DCIRogue System
Dev Entry 1/12/14

Hi everyone.

First off, the latest milestone review video is up:

As noted in the video comments, this last milestone had a lot of “under the hood” work done, so visually there wasn’t quite as much to show. As you can see though, the entire left console now has its first-pass system controls, and they all work properly. The main engine and thruster controls are on the right side and these work as well. I’ll show these off these systems in more depth when I get to the point where I can do a full ship start up.

You can now exit the station you’re sitting at–you get put at the place you were when you entered it. One thing that occurred to me while I was working on this was, “What would happen if you were in an emergency, and you had to perform many actions quickly at different stations?” Would you really want to have to sit down at a station, do a task, get up, move to another, sit down, etc., etc.,? If I were in that situation I wouldn’t bother to sit. So, this is what prompted the decision to make controls “click-able” regardless of your sit-state. The only thing this doesn’t apply to right now are the actual flight controls (pitch, roll, yaw, throttle).

Now, the other big news (which you may already know if you saw a post I made the other day in the last dev entry) is that RogSys will be undergoing an engine change. This isn’t something I ever WANTED to do, but my hand has been forced. The developer for the engine I’m using currently has gone silent (since mid-Nov actually). I can’t use an engine on a commercial product that now seems to have little chance of being supported, updated, etc. This is especially true since there still are nagging collision bugs that NEED to be addressed.

So, after spending the better part of two weeks testing out various engines, I’ve decided on the upcoming LeadWerks 3.1 engine (no point starting with 3.0 if 3.1 is due out any time now). There were several deciding factors. One, it is actively supported and updated. Two, its command set and framework are very similar to what I’m using now which will make the transition easier. Three, it has Newton physics built in (which I prefer to Bullet).

In hindsight, I believe this was one of those “it was meant to be” things. Several positives have come from all this. The first is that this is an OpenGL 4.0 rendering system (DX11 equivalent) and the engine is cross-platform compatible with Mac and Linux. I always intended to take RogSys to other platforms, and this will make that MUCH easier. In fact, I think with a bit of planning I can support these with the initial release (or a couple short months behind it). Being able to bring RogSys to other platforms will be a big boost to its overall longevity.

Another positive is that a talented GLSL shader guru, who goes by the name ShadMar over at the LW forums, happens to be a RogSys fan as well. He’s offered GLSL shader support which will help me get RogSys up and running on LW3.1 even quicker. Plus, it will be a big time saver for me not have to work up a new shader when I need it (especially since my GLSL knowledge is… limited… at best). So, thanks to him.

Lastly, the deferred renderer will allow for much better visuals overall….

So, what does this mean for upcoming development. Well, since LW uses a completely different model and texture format there’s not much reason to continue to export current and upcoming assets for the old platform. So, from this point on new art will be prepped in the proper format. Also, with an upcoming engine switch it would be unwise to do any engine-heavy code based on the old system. So, I’ll be rescheduling tasks on the to-do list to compensate for this. Also, there’s plenty of art and design work I can pull forward which can be worked on in tandem with the engine change. Overall, I’ll probably be put off by a month or so, but I have padding built into the schedule for such emergencies. So, there’s time to make it up between now and the first Alpha release.

All said, the first month after LW 3.1 releases will be hectic, but once the change is made things will quickly get back on schedule I think. I can do a lot of code-heavy stuff during the day, and until sim is up and running I’ll have time at night to take care of some design tasks that really should be done sooner rather than later anyway. It’ll be good

By the way, ISI is aware of the upcoming change and are fully supportive. Their only concern was that I don’t get caught out changing to an engine that was too drastically different. They also wanted to make sure I wasn’t falling into the trap of willy-nilly changing engines, which I’m not. I spent a lot of time early on looking at engines and finally picked one that I felt could support me all the way to release. It’s really a PITA to have to change now. But again, I’m boosted by all the positives the change will bring. I’m actually quite anxious to get started and get the new engine integration completed. I’ll be able to confidently move forward from there…..

Otherwise, all is well. I have just a couple more hours of work to do on the station interior. I’ll post a screen grab from the editor so you can the results. Again, there’s not much point in exporting it for the old system considering the situation. Tomorrow I’m supposed to start working on the station exterior as well as some physics work. I’ll probably push that physics stuff back though and pull another task forward.

Take it easy :)

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Michael JulianoSome information on development status, thoughts and thanks as we head into Early Access development of Rogue System.
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