Hey everyone, it’s time for your weekly update. After our last update a group of community members expressed interest in helping us tackle the problem of stuttering in the networking code. Flavien spent some time building a small example application which was made available on our forums. We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the ensuing debate. Some interesting solutions were proposed and we’ll be testing a number of them to see if anything helps eliminate the problem under real-world conditions. As it stands right now we’ve decided to (mostly) move beyond the stuttering and Flavien has spent the majority of his time this week working on wrapping up the remaining networking loose ends as he prepares to start on server-side planetary collision detection – the last major blocker for the next patch (that we’re currently aware of).
On my end I’ve made good progress on text layout – the UI can now render full paragraphs of text with different types of paragraph alignment and text wrapping. Before I’m finished with text v1 there’s still a couple of features left including paragraph overflow trimming, justification, whitespace trimming, OpenType features such as ligatures, and text decorations such as under/overlines and strikethrough’s. Of these I think overflow trimming and justification are likely to be the most difficult but we shall see. As I mentioned last week, once I’m done with text I’ll move onto the I/O event system, scrolling, hit testing, and then integration into the game. For those of you with Developer Access who accidentally discovered that the Esc key immediately exits the game, you’ll be delighted to hear the plan for the first screen made with the new UI is for a proper in-game menu which you will bring up with the Esc key!
On the art side everything is continuing along with the usual set of work items. Kristian is working on the land base communications structure, Jan is still powering through station materials, and Dan has made more progress on the destroyer final geometry. As for scheduling we obviously took a big hit in August with the unexpected networking issues we ran into with stuttering. If the problem with server-side planetary collision detection doesn’t take more than a week or 2 we should be on track for a September release of the next patch. After that the expectation is that the new UI will be ready for integration into the game and our focus will shift full steam ahead towards the Alpha. Our hope is that the big investments we’ve made over the last year in systems we’ve previously neglected such as networking, physics, UI, threading, etc will begin to pay us back as we move through the Alpha and beyond.