Mining and Beam Weapons
I haven't given up! Not yet at least. I'm got a five-week plan to get a Kickstarter ready for this project. I hope to flesh out a lot of cool features between now and then, and pull together some real cinematic footage so as to show off all the graphical polish on which I've been spending time.
Right now, my priority is all things mining. Unfortunately, I'm still not positive how the mining system will be implemented. I know that ore/mineable things will actually be physical objects attached to asteroids. I think what will happen is normal weapons will be able to break off shards of the ore, which can then be tractored in. Specialty mining lasers will also be available, and will provide far more efficient extraction of ore (i.e., higher yield than just blasting at it). Mining lasers will have built-in tractor capability, so they won't require a two-step mining process. Of course, this requires implementation of beam weapons, which I've been avoiding.
Here's my first attempt at mining beams.
The beams look pretty cool, and are animated using coherent temporal noise that flows along the direction of the beam, which breaks up the perfect gradient and provides the illusion that the beam is pulsing into the target object.
I can't wait to use this same functionality to slap some beam weapons on large ships and observe epic cap-ship battles (which, sadly, will require a good ship generator, which I'm still avoiding :/).