utorak, 11. srpnja 2017.

Release v0.6

New major project milestone is done, Stareater has officially reached version 0.6. A few new features got implemented but there was many bug and stability fixes and code quality improvements.

Download Stareater v0.6f1

Major features of the milestone: 

Diplomacy - players can now call for an audience and negotiate treaties. Although bare bones, players can switch between peace and war, combat respects those treaties (you can't attack or be attacked if you are not explicitly at war) and code is ready for more nuanced diplomacy.

Refitting - a staple of  Master of Orion 2, built ships can be retrofitted with new equipment. Player can explicitly set which design is going to be retrofitted to which design. Also when a technology improvement gets developed, refit orders will be automatically issued to applicable designs. For instance when you get laser level 2, all designs with level 1 laser will be marked for upgrade.

Semi-exclusive research - another staple of Master of Orion 2 but in a less severe form. When a player makes a breakthrough in a research field he/she will get all technologies from that breakthrough but will have to choose priorities. Technologies with higher priority will be cheaper to develop to higher levels.

Space monsters - trope from basically all space games but especially important in this game. Unlike other 4X games your main goal is not to be dominant force in the universe (though you can do it as bonus objective) but to get back to "the real" universe. Stareater is a pocket universe which keeps you trapped and it's filled with space faring creatures which help it consume stars. Those creatures don't hold any special grudge against you but they are not concerned with your welfare either, they'd gladly make a star brighter and let it irradiate all planets in the system. Unlocking their secrets will be the key for leaving Stareater.
Minor features of the milestone:
  • Persistent ship damage - companion feature to refitting. Damage to ships in space combat persists after the combat and can be repaired at friendly star systems. Surplus repair points are used to retrofit ships.
  • Postcombat bombardment - similar to Master of Orion 1 and 2, after a space combat is resolved, winner can bombard (and in future invade) undefended colonies by just clicking on them. Previously attacker had to remain in space combat, move ships over a target and command each ship individually.
  • Weapon ammunition - some weapons like missiles and bombs now have limited ammunition in combat.
  • Hot seat multiplayer - multiple human players can play the game on the same computer. Technically this was possible prior v0.6 but now it's tested and some rough edges are dealt with.
  • Improved starlane generator - they now look more organic while ensuring whole map is connected and that each player has access to roughly similar part of the map.
  • Active planet and star traits - companion feature to space monsters. Celestial body traits now can have more complex behaviors then just being and not being. "Catalyzed" star trait can spawn "irradiated" trait on planets in system and expire after a few turns.
  • New rendering engine - not exactly a minor effort but from player's standpoint a less visible feature. Graphical objects are now handled in more organized manner, each scene simply lists where is what and underlying engine handles details like drawing order and draw state switching. Frame rate control has more options, from pushing GPU to work at max speed to battery conserving one. OpenGL version has been updated to 3.2 which allow easier use of shaders so there visual improvements too.
Under the hood changes:
  • Map settings from last game are remembered
  • Some of text templates are removed from code, replaced by different code structure
  • More ship images
  • More technologies which could end up in final game, not just for testing purpose
And more is to come. I'm tempted do to a lot more of under the hood changes, including better GUI library, restructured game data storage, add tests to prevent "f1" (hot fix 1) versions in future releases and so on. On the other hand I'd like to add more substance more quickly to finally get something really playable. I'll try my best to balance those too desires in next version.