Weekly Update #16

Hey all time for another weekly update. A number of large projects are beginning to wrap up. For starters updating the physics code is about done. We’ve completed a shallow integration of PhysX and it will be fully supported once they finish work on double precision. Originally we were going to use Bullet, which already supports double precision, however Bullet doesn’t have multi-threading and its GPU support leaves much to be desired. Unfortunately those of you with AMD cards won’t get any GPU acceleration with PhysX however its CPU implementation will still run better than any of the alternatives that we’ve tried - which are all CPU-only anyway.

Different architectural pieces of a planetary factory

The new installation and patching system is ready for internal testing by the team however there’s still some work to be done with the launcher and in our web backend for uploading and publishing new patches. The backend integration also includes the groundwork for a big website update we want to do at some point. The first phase will be the aforementioned installer/patching support. This will be followed by a page that will allow people to upgrade their pledges and then finally the entire web portal will be updated. A new profile page which shows you your purchases/pledges, account information, and how to download the game will be the central focus of the website update.

A mockup of the land base hangar bay with 2 corvettes parked inside

On the art side things are really starting to come together for our space stations, land bases, and planetary factories. There’s still a bit of design work left to be done on the land bases however the mockups for the factories and space stations are now being integrated into the game. We’ll probably have 1 more patch, which may not include these new assets, using the old installation system before we switch to the new installation system along with a major update.

Major pieces of space station architecture

Scheduling-wise we’re going to continue to work on low level infrastructure, primarily the website and game networking, for the month of June. In July we want to refocus back toward iterating heavily on gameplay as we begin a big 4 month push to get the Alpha out by the end of October. This will start with implementing additional weapons and beginning work on the game UI. For Alpha we want to have all major game systems mocked up, a working UI, and all of the cockpits close to being completed. Needless to say it’s going to be a busy summer and fall!


In my limited experience with PhysX, when things got complicated, resulting with frame rates less than 1 per second, basically shutting my computer down. A recent memory was replaying mirror’s edge, and having all the glass shatter during one level made playing simply impossible until I turned PhysX off.

I have an AMD GPU and CPU. I realize that in the future, a new physics engine is a real possibility, but I would like to know more details pertaining to the performance on AMD-powered machines.

This post took way longer to post as a certain puppy was attacking me whilst I was typing… :wink:

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Shared to ED & SC forums. (SC - need to be logged in)

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While I’m sure that GPU acceleration for physics simulation is better than CPU, I would have actually thought that since the I-Novae engine is currently bound, in most cases, by GPU power rather than CPU, it would have been beneficial to offload that processing requirement to the CPU (barring having a dedicated card for that). Will there be options to run PhysX on CPU with NVidia cards?

Actually we currently have disabled GPU support. We may make it something that can be toggled however PhysX hasn’t been fully turned on yet so it’s moot until they finish their double precision support.

Don’t you think it’s time to upgrade that ten year old system of yours?:wink:


Glad to hear the patching system is nearly ready! My internet is not the fastest, so having to download the whole thing every time is wearing a bit thin. :smile:
I would be interested to know exactly how changing the physics engine will have an impact, and what physics-based things are planned. Is it to help things like collisions, gravity and maybe some weapon types? Physics-based explosions…? :wink:

Hope the networking stuff goes to plan because it sure will be busy getting gameplay ready for Alpha! I’m looking forward to a summer of testing!

Also, are there plans for the whole terminal velocity thing to be tweaked in the next update?

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Don’t listen to him old girl, he’s just jealous.

                       Make your own conclusions . Good update report .

There are no new features with the physics updates. It’s more about refactoring and making sure we can get ride of the old lib ( ODE ) which is frankly, quite old and not very well supported anymore.

Those assets are looking beautiful guys, love the detail.

Stoked to see things coming together, can’t wait :rocket:

I like PhysX.


Looking real great as always!