July 16th Progress

July 16, 2014 in News

A lot of work has gone in to the gate system today. We’ve been designing exactly how it should look and producing mockups. Most of the art here is George’s but I wanted to show you what we had so far.

It’ll likely change a bit by the time it’s finished.



Click for full sized gif!

July 15 – Everything changed when the tile rendering system attacked

July 15, 2014 in Dev Blog, News

As you’ve heard from metadept and omni, I’ve been working on a *complete* rewrite of the tile rendering engine.  The old code was a nightmare of huge repeated hard coded blocks of logic, had long standing bugs, was *dog* slow, and was actually 3 systems running in parallel (one for regular materials, one for platforms, and one for neighbor based tiles like pipes).  I’m nearly finished now with a brand new system, replacing the old complicated set of systems with one simple(r) rule based system that is about a 10th the size in terms of lines of code.

Even though the new renderer is running the new tile neighbor rules system for every single tile every single frame, the fullscreen cpu usage of starbound has actually gone *down* by about 30%*.  The next step is to add caching of chunks into the system so that the geometry for each chunk is re-used for future frames if the chunk has not changed (the system was designed from the start with this in mind).  This should further reduce the cpu usage *dramatically*.

This isn’t committed quite yet, as there are some small missing graphical features which would freak the artists out like not color shifting the materials properly and messed up preview tiles.  Once those small issues are fixed, and caching is added, it can be committed to master.  I’m hoping I can finish this up by early tomorrow, and I should have some better performance numbers then.

(*) The 30% figure is partially due to the new tile rendering system and partially due to some other related changes which also improve perf, it’s hard to tease out which is which.

HALFWAY by Robotality!

July 15, 2014 in News

Happy Tuesday, guys! I’ve got some more exciting publishing news– last one for a bit, actually, but it’s exciting stuff!


Halfway is a turn-based strategy RPG taking place a few hundred years into the future. Humanity has branched out and begun to colonise new worlds and until now, they were alone.

In Halfway, you take control of a small team of survivors faced with a violent invasion onboard the colonial vessel Goliath. As their leader, you will guide them through the dark and cramped corridors of the ship in an effort to reclaim control of your ship.

If you have any hope of surviving, you’ll need to fight for your life, face your fears and outsmart the enemy!

Halfway will be released on Steam and Humble Store next Tuesday, 22 July 2014 for Windows, Mac and Linux with modding support in the form of a campaign editor coming out soon after release. The game will cost $12.99/£9.99 with a -10% launch discount. Go check out their new website and participate in discussion over on their new forums. :)

Key Features

  • Tactical turn-based battles are at the core of Halfway. Use cover, position, equipment and skills to your advantage in your battles.
  • Unique characters: Your team is formed of unique characters you pick up along the way. Each one of them brings their own story, skills and experiences to the journey.
  • Find yourself in the middle of an engrossing story-line. Step by step you’ll uncover the mysterious events that took place and what it means for you and all of humanity.
  • Mod support coming soon! Map and campaign editor soon to be released.

Halfway was developed by Robotality- an independent game development studio founded at the beginning of 2013 and consisting of two brothers, Simon and Stefan Bachmann. They’ve worked together for the last year and a half to produce a fantastic (and gorgeous!) strategy game. Check out the launch trailer:

More information:

Halfway Website
Robotality Blog
@Robotality on Twitter

Halfway on Steam


July 14 – Works in Progress

July 15, 2014 in Dev Blog

Today’s been a typically busy Monday so we didn’t get around to making any flashy GIFs, but here are a few highlights of the day’s development:

  • I’ve been fixing bugs with flying monster behavior, working with kyren to make some big improvements to the Lua entity queries, and playing around with skill balance for small monsters
  • Kyren is continuing her rework and optimization of the tile rendering system
  • OmnipotentEntity is updating and improving the status effect and character status system
  • Supernorn added some new, more military-styled human armors
  • Armagon added more microdungeons to improve underground variety
  • GeorgeV is still working on some major progression-related art that I probably shouldn’t spoil
  • …lots of other bits that I’m sure I’m forgetting. Good night, everyone!

EDIT: Didn’t see Omni’s post when I wrote this so there’s some overlap, but better two posts than none I suppose!

July 14 – Random bits and pieces

July 14, 2014 in Dev Blog

Friday and today I spent most of the day conceptualizing and designing a major change to how Stats and StatusEffects are handled, to make them simplier, data-driven, and lua-capable. I sent it to the other coders for review before I start replacing our current system.

I’ve been kind of out of the loop with most of what’s happening with the rest of the team as a result. Reading through the commit logs, it looks like kyren was doing some cleanup and optimization around how entity lookup queries are handled. Likely as a short brain break because it looks like she’s still tackling TileRendering. It looks like Armagon is adding a bunch of interesting microdungeons for Apex inhabited worlds. And it looks like community member Kawa’s patch to make human hair accessories match undy color was accepted and pushed by Metadept (Thanks Kawa!) And a few other things.

July 11 – Big Birds

July 11, 2014 in Dev Blog

Greetings from London! I’m here in the office for a few weeks, so Tiy and I have been talking a lot about our plans for monsters and making more big changes. Many players seem to be having trouble with the current monsters, especially at the very beginning of the game or when beaming down to new planets, so we’ve been reworking the difficulty to provide a smoother ramp up into the game. One component of this will be changes to the spawning system to prevent monsters from clustering around the beam down point and to make their levels scale more with biome depth. Another component involves changes to the monster types and how they relate.

Small monster variants are going to be weaker, more common, and have a very limited selection of attacks (no projectile attacks, for example). Large monster variants will be rarer and stronger, with more special attacks and abilities. We may also try returning to the ‘family’ concept for monsters, where small and large variants correspond to each other directly, possibly even advancing from the smaller variants to their larger counterparts under certain conditions. I’ve gone through and made the existing biped and quadruped types consistently named and structured to facilitate this change, and I’m working on changing the spawning changes as well.

The main thing I did, however, was implement the large flying monsters that we’ve just finished the art for! Similar to the ground monster types, these are much larger, stronger, and rarer than their small brethren, and we’ve removed projectile attacks from the small flyers to compensate. Here’s one example to show just how much bigger and more detailed they are:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

July 10th Update

July 11, 2014 in Dev Blog

Hey guys! Looks like nobody stepped up to write the update today! Allow me to remedy that situation. :)

Afraid I can’t get too in-depth on what everybody else was doing, as I was mostly continuing with the work I described on Tuesday. I did however spend some time helping folks out with their tasks, so I’ll give you a quick summary of what I know!

– George has been working on a whole bunch of stuff. He’s updated a number of our outpost objects to look even slicker than before, as well as some really cool stuff related to the spoiler-laden post written by Tiy yesterday. If you want the progression kept a surprise, I don’t recommend reading it!

– Kyren has continued to work hard on our new tile rendering code. To my non-coder brain it looks incredibly complex, but by the time she’s finished, the game’s performance overall should be markedly better, which is always nice!

– Metadept continued his excellent work with the monsters. Now once a monster goes aggressive, they will remain aggressive unless you trigger them into a fleeing state (which not every monster will be smart/cowardly enough to do).

I’m afraid I don’t know what everybody else was working on, as I tend to get pretty absorbed in my own stuff. It’s not much, but here’s a small sample of the kind of things you can expect to start finding deep underground. We want to add some entirely unique, non-racial stuff too, but for now, this is what I’ve got to show.

A single scientist, deep underground?

I’m always open to any feedback, positive or negative. What kind of things would you like to find deep underground?

Until next time!

July 9th

July 9, 2014 in News

Hi guys,

We’ve been in Brighton today for the develop awards and gamesbythesea, so not much to report today. I wanted to share our plans for tier 2 with you though.

-warning spoilers ahead-

After repairing the ships thrusters your ship AI scans the surroundings and finds a mysterious ancient gate floating in space. Flying to the gate allows you to land and examine the gate. Which is actually a long abandoned interdimensional transport system.

Traveling through the gate takes you to an asteroid in a pocket dimension where you meet other travelers that have also found these long abandoned gates and chosen to set up a trading post on the asteroid.

The trading post will represent the first static location in Starbound. With its own lore, residents and back story. It exists outside of the procedurally generated star map in its own dimension and can also be accessed from any gate the player finds in space.

At the outpost you’ll find people to give you quests, including quests that lead to a furnace upgrade and a quest to obtain breathing apparatus that allows you to visit moons. To complete these quests you’ll need to visit planets in the solar system the gate is in.

Once the breathing apparatus is obtained players can visit moons where they’ll find structures built from/mining moon stone. Moon stone can be used to fix the ships FTL drives.

On top of all of this of course will be new armors, weapons and crafting progression.

Dig a little deeper!

July 8, 2014 in Dev Blog

As work continues on progression, the team spent some time today discussing the structure for tier 2 and succeeded in getting a solid plan down. For now I’m slated to continue helping in the design and re-balancing effort, though some of it requires I wait for one of our capable programmers to get a couple of things working. In the meantime, as a side project I’ve been tasked with populating our underground with more microdungeons so there’s more interesting stuff to find as you get deeper. You can look forward to finding more stuff like this!

We want more exciting stuff underground!

I’ve also spent some of my free time starting to update the lights to be wirable as I mentioned in my last post. There’s over 250 objects with lighting to go through and determine whether they need the treatment. Most simply need to be configured properly, though some lack “off” frames in the graphics, so I usually need to create them. This process with each object can be quite time-consuming. Doubly so if they’re animated. Because this will have to remain a side-side-project, it’s going to take me a while, but I’ve finished with all the Apex objects at least.

That’s it from me! See you next time guys!

Treasured Trophies

July 8, 2014 in News

Hey guys, Supernorn here again!

I thought I’d show you guys the finished animation for the Treasured Trophies outpost. This was a complicated one, but I think it came out really well!