Hi! I'm Dirkson. I'm trying to make one of the most accurate space combat simulation games. Ever.

For some reason this includes a lot more space cows and butter than I thought it would.

So far it's got voxels, multiplayer, heat simulation, kilometer long spaceships, real world materials, organic ships, and awesome music. Eventually, it's going to have AI crew, inertia, planets, and more.

  • Want to build a granite mothership with dozens of fighters? You can do that.
  • A spinning battleship with a three meter thick titanium hull? Sure, that too.
  • A butter asteroid-tug than melts whenever you turn on the engines? Of course!

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Backend Work

News 0 comments

Hey all!

So image updates have been sparse since the last livestream. Why? I've been rearranging some of the ScrumbleShip backend. Let's dig into that a little.

Backend

Currently, the way rendering works is something like this:

    • One thread locates and Caches nearby blocks within your ship, storing its result inside the ship memory structure.
    • Another thread picks through your ships, locating and assembling blocks into a list. Then, it orders this list, and copies the Cache from its location in the ship memory structure to a temporary Voxel List. Once it's done with that, it goes through every other ship and does something similar.
    • The render thread uploads the entire Voxel List from system memory to gpu memory, every single frame, then renders it with a single opengl draw call.


There's a lot of weird behavior too, like backwards sharing of ordered ship-lists, which causes threads to wait for each other.

The biggest problem with this system is that it requires me to re-send ALL the voxel data EVERY frame. As the ScrumbleShip engine gets better at rendering voxels, I can both send more voxels to the gpu, and send more data about those voxels to the gpu. So I'm starting to use too much bandwidth between the computer's memory and its graphics card. For example, the extra data sent by the lighting change needlessly costs us around 10fps.

So reducing the number of sends is a high priority on my list. But as I was studying to fix the problem, I noticed several interesting facts about the current rendering pipeline, and I developed a plan to make it better. Here's an experiment I did to prove a particular point:

supposedtolooklikethat

This proved to me that I COULD render efficiently using multiple opengl draw calls, which opens up a lot of interesting optimizations.

So the new plan is:

    • One thread maintains lists of ships in distance orders and hands them out as-needed.
    • Another thread maintains lists of ship chunks in distance orders and hands them out as-needed.
    • Another thread uses these ordered chunk lists to create a list of visible blocks.
    • The caching thread goes through this list of visible blocks, preparing nearby blocks for rendering and storing the result in the ship chunk list.
    • The rendering thread goes through the list of nearby blocks, uploading their data to the gpu as they get close enough to render. Then it goes through the list of visible blocks, rendering them in batches using separate opengl
      draw calls.


What advantages does the newer pipeline have?

    • It'll render the nearest blocks, regardless of which ship they're in. No more weird block-unloading when two ships are close together
    • It'll operate smoother on multi-core machines, with less time wasted on waiting for other threads
    • It'll render very large ships and asteroids, up to 1km in diameter. The current system can't handle asteroids much bigger than 100m across.
    • It'll use less system memory to do the rendering.
    • I only need to upload/remove block data from the gpu when its render status changes, rather than every frame. Potentially 10-15fps boost.
  • It'll open the way for the following potential optimizations:
  • GPU-based Occlusion Culling, potentially a 2x-5x rendering performance boost.
  • Voxel-face rendering instead of entire-voxel rendering, for a potential 2x performance boost.
  • Distant ships can be rendered as billboards, for a solid performance boost.
  • Geometry-shader based dynamic voxel creation, with an unknown (1x-5x) performance boost.

Any disadvantages?

    • Rendering in multiple opengl calls costs anywhere from 2 to 10fps.
    • It causes Dirkson to work for a couple weeks on features that don't yet make good screenshots, videos, or bleeding edge releases.

At this point, I estimate I've got maybe another week left to switch to the new pipeline. Then I should start putting out cool videos like this one again:

I'm aiming for the next full release sometime in February. It'll contain the lighting changes, lots of performance improvements, the mining torch, a complete UI overhaul, and a building-system overhaul.

Cheers!
-Dirk

Asteroids

Asteroids

News 0 comments

Asteroids are awesome, contain valuable minerals, and will butter your toast for you.

ScrumbleShip 0.3 - Phoenix

ScrumbleShip 0.3 - Phoenix

News 8 comments

Just another dead game? No, not quite. ScrumbleShip releases its biggest update ever. Also the dev talks about feelings and stuff, but then gets right...

Shadows and Inventories

Shadows and Inventories

News 3 comments

This past week has included a few fun new additions for ScrumbleShip.

Shaders so sharp you'll cut yourself

Shaders so sharp you'll cut yourself

News 17 comments

We increased the number of polygons on screen by a factor of 10. Here's how.

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.23 - Windows

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.23 - Windows

Demo 1 comment

Alpha release 0.23 of the ScrumbleShip Demo, released for free on a Creative Commons License.

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.23 - Mac OSX

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.23 - Mac OSX

Demo 0 comments

Alpha release 0.23 of the ScrumbleShip Demo, released for free on a Creative Commons License.

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.23 - Linux

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.23 - Linux

Demo 0 comments

Alpha release 0.23 of the ScrumbleShip Demo, released for free on a Creative Commons License.

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.20 - Windows

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.20 - Windows

Demo 0 comments

Alpha release 0.20 of the ScrumbleShip Demo, released for free on a Creative Commons License.

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.20 - Mac OSX

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.20 - Mac OSX

Demo 0 comments

Alpha release 0.20 of the ScrumbleShip Demo, released for free on a Creative Commons License.

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.20 - Linux

ScrumbleShip Alpha Demo 0.20 - Linux

Demo 0 comments

Alpha release 0.20 of the ScrumbleShip Demo, released for free on a Creative Commons License.

Post comment Comments  (70 - 80 of 222)
Packleader
Packleader

Is there a mac version? If so, where could I find it?

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dirkson Creator
dirkson

We're still working on it - So far, mac refuses to hand us the appropriate opengl context when we request one. Everything else works fine. There are a couple of ways to solve this, and myself and another community member are workin' on both of them.

Expect it in a month or two, I'd say.

Until then, it works great in wine, if you have it installed, or Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.

Cheers!
-Dirk

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Meow_Meow_
Meow_Meow_

I got teh game :), also you have the most votes on the Indie Dev Grant!

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dirkson Creator
dirkson

Thank you!

Reply Good karma+3 votes
Insolent.
Insolent.

Awesome, you finally got it! Congrats - it's going to develop into something amazing, and we'll be along for the ride. :D

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Valken
Valken

Looking forward to this so much! Any chance of a Windows 64 bit version since I see there is a 64 bit linux version?

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Insolent.
Insolent.

Yep, a windows 64 bit version is in the works! As there's only one dev, he has to prioritize what he works on. Since the 32 bit currently works, the 64 bit version isn't at the top of his list. It is *on* the list and will be released though! :)

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dirkson Creator
dirkson

What Insolent said :D

I THINK the only difference would be ram usages (>3gb requires 64 bit in windows) and no one has built a ship which requires that level of ram yet.

If I'm wrong about either of those things, let me know!

Cheers,
-Dirk

Reply Good karma+2 votes
Meow_Meow_
Meow_Meow_

I am now finally actually looking to buy this (yay!), but what is the BleedingEdge.exe thing you mention in deluxe edition? Also I noticed that I will get all updates till 1.0, is that like when you will release dlc? Anyway can't wait!

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Insolent.
Insolent.

Glad you're looking to buy the game! It's well worth it :)

The bleeding edge releases are the versions of the game Dirkson releases anywhere from several times a day, to once every few days. They contain all the game's newest experimental features. So when Dirkson added heat simulation, Deluxe owners got to play with it on the same day. The same will go for all new changes, big and small.

1.0 will be the "finished" version of ScrumbleShip, the main multiplayer, open-world game in all its glory. It will of course be patched and updated after that. And yes, Dirkson plans to release expansions, including an expansion that lets you build on and explore planets, with AI alien civilizations, and more. 1.0 is just the beginning!

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Meow_Meow_
Meow_Meow_

Awesome...

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Highest Rated (4 agree) 10/10

The parts of this game that are already in place are awesomely fun, and once the rest of it is in place, there will be nothing like it anywhere. 10/10 for concept and fun.

Apr 5 2012 by dubyrunning

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