Author Archive

Posted by Andy in Cortex Command - December 5th, 2009

Wandering around on the intertubes the other day, both Dan and I independently came across this cool Zero-gravity experiments video. A guy makes a sphere of water in (held together in zero-g by a loop of wire) and does neat things like injecting air bubbles into it and making waves. Worth a watch!

It reminded us of a cool game called Osmos. There’s a trailer you can watch of the game here for comparison.

Osmos has, like Cortex Command, has won an IGF award too! It really is a lot of fun and is a very new and unique game mechanic. Check out the demo here.

Speaking of other games, have any of you checked out Minecraft?


There’s a few servers running in our forums — if you aren’t active already, join up and get talking! You can see all of our other-game threads here.

Posted by Andy in Cortex Command - November 20th, 2009

I personally believe that frequent, not-so-relevant blog posts are better than sporadic, on-topic posts. Dan agrees and has given me the go-ahead to post the general goings-on around the DataRealms HQ! In the coming weeks I’ll post some tidbits from here and there. The posts will probably get a bit more personable and not “all business” as they’ve been in the past.

But for today:


Over in the Forums we’ve started up the Official Christmas Mod Contest. It’s fairly free-form – from weapons to sprites to total conversions, anything goes! Check it out; it will run until mid-December so we have time to take our Christmas breaks.

Meanwhile, Dan is dreaming about one day being able to do one-handed pushups.

Posted by Andy in Cortex Command - October 20th, 2009

Hey there! Sorry about the lack of posts recently.  Data has been trying to get me up to speed on all the changes since the last release, and it’s taking longer than expected. Until then, we will have to settle for mailbag questions!

I have a double-shot for you this week; half the questions are on the Campaign and half on Modding:

Are we going to be able to make custom parameters for third party factions in the campaign? Such as, using Darkstorm or UniTec as your set faction. Will the support even go as far as making custom campaigns for them?Sean
A: Yes, that’s the plan! You’ll get to choose your ‘native’ faction at the start of each campaign game, which can be any of the data modules loaded (ie possibly your own). All the stuff of that faction will then available to you at the regular prices, but you might still be able to buy things from other factions, but at very high ‘black market’ prices. – Data

Most of us know about the Whitebots (yay!), the Coalition and the Dummies, but are those going to be the three main factions or are there going to be more major races than just those? – Mapleleaf
A: Yup, right now we’re looking at least two more.. the dark bots and the red guys. Prom might be able to chime in with more details here. – Data

Can you tell us what the heck data & company are doing about the campaign? I mean is it going to be hardcoded or what? I’m dying for an answer and I know I’m not alone. – Not Alone
A: As usual, everything will be as data- and script-driven as we reasonably can make it. The campaign metagame is going to be separate from the story episode scenarios we’ll be putting out later. The metagame will be a super-replayable thing that should be different every time. Think along the lines of the board game Risk, and you get the gist of it. The story episodes are standalone, content-rich packages that tell a small part of the CC story with one or more solid scenarios sandwiched between an intro and outro. The campaign metagame is the highest priority for us now. – Data

Is Tradestar a faction within the Coalition? – NMP
A: The TradeStar is a type of huge mothership used by trade and exploration conglomerates to reach out into the galaxy and tap its resources. Think of the East India Co. as a loose analogy for the type of entity, and the TradeStar as a Galleon of that era. They hire on all these different competing ‘factions’ or smaller corporations who get to duke it out and see who can most efficiently harvest the resources of the planets they find. It’s brutal competition and market selection being put to use. Whomever wins the settlement battles, gets the contract for the entire planet. – Data


Will Lua be able to be directly attached/run on attachables? – CaveCricket48
A: I haven’t tried this yet, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work right now? Give it a shot and PM the results in the forums. – Data

Will the lua scripting be able to use external modules? – John
A: I’m not sure what you mean by ‘use’, but you can safely reference anything that has been loaded in the same module as your script sits in, even if it is external. Just don’t reference stuff in OTHER external modules.. then you’re asking for trouble if someone has your module but not that other one. As always, it’s safe to reference stuff in the official module (until we remove or rename that thing in a new build.. 😉 – Data

Is it possible that the 8-bit color palette used for scenes (as opposed to menus) to be a mod-configurable file? The current palette is pretty limiting and has several near-identical shades of white. – Rawtoast
A: I could possibly add some controls for loading a different palette, if not to the INI files, then to the Lua interface.. it’s not a high priority though, as it would really mess up all the other stuff you’d load. This would only be useful in a total conversion type mod. – Data

When will we have a variable for emission velocities (like gibs)? – Duh102
A: I’ll have to look into this.. there’s always more controls to be expose.. at some point we have to triage which things to work on though. – Data

As usual, submit your queries to – I have around 80 questions on backlog, but the more interesting ones get bumped to the front! Submit your query today!

Posted by Andy in Cortex Command - October 7th, 2009

Mod Contest 5 just went up!

– Make a weapon or an actor that is related to something undead.
– Undead does not specifically mean zombies. It could refer to ghosts, vampires, werewolves, or any other creatures of the night.
– Furthermore, the object itself doesn’t need to be undead, it just has to involve the undead.

Check out the official rules and discuss the contest in the forum.

Posted by Andy in Cortex Command - October 5th, 2009

When will we have emission stacking while inside dropship? – Duh102
When will we have sliding doors for dropships (as well as the current rotating ones)? – Duh102
Any plans for rebalancing terrain integrity to prevent actors chipping away at it? – Duh102

Any plans for rebalancing terrain integrity to prevent actors chipping away at it?Duh102
A: Yes, we are always open to tweaking the material properties, although we are very careful with it since changing, for example, a strength value so it works better in one context often makes it work worse in some other. – Data

unseen areasAsk Data about the cryptic stuff releated to potential fog of war.Findudex
A: We haven’t planned fog-of-war in the traditional RTS sense, although we might do something similar where enemy actors disappear or are only hinted at graphically if none of your team’s members can currently see them.
On a related note, we actually have already implemented a pretty cool “unrevealed” areas feature, so that team might start with large areas of the scene unexplored and therefore remains black, until one of their team Actors “sees” and uncovers the area. This will be an integral part of the gameplay, especially in the metagame campaign. More on that in a separate post! – Data

Is there any optimization being done? My FPS tends to suck, and it’s slightly annoying/confusing to mess with DeltaTime settings and all.Cody
A: We are always thinking about what rough optimizations can be done while implementing new features and code in general. However, we also follow the principle that it’s more important to first get a new piece of code to generate the desired output with a very clear or naive implementation, and only then work from there in small steps to obfuscate it with crazy optimizations. So, to answer your question: Yes, we are definitely going to be profiling and optimizing the whole engine a lot more to make it run as well as we can, although our first priority is to get things working at all! – Data

Will water particulates/pixels be made to behave more like water? Cause right now they just crush like plants and everything else.Connor
A: Getting proper-ish liquid physics in is unfortunately a very low priority now. The “bang for the buck” in terms of how much trouble it would be to implement and the improved gameplay just doesn’t seem worth it! The “water” materials you might see in some of the official scenes are purely experimental so far, and I don’t think they’ll stick around. That’s not to say I’m not open to trying some easy hack/approximation solution for pools of water at some point… think the “falling sand” algorithm. – Data

Posted by Andy in Cortex Command - October 2nd, 2009

V1rocketFor this week’s featured friday I’m pulling something from the Epic Moments forum thread. I’m waiting on Data to send me some game updates so (hopefully) next week we’ll have more actual content. 😉

This ‘splodetacular video of a V1 Rocket explosion was captured on film by NaXx. The editing gets 5 stars just for the suspenseful introduction. Timing is everything, kids!

Have a particularly spectacular animation? Post it to Epic Moments for your chance at a fabulous prize*!

(*: being featured on the blog, wooo)

Posted by Andy in Cortex Command - September 30th, 2009

Congrats to TheLastBanana for winning the forum contest for best Total Conversion Mod!

The Reject is a total conversion modifcation, changing the game style, the premise, and the goal of the game drastically. From the thread:

TheRejectDodge falling cargo crates in an attempt to escape the clutches of the Space Order Corporation’s rejected cargo bin! While you’re at it, grab expensive stuff!


– Down-to-the-pixel accuracy of fallen blocks will little lag.
– Equip a jetpack or become zombified (or both)
– 16 different treasure items to collect for points along with 3 character modification items.
– 4 difficulty modes and a difficulty select screen, ranging from Easy to Insane.
– Score counter at the end gives you a breakdown of where your points come from.

Best played in 640×480 resolution. Yes, it ends, but it’s not scripted to give you a win message or anything. No, nobody will ever get there without cheating. There is an easter egg.

Download and Discuss The Reject – it’s worth an hour of your time!

Posted by Andy in Art, Cortex Command - September 29th, 2009

light_soldier_full_colorcc_coalition_light_preliminary2Finally, the piece I’ve been hinting at for three days…

This piece of artwork for the Coalition Light soldier came about because we were contacted by a fan of the game, Justin “gtaiiilc” Stokes. He is heading to CrisisCon and will be constructing a replica suit!

“Hey this is the almighty nerd Justin “gtaiiilc” Stokes here.

I have begun gathering up resources to make a Coalition Light replica suit… for a convention (don’t mock me >_>). The event is in February but I hope to have it long done by then so I can start saving up for my BIG project of win: a Cortex Command arcade cabinet!

That will will be a long ways off though, but for now: PICS OF THE BEGINNING!”

The convention is slated for Spring 2010, so we have some time for the project to complete – I’ll post updates as work progresses.

Thanks for being such a nerd fan, Justin!

If anyone else has any DR/Cortex Command real-life crossover events (Birthday cake? Gold mining in your backyard? Cosplay?) drop me a line @

Posted by Andy in Cortex Command - September 28th, 2009

balloon_crabNew feature alert! On Mondays I hope to answer a few burning questions for the fans. If you have a question for the Dev team that you really want answered, drop me a line: .

This week’s mailbag is full of  incredibly interesting questions from a wide variety of people!

Q: What is up with the Digging AI? It was working a build or two ago but the AI seems hopelessly lost again. – Andy

A: Digging AI hasn’t been touched in a long time, since we are looking at making it LUA-based instead of hard-coded in the C++.  That way, you could make AI modes that did exactly as you wanted and modify the existing ones. – Datacrabtank

Q: Though realtime multiplayer has been a discarded idea for years now, what are your thoughts on a turn-based multiplayer setup being included in the game? – Andy

A: You’ll have to wait and see what we’re doing with the campaign metagame (hint: it’s turn-based) 🙂 – Data

What?? Not a flat-out “no” for multi?!! zomfg

Have a question for the Mailbag? Fire me an email:

Posted by Andy in Art, General DRL - September 27th, 2009

Hawesome in a CanHey everyone! Ignore the horrible photo of me in the last post. There are way better pictures of me on the web.

As Dan introduced, I am Andy Moore (“weasel”), professional Community Designer and Manager. I’m a big fan of Cortex Command, and have been following it for years. I’ll be the BatPhone – the direct line to the Commissioner that you, the fans, can pick up at any time. I’m active in the forums and on IRC as well, and am trying to crank up the level of transparency you guys see.

In my travels I’ve found that many indie developers love to have a community, and love to have a fan following – but detest the level of commitment and the hours of work it takes to put into keeping it running smoothly. Most devs simply want to concentrate on making the game, and not deal with all the emotional issues that come up with forum drama and constant email requests. That’s where I step in!

another_telling_image_description_youwin2I’m hoping to post here very regularly – maybe get it down to once per day, but we’ll see how much content I’m able to generate. Dan suggested I tease you guys with some new art, so I’ve clipped two bits of it into this post. I’ll reveal the rest of the image over the coming days. 🙂

If anyone wants to get in touch with me – the best bet is the forums or IRC. I’m happy to share my email address though: Drop me a line if you want to discuss anything – it might take me weeks to get back to you, but I will try to write back to everyone.

In the coming weeks I’ll see about slapping together some videos, interviews, get some long-standing questions answered, and see what other media I can come up with. Peace out.