StarMade is a Minecraft inspired multiplayer 3D space shooter. Build your own ship and conquer the galaxy.
This update brings planets into the StarMade universe, along with a whole new art style, a huge performance boost, and lots of bug fixes.
Posted by schema on Aug 5th, 2012
Planets in StarMade are disk worlds. You can do anything with them, just like Space Stations. There are currently two types of planets: Earth-like and Mars-like. Expect a lot more shapes and types in the future, because a goal of mine was to implement planets as versatile as possible. While it was hard to do, it now makes the generation of types in all possible colors and shapes and atmospheres pretty simple.
While I didn't include automatic gravity for now on planets to get the player accustomed to the new objects, you can still just place down a gravity module on a planet and activate it.
StarMade for the first time got another person to help me with the artwork. The awesome beetlebear made new textures for every block in the game. He pixel'd every block side by hand in a resolution of 16x16, and will later add detail to blow it up to 64x64, which is what the StarMade engine supports. He also made the amazing teaser for this update and has some great ship building skills. Check out his Falcon on www.star-made.org/ships
Expect a lot more awesome artwork from him in the future.
The most work of this update went into performance in generating, loading, and displaying blocks. I managed to reduce the time to calculate lighting, loading blocks from disk, and to draw it all by a lot. Also I reduced the memory taken by complex caching tricks. Furthermore, the required graphics memory has been reduced to draw even more at once.
A new lighting model has been developed to support infinite fully colored light emitting blocks. Different colors even mix if they overlap. The best of all is, that in the StarMade engine, light emitting blocks don't cost any performance at all, and an infinite number can be used.
Furthermore, I improved the lighting to calculate a approximate version, if not all blocks to calculate a full lighting are available yet. This prevents the display of grayed out blocks, and makes block loading a lot less noticeable.
I'm very happy to release this version, because it has some features, that I always wanted to include, but though are impossible to realize. After this big update, I will be able to push out the next updates a lot faster, since they won't require to take apart the basics of the game. I will now focus on economy and resources for the next updates. I will also further expand the structure of the universe in sectors -> solar systems -> galaxy -> universe.
Thanks for playing StarMade,