Alpha 6.7: Signal Logic Update, Hull Textures and "Road to Alpha 7"

Discussion in 'Patch Notes' started by EleonGameStudios, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. EleonGameStudios

    EleonGameStudios Developer
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    [​IMG]The above screenshot is from our internal Alpha 7.0 development branch. You might notice the steep mountain in the background. We have increased the max height of mountains to 500m.

    UPDATE: August 28, 2017 - Build 1212 (Client only)

    This is a CLIENT side update which means you can connect to any server that is running A6.7.0 B1211.

    Changelog: Alpha 6.7.0 (Build 1212)

    Bug Fixes:
    - Fixed: Symmetry plane auto centers after turning it off and back on until plane is reset to where you originally placed it.
    - Fixed: When using a Symmetry plane it was possible to mirror a Warp Drive, Warp Tank and Repair bay
    - Fixed: SV prefab Tier 1E contained forbidden blocks.
    - Fixed: Problem that TriCount showed 2 numbers in Stats window

    Changes:
    - Higher resolution of color masks for building blocks

    ------------------------------------

    Hi Galactic Survivalists!

    We just released Alpha 6.7. It is a relatively small update for our standards because behind the scenes we are already working hard on Alpha 7.0.

    In Alpha 6.7, we implemented the signal logic (sensors and triggers) also for SV and HV and updated some textures on building blocks (yes - we now have a nice metallic looking hull texture). We are planning to update a lot more building block textures for Alpha 7.0. We also updated the model for the Pulse Rifle and added more tiers for it.

    Please report remaining and new issues in our bug forum: http://empyriononline.com/forums/bugs.24/

    We prepared a first blog post for the "Road to Alpha 7" (see below). We are planning to update you regularly about the development process of Alpha 7.0.

    Cheers,

    Empyrion Dev Team

    -------------------

    Changelog: Alpha 6.7.0 (Build 1211)

    Changes:
    - Added sensors + triggers to SV / HV
    [​IMG]
    - Updated model for Pulse Rifle + added Pulse Rifle T2 and Epic Pulse Rifle
    [​IMG]
    - AI Planet Vessel does not auto-repair anymore when it is shot down. In addition, you can now enter and loot it
    - Slightly adapted formula to calculate size class: we are now using a more accurate formula to calculate the triangles
    - Updated stock prefabs to update triangles count to new formula
    - Updated holo screen 05 + other texture tweaks for holo screens

    Texture Update for Building Blocks:
    - Updated standard hull texture (it now has a cleaner and more metallic look)
    [​IMG]
    - Updated combat hull texture
    [​IMG]
    - Added old standard hull texture as an extra texture to the texture tool
    - Increased texture resolution of several building blocks
    - Adjusted detail normal tiling and reduced strength on building blocks
    - Reduced strength of detail normal on some devices
    - Added deco block "Wardrobe"

    Localization and PDA Update:
    - Updated several languages (a big thanks to our different contributors - we are proud to have such an active community that helps us to keep the localization up-to-date)
    - Added PDA partly in GER: thanks to moonsugar
    - Completed Spanish translation: thanks to capi_x

    Updated Scenario "Shadow of Starlight"
    - Turrets and sentry guns in the Weapon Research Center are now active
    - Added decorations to "Security Airfield"
    - Minor text updates

    Bug Fixes:
    - Fixed: Mirror issues: device and building blocks > please test if there are still blocks that do not mirror correctly (note: all blocks that have a left&right version do not work with the mirror tool yet)
    - Fixed: Trapdoors and Explosive blocks do not work with Admin Cores
    - Fixed: Texture artifacts on constructor
    - Fixed: Freighter / PV / Patrol Vessel did not respect the "Fixed Max Speed" setting in playfield.yaml
    - Fixed: HV was sinking under water when crossing green wall while driving over water
    - Fixed: When a HV with a HV booster has gone through the Motion sensor field it could become stuck above that field.
    - Fixed: Problem with firing minigun of stock prefab SV Tier 1e

    [​IMG]

    Road to Alpha 7.0: New Handmade Terrains


    What is the first element that you will notice in Empyrion when starting a new game in your escape pod?

    Of course, the planet you are landing on - in particular: the terrain. Thus, the quality of the terrain or terrain generation has a huge impact on how a player perceives Empyrion.

    We’ll do a quick recap on the current mechanics, so you can better categorize what the planned changes will encompass. Currently, all of the terrain is procedurally created. That’s what the description says. Although you might know what “procedural” means, we will give a quick rundown on what the effects of this terrain creation method are, as the implications and details might not be as obvious in this context.

    [​IMG]

    Procedural terrain does not just mean “randomly created terrain”. Actually the random factor, the SEED you pick when starting a game, is only the final part of the terrain creation, applied to a previously created set of rules on HOW a specific terrain should be created. So procedural terrain is not really random - by changing the Seed you do not completely change the appearance of a terrain but you create variations of the same type of terrain.

    To give you an example: When you work with our procedural terrain generator (http://empyriononline.com/threads/a...rrain-generator-create-your-own-terrain.11020) you are basically defining a set of rules on how the terrain should be built up by the algorithm. These modules can work in different ways and will influence the terrain building in different ways. The more awesome or special-looking you try to make your terrain, the more modules you will need to use. This comes at a cost: performance.

    [​IMG]

    This is because procedural terrain is NOT just printed to something like a fixed “heightmap” and then modified, but it is always created by the modules and the instructions for the terrain building algorithm they hold (randomized by the SEED), delivered by a .DLL or .XML file in the Content folder.

    What does this have to do with the terrain in Alpha 7.0?
    A lot because of this ever increasing, non-avoidable performance draw, the level of details for terrain you can do, have a natural limit to an extent, as a too performance-demanding terrain will result in artifacts, chunk load-issues and other visible hiccups when you play the game. So, possible optimizations aside, our procedural terrain is limited in its scope by performance. Plain and simple: creating high-quality awesome procedural terrain is possible, but may be very slow (at the moment). That’s where Alpha 7.0 comes into play, adding the “handmade fixed terrain” as an alternative.

    What is the difference to procedural terrain?
    Handmade terrains allow much more terrain details on a higher quality level. It is created in a heightmap editor, modifying the shape, canyons, hills and other specialties mostly by hand.
    Other than the procedural terrain, the shape of the handmade terrain is not affected by the Seed. It’s like picking a Seed for a procedural terrain and always playing with this Seed, which a lot of players do anyhow, as we learned from the feedback we evaluated. The teaser screenshots you have seen in the last update notes and this update are made with heightmap-based, handmade terrains.

    What is the biggest advantage of handmade terrain?
    You can create awesome terrains with a high quality level that will not demand more performance than any of the procedurally created worlds. Since the terrain is a fixed heightmap, sometimes those terrains might even use less of your PC power as there is no algorithm eating up CPU and GPU time. In addition, handmade terrains will allow a more interesting distribution of POIs and resources. Thus, a scenario creator has much more control to create a specific setting or story.

    Will the handmade terrain replace the procedural terrain?
    Absolutely not. We will try to improve the procedural algorithm to make it less performance demanding. For us, the handmade terrains are an alternative to the procedural terrains - not a replacement.

    For those arguing about the priorities: the team of terrain creators does not work on the programming of the game, so no other feature for 7.0 will be skipped or postponed just because we will have a new variant of terrain.

    Said that, a quick Q&A on the terrain topics:

    Q: Can I create the handmade terrain myself?
    A: Basically yes. We are internally using a paid 3rd party terrain creator. You can buy a license. In theory, the game can also work with the export of any editor if it is using heightmaps and splatmaps (texture maps).

    Q: Can I modify the handmade terrain heightmap (shape)?
    A: Not directly, but although the heightmap is fixed, we plan to release several different versions of a “base heightmap” so you’ll have different variations for customization.

    Q: What elements can I customize?
    A: A lot: Decorations, terrain textures, NPCs, POIs and everything else that is defined in the playfield.yaml (except the shape of the terrain). For terrain textures, we have even created a handy in-game Terrain Editor which will allow you to quickly switch terrain textures! Changing a green world into a desert planet is only a matter of a few clicks!

    Q: Will the orange and green barriers vanish with the new terrain?
    A: Not yet, these barriers are result of the planet creation and not terrain creation

    Q: Will we be able to use procedural and handmade terrain playfields in the same savegame?
    A: Sure! So Planet A could be procedurally created. Planet B can use handmade terrain. You can of course not mix procedural/handmade terrain on Planet A at the same time.

    Q: Can i still drill and digg into the terrain of the handmade planets?
    A: Of course. The terrain does not change, just its creation.
     
    #1
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  2. Quarior

    Quarior Ensign

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    Nice update road map :). Good luck for the next.
    I will be made the Solar System :) (if I have the time).
    Also, when "rotation period" (sidereal days) different will be made because all have 24 hours and we will be can edit time speed ?
     
    #2
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
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  3. Myrmidon

    Myrmidon Commander

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    Very nice guys. Also the explanation and the Q&A of the terrain creation procedural/handmade answers many of our questions regarding. Thank you for sharing this too. Obviously the performance limitations is the natural barrier on procedural generation of various space body's sizable terrains such as planets. I would like to remind everyone here that not every player of Empyrion has the latest hardware thus old and weaker PC configurations need to be taken in account by the developers in order to deliver smooth play experience to everyone of us, as described by the minimum configuration needed in order to play Empyrion properly. Of course various sacrifices need to be made here and there. Nevertheless, in the end Empyrion is shaping into a wonderful space survival game we enjoy to play. I will state it one more time, it is the most enjoyable early access game I ever bought. I am happy for this.
     
    #3
  4. Starwing6

    Starwing6 Captain

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    OMG!!! I could not possibly be happier about this update :D Just last night I wanted to add some simple switches to an SV I was working on--so now I can go do what I wanted to do!

    Thank you, thank you!
     
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  5. Marty

    Marty Lieutenant

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  6. eLLe

    eLLe Lieutenant

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    This is wonderful just what I imagined it should be in the future. It would be good to make a planet that instead of the lake has a river that passes through the canyon and drains into a lake surrounded by forests or fields. I already imagine this planet as my home.

    I wonder if the terrain is different now, there is a possibility to get planets of different sizes. Not that they are all the same but we have bigger and smaller differences. It would be great for you to have a big desert planet and a little full of poison gas, rich in resources with no life opportunities. By variations of different planets, it is possible to create completely different solar systems. The first step towards creating a galaxy.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
  7. JTurbo

    JTurbo Ensign

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    The caves in these mountains will be from the hiding place? :)

    And when there is a thirst for water???
     
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  8. Jacoviz

    Jacoviz Commander

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    Really cool feature guys, i want to try it by my self. So hyped guys! :oops:
    What are the other features of 7.0?
     
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  9. Collatio

    Collatio Ensign

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    I do not understand it quitly how the procedural consumes more performance. Sure I understand why it takes more performance but what I mean is: When the map is fully explored and everything is created, does it still consume more performance than the hand-created terrain?
    If yes, why is that so?
     
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  10. banksman45

    banksman45 Rear Admiral

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    Interesting because Star Citizen is doing something similar but it's not for performance reasons. They just rather create their own planets first then allow some form of Procedural generations but this is interesting. I'm glad this is just an alternative way to create planets and not a replacement because you['re going to need procedural generations when you start adding other star systems in the game. I do love the idea of a 500m height max for mountains. Giving this game bigger mountains adds to the immersion . Can't wait to hear about the other features 7.0 will have
     
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  11. Repier

    Repier Commander

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    The new pulse rifle looks great !
    Can't wait to get an epic version :)
     
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  12. banksman45

    banksman45 Rear Admiral

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    I'm so thankful for this because I was wondering about it. Now I am wondering what are the new features. lol It sounds like 7.0 will be bigger than 6.0.
     
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  13. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

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    My guess would be that a procedurally generated planet is generated chunk by chunk as each chunk comes into the visual range of the player, so there would be a performance hit if a player is zooming quickly around a previously undiscovered planet. I agree that after a planet is fully explored, there shouldn't be much, if any, difference.

    What I'm excited about is the chance to try my hand at my own terrain generation algorithms :).
     
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  14. Jacoviz

    Jacoviz Commander

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    We want to know the others features :oops:
     
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  15. joemorin73

    joemorin73 Captain

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    @Hummel-o-War

    The most important Q&A question is missing.

    "Will the handmade terrains in 7.0 work in multiplayer?"

    I ask this as the Terrain Customizer of 6.x did not work for multiplayer.
     
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  16. Kieve

    Kieve Rear Admiral

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    Aww yiss. Shiny metal for everyone!!!
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Space Beagle

    Space Beagle Captain

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    New texture changes are GREAT!

    About new 'terrain' - is it possible to have both type in same game (on different playfields/planets of course :))?

    I'm asking regarding future "big galaxy", so that way we could have more diverse and unique experience - I really like how some current barren type planets can look (not moons, but planets made on barren template :))
     
    #17
  18. michaelhartman89

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    How far are we away from having cave systems, running rivers, as well as roads......I would love to see the addition of roads!
     
    #18
  19. JdeFalconr

    JdeFalconr Lieutenant

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    So I assume terrain sets will be exchangeable via Steam Workshop? Having pre-made terrain is an excellent idea, especially for the performance reasons stated. Seems like a waste not to be able to easily share them with others.
     
    #19
  20. michaelhartman89

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    Here are a few things that I think would be perfect additions to the new terrain editor:

    Textures (Texture Gun)

    - Ability to paint roads, grass, highways, sidewalks on the ground to replace whatever there with a flat terrain with a asphalt/ concrete/ grass texture. This would be perfect for modular cities.

    Terrain Editor Options (Creative Map Editor - instead of YAML)
    - tools to copy, paste, cut, dig, fill, add bodies of water/ rivers, sharpen terrain features, raise, lower, add layers for caverns or raise terrain to make floating terrain like avatar.

    - Make a system to make a random terrain and then let the user edit it and make it their own. Also add a easy system to add poi's, animals, npc's, quest items, ships, etc

    (started implementing in 6.0)

    - Multiple Biome Planets

    - Add roads and street signs

    - prefab tram ways and rails.

    - add deep caverns, plateaus and steep cliffs to our maps
    (2/3 complete with update 7.0)

    - add prefab structures added by the devs from either the workshop or as 3d models to design cities

    - add and tweak size of vegetation. For those of us who desire to play in a playfield that resembles Kashyyk.


    Vehicle types
    - Railways and Trams maybe some metropolis with a basic public transportation system or even a shuttle service to and from the space station to a settlement

    Tunneling Feature
    - Tunneling system, maybe an added feature for tunneling through mountains or underground. This could use snap mechanics ( think subnautica)

    Decorations
    - Park benches, street lights and other decorations for use in creating a cityscape.

    - Adjustible windows with switch to open close blinds

    - LCD screens have the ability to have multiple texts or slide shows.

    - a way to record in game footage or take photos and play them on LCD screens

    - exterior cameras or security cams with ability to display live footage on lcd or access with p menu on "Registry". This way we can check in on our pvp bases.
     
    #20

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