FARC Alpha 1 [0.5.2] is Released.


(PS: I just applied many typo/grammatical corrections, sorry for the bad writing)

The so-called "first playable alpha", or version 0.5.2, is finally released, after about 4 month of development.

Like it, Hate it or "WTF" it, it's available to download and here to stay until the next major release.

You can find the file (Windows only, or usable under Linux by Wine) here .

The Download page of this blog is also finally updated with the links and the long changes list, if you want to see what are the additions since the 0.4.1.
Talking of version I changed it a bit: until FARC goes in beta, one day, the releases will be counted as Alpha 1, 2... and so on, including the real version between [] (ex Alpha 1 [0.5.2] ). I do that because there will be more often releases from now as long as I work to consolidate this Alpha 1, and only the build will change, not the version. It could be confusing a bit.

There's not much to do, apart to assign people for construction and build some infrastructures, but anyway an another core system is done.

If you want only see what work has been done in 1 year and 4 month you can see the changes in the Download page.

Here's a little FAQ (based on comments/ forum posts over the time and a bit of self masochism :P ):
===============================================
Your game is boring, looks like a screensaver, and feels incomplete, are you aware of it ?
Since it's an alpha and since I focusing mostly to the implementation of the game systems, a lot of things lack in this version like all the rest of the playable factions, final planetary systems (there's only one for now and it's only for dev testing, it will be replaced by a fully generated one), and many infrastructures. The game lack also of many information reports for the player, but some will be implemented in the subsequent patches after this Alpha 1.
For the boring part I can't do much for now, come back in 2 or 3 years when FARC will be feature complete. Just keep in mind that it's free, not made by a studio in full time, and there's a ton of alternative out there that will fulfill right now all your needs; as Endless Space for example.

Is it a Master of Orion Clone or inspired from it ?
By the background and design of the game, FARC is far from MOO 1/2 and even the 3.
The only video game reference I use is Outpost (the first one, released in 1994). See this wikipedia page .

So what's next ? 
Well, first I'll consolidate this 0.5.2, so that means no new feature but a mass of bug fixes, code completion, and interface refinement and frequent updates available as patch and complete downloads.
When I'll decide it will be OK I'll begin to dev the next major version.

When do you plan to begin to dev the next major version and what it will be about ?
I don't know exactly, in fact it's not entirely true. I lie a bit because I planned about 2 months of code consolidation for the 0.5.2, but in the Open Source world, development schedule always stay an uncertain feat.
The next major version (0.5.5) will include a hybrid realtime system and a turn based system. Yes it will have the two; because in the manner I coded FARC time flow I can join a turn based system to the whole time flow system. If all goes well the player will can switch in realtime and turn-based on the fly. I'll do that because even if I like real-time based, I know that many of you prefer turn-based strategy games.

Talking about schedule why it's so slow ? Do you plan to complete FARC when windows 12 will be released ?

I'm a one man army and do that during my free time so I can't do miracles BUT... since I don't plan to take any new courses for my job until 2013, I will use most of my breaks at work to push further the development. It's maybe only additional 45/60 min by day but that will allow me to process all non trivial tasks in the development, to update the XML files and also the docs. That will be the first time, since the start of this 3rd iteration in 2009 that I'll have so much additional time dedicated to the game.

Third iteration ?
Yes, the two previous ones are in fact failed-and-never-completed ones, and that for many reasons.
The first one was started in 2002 and halted in 2006, and the second one was started in 2007 and halted in 2008.
I uploaded some screenshots of these old iterations in the Gallery section if you're interested. Just take a look to the bottom of the page.

Will FARC stay free ?
Yes, and indefinately as far as its GPL license protect it. If someone wants to pay someone else for downloading it on a website, simply don't. Google Code is the only official repository of the FARC packages for now.

Do you consider other platforms ?
No. Some time ago, maybe more than one year, I talked about a "possible" native Linux port, but I have already too much job to do with this version only, and no more spare time.
===============================================

Thanks for reading this post and thanks to anyone to have kept your interest in this project since so much time for most of you. The best gift I have is by sharing my dream with you :)

Comments

  1. send me the file for traducton to spanish ;)

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  2. i am test this version and not work in windows 7 64 bits:

    http://img707.imageshack.us/img707/2307/sinttulocql.jpg

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  3. in the main title only appear test test test test and only test not texts or images or elements in 3d or 2d, has to be a problem is this version that the rise and that you had sent snapshot if run properly on this pc. Please check this version and that does not run properly. thanks

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  4. I've been following your game for some time now and just downloaded and installed this fresh alpha (and may I suggest you put future alpha versions in simple .zips instead of installers?) and it seems to have it's issues.

    Contrary to nenexulo22 I do have a normal menu and the game itself seems to run proper. But some of the planets or objects don't have textures (like in your screenshots) and the objects seem to "wobble". It's hard to describe, but if I e.g. selected Alph Centauri A-1 (happens for all planets) and rotate it or zoom to it, it shakes around for several seconds, looking like a graphical bug. Also Alpha Centauri A4, which seems to use some kind of shader or special texture for it's atmosphere has also rendering problems.

    Though I didn't had much time to check the FarC alpha out, so I may add some stuff later on.

    But nonetheless congratulations on getting the beta out, especially at the projected date ;)

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  5. @nenexulo22: yes it's an error from my part, I cleaned up the hintlists of the spanish section in the encyclopaedia but I shouldn't do that. I'll go to upload a patch with the fix.

    Sorry for the convenience.

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  6. @Sascha Willems: for the textures I tested the release in a virtual machine and the textures are all displayed OK, can you provide a screenshot please ? The release contains all the required files.
    If you talk about the asteroids and space units it's normal, there's no textures on them. But if it's the planets, there's another problem.

    For the wobble, yeah I see also it. It's apparently a bug of the OpenGL framework but it's beyond my skills, I already tried 2 years ago to fix or reduce that but without any success.
    About the atmosphere I'll disable the display of them then (on my computer they simply aren't displayed anymore), it's since I had to take a relatively recent version of GLScene after a crash. It occurs also with the last SVN of GLScene, so I go to disable it.
    Thanks a lot for your feedback !

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  7. @Sascha Willems: I finally recovered a backup of the correct GLScene version, from 2009. I don't know why I didn't see it before, but anyway..
    The package is a bit old but it always worked well and... now the atmospheres are restored as they were since the start, finally... :) You shouldn't have anymore problems with them.
    It will be for the alpha 2, excepted that if you want it now I'll could pack a patch.

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  8. note that it will not fix the wobble...

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  9. I instaled the game, and don´t boot.

    WXP sp3, core2duo e6400 Gf 7600GT 3GB.

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  10. @STALKER STALKER: damn >< !
    Let me some time to setup a virtual machine with xp sp3 and I'll tell you if I can fix this.

    Sorry for the convenience.

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  11. @STALKER STALKER:
    Well, I tested it w/ a XP SP3 and it works: http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/5436/screenshot2012060113245.jpg

    I don't know what doesn't work, especially with so few information, because it's not your hardware config that gives any problem to run it.

    You can always to uninstall it, download the archive in 7zip (on the Download page) and try to install it into a directory of your choice, out of C: maybe.

    Sorry :(

    PS: Since I go to apply a complete code audit, I'll concentrate my attention during the creation of the main form to look if something may cause a problem, because since your problem is at application startup it can't be the 3d or other interface element, so it reduce the cause of problems.

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  12. Hi, thanks for the interest. I downloaded the 7zip version, and no load.

    I run the task manager and the program is in memory.
    http://fotos.subefotos.com/218e9134dcf8c82735a62345d6952569o.jpg

    If you need more information please notice me

    Sorry for my bad english

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  13. I forgot, thank you very much for your interest and for giving us this game.

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  14. @STALKER STALKER: OK that's weird, especially that at this stage FARC mustn't take 48% of CPU, some process definately do a crash loop.

    Please test this one:
    Download File - 4.5 Mb

    It's just an executable, move it in your installed directory and overwrite the file.
    "Normally" if all goes well you should see the main window with no text localization in the title bar and menu bar. If it's the case that mean that part is OK, you can close the window and we will go to the next step. You will just have to tell me.

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  15. @STALKER STALKER: no problems, anyway this game is far to be completed yet, but it's always cool to sharing (when things works). :)

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  16. Hello, I reinstalled the operating system, and ..... it works. :-)
    Thank you for your attention. We will follow here, waiting for the next beta. If I can help with anything, just tell me

    Thanks again.

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  17. Ok, when the 2nd LV lands, there is a constant Range Check Error, every time you press OK, another colonist supposedely arrives, from the same LV (CPod02), and a new "End of Colonization" message is sent to me about this
    Because of this, I am unable to play/test the game.

    This happens even if I only send 1 LV, and CPod02 appears to still be docked to the mothership.

    I added 2 screenshots to demonstrate what I mean.
    Note the difference in 1) Message number 2) Energy production

    No game time has passed between the screenshots, just clicked OK, click somewhere else, new error, etc

    http://i.imgur.com/OWgJm.png
    http://i.imgur.com/5viM8.png

    After that I kept clicking until I got to 900+ messages.
    I tried launching all LVs, just 1 LV etc, this ALWAYS happens.

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  18. NO NO NO!! You misunderstood! I didnt mean the screensaver comment as an insult!
    I meant, that when I was checking it out, it was in the very beginning of development, -a few years ago possibly!
    I meant I was very curious on how it looks now since it seemed very promising at the time, but couldnt due to being unable to download it...
    Please forgive for any misunderstanding!!! Keep up awesome work and once again, please take the post as an encouragement!

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  19. Just tried the latest version and I've got the same problem as Stankor along others. After I've started a colonization phase and send the LVs this happens when trying to e.g. the surface or clicking on "colonization" for the space vehicle.

    And one more thing : is the space units list supposed to be empty? If I go there by e.g. pressing F6 it's always empty. So in my first testings I thought I didn't have any vessels. But after trying each key on my keyboard I finally got moved to movane by pressing "s". And noticed the next problem, as it doesn't look lit its' supposed I guess :

    www.saschawillems.de/misc/farc_movane.jpg

    If I rotate the camera to get it inside this blue shell I can see the normal model though.

    And another thing : I can't zoom in or out. Is this implemented? If not that would be nice, especially with that visual bug of Movane, zooming out using the mousewheel would be great.

    But don't let all these bugs and problems stop you from moving on. I'd really love to see FarC completed, as space-themed strategy games are a real rarity todays :)

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  20. @Anonymous: haha no problems :) Don't worry I didn't take that as an insult, I was joking.

    Considering the download, yeah there were disabled due to a problem with Sourceforge, it's why they deleted my account and I moved to Google Code.

    I take your post as an encouragement, peace and properity <(o.o)> :)

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  21. @Stankor
    @Sascha Willems
    damn ! I'm very disapointed ><

    I even tested it on a XP and Win7 virtual machines and all goes well :(

    I hope to clear that problems with the code audit :(

    I'm really sorry :(

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  22. Yeah, I use Windows 7 64bit, I forgot to say.
    I hope the screenshots help you find what's wrong. There's no errorlog file or anything, is there?

    I think the energy produced number is negative, dunno if that causes that cause the Range error, or it's another symptom.

    It's an alpha, so no big deal, I just hope it's fixed soon so I can test the colony production stuff :)

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  23. @Stankor
    @Sascha Willems

    OK, each of you tell me exactly all the actions you do until it raise these errors ><
    I want the details of any key pressed, button pressed and menu items used.
    It's tedious but for now I have no other mean to know how these errors are triggered
    Thank you

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  24. Basically anything I do results in it, but I'll try.

    So the game starts, I'm seeing Centauri A3.
    I press S and the view switches to Monave.
    I right-click and select "Colonization".
    I select the region (tried many, surface AND subterrenean), type the names, selects number of LVs. I've tried selecting 1, all 4, and in between.

    Click Proceed, then press C to switch to Historical time until the LV gets there.
    Now I afk since there's nothing to do.
    Usually I press S to switch back to A3. Wait.
    After about 6 days, the view switches to Monave on its own, and the Range Check Error pops up. Messages come that say CPod1 has arrived, and then CPod2 has arrived (even if CPod2 stayed home!).

    If I close the message, I can switch views, I can use the menus, even the colony one. But If I click outside the menus, on the screen, the error pops up again, and another message about CPod2 comes in, identical to the previous ones.

    I hope that helped, I will try to make a video recording too.

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    Replies
    1. Strange because the mission last about 2 hours...
      Thanks for your support, I seen there's many problems in the code of space units missions (I didn't touched that since like 1 year or 2...).
      The colonization pods were removed during the space unit missions process. Perhaps it's because of that...
      Anyway the rewriting is planned in the code audit phase, so I hope that will be fixed.

      Thanks again !

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    2. I took a screenshot, it says max ETA 6days 7 hours, even though it's in orbit.

      http://i.imgur.com/kEjWm.png

      Happy to help :)

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    3. Houston we have a problem...
      OK I think that I see what it is, it's the float formatting.

      Look my screenshot:
      http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/8748/screenshot2012060315524.jpg

      As you can see it'S not related to the mission, because even the region's data aren't the same and shifted of 2 zeros.
      Hmmm what is your decimal symbol in Windows ?
      It strange because i put a line in the creation of the main form to prevent that but it doesn't seem to work, at least I suppose that's that since it's clearly the float value formatting of the entire game that seems to be fucked up o.O

      So if you can answer me I'll be glad :)

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    4. Haha even the clouds Cover display 369% instead of 36.9%. My my, what a day :)

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    5. OK, I forced the decimal separator.

      Please download this update: http://oron.com/xtuhu2um4isv

      By of course the regular and free method:)
      decompress it in you FARC directory and overwrite the .exe and all the xml.
      Launch again the game and setup a new one, and... I'll cross my fingers...

      Delete
    6. Wow, you are fast.
      You did find the problem, my decimal separator was ","!

      I followed your instructions and...

      1) The mission succeeded without a Range Check error! :)

      2) BUT, the Clouds cover was 369% and it did take 6 days again, so it's not completely fixed

      3) Then I changed the decimal separator and everything went fine.
      The mission completed in 2 hours. Some other issues I had were fixed too (like the A3 planet having no texture).

      I can now play the game!
      I even made an exoskeleton like you did in the video.
      When I tried to just add colonist though, this happened.
      http://i.imgur.com/0gvBn.png
      Tried with just 1 colonist too. Maybe I don't have enough technicians or something? It doesn't crash the game though.

      I read the new blog post and I do hope you are not too disappointed.
      Every alpha game has bugs, but if you find them so fast it won't matter :)

      Delete
    7. Can you just do a last test ? go back to your decimal separator with "," and launch the game w/ administrator rights ?

      I added an another line to force again the decimal separator, because to obligate the user to change his/her decimal value manually isn't a good coding practice. Anyway I'll upload an Alpha 2 very soon.

      For the 3d, yup, revert to the 2009 framework was the solution.
      The last SVN of GLScene break up too much things in FARC.

      Regarding the access violation, I HAVE THE SAME THING on the Win7 virtual machine, and the cause is... a call to the debug window that doesn't exist when FARC isn't in debug mode...

      Another problem fixed, I go to upload the ALpha 2 today...

      A BIG thanks again for your help ! :)

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    8. No, sorry, admin rights didn't help, decimal bugs still there.
      Hopefully you got them with this other line.

      You fixed the access violation too? That's awesome! :)

      Sorry to report that I found another bug.
      Every time the date ingame becomes 1/3/2250, 0hr 0mn , time stops. It just stops and there's not way to continue (tried pressing Z,X,C,P). The 1st time you press one of these buttons, there's an error saying "Cannot terminate externally created thread". (I'm still running with admin rights btw)

      Speaking of which, maybe Historical Time should be faster, like 12 game hours per second.
      At least during this phase of the alpha, because there's not much to do while waiting for the mining sites to complete.

      I hope I didn't ruin your mood again, and that this one is as easy to spot as the others!

      Delete
    9. Ya, your colony died of dehydration...

      I forgot to provide enough water for a full year to the population.

      It's fixed now with the alpha 2.
      It's only a quick & dirty hardcode, in the future you'll don't have enough reserves for a full year and will need to build infrastructures to generate what your population requires to survive on long term.
      Just enjoy the boring no brain/no difficulty gameplay for now, it will change in a not so distant future, BEWARE ! >:(
      No problem my mood is OK, it's just that this first alpha had too much critical bug even for a first alpha, anyway it's fixed now, alpha 2 is released :)

      Thanks again for your help this last weekend !

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    10. Hmm, no it was just 3 months, I still had water reserves and it still happens in Alpha 2.
      Just let the game run for 3 months in your win 7 virtual machine and it should happen. 1/3/2050

      Alpha 2 seems to have a new bug. Sometimes (but not all the time), when a Mining Site is built, the Transition Time starts at -1 hours instead of 2 hours. And it stays -1 forever, it never opens.

      http://i.imgur.com/I7SpY.png

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    11. OK I have no problems on my computer but I will test it on the VMs.
      Anyway it's some work for the code audit I'll begin tonight :)
      For the 3 months it's strange o.O

      Maybe a bug in the SPM phase, I'll check it too.

      Thanks again for all your reports ! :)

      Delete
    12. I can reproduce this bug on the Win7 VM, it's related to the SPM phase and particularly with a meme which display boggus data in the UMI.
      It will be fixed in the next alpha.

      Delete
    13. Stankor, your suggestion for a faster time flow gave me dev idea for the 0.5.5, there will be a sort of that thing in this version ;)

      Delete
  25. I even forgot to include the fonts directory in the release... better and better.

    Well I think I'll upload this Alpha 2 in the next days...

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  26. Hi Farcodev
    Its Geraldine from the SSC. I must say your game is progressing well! Certainly going to try out the alpha II. Keep up the good work Watchmaker! ;)

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  27. Hey Geraldine !
    Haha ya thank you :)

    It had a difficult birth this weekend but anyway the alpha 2 fix most of the critical ones.
    The full code audit will fix the rest and there's a load of job because the most dirty part of the code is the one that concern the space units missions. It's a complete mess, but with a better organization of the data structure and multiple refactoring it will be better.
    Thanks for your support ! :)

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