Dev Blog 10 – The Sounds of Project Orion

Josh Duffenais Dev Blog

Our weekly update is a little behind schedule this time around, sorry folks but we’re all hard at work in preparation for next weeks Alpha launch! This week we’ll be taking a look at a couple more finalized ships from our Art team, taking an in-depth look into the programming of our Damage State System, and having a listen to some new and updated sound FX.


The OSA medium fighter has been under construction recently, today you can see our first iteration of the textured model running in Unity, so you can really see how much of an effect our Physically Based Rendering approach can have on our ships. In the coming weeks you can look forward to a more detailed and fully decked out OSA fighter as we build upon the textures and effects already present.


Our damage system is a feature we have worked very hard to implement, but we’re sure it was well worth the time and effort to do so. With a game that revolves around combat a simple death state just isn’t enough. WIth that in mind we decided to create a system that allows progressive zone-based damage states for each ship in the game.

With this system you can see your enemies fall apart as you shred them with your chaingun, or explode into a realistic debris field as a missile takes them out. Of course this applies to the Orion as well, and you can see some work in progress renders of the new Orion’s various parts below.

There were numerous technical challenges to overcome when implementing this system, performance chief among them. Having so many different objects making up the ships caused some serious draw call issues, the CPU just couldn’t keep up. The additional physics work of hundreds of debris pieces floating around in space didn’t help things either.

We came up with a solution to the draw call issue by caching copies of debris and combining the original objects into one at runtime. As the ship takes damage we hide the parts of the combined mesh and spawn debris seamlessly in its place. Combined with Unity 5’s improved physics engine the system is well optimized and ready for some massive battles.


Over the past few weeks we’ve been looking back at some of our older assets created during our early prototype stages. A lot of these assets were beginning to overstay their welcome and we thought it might be time to make way for newer, higher quality versions. This has been especially apparent the sound department, so we’ve made quite a few changes.

A variety of sound effects have been completely redesigned from the ground up, and even more have been updated to keep them in line with our overall design vision. This week we thought we would share a small taste of our new sound content.

First up, a sound you can expect to hear a lot: the Arckin Fighter’s Rapid Laser Cannon.

On the player’s side of things we have an updated effect for the Flare launch, avoiding death at the hands of incoming missiles has never sounded so good.

Some of the most fun we’ve had working on sound is the work we’ve done with our warp jump effects. This one will be used when the player can see a ship warping out of an area.

And finally, a bigger sequence that leads to the players own jump into battle.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading and we’ll see you all next Tuesday when the Project Orion Alpha officially launches! If you contributed to get access to our Alpha test don’t forget to sign up of the Project Orion forums.