Fractalus 0.9 Released!

Fractalus 0.9.0 alpha build is now available for download from the Fractalus project page, and is available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux!

Fractalus 0.9 has had a number of significant changes, including new procedural terrain generation with a new random terrain every time you enter a level, models for the crashed ship and pilot (and the two are now distinct entities), and a variety of gameplay changes that bring the remake much closer to the original game.

Huge thanks to David Fox, Loren Carpenter, and Charlie Kellner from the original Rescue on Fractalus development team for helping me out with details of the original implementation! On December 28th, David reached out to me on Twitter in a thread where he posted a heap of information about the original game’s development in response to an article in Finnish computer magazine Skrolli which I did an interview for about my remake, and he offered to answer any questions I had about the original game’s development. I asked about game timing, pilot/turret placement, and the terrain generation and he provided information on the timings and placement, and then put me in contact with Loren and Charlie who worked on the terrain generation in the original, so through discussions with them on the details of the original game I have been able to create what I feel is a fairly accurate replica of the original gameplay and terrain generation, with some extra detail made possible on modern hardware.

Here’s what’s new in 0.9.0;

  • World improvements
    • Added procedurally generated terrain.
    • Improved turret and crashed ship placement.
    • Sun and stars are now angled in the sky according to latitude (randomly selected with terrain generation).
    • Adjustments to sky/sun colours.
    • Added atmospheric fading at high altitudes.
    • Limited player altitude to stay just above the terrain.
    • Full day/night cycle is now 9 minutes long, with 1 minute of darkness, to better match the original game.
    • Per-level gameplay parameters now more closely match the original game.
  • Pilot improvements
    • Added pilot model.
    • Added crashed ships.
    • Pilot symbol is now a green light beacon on top of crashed ships.
    • Crashed ship symbol on radar now flashes.
    • Pilot now emerges from crashed ship only once player ship systems are turned off.
    • Pilots on the terrain are now killed by turning ship systems on.
    • Pilots will now die after several knock sequences if the airlock is not opened.
  • Player ship improvements
    • Added AMB torpedoes (replaced dual laser bolt).
    • Added optional HUD view modes.
    • Ship can now be rotated during landing/launching modes.
    • Ship’s rotation is now restrained and autocentered while landed and systems are on.
    • Weapons can now be fired while launching, landing or landed, if systems are on.
    • Ship energy is now consumed slowly when systems are on and when flying varying based on ship velocity.
    • Added low ship energy alarm sound.
  • Turret improvements
    • Added turret model.
    • Improved turret laser beam animation and rendering.
    • Turrets no longer fire if ship systems are off.
    • Turret beam hits now knock ship slightly off course.
    • Turrets now share a global cooldown limiting all turret beam fire to 3 shots per second.
    • Turret lock can now be broken by moving evasively.
  • Saucer improvements
    • Improved saucer spawn and flight logic.
    • Saucers no longer spawn if ship systems are off or the ship is destroyed.
  • Other improvements
    • Options menu is now accessible in-game.
    • Audio volume can now be set from options menu.
    • Added screenshot button (F9) saves to:
      • Windows: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\LocalLow\LSD\Fractalus
      • MacOS: ~/Library/Application Support/unity.LSD.Fractalus
      • Linux: /home/[username]/.config/unity3d/LSD/Fractalus

If you have any thoughts, comments or feedback, leave a reply below or let me know on Twitter or Facebook!


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11 Responses to “Fractalus 0.9 Released!”

  1. Great work and a big progress since last version(s)!
    Iยดve been fascinated by the fractal design since playing it on the Atari XL and now the game starts to feel much more like back then in terms of steering, gameplay etc.
    One glitch is still in it, though: The (boolean ?) handling for airlock state (open, closed) is not correct. Whenever I have the airlock open to get a pilot in, a second stroke on “a” displays “airlock open” instead of closing it again. So two “a” key strokes are required to close the lock again…

    (Version 0.9 alpha on macOS Mojave, intel HD3000, MacBook Air 11,6″)

  2. Luke says:

    Thanks! The pilot will close the airlock behind them when they board your ship, so if you’ve rescued a pilot you don’t need to close the airlock yourself. The pilots do this in the original game as well, but in my remake it doesn’t show a message indicating that the airlock has been closed, which it did in the original.

  3. Kyle Arnold says:

    Awesome stuff mate, well done ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Great stuff, Luke! I especially love your new colour scheme. To me it seems to hit a happy medium between the Atari original and the Commodore 64 conversion. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Robert Courtemanche says:

    Wow Luke, from the video it looks like it is quite a huge leap ahead of the previous build! Aside from our “friend” missing this is really coming off a feature complete! Well done

    Looking forward to downloading it and commenting further

    p.s. did you ever get any further with the potential for VR?

  6. Luke says:

    Thanks! I have done some experimenting with VR and I think it should be possible to add support for it, though I’ve only tested with the Oculus Rift so I’ll need to do some research on supporting other headsets as well.

  7. Robert Courtemanche says:

    VR: Good to know, I own two of the PC headsets (Rift and Vive) so if you ever need beta testing, would be glad to help. The sheer thought of potentially playing Fractalus in VR is incredibly intoxicating… since I wished for this very thing 35 years ago! throw in motion controller support to add the physical need to throw switches and pilot the ship and I may never leave VR! For a great example of virtual controls, try Ultrawings.

    Nothing beats a real stick/controller and I wouldn’t want your gem to be playable with JUST motion controls but there’s something to be said for the immersive nature of using motion controls in a flight game such as this. Especially if you have to flip a virtual switch to put the shields back on! ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway something for you to consider on your way to completing your passion project.

    So enough of VR what do I think of the new version? Well I’m blown away. First of all, I apologise if that was already part of the game but I was shocked when I saw multimonitor support, so I’m playing your 0.9 alpha on 3 27″ screen in cockpit mode… so highly immersive! Very nice touch on the sound effects, the landscape is much improved and everything ran rather well on my fairly old PC (9 years old) on maximum detail. There are a few things to iron out, for example I noticed it seems the pilots won’t come towards you unless you open your airlocks first. They should come the moment you shut down your shields I think so that you then need to open the airlock when they arrive/knock.

    That’s it for tonight, I’ll post more on the weekend once I have more chance to play. Fantastic release, this is fairly low key I don’t know if people are aware of it’s existence but I gather the huge leap in development should lead to a few more people wanting to try it. Thanks again!


  8. Luke says:

    Thanks for the feedback! I’ve replied in more detail over on the forum at ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Paul Irvine says:

    Hi Luke, is the one thing we all love about the game in it…I’m talking Alien pilot on the windscreen…

    Tell me its in there ๐Ÿ™‚

    The number of people who almost had a heart attack from that is huge ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Luke says:

    The Alien pilot isn’t implemented yet, but will be included in the 1.0 build that I plan to release later this year. I will be posting a 1.0 progress update soon.

  11. Paul Irvine says:

    Thanks Luke, there’s a lot of admirers of your work on AtarAge forums in the 8 bit computer section. Caused quite a buzz..

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