In the two weeks since the release of the engine test it's been super busy around here; this week we wanted to give you an update on what exactly we've been doing.
Just like when we released the first version of the editor, our first step has been to address any crash bugs that showed up.
Most of the crash reports from the built-in reporter were related to situations where the graphics device was lost. This happens when you alt-tab away from the game in fullscreen mode, or when the screen saver comes up. This week Kurt added proper handling of these cases in the engine. This was a complex change so we plan to release that next week after some more testing.
In addition to the crash reports, with this release we've also been using Get Satisfaction to get feedback on the problems you are having with the engine test (the praise is nice too!) One of the more common issues is performance, so Max has been working on improving that, especially on lower end graphics cards or when running at high resolutions. We're also working on adding in support for multisample anti-aliasing (MSAA).
We've been keeping a close eye on the community's modding projects and we have a few things planned for the next patch to make life a little bit better for them. The biggest thing for modders will be the documentation on the Lua scripting API exposed by the engine. The first release of the documentation won't be complete, but hopefully it will help explain some of the less obvious features.
In addition to improving the performance of the game, we're also working on improving the performance in the Spark Editor. Currently the Editor doesn't take advantage of occlusion culling or other optimizations in the game. We're working on converting the Editor to the game's system and having everything unified.
That's what we're working on and have planned for the engine in the near future. Meanwhile, Charlie and the rest of the team are working towards the Natural Selection 2 alpha. We'll have more information on that for you in the coming weeks.