Alpha 10 - iteration #07: Conversion-Assembling-Building Interface

I haven't coded anything from Friday to Sunday, but I started to resume the dev during my lunch break.

I working on the Assembling interface, which looks a bit like the one to configure an infrastructure with some additions like; an input field to enter the number of iterations to assemble (= number of kits of infrastructure to use), an information field to give data about the assembling time, and a specific button to order to assemble the kits.

I working a bit in the same time on the elements for building an infrastructure, since the interface between these two modes is unified with some differences for each of them.

Of course my poor English isn't very descriptive for now but as I said in a previous post, I will post a serie of screenshots.

Stay tuned.

Alpha 10 - iteration #07: Bugfixes done, Transition Rules modified

As usual there have been delays, because the changes and fixes were heavier than planned...

The bug fixes for the converted infrastructures expanded to the entire Transition ruleset, and required a complete change on how the custom effects for the converted infrastructures are managed.
The implementation of this ruleset was pretty...old and the logic a bit messy, so I re-coded some of its parts.
I also re-wrote completely the design of it in the main document.

For reminder; The transition rules are applied as a buffer delay between an assembling and building (conversions aren't subject to it) and the operational state for any infrastructure having required staff.
This delay symbolize the setup time to put the staff members in place and initialize any equipment, which is pretty important e.g. for a factory.

I also updated the rules design-wise by introducing a variable transition time.
Before it was abritrarly set to 2 hours (don't ask me why such value) regardless of the size and required staff.
Now it is equal to:   ✓(total required staff) / 2 with an automatic round,  in hours

Gameplay wise it is a small detail, but since I don't seek dumbed down abstraction and I look for coherence, it is implemented in it.

So it is done, and the infrastructures can be enabled and disabled without any problem...

...until next time :)

Finally I can work on the last part of this iteration, once I updated the routines for saving/loading game files with the new changes.

Alpha 10 - iteration #07: Break & Lunch Bug Fixing Day

As said yesterday, I can confirm today that the basic user's interface to configure an infrastructure is really done.

But the fact that it is now possible to enable and disable an infrastructure raised a bug (great joy at 1AM) that I will fix today during my job's & lunch breaks; this bug concern the converted infrastructures (CI).

As a reminder, CIs are building of sort that came from landed space units that have been prepaired and connected to an exisiting colony, by their resepective crews.

There is an universal infrastructure template for the converted ones, which is very basic with far less data than any other infrastructures, because most of the data a CI has in game is derivated from the design of its parent's space unit.

So the bug comes when I try to re-enable such type of infrastructure (a Colonization Shelter), no data is re-injected back into the colony. For example, the colonization pods harcoded actually in the game provides generation of energy and housing for the colonists. When one is disabled, these data are tacken back, as normally it should be, but when it is re-enabled, the data for colony's population capacity, and generation of energy aren't updated.

It comes that I haven't simply taken into account the converted infrastructures in the transition rules; rules that manage the transitory state of an infrastructure, from one status to another one.

So I go to fix this today.

Tonight, as planned, I will work onto the interface to setup the assembling or building of an infrastructure.

I will post a serie of screenshots to explain all the changes once it is done.

Alpha 10 - iteration #07: Completion of Infrastructure Configuration + Last Development Step

This night, the configuration of a selected infrastructure will be completed, I working on it since yesterday night.

After that I will finally work on the interface to assemble and build an infrastructure, and this iteration will be done in regard of its features. Yes done.

Of course I will have two secondary steps to fulfill before that; to fix the bugs of the interface of the colonization mission, and add the crude music system that I already developped in a fork of the source.
I know I repeat a bit what I already said in some previous posts but it is better to continuiing to inform  of each future step.

I don't give a release date yet until the assembling and building interface is implemented, I just hope before the end of November, but I prefer to keep my mouth shut, no more badly managed deadlines :)
That's all, back to work.

Alpha 10 - iteration #07: Completion of Media assets Search/Sorting - Resuming of Development

Well as usual I got lost in my wandering through media files, and seven days have passed... oh well.

I completed my spreadsheet that contains the details of all free 3D assets I can use for FARC, for rendering and/or inclusion in-game (especially for spacecrafts).

Even if I haven't dev since these 7 days, I completed the design for configuration, assembling and building of infrastructures, and I will begin in PM right after my day job (I'm working at home today).

Next year, I will consecrate some money for FARC; by buying a third party tool wich will allow me to dev a cloud-based updater/installer, without the assle to do much network dev and above all, wasting additional time.

I will probably buy some 3D assets too, yep buy... Especially for space units (spacecrafts and stations/bases) because I will need many of them.
But for spacecrafts, since they are present in game under their respective 3D files, that can cause license problems for distributions, a source like Turbosquid have certain limitations. And damn I love license (yeah really...not :) )
Of course those already in game are very low poly and non textured ones, and are used only for a symbolic point of view. In the future, I will include full resolution renders of them when I will build a proper interface for the space units. FARC is after all a 90% 2D game.

But I will see...I will use first the free assets.
At least I can guarantee that for 2017 that I will buy the third party dev tool for cloud-based development. It is something I have in mind for a good time now and anyway the cost of it would be the cost of a hobby :)

I'm bored myself by the installer and 7zip packages, I cannot imagine how it is for those of you that download them each time.

So that's all for now.

Lunch Break Game Design: Faction Configuration Tool & Autonomous Management Guidelines

During my breaks @ work I worked on the design of two things;

  • fleshed a bit the design of the factions by trying to solve two problems; how to setup non-player faction's colonies by design and keeping them 100% compliant with the game systems, and how to do the same for non-player space units.
  • started the design of a new module of the CSM (Colony Management System) called the Autonomous Management Guidelines.
Since I want the (future) AIs of the game to follow at 100% the game systems (ie no cheating as we can see on many strategy games and no abstraction into the management of the AIs' factions) I need a system to setup the colonies and space units of each non-player faction (NPF) to avoid any manual errors in calculations and any speculation on how to make  them.
So I started to design a Faction Configuration Tool, which will be a tool like the FARC Universe Generator not normally accessible to the player.
This tool, like the FUG,  will allow me to setup a faction through some inputs of my part and many calculations from the part of the tool to, in the end, generate 100% compliant data and output them under the form XML code to be populated into the faction database file.
So finally, the factions will be physically (so to speak) present in game.
Of course this presence will stay relatively static until I develop the AI to animate it, but the factions will be flesh and bones.
The game systems like the production, will affect these colonies already anyway. Some other parts of the game that also doesn't requires any input from the player and the AIs will do their things too.
Post 0.6 I wanted to work on the design of the space units, but I will work on this and the factions instead.

In a game like Civilization, the player can automate their cities, ie focus on production or food etc...
The new CSM module I worked for will do the same sort of thing; it will use Automated Management Guidelines with a range of priorities (it will not be a on/off setup) to automate part of the manageent of a colony.
Ex of guidelines are: solving of CSM events/problems, Reserves, Population Growth and Emigration.
The range of priorities are: Nil, Limited, Minor, Mild, Average, Strong, Important, Unlimited.

I don't know when it will be implementd, I need first to design the rules of each guidelines.

That it for this lunch break.

I confirm that tonight I will put aside the management of the archived assets and I will push the development of the configuration of a selected infrastructure.

 Stay tuned.

PS: I know that I use too much of acronyms, but... :) 

Alpha 10 - iteration #07: In Search of Media Assets

Since November 3 (including tonight) I sorted and evaluated a part of the free assets I retrieved over the years (a bit of pictures and a massive amount of 3d objects) and I found some elements to illustrate the Multipurpose Depot, the Pressurized Tanks array and maybe the Nuclear Fission Reactor and the Houses Pack.
I found not much for the Mining Site.

I will continue tomorrow night to finish the sorting but of course I will not consume anymore more time afterward and the dev will resume also tomorrow night.
Since I instated the sub-releases (cf. this post), I will make the pictures on the next session after the release of this iteration. For now there will be a default placeholder.

Thanks to SolCommand for his incredible 3D assets.

Alpha 10 - iteration #07: Game Design Expansion: Region Environmental Modifiers

At my job, during my breaks, I'm working on some expansion of the Region Environmental Modifiers (REM).
For reminder; each region of each orbital object has a set of data called the REM.

This set is divided in 7 categories;
  • Planetary Survey; Ground, Air, Antigrav and Swarm Antigrav
  • Conversion / Assembling / Building(CAB)
  • Infrastructure Wearing Coefficient
  • Ground Combat
Each of these REM affect their respective part of the game depending of a category, for ex; the CAB category affect the assembling and building time of infrastructures.

100% of these REM are precalculated when a planetary system is generated in the Universe Generator integrated in FARC and comes from different part of an orbital object as for ex; the atmosphere composition, the climate of the region, its relief, its type of terrain, the gravity of the object and so on.

The change is about the addition of an additional type of environmental modifier that will affect the categories, and especially the CAB one; the Type & Size of Settlements.

Before that, during the calculation of assembling and building times, the type of settlement wasn't taken into account at all. So in clear the construction times between a surface or an underground settlement, for a specific infrastructure, were the same.
By this way it will not be the case anymore.
The size of settlement is taken into account for the purpose of biggest and more crowded settlements will involve more delays and difficulties for the process of construction, that for a small and sparse settlement.

This new type of environmental modifier will not affect the data already generated for the only (for now) planetary system of the game, it will be calculated when required during a play.

That's it for now, work work and work :)

Alpha 10 - iteration #07: 2D/3D Research & Work for Infrastructures + Some Game Design Expansion

Actually I don't commit much dev (even if I made one commit on GitHub tonight), because I'm looking for pictures and 3d objects that I can work on to illustrate the infrastructures currently in the game.
I fired up my 3d software, after many years, for this.

As usual it will not be AAA work, but I look for something at least basic to modify or render...

It is uncertain that all the required assets will be found and worked on at the time of release but at least I try... without taking too much time.
Those not found and implemented at the release will have a "pretty" placeholder :)

These pictures will be displayed in the user's interface for the configuration and CAB setup, of a selected infrastructure.
When I'll finish this phase, I will continue to dev on the interface.

Things take shape slowly but it progress, and don't worry; even if FARC isn't mainstream and doesn't seem easy, I try at least to make the interface relatively usable even if it isn't at the level of a professional Endless Space UI style.

In the game design department, I expanded a bit one CSM event; the Colony Established one, triggered when a new colony is set on a new world. Now the climate of the region, where the first settlement is set, is taking into account and can affect more or less negatively the modifiers of this event.
The changes aren't implemented yet, but they will be in the future.

Stay tuned.