Post news RSS Among Seas of Dust 0.7 Progress Report

ASoD is a space simulation and role playing game that works in 2 dimensions. It has several factions, over 10 solar systems, and many gameplay options. ASoD has grown greatly over the months, and is up from 13 watchers to 27 watchers thanks to the 0.65 version.

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Introduction
ASoD is a space simulation and role playing game that works in 2 dimensions. It has several factions, over 10 solar systems, and many gameplay options. ASoD has grown greatly over the months, and is up from 13 watchers to 27 watchers thanks to the 0.65 version.

Backplates
There were some ugly backplates in ASoD that have been fixed. These new backplates fit into the style of the game and do not look like they had to be made in paint. Two backplates have been changed so far, the one for the Pionis system and the one for the Sigos Minor planet.

This is the new backplate for Sigos Minor.


As you can see this new back plate looks more into the style of ASoD and has an updated story. Now, Sigos Minor is not some random research station but a mining/manufacturing planet. You can even see Sigos off in the sky.

Now here is the new Pionis backplate.


While preserving the same style as the old backplate, it updates it into the smooth graphics that we are used to. I embellished it with some stars as well for an improved effect.

To Buy and Sell
Buying and selling commodities used to be a matter of pressing Ctrl-# and Alt-#, and it limited what you could buy or sell if a station had more than 9 on the list (which unfortunately some did). So, I decided to bring the mouse into the equation.


To buy and sell in 0.7 will be very easy. You simply hold Ctrl to buy or alt to sell and a grid appears over the items. You then click the item you want, the grid's cell flashes, and you have bought/sold! This allows more than 9 items per list so Rogue Pirate stations work properly!

Note that buying a ship is not changed in any way. You still use space-line # to buy a ship. This may or may not be changed to the newer system before I release 0.7, but I am simply not sure what to do yet.

Music in the Stars
Music has been promised since version 0.6, but it was never delivered. The production stuff fell through and the audio files never materialized. However, ASoD 0.7 will have a complete music system! Two days ago I found a CD of home made music I had made in 2007. Most of it was total crap, but one song was perfect for the generic space theme for ASoD. I spliced it in, but when combat rolled around it did not fit this music. So, I made battle music and wrote a method that switches between them based on the situation.

The music sounds great and there is very little performance overhead. The music files are long enough that you do not get irritated by a 15-30 second loopable clip yet short enough that they do not soak up too much disk space.

Optimized Code

A few simple optimizations were implemented that allow ASoD to better screen out things that do not need to be drawn on the screen. Before now it was simply doing it by solar system, but now it can do it by distance. Using the almighty rectangle, it determines if it is within the player's line of sight. If it is not, then the entire draw method is skipped. The exception is debug mode where it draws the debug lines anyway, but still skips the ships.

There is a marked performance increase of 5-7fps when I did my benchmarking. Although ASoD will never hit 60fps, a side effect of the JRE is decreased speed, it runs at 50, meaning its well above the 22fps minimum for a smooth image. In addition several sound optimizations were made that filter out distant explosions. The explosion sound was being passed right through the distance check without any care, but now it matters. This means you no longer hear explosions from 5000 away!

Hard Facts
Here are the hard facts on what I have done to ASoD 0.7 so far.

Fixes

  • Decreased number of ship flashes.
  • Fixed error where a corrupt game file would reload in the wrong solar system.
  • Fixed error where NPCs that get shot at who haven't selected a target may go after player.
  • NPCs that are in combat bounce apart so that they do not rapidly move back and forth.
  • NPCs now do shield damage instead of skipping to hull.
  • All stations can now be bought and sold to even if there are more than 9 commodities in the list.
  • Piracy (taking cargo can) works again.
  • Fixed bug where patroller NPCs may decide to hold still for no reason.

Additions

  • New Factions: Myceria (Navy), Starbus (Transport)
  • New Systems: Edge (Disputed), Lium (Myceria), Marito (Myceria)
  • New Ships: Phoenix (transport)
  • New Commodities: Passengers, VIPs, Prisoners, Plating Alloy, Thruster Alloy, Refined Ore, Polymer Glass, Iridium.
  • New HUD Readout shows non-hostile ships as green.
  • New Buying/Selling UI allows you to buy and sell via mouse instead of tricky keystrokes.
  • Music (situation based): Generic and Danger music.

Balancing

  • All NPCs respawn after player death creating even more active systems.
  • NPC bullets now only damage the target NPC.

Changes

  • Pionis got a revamped backdrop and the docked graphic for Meecor got a redoing.
  • Sigos Minor got a docked graphics redoing and story redoing.
  • Warp sound toned down.

Optimizations

  • NPCs are no longer drawn if player cannot see them.
  • Cosmic entities are no longer drawn if player cannot see them.
  • Visual balancing system now factors in the player ship's size when positioning on screen which effectively centers the player regardless of ship.

Final Notes
I will release ASoD 0.7 when I have added all the Mycerian systems. This means that it could take an additional 1.5 weeks from this press release to complete. However, ASoD 0.7 will improve and expand basically every aspect of the game, and should be the best one yet. Questions? Comments? masternerdguy@yahoo.com or mail me via moddb.com . Your opinion matters!

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