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    Dev Blog : December 6th

    Discussion in 'Game News' started by Bench, Dec 6, 2016.

    1. Bench

      Bench Creative Director

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      [​IMG]

      You've probably been sitting around twiddling your thumbs in anticipation for the next release, savouring any piece of news or updates you get about it. So here's a Dev Blog to help take away those hunger pains, at least for a little while.


      While we had anticipated the Faction Update to be ready to go by now, we'll talk a little bit about why things are currently taking longer than usual, and more importantly what the implications are.

      For those unaware, the Faction Update is one of our largest updates we've ever undertaken so far on StarMade. It introduces procedural Factions; NPC ships and stations that spawn in the galaxy and begin to expand their borders.

      We can already see the experiences that this update will bring to gameplay just by flying around in the dev builds. Mining fleets appear and travel around; Scavenger fleets appear after a battle to try and scavenge what they can from any ships that were destroyed. There's a lot more data and interaction between factions, with a faction news tab and faction diplomacy screens now. It's all slowly coming together.

      faction-_diplomacy_2.jpg
      Galaxy map showing different NPC faction territories
      This update has a lot of parts that all need to work together to not bring the whole thing down. One of the main problems is creating a huge amount of possible entities and systems without causing scalability issues. Each NPC system has its own fleets and more. All this needs to be organised and spawned correctly. Not only that, but the fleets all have to have something to do.

      Overall, the goal with this update was not to just give the illusion of an alive universe, as that would have been a lot easier to do by just spawning in a few alibi ships flying by the player and then de-spawning again. Our goal is to give everything that spawns persistence and/or a purpose.

      Looking at everything we’ve had to include, this is probably one of the biggest updates ever coming to StarMade.
      - System resource management
      - Contingent calculations
      - Spawning mechanisms
      - Fleet organisation
      - NPC operations like trading, production, mining and much more
      - Diplomacy and diplomatic consequences of decisions you make
      - Formating all the config files and directory structures for easy modding and expanding
      - Implementing everything above to best work in a networked environment without using huge chunks of bandwidth.


      While on the surface it might look simple, there is a lot going on in the background, and you will feel that change as you are playing and continue playing in the same universe. The galaxy finally feels much more alive, and subsequent updates will only add to that. Scalability is maintained by dynamically adjusting the detail of the process according to where the players are.

      Pasted image at 2016_11_14 12_54.png
      New data testing NPC fleet spawning
      Everything relevant for NPC factions can be modified in config files: from position and expansion rate, to resource preferences (by blueprints) and diplomacy behaviour. You can define this by what actions and statuses a NPC faction will judge other players and factions. You can even set conditions and reactions for how a NPC faction is to react, such as which state of a relationship to declare war on, when to offer alliances, or as simple as having an action trigger the faction to send a message.

      A lot of parts from past updates also come together for this one. The fog of war comes into play now as you can intercept trade routes that go through a scanned system you are currently in (a different scanning system will probably come in subsequent updates). Keep in mind that ships that the NPCs use for trading are real and they will have the cargo loaded that is being traded in that exact deal.

      The update has all the features it needs for the 1st NPC Faction release, and we are currently in full testing, but as you can expect from what has been detailed above, testing this beast is not an easy task. Checking every detail is time-consuming especially when the results start deviating from expected behaviour. With this many variables in play, it’s harder than usual to track down gameplay and balance issues.

      This means that we can't definitively say at what point the Faction Update will come out. When it does come out it will be at a stage where we feel it's ready to be released, making it a far more enjoyable release to explore and engage with.

      For those who are interested in all the support going in for custom NPC factions, such as server owners or RP players, you will be happy to know there are plenty of config options at your disposal. Through the various directory structures and included files you'll be able to define your custom NPC factions and share them around. If you want to start exploring just what control you will be able to have, we suggest on the latest Dev Build you go into your StarMade folder and take a look at all that's been set up in the "npcFactions" folder. It gives you massive control over every nuance of every faction, as well as control over their spawning, etc.

      Hopefully, that gives you a better idea as to the state of where things are at with the Faction Update. Yes, it's taking longer than expected, but we're choosing to take our time and get it right than rush it out full of unfinished features and littered with bugs. It's shaped up to be a very exciting update for StarMade, one that breathes life into the outer reaches of the galaxy. Here at Schine, we're all just as excited to see you all start exploring it as you probably are to see just how far reaching the ripples of this update will reach.


      Thank you for your patience,


      - The Schine Team

       
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    2. DukeofRealms

      DukeofRealms Magic Man

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      Good stuff.
       
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    3. calani

      calani Lady of the Web

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      One small* update for Schine, one giant jump for StarMade.

      * not so small
       
      #3 calani, Dec 6, 2016
      Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
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    4. Mortiferum

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      Time to subjugate all of them! :D
       
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    5. jstenholt

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      I'm anticipatory as shit.
       
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    6. Ezekial Alexander

      Joined:
      May 12, 2016
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      So close, yet so far.

      Looking forward to it in its completed glory!
       
    7. Calhoun

      Calhoun Guardian of the Time Stream

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      [​IMG]
       
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    8. kiddan

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      Now let's hope a trade route doesn't run through the sector where I leave WIP warheads... I might have some organizing to quickly do.
       
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    9. StormWing0

      StormWing0 Leads the Storm

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      lol than there's people like me that seem to be the incarnates of Murphy's Law. XD
       
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    10. Gonzalo

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      Go Schine! :D
       
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    11. Crimson-Artist

      Crimson-Artist Wiki Administrator

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      will there be a way to raid trade ships without overheating them? will fleets have a surrender threshold that when passed they will drop their cargo in space for players to pick up?
       
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    12. KiloZulu

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      Two weeks did seem like a really short dev build test period for something this large. Thanks for the update.
       
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    13. StormWing0

      StormWing0 Leads the Storm

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      Been sending them bugs left and right and it's been getting longer. :whistle:
       
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    14. Napther

      Napther Grumpy builder of Kaiju Design Initiative

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      So long as a lot of the actual processes are real I don't think people will be unhappy about "fake" ships thst spawn occasionally as you travel. Like a Unmarked outcast gathering of ships, lonesome scavengers that lie in wait that may attack or flee based on thr ship size thet see. To civilian craft and yachts - yachts especially lurking near future points of interest. Perhaps close to planets at thr least. There is a lot of opportunity to add little things to thr game. Sure thry will be fake and spawned and despawned but so long as thry don't effect the outcome of the area it should be fine. Although having a collection of outcasts in 1 place may be... interesting. .. when you are war with them and they see you off with their guns...
       
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    15. Airis Damon

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      People of Schine, you are pioneers. I look forward to this journey we are on together. Thank you. :^D
       
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    16. TheGeek007

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      Keep up the awesome work! Take as much time as you need to get it right. Starmade will be better for it.
       
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    17. gregolegomonkey

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      A few questions about other nice features that need discussing because of this update:
      Status of shipyard bugs/stability?
      Ability of AI to use power aux?
      Is there anything new with fleet functions?
       
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    18. Raisinbat

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      Meanwhile every mechanic is still broken and/or unballanced.
       
    19. reptillianstew

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      Nice work and take your time guys, It'll probably be better for me If you release it after my finals are over anyways ;)
       
    20. DukeofRealms

      DukeofRealms Magic Man

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      We worked on shipyard bugs a few months ago. The issue with shipyards is that we don't have many people reporting the issues they find on our bug tracker, and when they do, we're often waiting to confirm the fix.

      If you can point to an open bug report or create one, we'd be happy to take a look.

      I'm currently looking into making it easier for the public to make useful bug reports, through documentation and better explanations in our current tutorial. As well as providing documentation on how to go about testing the game and what makes a good/bad report.
       
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