Alpha 10 - iteration #07: Fixes and Graphics

For now some fixes have been applied, like the one which prevent the crash of FARC when the window of the game loading/saving is invoked and there are no game saved (with no game directories present).
Also, the configuration and saved games are now located into the appdata/roaming folder

I also added a meme, Spirit of Entitlement, to the game and since yesterday night I'm working on graphics research for the first pass of update of the Colony Panel; icons to illustrate the colony's data (like Cohesion, Instruction, Energy Stored, Reserves and so on).
Less text and more graphics is always better. I will use of HTML hints to gives more information for the player. Like what we can see in the Europa Universalis game, in a less pretty and AAA version :)

I found all of them yesterday, thanks to the people to and other sources. I will need to work them a bit and will implement them shortly.

There will be many changes that will be applied to this panel, and not only for the infrastructures; like the one I think about, with the merging the two panels (the colony and surface ones) into a single one, to change of the size of the surface map for a biggger one and to make it sizeable friendly to accomodate people with high resolution screens.

I try to make it less cluttered with data, but FARC is what it is, a sorta of game with a lot of data so there is always a limit. And it is out of question to dumb it down anyway. Just making this beast a bit more easy to the eyes :)

That's all for now, stay tuned.

Alpha 10 - iteration #06: Word of Warning

Just a notice to inform that the configuration file from the previous versions isn't compatible anymore.

If you have an error message at the application start, just remove the config.xml in your MyDocuments/farcolony  dir. The game will generate a new one.

Sorry for the trouble.

Alpha 10 - iteration#06 Release

And you know it's time to go
Through the sleet and driving snow
Across the fields of mourning
Light in the distance...
And you hunger for the time
Time to heal, desire, time
And your earth moves beneath
Your own dream landscape...
 U2 - A Sort of Homecoming

Well, here is the release that was near to never see the light of the day, due to my "small health problems".

The alpha 10 []it#06 is released.

FARC is bundled in two flavors: manually, with 7z archives and semi-automated with setup files.

These two ways doesn't requires that FARC is previously installed.

If it is installed and you use the setup file, please bear in mind that it will update correctly only from the alpha 10-iteration 01, not from the alpha 10 or any other alpha before.
If it isn't the case, just remove any previous version of FARC before to install this one.

If you take the manual way, please delete any previous version of FARC before.

Setup is here: FARColony-full-alpha_10it06-

Manual archive is here: FARColony-full-alpha_10it06-

Cumulative patch for the Manual archive of FARC alpha 10 (released before this first iteration update) is here: FARColony-cumulativepatch-alpha_10it06-
To apply the patch unpack into your install dir and overwrite anything.

Working Dates
From 2016-01-03 to 2016-04-24

What's Missing?
As usual I wasn't able to put anything I wanted in this iteration.

  • Bits of interface for the Geological Survey.
  • 1 new meme and one policy.
What's Next?
The iteration #07 will be about adding 90% of interface with the Colony Panel (and more precisely the infrastructures), some new assets (infrastructures, products, and the missing SPM items), and expanding the encyclopedia.

  • 3D:
    • the zoom/unzoom with the mouse wheel is now limited to avoid extreme zoom and unzoom.
  • Encyclopedia:
    • the topic Planetary Survey is renamed into Planetary Exploration.
    • New Entries:
      • CPS:
        • Status, Details.
        • The Colonization Viability Score (CVS).
      • Annex - Energy Generation Modes:
        • Nuclear Fission.
        • Photon Energy.
  • Game Saving/Loading:
    • if the colony panel was opened before a new game is loaded, this one is closed.
  • Graphics:
    • new texture for black holes.
  • Help Panel / Encyclopedia:
    • full bringtofront for the panel if it is hovered by the mouse.
  • Interface - Colony Panel: 
    • full bringtofront for the colony and surface panel if the colony panel is hovered by the mouse.
  • Interface - General:
    • the two fonts for the default texts and the secondary elements have been replaced by two new which appears to be more readable.
    • the automated font sizing has been changed for certain elements.
    • the color of the SPM and CSM events modifiers are adjusted according to the meaning of positive and negative value for each modifier.
    • fixed the credit page display with a bug when displaying empty or n/a licenses.
    • the main title bar can be hidden or displayed. An option allow to switch the proper mode.
    • the menu bar can now be hidden and popup when needed. An option allow to switch into the fixed or dynamic mode.
    • the option submenu, of the main menu, is better arranged.
  • Interface - Planetary Exploration:
    • if a type of vehicle doesn't use any crew, the interface is formatted to taking it into account.
    • Expedition Setup:
      • small change into how the arrows to select the number of vehicles groups are displayed in the case where the colony has in its storage only one unit of a vehicles group.
      • the capabilities of each vehicles group is now fully displayed and uses icons to do so.
    •  Survey Details:
      • "duration" of a phase is replaced by "elapsed time".
  • Interface - Surface Panel:
    • full bringtofront for the colony and surface panel if the surface panel is hovered by the mouse.
    • the display, on how the geological survey buttons and the infos (including the resource spots) are made, is finalized..
  • Messages:
    • New Messages:
      • Planetary Exploration / Resources Survey: when a vehicles group is arrived on site and begin the survey.
  • Misc:
    • full code audit (refactoring, code cleanup, optimizations, bug fixing) of the Planetary Exploration system and the Resources Survey subsystem.
  • Missions:
    • Colonization:
      • the Distance to Atmosphere Entry is correctly displayed when the Mission panel is triggered.
  • Planetary Exloration:
    • full implementation of the automation options.
    • fix CurrentPlanetarySurvey init. Raise a bug when more than one survey in same time.
    • fix CurrentVehiclesGroup init. Completely flawed logic.
    • fix in the core processing of the survey.
    • little overhaul; now planetary exploration is composed of two differents surveys; geological and biological survey.
    • before to remove the data of a finished exploration, the system test if all the groups of vehicles of a same expedition have effectively a mission completion (are back to base).
    • fix: resources spots with rarity = absent aren't anymore included into a resource survey, as they should have.
    • the distance toward the target region is moved to the exploration/expedition data and not group of vehicles by groups of vehicles.
    • the last survey progress for a geological survey in a region is now stored besides the surveyed resources spots.
    • PS_completionPercent; restore with the SRS_surveyedRegions[Region].SR_lastSurveyProgress. Thus it allows to resume any previous geological survey that was not completed..
  • Population:
    • initialization of a new unit for the future instruction & training subsystem (ITS).
    • the assignation and un-assignation of one category is now made through its proper method.
  • Socio-Political Matrix (SPM):
    • new memes ( total = 21 ):
      • Nuclear Fear.
      • Planetary Chauvinism.

Alpha 10: Last Post Before Release, Some Changes in the Design

I modified a bit how the planetary exploration works, even if it doesn't change most of the calculations and code already implemented. Here is the part from the design doc;

Even if the orbital objects in FARC have their data fixed and pre-generated during the game design, some parts of them are subject to variability and three are especially affected by the Planetary Exploration System (PES); the ressources and the biosphere.

Their explorations are carried on through surveys named; the geological and the biological surveys.

Any vehicles (products) that have “Survey” as function, and present in the colony's storage, are listed. Most of the time they are in group of vehicles, so in this case 1 unit of equipment include more than 1 vehicles.

The Geological Survey (GS) allow to map the geophyisical aspect of a region, to probe for its possible resources spots and to discover if it contains any features and/or artefacts.

To do so, an expedition, composed to at least one group of vehicles, must be setup by the player/AI and be assigned to a particular region.

There is only one GS mission by region. No other expedition can be set up if a region has already a GS occuring.

This survey has a range of progression, noted in % from 0 to 100, to indicate which portion of a region is already surveyed.
Over the time, an expedition can discover resources spots that can be exploited afterward by a colony. It can also discover some geophysical features and even some rare artefacts that need to be explored to be useful in any way.
Without a GS, no resources spot can be exploited in a region.

It can only be one feature and one artefact that can be discovered for a same region. Obviously if one of them is discovered, no further test is carried on.

Once the survey reach 100%, the region concerned cannot be surveyed anymore for the rest of the duration of the game, and the expedition back to its base and is disbanded.

The GS system is triggered each day, if there's at least one ongoing survey mission, and is processed by survey round.

So here we go, a same survey for two outcomes.
For now the Features & Artefacts an orbital object can have aren't implemented, and will not be for this alpha. The design itself isn't really made in the main doc but scattered through many secondary documents. 
Of course it will be dev in the future.

Tomorrow I will finally implement the automation of the geological survey, update a bit again the interface and will upload this release, not before PM, EST time.

Stay tuned.

PS; Oh I forgot, here is a small screenshot of the updated panel for the expedition setup:

Yeah, there are some icons now to illustrate the vehicles' capabilities (geological, features & artefacts and biological).

Alpha 10: Bug Fixes and (tiny) Graphics Change

I fixed a good stack of bugs concerning the resources survey.
Now it is possible to have more than one occuring in the same time in different regions of a same orbital object.
Many logic flaws prevented it, I was certainly tired when I coded it initially, a long time ago :)

FARC also talk a bit more to the player; each time that a vehicles group, linked to a resource survey expedition, arrives on site to carry on the survey, a message is triggered and display a small report like the one below. The display is really crude and don't have any graphic banner yet, but I will arrange that tomorrow.

Also, not related but cool anyway, someone on shared some cool pictures depicting stars he made and particularly including a black hole.
I made a crude and dirty test that you can see below. I will need to rework it a bit and resize the thing but it is better than the previous one, and more free since it is released full GPL.

That's all, stay tuned.

Alpha 10: Audit Completion + Release Dates

I passed the last 6 hours today, before this post, to audit the Resources Survey.
It is now 100% done.

From tomorrow I will begin to complete the missing parts of this subsystem, like the automation but also I will create the required messages to inform the players about the evolution of his/her planetary exploration. I will also fix and update the interface related to this subsystem.

It isn't a small job because I made badly the display of the information about the resources survey, and it is a bit confusing and completely deprecated with the future two other types of survey (Features & Artefacts and the Biosphere). These two ones will not be implemented before a while, but it is better to plan for the future.

I also must review and fix, if necessary, the selection of regions since I doubt I completed it in February.

So, there is some work a bit more interesting than code cleaning and auditing.

In the end I will try to release this space turtle from Friday to Sunday 15th/17th during the night (EST time).
I'm off Friday so I will work at least another 6 or 7 hours on it... even more if I begin on the morning.

Stay tuned.

Alpha 10: Dev Status and Near Future Plan

The audit of the non-interface code of the Planetary Exploration: Resources Survey is done.
I need to work a lot the interface, fix the bugs with region selection, and cleanup the display of the information.

Finally I will implement the automation of the survey and will make a release.

I will continue afterward to work on the Colony Panel to complete the interface for the infrastructures, and add new assets, into a new Alpha.

Sorry for the big delay; but between my health problems (I just came back to my job from April 4th) and the crash of the dev SSD (don't buy Crucial if possible...) things have been a bit... chaotic.

I just restored the dev SSD into a new Intel one. Luckily I always backup the dev content after each dev session...

Stay tuned.