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April 16, 2021, 05:41:20 AM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsStartron (The procedurally generated ASCII space sandbox) ▲
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Author Topic: Startron (The procedurally generated ASCII space sandbox) ▲  (Read 11208 times)
JobLeonard
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« Reply #220 on: March 21, 2021, 01:22:05 PM »

Quote
I may compile some kind of a behind-the-scenes package/application/pdf/video for Startron if people are interested because I can fairly easily point at the inspiration for most features of the game (for example, each of the collectibles in the ready-room is essentially a nod to something, including the ready-room itself) and there are at least 20 pages of hand-written notes and diagrams from the development process which I'm sure someone would find entertaining. (Not to mention there is a huge list of past implemented features (~400) and future ones (~100) to outline somewhere as well.)

That sounds like quite the devlog post to share Shocked

But yeah, definitely curious!
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Rogod
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« Reply #221 on: March 23, 2021, 03:20:50 PM »

Update v0.71
That's a bit smoother Gomez


  • Fixed the juddery movement in the cosmos (I basically spread the position data out a bit better when it generates the systems (this will be updated for anyone's cosmos files before v0.71))

  • Disabled the console's close button in the top right so people don't accidentally close the window and expect Startron to save

  • Fixed some wording errors in the bar patron chatter and the story transmissions

  • Fixed not being able to beam stuff from the cargo bay to gas giants

  • Fixed seeing a bunch of prompts for beaming, collecting, deconstructing or mining in inappropriate places (like on the Cattus homeworld)

  • Fixed being able to spam yourself with transmissions by holding down the deconstruct button on space stations

  • Added a missing control label for flipping which side of a planet or moon you're looking at - I could have sworn I added this like a billion years ago but this feature has probably gone unnoticed by everybody since very early on because there's been nothing to suggest you can just press F to see the far side

  • Added cobwebs to the readyroom if no collectables have been found yet (this is just to have something present in the room so you aren't left wondering what the little blue flashing triangle does)

  • Added obfuscation to the player data in the first part of the cosmos file - this is not fool proof as it's just a 1:1 character replacement cypher (and can be turned off with startron.cfg) but it removes temptation to just go and modify your chits to be 999999 Tongue (I've avoided obfuscating the system & entity data because this is quite a lot larger and would just slow the save/load process down unnecessarily - I may add an option for it later if it becomes an issue)

Believe it or not v0.70 was the first version I actually sat down to play as if it was a game I'd never seen before so I decided I'd boot up Startron on Linux and see what happened. A good thing too, because I found all these bugs and, at the same time, assured myself that the Linux version does in fact play the same as the Windows version (I was just under the impression it ran slower or something was amiss but nope Smiley )

New features are planned for the next version but I wanted to get these bugs fixed and start from a solid position. (Obfuscation was something I had wanted to add since very early on and kept putting it off too, so that's a hurdle out the way.)

Making 2 new videos and compiling the behind-the-scenes content is still on my to do list as well - this may all happen along with v0.72 if things go well Gomez



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JobLeonard
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« Reply #222 on: March 24, 2021, 12:31:39 AM »

Amazing progress!

Quote
Fixed the juddery movement in the cosmos (I basically spread the position data out a bit better when it generates the systems (this will be updated for anyone's cosmos files before v0.71))
Huh, this kind of implies that all systems positions are always procedurally generated (instead of once during generation and saved) using a predictable seed, did I guess right?
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Rogod
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« Reply #223 on: March 24, 2021, 01:29:15 AM »

Actually no, this was the first update where I've introduced what I like to call a "twiddle". (Which I am defining as any change to the game's generation rules which will apply backwards to previously generated cosmos files.)

So in this case when one generated the cosmos in any version before v0.71, systems would generate at set positions. Then when rendering the cosmos overview in game, those positions were being multiplied by 4 horizontally and 2 vertically which resulted in this juddery movement since the ship's position is an integer and was having to be multiplied by the same amounts to be in phase with the systems it flew between. In v0.71, the generation code was updated to have this multiplication already applied for newly generated cosmoses (cosmi?) while the v0.71 twiddle will detect if an existing cosmos file from before v0.71 is being loaded and multiply all the system's X & Y positions by 4 and 2 respectively (the multiplication was also removed this from the cosmos render methods).

This is the kind of thing I'll have to do more of moving forward (this is why Startron started storing the version in the cosmos file a while back) as it's unfair to expect people to re-generate their cosmos every time a new generation rule is introduced. Obviously I can't do this all the time (Minecraft doesn't for example) but for a simple numerical transform like this, the effort was justified.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2021, 08:09:49 AM by Rogod » Logged

logophil
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« Reply #224 on: March 24, 2021, 02:23:55 PM »

Didn't know about this game before, looks super interesting. The graphics have changed a lot since, but some early concepts for my game Relic Space actually looked a lot like this!
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Rogod
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« Reply #225 on: March 25, 2021, 01:19:33 AM »

Yea whenever I see a TIG dev log thread relating in any way to "space", I always go and check for cross-over with Startron lest I clash with anybody Wink (I think we're safe for now lol)
« Last Edit: March 26, 2021, 05:56:35 AM by Rogod » Logged

JobLeonard
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« Reply #226 on: March 25, 2021, 01:25:50 AM »

Quote
This is the kind of thing I'll have to do more of moving forward (this is why Startron started storing the version in the cosmos file a while back) as it's unfair to expect people to re-generate their cosmos every time a new generation rule is introduced. Obviously I can't do this all the time (Minecraft doesn't for example) but for a simple numerical transform like this, the effort was justified.
Being able to update the game without breaking existing saves is an underrated technical topic in game programming, I think
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Rogod
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« Reply #227 on: March 25, 2021, 01:28:57 AM »

It is increasingly necessary on a project like this though to ensure people can start playing but still accept updates without having to start again Screamy
« Last Edit: March 26, 2021, 05:56:40 AM by Rogod » Logged

JobLeonard
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« Reply #228 on: March 25, 2021, 03:32:24 AM »

Yeah. There's more than a few early access games that I stopped playing simply because I kept losing saves, thinking "I'll get back to it when they stop doing that."
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Rogod
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« Reply #229 on: March 25, 2021, 03:45:12 AM »

Aye, I could see that happening with Startron lol.

I do at least try to pool any cosmos generation stuff into single infrequent updates when it's necessary, just so the majority of version updates are providing new things to players without breaking everybody's saves.

That being said, it is worth mentioning that all Startron cosmoses are backwards compatible by design, so it does have that going for it. (This just means any newly generated features aren't accessible without re-generating or a twiddle.)
« Last Edit: March 26, 2021, 05:56:45 AM by Rogod » Logged

Rogod
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« Reply #230 on: March 28, 2021, 03:41:56 PM »

Coming in v0.72! Gomez

A cookie to whomever figures out what game inspired the new menu screen Tongue


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JobLeonard
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« Reply #231 on: March 28, 2021, 11:44:08 PM »

Was it...





Look great by the way
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vdapps
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« Reply #232 on: March 29, 2021, 07:19:05 AM »

My hat down. This ASCII 3D render never stops fascinating me. Nice intro anim. Gentleman
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Rogod
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« Reply #233 on: March 29, 2021, 08:32:38 AM »

@JobLeonard
Hah, not quite, (Civ4 is another game I've never played Tongue)

I was going for this menu design in actuality:




@vdapps
I suppose it does look 3D yea. (There's actually 0 3D maths involved in this screen at all Big Laff) It's entirely unrelated to the Doom1-style polygon engine used in the space stations Grin
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #234 on: March 30, 2021, 12:29:36 AM »

Hah! Yeah, now I see it too (and I have actually played Doom 3).

Although I think my guess is a little closer the gameplay in Startron Wink (but only by a bit)
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vdapps
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« Reply #235 on: March 30, 2021, 06:04:25 AM »

Hehe, what a coincidence. I'm playing Doom 3 now. Smiley Just passed through Alpha Labs to Communications.

I never studied Doom 1 engine itself, but I can imagine tricky math there, mainly given the fact that all walls there are purely vertical and all floors purely horizontal.

Not sure if they went with pure integers math still there, but given that Doom 1 was running much better on CPU-s with math coprocessor (e.g. 386DX vs 386SX), it's possible that they were using floating point math already.
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Rogod
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« Reply #236 on: March 30, 2021, 06:30:53 AM »

@JobLeonard
Aye obviously I was still trying to do Startron's own spin on a background planet (pun intended) without actually copying anyone too heavily - I'm sure if I'd played Civ4 it would have made it into the ole imaginarium and contributed some aspects to Startron somewhere Grin

@vdapps
I never got on well with Communications, possibly because it just felt like a stopgap between Alpha & Delta and I knew things were about to go wrong (not to mention you can't please everyone with the comms they get you to send out at the end Sad )

From what I remember of a brief glance at the code, the Doom1 code had floating point arithmetic in it although I suppose in theory you could do it without (maybe Shrug)

Vertical walls & horizontal floors definitely make it easier to make some kind of a 3D engine like that though (hence Startron doing so) - If I'd gone for full 3D polygons, I'd still be coding it trying to recreate Quake1 in ASCII to this day xD

Either way, the menu & planet parallax is literally just me moving objects around on screen in a convincing way - there's even some floating point arithmetic in there to get the planet to zoom in at the start Wink - but no trigonometry, vectors or matrices anywhere
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Rogod
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« Reply #237 on: April 01, 2021, 01:30:19 PM »

DOS compatibility!
The future! Gomez


  • Zomg Startron for DOS released today :D!

  • Now you too can enjoy Startron at home on only 3 high density 3½" floppy disks!

  • Order yours today!

Please note the date
Don't tempt me lol
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 01:54:00 PM by Rogod » Logged

JobLeonard
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« Reply #238 on: April 01, 2021, 01:58:16 PM »

Quote
I have actually considered seeing if
I could get Startron to run in DOS
GODSPEED
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vdapps
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« Reply #239 on: April 02, 2021, 09:23:58 AM »

OMG, that's stylish!! Shocked
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