Alpha 10 Release and Wishes

The alpha 10 is released.

You can find it here on DropBox.

From now, as said in this post and this one, any further development is stopped until the basic part of FARC, concerning the setup of the first player's colony, is 100% completed as designed.
And work there is, bugs to be fixed it must, desert of assets populated it will (not it's not a typo I just try to do the smart ass).
So I initialize tonight the first iteration of the plan and from tomorrow I will begin the dev.
I let about 1 month with + 6 days at max, or less than that depending of my speed and the work to do, for each iteration.
That will bring more release into unified patches. So you will be able to update this alpha (the 10) at any iteration step, without bothering yourself by thinking if you need to download previous patches or not. Of course you can wait for the iteration 10 patch, alpha 11 or the beta (if one day it becomes a reality).

By the way I fixed 3d show stopper bugs, so that "should be OK".

It is time to flesh out all that.

Oh... and I whish you a happy new year 2015 :)
It is not yet the time for me in Canaduhland but most of the EU/Asia have already said goodbye to 2014.

Stay tuned.

Release Notes:
  • 3D:
    • overhaul of the atmosphere colors.
    • a complete cleanup code has been added, allowing to cleanup the current scene for the purpose of the loading of a new game and the future purpose to switch to another planetary system.
  • Colonization Phase System (CPS):
    • viability threshold values are now all better adjusted to their difficulty ranks.
  • Encyclopedia:
    • many English sections have been corrected by Max Horning.
  • Faction / Magellan Unity:
    • addition of its common core for the research & development system; include the research domains' orientations and the personalized core setup.
  • Factions:
    • implementation of the common core of research & development.
  • Game Flow System:
    • implementation of a turn-based subsystem.
    • the game flow system support now the realtime and turn based subsystems, ie it is possible to switch between realtime and turn-by-turn mode at any time.
  • Game Saving/Loading:
    • it is now possible to load a saved game by chosing a file, before any game is started or during the current session.
    • the research & development data for all the in-game entities (including the player) are now saved and loaded.
  • Graphics:
    • keyboard icons for the help panel (incomplete).
    • multiple icons for the RDS including: the research domains, research fields and those displaying the status of a fundamental research or technoscience.
  • Help Panel / Encyclopaedia:
    • overhaul on how the keyboard shortcuts are displayed (incomplete).
  • New Game Setup:
    • a new game can be setup during a current play session.
    • fix: the military threshold in % is correctly displayed.
    • full code audit for FCMgNG_Core_Proceed.
  • Planetary Survey:
    • bugfixes.
  • Products:
    • addition of material:
      • Gold.
  • Research & Development System (RDS):
    • the data structures of the research domains and field, including technosciences are implemented.
    • at the start of a game, the common core of each non-player faction is initialized dynamically and by taking into account of eventual pre-defined setup.
    • at the start of a game, the common core of the player faction is initialized dynamically according to the player's faction of allegiance.
    • addition of the following fundamental researches:
      • Antimatter Theory [Physics, Level 2].
      • Astrobiology [Biosciences, Level 1].
      • Astronomy [Astro-Engineering, Level 1].
      • Black Holes Science [Astro-Engineering, Level 4].
      • Climatology [Ecosciences, Level 1].
      • Cognitive Science [Biosciences, Level 2].
      • Conceptualization [Culture, Level 1].
      • Cryobiology [Biosciences, Level 1].
      • Cryonics [Biosciences, Level 2].
      • General Theory of Relativity [Astro-Engineering, Level 1].
      • High-Energy Particles Physics [Physics, Level 3].
      • Logic & Algorythms [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
      • Memetics [Culture, Level 1].
      • Plasma Physics [Physics, Level 3].
      • Quantum Mechanics [Physics, Level 1].
      • Stars Physics [Astro-Engineering, Level 2].
      • Superfluidics [Physics, Level 2].
      • Terrestrial Physics [Ecosciences, Level 3].
    • addition of the following technosciences:
      • 3D Printing [Industrial Technologies, Level 3].
      • Advanced Photonic Cells [Physics, Level 4].
      • Alloys [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
      • Antiprotons Generation & Isolation Techniques [Physics, Level 3].
      • Automation [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
      • Basic Ecology [Ecosciences, Level 1].
      • Basic Mining & Refining [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
      • Basic Modern Medicine [Biosciences, Level 1].
      • Batteries [Physics, Level 1].
      • Biochemistry [Biosciences, Level 1].
      • Chemical Engineering [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
      • Chemical Medicine [Biosciences, Level 3].
      • Complete Brain Mapping [Biosciences, Level 4].
      • Composite Materials [Industrial Technologies, Level 2].
      • Computational Electromagnetics [Physics, Level 3].
      • Computer-Assisted Design [Industrial Technologies, Level 2].
      • Cryogenics [Industrial Technologies, Level 2].
      • D-T Fusion [Physics, Level 4].
      • Data Intensive Grids [IndustrialTechnologies, Level 4].
      • Deep Space Observations [Astro-Engineering, Level 4].
      • Directed Electromagnetism [Physics, Level 4].
      • Electromagnetism [Physics, Level 1].
      • Expert Systems [IndustrialTechnologies, Level 3].
      • Fullerenes Processing [Nanotechnology, Level 2].
      • Genetic Synthesis [Biosciences, Level 3].
      • Genetics [Biosciences, Level 1].
      • Geophysics [Ecosciences, Level 4].
      • High Pressure Diamonds [Industrial Technologies, Level 4].
      • Hydrochemical Agriculture [Ecosciences, Level 1].
      • Hydrogen Fuel Cells [Physics, Level 4].
      • Inflatable Habitats [Aerospace Engineering, Level 4].
      • Information Networks [IndustrialTechnologies, Level 3].
      • Ion Rocket Engines [Aerospace Engineering, Level 3].
      • Integrated 3D Systems [Industrial Technologies, Level 4].
      • Lasers [Physics, Level 1].
      • Logistics [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
      • Long Duration Orbital Operations [Aerospace Engineering, Level 3].
      • Low Temperature Superconductors [Industrial Technologies, Level 3].
      • Metamaterials [Industrial Technologies, Level 4].
      • Micro-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS) [Industrial Technologies, Level 2].
      • Micro-Electronics [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
      • Microrobotics [Industrial Technologies, Level 4].
      • Miniaturization [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
      • Modern Agriculture [Ecology, Level 3].
      • Molecular Engineering [Nanotechnology, Level 3].
      • Multi-Stage-To-Orbit Vehicles [Aerospace Engineering, Level 1].
      • Nanocomposites [Nanotechnology, Level 4].
      • Neurology [Biosciences, Level 1].
      • Nuclear Fission [Physics, Level 1].
      • Nuclear Fission Propulsion [Aerospace Engineering, Level 4].
      • Orbital Flight [Aerospace Engineering, Level 2].
      • Photonic Energy [Physics, Level 1].
      • Photonics [Physics, Level 2].
      • Quantum Dots [Nanotechnology, Level 2].
      • Predictive Climatology [Ecosciences, Level 4].
      • Recycling Technics [Ecosciences, Level 3].
      • Relational Database Systems [Industrial Technologies, Level 2].
      • Robotics [Industrial Technologies, Level 2].
      • Rocket Propulsion [Aerospace Engineering, Level 1].
      • Solid-State Lasers [Physics, Level 3].
      • Supercapacitors [Physics, Level 3].
      • Superstrong Fabrics [Nanotechnology, Level 4].
      • Supraconductors [Industrial Technologies, Level 4].
      • Synthetic Biology [Biosciences, Level 4].
      • Targeted Medicine [Biosciences, Level 4].
      • Tissue Engineering [Biosciences, Level 4].
      • X-Ray Lasers [Physics, Level 3].
  • Unified Management Interface (UMI):
    • the size constraints are the same for any tab and are adjusted proportionally to the size of the main window at the initialization and each time the window is resized.
    • Research & Development Tab:
      • implementation of a Research Domains subsection; showing the current status and the progression of knowledge of each domain.
      • implementation of the basic list of discovered/mastered fundamental researches and technosciences.
  • User's Interface - General:
    • overhaul of the keyboard shortcuts (incomplete)
    • fonts are assigned dynamically during the initialization of the main window and no more generate any delay or hangs.

Alpha 10: Last Post Before Release (incl. Screenshots)

Finally the basics of the interface of the Research & Development System (RDS) for this alpha 10 is completed.
Of course there are only the basics but the overall will be completed during the completion phase in 2015.
So here are two screenshots, one showing the Industrial Technologies research domain:


And the one showing the Physics research domain:


As you can see there are some changes compared to the screenshot of the previous post.
First, it is certainly the most graphic part of the entire GUI in FARC. I used and modified some icons from the Noun Project and Lorc for the research domains' icons, that you can see on the top bar, the research fields' icons, that you can see on the left and finally for the icons used into the list of fundamental researches and technosciences linked to the selected domain.

In detail;
  • the first bar, below the research domain's name, indicate the accumulated knowledge for all the faction in this particular domain. (FYI anything displayed into the RDS tab of the unified management interface is a the faction level). To its left is shown the number of standard days required to generate one full research point (or RP). If the faction generate more than one RP by standard day, the value is displayed (as it is the case in the two screenshots above).
  • below the first bar are displayed the research fields of the current research domain. The icons to the left illustrate each field, the value on their right indicate, as for the research domain, the time in standard day to generate 1 RP. Finally the bars indicate the level of knowledge as for the research domain.
  • below them is the list of Fundamental Researches (FR) & Technosciences (TS). It list any FR and TS at least discovered by the player's faction. Since the system will be dynamic, not all of them are displayed like for static tech trees. The numbers inside the circles indicate the technology level. The FR/TS name is displayed beside. The jauge in the middle of each item indicate the research progress of each concerned FR/TS.
  • The icons on the right can indicate 3 status, that are all displayed in the first screenshot; the Discovered state is indicated by a stylized microscope lens, as you can see it for the TS Composite Materials. The Experimental Mastering state is indicated by a hammer inside a gear. Finally the Mastering at the Application Stage is indicated by a jauge that display in green each of the 10 levels of development for this state.

That's all for the show.
I go to fix the show stopper bug of the production system and fix the Planetary Survey bug to and will finally release the alpha 10 on Dec 31. Yes, I don't go to any end of year party, so the release will be the party for me.

Under the hood the RDS doesn't fully work yet, but will be by the end of the year 2015 since it will be the last iteration of the completion phase.
All in all I will be far less lazy for all 2015 as I could be this year.

That's all for now, thanks for your interest after all these years. I know that is a hard thing to do; I seen the 4X release of some studios that dev their game full time on it and are certainly more professional than me. But anyway dreams are to live by.

Alpha 10: (WIP) UMI - RDS Tab Sneak Peek

 I passed some time to select icons from two sources (the credits are updated).
 It's not finished but looks OK, for a dry space strategy game.
 
 Of course the disposition of the elements adjust in realtime according to the window size, even in 1024*768. I precise it because I know that the rest of the main interface needs work yet to fully comply to that.

So thanks to Lorc and the Noun Project for their cool icons

'nuff said, stay tuned :)

NB: Oh btw I'm off all this week (holydays). So yes it's why you see me posting an update now; I working and will continue to work full time all this week.
It's not a luxury if I want to release it on time (Dec 28-31/2014 at max.

Alpha 10: Research Interface / Post Alpha 10 Plan

Today, after my job, I will begin a skeleton of interface to display the research domains, the research  fields and the technosciences/fundamental researches (TS/FR). I finally finished the setup of the common core for the player and non-player factions.

The following steps will be the inclusion of the infrastructures that generate R&D and the research crew.

Finally I will implement the basics of the RDS itself for the knowledge and TS/FR progression and that will be done.

Of course I don't forget about the two show stopper bugs, one for the planetary survey and the other for the production system, and will fix them before the official release.

I will not repeat what is my general plan after the release, you can refer to the Sept 22 post for that, but below I put you the details of the 10 iterations of the alpha 10 before I will pass to the next step of the development in a future alpha 11.

  • Iteration 1: overall user's interface changes like: the overhaul of the messages panel, full shortcut keys, a general options panel, different mode of Zoom for the 3D view, complete overhaul of the encyclopedia
  • Iteration 2: Colony Simulation Model: completion of the system, new CSM events, review of all the calculations and modifiers, completion of the settlements, inclusion of the colony levels (something that exists in the doc but not in game..), overhaul and expansion of the colony panel
  • Iteration 3: assets iteration. To be defined*
  • Iteration 4: SPM: complete implementation of all designed memes and policies, of all the political systems with their affect onto the gameplay, of all the economic systems with their affect onto the gameplay, and new effects.
  • Iteration 5: assets iteration. To be defined*
  • Iteration 6: Production System: including the expansion of the interface with infrastructures/product data and option to display not available infrastructures
  • Iteration  7: assets iteration. To be defined*
  • Iteration 8: Colonization Phase System: completion of the system and addition of colonization objectives.
  • Iteration 9: assets iteration. To be defined*
  • Iteration 10: completion of the Research & Development System, including the entire thirteen  levels not yet present in the game.
*the assets iterations concern only the assets of the game and the content of each of these iteration will be defined by me. They can contains: new star systems, new infrastructures, non-player's factions, new products, new messages, pictures, icons, sounds and musics

Each iteration change will be included into a unified patch for the upcoming alpha 10. So you will be able to update this alpha at any iteration step, without bothering yourself by thinking if you need to download previous patches or not. Of course you can wait for the iteration 10 patch, alpha 11 or the beta (if one day it becomes a reality). It's only in the case if you are interested to test this strange beast of mine :)

Stay tuned

NB: tomorrow is a holiday for me and I will work full time on FARC (the first one in the year, since for the previous ones real life taken its dues)

Friendly reminder

Since I haven't posted anything for one month it's time to remind you that I working on the game.
Yes again on the research & development system and yes the same alpha since January. But my life has been busy, because I pursued a path of self education into fields outside of dev and game dev this year, and I put far less work on FARC than in 2013, it's easy to recognize it and I'm sorry for that.

So what will happen? I will deliver the alpha 10 by the end of this year (yes 2014) and will work, as planned in the September 22th post, to complete the basic part of the game during all the year of 2015.

Thanks again for your interest and a big sorry for the lack of posts.

Alpha 10: Snapshot 1

As promised, here is the file: on Dropbox.

Change of Direction: Completion of the Basic Part

I have some good things to announce.
I decided, after the completion of the alpha 10, to stop the dev of any additional feature until the basic part of FARC, concerning the setup of the first player's colony, is 100% completed as designed.

That means that I will..

  • Complete all the game systems (which are currently full of holes...) as: the CSM, SPM, Production System, CPS and Planetary Survey.
  • Complete the colonies and settlement data, because it lacks of many parts.
  • Add more game assets (products and infrastructures).
  • Add the seven other factions the player can pledge allegiance to.
  • Complete, expand, refine and debug the user's interface (because it lacks of everything, as all the informations for the assembling/building of infrastructures).
  • Overhaul and complete the encyclopedia.
  • Add other star systems.
  • Make a complete end game system (at least for the colonization phase)
After all that, and only after, I will continue to add the features I want to add to finally trying to make a full blown space strategy game.
But at this stage it is silly to add incomplete parts over a more than incomplete overall game system.

That also mean that I will make more frequent releases during this period.

Also as an act of goodwill, I will upload tonight (EST time) a development snapshot of the current alpha 10.
You will not see yet the research & development system, because for now it is mostly data-driven and under the hood, but you can always to lurk into the new saved game file and also look in the technosciencesdb.xml. But you will have acess to the last bug fixes, the overhauled popup menu that include the shortcuts to any orbital object of the currently selected planetary system, and the interface to loading a new game. Just be aware that the planetary survey and the production bugs, that freeze the game, aren't fixed yet, but I go to do it.

So that's it. I estimate that after 6 years since I began this iteration it is time that you, the little FARC community,  are in right to have finally something playable and above all complete enough to call it a game and not a tech demo anymore!

A BIG thanks for your patience and interest over this long time, and stay tuned :)

Alpha 10: Common Core and PDF

I continuing to implement the common core; now it initialize the data of each entity's data structure (including the player's one) at the start of a new game, setup the ones of tech level 1 as mastered, and for the non-player factions add the designed common core setup, if one of them has some.

Yes it's a slow process I know and August is nearly finished... Anyway after the common core for the NP factions I will do the same for the player's faction (it's a bit of different set of rules) and will finally begin to implement a skeleton of interface for the research & development system.

By the way, as I did by the past, I uploaded a new version of the summary of the main design document.

The pdf is here: On Dropbox

Why only a summary? Not because my game design is ultra unique or top secret but it's a work-in-progress (you will see into the summary that many sections are light with only one page, others more complete have from 40 to 100 pages...) so subject to change nearly all the days and not particularly well written.

Anyway I wanted to show you the size of this doc, you can see it's with small margins because I feel it more practical for many tables, with standard margins the doc take about 365 pages actually.

Oh and I nearly forgot; someone assisted me to correct some part of English version of the encyclopedia, and I appreciate it much because most of the time my English grammar is so-so since it's not my first language. I could see this fact by inspecting his pull requests.

That's all for now.


Alpha 10: Population Planner and Research Crews

Beside the implementation of the common core, I am working on the design of the Population Planner, which will be also implemented for this alpha 10.
What it is and what is the link with the research & development system (RDS)?
If you don't know yet, the population in FARC has three possible races (humans, clones and artificial intelligences) and each of these can have one or more than one ethnic group and each of these have at least one category, like Engineers for the baseline ethnic group of the human race. The assignment of the population to the different tasks, as staff for infrastructures and crews for space units, and the training to allow part of population of a category to switch to one other is entirely automated and use sets of rules related to the General Population Rules set into the Population Planner.
The Population Planner is a set of rules that affect the population of each faction, and its interface for the player will be located into a tab of the Unified Management Interface. Out of this rules setting, the management of the population is entirely automated and doesn't require any more action from the player and AI. These rules are at the faction level and so affect any colony of a same faction but in the interface, and the AI code, it will be possible to override these rules for a particular colony and thus taking in account the particularity of each colony if needed.

The RDS also use this Population Planner by adding a subsection to set a rule for the research crews and to tell the game how the pool of research crews must be managed, how it must be used to assign crew to an intelligence infrastructure and also of course to determine the training rules.

So that's it, another thing to implement for this alpha 10, it is not surprising that the changes list for this alpha 10 growing over the time, even if slowly.

Stay tuned.

Secondary and Dev News: FARC on GitHub, Change in the Common Core

I decided to move the source of FARC to GitHub.

The page of the project is here.

The alpha 10 and all subsequent releases will be put also on GitHub; at least anything will be at the same place. I don't know which limitations are imposed by GitHub concerning the releases size but anyway the process was easy and painless.

I would also like a public bugtracker but GitHub doesn't provide that, only if you are already registered on this site.

That's all, I continue to implementing the common core.

Oh by the way I dropped the idea to have the setting of the technosciences and fundamental researches for the factions made entirely by design. The tech for the non player factions are instead generated by following the guidelines of their common core orientations. Some key tech can be specified by design but they are only specific cases based on the faction's history and culture.

That's all, stay tuned.

Alpha 10: Factions Change and Refinements

I finished the design of the Common Core rules.

I now updating the design of the only, for now, available faction in the game concerning its own common core and the pre-setup for the player's faction common core. I modified some things like the faction in the game aren't playable factions anymore but power blocs. Why? Because this denomination wasn't true since the player hasn't directly the control of one of them but depends on it. Also there will be more than 8 in game factions the player could join, I can't say how much yet, especially since the 8 ones aren't even fully implemented, but we will see.

So the plan is that I finish anything concerning the design of the common core for the extrasolar power block Magellan Unity, I implement it in the game database and I finally coding the common core rules. After that I will update finally the unified interface to display a basic interface for the research & development system and I will implement the RDS afterward. Meanwhile I will also update the infrastructure's data structure regarding the research & development too.

This project is a long and uncertain but never boring path.

Alpha 10: Common Core

I currently working on the common core of technologies for the factions, including the player's factions.
For reminder, the common core rules will do two things:
  • For the non player's factions, the common core of technosciences and fundamental researches will exist already by design, but semi-random calculations will be applied onto the technosciences' development levels, so that will change from one game to another. Does it make a difference into a fixed/designed configuration? Yes since the development level define the quality of infrastructures, products and equipment modules built, produced and designed by each faction. It would be certainly cool to randomize entirely the tech setup for these factions, but since FARC is a game based on a background/back story I want to keep a certain coherence. But there is one point: I plan to generate minor factions completely dynamically, and in this case their common core will be completely random.
  • For the player's faction the basis of the common core include all the technosciences and fundamental researches of level 1. Each technosciences are mastered at the development level 1 of 10. The rest of the setup is semi randomized by taking in account the player's faction of allegiance and particularly its technological orientations to keep the player's faction in coherence with its allegiance faction, but yes the setup will be different from one game to another in the spirit of the dynamic layer subsystem of the research & development system that will be implemented.
So that's it, I working to implement that and it is mainly under the hood but, after this step, I will finally start to update the unified management interface with a prototype for the research & development.

Alpha 10: Technosciences Implementation Completed - Resuming of Development

Finally all the technosciences and the fundamental researches from level 1 to 4 are implemented. As usual that was a slow process at the turtle's speed but it is done.
The total of implemented technosciences is now at 85, and here is the complete list of them:

 Fundamental Researches:

  • Antimatter Theory [Physics, Level 2].
  • Astrobiology [Biosciences, Level 1].
  • Astronomy [Astro-Engineering, Level 1].
  • Black Holes Science [Astro-Engineering, Level 4].
  • Climatology [Ecosciences, Level 1].
  • Cognitive Science [Biosciences, Level 2].
  • Conceptualization [Culture, Level 1].
  • Cryobiology [Biosciences, Level 1].
  • Cryonics [Biosciences, Level 2].
  • General Theory of Relativity [Astro-Engineering, Level 1].
  • High-Energy Particles Physics [Physics, Level 3].
  • Logic & Algorythms [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
  • Memetics [Culture, Level 1].
  • Plasma Physics [Physics, Level 3].
  • Quantum Mechanics [Physics, Level 1].
  • Stars Physics [Astro-Engineering, Level 2].
  • Superfluidics [Physics, Level 2].
  • Terrestrial Physics [Ecosciences, Level 3].

Technosciences:
  • 3D Printing [Industrial Technologies, Level 3].
  • Advanced Photonic Cells [Physics, Level 4].
  • Alloys [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
  • Antiprotons Generation & Isolation Techniques [Physics, Level 3].
  • Automation [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
  • Basic Ecology [Ecosciences, Level 1].
  • Basic Mining & Refining [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
  • Basic Modern Medicine [Biosciences, Level 1].
  • Batteries [Physics, Level 1].
  • Biochemistry [Biosciences, Level 1].
  • Chemical Engineering [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
  • Chemical Medicine [Biosciences, Level 3].
  • Complete Brain Mapping [Biosciences, Level 4].
  • Composite Materials [Industrial Technologies, Level 2].
  • Computational Electromagnetics [Physics, Level 3].
  • Computer-Assisted Design [Industrial Technologies, Level 2].
  • Cryogenics [Industrial Technologies, Level 2].
  • D-T Fusion [Physics, Level 4].
  • Data Intensive Grids [IndustrialTechnologies, Level 4].
  • Deep Space Observations [Astro-Engineering, Level 4].
  • Directed Electromagnetism [Physics, Level 4].
  • Electromagnetism [Physics, Level 1].
  • Expert Systems [IndustrialTechnologies, Level 3].
  • Fullerenes Processing [Nanotechnology, Level 2].
  • Genetic Synthesis [Biosciences, Level 3].
  • Genetics [Biosciences, Level 1].
  • Geophysics [Ecosciences, Level 4].
  • High Pressure Diamonds [Industrial Technologies, Level 4].
  • Hydrochemical Agriculture [Ecosciences, Level 1].
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells [Physics, Level 4].
  • Inflatable Habitats [Aerospace Engineering, Level 4].
  • Information Networks [IndustrialTechnologies, Level 3].
  • Ion Rocket Engines [Aerospace Engineering, Level 3].
  • Integrated 3D Systems [Industrial Technologies, Level 4].
  • Lasers [Physics, Level 1].
  • Logistics [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
  • Long Duration Orbital Operations [Aerospace Engineering, Level 3].
  • Low Temperature Superconductors [Industrial Technologies, Level 3].
  • Metamaterials [Industrial Technologies, Level 4].
  • Micro-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS) [Industrial Technologies, Level 2].
  • Micro-Electronics [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
  • Microrobotics [Industrial Technologies, Level 4].
  • Miniaturization [Industrial Technologies, Level 1].
  • Modern Agriculture [Ecology, Level 3].
  • Molecular Engineering [Nanotechnology, Level 3].
  • Multi-Stage-To-Orbit Vehicles [Aerospace Engineering, Level 1].
  • Nanocomposites [Nanotechnology, Level 4].
  • Neurology [Biosciences, Level 1].
  • Nuclear Fission [Physics, Level 1].
  • Nuclear Fission Propulsion [Aerospace Engineering, Level 4].
  • Orbital Flight [Aerospace Engineering, Level 2].
  • Photonic Energy [Physics, Level 1].
  • Photonics [Physics, Level 2].
  • Quantum Dots [Nanotechnology, Level 2].
  • Predictive Climatology [Ecosciences, Level 4].
  • Recycling Technics [Ecosciences, Level 3].
  • Relational Database Systems [Industrial Technologies, Level 2].
  • Robotics [Industrial Technologies, Level 2].
  • Rocket Propulsion [Aerospace Engineering, Level 1].
  • Solid-State Lasers [Physics, Level 3].
  • Supercapacitors [Physics, Level 3].
  • Superstrong Fabrics [Nanotechnology, Level 4].
  • Supraconductors [Industrial Technologies, Level 4].
  • Synthetic Biology [Biosciences, Level 4].
  • Targeted Medicine [Biosciences, Level 4].
  • Tissue Engineering [Biosciences, Level 4].
  • X-Ray Lasers [Physics, Level 3].

So what's now? I finally resume the development itself and, out of the addition of some infrastructures, the next weeks will be focused only onto the development and that concern: the implementation of the required technosciences data into the infrastructure's data structure and the Research & Development System by itself. I'm late by "only" 17 days for now, compared to my initial schedule, so easy! :))

OK, out of joking it's time to move my *ss and to continue to dev this game.

Stay tuned.

Alpha 10: Training Methodologies

Since I working on the design of the Instruction and Training (IT) rules with the goal to complete them and implement them into this alpha 10 I can say some words about it.

In each race, which for reminding are humans, clones and artificial intelligences, and their ethnic groups there are different categories of population. Some are basic some are more specialized in particular domains. The IT rules have for use to simulate the transition of parts of a population from a category to another one and, for the most common case, from the basic categories to more speicalized ones.

I reduced the micromanagement by two ways: first, the training methodology (TM) employed by a faction is precisely faction-wide. So there's is only one data at the faction level to determine which one is used in all the faction's colonies. Two, the system of repartition is entirely automated and doesn't need any input from the player/AIs, but they can override occasionally the system for an emergency or force it for strategic purpose.
I wanted at the start a system of priorities with some sliders as for sole user's interface, but managing it for each colony would be a boring chore.

There are 7 TM that affect training and instruction speed. They also can affect other things like in the socio-political matrix or the research and development system but I will not explain these details in this post. The list below describe each method.

  • Human to Human: the most ancient form to pass knowledge and train students. Doesn't require any particular technology even if it can use some equipment to support the method. It is the most basic method and is applied by default.
  • Brain Enhancement Drugs: this method is basically the Human to Human improved by the distribution to students of brain enhancement drugs. These have for usefulness to reduce the training time and are also not without any side effects.
  • Cyber-Teacher: use the help of non sentient AIs (as a minimum) to replace the human interaction. It regroup the knowledge of a database with the explanations and support of a dedicated artificial intelligence.
  • Accelerated Life Simulation: this method is inspired from a sci-fi story I read some years ago. It combines virtual reality with a full scale neuro-stimulation permitting to give accelerated "real" experiences to the student, so he/she practically learns by experiencing fast forward different life situations. This method a big step from the precedent one.
  • Hypno-Education: method to "inprint" knowledge into a student's brain set in a state of deep hypnosis in a non-invasive way. It doesn't provide a complete understanding but sort of "bury" the basics that become natural to the student.
  • Direct Brain Training: this method uses of a direct neural interface to directly upload knowledge to the student's brain. It doesn't spare him/her to train and experiment this new knowledge. Compared to hypno-education, it is an invasive way.
  • Hive-Learning: this method is for the clone and AIs race only. It allow a transfer of knowledge among single-minded brains, the distribution is quasi in realtime.

That's all for now.

Alpha 10: Level 1 and 2 Done. Products Done.

The entire technosciences of level 1 and 2 are now in game and that make 46 of them. Some details in their data will expand with time, especially in what they affect.
The plan stay that I will implement the level 3 and 4 too.

  1. Implementation of the required technosciences data into the products' data structures.
    Done. It was already the case but I forgot to complete the log...
  2. Implementation of the required technosciences data into the infrastructure's data structures.
  3. Implementation of the dynamic layer subsystem (including the user's interface update).
  4. Implementation of research & development subsystem (including the user's interface update).
These last month I was in slow dev mode for some reasons, but back on track for more regular dev. In fact I passed also much more time into the game design than I thought; I had to cleanup a stack of old documents, from the previous iterations, and see if there were some information to recover from these. These docs concerned mainly the technosciences. So by this way, no previous work has been done in vain.

With the implementation of the research & development system (RDS) I will be able to finally show you some screenshots.

For the game design I also had to update the part of the population's instruction and training, because obviously this subsystem is linked in for some part to the RDS. It's not entirely completed but a progress has been made.

I will certainly also update the population in FARC with the three, multiethnic, races; the humans, the clones and the artificial intelligences. Only the basis of these, required for the RDS, will be implemented but that was one to-do item far posterior to the alpha 10 that was planned.

Stay tuned and thanks as always for your interest in this project.

Alpha 10: Research Aspects

Like the colonies, factions have already some data as for example the cohesion, tension, education, birth rate and health modifiers that affect all the colonies of a faction, or the bureaucracy and corruption levels.

With the implementation of the research & development, there is an additional set of data; the research aspects. There are also modifiers to indicate the strength and weaknesses of a faction's population at large concerning its mentality, culture and ideology that can affect the discovery outcome of particular technosciences. As an example, a very creative but not very social population will be more able to discover new practical technologies and creating new forms of art than to discovering new social way and means or developing the political engineering. These research aspects affect also which products, infrastructures, equipment modules and SPM items that are unlocked. It's again another complicated (convoluted?) thing in FARC which has only one goal; to provide some variations in what a faction is able to research, to think and to produce.

There are 4 of them in all: Creativity, Social, Curiosity and Adaptability.

These aspects are affected by the SPM memes and policies, the unified method of instruction used by the population of each colony, the discoveries if any and the standard events.

[ADDON TO]Alpha 10: Additional Items of Influence

Here's the ODG file of the entire tech tree, if you ever want to see this mess:

FARC.rds.techtree.odg

Headache pills not included ;)

You can open the file with OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

The research domain Culture will not be implemented until a long time so you can forget it for now.

Alpha 10: Additional Items of Influence

Initially the Discovery Probability (DP) of a technoscience (TS) was mainly influenced by the mastering of its related/child TS. Now additional items of influence are also added to it and there are of three possible kind:
  • standard events can be included in this list without any limitation in the number. The only limit is that only the Undiscovered Areas event type is used. So that means that a DP of a technoscience can also receive a boost by a discovery; as for example the survey of a black hole that can boost Black Holes Science.
  • a policy can influence a particular TS if it is enforced.
  • an adopted meme by the population can affect a particular TS and is dynamically adjusted according to the meme's Belief and Spread Level.
I also finally completed the transfer of all technosciences' data and the destruction of the old and deprecated documents. Actually the entire tree has at least 180 technosciences and theories.

So now I'm going to continue to implement technosciences of level 1 to level 4 or 5, implement the R&D influence onto the infrastructures and finally develop the research & development system.

Late as usual :)

Alpha 10: Products and Research

As usual I'm a bit late, but anyway it's an important and complicated part and the basics must be done at 100%.

I updated many things in the design of the products and infrastructures regarding the technosciences.

For reminder; technosciences, once mastered, have a development level (DL) from 0 to 10. Zero correspond to the experimental level and 1 to 10 the application levels.

Basically, out of the resources, a product can have one technoscience that is used as a prerequisite to its refining and manufacturing. This same technoscience can have an affect list which is a list of effects applied to a product according to the technoscience's DL.

For example the product Multi-Walled Nanotubes, which is a material, has a prerequisite technoscience named Superstrong Fabrics. Once this technology is mastered it will affect the quality of the material, especially its tensile strength and young modulus, which are used to calculate the defense/armor of the space units and infrastructures that use this material in their structures.

So in clear, the products will have a level, from 0 to 10, according to the development level of their respective required technosciences. So yes, your colonies' storage will have multiples iterations of a same product. Is it complicated to manage for the player? Not really, because for example; if one player's colony has some volumes of this nanotubes materials at level 5, 6 and 7, it will appear in the interface at the Multi-Walled Nanotubes entry, but will have a tree node that could be expanded to see the different iterations present into the storage. The DL effects are used by the game systems of FARC for their calculations when it is needed.

For reminder; infrastructure kits are a special category of product that represents an infrastructure in kit, ready to be assembled. It has pros and cons compared to a normally built infrastructure, but to stay on topic the required technoscience is linked to the infrastructure to assemble. Of course you'll don't need to master it to assemble the product because, like any product the required technoscience is only used to allow or not the manufacturing of a product and nothing else.

Alpha 10: End of Mass Design/Conversion, Near-Completion of RDS Design and Start of Dev

I finally completed the transfer of all the design work I made for the two previous iterations into this current one.
The technosciences and theories count for about more than 160 of them in the spreadsheet, but the graph, which is more filled than in the screenshot of the previous post, totalize about 200 of them. It's a bit of work, as always with something complicated as we like it :)

I also continued to design the Research & Development System (RDS) because obviously it wasn't really finished. It is the case now. I must transfer this work into the main document but it's more a job of word processor than something else now.

So, finally from this Friday night I will begin the implementation of the RDS into FARC with these much summarized steps:

  1. Implementation of the required technosciences data into the products' data structures.
  2. Implementation of the required technosciences data into the infrastructure's data structures.
  3. Implementation of the dynamic layer subsystem
  4. Implementation of research & development subsystem
As usual not all details will be implemented, but by the time release, the RDS will be functional.
Beside all that I will also continue to expand the XML database with additional tech and theories.

That's all, stay tuned.

Tech Tree: A Zoomed Out View

Here is a small post to show you a screenshot of the unified tech tree in all its messy beauty :)


This document is only one part of the data, the second part is an ODS file that stores all the technoscience's data.
It will not be filled up before the release of the alpha 10, but as I said in the previous post only a small part will be effectively in the game. But yes it's some work already.
 I just push the design work because the technosciences are spread into two other ODG files  (souvenirs from the previous failed iterations).

Stay tuned.

Alpha 10: End of Data Implementation, Technosciences XML and Basics of the RDS

I designed a certain number of technosciences and theories since mid-March. I will stop it shortly because my plan is to put only most of those of the level 1 to 4 into the XML.
The pre-development phase, with the data structures and the expansion of the loading and saving of the save game file, is near to be completed.

The next phase is finally to implement the first "layer" of the Research & Development System (RDS) which manage the dynamic system and also build the user's interface. This last part will be located into the unified interface panel.

Normally it's OK yet for this first semester, I don't see any problem for this deadline, even if you haven't seen many code commits but it is due to my work into the design. For now there are 134 technosciences into the spreadsheet file and that number is of course subject to change, and also doesn't mean all of them will be implemented; I plan to put about 30 to 40 of them for the alpha 10.

That's all for now and don't worry I working on it, slowly as usual :)

Thanks for your support and interest and stay tuned.

Alpha 10: Common Core and Tech Distribution

At the start of each game, the player will receive what I call a "common core" of technologies.
This common core is constituted by all the tech level 1 technosciences with a pseudo-random addition of other technologies from tech level 2 to 5 max, according to which faction the player's colony have its allegiance. So each game the player haven't exactly the same tech, allowing to keep a certain coherence with the dynamic and semi-random research & development system and some factions doesn't provide the same set of technologies than the others.
The technology capability of the player's colony will be relatively basic compared to all the other factions, but it's logical that a remote and small colony doesn't have all the knowledge to do anything, and it doesn't prevent the colony's population to use higher tech equipment. It's a bit like if you would go in an Antarctica station with some iThing without to have the ability and knowledge to manufacture a new one. So the colony will not be able to manufacture the same kind of products than the other big factions at the start of a game, or to elaborate advanced design for new spacecrafts.
Even if it is not critical for the first part of the game, the player's faction will be able to compensate this starting disadvantage by some means; like to buy exploitation licenses or the technologies themselves.

That's all for now. I know that doesn't sound like a standard strategy game, but as I said in a previous post the player's faction doesn't begin a game at the same level than the others, but don't worry it will be possible to even compete the biggest factions in this game because space is big, risky, costly, and bigger faction doesn't obligatory means better but with more problems (without even talking about geopolitics tensions).

I continue to finalize technosciences from level 1 to 5 and implement them. After that I will start to work on the research & development system itself.

Stay tuned.

2014-2015 Dev Guidance

I revised my guidance, or if you prefer my to-do-list, in the development of FARC with reduced goals.
Let's get straight, to dev a space strategy game isn't a little thing to do and even with all the goodwill I want to put in it, I cannot reach in a respectable timeframe the current goal, not by working part-time on it during my free time.
So, since I designed FARC initially in two parts; with the first as the setup of the first colony of the player's faction and the second as a sandbox with multiple paths, I decided to concentrate my work into this first part. Not that I abandon the rest, but I just want to deliver something finally playable from start to finish. I began to dev it in 2009; it's time that FARC become really something, even smaller.

What will affect this decision? Well, the current dev of the alpha 10 isn't changed, the technology must be implemented anyway because it concern any part of the core game system (production, infrastructures, space units design and socio-political matrix) so the current goal stay the same.

The following parts that are ditched for now are: the unified combat system, the foreign relation system, the memetic engineering subsystem.

The ones that will be implemented with reduced features: the AI with the level 1 of analysis only (the strategic goals), the trading system

What will be implemented as planned previously? The space units design including the in game designer and the equipment modules, the global communication system for the fog of war, and the events system for dynamically generated events including maybe the dynamic historical ones.
I will implement also all the required assets for this first part too, i.e.: the other playable factions, additional space units, infrastructures and products.

I'm sorry for that but I can't really do much.

Of course, once it's done I will implement the rest of the core systems, FARC stay a long term dev for me but it's just that I want to give you something to really play than an empty 5 years tech demo.

Stay tuned and really thanks again for your interest :)

FAQ

I just updated and cleaned up the FAQ, with less acid answers (I should be a bit angry by the time I wrote it, and so I'm sorry of that) and up to date informations.

That's all :)

A Thought about Improving the Production System

I just seen the beta first impressions of Planetary Annihilation on spacesector.com and at one moment it speak about the streaming economy concept; "where your resources are consumed as you build; paying the cost of the unit you are currently building at a rate of X resource per time interval; as opposed to paying the full cost upfront when the unit is queued."

FARC doesn't currently do that; an infrastructure only appears in the available list if the colony have ALL the required resources upfront, and frankly I think that a streaming economy model would fit better for a game like FARC than the model it currently uses.

I don't know if I will work that for the alpha 10, it's not a priority at all for this stage, but it's certainly a good path. Anyway the production user's interface needs also a good bunch of work, for now it doesn't inform the player at all about the requirements, and it doesn't allow him/her to configure a production.
FARC, the eternal alpha game :)

Farcodev logoff.

Alpha 9/10: Completion / Data-Driven Coding

The alpha 9 is finally done, it was really nothing since it follow the same time flow process, excepted that it's processed turn by turn or tick by tick.

I also began the development of the alpha 10 well before this blog post date, at my work, by implementing the data structures of the research domains and fields, including also the technosciences. So for now I should be OK for this first semester. I don't know why I taken so much time with the alpha 9, for not much to do in final.

So in clear, it is now possible to switch in realtime and turn by turn when the player want it during the game.
It doesn't change anything to the game system, at least the part already here, and that's a good thing.

I have a good stack of design work to do considering the technosciences themselves. Not all will be put in the alpha, don't wait to have the ability to play with more than 200 tech right now, but small steps small steps. The RDS itself is done on paper.

So that's all for now, some hundred of XML lines to keep us warm for this too long end of winter :)

Alpha 10: Shortcuts Keys in the Help Panel

Hello.
Beside what I coding actually, I overhauling the keyboard shortcuts too and in the same time I cleaning up the help panel. Now the keys will be displayed by icons, as you can see in the screenshot below:


It's not much but it's less a chore to read than before. This part is in 3 columns (only one is displayed in the screenshot for now) and will be populated with all the rest of the shortcut keys.

I don't know if the overhaul of the presentation of the encyclopedia (with trees) will be done at the release of the alpha 10, but who know. I prefer to complete the main features I announced in this merged alpha 8/9/10 before doing secondary works.

Stay tuned :)

Alpha 10: Research & Development - Research Fields, Domains of Research and Technology Levels

As I said into previous posts, the research & development system is a dynamic one, meaning that the player (and incidentally the AIs) will not follow a fixed tech tree but will have access or not, depending on many factor, to the technosciences.

This dynamic layer is based on research fields in which a faction generate knowledge and so research points. There are finally 20 of these fields grouped into 8 domains of research, for an easier management, here is the list:

  • Aerospace Engineering [Fields: Aerospace Technics, Space Architecture and Space Drives]
  • Astro-Engineering [Fields: Astrophysics and Space Engineering]
  • Biosciences [Fields: Biotechnologies, Medicine and Neuroscience]
  • Culture [Fields: Communication, Entertainment and Memetic Engineering]
  • Ecosciences [Fields: Ecology and Planetology]
  • Industrial Technologies [Fields: Automation, Computing, Industrial Technics and Materials]
  • Nanotechnology [Fields: Mechanical Nanotechnology, Molecular Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials]
  • Physics [Fields: Energy, Nuclear Physics, Particles Physics]

Note: This list is completely final.

By generating knowledge over time, a faction can trigger the access to science and technology breakthroughs called technosciences. The system isn't totally random but is based on a probability based on many factors; this part will be seen in more details in a future post. It also keeps track on what is already discovered to prevent to lose certain coherence.

Research domains use the mean knowledge generated by their research fields to trigger the discovery of theories. Theories doesn't unlock the access to new products and equipments but affect the progress of each research fields depending on a domain that trigger a theory and can also, eventually, affect research fields of other domains.

The research fields trigger the discovery technosciences that must be mastered to be used practically in game, by the access of new equipment, infrastructures and so on.

These fields and domains thus constitute the backbone of the dynamic layer of this system. The player and AI will not manage directly them because they are dependent on how are setups the colonies and additionally if there are also space units that generate knowledge.

Technology levels are used in FARC, as for many strategy games and tabletop sci-fi RPGs, to classify a particular age of knowledge and advancement. This data affect directly the theories and technosciences and is used to indicate the level of complexity of each of them. It is not the only data since a second one, the inner difficulty, exists too.

The list and description of each technology level is below:

  • TL 1 - Industrial Age
  • TL 2 - Robotic Age
  • TL 3 - Information Age (our current real stage)
  • TL 4 - Cyber Age (with practical fusion)
  • TL 5 - Interplanetary Age
  • TL 6 - Transhumanism Age ( including pro-evolution )
  • TL 7 - Singularity Age (sentient AI - first FTL)
  • TL 8 - Interstellar Age
  • TL 9 - Nano-Age (used directly at big scale)
  • TL 10 - Unification Age ( unified theory - nanoswarms )
  • TL 11 - Enlightement Age ( 2nd FTL - matter compilers, interstellar arks, generation ships )
  • TL 12 - Megatech/Quantum Age ( utility fog, non destructive uploading, space megatech )
  • TL 13 - Transcendence Age ( 2nd singularity - ultra tech(by action of ultrasentient AIs) - 3rd FTL )
  • TL 14 - Kardashev Age ( mega astroengineering - Dyson Sphere - Dynamic Orbital Ring)
  • TL 15 - Galactic Age
  • TL 16 - AI Gods Age ( 3rd singularity to AI gods )
  • TL 17 - Dimensional Age
  • TL 18 - Infinity Age     
At the start of the game, the major factions are between a TL 6 and TL 7.
It cans sound a bit convoluted, and perhaps a bit over the head of the game, but we will see.
Obviously the TL18 means the end of the game when a faction reaches it.

That's all for now as a little part of presentation of what will come with the alpha 10. I hope I've been clear, I know that my English is far from perfect.

Stay tuned for upcoming updates :)

Alpha 9/10 Dev Status: Some Words on the Turn-Based Subsystem

I began the dev of the last phase of the turn-based subsystem which is the process of the turn itself.
The realtime one has been a bit overhauled; speed ratings now replace the old description. So it is possible to play in real time in 1x, 2x, 5x and 10x the standard time. I also modified a bit the pausing and of course updated the interface.
Since I also want to overhaul totally the keyboard shortcuts, as said in a previous post, I begin with the game flow; there are now only two acceleration keys: < and >, the same as for Kerbal Space Program in fact. The pausing of the game is always made by the Pause key. It will be possible to reset the speed by hitting Enter.

Concerning the turns, a standard one is equivalent to one tick, or 10 minutes of game time. The additional thing is that it will be possible to make an end of turn far longer than that. The possible turns, their respective equivalence in game time and what system they directly affect are the following:
  • Tactical Turn: equivalent to one tick or 10 minutes of game time. The smallest time unit in FARC. Useful mainly for the upcoming combat system.
  • Industrial Turn: equivalent to 6 ticks or 1 hour of game time. This turn is called Industrial because the production system (including the infrastructures) is updated hourly.
  • Upkeep Turn: equivalent to 144 ticks or one standard day of game time (24 hours). Concern systems like the one which mange colonies' reserves and the Planetary Survey one.
  • Colonial Turn: equivalent to 1008 ticks or one week (7 standard days). Useful for the Colony Simulation Model (CSM)
  • Historic Turn: equivalent to 4032/4320/4464 tick or one month (days varies according to the current month). Useful for the Socio-Political Matrix system (SPM)
So how it will work? By two means:
  1. By using shortcuts; enter is the standard key to end a turn and can be associated with Shift, Control, and Alt to use directly a specific type of end of turn. So Enter for a Tactical turn, Shift+Enter for an Industrial turn, Control + Enter for an Upkeep turn, Alt + Enter for a Colonial turn and Control + Space for a Historic turn.
    Optionally it will be possible to change the type of turn that the Enter key will trigger by using the same keys than for the real time acceleration, thus < and >.
  2. By the mouse, if you prefer this way; it will be possible to invoke a panel containing all the button to trigger the type of turn you will want to trigger

That finally conclude this post, sorry again for the delay and stay tuned.

Alpha 8/9/10 Dev Status: A Keep-Alive Post

Hi gals and guys, just a small post to inform you that the dev of FARC continue; I working onto the turn-based subsystem and I finally finished the game design of the research & development system. I will update the SVN when the turn-based part will be finished and will start again regular commits.

So that's it for now, take care all and stay tuned.

Alpha 8/9/10 Dev Status: (finally) Start Again of Regular Developpement + "Switch To..." shortcuts + Alpha 10 notes

Happy new year to all the regular followers and casual readers, and best wishes for 2014! :)

Well, I finally regularly started again the development of FARC since January 4th... so no turn-based subsystem yet, but the expansion of orbital object switching is nearly done.

Here's a screenshot, nothing fancy but it's there:



Uploaded with ImageShack.us
I need to add dynamically the satellites linked to the primary orbital objects and that will be done. They will be listed into a submenu when you will hover the mouse over each orbital object.

So ... after that I implement the turn-based subsystem.

Finally some words about the Alpha 10, with the research & development system as a main feature:

The implementation of the RDS will be roughly in 4 steps:

1/ the data structure concerning the research domains and technosciences.

2/ expansion of the data structures of the products and infrastructures, with tech data.

3/ full edition and expansion of the XML file about the technosciences, creation of another one for the research domains and anything linked to them.
Of course not all technosciences will be implemented, only the basic and level 2 and 3 ones. I continue to focus to the core systems with anemic assets, I know that's a PITA but be patient :)

4/ implementation of the RDS itself, including the building of the research tab into the unified interface panel.

Concerning the game design of the RDS, the doc isn't complete yet but the system at large is done. I am working now onto all the details and calculations.

I don't want to talk too much about it until it's implemented but it's based on a dynamic system that use multiple research fields (16 in total and I think that will stay like that) where research points are generated. These research points symbolize the progression of knowledge into each field and unlock, if other conditions are fulfilled, technosciences.

The management will be faction-based, with the possibility to adjust at the colony level.

That's all for now for the explanations, it certainly more complicated than that but that's the big idea.

So that's it, I will make a post when the turn-based subsystem will be done.

Thanks as usual for your patience.