subota, 3. rujna 2016.

Plan for 0.6 features

Loads of tech, that's the plan! And some space monsters.

It's been only a month and I already feel like v0.5 rewrite was done over a year ago. Strictly speaking software is never finished but I drew the line back then. Big rewrite was over and there were no glaring bugs. There was some functionality like ship design upgrade and colony/star list which didn't make through migration but they are either moved to future plan or moved back to drawing board.

This version will be about improving the "engine" and adding more gameplay, both featruewise and contentwise. There will be again moderately big code refactoring but I hope nowhere near as much as in previous version. In any case it should be possible to break it down to smaller (doable within a month) chunks. Code improvements made in v0.5 rewrite made that possible. Without further ado here are features planned for version 0.6:
  • Diplomacy with some basic capabilities like "declare war" and "cease fire". Will see for more complex interactions but for now I'd focus on laying foundation, figuring out where to put negotiation logic and how to handle it on user interface.
  • Hot seat multiplayer. Multiplayer as a whole is not in short term plan but I made a statement some time ago about how certain change brought the hot seat implementation closer to reality. It's time to test the theory.
  • Semi-exclusive research like research system in Master of Orion II where you can get only one item per technology field level. Stareater won't be so harsh, you will be able to get all items but you'll have to spend extra development effort. Idea is to instead of picking only one item you'd make your first, second and third choice. First choice item will be the cheapest to prototype, second choice will be expensive and the third will be even more expensive. On top of reworking research system I plan to start adding actual technologies to the game. I've made an draft document with about 120 candidates and more are to be added.
  • Ship repair and upgrade will be reintroduced. Ship damage will persist after battle and colonies will passively produce repair points. Once all ships at a star are repaired, surplus repair points will be used for upgrading or retrofitting ships.
  • Missiles in combat. First ambition level is to have "instant hit" missiles which will function similar to beam attacks but with slightly different chance to hit and limited ammunition. Next ambition level are torpedoes, missile which move across the map like space ships, can be destroyed and do area damage.
  • Space monsters are going to remind you that you are inside of a living organism. Most of them won't attack you directly but will interfere with growing your empire. On the development side their purpose is to give you something to fight before meeting other players or during the peace time and to provide some lore about the Stareater universe.
  • New rendering engine is already in development. Previous engine was using old OpenGL API, rendering loop was not very controllable when it came to timing and I'd like to make it easier to link visible objects with user interaction. Part of it is already done by now since messing with OpenGL and multithreading was more interesting to me then writing a post so that's why there is a delay :).
  • OpenGL based GUI is something I was looking forward to for a long time. WinForms are so restrictive, even for making ugly but servicable UI. The game uses a lot of lists, each displaying items differently and WinForms have two kind of GUI controls for lists: a simple ListBox where each item is just text and ListView which is basically carbon copy of file list in Windows Explorer. Both are inadequate for my needs so I've been faking lists with other components and the process is so prone to errors and full of workarounds. On top of that there is no way to easily change the look of controls so if I'm going to basically rewrite their drawing logic I might as well do it in OpenGL and solve other problems.
  • Refactoring state data is something I've been constantly doing in the last version. State data are stored in data types which beyond just holding the data don't have any more functionality of their own. The problem is there are a lot of such data types and each needs copying, saving and loading logic so there is a lot of repetitious code which looks like it can be generalized except no programming language feature can do that. Efficiently at least. In the last version I've tried C# text templates which are pieces of code for generating code (or any other kind of text file). They work but are hard to debug and update. I've been prototyping another approach, looks promising so I'll try it out.

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