Rocket Frame 87

A tiny, primitive spacecraft at the edge of it’s range. The last remnant of a civilian space exploration program; it’s three-person crew escaping a war-torn planet. Rocket Frame 87 is the story of how they survive on an alien world. You will need to explore and investigate hazards, find food, basic materials, build shelters, and above all, find the other ships.

The clock starts ticking from the moment you land. Can you:

  • Find food before your emergency rations run out?
  • Produce clothing before yours wear out?
  • Produce tools and weapons before yours wear out, or you run out of ammunition?

Rocket Frame 87 is a building and exploring simulator with a rich background story that is revealed as you progress throughout the game. Your primary challenge is decision making: Do you send an injured colonist out to the field to gather grain before winter, or let them recover fully first and risk losing food? Do you specialize in producing a valuable trade good, or produce all basic goods yourself? Do you allow a new colonist to join you, knowing that your food reserves are low? You will have full control over each of your colonists, equipping them and training them as they gain experience.

Philosophy and Genre: Space colonization has always fascinated me. However, many stories depend on high technology: technology so far ahead of our own, that it might as well be called magic. The world of Rocket Frame 87 is intended as a ‘realistic’ science fiction simulator, with a story, technology, and situation with strong roots in known technology and science.

Science Adviser: My good friend, Dr. Thomas Maindl, PhD Astronomer has been tremendously helpful in ensuring that the unfolding story obeys the laws of natural sciences. And our “what if” brainstorming sessions have been a lot of fun as well.

History: There is a Rocket Frame 87 game that I completed about a year and a half ago. It was my first major project with Gamemaker Studio, and offers about 40 minutes of game play. And I got to a point where I realized that there were a lot of aspects of the game that I wanted to incorporate, but didn’t know how. So I started a series of mini-projects as a learning experience. The original RF87 is described here.

Current Status: Now that I’ve successfully created mini-games to learn all of the mechanics needed for RF87, I am have gone back to the main game. I’m currently putting together the mechanics and controls to allow the player to interact with the world in the way I had envisioned. Current functionality includes:

  • Player inventory system which will equip items to their proper slots, allow dropping to ground or containers
  • Gather/harvest resources
  • Crafting items and refine resources
  • Construct buildings
  • Mission module
  • NPC conversations
  • Procedural terrain system for enhanced replayability
  • Research/technology system – find alien resources and research them
  • Recipe/cooking system
  • Fog of war to enhance game exploration experience

Planned additions/changes:

  • Radical revision/enhancement of creature AI/navigation system
  • Revise all artwork, GUI, and portraits for major characters
  • Trading system to allow interaction with other landing pods
  • Save game (yes, I know this is pretty basic, but I find to develop a system you need to know what it is you are saving first)
  • Sounds and music
  • Weather effects (the weather logic is complete, but there is no visual representation on screen)
  • Specialty buildings with specific location requirements (e.g. a mine that must be placed close to a mountain).
  • Lots more STUFF (items, research, creatures, etc.)

Progress Demo #5a (Feb 28)

5b (Part II)

Progress Demo #4 (Sept 10)


Progress Demo #3 (July 16)

Progress Demo #2 (June 19)

Progress Demo #1 (April 20)