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0.4.1 Development Thread

Posted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:38 am
by Quasar
Release Date: Sunday 15th July, 2012

So, I've shelved the 0.5.0 upgrades for the Vegetation system in favor of releasing a set of small additions to make the game world feel a bit more alive and take into account the suggestions so far. Here are the new features planned for 0.4.1. I'll try to update this thread as we go along:

Green is Implemented,
Black is Planned,
Blue is In-Progress.

  • Gene Splicing
    Radiation Gun
    Immortality Serum
    Highlight Colour Filters (basic implementation)
    Ultra Time Acceleration (deactives rendering, runs at the maximum speed the computer can handle)
    Q/E to make the camera Rise/Fall. (It's like maaagic)
    Head animation and movement. (To make them look like they're actually thinking. Will hopefully make them seem a lot less brain-dead)
    Eye animation and movement. (as above)
    Animated Cloud Plane.
    Tree's waving in the breeze.
    (These two should make the Time Accelleration actually feel like Time Accelleration, as opposed to simply putting all the creatures on meth)
    Better Looking Corpse/Meat Models (Steaks! Delicious bloody raw steaks! How can they resist evolving into carnivores now?)
    Fake Shadows
    Basic Ambient Noises
    Export Creature function
    Import Creature function
    Mutation Map - Feature Model
    Mutation Map - Feature Texture
    Mutation Map - Body Covering
    Mutation Map - Colour Pattern

    Update the Mod Maker to acknowledge new Mutation Maps.

    Mark Perception Target. (Head animation already made the creatures a bit easier to read: showing the player what the selected creature is targeting should improve that even more)
    Remake the Eyes (Eyestalks and eyelids and light sensing pits!)
    Remake the Eye textures
    Autorestart option for Mass Extinction
  • Creatures not wandering even though they say they are. (LIIIIIEES!)
    Creatures spinning endlessly in circles around tree's. (Clearly they're attempting to rob the planet of it's rotational momentum. They must be stopped)
    Game crashes at some point when you set the population cap to 2000.
    Autosave closing any open UI tabs.
    (My bad guys, I should have fixed that one before release)
    Creature's heads rotating into their own bodies (mostly fixed, still happens occasionally though)
    Creatures looking in the wrong direction in the Creature Details Panel.
    Fake shadows visible through cliffs.
    Fake shadows not orienting to ground properly.

    Remove Creature Thumbnails. (currently they're being taken at birth for every creature on the map, which costs performance. It would be better to take one solely for whichever creature is currently selected)
    Deforest the area outside the border
    Automatically detect if the player's graphics card can't handle Pixel Shader 3.0 and/or > 2048x2048 textures

    Deal with all of the AI problems that Mark Perception Target made painfully obvious
    Bind the Up, Down, Left and Right keys as secondary movement controls for people who don't have qwerty keyboards.
    Option to save as BMP files, for systems that don't support saving to PNG (assuming that's what's causing the loss-of-terrain problem)
    Check Biomass Bar for possible Memory Leak (No way to test it, but I have made sure it won't try to draw more than 150 scale sprites)

Re: 0.4.1 Development Thread

Posted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:45 am
by Reprieve
Any idea when this will come out? I would like to start playing the game again without moronic specs.

Re: 0.4.1 Development Thread

Posted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:22 am
by Quasar
Well I've only been working on this stuff for two days, but things are looking promising: all the stuff in green is done and I'm making headway into the Head/Eye animation.

I don't think it's gonna take any more than a week.

Re: 0.4.1 Development Thread

Posted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:49 pm
by Quasar
Today I got bored trying to get UltraTime working and sunk some time into the head and eye animation. It actually looks pretty good so far: when they're idling or wandering they look around themselves randomly, when they're moving towards something they look straight at it. There are still some problems (creatures occasionally look at something behind or below them, and have their head dissappear entirely into their body, for example), but I like the general feel of thought it gives.

It does completely change the way the eyes work by making them point forward rather than out, but the eyes have never worked properly anyway and I kinda think they look better this way. They certainly make the creatures look smarter. (I'm actually considering a complete eyeball-remodel, with eyelids/brows/stalks/retina cords as seperate objects so that <i>they</i> can still point outwards while the eyeballs themselves rotate around)

Re: 0.4.1 Development Thread

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:41 pm
by Reprieve
If you have them as separate objects could you also make it so they evolve separately?

Re: 0.4.1 Development Thread

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:19 pm
by Quasar
Although I could, I'd rather not, for a few reasons: because the only variables for it to affect are eyesight range and eyesight FOV, and because I've already got several dimensions being combined for those variables: model, texture, size and orientation all affect them.

As much as I love adding extra depth to the game, in this case it wouldn't add anything other than extra depth.

Re: 0.4.1 Development Thread

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:30 pm
by Brain Sugar
Visible spectrum variation, iris/pupil variation, oh there's so much depth there to be had.

Re: 0.4.1 Development Thread

Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:42 pm
by Quasar
Brain Sugar wrote:Visible spectrum variation, iris/pupil variation, oh there's so much depth there to be had.
So... I have fake shadows now.

They're a little bit of a performance loss, but they definately improve the general visual quality of the game. Which is weird, because they're really subtle: you barely notice they're there unless they're bugging out. But I read somewhere that that's actually a good thing: the best graphics are ones where people's minds just accept them for what they are and stop paying attention to them.

I am so glad I decided to do the 0.4.1 release: all the little things are adding up and the game is starting to feel a lot more alive.
Brain Sugar wrote:Visible spectrum variation, iris/pupil variation, oh there's so much depth there to be had.
Hmm... well, Iris/pupil variation is already included in the texture mutation: I just need to add more content. The important thing is to work out what these variations affect.

As for visible spectrum variation, at first I was like "well, you can't see that evolving, so probably not". But then I thought "what if we included a way to see a first-person view through the eyes of the selected creature?" And now I'm like "this must happen".

Re: 0.4.1 Development Thread

Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:58 am
by Reprieve
Visible light spectrum might have interesting implications if you ever introduced the ability for camouflage. Prey goes invisible, predator goes all...well Predator on its ass and starts hunting it's heat signature.

Re: 0.4.1 Development Thread

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:14 pm
by Quasar
Development has slowed down a bit: I'm having trouble getting the feature mutation-map working properly, partly because it has to be synchronised with the feature-texture mutation map, and partly because it’s just hard to test: even with cheat-values in the feature mutation rates, I still need to start a new map and wait for the second generation before I can see mutation happening, and I need to leave it until a sizable population develops to search for some of the other bugs. I’ve fixed most of the problems, but I’m still occasionally getting ears with eyeball textures on them and I don’t know why...