Introduction

My programming career has been dominated by a quest to recreate one game. Escape Velocity was released in 1996, written by Matt Burch, and I proceeded to spend literal years playing and creating plugins for it. It featured an easy-to-use, powerful plugin architecture which extended its life well beyond the excellent built-in universe.

The first attempt at doing more than modifying the game was King of the Cosmos, which was an eternal project with Michael Kelly. The latest (or at least, a relatively recent) version of the code is still online on SourceForge. The most recent update is ten years old, which actually seems pretty late. It's text-based, written in Perl, and a quick scan of the code makes me very nostalgic.

Every few years, once I learned more programming, I would make another stab at it, using whatever technology I was most comfortable with at the time: C and OpenGL, Objective-C and OpenGL, Perl again, but with OpenGL... Javascript... Each would reach a certain point where the marginal gratification of implementing the next feature would drop below the instant gratification of starting some other project, and it would stagnate and die off.

So, now I'm doing it again and you get to watch.

The personal technological breakthrough I'm bringing to this attempt is the realization that I don't really want to reimplement Escape Velocity. What I really want is to build a universe. What I really want is to make an Escape Velocity plugin. I'm not going to get out of this without doing some coding, however. In fact, I'm going to build as much of the universe as possible procedurally.

~adodge, 22 October 2014