Update 0.995 Model, UI and Economy Changes

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Update 0.995 Model, UI and Economy Changes

Postby MrBenjammin » Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:16 pm

Hey guys, update 0.995 is now up. It comes with many small changes as well as some bigger ones.

Many of the models and how they are rendered has been significantly improved with ambient occlusion baked into them made possible by the MagicaVoxel tool which allows the AO(ambient occlusion) to be exported with the model mesh itself. Although it isn't true ambient occlusion, it essentially means the interior corners are darkened. For most of Sky Nation's model that means they look significantly better as it helps much better to define their shape when looking at them. You can see a few comparisons below. This effects most meshes(but not all) in the game. Blocks like Clamps, Fuel Hoppers, Merchant Horn, Entities like the Steering Wheel and Mobs like the Magmasite Queen. There's still some to be converted such as the Merchant King. As the task involves more than just re-exporting the models. But it should make a nice visual difference. On top of this all the block meshes have received fix that has sorted incorrect lighting them, which may of not been immediately noticeable but certainly makes a difference.

Click the comparison to enlarge them.
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I've also added a smaller light source that doesn't take up quite as much room as full-sized Lantern and works much better in-interior settings. Which is from the decorations suggestion thread. It produces a slightly smaller radius of light but can be hung up on the walls, ceiling and placed on the floor.
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The final major change is to the Economy, I've received a bunch of feedback and suggestions regarding it being too easy to produce blocks/wealth in the game. Both via the constructor and mining Ice and selling it to Merchant Cat. Originally I had thought to inflate the economy quite a bit via these methods so it was much easier to build larger ships which could be spent in battle. However, it hasn't worked out that way. So it's being switched on it's head a little with a couple of changes.

Merchant Cat's prices now go up and down per item based on what is sold and bought from him. This means for example, selling him lots of Sand or Ice to him will drive down the price considerably making it untenable. The opposite is true for buying items from him, the price will go up. Since this is based on quantity, selling your junk and one shot items in most cases will change the price very minorly. His prices will also recoup over a very long time period back to their original prices. Since every item sold alters the price the UI for Trade Stations has been updated to show you the price with this in mind when selling stacks. Rather than telling you what amount you'll get for [amount] x [price]. It will calculate the diminishing price for you. There's likely a lot experimenting for the price fluctuation to get the figures right and they probably won't be right straight off the bat, so the server will also track all the transactions into a excel file so I can then take it into spreadsheet and stare at it meaningfully and work from there.

The second change to the Economy, is to the other major contributor of it; The Ship Constructor. As mentioned above, it seems most don't like the equivalent exchange system it provides and it makes everything a bit too easy and gives another reason to not leave the Capitals. While ship prices are still based on the default value of items(not Merch Cat's variable prices). Materials used to build them are now worth 40% of their default value when used in the Ship Constructor. This means converting materials now substantially more expensive for the most part. However, Coins are un-affected by this and remain their base value of 1 for Ship Construction. Crates and the Ship Constructor itself have had their UI updated to show you both the normal wealth and the 'construction wealth' to make this a bit easier to follow. Much like Merch Cat's prices, the percentage may not be perfect off the bat and may need go up and down based on the results.

These changes together should mean more actively visiting the map from Capitals to gather different resources to trade with Merchant Cat and to help build ships.

The UI has also been updated across the board to solve alignment, size and some text issues. The item count on item slots has also been updated to be much clearer and easier to read than it has been previously.
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As a side note: We're getting close to version 1.00. The version number for Sky Nations is just what I use internally, both to track certain changes and to allow the updater to track versions. Version 1.00 won't be the finished game, but will most likely mark most of the internal backend stuff being done.

There's actually quite a few small changes and many fixes in this update. So check them out in the change log below.

How do I update?
The client will update itself. The server will be available shortly here. Remember to back your server up first. Before overwriting the files with the new ones.

Change log
0.995
Changes
  • Merchant Cat sales prices are now variable. Selling many of an item to Merchant Cat will reduce it’s price, with the opposite for buying. Prices will recoup back over a long period of time to their defaults. Selling to Merch Cat is still 75% cut, but it’s now from the variable price with a minimum of 1. These prices do not affect ship plans, their cost is still based on the default value of each item(value shown in the item’s description).
  • Added small hangable lanterns which can connect to floors, walls and ceilings.
  • Added baked ambient occlusion to most models in the game which makes them look significantly better.
  • All Items usable in the Ship Constructor are now worth 40% of their value (rounded to a whole number) for construction. Except Coins which are 1:1.
  • Buying/Selling prices in the Trade Station window will automatically display the adjusted price for items, as each sold/bought item changes the price up/down. The overall price display for the sale/purchase works this out for you for the given stack.
  • Crate text has been updated and recolored. It also now shows both the wealth of the crate and the wealth of the crate for a Ship Constructor(40% for items 100% for coins mentioned above).
  • Trade Stations now play sound effects on sales, purchases and denials(not enough coins etc).
  • Ship Constructor text has been updated and re-coloured to reflect above changes to ship manufacture prices.
  • Optimized thruster particle effects to reduce CPU usage with selective updating based on distance & frustum.
  • Retweaked the rotation of many mesh blocks to correct lighting for the normals and slightly offset positions.
  • Added support for .ply models from MagicaVoxel(which will be used for future 3d models in mods).
  • Added support for loading runtime .obj models with textures(same above, for future use in mods).
  • Added <LightOffset> tag usable for modding blocks. Sets the position offset of light sources.
  • Added culling for smaller entities on ships/chunks that will cull them at a distance they cannot be seen to help reduce draw calls for older machines.
  • Added distance culling for instanced objects to reduce unneeded drawing which was taking up a considerable amount of draw time on low end machines. This should make a large difference in very populated capitals with a lot of ships and higher tier machinery.
  • Default key for exiting Camera is now F. You will need to change it manually if it is already set in key bindings.
  • The purchasable items panel in Merchant Cat’s Trade Stations now resizes with the window correctly allowing you to make it bigger and show more products.
  • Coins max stack size increased to 1,000,000.
  • Added IChunk.NationOwner to Mod API.
  • Added GamePermissions to Mod API.
  • Updated some item icons replacing dynamic ones with artifacts/bugs to pre-rendered ones.
  • Item count is now only displayed if there’s more than one in item slots. Large numbers have been converted to a shorter form (example 1000=1k or 1,200,000=1.2m). Hover your mouse over the item for an accurate number in the description.
Fixes
  • Fixed a problem with custom block textures that would cause a crash on graphics device reset.
  • Fixed a signs being invisible in some cases where it did not have enough time to identify its parent chunk.
  • Test fix for issues for certain Monitors or Screen Ratios with the default full screen dimensions being messed up.
  • Fixed normals on faces for instanced objects being incorrect which caused incorrect lighting. Affected objects such as Cut Grass, Clamps, Tables, Merchant Horn etc.
  • Fixed Z and Y vertex positions being swapped on some instanced objects.
  • Fixed a bug where emissive textures for instanced objects wouldn’t be cleared from the shader, so any instanced objects drawn after it would have weird glowy patches.
  • Fixed a server crash caused by Power Clamps.
  • Fixed a server crash caused by Camera monitors being destroyed while someone is using it.
  • Fixed a bug where Camera controls would break if you jumped systems while in the camera view.
  • Fixed Sell button size in Trade Stations so prices are less cut off due to new font..
  • Fixed Items For Sale label being cut off in Trade Stations due to new font.
  • Fixed Trade Stations selling the whole stack the item came from if you place a lower amount than the stack from it.
  • Fixed some alignment issues on many inventory panels due to previous font and space changes.
  • Fixed a bug where in some cases Coins wouldn’t count towards wealth in the Crate UI.
  • Fixed a bug with Copper Telescope allowing you to use Camera’s at the same time.
  • Removed block shading outline from Merchant Horn, Clamps and Steering Wheel.
  • Removed test item Sandstone(doesn’t actually exist as a block) from the Knowledge Base.
  • Fixed item icon generation for animated blocks showing distorted texture.
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