. So I started to map out a possible control scheme, because I was very bored. I saw several problems that would have to be dealt with, but naming the Y button the modifier key and giving the B button two uses has probably solved a few of them. Since I haven't bothered to look at a list of all the EV keys, they're not all there, and one of the DS buttons is even empty. Yes, I know, there are problems, but it's the best I could do:
Posted Image

You would need to scrap the less important features, such as 2x, closest non-hostile target, escort select, etc. Basic controls need to come first. Heres what I'd say...

D-Pad up = Thrust
D-pad left/right = turn
D-Pad down = afterburner

A = Fire Primary
B = Fire Secondary
X = Multipurpose, see below.
Y = Cloak/decloak
R = Closest Hostile
L = Cycle Seconday
Start = Pause, open menus.
Select = Hold this and use A, B, X, Y for escort commands (formation, hold position, attack, defend), and R, L, or Start for recalling fighters. Probably have to sacrifice the ability to give commands to each escort type unless it is added to the menus (see below).
Touchscreen = If its unpaused, it allows you to target ships and planets as well as send hails. When paused, gives you access to all menus (map, player info, etc).

Could either use the touch screen for all navigation for menus or use the arrow keys + A or B for selecting tabs on the top screen the touch screen for navigation below. Either way, touchscreen would be needed for mapping systems. If former is used, problems with putting all the menu commands in the touch screen arise, but all the text, such as current outfitters, could be placed on the top screen. The later reverses the pros and cons. Maybe make it an option?

Planet interface would show the main planet screen below, using the touch screen to select the tabs. Could also utilize the aforementioned tab selection menu system for shipyard and outfitters navigation. If not, the top screen would be used. Same pros and cons arise.

X works like this. If you are near a planet/station/hypergate/wormhole, it is set to land/dock/enter. If you are near disabled ship, it is set to board. If you are past the hyperspace range, it is set to jump. Some issues arise though. However, probably set landing and boarding priority. If a disabled ship is over a planet, you'd have to target the planet to land. So, priority order is board > land > jump. No selection needed except what is aforementioned. Hitting X does nothing if you are not near a planet/disabled ship and are too close to the system center or do not have a destination selected. Finally, if the ship is blowing up, X could be used for ejecting.

This format sacrifices non-essential commands, like X2 speed. However, such things could just be toggled in the menus. Cargo jettison would be a menu command too now, as would self-destruct (replace button holding with a "Are you sure?" prompt). This format should cover all the games basics and make most of the commands available.

Edit: Might wish to add that during regular gameplay the touch screen would display target information and the radar.

This post has been edited by JoshTigerheart : 19 June 2006 - 10:36 PM

Most DS games use only half of the buttons and the stylus, or else all of the buttons and no stylus (or only very limited touchscreen capability that can be accomplished with fingers). Here's what I'd do:

Up: thrust
Down: Reverse
Left/Right: rotate
L: fire primaries

Touchscreen:
Along the top, a bar of scaled ship icons that can be tapped to select them, with a full-size icon at the end indicating the current selection. Tap anywhere on the bar and drag to scroll, analog-style, through the list (for dealing with lots of ships, when the icons become illegible). Sorts hostile ships to the right and bigger ships before smaller ships.
Below that, a list of spobs that can be similarly targetted, though the scaling features wouldn't be needed.
Below that, the "tactical" buttons. A list of secondary weapons, each of which can be tapped to fire (this would preclude having lots of secondaries; the alternative is to have a selection system like with the ships/spobs, and a fire button). The cloaking button. An afterburner toggle (when on, normal thrust behaves as an afterburner). The boarding button. The target-nearest-hostile button. And whatever else I've forgotten.
Below that, buttons for hailing, hyperspace, route selection, mission lists, player stats, etc.

And of course, all rendered like a Star Trek TNG control layout. 🙂

Edit: one amusing way to do the afterburner would be to have a throttle slider that indicates the percentage of thrust that the forward button applies. There'd be a red zone at the end where the afterburner comes in, for when you need a little extra juice. Different ships would have differently-shaped throttles, so for example a fighter would have finer control over thrust than a warship would.

This post has been edited by Derakon : 19 June 2006 - 03:04 PM

I could agree more Josh. Doing a DS version of EVN would need to be rethought and simplified, but by no means dumbed down.

GRITBOY::OUT

@joshtigerheart, on Jun 19 2006, 12:16 PM, said in EV Nova for the Nintendo DS:

You would need to scrap the less important features, such as 2x, closest non-hostile target, escort select, etc. Basic controls need to come first. Heres what I'd say...

Cool visual brainstorm Anaxagoras. There a ton of command/control possibilities as many people have already mentioned -- including voice control -- but I'd definitely drop some functions like 2x completely, along with some of the less useful or too keyboard-centric commands. I'd make map route selection a stylus affair. Also, since targeting could be tricky if the game's fast-paced but on the tiny screen -- even using the stylus -- either a pause or slow down option (perhaps the X button) might be needed, so you'd have time to issue commands. The L & R should definitely be the fire buttons. Many options... but I'd love to see Ambrosia take a stab at it.

@anaxagoras, on Jun 19 2006, 11:24 AM, said in EV Nova for the Nintendo DS:

Since I haven't bothered to look at a list of all the EV keys, they're not all there, and one of the DS buttons is even empty. Yes, I know, there are problems, but it's the best I could do:
Posted Image

@gritboy, on Jun 20 2006, 04:50 AM, said in EV Nova for the Nintendo DS:

voice control

Oh man, I forgot entirely about the built-in mic. Good thing I still have the source SVG file, so I can change stuff as suggestions come in.

@anaxagoras, on Jun 20 2006, 03:18 PM, said in EV Nova for the Nintendo DS:

Oh man, I forgot entirely about the built-in mic. Good thing I still have the source SVG file, so I can change stuff as suggestions come in.

As previously noted though; all voice commands would require button/menu equivalents. Social ostracisation should not be a side effect of playing the game. Though there would be a certain hook to giving escorts and fighters verbal commands, and then having them respond in kind.

Log in to reply