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Surface again!

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Ravuya

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Okay, so I lied like a throw rug. I didn't update yesterday -- I'm updating today. And it's still not a monster-huge update, but there were some pretty big code improvements.

1. Dockable actors

This isn't as dirty as you think.

Seriously, get your mind out of the gutter.

Dockable actors are just those semi-intelligent entities you can navigate close to and engage a 'docking' procedure, taking you to the buy/build menu, where you can purchase equipment for your ship, buy a new ship, get new missions, and trade commodities (as well as listen to rumour and innuendo). They're not really impressive; they're just loaded from file, eh?

The impressiveness starts when you dock with the space station, and then the flash and spin GUI starts up (complete with drag & drop inventory manipulation -- ooh!)

2. Jump

The system can now load the next star system using the "jump". As of yet, there is no "jumping" vignette/cinema scene, but I plan to add one eventually as my next project is setting up the vignette backend.

Systems seem to be getting loaded properly, and I wrote some extra code to deal with a niggling problem of mine pertaining to the re-use of functions. Damnable side-effects.

3. Model cache

Similar to the clever materials cache, I now have a cache for loading and getting rid of MD2 models as appropriate. This is good, because MD2 models are surprisingly large. How odd.

I think the MD2 loader is broken still; scale is all wacky so the normalization feature obviously isn't working quite right.

4. HUD improvements

You now receive an error message to the HUD when you attempt to dock with an undockable ship, activate the ECM attack feature without the ECM attack software installed, or jump to a nonexistent system. It looks pretty good, I guess. Hard to really make a lot of it. It'll look better when the HUD render-to-texture and cockpit warp shader are back in the engine.

What's next for Novarunner? Well, here's what I'm thinking:
  • Item system. Carrying stuff around in your ship, and being able to sell it at the stations. This is a lot of work, and it depends on the next task...
  • GUI. The IMGUI system for this really needs to be finalized so I can start developing the station buy/build menus. I want you to use your mouse, dammit. I also need to add some informational text to the star map as well as some other functionality.
  • Weapons. This sort of depends on the item system, I guess.. I have to implement the weapon slots for your current ship and wire up the input functionality for ganging and firing weapons, as well as the heat, ammo and energy levels in your craft. I guess this also involves the ECM Attack feature which I haven't talked about, but which you probably saw in the ship menu. You'll have to wait til later to see what I'm doing with that.
  • Vignettes. These are tiny little cinema scenes that add some 'flash' to routine actions (system jumping, docking, your ship's destruction) and give the player a better sense of cinematic gameplay. They're generated in code based on your current circumstances, so we'll see what I can whip out.
  • Game Save/Load. This has always, always been my Achilles heel. Hopefully I can get it right this time, so you can stop the game and pick it up again in two spins of an FTL drive.
  • Procedural Generation. Pitiful fleshy humans need to believe they're in a real universe, so I have a couple of pieces of code that roll against a large table of "legends" and a small table of "extras" that will randomly populate each system you jump into. They'll have different tasks assigned to them at spawn, such as docking with a planet, or fighting a random ship in the system (which may include you, which may lead to the friendly police ships attacking that random ship, which may lead to the complete destruction of everything in the system depending on the attacking ship. Obviously this needs some controls.).

Lots of work ahead; luckily I've got lots of time. My goal is to release in September and then start full steam ahead on my next project, which will either be Glow II or CSRPG 3. Ooh, fanservice!

For a screenshot for today, check out my ugly planet model. It's the result of me opening MilkShape, clicking the Sphere tool down, and then applying a texture. I know.
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