Since we last updated you on what was going on a lot of work has been done. For me it’s been split into two main chunks of work, space and characters. For the characters I’ve been adding detail and updating their procedural textures to fully take advantage of the new possibilities in Unity 5. Space on the other hand has been more of an extension than an iteration.
Instead of as previously only having an earth-like planet we now have gas planets, ring systems, rocky planets, and moons. Today I’ll talk more about the moons.
Some moons just hanging around
So, the way our moons work is that we feed them several layers of surface features (like craters and cracks etc), the Substance then takes that and with a ton of variables available for tweaking outputs the appropriate albedo/metallic/roughness/ normal/height/ambient occlusion.
This allows us to not only set up several different moons and re-use a lot of the masks to avoid having to make one unique texture stored on disk for each moon depending on its composition but in fact means that if we want to we can interpolate between any number of these exposed variables and generate an almost endless amount of moons or rocky planets.
Of course the risk you run with making a very reusable procedural system is that it might get repetitive and bland, hopefully our solutions are enough to have it feel fresh and high quality.
These past few weeks have been spent hammering away at tools, stabilizing code for playtesting and more Datapad Programs, all in anticipation of the madness that will be Early Access once the first build is out.
Tools work has included basic audio management, a new approach to saving data that will be the groundwork for our save files, solutions for combining character meshes, as well as runtime combining for merging things like rooms together, a tool for placing volumes in a room that can be automatically populated with knickknacks. But, my favorite so far (probably because I’m a programmer) is a tool to bring up a debug command-line terminal in the game to allow me to execute code at will for testing purposes.
I’m also in the middle of working on module connectors. These are currently our only station piece that allows the player to connect modules on different “floors”. The way I’m approaching it allows me to extend its functionality to things like solar panels, defensive turrets and the like in the future.
Finally, I completely re-worked how we manage our UI in the Datapad. This made them more robust and testable, which will come in handy when everyone start breaking our program menus in earnest :).
See you next week!