Today was extremely productive - spent all night coding this nicely working camera and mount system for spacecraft (which was/is a LOT of fun to do) - when I should have either 1) laid down sick in bed or 2) moved my butt to uni courses \o/ It was surely worth the effort:
Space Craft Mounts:
Each spacecraft has different mount points, which can hold either a camera (green boxes), a weapon or an engine (both red boxes). Weapons and engines can be mounted and dismounted, activated or deactivated for operation (there are already some weapon meshes mounted & activated on the model). By principle it works a lot like the equipment screen in Freelancer. Different cameras can be switched through pressing a key. Such mount points also define where projectiles and other particles originate from.
The things I programmed to make this possible come handy for future applications too: think of manned/unmanned drones or large voxel-based capital ships, where such mounts are also necessary. That also means the models you see there are placeholder assets for now - I dug out the spacecraft model from when I first started out StarFire for this purpose, I still like it a lot so maybe it's going to stay.
The planned development of the ship editor will be postponed. Highest priority now is to get a basic simulation working for the pre-alpha release. Main reason is that this editor is going to be a huge huge HUGE construction site and I want something playable before starting to work on a gigantic pile of tasks. I will now focus on a more general implementation of a space simulation and use placeholder assets, later then adapt to the editor.
Voxel-based Spacecraft Hulls
First I didn't want to do anything into the "minecraft" direction at all, but while working out concepts for damage models, hulls and painted hulls I all wanted to integrate, voxels are STILL the best solution. So now, I have decided to code my own blocky voxel engine, however, with a twist.
The thought is to create an engine that acts like a voxel engine, but from a technical view, is not a real one. This is a very experimental concept that is also compatible with the hull concept I worked out, where you can define the composition of your spacecraft hulls (along with the ability to freely modify the interior of your spacecraft).
However, there is one problem here: namely time and resources (and probably feasibility). I might not even be able to pull it off all by myself, or not at all, and even if I could, it'd take years. In a worst case scenario, I will still have the bare bones of a space simulation without a fancy voxel engine. Then I'll focus on exploration and quests creation instead - 'cause I'm flexible like that. (I know this sounds a bit strange now, but its the best way to figure out how resources are spent better, and I sure as hell won't give up StarFire anyway!)
includes general application-related structures like switching between main screen and game screen. This framework does a good job considering current requirements and runs relatively stable.
------------------------- Progress: ~80 %
includes a functioning interface with mouse collision. Still room for improvement here. Basic components exist, game specific components must yet be created.
------------------------- Progress: ~70 %
includes, well, gameplay, most trivial case being flying around in your spacecraft and shoot stuff. Recently done some progress here by finishing off a rough layout for camera controls and spacecraft mounts.
------------------------- Progress: ~10 %
includes functioning editors to create game content with. Delayed due to the fact I experimented a lot with different solutions for different problems (i.e. custom file formats vs. binary saving, voxel engine vs. customized hull placing engine).
------------------------- Progress: ~5 %
includes a functioning website and internet based services. Looked into this, but honestly don't think I'm ready yet to do anything in this direction (I'll wait till I made some progress with the gameplay).
------------------------- Progress: ~5 %