Space Clouds

Weekly Dev Meeting – October 14th

Bloggy

Jey

I finally finalised the patch, it’s currently on livetest.

I also been slowly working on my ai global event system.
— The first one i’m implementing is a traderoute event. It will look for potential trade existing routes, then make up a story about it (base starving, lack of worker blah blah) and it will lock the source and destination station price on a specific item for a specified time duration and make a bulletin board post about it. During the event, trader ai within a few galaxies jump of the route and with empty space will stop what they were doing and go work the trade route, and pirate ai will also go to the route to ambush the traders etc. The goal is for the universe to feel a tiny bit more alive by seeing actual swarm of traders moving stuff for various reason.
— I also want to add small fleet wars as another event. Where 2 team of ai would group up in neighboring galaxy, hate each other then charge into a central galaxy (with warnings about it in base and galaxy chat about it so player can either get the hell out or participate / watch the show xD), followed by a special bonus added to the winning ai team (like +25% exp on kill for the next hour or something)

I also added a feature that gather precise code performance data when a slow frame is detected (about twice the average frame time). This will allow us to see exactly what the cpu is spending time on during lag spikes on live.

Blue Dwarf

So I’ve been working more on the item viewer and I have a lovely screenshot to show of progress so far!

It’s still early days currently and there’s none of the supporting backend required to run it yet. I’ve put together some simple test data from our XML files which is what’s shown here but it’s coming along nicely. Each item type/class table have their own set of columns which come and go as needed, for example the lasers table shows the tracking range in degrees but the weapons table omits this data.

Ryan

I implemented server support for fixed lockout times so that we can test them out and get player feedback. We like the idea of Friday lockout resets for weekly lockouts, and we need to decide what time we want them to reset. We’ll enable them soon for UZ after we get a couple more details locked down and if they’re received well we will roll them out to many more bosses.

Pixel

Been working on pretty bases and things for new content!

Player questions!

If you were a superhero, what would be your superpower?

Jeff: Ability to magically code with zero bugs!
Jey: Being able to interface with computers directly instead of using keyboard / mouse
Blue Dwarf: Telekinesis or teleportation would be useful. Could do some mad juggling with telekinesis…
Pixel: The ability to produce tacos from air.

Once SS has been released on Steam, what is the future for SS?

Jeff: Depends on how well it does on Steam. If it doesn’t pop much, then mostly things how they have been. If it does really well, then likely expanding the team and adding more to the game.
yclept: poppin bottles
Blue Dwarf: Micro transactions and pay to win! So we can pop yclept’s bottles.

When will it be possible to make a Dyson sphere around our suns?

Um….

More questions to ask, have you?

Weekly Dev Meeting – September 30

blog

Blue Dwarf was exhausted from a unicycling adventure today, so I’m writing the weekly dev blog again.

We have one new developer to welcome this week, Pixel.  Welcome!

Yclepticon

Investigated an issue with the universe civilization formula and thinks he has come up with the reason the universe is still uncivilized and the palace hasn’t spawned yet.  Looks like it has to do with the server counting too many unbuildable/ unownable galaxies towards the civilization requirements.

Precursor

Made a change for Tardis in the drop table to be replaced by a tardis crate that’s size 50, it seems to be a popular request.  Has been looking through the suggestion forums and has identified several for the team to work on.

One is making the ship tab in ai bases more user friendly http://forum.starsonata.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=61045.

Another is alternatives to augmenter tweaking missions: http://forum.starsonata.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=61134 . The dev team discussed several possibilities for these missions and will post more information when we have something written up.

Jey

Is working on patches for live test so that he can push out a patch for live very soon.

We also had a liberty issue last week, i narrowed it down to a network failure but i’m not sure if it was on ovh side or on our drivers. The network just had partially failed. www could still talk to liberty, but liberty couldn’t reach www.

Microcapicitor

Has been looking into making a wormhole usage requirement for enemy drones similar to the current wormhole usage requirement for enemy ships.  This should make some custom DGs able to be upgrade to no longer use key syncs.

Col Legno

Entered the formula for the SM 21/22 spawner code.

Looked into why icons and stars aren’t showing.  It probably has to do with a client optimization somewhere, but it’s still remaining illusive.

Pixel

Although he just joined yesterday, he’s already managed to QA some bugs that have been fixed and moved to the test server.

Ryan

Has been fixing up webserver stuff.  He also made station dialogs resizable.

Discussion of PvP

Yesterday’s weekly developer meeting included some discussion of pvp game mechanic issues, which started further discussion in the weekly dev blog discussion post.  In an effort to facilitate discussion about pvp issues, I’m opening another thread specifically devoted the topic.  That thread can be found in the development notes forum.

Discussed in yesterday’s meeting were:

  • Issues with people using off-team alts in wars
  • A proposal that when you get back into your ship from death, you can’t jump into another gal owned by the owners for 30 seconds. We’re hoping this mitigates the “suicide to get deeper and deeper into enemy territory” issue, and we’re curious to hear player feedback on this.
  • Lifting the pvp ranges by danger factor in w3 wild space.

Discussions from yesterday’s blog post can be found here: http://forum.starsonata.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=61122

Weekly Dev Meeting – September 23

Bloggy

Blue Dwarf had university classes starting this week and got a bit busy, so I’m writing the blog this week.  Welcome to new developers MicroCapacitor and Morat!

Morat

Welcome our new content developer!  Morat has been working on making Steppes and Ruby Steppes less painful for navigating and bringing slaves.

Yclepticon

Worked on SM 21/22 content.

He brought up some issues with people using off-team alts in wars and proposes that when you get back into your ship from death, you can’t jump into another gal owned by the owners for 30 seconds. We’re hoping this mitigates the “suicide to get deeper and deeper into enemy territory” issue, and we’re curious to hear player feedback on this.

He would also like to lift the pvp ranges by danger factor in w3 wild space.

Precursor

Is back from a long hiatus and is thinking about ruins.

MicroCapacitor

Welcome our new server/ content dev.  Micro fixed some minor issues in the nexus.

Col Legno

As always, I fixed some bugs.  I also worked on some new code to support upcoming SM 21/22 content and helped Blue Dwarf fix aura issues in non-pvp galaxies.

I fixed the aggro issues between off team players and slaves.  If you have a shm healing you, your slaves will no longer attack the shm.

The fixes will go in at the next patch.

Ryan

I’ve been experimenting with making the station dialogue resizeable as well as some other tweaks to it. This was made possible by the recent code changes for resiable inventories. I also have been working on some required changes with paypal on our backend.

 

Beta client 290.1144

** update 1144 ** (all known beta issue fixed)
* fix for the graphic corruption causing random crash (and bluescreen on some cases) as well as missing particles

** update 509 **
* Fix for the biggest issues that were added with the beta clients. All ships should now render properly / where they are expected to be
* Your ship should no longer shake seemingly randomly when you move around.
* A few various crashes and corruptions were also fixed.

– As with all beta client, there are likely more issues to be found and fixed. This is why it is beta after all.

Its been a long time coming. I started this client optimisation pass with the goal of supporting large scale bvb action (which currently result in more or less locked up client).

* In the process I ended up having to write new optimized container for our nodes childrens list (before we used a list, now its using an hybrid between a vector and a map for fastest possible iteration and somewhat fast element removal).
* I also ended up rewriting the way our particle system use d3d hardware buffer (before it was constantly rewriting it, now it only flag and rewrite the bits that changed)
* I rewrote how our scenenodes (the objects containing everything that end up on the screen including their rotation / resize etc) are created to remove useless parents set and overwrite (some nodes ended up moved around from parent to parent 3-4 times everytime they were made).
* Changed our billboard nodes to use a single hardware buffer containing the actual billboard index (which are used for most projectiles). While this is in practice slower when theres only a small amount of projectiles to use the hardware buffer over just sending the data directly to the gpu, the time it represent in a frame is extremely small. On the other hand, when sending the data directly to the gpu vs using a buffer, if you have 200+ of said billboards to do in the frame, it become a whole lot slower and represent nearly 20% of the gpu/cpu time in those situation (since the gpu will wait for the cpu to upload the data), this change resulted in a large improvement in the amount of billboards (projectiles) that could be on screen at once.
* This beta should also fix the few crash dumps i received over the past weeks.
* The ship preview on connection has been fixed.
* The account creation now include a password and email validation field with dynamic coloring if they match / dont match.
* Multiple other smaller performance improvements.

All in all, you should see a small generic improvement to the fps, between 5-20% depending on the scenario. On the other hand, during what was previously borderline on the client load or completely above client capacity, you should see an increase in the 20-25times the performance.

Keep in mind that while I did test and fix hundreds of problems during those optimisation there are likely a lot remaining. If you do find any new bug in this beta, please mention it in forum pm or in this blog forum post.

I wanted to do a side by side comparison of the previous beta with this one in my test scenario (20 stations firing mags at 10k range with max rof) but sadly current beta just froze / gave a frame every 15-20sec so it didnt make much of an animated gif heh.

Heres one of the new version, with lagkiller disabled and very high graphic settings (altho in a mostly empty galaxy except for the 13000 projectiles floating around at all time).

Those on the current beta client will automatically get an update at that time. If you do not have the beta client and want to try it, use http://www.starsonata.com/dl/StarSonata_2_beta.exe. It is independent from the live client and you can use both on liberty.

Weekly Dev Meeting – September 16th

Bloggy

Col Legno

I altered base bound gear (Junkyard stuff is most of what will be affected by this) so that you can no longer put higher tech gear on lower tech bases. This way gear won’t get stuck on bases unintentionally.
I added a pop up confirm dialog for transfering base bound gear to bases so that there are less accidents while transfering gear around.
I also fixed some minor spelling and mission issues.

Jey

I finally confirmed that the hardware buffer corruption is fixed, altho in the process another issue was found in the client where some effect nodes end up stuck on the screen. Waiting for secondary test of the issue.

Applies fixes to the webserver for dealing with team score updates.

Blue Dwarf

Finally finished up the changes I was making to aura generators, cleaning up some of the code behind the environmental damage auras (common in Subspace areas) and addressing the issue that auras affect people in instances when they shouldn’t (e.g., protected galaxies).

I’ve also tweaked the Omni Census PDP-01 item to be a bit more useful, the size and energy cost have been reduced to 25 and 750 respectively and it can now be used directly from your ship. The display has also been improved a bit.

Ryan

It turns out slaves got caught up in a change where ai could no longer own debris and could no longer own debris themselves, so I fixed that. I worked on the UZ lockouts with Col Legno and now all the ai share the same instance-wide lockouts, so you can no longer get trapped in the boss room. We originally avoided this because you could kill a 10 minute lockout ai to overwrote your longer boss lockout, but I’ve changed it so that lockouts can now only be extended from new kills.

Player questions!

Question 1

Who has had the biggest influence as an programmer within this game?
Jey: i guess it would be blindside
because he was a god able to write shaders and stuff !
graphic programmers are mythical creatures
you dont often see them in the wild

Jeff: I liked the guy who wrote Effective C++

Col Legno: I’m kind of stuck on Roy Osherove atm. nothing to do with the game at all. but he’s kind of a unit testing god. He has some really cool ideas.
and Michael feathers – working effectively with legacy code.

Blue Dwarf: I don’t know, I kinda take a bit of everything from everywhere. I liked some stuff from Doug Crockford (particularly JavaScript: The Good Parts), but somethings are just ugh (One True Brace Style can suck it). I guess that’s a good thing, given I learnt Perl first.
Oh, Gary Bernhardt, because who doesn’t love some batman?

Jeff is stingy and didn’t want to do questions, so only one this week! Give us some more awesome questions so Jeff isn’t so stingy next week!

Here’s the link to submit a question!

Weekly Dev Meeting – September 10th

Bloggy

Col Legno

I fixed bugs.

Jey

I found the buffer issue for the client and think it’s fixed, needs tests run on it.
Fighting the webserver over team scores which are taking too long to calculate.

Blue Dwarf

Not a great deal from me, really. Nothing fancy or exciting.

Shameless plug for a shout out and making an attempt to actually be organized though, next weekend is our bonus weekend. Is there anything in particular you guys want?

Ryan

My main focus this week was on towing, specifically in the Nexus for new players. I fixed a few bugs (such as inventory disappearing after towing) and we’re also making the starting bases towing bases so that new players can tow right away instead of waiting out their stasis timers and get right back into the action. I also fixed a font bug for the names below AI ships, where characters were aligned improperly.

Player questions!

Question 1

When will the SPEX system or whatever it was called be implemented? The ingame voucher system that was discussed years ago.
Ryan: It’s waiting on a webserver patch that has been delayed for a while now due to a variety of reasons. I’ll give this a solid soon™.

Question 2

What is the meaning of life?
Jey: Life is code and code is life
Jeff: Meaning is relative to the person evaluating a thing. There is no extrinsic meaning of life. The meaning of life is the meaning that you choose to give it.
Col Legno: dude…no 42 for the meaning of life?!?!?! come on!

Here’s the link to submit a question!

Weekly Dev Meeting – September 3rd

Bloggy

Ryan

I fixed a longstanding issue relating to field generators that was causing HQ and Outpost kits to become stuck in a strike when they ran out of rations.

I’ve worked on the (Empty Itemtype slot) stuff that a few of you have seen on the forums.
The Userbase side of it was very easy, but there is a little bit of work to finish up to get it working at 100% for ships.

eslottest5

I also fixed a few bugs with our gui tables and have added support for resizing inventories! I hope you all enjoy it as you play, I know I will. :)

inv_resize

Col Legno

I’ve been fixing T21 daily missions, the dailies will now allow you to do one mission a day but each mission has a three day lockout. I fixed some subspace issues too.

Blue Dwarf

So the Outpost/HQ/Palace thing is pretty much done and includes some small, but nice, new management changes for teams.

It works simply so:
If you share a galaxy with a team mate, own the Palace, an Outpost or the Headquarters you’re unable to leave the team, unless you’re Councillor+ (for OP/HQ).
If you are booted the Palace is abandoned, all other offending bases are set to destroyed (dropping no items).

In addition to this there is now a confirmation dialog for booting players which should save some players from those accidental boots. The dialog will inform you if booting the player would affect your team but not what bases or where.

Which brings me to the last point, there’s a new command for checking any offending bases, /basecheck which’ll provide a report on your bases.

Additionally, bases will automatically be set to your team on deployment and transferred bases between team mates will keep their team ownership, removing the need to team a lot of your kits.

Theodore

Theodore is content now! Yay.

Added repeatable olympus boss key missions.
Adjusted the inertial dampener bps to prevent excessive prom needed at one time.

Player questions!

Question 1

Can the subspace invasion be looked at. It doesn’t seem possible to reverse the colony nerf by any mechanism. Ie it’s not possible to lose the aveksaka ownership of the galaxy. It’s not possible to clear a galaxy as there’s eggs that never stop spawning even when you clear the pillbox. Or at least explain the intended mechanism to us. Thanks buzzy
Ryan: We have the colony nerf turned down until we’re satisfied everything is 100% worked out. In the meantime there are some fixes on test server and they’ll work their way live soon. Once we’re satisfied everything is working as intended, the alien device will begin working at full strength again.

Question 2

I know it’s asked a lot, but can you give any estimated date for the Steam release?
Jeff: Last time we submitted it, they took issue with a few things which we have now fixed, and we’re ready to give people beta keys to test the Steam functionality in client. We misunderstood what we were submitting last time, and though it was just the online assets, but instead they actually looked at and tested the game, so that’s why we have been polishing the in-game Steam stuff a bit. We should be able to resubmit very soon, but the last time we submitted at this stage, it took them several months to get back to us. Fingers crossed.

Here’s the link to submit a question!

Zebucart.

Look. It’s a zebucart. Wow. This is amazing.Zebucart

Something something Improcerus event. Congratulations to the winners, I guess?

Bye.

Btw, uni reset in 3 weeks. Kthnx.

 

(In all seriousness, that’s the zebucart reward for the Improcerus event. Just found it funny to do a lazy blog. Wonder what the other dev’s reactions are going to be when they found out I posted this. And no, there’s not really a reset.)

Weekly Dev Meeting – August 26th

Bloggy

Before we get into things, a return has occurred and we’d like to welcome Precursor back to the dev team!

Ryan

Worked on some changes for base kits with yclepticon, with changes to both starting space and resists. The space changes should allow a tech/rarity equivalent expander to fit in a base from the start, so you don’t have to juggle small expanders just to be able to fit the ones you actually want to use. For example the T12 store bought kit has 300 space so you can fit size 250 transdims. The resist changes are detailed in this dev notes post.

Jey

Prereset patch coming up on thursday evening! Other stuff too, but it’s just the same as last week. The beta is now in an usable state, but it’s nowhere near ready to become live client and will likely have to wait until after reset to be fully fixed.

Col Legno

I’ve been fixing a bunch of little things and planning the galaxy layout for SM22.

Blue Dwarf

I’ve been working on a couple of small bugs, firstly stopping the AI Outposts from spawning inside AI owned/protected galaxies, such as Earthforce Perilous Space Outpost and issues involving ownership of HQ, Outposts and the Palace when leaving or being booted from your team.

Player questions!

We had some pretty cool questions this week

Question 1

What is your favorite Boss in all of Star Sonata?
Jey: DC

Jeff: Iq’Bana

Ryan: I always liked Iq’Bana most visually.

yclepticon: Lion or Poseidon

Blue Dwarf: All the bosses! … Not really sure, Blob has cool scripting but is annoying to kill (because of his script)… Actually, Astro Santa, even if he doesn’t quite work as I wanted him to.

Theodore: Rhino

Col Legno: Copper, It was the first I could solo, and it was fun learning how

Question 2

Do you guys think this game will ever hit mainstream?
Jey: I do hope for it to grow a few times bigger than it is now. But mainstream would be horrible, the game plain simply isn’t designed to accommodate millions of players.

Ryan: I think mainstream is a pretty big stretch but I feel like we have a lot of room to grow even if we stay “tiny” compared to games like WoW.

Col Legno: Nope ss will never hit mainstream
But I think it’ll be more comfortable in it’s niche

Question 3

Did you guys ever wanted to plan on doing something big for this game?
Jey: Big is rather relative, many of the updates are big if you consider all the work that goes in them :P . Unless you mean C2 kind of big, then there can’t be all that many since we worked many years on that before it was even able to render c1 galaxy :P .

Jeff: C2 was pretty big. Alien invasion were pretty big. Tech 21 and tech 22 were pretty big. :) We have some new ideas for the future, but nothing that’s ready to be announced yet.

Ryan: I’ve always wanted more dynamic content in the game rather than static bosses you go kill so it’d be more than “go here kill that”.

Blue Dwarf: I’ve not particularly done much big stuff so far, although I have some cool wishes if they ever come to be of stuff. It might not seem big to players but for us it’d be big. Rewriting missions and added a epic staged-mission type thing to replace mission chains would be good and I’d love to play around with the universe generation to create some more interesting galaxies or solar systems and add other things like supernovae and comets/meteors.

Col Legno: If ss was my full time job I’d have big plans. But with a day job, all I really want to do atm is fix things

Here’s the link to submit a question!