Happy Xmas and Dev Status

First, happy Christmas to all of you, and above all happy New Year.

This one has been a harsh one for many people so I will hope for you that 2014 will be a bit better, don't give up.

About FARC; Nov and most of Dec constituted a slow down period due to some RL things and a bit of relaxing from the dev I must admit. But in fact the development never really halted since I continued to port my multiple paper notes, about the research & development system for the alpha 10, into a workable form in the main doc, including the so loved math formulas, to be able to implement it when it will be the time to do so.

The game loading is also finished, even if I haven't uploaded the SVN yet. Nothing fancy to show; there is only an update into the main menu and a new window, built in the same way than the about window, to show all the files into a tree hierarchy. The rest of the changes are in the background.
It has been a bit of PITA because the code about the 3d, new game setup and the part which allow continuing a saved game were a bit messy... We never stop to learning when we code.

But it is working now.

I have 5 days off, w/o counting the weekends, until January 5, so my objective is to implement the popup menu shortcuts that allow to switch to any orbital objects in the current 3d scene and also to implement the turn-based subsystem.

Beside it I will work to also to fix and complete the survey mission, as announced into a previous post.

I go to push myself to complete these two late features and so begin the development of the alpha 10 after January 6, I'm not promise anything but anyway I go to try it.

By this date I will make a post about the dev status including 1 or 2 screenshots. No release, since I will do one only for the alpha 10.

So again I wish to each of you good things for this end of year and this new one to come.

Take care and stay tuned.

Alpha 8/9/10 Status: Lazy Month and Group Release in 2014

I'm sorry but there will not be any Alpha 8/9 release this month.
November has been a lazy one, for some reasons, in the development of FARC and I can't deliver on time as I said.
So I decided to release the 3 alphas (including the upcoming 10) at the same moment.

The alpha 10 will be released in the first semester of 2014; I don't give now any date until I'm really sure it will be released at the said date. I know that many of you follow the project and I don't want to lose you because of not respected schedule. It's perhaps nothing, it's just an incomplete game, but it's a question of respect more than about the game itself.

Of course until that I will continue to post reports of the development, with more meat about the game system itself when I will begin the alpha 10 (which include the research & development system), and I will keep you informed.

Sorry again and stay tuned.

Alpha 8/9: Finally Some Moves

I must say that I'm very sorry about the delay... I've been a bit lazy these last weeks, or in fact more focused on other topics (private/financial) and the OpenGL and graphics programming aren't really my cup of tea.
But it's done now, the universe.xml contains a second star system which has been generated quickly and used only for testing purpose to give me the ability to switch in-game to another planetary system.

Anyway here's the updated status:

Alpha 8 [0.6.2]:
expected: November 2013

  • 3d scene cleanup and reloading routine.
  • addition of the ability to download a saved game file before any game or during a game.
  • an implementation of a shortcut system, directly into the popup menu, to allow a quick access to any orbital object inside the currently selected planetary system.
Alpha 9 [0.6.3]:
expected: November 2013
  • turn-based subsystem including the ability to switch between realtime and turn-based.
  • the automation of the planetary survey.
Yes... I'm a bit in a hurry now. The good news is that the code to load a saved game file will be pretty simple and it will be completed this week.
The shortcut system will be also completed this week.
The turn-based subsystem, is yes only a subsystem of the game flow and only affect this one, not the game systems, so I think that will be pretty fast. The longest part will be the user's interface as usual.
The automation of the planetary survey is only coding for 95%, including some bug fixes after some of you reported problems with it.

Stay tuned.

PS: this month I have some holydays, I will use them for FARC.

Downloads/Rant: What a Brave New World

Today, a user informed me that he wasn't able to download FARC because he is located in Italy.
That was a surprise for me and after some research I discovered in this old article here that IndieDB/Gamefront block users from many countries...

First I must say sorry to anyone that tried to download it, I wasn't aware of this sh*t.

Second, the scepter of Sourceforge and its sissy policies came back again for me, and I must say that I'm really fedup of these no-balls hosting websites.

Where is this f*cking net open to the world? It seems to be finally dead and 6 feet under...
I know that's not new, nor a discovery, but this sort of problem seems to accumulating as fast as our countries' debt...

Well, sorry but I needed to vent this. For those who read my posts since a while you know that I speak my words.

So, from now I will host my files on Dropbox, the alpha 7 is here .

I will not delete my account on IndieDB, by respect for the people that follow my project on this website, but I'm really tempted of...

The alpha 8/9 release in November will be hosted onto Dropbox too.

What a Brave New World we live on, but don't worry, 1984 is on the way now.

'Got your license to live?

NB: I also updated the Download page.

Small Note: Back to Business

I'm back to business, I received the SSDs today that was fast :)
I will start again the dev tomorrow.

Alpha 8 [0.6.2]: Delay + Alpha 9 Merging

I have a SSD failure and it put some delays on the dev. Nothing is lost but my PC at home is dead for now.
I don't think I will have time to complete the alpha 8 before the end of October so I will release the alpha 8 with the alpha 9 at the end of November.
Normally I should receive the SSDs this week.

Sh*t happens :)

Stay tuned.

Alpha 8 [0.6.2]: Poll, OpenGL, Alpha 10 Design

First, sorry for the lack of post, this first part of October as been fairly slow and the dev itself pretty light but existent. I played ARMA 3, Xenonauts and Command: Modern Air Naval Operations.. For one time that I consecrate some time for gaming...

Poll: thanks to all of you for your votes! So the majority has decided, and I will continue to post .7z packages until the 1.0.
For the 1.0 and above I will upload the two versions, a .7z and an installer.

OpenGL: I completely overhauled the code that determines the color of the planet's atmospheres; they stick more on their atmosphere composition now. Even if in reality the colors of the atmosphere aren't only due to the atmosphere itself but also the star and so on. I actually working on the cleanup of the 3d scene, a key part to allow the player to load another save file during an actual game or, in the future, to switch to another star system. It's the "big" part of this alpha, after that the game loading itself isn't much than that already exists. In the final I will implement a shortcut system for the browsing of the orbital objects and the alpha 8 will be done.

Alpha 10 Design: yeah I'm not totally lazy, because I also consecrate time to setup a system for the dynamic research & development system that will be implemented in the alpha 10. I finally found how to implement a dynamic system; I found the inspiration into this article on SpaceSector.org to make my own.
In fact I was working on it well before, but the system at large wasn't here, only bits and bits, this article only simply opened my view on a whole system.
So without to give too much details it will be a system based on different research fields that can, dynamically and in a semi-randomized way, open onto different technosciences that will be required to master to finally unlock new products, infrastructures and equipment modules. The random part is minimized at the max because 2 main things will determine a probability:

  1. by the technoscience's related list, that contains a list of other technosciences more or less related to it. They will give different points based on their technology level, difficulty, and weight. That will define a probability
  2. Since the research is at the faction and colony level (but don't worry I will allow macro and micro-management for all the tastes), each faction will have an additional set of data, called research aspects, that will affect if a technoscience is discovered or not. These research aspects define the directions and preferences for some technologies instead of other. That means that some technologies will be less likely to be discovered than others. These aspects are defined by the current faction's socio-political matrix, some global events and other discovery (like during a planetary survey for example). At the colony level, the Instruction Level and any infrastructures in the colony that will affect research & development will be also taken into account.
    So in clear, the SPM system, the products and the infrastructures will be updated and not by a little part.
That's all for now, thanks for your interest... and patience! :)

Alpha 7 [0.6.1]: Release

The Alpha 7 is done and officially released.

Here are the changes:
  • the asteroid belts are now displayed and playable in game.
  • the fixes of the user's interface for the Spanish language are done.
  • the FUG is patched with some terminal changes.
  • the quality of each resource spots are now generated after a new game has been setup.
  • the 3D is fixed for the orbits; they are now all correctly displayed.
  • the 3D is fixed for the zoom/unzoom of the space units. It's not perfect but it's better.
  • Epsilon Eridani 2 and 5 have been completely re-generated and fixed, new surface maps have been added.
  • other surface maps have been refined, some are also craterized.
  • some parts of the colony panel and the CPS objectives panel have been  updated in their localization and so are displayed correctly in their respective languages.
  • interface fix for the colony panel which triggered an integer overflow and also an intempestive popup when it wasn't needed.
  • updates of the Spanish language.
  • a timer freeze of the threaded game flow, that could also trigger an exception, is fixed.
  • the textures for the star are improved and a higher resolution is used.
  • in the surface panel, if there is a colony on the focused orbital object, the settlement icons a correctly updated and displayed.
 Is the alpha 7 saved game files from the previous alpha are compatible? No, you will need to start a new game.

The full package is available here: IndieDB Page (please note that the download must be authorized by IndieDB and will be available in the next 24/48 hours).
If you have a previous Alpha installed you must download the full package too, since there are assets additions. There's no separate core package for this release.

Here is the near future dev schedule:

 Alpha 8 [0.6.2]:
expected: October 2013
what it will include:
  • 3d scene cleanup and reloading routine.
  • addition of the ability to download a saved game file before any game or during a game.
  • an implementation of a shortcut system, directly into the popup menu, to allow a quick access to any orbital object inside the currently selected planetary system.
Alpha 9 [0.6.3]:
expected: T.B.D., in 2013
what it will include:
  • turn-based subsystem including the ability to switch between realtime and turn-based.
  • the automation of the planetary survey.
Alpha 10 [0.6.5]:
expected: T.B.D., in 2014
what it will include:
  • basic technosciences.
  • technology infusion into the products and infrastructures, including the production system and the linked elements of the user's interface.
  • implementation of the core of the dynamic research & development system (RDS), including its inclusion into the interface by updating the unified management interface.
Please note that in parallel to the dev at my work, during my breaks, I working to finalize the design document of the research & development system. I finally decided to only implement a dynamic research system. I know that this kind of system have pros and cons compared to tech trees but anyway that's where I am headed.

That's all, back to work :)

Alpha 7 [0.6.1]: Virtually Completed - Pre-Release Post

Here is the status:

Alpha 7 [0.6.1]:
expected: before the end of September 2013
main to-do-list:

  • the inclusion of the asteroid belts into the game, and consequently into the 3d view.100% done
  • the fixes of the user's interface for the Spanish language will be completed.
    will be 100% done on sat/sun
  • the FUG will be patched with the terminal changes.
    100 % done
  • the quality of each resource spots will be generated after a new game has been setup.
    100% done
The alpha 7 is virtually completed for its main part. I will release it on the weekend of September 28/29.
I need to complete the fixes for the Spanish language and that's it.

I go to refine this alpha by to continue to apply some code audit and also put an idea I have to use the popup menu to give to the player shortcuts to any orbital object in the current system. So you will be able to switch to any other orbital object by simply to use the popup menu. I just hope that I will time to complete that before this weekend, at least for browsing the main orbital objects.
That will not be a luxury for the satellites too, especially when there are asteroid belts, because like for Epsilon Eridani, its two belts totalise 89 asteroids...

I wanted originally to put an interface into the UMI (Unified Management Interface) with trees, to give the player the ability to do the same, but just found that including these directly into the popup menu is something even more efficient.
The UMI will be populated enough with all the main parts of the game system (trading, research & development, space unit design and so on), so anyway...

I present you the two belts, the first one with its 25 asteroids:

...and the second one with its  64 asteroids:

Yeah, the tiny yellow rings are the gravitational limits of each asteroid, and of course all of them are playable. The XML file of the universe just jumped to 11,625 lines from 2,593.
Crazy? Useless for a game? Well, it is FARC so get used by its craziness, it's only a start... or look for a casual 4X... I'm bad I know :)

Oh also, by fixing some code in the OpenGL renderer, as you can see on the screenshots above I also fixed the display of the orbits of the main orbital objects (the bluish circles. The 90 degrees ones are for planets and asteroids, and the 360 degrees ones are for the belts) but also fixed the ones for the satellites, as this screenshot below shows it:

Before that they weren't displayed at all. It doesn't bring anything into the gameplay but now FARC looks a bit more beta-ish than a first alpha release.
Just admit that circles aren't big things for your video cards :)

That's all, stay tuned.

A note about the keyboard shortcuts

Here's a small post to inform you that I will overhaul the keyboard shortcuts that are used to browse the planet, satellites and space units.

I decided to adopt a more mainstream way and use the WASD configuration. I will add also some hud text to inform the player about what is focused in these 3 categories. WASD is convenient and completely user friendly also for people that have a keyboard w/o a numpad... I forgot that some of you could have one and... :)

I can't say in which alpha I will implement it, I will see, maybe the 7 if I have time or the 9 otherwise. Since I need to overhaul the keyboard shortcuts for time acceleration and add some others for the turn-based subsystem, I will also modify the browsing.

For reminder, F1 popup the help panel with the display of the current keyboard shorcuts.

Stay tuned.

Alpha 7: Epsilon Eridani 5 Fixed + New Surface Maps + Last Phase Until Release

The Epsilon Eridani 5 is finally fixed. The planet is now at its correct orbit distance and have new satellites.

There also new surface maps, since EpsEr5 have some icy planets as satellites.

I also worked deeper on the surface maps, put craters, and even one as a ridged surface, due to its tectonic.

Here are the screenshots of the new planetary satellites:

You can find the new 4K resolution package on its OpenGameArt.org page and download it.

The last main phase of the alpha 7 begin; the 3d "engine" will be updated to be able to display the asteroid belts. Afterward, I will tranfer their XML data into the universe.xml and that will be done.
Secondary, I will also complete the bug fixes for the Spanish language.

Some Clarifications for the Survey mission

Sigma on this blog talked about the planetary survey, and figured how it could works; I answered to him and given him some explanations. Since it was a long answer I found useful to make a post about it to inform any of you.

Now to figure out how to play the game. :P Resource surveys seem to restart after finishing after 90 days. (using all the airships)"

 My answer:

"Yes it is normal, at least for me, it's a cycle.
The duration displayed of 90 days, doesn't represent the duration required to survey the complete region. This part is shown by the [X.XX%] into the resource spots subsection, below the region's data.
The duration represent in fact the total autonomy of the group of vehicles, and so the total number of standard days the vehicles can be used on site to explore the region, including their time of travel, before it is required that they goes back to base for refitting/replenishment.
Airships in this case have a very long autonomy, and so can stay on site for a big time (we, of course, don't talk about 20th century airship technology), but are painfully slow if you need to operate a survey into a remote region.
Of course for now, apart if you are a medium or spying into the XML files, you cannot know that because there is no information in game about it. The encyclopedia will be updated in time.
Of course too, the survey is slow, like here after 15 days, the 4 airships surveyed only 0.9% of the region and why?
1/ because the speed and # of the vehicles is taken in account, 2/ each type of vehicle have different level of capabilities for the surveys, 3/ the region itself affect the progress of the survey (by its relief, weather and so on) and finally 4/ for example the surface of a region on Epsilon Eridani 2 takes 9,314,563.6 square kilometers, it's a lot. In the future the survey will not take the entire surface for a coastal region; I will add a data into the orbital object's data to indicate for each coastal region, which is the part of land, in %."

 I applied some grammatical corrections in the process, as usual I always answer too fast w/o proof reading...

Stay tuned 

Alpha 7 [0.6.1]: fixes completion, Epsilon Eridani 2 fixed + New Surface Maps

The zoom/unzoom and also the initial display of the space units is fixed. It is not perfect but far better than what it was. It also takes in account the distance from the star and avoid the most possible the "jerk effect" of the 3d view when a far space unit is zoomed.

Also if you had freeze with the game timer after one day, it is fixed too. The third party tool adds a sort of autofree feature that was set, interfering with the destruction of the thread if needed.

As I said previously, Epsilon Eridani 2 (the Earth-ish world) is completely fixed. I missed to set the total area of the hydrosphere into Fractal Terrains, so the surface map didn't really represented what looks like the planet, and this error of my part screwed up the nature of all the regions. So the XML for this planet is regenerated, its surface map redone and all is OK now :)
Clearly, the provided 1024*512 resolution of the surface maps doesn't gives justice to the render, but since the 3d isn't vital for the game I only provide 1024*512 texture resolutions. If you want to take a look directly at the maps in all their details you can download the package on the OpenGameArt.org page and download them.

The next step is to regenerate Epsilon Eridani 5, since I made an error in its distance from its star, and that data change a lot of thing, so all must be recalculated.
After that, I will update the OpenGL visualization and will add the ability to display the asteroid belts in the main view, I will transfer the XML data of the two asteroid belts of Epsilon Eridani and finally will release the Alpha 7.

NB: here's the screenshot of the surface map in the making

Alpha 7 [0.6.1]: winter cleanup, fixes and refactoring

Here is the status:

Alpha 7 [0.6.1]:
expected: before the end of September 2013
main to-do-list:

  • the inclusion of the asteroid belts into the game, and consequently into the 3d view.
  • the fixes of the user's interface for the Spanish language will be completed.
  • the FUG will be patched with the terminal changes.
    100 % done
  • the quality of each resource spots will be generated after a new game has been setup.
    100% done externally, need to transfert the code once the current build that concern the OpenGL fixes is completed.
The FUG is finally patched with the correction of a few errors I seen when I generated Epsilon Eridani.

The code that I have done to display the 3d view is a complete mess (it has been made before I decided tougher coding rules). So I must clean it up until it bleeds.
I also fixing the druggy issue with the zooming of the space unit that Alejandro reported, it's not a big deal, I tried quickly to improve the zooming of the space units in the alpha 6 and missed the spot apparently.

After this stage I will implement the ability to this "3d engine" to finally display the asteroid belts and will transfer the XML code of the 2 belts of Epsilon Eridani.

Finally I will complete the user's interface fixes for the Spanish language and will release the alpha 7.

NB: if I complete the fourth steps well before the end of September, I will fix the planetary survey too which seems to hang the game after one standard day passed. If it is not the case it will be fixed anyway for the alpha 9.

Stay tuned.

Alpha 7: Some Whoops Here and Here

I starting the development of the Alpha 7 and opening it with a series of bugs smashing.
Some have been reported but nothing impossible to fix.

The funniest one is that I screwed up the generation of Epsilon Eridani 5 (the first gaseous planet of the system) by entering its eccentricity (0.125) instead of its distance from the star (3.39 AU).
A big difference isn't it? I haven't even seen that something was wrong in the 3d view when I made the screenshot of this planet...

So I added this problem to fix too for the alpha 7 release.

Also someone reported me an exception at the launch of the .exe with an OpenGL context exception. That kind of bug is worst to manage than all the rest, but I tried a workaround, I'm waiting of a feedback from this person.

That's all, stay tuned.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Release (who said at last?) :]

The Alpha 6 is done and officially released.
As usual there's two features that are postponed toward the next releases.
Here are the changes:
  • the full completion of the FARC Universe Generator (FUG). For now only the star system and stars generation is implemented. The big step concerns the orbital objects themselves (the planets and asteroids). The data added concern the hydrospheres, the biospheres, the complete region's data (land type, seasonal weather, local resources ) and the surface mapping.
  • the implementation of the first complete and definitive star and planetary system: the Epsilon Eridani system
"That's all? 5 months and 1 week for that?"


OK some numbers: the Size, in lines of code, of this alpha 6 takes 32.4% the entire size of FARC at the alpha 5 stage. Even compared to the current alpha 6, the addition represent 24.5% the total size of FARC.
It is not what I call a small update but the drawback is that nothing new in the gameplay is added, at least for this alpha, because in the alpha 7 the asteroid belts will be added and will be a playable element.

The full package is available here: IndieDB Page
If you have a previous Alpha installed you must download the full package too, since there are assets additions. There's no separate core package for this release.

So to recapitulate the oncoming dev, here is the near future dev schedule:

Alpha 7 [0.6.1]:
expected: before the end of September 2013
what it will include:

  • the inclusion of the asteroid belts into the game, and consequently into the 3d view.
  • the fixes of the user's interface for the Spanish language will be completed.
  • the FUG will be patched with the terminal changes.
  • the quality of each resource spots will be generated after a new game has been setup.
Alpha 8 [0.6.2]:
expected: T.B.D. , in 2013
what it will include:
  • 3d scene cleanup and reloading routine.
  • addition of the hability to download a saved game file before any game or during a game.
Alpha 9 [0.6.3]:
expected: T.B.D., in 2013
what it will include:
  • turn-based subsystem including the ability to switch between realtime and turn-based.
  • the automation of the planetary survey.
Alpha 10 [0.6.5]:
expected: T.B.D., in 2014
what it will include:
  • basic technosciences.
  • technology infusion into the products and infrastructures, including the production system and the linked elements of the user's interface.
  • implementation of the core of the dynamic research & development system (RDS), including its inclusion into the interface by updating the unified management interface.
At this speed I don't think I will be able to deliver a 1.0 in 2015, but hey it's a long-haul bet yet so wait & see.

That's all, stay tuned.

Alpha 6 In Waiting for Auth in IndieDB

I decided to upload the alpha 6 file, it will be available in the next day.
I waiting until that to unlock the release post.

Until that, you can always goes into the IndieDB page and check if the file is authorized.

All of that is so convenient of course.

By a matter of fact I decided to stop to upload any future code into the Google Code SVN service, and I don't think I am alone to do this along the 300,000 projects on Google Code.

Thanks Google you can now join the suckers club with Sourceforge...

I wanted to create a new entry to allow the download of the alpha 6 and stumbled on a old new from May that say that Google will stop their download service on January 15/2014. That's not a new but I wasn't aware of the fact.

Now that remember me my bad experience with SourceForge and frankly I don't know where to put the next releases. It's out of question that I go back to Sourceforge, they put sh*t on me one time, that suffice...

The funny thing is that I'm not even able to  create an entry right now, and FARC is among the projects that have already other downloads...

So for now no alpha 6, and they can put a Batrank colonizer in their *ss for the future SVN updates...

Well, that certainly help the open-source community for sure...

I'm sorry of that and looking for an alternative, I will keep you in touch when I will find something.

Sorry to the readers for the bad words (yup I censured them myself).

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Unoficial Release Post

Finally the alpha 6 is done, finito, stomped and killed.
The funny thing is that I don't have the time to make the packages, upload them and make a proper release post, it's 23:13 here and I need to sleep for the job tomorrow.
So by waiting tomorrow, I decided to post some teasing screenies. Tomorrow I will post a proper release with all the details.

So here's Epsilon Eridani:

The only thing that this view miss are the two asteroid belts. The current engine doesn't support them yet and I will add them for the alpha 7 (they will be fully playable).

Epsilon Eridani 1 is an asteroid so no much beauty to show you.

Here is the beauty of this planetary system, Epsilon Eridani 2:

The surface map in the surface panel doesn't do justice to the map itself (they are rendered initially in 4K resolution) but here it goes. It is a water-liquid world a bit more extreme than on Earth and smaller than our planet. It contains a carbon biosphere at Vertebrate Level and will be, later in the development, the home of the Magellan Unity faction.

This planet is fairly denser than Earth and so the gravity is higher (about 22% more than Earth).
So to move your human *ss on it will be all a physical competition :)

Here is the less cool (depend of the sense of cool) world of Epsilon Eridani 3:

This planet is only at 1.19 AU from the star but since it's a K2 star and cooler and less bright than the Sun, the temperatures are pretty cold. This world is a bit larger than Earth and it is fairly rich in ore of all sort.

I pass Epsilon Eridani 4 since it is the first asteroid belt and present the bluish Epsilon Eridani 5:

This planet is one of the two gaseous planets of this system, and is based on the few and real info we have from the direct observations of this planetary system.
As you can see this planet is fairly inclined by nearly 40 degrees, and have only 3 satellites. You can see the yellowish gravitational spheres of two of them at the left of the planet.
Their satellites have not much special, apart the third and farest one which is a captured asteroid (yeah the FUG support that feature) with a density 1.5 time of Earth.

Epsilon Eridani 6 isn't a ice ball like others:
In fact its hydrosphere is made of Methane. Yeah a bit like Titan. It's why that it has this orange-ish color.
This planet is big (a bit less than 20,000km in diameter) and support a subsurface ocean (yeah the FUG and FARC support this feature too)... and .. surprise... have some methane-based life in it. Yeah, fear that methane micro-organisms :)

Epsilon Eridani 7 is the second asteroid belt, so nothing to see too, for now.

Finally here's the last planet of this system, and the second gaseous one: Epsilon Eridani 8:
This one is a big chunk of gas which support 6 satellites.
One of them is a planet with a subsurface ocean and a presence of carbon-based life in it.

So that's it.
Tomorrow I will upload all the stuff, it's 23:51, have a good night.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: FUG adjustments, XML / OpenGL bugfixes and First Planetary System [Last Post Before RELEASE]

Finally the FUG is complete, the XML data loading is fixed (there were some bugs due to the last changes) and the OpenGL is fixed too: mainly for the custom textures and also an exception, that has no link with what I done in this alpha 6, if you left click in the 3d view.

So I finish checking and implementing/flushing the last notes I put on paper for the FUG and will begin the generation of this planetary system.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Resources Final Phase, Adjustments, Planetary System

Well, the biosphere is D.O.N.E.
Now I just have to implement the last and only resource spot, update some adjustments and finally generate the first planetary system of the game.

Yeah you read it well.

So NOW, I can say and display that the alpha 6 will be released at max on Sunday 8, just to give me some time to generate and craft the planetary system.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Information About the Delay and the Release

First I'm very sorry to not been able to release at the date I said.
FARC is a complicated thing, and the generator isn't much different from that.
I passed two days + 1/2 additional one this last weekend to put on the game design document the result of the reverse engineering of biosphere from the old code I made.
Since yesterday I implementing it and it is done at about 75%. I pass time on it but since the universe generator will be released in its beta stage version, I prefer to do it well.
So without say a specific date, I can say that the alpha 6 will be released this week, and don't ask which day I don't know...

In the future I will not announce any date, not before a release is near to be completed, that will prevent waiting time for the people that are interested and will avoid to give them false hope.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Biospheres [Last Post Before RELEASE]

As planned I actually work on the biospheres. There is some work of reverse engineering with the old code, and some other to update the main document of game design but it goes OK.
Anyway I don't implement the complete details: The FUG only generates two data: the biosphere level (BIOL) and biosphere vigor (BIVI).

The BIOL indicate two things: the type of biosphere, among the 5 present in FARC, and the maximum evolution stage the biosphere reached.

The BIVI indicate the biosphere strength in it evolution.

These two data are the two key one to generate the species in-game, when it will be implemented.

After that, I will implement the second phase of the resources which is pretty small since it concern only one resource spot, in fact the last one that is not implemented yet.

Finally I will put some adjustments and will generate the first planetary system tomorrow.

So the alpha 6 will be finally available and a big page of the development will be done.

It's not particularly a quiet weekend but at least an interesting one :)

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Resources

The complete first phase for the resources bring a heavy stack of change in the resources spots, so I need to do some adjustments in the game itself.
That's the joice of complicated things you know :)
I disabled the resource exploitation of ore fields for now, I will update this part into the alpha 7.
But anyway the resources will be done today, and I will begin the biosphere today too.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Delays Delays...

FARC Alpha 6 will be released this long weekend (it's 3 days off here in North America), so at max at Sept 2.

Sorry for the delay, but you know...

Stay tuned.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status:Habitability Indexes, EMO and Resources

The habitability indexes are now implemented. They give a quick glimpse to how an orbital object fit or not fit for unprotected human beings.

The Environment Modifiers (or EMO, yeah no pun on this) are a set of modifiers for each region of any asteroid and telluric/icy planet that are used during Surveys, Constructions/Assembling/Building of infrastructures, Infrastructure Wearing and Ground Combat... and so affect them directly. These modifiers are calculated according to some of the data of each region that are sometimes also mixed with some data of the orbital object itself.

OK, what need to be done?  Here is the list:

  • Resources (first phase)
  • Biosphere
  • Orbital Object's Environment
  • Resources (final phase)
 The calculations for the Biosphere and Orbital Object's Environment are small, and for the resources...are well... less small.
The Resources are in two phase because two data are linked to the results of the calculations for the biosphere.
I always hope to complete all that until this weekend and generate this first planetary system and...
Finally upload and close this alpha 6.

That's a very tight schedule as usual :)

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Surface Maps Generation (WIP) - The Hell with the Climates

Since the deadline come close day after day, the stress rising and the bugs are a REAL pain.

I passed days on multiple calculations bugs and also incoherencies of the Climate model to finally fix it completely only... now...

Yeah the FUG isn't really completed yet...

I had to remake entirely the calculations of the wind speed and fix the calculations for the rainfall.

Details? Yes, especially since the FUG must be finalized and completed at Beta stage even before the game itself...

But it's OK now, finally, and works whatever the environment, even if the planet has a cool ammonia or methane atmosphere and hydrosphere so healthy for us humans.

Now I can FINALLY complete the user's interface for Fractal Terrains and FINALLY pass to the last step of this 5 MONTHS of development.

Yeah I'm a bit grumpy :]

Stay tuned and pray for the release at the planned date.

Happy BDay FARC!

Today, four years of development have passed, since this iteration has started on August 16 / 2009.

So what to say?
In the past 4 years, not much has been made, compared to what I can see for most indie games.
Of course I don't work fulltime on it, and if it was the case I certainly could have reached the same state two years earlier.
But anyway, in 2 weeks the alpha 6 is released.

There are 8 major releases left until the 1.0 and certainly the same amount of minor releases (with < 2 weeks of work) to do too... and my goal is the end of 2015...
Is it a realistic goal? I don't know, maybe not, or maybe I can do it because of course a major alpha doesn't mean obligatory 8 month of work, it will not be the case for two of them at least.
Does that mean that I will stop the dev of the game after that deadline? Nope, there are some additional years of work with additional features to implement.

That's always the dark point in the open source development, and the main reason that many project doesn't reach completion or at least a mature state in an OK time frame.
Added with that, there is always some apprehension that the game couldn't work anymore in case of when a new version of Windows coming.

Without even talking about if at the end the game system will be playable and not breakable because of some flaws...

But on the positive note, some games like Dwarf Fortress continue to be developed even after 10/15 years. So anything can happen :)

So that's it, happy bday FARC and I hope that I will be able to be a little more productive in the times to come.

A word about the surface maps

I need to make this post to give you some precisions.

The custom surface maps will have three resolutions: 1024 * 512, 2048 * 1024 and 4096 * 2048.

From the alpha 6 the 1024 ones will be included in the full and assets-only packages. When I will finally put back an installer for the 1.0 version, they will be also included by default in it.
I consider the 2048 and 4096 ones as optional, and they will be available in separate downloadable packages.
I do that because, as you certainly seen already, the 3D in FARC is pretty basic and has only a function of illustration in the background, the game in this way isn't a real 3d game. So to put by default high resolution textures seem to be a waste of bandwidth and time for you. But on the other side I want to let you the choice to use them or not, so that's it. Theses maps affect the render in the 3d but also into the surface panel, where the surface of the currently selected orbital object is displayed.

So that's it. I actually put in the main design document the complete procedure of the data linking for Fractal Terrains and also the procedure to render the maps. It's a bit of work but it will make it far easier in the future when I will have to render many surface maps for many planetary systems.

PS: I will make a special package to deliver the maps to OpenGameArt.org, and contribute to this community, after the release of the alpha 6.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Surface Maps Generation (WIP) & Fractal Terrains (Done)

Sorry for the lack of pull of code but I finishing the Fractal Terrains procedure, for surface map generation.

I worked all this weekend for sorting and selecting climates files for FARC, among 240. These one allow generating different flavor of flora/terrain according. I sorted those I will use by star type and age classification, based on some sources I found on the net.

I also finally decided which render I will use for the maps, and it will be Image Climate instead of the too generic Gaia shader. Altitude render will be also used sometimes.
That's one problem with Fractal Terrains, because the software has been designed for topographic render not for a purpose of game development! But it's OK with the climate image one.

For example, a map with a matching Earthly climate and a G2 star looks like this:

Around an old K star:

Around a F5 star:

Around a A5 star:

and finally around a M star:

I have also custom climate files that I made for O/B stars but the statistics to have flora in worlds around such stars, even in my generator, aren't much.

The ocean color can also be changed to many flavors, with more than 100 coloration files, from a NASA/Blue planet style, as used above, toward a Venusian/Martian/Icy/Desert/Sterile one.

I know that I make free advertisement with this software since the last posts, but I like this piece of tool :)

So now, I go to finally complete the first phase of the surface maps generation, in the FUG.

It's time, because the deadline coming and I really want to NOT release the alpha 6 too late!

Stay tuned.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Surface Maps Generation & Fractal Terrains

OK, I have now switched to another internet provider, so the SVN pulls are back.

This weekend I worked mainly to create procedures to generate surface maps with Fractal Terrains, and explored its big addon.
The fact is this software with the addon opens the doors to nearly limitless possibilities. So I would be able to generate maps that don't resemble each other.

In the code side, I finished the design of the land and relief types' generation. It was the last step before I begin to implement the first phase of the regions generation.
Since I also explored Fractal Terrains from A to Z, I also determined which planetary data are required to generate maps that correspond, the best possible, to the generated data.

So now I begin to implement this first phase completely, including the update of the interface.

Afterward I will test, with one planet, if all is OK and I will begin the second phase the regions generation, which is finally, the last part of the FARC Universe Generator development.

I'm perhaps a bit late, because as usual I want each detail at the best, but it would be OK to release for August 31.

That's all, for now.

[no news] Connection Problems

I have no more Internet connection for now (thanks Bell and your sh*tty service).

So until I switch to another provider, you will not see anymore SVN commit, since I can only act from my job.

That doesn't change anything for the news and for the release, I can upload from here (until my work block Google one day, who know...).


Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Surface Maps Generation & Fractal Terrains (w/ screenshots)

Tonight I began to learn again, and adjust, Fractal Terrain.

I have some work because I need to read again the ebook concerning the big addon for this software, but it will be worthwhile.

I know that's not the first time I post one, but here's two screenshots of Fractal Terrains in action w/ the setup of stuff for FARC:

I found an old file (from 2008 yeah!) with all the grid templates that correspond to each max number of regions an orbital object can have. These grids in FT are superimposed onto the surface maps to help me to decide of the relief and plain/coastal/oceanic status of each region.
In the game, in the colony panel or surface panel, the selection box onto a surface map reproduces exactly these configurations.
For information, these are only basic surface maps; it is possible to generate as bit more complex than these.
On the code side, I continue to design the land generation before to implement it.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Land Types + Surface Maps Generation

Finally, the weather part is done. Now I begin the land type generation for each region to process including the data interfacing with Fractal Terrains. It will also include an update of the interface to allow to manually editing two data: the region's coastal/oceanic status and its relief.

After that, the last part will be about the biosphere and the resources spots.

I'm late as usual but the development of the generator goes to an end too, and honestly I'm eager to develop another part of the game now.

Stay tuned.

Friday's Surprise

Haha, no, not a release this Friday yet :)

I know that the title could be misleading, but I just to inform you that I put tomorrow as a holiday, and so will work on FARC full time.
I badly want to complete the FUG as soon as possible, to be able to generate the first planetary system of the game and update the 3d with then new changes in data (like for the asteroid belts).

Well, sorry for the joke, I'm back to work now.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Region's Climate

The design of the climate is finished today and I will begin its implementation.
The next step is the land type generation, including the data interfacing for Fractal Terrains, and so I will be able to begin to generate surface maps. It will also include interface updates to allow me to edit each region of an orbital object, particularly to set its relief and specify if the region is coastal or not or an ocean, based on the surface maps that Fractal Terrains will generate.
After all that, the last step will be the resources and the biosphere, and that will be finally done, after more than 10,000 lines of code.

Stay tuned.

(addon) Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Regions w/ Their Basic Generation and Surface Temperatures

The surface temperature calculations by region is done. Night variation is pull out of the current development of the FUG, since there are not really used for the FUG and that day/night simulation isn't taken in account in the game. Now I'm working on the climate of each regions.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Regions w/ Their Basic Generation and Surface Temperatures

Sorry for the lack of SVN commits, for now I doing reverse engineering of the old code and put the calculations and design in the main doc.
The generation of the number of regions is done and I'm working on the calculations of surface temperatures by region, according to the latitudes and day/night variations.
It is a bit long because, as usual, the old code is a mess with some errors and sometimes not easy to understand but the RE progress.
What is the use to it? The answer is simple: to provide something coherent to temperatures across the surface and region by region according to the orbital object's inclination axis, period of rotation, orbit eccentricity, clouds cover and hydrosphere. If it wasn't implemented, all the regions would have the same temperatures regardless their locations on the surface.
These temperatures are also the backbone to process the next step: the region's weather.

Regarding of the delay, I really hope to complete the FUG before August 1st...

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Orbital Periods and Regions

Before to work on the last part of the FUG, the regions, I implemented the orbital periods.
These periods are used to indicate the base and surface temperature according to if an orbital object is at its closest, farthest or intermediary orbit from its star.
Base temperature is a temperature based only on the distance of the object from it's star and the star's luminosity. The formula is pretty simple:

252 / sqrt( DistanceAU / sqrt( StarLuminosity ) )   [in Kelvin]

The surface temperature modifies the basic temperature with the object's geophysical and atmospheric properties; like greenhouse gases, optical depth and convection.

These data constitute the basic data required to process the regions.

So, since this part is completed I begin now the implementation of the regions themselves.

Just to give you an idea of the result since the start of the FUG's development, here's a XML file of a generated planetary system:

 Google Docs XML file

 Its generation is totally random, excepted for the star where I taken the Sun's data. The configuration of this system is fairly varied and even contain a planet with liquid water. There's no asteroid belt in this one, but anyway it's not the most interesting object to show :)

Stay tuned.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] (Late) Dev Status: Hydrosphere Completion and Regions

Finally the hydrosphere is 100% complete, including its interface.

Now I begin the last part of the FUG, the regions.
Each non gaseous planet and each asteroid have their surface separated in 4 to 30 regions dependent of its size.
These regions have their proper basic features (terrain type and relief), weather (weather type, seasonal temperatures, winds and rainfall) and also their resources represented by the resources spots that can be discovered by a planetary survey.
The basic features of these regions are defined by the custom surface map generated in Fractal Terrains, so the map stay coherent with the regions' data, at least for the basic features, the rest is generated inside the FUG.
The biosphere data will be also generated in same time, because some of them generate possible resources too.
So that's it, I hope to not take too much time in it and to complete the FUG before July 15th because I need time to generate the first playable planetary system of the game and also apply the other features of this alpha 6.

This day off helped a bit, so let's continue to work on this alpha 6.

Thanks for your interest, take care and keep it up.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] (Late) Dev Status: Hydrosphere and Planet's Types

The implementation of the interface for the manual edition of the atmosphere is done.
I actually implementing the hydrosphere and this part have induced two major changes in FARC.
The first one is that the types of hydrosphere has been revised and finally expanded to 9. Here's the list:
  • Liquid Water
  • Water Ice Sheet
  • Water Ice Crust
  • Liquid Water-Ammonia
  • Liquid Methane
  • Methane Ice Sheet
  • Methane Ice Crust
  • Nitrogen Ice Sheet
  • Nitrogen Ice Crust
There were many weird bits of code in the old version of the generator for determining the hydrosphere, it is far better now, and the atmosphere-less planets will have more variations.

The second thing is that the types of planets are greatly reduced and simplified and for two reason: one because FARC has far enough of data to define an orbital object without to categorize each one by Earth-like, Venusian or whatever else, including the derivation of each hydrosphere. Second, because ALL the telluric and icy planets will have a custom surface map. That's mean that the standard surface map actually in game will be removed in the alpha 6. Fractal Terrains, the software I using to generate the maps, is in its last version able to generate barren/craterized surface maps. So there are no more reason to use standard and boring ones.
Don't forget that these surface maps aren't here only to "beautify" the interface but the determination of some data for each region is even based on them. Fractal terrain provides a wealth of planetary data for it. So in clear the maps really stick to  the region's data.
That will give me a bit more of work but the result will worth it, since no surface maps will be the same. Only the ones used for the gaseous planet will stay standard.

So that's it, since the 24 is a day off I will work my ass off to finish the ecosphere and begin the last part of the FUG: the regions.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] (Late) Dev Status: Hydrosphere

The design of the hydrosphere is just finished this Saturday night. I'll begin to implement it this Sunday.
After that I will need to implement the Seasonal data + Clouds Cover and Albedo, and this step will be completed.

After that I will begin the final step of the FUG, the regions (including the Fractal Terrains link, the resources and the biosphere).

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Ecosphere

Here's a small post to say that the dev isn't frozen but I working since 6 days on the design of the ecosphere.
The only problem is that at the time I coded the old version of the FUG I didn't made any design document, only a few notes, and part of the code have errors as you could imagine so I design the rules of the ecosphere from the scratch. There aren't many data compared to the geosphere data: in fact only those that concern the atmosphere (its composition, pressure and including the clouds cover) and those that concern the hydrosphere. But these two parts are fairly... complicated.
Anyway I hope to complete it this weekend and start its development that shouldn't, at the contrary of its design, takes too much time.

Once completed I will begin the dev of the regions including the data link for Fractal Terrains.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: The Satellites Generation, Phase I Comes to Completion

Finally the phase I of the satellites generation comes to an end. I can now finish the design of the tectonic activity rule, apply that for the satellites and after for the non satellites objects (including the tidal differential stress) and the geophysical data will be fully implemented.

The interface is also entirely done for this part.

In the next step after that I will implement the process of the ecosphere data.

I know that's nothing thrilling to show yet but the FUG constitute one of the backbone of the FARC universe.

About the deadline, nothing has changed: aside the user's interface, the progress of the FUG goes well because it is 90% of calculations and stats. I think the ecosphere will be completed before the end of May, afterward maybe 1 or 1 1/2 month will be needed to put the regions, the dialog interface for generating Fractal Terrains surface maps, and the biospheres.

It is anyway the only alpha which concern an indirect feature of the game, so be patient :)

That's all for now, stay tuned and thanks again for your support and interest!

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Satellites Generation, Phase I

I stopped the calculation of the geophysical data at the tectonic activity, because I need data from eventual satellites. So I beginning to implement the phase I of the satellites generation including: additional interface element to setup the satellites and addition of the calculations of the basic, orbital and geophysical data.

It is required to generate them now because I need to calculate the eventual differential tidal stress between each central planet and its satellites, for the tectonic activity data.

Once completed, I'll begin the implementation of the generation of the ecosphere.

For reminder, the next steps after that are: the regions w/ the manual edition interface to allow generating custom maps into Fractal Terrain and bringing back the regions' information into the FUG, part of the resources, the biosphere, and the last part of the resources. Theses update concerns also the satellites.

Finally I will update the FUG with my last updated notes about minor changes here and here and this big step of the alpha 6 will be completed.

NB: FUG= FARC Universe Generator

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Orbital Objects Generation, Geophysical Data nearly completed

Sorry for the lack of post, but with the FUG there is not much to show you.

Things take a bit more time than planned because the ancient code of the generator I made 9 years ago is plagued by bugs and calculations errors, and besides that, step by step I also must update the design document too.
But things go at good pace and I nearly completed this part, the geophysical data.

Manual edition is entirely working and done too, and many calculations adjustments were been applied for stars and orbital data.

The geophysical data concerns the orbital object's physical data like diameter, inclination axis, gravity, escape velocity and so on.

Once it is completed, in the next days, I'll begin to implement the calculation of the ecosphere, including the atmosphere, seasons,  and hydrosphere. The interface will also be updated to allow manual edition of some of these data.

With some hope I think I will complete the FUG before the end of May, and that's a good thing because it's the biggest part of the alpha 6.

Some much job for some data :)

Stay tuned.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Orbital Objects Generation, Geophysical Data and Manual Edition

The basic interface to manually edit some of the parameters for each orbital object is done.
The data that can be edited concerns for now some of the orbital data and many of the geophysical data.
Geophysical data are about the object itself, so its diameter, density, mass, gravity, and escape velocity and so on. For now the calculations aren't fully implemented yet but they will be in the next days. There is some work because I also updating the main design documents with the generation rules and formulas taken from ancient (like made 8/9 years ago) documents and also from an ancient and complete source code. Because for the history, the first program that I have made in the FAR Colony project is the generator itself... in 2003.

Here's a screenshot of the orbital objects pad with manual edition:

It's not pretty but it's an internal tool that you will not see during a game, so it's not relevant.

Of course this part of interface isn't complete; in the future it will be also possible to edit part of the ecosphere, the biosphere the object's regions and its eventual satellites.

The line code count climbing exponentially and that isn't surprising because there are many calculations and the code I put in the FUG is based on the old generator, which takes itself about 14,000 lines of code, about 24% of the entire size of the alpha  5...

The manual edition will also allow me to craft entire star systems according to my liking but also physics and mathematic coherence. You will note from now that I will never use the terms realism/realistic because FARC stay a sci-fi space game and isn't an astronomy/astrophysics program nor a prediction of the future. Coherence fit better for this kind of strategy/simulation.

The repartition of the orbital objects themselves is based on 3 possible statistical models: Sol-Like, Extrasol-like and balanced. This third one is a mean of the two first ones.

Here's the example of an Extrasol-like repartition, from the main document:
There are more than 4 types of objects; these 4 are only the basic ones at the start of the generation.

Geophysical data are calculated according a mix of standard physics formulas and statistical rules taken/based from diverse sources.

So what's next?

First I completing the geophysical calculations, after that I will implement the ecosphere, the orbital periods/seasons, the surface generation which include the regions and the data link toward the fractal rendering software Fractal Terrains, the biosphere, the resources and finally the satellites.

After all that, and about 10,000 more lines of code, I will craft the first final planetary system of the game: the Alpha Centauri system, which will replace the current placeholder. It will also include its custom planetary surface maps.

PS: I would like to thanks the first direct contributor; aside the two ones that have Flattr'd the game, which made me a PayPal donation about more than 1 week ago. Thank you Blob!

Haha, that's all for now, stay tuned.

Alpha 6 [0.6.0] Dev Status: Orbits Generation

Alpha 6 [0.6.0]:
expected: before the end of August 2013
Main To-Do-List:
  • !IN DEVELOPMENT! the full completion of the FARC Universe Generator (FUG). For now only the star system and stars generation is implemented. The big step concerns the orbital objects themselves (the planets and asteroids).
  • the implementation of the first complete and definitive star and planetary system: the Alpha Centauri system (the one actually in game is only a placeholder for testing purposes). That also includes all the customized surface maps, which will be required, generated with a 3rd application: Fractal Terrains.
  • the ability to load a saved game including a 3D scene cleanup w/o put any interference in the game flow. That will include certainly some audit of the code concerning the 3d "engine" (if I can call my basic stuff like that).
  • the implementation of the automation for the planetary survey.
  • [optional] the turn-based subsystem.

First, I'm sorry to not have made a release video about the Alpha 5 features, like I said.
I'll do one once the FUG is complete, I really want to complete this tool before since that's the biggest part of the alpha 6.

One new part of the FUG is now complete: the orbits generation.
It's the basis of the generation of a planetary system: it determining if a star can have orbits by taking in account many parameters like if the stellar system is a single, binary or trinary system, the mean separations and the minimal approach distance between them.
Now I begin to update the FUG interface to enter manual parameter for orbital objects. It will be possible to design by hand some data and let the rest to be automatically generated.
It will be useful since I will use some real information about extrasolar planetary systems.
OK, you can always argue: "if there's a tool to generate entire systems, why to have pre-designed ones in game and not random ones?" Well, it's not technically possible, since the customized surface of planets are generated by a third party tool and aren't only cosmetic because the determining of the types of regions are based on it, in other term it's the only required manual part of star system generation w/ the FUG. Since all the data are linked between them, to make predetermined data sets randomly distributed isn't also possible. In other ways, I don't have skills to make a custom fractal mapping generation and a random regions distribution system.
But anyway, as I said in a previous post, some orbital object's data are randomized in FARC, like the resources, the biosphere and any "special features and artifacts" the surface can have.
Finally, the asteroids belts are reinstated; it wasn't the case before this alpha because I didn't know how to implement them. In the previous failed iterations there were present but... unplayable.
Now, they will be present and fully playable, in fact the solution was already here, right in front of me: they are treated like satellites. The belt itself is the main object, and it will be possible to browse and interact with each asteroid of a belt by browsing them like planet's satellites. So in the Alpha 6 you will certainly see at least one asteroids belt in the final generated alpha centauri system.
That's all for now.

Alpha 5 [0.5.5] Release

The Alpha 5 is done and officially released.
As usual there's one feature that is postponed toward the next releases.
Here are the changes:

  • the 3d has now minor updates and adjustments, especially for the space units.
  • the range tables for the security data in the Colony Simulation Model were been refined and the ratio recalculated.
  • a complete overhaul of the about panel has been made, and the information about the licenses are clarified and updated. Alejandro Ramos (nenexulo22) has been added in the credits.
  • the assets have been expanded (the first time since 2 years) with icons for the resources spots and the resources survey.
  • complete overhaul of the action popup menu. It is replaced with a more stable customized interface and prevents a crash that could occur sometimes.
  • a basic mission cancellation for the interplanetary transit mission is now implemented and working.
  • the framework of the planetary survey system is implemented.
  • the core of the resource survey subsystem is implemented.
  • addition of new product's functions: Survey - Air, Survey - Antigrav, Survey - Ground, Survey - Space and Survey - Swarm Antigrav. Obviously they concern the planetary survey system.
  • addition of equipments: Airships, Antigrav Scout Platform, Rover Survey Vehicles, Scout Autonomous Rovers, UAVs Survey Vehicles and Utility Fog Scout.
  • the memes management is rewritten, re-enabled and bug fixed (the last show stopper bug included in the old code has been killed).
  • some additions are shown on the surface panel, the main one concern the display of the resources spots and all the resources survey related texts.
  • the data structure of the universe is expanded with the region's EMO modifier; there are now 7 modifiers: Planetary Survey Ground, Planetary Survey Air, Planetary Survey Antigrav, Planetary Survey Swarm Antigrav, CAB, Infrastructure Wearing Coefficient and Ground Combat.
Lines of code added (w/o XML): 4,470
For the full changes list, please refer to the Download page.

The postponed features are the turn-based subsystem, which I will try to put it in the next releases, and the survey automations, that will be added in the Alpha 6.
I don't like to not fulfill my objectives but anyway, what is done is done.

The full package is available here: Google Code Download Page
If you have a previous Alpha installed you must download the full package too, since there are assets additions. There's no separate core package for this release.

So to recapitulate the oncoming dev, here the near future dev schedule:

Alpha 6 [0.6.0]:
expected: before the end of August 2013 (at best)
what it will include:

  • the full completion of the FARC Universe Generator (FUG). For now only the star system and stars generation is implemented. The big step concerns the orbital objects themselves (the planets and asteroids).
  • the implementation of the first complete and definitive star and planetary system: the Alpha Centauri system (the one actually in game is only a placeholder for testing purposes). That also includes all the customized surface maps, which will be required, generated with a 3rd application: Fractal Terrains.
  • the ability to load a saved game including a 3D scene cleanup w/o put any interference in the game flow. That will include certainly some audit of the code concerning the 3d "engine" (if I can call my basic stuff like that).
  • the implementation of the automation for the planetary survey.
  • [optional] the turn-based subsystem.
That's all, stay tuned.

Alpha 5 [0.5.5] Dev Status: Pre-Release Post

Finally the planetary survey comes to an end tonight.
I just need to update the interface to show updates about survey progress, when it's needed, and that's all.

FARC Alpha 5 will be released during the weekend of March 30/31 and a new video, explaining how works the resource survey, will be uploaded this same weekend.

It has been a hell of a work as usual but it's nothing compared to what's coming in the next releases.

Stay tuned for this release, and, I don't say it enough, but thanks to all of you that follow silently and less silently the progress of this project.

Alpha 5 [0.5.5] Dev Status: Feature postponed and Planetary Survey

Alpha 5 [0.5.5]:
expected: before the end of March 2013
Main To-Do-List:

  • !DONE! - the action popup menu will be replaced with a custom interface more stable, the current menu can freeze the interface if used in some ways.
  • !DONE! - the Interplanetary Transit mission will be re-enabled.
  • !DONE! - the mission cancellation will be finally completely implemented.
  • !DONE! - the SPM memes management will be fixed (the bug that freeze FARC at March 1st). Don't worry, for now the memes management is simply disabled in the alpha 4.
  • !DONE! - the transition for conversion/assembling/building will be fixed (some errors have been reported).
  • !IN DEVELOPMENT! - the framework of the planetary survey system will implemented, including the resource survey.
  • !POSTPONED! - the turn-based subsystem will be implemented and will be switchable with the realtime subsystem.
First I must say that I'm sorry but I can't fulfill the to-do-list for this Alpha 5.
I must postpone the turn-based subsystem toward the next alphas, maybe for the 6 maybe after that.
That suck but hey I'm only a guy who work on it part time most of the year.
This subsystem isn't a critical feature for the game system, even if I know that some (many?) of you prefer a turn-based strategy game than a realtime game. But anyway one day it will be implemented. The trick is that perhaps I'll have time during the alpha 6, why? Because the main feature of this future alpha is the FARC Universe Generator, or more precisely its completion since a part is already implemented, and that I have already the complete code from 4 previous and old iterations. So to transpose it in this one will be faster than to code from scratch, I need a heavy refactoring and code audit but it's OK.

To go back to the planetary survey itself, this thing become heavy too, many calculations, and many data, at the image of this strange/complex game. But don't worry, on the player side things are less complicated. After the release, in 13 days max now (no pressure!), I'll make a video to explain how it works.

As I said in a comment into the previous post, this Alpha is the biggest addition, in lines of code, since the Alpha 1, and perhaps at the time of release even bigger than what the Alpha 1 has added in lines of code. The Alpha 5 will be also the first release which expands the game's assets since July 2010! Well before the Alpha 1 itself.

Stay tuned.