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Space is Big, are You Big Enough?
The spaceflight experience you've always wanted is on the way. You will get to pilot a spacecraft at speeds ranging from superluminal to a few meters per second in an open ended, always alive world. Trade, fight, and scratch out a living until you have the assets to build your own corporate empire.
The best part is that it will all be open source and free.
I put normal work on hold to address some long time standing issues with my game's structure. This means no new features were developed, but it makes adding new features far easier in the future.
My original plans for this game were kind of sketchy, so I didn't plan my render-logic architecture out well. This was because of some inherent limits in both JME3 and double precision floating point numbers. So I sat down and thought of what I wanted and came up with this.
However, I also drew a diagram of what my render-logic currently looks like. It looked something like this mess.
And that is an unacceptable situation. My only choice was a total rewrite of both how my universe stores coordinates and how the rendering pipe works.
I have been trying to make this application work well with just doubles for storing coordinates, and it has caused me lots of headache. I have implemented all these cool tricks to try and make it work, but I got fed up.
Instead of continuing down this track I decided to find some arbitrary precision floating point numbers I could use to represent coordinates. This would eliminate precision issues that have been giving me headaches while writing what should be simple AI code.
After much research I decided on JScience ( Jscience.org ) for my scientific computing package because it has support for not only arbitrary precision numbers and math operations but standard/relativistic physics simulations.
I wrote a new class to represent coordinates Coordinate3D. This structure allows the transparent use of the JScience library. I was able to replace the old coordinate system based on doubles with this new structure.
It's a bit slower than doubles because it has to emulate a floating point, but think of how neat it will be to play a game that needs a scientific computing package to work properly!
Although traders are a backbone of the dynamic economy and therefore should not be instanced my play testing has determined that patrols need to be. Simply put, space is too damn big! You're unlikely to encounter a patrol ship in a timely manner.
So, I have taken patrols and made them spawn within 10x your sensor range and despawn out of that range. This means the universe feels more populated. It is still quite dynamic since all the traders are not instanced but always alive residents of the universe.
Not a very exciting story, but it still works well in the long run. These architectural changes will make it much easier to build the rest of the game. I still predict a beta release before 2013.