Fly an Apollo-style lander around various planets, landing to earn points and then redocking with the command module to advance to the next level.
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Release Date:
Oct 16, 2017
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Early Access Game

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Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“I'm putting this game out on Early Access in order to get a feel for how game publishing works. And I want the community to be involved in the development of this game.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“This game will probably be in Early Access for about a year, maybe less.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“The full version of this game will not be exclusive to Steam and will be a lot more feature-rich. The goals for additional features include the following:

  • Online high score tracker instead of the current save-to-file system.
  • A feature-complete upgrade system instead of the current system that just makes sure the engines are strong enough for you to safely land.
  • An AI system for the command module to make it easier to dock with.
  • A multiplayer option to compete against other players.
  • An online achievement-tracking system for various things you can do in-game.
  • Better orbital mechanics integrator.
  • Saving game state and reloading.
  • Time acceleration!

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“The Early Access version is just starting out, with the following major features:

You start each level in orbit around a planet docked to the command module (just like the Apollo missions). You are able to undock and redock, stage the lander, and land on the planet below using either the arrow keys, WASD, or both. There are color-coded guides to help you get your bearings, plus the ability to zoom in and out with the mouse wheel.

You have translation controls to help you with docking, and a kill rotation button (hold down to kill rotation) just in case you get into trouble.

You can affect the orbit of the command module regardless of whether you are docked as it's under the same physics that you are under.

Each planet in the game is loosely modeled after real life objects in the solar system and have their own unique characteristics including planet-specific terrain generation parameters.

Unlike earlier lander games that require you to land on perfectly flat terrain, you have the option of landing on any terrain feature that you like (though you may tip over if you choose slopped terrain).”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“The price of this game will double when it comes out of Early Access.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“I would like the community to provide feedback with the type of hardware that this game can and cannot run on, and to let me know if they think they've found a bug or an exploit. I also want the community to provide feedback on what would make the game overall more enjoyable for everyone, and what should be improved upon.”
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Recent updates View all (9)

July 17

UI and Achievement Update

Updated
The achievement system has been updated so that your progress towards certain achievements are kept track of and displayed on the achievements page. Now, due to a mistake while configuring and testing the achievements to this new system, I had to reset a lot of the achievements. I'm hoping that this doesn't happen again.

The settings screen has been given an overhaul and now separates the settings into tabbed pages. There are also new settings that have been added but are currently non-functional. These are: Axis assignments, sounds in space, graphics settings, and the Workshop tab.

Current Issues
  • I did discover that my attempt to prevent crashes on loading quicksaves did not work. I have not been able to fix that bug yet.
  • I still don't know how to program the command module AI to try to stay in orbit. So be careful not to de-orbit it.
  • For some reason, the Apply button is enabled when you go to the settings screen. Haven't traced that down yet.

Coming Soon
  • Periapsis and Apoapsis indicators on the HUD
  • Time Acceleration
  • Workshop (eg: for user-made scenarios/story lines)
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May 17

Quicksaves and Performance Optimizations

I'm still trying to figure out how to get the Command Module AI to get back into orbit if you manage to get it out of orbit, but in the meantime, I've implemented some new features and increased the performance of the game.

Quicksaves
You can now save your progress at nearly any point in the game that you want via "Ctrl+S" and reload your game either through the main menu or by using "Ctrl+L" while playing. There are a few things to watch out for though: If the lander is rotating too quickly when you save (edit: or randomly, which testing did not reveal), it may tell you that you've crashed the instant that you reload it. I've tried to eliminate this, but so far I have only been able to reduce this.

Performance Optimizations
I've reduced the number of rigidbodies being simulated down from 18 to just 3, resulting in a huge performance boost and reducing the amount of energy that the orbits lose with each pass. This will come in handy when I implement time acceleration.

Before the optimization, I was using 1 rigidbody for each thruster in addition to the rigidbody of the vehicle. The rigidbody on the thruster would apply the correct torque to cause the vehicle to rotate. This meant that I needed to attach my orbit scripts to each thruster. In total, the scripts would be doing at least 2.5 million operations per second (18 scripts * 1024 ticks per second * >136 operations per script per tick) in addition to the number of operations done by Unity's built-in physics engine on all 18 rigidbodies. Now the orbit scripts do a total of about 0.42 million operations per second. And the physics engine has 15 fewer rigidbodies to simulate.

I also managed to optimize the terrain generation a little bit from two for loops down to a single for loop. The terrain generator has been reconfigured to either generate new terrain, or load pre-existing terrain.

Other Details
The orbit scripts now keep track of the orbital elements of the vehicles. I don't think I could have done this without first implementing the performance optimization. This data will be used by the Command Module AI and by some future HUD elements.

I did find a bug with the Kill Rotation autopilot. It never turned off when it finished killing the rotation until you tried to override it. Because trying to rotate the vehicle would kill the autopilot, it wasn't really be that much of a problem. But it's a bug none the less and it has been fixed.

A similar bug was found for the Command Module AI, so I decided to rework the AI so that it would no longer be a bug.
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About This Game

Solar Lander a 2D space lander that simulates orbital mechanics and the conservation of angular momentum. Players fly around in an Apollo-style lander, land on the surface of a planet, and then redock with the command module to advance to the next level. You start out in orbit around a planet and docked with the command module. It is your job to make a safe landing on the surface of the planet, then get back into orbit to redock with the command module. Each planet has it's unique characteristics based on real life planetary bodies with procedural terrain generation. Because this game takes place in space, there are no engine sounds, or any other sound that cannot be heard from inside the cockpit of the vehicle.

All of the game's mechanics are simulated with a full physics simulation that runs 1,024 times per second! This makes the 2D simulation very accurate and very realistic. There is no arbitrary rotation rate or acceleration. As you use-up fuel, your maximum acceleration will increase and you will be able to change your rotation rate more quickly. Even the exhaust from the thrusters are physically simulated and can affect both you and other objects on contact.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: 1.0 GHz, 64-bit
    • Memory: 256 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Not Determined
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Storage: 65 MB available space
    • Sound Card: N/A
    • Additional Notes: Needs Testing on Lower-End Hardware
    Recommended:
    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
    • OS: Windows 10
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz, 64-bit
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Not Determined
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 75 MB available space
    • Sound Card: N/A
    • Additional Notes: Tested on 2.8 GHz, 64-bit Quad-Core Processor with Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 Integrated Graphics
    Minimum:
    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
    • OS: 10.11
    • Processor: 1.0 GHz, 64-bit
    • Memory: 256 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Not Determined
    • Storage: 100 MB available space
    • Sound Card: N/A
    • Additional Notes: Needs Testing on Lower-End Hardware
    Recommended:
    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
    • OS: 10.11
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz, 64-bit
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Not Determined
    • Storage: 120 MB available space
    • Sound Card: N/A
    • Additional Notes: Tested on 2.8 GHz, 64-bit Quad-Core Processor with Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 Integrated Graphics
    Minimum:
    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
    • OS: Not Tested
    • Processor: Not Tested
    • Memory: 256 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Not Tested
    • Storage: 120 MB available space
    • Sound Card: N/A
    • Additional Notes: Linux Version Completely Untested
    Recommended:
    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
    • OS: Not Tested
    • Processor: Not Tested
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Not Tested
    • Storage: 150 MB available space
    • Sound Card: N/A
    • Additional Notes: Linux Version Completely Untested
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