Gratuitous Space Battles 2 takes the same approach to large-scale space combat that the modern porn industry takes to its videos; skip the dialogue, back-story and character development, and just get to the action. For the sequel, developer Positech Games is focusing heavily on improving the graphics, and has released a video showing some of the new visual effects.

While Gratuitous Space Battles 2 will use 2D models, sophisticated bump-mapping and lighting techniques will make the game’s ships and space debris appear to be 3D objects. During the demonstration of the game’s pre-alpha build, designer Cliff Harris shows off different lighting schemes, clearly illustrating the way light interacts with different ship surfaces. Even advanced lighting effects, like bloom and lens flares are present, despite the game’s very early development state, and each laser, photon beam and ion blast acts as its own light source, illuminating nearby objects. Parallax scrolling will allow ships and asteroids to pass over and under each other, something that was not possible in the first game, and ship explosions produce huge fields of smoke, debris and flame, adding to the visual depth of the experience.

The original Gratuitous Space Battles garnered quite a bit of critical praise, with reviewers enjoying the unique tactical gameplay and hectic, massive-scale action. With the surprise success of GSB, Positech’s sequel is sure to draw significant attention when it launches later this year on Steam.

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