Originally created by Volition Inc to run Freespace 2, the FS2_Open engine has been radically improved so that the engine can now compete with modern space combat simulation engines.
What we have been up to in the past year, and what we want to do in the coming one
Posted by The_E on Dec 22nd, 2011
Good day, esteemed people of moddb.
Today, I want to talk to you about FS2_Open. This has truly been a long and productive year for all of us here at the FreeSpace Source Code Project, and I would like to take this opportunity to tell you all about the work accomplished so far.
As some of you may know, we have recently begun moving to the Release Candidate phase for 3.6.14, which marks the last release in the 3.6 series of builds. This release comes with a host of features that make the previous release look positively antiquated by comparison.
Aside from the usual stuff, like bugfixes, new sexps, and more functions for the lua API, our retired code wizard taylor has given us a new rendering code that not only improves performance by much, but also streamlines our post-processing pipeline so that new effects can be worked in effortlessly. We also have a reworked HUD system, courtesy of Swifty, that makes the HUD configurable in ways never dreamt of before.
Yes, I hear you say, we know, you told us this in July, have you guys done nothing in that time? Well, no. There are a few new things that have happened. First, Swifty did another magic trick and introduced us to depth-blended particles. What this means is that particles and explosions no longer do horrible clipping when they intersect with models, making them prettier and more realistic than before. Then there was newcomer Valathil, who did some other minor tweaks that resulted in us having a framework for per-ship shader effects, which allows some very cool stuff like Star-Trek-ish cloaking fields. He also introduced thruster distortions, making thruster effects much more chaotic and lively. And because that wasn't enough, he also took a close look at our movie playback code, and removed one of the major bottlenecks that prohibited the real use of 720p video in FSO. So all hail Valathil.
Okay, now that we have the old stuff out of the way, here's what's going to happen after the 3.6.14 release. We're currently heavily testing the new pilot code, which reworks the way we've been writing our savefiles. As longtime users know, these are prone to corruption if one doesn't follow a few guidelines; the new code eliminates most of these issues and makes the whole thing much easier to work with. Additional things we have in the pipeline are SDL support on all platforms, which will lessen the differences between Windows, Mac, and Linux builds, as well as a new godray effect and, for the first time, shadows. Yes, that's right. Shadows are finally making their way into FSO.
Wishing you a framebuffered Christmas, this has been The E. See you next year.