Submitted by , posted on 19 May 2002

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These are a couple of images from my (finally) completed project: Orbus.

I've been fiddling with game programming projects for years, but this is the first one I've been able to call "finished", even if it isn't perfectly "polished".

The official description from all the other websites is: Orbus is a classic arcade-shooter style game with 90 waves of gameplay both in space and over 9 different planets. Features include stunning 3D accelerated eyecandy from huge explosions to weather effects, customizable playlists, 7 original music tracks and all the tools needed to create and play custom campaigns with new levels, graphics, sounds and music.

Here's a short list of some of the APIs/features/techniques/tools/knick-knacks that were used:
  • DirectX 8
  • Custom archive file format (*.CLS) to keep the assets neat, with an editor put together with MFC
  • The CLS file system supports (a slightly hackish) patching system, similar to PWADs
  • User-editable playlists in *.M3U format (you can even edit them with WimAmp, etc)
  • Seriously over-powered particle engine (Orbus doesn't exploit even a third of its features)
  • "Pluggable" campaign files, which allow new sets of levels and data to be used
  • Simple scripting language and compiler for the levels
  • Rain/Clouds/Water effects (which can be simplified for less-then-ideal hardware)
  • Support for virtually any resolution (640x480x16bit is the practical minimum), and FSAA if the hardware supports it
  • Automatic screen shot system - when active it takes a screen shot roughly every 2 seconds. This made getting mid-explosion shots much easier then trying to time it by hand. (It also meant I piled up nearly 5 GB of screen shots before I was done, but.)
  • NSIS from NullSoft for the installation program
  • You can see more screenshots and download the shareware demo from

    Orbus will run on a system as old as a 350Mhz Celeron with a TNT2, but the framerate is really not acceptable. Anything from the 700Mhz range and up with a GeForce (and the newest drivers) shouldn't have any trouble.

    A version of the debugging display is still included in the release version and it displays the framerate, press 'D' while your playing to see it. The target framerate is 70 FPS.

    Feel free to email with any comments or bugs.

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