Weekly Update #42

#1

Hey All, this is Flavien. Keith ran into trouble with his computer yesterday ( it’s having difficulties booting up apparently ) so I’ll be in charge of this weekly update.

Keith has been making good progress on the new Vulkan renderer and abstractions. He can almost render a… triangle. No kidding. Interestingly, to be able to render just a single triangle in Vulkan requires pretty much all systems to be functional, so although it might not look like it, it’s a huge step forward ! We still have to experiment with shaders though.

If you remember the thread about Vulkan versus DirectX12 on our forums a few months ago, we had expressed some doubts about the built-in Vulkan shader compiler, as it doesn’t seem to perform any advanced shader code optmization. Now that the fundation is there, we will soon be able to figure that out and determine whether shader performance is acceptable or not. If it’s not, we can still 1) wait for the compiler to mature ( which hopefully should happen by the time the game is released ) or 2) later on, switch to DirectX 12 while maintening a fall back on to DirectX 11 for Windows 7+.

Interceptor landed on planet ( render )

On my side, I’m working on our new entity-component system ( ECS ) and refactoring the client / server ( including networking improvements ). It’s taking a while, but that was expected. ECS will allow us to utilize more agressive multithreading including for gameplay logic ( in the current build, gameplay logic is single threaded with a couple of independent systems such as sounds, networking or physics running in separate threads ).

The client / server refactoring is also a very important step because it allows us to introduce some major concepts for the future game, such as a form of database persistency ( if the server crashes, we don’t want players to lose their progression and the state of the match / battles that were running ) or a replay feature ( still experimental, so I can’t promise it for the final game, but that’s definitely something we want to do ), and even the basics of modding ( through C/C++/C# custom DLLs ). So as you can imagine, this new version is a major milestone in the project, and will also introduce a bunch of new gameplay concepts ( such as team-based gameplay/spawning, credits, etc… ).

There’s currently no ETA for that new version, but I can safely say it won’t happen until next year. Meanwhile, we’re still going to release a bunch of content patchs for the current build with art assets improvements or experiments ( like for the interceptor cockpit’s bar, which according to a poll on our forums, most people would like to see removed… ).

Corvette final geometry pass ( render )

On the art side, I’m happy to report that the geometry phase for all 3 “small” ships ( interceptor, bomber and corvette ) is coming to an end. It’s still not 100% finished but it’s getting close to. Kristian is finishing up the bomber, but still has to rework the landing gears which we found a bit frail for such a bulky ship, and adding some minute details. Jan’s detailed the corvette and added various details on the plating and thrusters. Since we haven’t posted a real-time preview model yet, it’s a good occasion to let you review the Sketchfab model here:

Dan has moved on to working on… space station windows. They’re very important because they’re the #1 best way to give a sense of scale to things in space. So we’re trying to make the windows as varied as possible to avoid patterns, and include some additional man-scale details here & there, like docking doors. We’re planning on making the windows layout unique per station, so even if two stations are reusing the same modules, they’ll still look slightly different with their windows on.

Also note that next week, Keith is relocating to a new place and might or might not have Internet access, so I might be in charge of the next weekly update too :slight_smile: See you next week,

-Flavien Brebion

34 Likes
#2

Solid update, thank you.

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#3

I am very impressed by the sketchfab model. Especially by the completely modelled cockpit. Suddenly the ship seems way bigger than before.

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#4

Just think about when the same happens for the stations and base structures. Oh, and genuinely huge capital ships, can’t forget about those.

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#5

I get the feeling that your coding style includes spaces after/before opening/closing parenthesis :wink:

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#6

That landed interceptor looks fantastic!

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#7

Great update, and the windows are a nice idea for the stations. I assume these will be illuminated? Looking forward to seeing the improved models in the prototype! Will texturing be the next job, or more new assets?

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#8

Does this mean we will see animated landing gears in one of the next updates?

The Corvette has come a long way for sure. The modeled cockpit is super useful for getting a sense of scale, and the detailing is really nice. I am still not happy with the rear / main engines though - they feel flimsy and weak. If you look at the front / retro trusters and the bottom / altitude trusters, you see that those are actually the same size, but they feel a lot stronger / more beefy. I think that has to do with the structures right around the trusters, the smaller hexagons around bottom / front do not dominate the trusters themselves, but the triangular long engine housing in the back does visually dominate the trusters and make them feel smaller than they actually are. Imho, those triangular sections also do not look that interesting themselves. Might be worth changing, maybe also for some hexagonal structure or other alternatives.

The firing angles for the side hardpoints and the front hardpoint ( or is that a docking port? ) look good. The rear top and bottom hardpoint are a bit questionable though, they seem to have significant blindspots towards the front. If they are meant for more defensive turrets / rear coverage, then it would be acceptable i guess.

The large cubic cutouts on the bottom / top really look like they are meant to house some sort of container / addon module. Might be a cool placeholder / enabler for possible ship customization later in the development of the game.

#9

that Interceptor …she is really gorgeous :heart_eyes: …that will be my new wallpaper :slight_smile:
also the detailed model of corvet looks really great.
Great job guys as always.

#10

Is this just a random normal map test?

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#11

No, it’s a random dip in the geometry.

#12

It’s completely normal. Don’t panic :stuck_out_tongue:

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#13

Ah yes. I went back and found some other shots of it.

I’m guessing it will look less weird once textured.

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#14

That “feature” is there in the current in game model, but actually looks better so I’m not sure what happened there.

#15

Me likes this update. Can I run a garbage truck type of ship and just ram it into all them cool lookin’ fighters? I promise the damage model’s gonna’ look great!

1 Like