Hello citizens, ~

    The dev blog for this week features something more on the technical side. It covers a nice feature that will be very important in going forward.

    Optimized Meshes

    With the preview of last week, which is being able to draw any subset of blocks on any structure, we want to share another reason why we implemented this now. Not only is it already extremely useful for making existing GUI elements better and as said, adding new systems like active scanning, it also will be our basis for a new Level-of-Detail system. This system will increase drawing performance by drastically reducing the amounts of polygons at a distance.

    For that, the meshes we had last week needed to be improved and optimized. Since these are one colored representations of a set of blocks, polygon reduction is extremely viable.

    First of all, however, it needs to be explained why this method is not viable for all the mesh drawing, especially close. Reducing polygons means giving up information that is stored in those vertices. In our case that is texture information, the baked lighting, material, and a lot of other graphical meta information. Some of that can be compensated with techniques like deferred lighting, which would work yet does not scale well most of the time, and will force a lot of other optimizations to be removed. Also, the more detailed the mesh is with additional shapes, the less advantage the polygon reduction will provide.​

    That’s why combining both techniques will give us the best result. At a distance we can draw a minimal mesh that will speed up things dramatically. We can even make that multicolored with mixing multiple meshes on a fixed map of colors. Best of all, for close up, this still gives us the option of using deferred lighting eventually, but mixing it with existing lighting...​
    Greetings, citizens ~

    Here’s another weekly dev blog!

    What are we working on right now?

    In the wake of the power update, we’ve identified a few features that overlap nicely with the new power system and other ideas we’ve had for quite some time.

    One of these features is the ability to draw groups of blocks separately and apply various graphical effects to them. Among other uses, this will allow us to display the inner workings of ships quite nicely, e.g. highlighting a specific salvager/weapon array, a circuit, damaged blocks, etc. There are several existing uses for this, but it will be especially useful on future features, such as: scanning other ships, getting an overview of your reactors, highlighting potential issues therewith, etc. We’re aiming to do a release with this feature implemented in quite a few areas.​

    We will be updating Advanced Build Mode with increased functionality. This will include the above highlighting, as well as new tools. This update will not only make reactor design much easier (and allow integration of their features), but it will also give players better building tools in general. Among these planned features is a fill tool, which will allow you to progressively fill any area, as well as tools to draw lines and possibly arcs.​

    Power Update

    Thank you again for additional feedback. We went through most it, and we will be addressing more of your concerns later on where needed.

    Major concerns

    After reading all of the concerns and debates over the new power system, we can address two of our major concerns players had with the mechanics. The first is that players are limited to a single active reactor per...​
    Greetings, citizens ~

    Here’s another weekly devblog.

    What are we working on right now?

    We are currently finishing off a redesign of the chunk request system which will make requesting chunks over multiple entities a lot more controllable. This means that chunks close to the player can be requested a lot faster resulting in a much better overall experience with loading times for objects (as e.g. asteroids that are far in the back get less priority over closer objects). Prioritisation did exist in the previous system, but it was more local to the entity.

    Also, a few prototypes to test out if our plans for the reactors are viable implementation wise have been implemented. One example is a system which can create a convex hull (Convex hull - Wikipedia) of an arbitrary amount of blocks has been implemented. This system’s focus is to be as fast as possible and to provide a variable amount of precision to simplify complex structures. This is then not only usable to make the distance between stabilizers and main rector actually viable, it can also be used graphically to outline ship systems.

    Furthermore, Terra has been working on a rather significant launcher update. See below for details!

    Launcher Update
    While most of the work is done, the UI isn’t quite finished yet, so you’ll have to rely on imagination instead of screenshots for now. (Sorry about that!)

    This update consists of two major changes:

    Firstly, we’ve merged all of the settings popups into a single dialog. This both drastically improves ease-of-use, and gives us unlimited space to add more settings later, for example logging. (Implementing this required extensive changes throughout the codebase, so the thorough QA required for this will delay release somewhat.) We’ve retained the settings gear icons, but instead of opening their respective popups, they now act as shortcuts into the new settings...


    Several months ago, we shared our concerns about the current power system with you, and at the same time, present a power system proposal that would tackle some if not most of the mentioned problems.
    We’ve received a large amount of constructive feedback since then through posts and other power ideas you came up with. We greatly appreciate that, it gave us a lot more insight to further refine our own ideas.

    At first, we tried to salvage the original proposal as much as we could but in the end, too much was adjusted and there was little cohesion left between our core mechanics. We reached a point where we just wanted to start from scratch again, keeping our vision and your feedback in mind.
    This also explains why it took us this long to get another proposal ready for public.​


    First thing we did, was figuring out which criteria our new system should fulfill.
    These are the ones we used for power and anything tied to power consumption:
    1. Predictability: Placing a block leads to predictable outcomes
    2. Simplicity: The game should only describe the rules to the player, not telling the player exactly what to do
    3. Make every block matter without losing its importance with different ship sizes
    4. Depth: The system needs to have equally viable...
    Greetings citizens,

    We have an update on the power update as well as an exciting announcement for you.

    What are we working on right now?

    One new thing is that in our internal builds, fleets are now saving orders on logout and server start and restart. You can expect fleets to save orders in future dev builds. As previously mentioned, we have been constructing a comprehensive power document to share with the community. It is now being finalized along with a video to give an easily digestible overview of the entire proposal. These will be released simultaneously later this week.

    Be sure to check our last news post for more specifics, since we are still discussing those internally.

    New developer joining the team

    For the past two and a half months we've been getting a new game developer familiarised with the code and how we work. Some of you will already be acquainted with him as an active community member, welcome to nightrunenightrune (Sean Sill)!

    Thanks for playing StarMade,

    ~ The Schine Team