The Road to Early Access Part 2

Looks like I skipped last week’s update. Here’s what’s been going on – a lot of prep for Steam’s early access. I’m trying to make it the best early launch as I can so I’m thinking of small improvements.

Fixing glaring issues that have been here for a long time – for example ship switching via the V and B keys now takes distance to nearby ships into account. So does target nearest enemy target (T key) it will cycle nearby targets starting with the nearest.

Adding more visual polish – lots of HUD work and some special effects.

Speaking of HUD improvements – new methods of telling the player that their ship (or the command ship) is taking damage.

Adding in crash prevention – crashes have been a good thing overall for Void Destroyer – they mean an easy way to see that something is wrong, but for Early Access gamers I’d rather avoid putting them through my mistakes so I’m putting in crash detection/prevention. I’m making this a toggle so that I can disable the detection for my own debugging builds

Bunch of AI stuff – formations becoming a bit more intelligent.

 

Also I’m working on story content – there is going to be a new mini boss early in the game, and I’m hoping for a improvement on the long slog before capturing the first base and adding in some more “life” to the universe. Ships doing their own thing.

 

 

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I forgot a very important thing that happened. I updated many of the libraries/engines that combine to form Void Destroyer’s “game engine.” So the latest physics engine – Bullet Physics. For the GUI (CEGUI) I initially went to the latest but discovered some changes that would delay me a bit too much so while we jumped a few years ahead in features and bug fixes, we aren’t on the latest and greatest. Latest stable rendering engine – Ogre. ┬áIn addition I updated the project to use Visual Studio 2012 (previously on 2008). Overall this isn’t a hard thing to do, there are documentations and forum posts of people that went ahead of me, but taken together it is a fairly involved and stressful process. Stressfull because at certain points the game doesn’t build (aka work) with many errors and oversights on my part. Now trouble shooting can be very easy if there is one thing to fix, but when there are multiple it can become complicated and overwhelming. So I also switched to a new PC (Windows 8.1) to have my old workstation remain unchanged (after trying to do the update on the old PC and freaking out since the game wasn’t building) while I’m working on the new.

So long story short it is done – though it took about half a week and a weekend – all told. Some “funny” issues were the new PC constantly crashing (bad memory chips – brand new – but a apparently really cheap and unreliable brand), not to mention my constant – I’m using the wrong keyboard (there now being two one for the old and one for the new – I didn’t buy a KVM) dilemma. The new PC is a nice upgrade to the old – but I still haven’t had a chance to load a game on it and take it for a spin, I’m not sure when I will have the time.