Community: Developer Blog #46 – Insight

Hello Everybody!

As promised, I want to start getting back on track with regular updates!

So let’s start with something cool! Here is a quick vid we made to show a few of the aspects of novus including some new stuff that the rebuild of the engine makes possible!

Not all of these features are playable ingame yet, since we are totally rebuilding the client from the ground up which takes some time. I do hope this gives you a bit of a glimpse into “why” we rebuilt it, and personally, I think the final product will be so much better for it!

Getting infiltrators the new client:
My current estimate is before the end of the month. There are some elements which make it a bit hard to judge time such as debugging, which is more up to the Bug Gremlin than us… hate that guy…

I will be much more active from here on out keeping everyone up to date on progress and time tables. Once again sorry for all the delays, and your patience really means a lot to me.

Image resized to 19% of its original size [2560 x 1398]

A random selection out of the hundred fracture points that each of the “Shields” the Dreadnought has in the front of the ship as an example. Each of these fracture points can be used by explosions to create craters or debris that comes out of the ship.

Insight on how development will be progressing on new client:
Unity allows us to change our workflow somewhat, so you can expect more updates and improvements on a more regular bases for client sided features. While larger server sided game features still take a longer time to develop, we are now able to develop these two kinds of features in parallel.

This means much faster development on quality of life kinds of features, still like “Tactical View” for example, which technically is not a “gameplay feature”. It makes the game easier to play and more fun, without actually changing the way the core game mechanics work.

Graphical changes also fall into this category, such as dynamic hull destruction. When ships take damage (see video above), chunks and debris can break off them during the explosions, while weapons, explosions and other sources project sexy light effects on the ships, debris and other objects in the scene such as asteroids (like @03:00 in the video).

Expect to see a lot more things like this, since we can develop more game features now in parallel.

Image resized to 43% of its original size [1147 x 784]

Here you can see a sample of how we make new planets for the game. The planets on the right were created by adjusting the original one on the left. I can tweak anything from the colors the different biomes have (such as mountains, deserts, forests, etc.), any cities it might have (and the color of its lighting), mountain ranges, the (lack of) atmosphere, etc. This system allows us to create and adjust new planets pretty fast, which is a huge bonus for the diversity in the universe when it comes to planets, moons and stars!

Current state of the Unity Client:
The new client is still in development, and if you measure it feature for feature it is not quite
yet back to the point where the old client was. However, each feature the unity client gets, is a much better version of what the old Vision client used to have. Let’s take research, for example. Technically it was in the Vision client, but it never really worked properly the way we wanted it to work and the system was a bit simple. The new research currently being developed for the Unity client is MUCH cooler and more in depth. It mixes the old system where you dynamically unlocking new techs, along with mini tech trees that can improve upon the techs you unlock in different directions.

For example:
You unlock the “Ion Thruster” tech in one of your research centers, instead of just gaining the ability to produce that component, you will gain a small tech tree. This allows you to improve on the basic ion thruster in multiple ways. It might make it easier to manufacture, reduce the CP cost, increase its max speed or turning rate, improve construction times, or whatever else we can come up with.

For kickstarter backers who got the ability to “design a research theory”, this means you will also get to pick the directions in which your theory can improved upon.