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0 comments by TheUniversalDev on Nov 11th, 2014

Hullo. Just thought i'd drop down a few notes on what's been keeping me busy in the odd hours over the past few months. ( Theuniversal.net )

Mostly this season i have been Graphics Engine Coderman - I'm now almost up to speed with engine technology from the early 2000s (anyone who has seen earlier versions of The Universal will recognise that as a great leap forward! ). A lot of time has been spent playing with shaders and vertex buffers resulting in some nicer water, betterer fasterer landscapes, normal and specular map support, shiny bloom effects, dynamic grass, dust-storms and etc etc. Yes, I know you get all that (and more) for free in middleware these days but I aint got time for a conversion job and anyway, wheres the fun in it? :)

Landscape

Beyond the shinies, I've also been working away at a whole bunch of new scripting and game-engine systems primarily aimed at supporting richer single-player experiences. (Server-Scriptable Entities now finally in use on a couple of worlds..). I've also been (quietly) refactoring the galaxy so it can be expanded and rebuilt per the layout described in the beta design doc. (Did i mention i actually wrote a design doc, too? Well there's a first! ). Last month also saw some proper webby stuff added in the form of the in-game asset browser (which makes selecting models for a world much easier than even copying files around in windows) and the Events & Prize Round systems that I intend to make use of sometime early in 2015.

The usual amount of background world building has resulted in a bunch of new templates for uninhabited worlds ( some of which are awesome! ;] ), a new 'social destruction' game called 'Demolition' (which I think might work well when things get finished up), more magical effects for the potions games on 'Magicthumb' and some further work getting a decent racetrack together.

Finally there have been lots of additions to the model converter (FBX support, more tools for materials & face editing etc).. we've also got a new cockpit in space (courtesy of Tanguy Dewavrin of Atom Republic fame.. thanks, Tanguy!) and oh.. thanks to a kindly gift of a DK2.. there's now a version that (mostly-)works on the Oculus Rift. (It's surprising how big some of those monkeys are when you're in VR land).

You can see some of the above in the latest public dev version at Theuniversal.net - and do check back in 2015 when there's likely to be some big changes afoot...

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