Steampunk Ace Combat style game

Hi all!

While in hospital I began to think about the player controls for my main game MaGlev, and did a few experiments. These experiments grew into an idea and now I thought with the skills learnt from MaGlev I should make a complete game. So…(name subject to change)

I have always had a fascination with late gen SNES / Megadrive /MegaCD / 32X style 3D games, and wondered about making a retro style, low polygon game that could have been released in such a time.

Low poly is the name of the game: the player aircraft, small enemies are made from < 100 triangles, mid sized enemies < 200 and boss vehicles < 500. I also wanted to see how fast I could make models, and resuse code from MaGlev for Python tasks.

A few screenies in action:

So far I have working:

Basic dogfighting AI
Flak weapons
Nearest objective
Low flying dust cloud / splashes
Events: I have a text file that Python reads (like a script within a script) so I can have vehicles, messages, timed events happen and be edited easily


A way to return players who fly away from combat (almost complete)
Menu system (logic bricks so far- but it works!)
Retro 2D stuff
Missions (I have loads of ideas for these- see below!)


Mission 1: Shoot down an ace squadron leader (while his squadron go after you!)
Mission 2: Sink an enemy battleship
Mission 3: Defend a fort from advancing tanks and bomber airships
Mission 4: Destroy a fortress
Mission 5: Destroy a bridge before too many enemy tanks cross
Mission 6: Shoot down the enemies huge flying fortress

Some model shots:

Some more:


I tried to get as close to the look of the SuperFX/ 32X 3D look as possible. I tried various shaders (for pixelation, reducing colours etc) but the way I managed was to use a camera and rendering to a texture- the look is very close as you can control the pixel dimensions very easily.

And also a recolouring of the title, Capcom arcade style:

Speed modelled tank- 90 triangles in 10 minutes:

Going to be seen from the sky so no need for much detail!

One more:

hey buddy, nice project.

i’ve been into these retrogames for a while, remembering starfox and such looking at your screens, and had some fun playing acecombat - titles back in the days, originally interested by the first machine namco sold to arcades.

surely it is just a matter of taste - but the gfx of your game could be more interesting to me. i am not a fan of the steampunk-style at all, so maybe the color - palette is fine for this subject, but the dark “earth-a-like” colors do not catch my eye which is more used to the bright color-palettes of arcade-titles from sega and other publishers.

looking at the style and geometry of your models is pretty inspiring but at the downside they are hardly to recognize as aircrafts on some of your screenshots.

the title screen has a ring to it, but regarding the style of the ingame gfx it would be even cooler to see a polygonized wing.

and at last missions like rescue injured soldiers or fly and drop supplies could be a nice variation in your mission table…


Thanks for the feedback- originally I had thought of a pure monochrome look, but thought of adding extra colour. The palette is just a test so far to see what stands out the most.

Here is a video of some dogfighting- it gives a better impression of combat:

The low FPS is intentional: to get the low FPS look to mimic console 3D titles I adjusted the tic rate on the image.

Always remember how enemy vehicles and objects flash when hit in retro 3D stuff- now I have it too!

Also, new and improved title (with a decent typeface style)

Dressing the compass:

Added a health meter. In game the concept is when you get hit, your engine begins to overheat. Get to 100 and bang!

This looks really cool and reminds me of StarFox and another game I used to play on SNES (I didn’t have it, it was a friends but you flew planes and gliders and did aerial training missions). To get the low res look in the game, did you just set the resolution for the player really low or was there something else to it?

Cheers! I think you may be thinking of Pilotwings, a classic!

For the look, I tried several things. For a while I used a combination of pixellation filter and colour palette reducing shader- it looked OK, but was not what I was after. The biggest problems were that the wire shaded objects got washed out and looked poor.

What I use now is this with some tweaks:

It allows me to control the resolution very easily, and has a nice chunky retro feel to it. I have a camera parented to the player aeroplane, and I project that onto a ‘viewscreen’ outside the game area for simplicity. The current projected resolution is set to 256 x 256.

Started to rework the furniture starting with the compass:

I was thinking that it needed to be smaller and take up less space. Here is it up closer:

I’ve been having lots of fun learning how to make assets via Adobe Illustrator > Photoshop > Blender. Its great to be a learner again!


I’m having an attachment nightmare today!

Here is the original Illustrator picture:

It looks very interesting. I think you need some yaw control though (z axis rotation) though it could be slower than the roll or pitch. it must be horrible to try and make small corrections by turning the plane on its side and using pitch.

Smoking_mirror: Its funny you mention z rotation, that was next on my ‘to do’ list…rudder control!

Here is the next set of piccies:

I think my compass art takes up too much screen space- so I think I will go the minimal route. Here is a test:

All other dials will be done the same way too.

^ That is an improvement. Try to keep the size of the pixels in each of the different elements the same, if possible. Mixing resolutions can look weird. Keep it up!

Last picture really reminds me of this:
Video also has some similarities to those Crash Bandicoot plane levels, which were awesome.

Looking pretty good! :wink:
You get my seal of approval… not that it means much.

Good work!