September 4th – And in today’s news…

September 4, 2014 in Dev Blog

Evening folks!

I returned to my efforts on the lunar base today, as I’ve begun my detailing pass to make it all look nice and fill it with loot. There’s still a couple of elements I’m going to need before I can totally wrap up on the mission, like scripted NPC events (among other things). The good news is that we will have Metadept officially joining us in the office next week so we should see some really big progress on this front soon! I’m quite looking forward to having him in the office for the long haul, since he does a lot of stellar work and is a great guy to collaborate with.

George has continued working on his own mission and has been making excellent progress, with very little support required from yours truly. He’s already got a solid foundation down to build upon, and even though it’s rough around the edges it’s already looking great, I fear I may soon be eclipsed by his talent! That said, the fun bit will be when I get to teach him how to configure NPCs.

I’m afraid I don’t personally have much more to report, again for the wish to keep missions relatively spoiler-free. The programmers have continued to toil away on their respective tasks, which continue to sail over my non-programmer head, but what I was able to grasp is that they’re intensely focused on crushing a number of insidious bugs that crept their way in some time ago. Kyren in particular seems to be gearing up to assist Metadept when he arrives by tackling the systems he’ll need to work with.

Lastly, just in case you missed the announcement; the Chucklefish Blog has just gone live and Tiy kicked it off with a fairly comprehensive post on our plans for what will feature in Starbound’s 1.0 release. I wouldn’t advise reading it if you want a spoiler-free experience, but for those of you who absolutely must know what’s coming next you can read it . On this new blog we’ll be posting Chucklefish-related news, along with updates from the developers of games that we’re publishing, so you guys should definitely check it out from time to time!

Good night everybody!

3rd September – Chucklefish Blog

September 4, 2014 in Dev Blog, News

Hey guys!

In lieu of the daily post, yesterday Tiy took to our newly-launched Chucklefish Blog to post about what’s left to do before Starbound reaches version 1.0. Fair warning, though– the post and charts within contain spoilers aplenty.

You can check out the post here.

RE: The Chucklefish Blog – we’ll be posting Chucklefish-related updates there, and updates from developers of games we’re publishing. So keep an eye out! The site’s still not quite finished, either, and we’ll be filling it out a bit more in the coming days.

Regular daily progress posts will resume today!

September 2nd – New Mission Prep

September 2, 2014 in Dev Blog

Hey y’all!

I spent my day helping George by setting up a dungeon file and key for the mission he’s about to start working on. He had already knocked up a detailed plan of the mission’s structure and layout, so he spent most of today roughing it out visually in-game while I worked on getting a functional setup together. George seems keen to tell a story with the environment, so he’s been creating a bunch of cool new objects as he’s progressed.

It looks for the most part like he has everything necessary to get started turning it into a functional location, so most likely he’ll be spending the next week focusing on this mission. I’ll probably get called in from time to time to help him with the finer points of the dungeon system, but I’m really looking forward to seeing how he does with it, since his mockups are generally very good and having someone else to work on this stuff with me will be most welcome.

Sorry I don’t have anything fancy to show off, it’s just been that kind of work lately and we’d like to keep at least a few surprises, if possible.

Good night!

September 1st – WIPs

September 2, 2014 in Dev Blog

Not much exciting to post about today. Kyren’s been working on nitty gritty technical stuff, addressing some threading issues we’re running into with C++11 pointers. Armagon and the artists are continuing work on missions that I’m not allowed to post about yet.

I’m still playing with the terrain generation, seeing what its capabilities and limitations are. Here’s a screenshot of some WIP desert canyons (click for big):

canyonswipThe terrain generator works by combining multiple layers of Perlin noise. In this shot, I’m using one source to define the primary surface terrain (low dunes), another source to define the rough bottom of the canyons, and a third to mix between them, with bias toward the primary source to make canyons less frequent. There are several problems with the current configuration, however. The most obvious problems are the sharp corners at the canyon edge where the mix shifts from 100% primary surface and rapidly begins switching to the lower canyon terrain. These can be addressed with some smoothing in the mixer (which needs engine changes to implement). Another issue without an obvious solution is what to do with the background. Because of the dimensionality and limited number of layers, it’s difficult to visually distinguish an open valley from a long, narrow canyon from a deep hole. I’ll have to experiment further to find a satisfactory solution.


August 29th – Kindergarten

August 29, 2014 in Dev Blog

Continuing work on biomes, I’ve been configuring a new primary biome type for starter worlds that we’re calling Garden. It’s a sparsely forested biome with gentle, rolling hills that should be easy to navigate for players just starting the game. It’s got quite a pleasant atmosphere:

Garden Sunrise

I’m also working on surface terrain generation for all biomes. Higher tier planets will be a bit craggier (in general) since players will be likely to have some movement abilities and grappling hooks, but mainly I’m just aiming for interesting variety. I’ll post some screenshots of other terrain types in a future update. Have a good weekend!

August 28th – Alright, one more lunar base teaser!

August 29, 2014 in Dev Blog

Since it seems nobody else has anything particularly new to report as we’ve all continued working on the same things for the most part, I’ll cave a little and give you one more glimpse of what you can expect on your mission to the moon. This is the only lunar base media you’re getting out of me for a while, so enjoy it while you can!

Something's moving in the shadows!

Keep your eyes peeled, and you might just see something. ;)

August 27th – Still at it!

August 28, 2014 in Dev Blog

Evening folks!

For the past couple of days I’ve been chiefly focusing on the armor balancing that I mentioned last week, as it’s proven surprisingly difficult. I’m beginning to understand the pains that other developers must go through when painstakingly balancing their games, especially the competitive multiplayer ones! Our armor balance is getting to a better place, but it’s looking like there are a number of earlier armors that are going to need to be rebalanced as well to suit our progression changes.

I’ve also been doing little bits of work on the lunar base here and there. I’ve turned it into a floating dungeon type while await the completion of Omni’s work on the skies so I can configure the parallax layers to my liking. I still wish to keep most elements of the mission a surprise, so I’m reluctant to share any further media relating to it and its unique enemies.

The efforts of the rest of the team seems to be stuff that’s mostly under the hood, like the biome threat level changes that Metadept talked about yesterday. He’s continued his efforts on that front but has also been working on the enemies I’ve been trying to stay so elusive about. He’s also fixed a few long-withstanding bugs with the humanoid NPCs that have been present in the nightly build for some time (such as their inability to properly switch between their melee and ranged weapons appropriately).

George on the other hand has been busily devising our other missions, with some seriously cool ideas being laid out. Once I’m done with the lunar base, I’ll be moving right along to start building one of those.

In any case, it’s about time for me to hit the hay. Good night everybody!

August 26th – Biomic Enhancement

August 26, 2014 in Dev Blog

One big part of the game’s progression will be the ability to access new planet types as your ship and equipment improve. To facilitate this, we’re making biomes correspond with threat levels as you advance through tiers.

What does this mean, exactly? Previously, some biomes would only appear on planets with higher threat levels, but there wasn’t much relating a world’s appearance and environment to how challenging it is other than the explicit threat level. We’re now grouping the primary biomes by tier in a way that makes the progression of difficulty more logical and encourages players to visit a wide variety of planet types as they play through the game. When a player acquires gear with the appropriate environmental protection (such as heating systems to insulate them from cold environments), they will gain access to several new primary biome types (such as Tundra, Arctic and Asteroid worlds). We’re making sure to have enough variety within each tier to keep exploration entertaining while still retaining a somewhat consistent theme at each stage.

Once a player has completed the game’s progression and can access all of the various primary planet types, they will be able to visit planets with special high-level versions of the biomes. These will include some of the stranger variations like metallic trees/plants, as well as previously unavailable mini-biomes and dungeons. There’s no need to rush or grind to the endgame, but there will still be lots to discover after reaching it!

I’ve also been working on some smaller biome and planet configuration improvements. I’ve made the biome/sub-biome combinations more reasonable, so you won’t find ice trees growing next to pools of lava, and improved the matching of planet types to the distance from their star so you can reliably look for hot worlds in near orbits, temperate worlds in the habitable zone and frozen worlds in the outer fringes.

August 22 – Adding skies to outposts

August 23, 2014 in Dev Blog

So a while back I mentioned that I made some changes to sky to decouple them from the coordinate information. Today I hooked it up to the WorldParameter system so that it could actually begin to be used on Floating Dungeons and stuff. There’s more work to be done, because currently there’s no randomization in this area. But we can put any sky on the outpost worlds now. Here’s an example:

August 21st – Kid strummed that guitar…

August 22, 2014 in Dev Blog

I ended up deviating a bit from my work on the lunar base mission today, as I’m waiting on further developments on the new enemy before I go too in-depth with careful placement and setting up the loot distribution. We have some other cool stuff for it in the works, but I’d really like to keep those elements a surprise if I can help it.

Instead I primarily spent my time getting the Novakid armors that George showed off last week actually craftable in-game. We’ve got all their tiered weapons designed and ready to go too, they just need to be implemented and balanced.

The Novakids feel so at home in our universe, they could well usurp the Glitch as my favorite race!

Lone Novakid Out In The Desert

I’ve also begun work on rebalancing all the armors that fall into the separator, accelerator and manipulator classes. I expect to spend most of tomorrow continuing on this task, so I’d like to get it to a good place. That said, I have no doubt we’ll need to do some fine-tuning down the line as we continue our playtesting.

Until next time!