What's new in the latest build?

0.15.27: The Wind Beneath My Wings

Welcome back after the holidays! We have a big update this time, with two big new features added:

New in this build:

  • Place flight points! This is the flagship new feature in this build; place flight networks onto your map; your players will use them to get around more quickly![1]

Caveats: Flight points are buildings, and can have prices set on them, but those prices are not yet being paid by the subscribers who use them, or considered when choosing a path to take to reach a desired destination. In this build, every player magically knows where all flight points are all the time. That probably shouldn’t be the case!

Flight paths can be used to travel between regions, instead of using mountain passes.

Flight paths are placed almost exactly like walls, except that they can’t be split in the middle. You can orient the flight points by click-drag-releasing the mouse as you’re placing the start and end of the flight path. Like with walls and roads, you can have many flight paths all feeding into a single flight point.

Finally, in the full game you won’t start with access to flight points; I’ve unlocked them from the start in this build so that people can test them easily!

  • Take manual control of enemies! There’s now a “Control” ability on the Interact tab. Click it, and then click-and-hold on a character to take direct manual control of that character!

Notes: Monsters will be more powerful when you control them. Players do not yet react to you taking control of them, but that’s coming before the Milestone 16 build!

  • LIghter Terrain! Our terrain geometry now uses 98% less memory than it did before, and about 95% fewer draw calls! (This isn’t as big of a saving as it sounds like, as it was pretty inexpensive to start with. But now it’s super-cheap!)
  • Grass! Fixed grass to appear correctly everywhere, instead of vanishing under the terrain on particular slopes.
  • Get less lost on roads! Fixed a whole bunch of bugs in the logic players were using to follow roads.
  • Spiffy costumes! Updated a whole bunch of models and animations, also reduced the memory usage of character models by about 30%.
  • Rezzing Crocodiles! Fixed the rez-in effect to start and finish correctly on characters! Previously, it often started rezzing in late, and sometimes the effect just entirely turned off before it had completed. This was particularly noticeable on quadrupeds, and especially the crocodiles!
  • NPCs and Monsters no longer get bored! Previously, monsters and NPCs would occasionally jump while walking a long distance; only players do that, now.
  • Progress bar placement improved! We now do a better job of placing the progress bar which is displayed while destroying an object, so that it doesn’t obscure the object you’re interacting with as much.
  • Adjustments to GUI colors! It was still too close to Solarized-Dark, so I had to touch it again!
  • Look me in the eye when you say that! Players, monsters, and NPCs all now turn to face their targets during an attack, even if the monster is behind them, and even if the player is controlling them at the time.
  • Do little things like this belong in a changelog? The animated cursor now glows somewhat less when stretched. Or rather, the total amount of glow remains the same, it’s just spread out over a larger area!
  • More Memory! Fixed a very small memory leak on exit if your game had a Real Money Shop in it. Note that you can’t currently place a real money shop (and haven’t been able to for a very long time). But if you happened to have one lying around in a very old saved game and loaded it up, we were leaking about a hundred bytes of memory each time you quit to the main menu. I’m not even sure why I bothered to mention this one.
  • Pseudo-random number generator upgraded from xorshift to xoshiro. This is very exciting, if like me you’re excited about random numbers!

Crash fixes

  • Fixed a crash if the user clicked on the “Global” task group.
  • Fixed a crash when loading corrupted network nodes (only happened if the save file had been corrupted in a very specific way)

  1. Players move more than four times their normal speed, when flying on a flight path, so they quite strongly prefer to use flight paths when they can! ↩︎


0.15.28: Bugs!

Some little cleanups after yesterday’s build. There’s nothing really exciting in here!

New in this build:

  • Squelch mouse clicks during the transition from game back to the title screen. This prevents the user from clicking on objects while we’re unloading them!
  • Fixed the map ground geometry when creating a new game. When creating a new game, we were building the map ground geometry approximately 2.5% smaller than it should have been, which caused the map ground to not correctly match up against other objects on the map (grass, buildings, characters, water, etc). This only affected new games; if you saved and then re-loaded that save, the ground was rebuilt at the correct size.
  • Fixed characters sliding on their butts instead of jumping, if they had ever travelled on a flight path.

0.15.29: Miscellaneous fixes!

New in this build:

  • Monsters walk! Fixed a bug which caused monsters and NPCs to play their idle animation while walking, instead of playing a walk animation.
  • Sticky players! Fixed a bug which occasionally caused players to become confused about what road they were on, leading to them becoming stuck in place.
  • Improved pathfinding! Players now path to their destinations more intelligently, potentially using multiple road networks or flight path networks to reach their destination.
  • Lots of optimisations to pathfinding! It’s still slower than it used to be, though, with the extra smarts added. Please let me know if it causes noticeable frame rate hitches for you!
  • Fixed targetting of roads Roads can once again be targeted for destruction, instead of only the intersections between roads.
  • Fixed UX around flight paths Flight paths and flight points can now be targeted for destruction, and behave properly in the UI as you mouse-over them.
  • Fixed coloring of action bar tabs! Action bar tabs used to look weird, with a different color than the main body of the action bars. Now they match! (I’m kind of startled at how much nicer this little adjustment makes the UI look)
  • …and various other bug fixes!

0.15.30: NPC Quests

New in this build:

  • Quests to NPCs! You can now create quests which send players to other NPCs. Most notably, you can send them to kill a specific elite monster, or to visit another quest-giver.
  • This is not a MOBA! Previously, only the player who struck the killing blow on a monster got XP for the kill. Now, every player who hurt the monster gets XP when the monster is killed.
  • Defeat Bob! Elite monsters can now be given unique names!
  • Players react to being taken over! If you take over manual control of a player, the subscriber now notices and has thoughts about it, and about what you do while controlling them.
  • Show the knowledge! When you select a player, buildings now highlight in gold to show you which buildings that player knows about. (This can be turned off, in the info window)
  • Don’t target the region! When you’re in control of a character, you can only select combat targets; not the region or buildings or other items.
  • All fall down! Monsters now play a death animation, when killed.

EDIT: Oh, and I forgot my favourite change!

  • Select exactly the person you want to! I’ve rewritten the way we check for collisions between the mouse and animated characters, so it’s far more accurate than before! Now you can pretty reliably select exactly the character you wanted out of a big crowd!

And some bug fixes:

  • Players stay where you put them! There was a bug in the last several builds which caused players to sometimes teleport back to where they had been, if you took over control and walked away, and then released control. No more teleporting, now!
  • Bugs are only positive! “Known, unfixed bugs” display no longer breaks and goes negative after a load. Similarly, the “Bugs fixed so far today” display also now works after a load.
  • Editable property panes can be edited! Fix for a bug which caused editable property panes to not update when you typed into them.
  • Stop, stop, he’s already dead! If a combat-capable entity is already dead, don’t try to apply more damage or other status effects from attacks already in-flight.
  • Visible Windows! Fixed a bug which caused windows to fade to black if you dragged them away from their starting position, introduced in build 0.15.29.
  • Elite monsters come back! Fixed a bug which caused elite monsters which were placed outside of a monster zone to never respawn. Now they DO respawn! Additionally, unlike normal monsters, elite monsters don’t mind respawning right on top of players; this means they’ll still respawn, even if players are sitting on top of the spawn point, waiting for that respawn.
  • If you prick us, do we not serve you complimentary continental breakfast? Small inns now count as inns, for the purpose of completing region setup tasks.
  • And miscellaneous other fixes!

0.15.31: Bugfixes

Just a few important bugfixes in this build.

New in this build:

  • Click on characters! Fixed a bug which caused some people to be unable to click on any characters; players, monsters, or NPCs.
  • Less generously shared XP! Fixed an exploit where a player could punch a monster once and then run away until the monster lost interest, but still get kill credit when another player killed the monster in a different combat later. Now the player only gains XP if they did damage during the same combat in which the monster was killed.
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Getting closer to milestone 16! At this stage I’m predicting THREE more builds before milestone 16!

New in this build:

  • New character models! Adds five new character models, usable for players, NPCs, or monsters. Here are some of them:
    chef cowboy penguin plague
    -Hats! This… is actually another one of those “this is exciting but not totally available yet” features; character hats are now technically removable and interchangeable between classes, instead of being welded onto the ‘head’ piece of the class costume. Want your warriors to go into battle without helmets? That’s doable! Want your wolves to sport a fancy chef hat? That will work too! Tools for this will become available at the same time as character color editing, when the new character editor goes live in a near-future build. But… I was excited enough about this that I wanted to point it out now, since the tech behind it now works!
  • New scenery! Several new scenery items have dropped. My favourite are the new snow-spike trees, but there are several more! These are not yet tied to any terrain types, so the only way to get them is to place them manually, but tying them to new terrain types so that they get placed automatically is coming!
  • What’s in a name? Rewrote procedural region naming. In a new game, regions are now given (in my opinion) much better names than they did before.
  • What’s in a name? (part 2) Implemented procedural name generation for Elite Monsters. Previously, all elite monsters were named “ToothGnash” (oops!), and were resetting to that name every time you clicked on them even if you manually changed it to something else (double-oops!)
  • What’s in a name? (part 3) The game’s name is now displayed in a much more epic font, and bigger on screen, and more legibly against bright backgrounds!
  • What’s in a name? (part 4) A region’s name is now displayed for a short time near the top of the screen when you move your camera close to the ground within a region.
  • Nothing’s in my names Added a game option to disable the new region name display from the point above, in case it bugs you.
  • OMG what’s that in the sky?? Fixed digital elements from the load briefly appearing in the sky if you zoomed down to ground level immediately after the load completed.
  • OMG what’s that in the title screen?? Fixed the digital plate to appear correctly during the return-to-title-screen transition, even if you quit back to the title screen immediately after the load finished.

… plus various optimisations and other bug-fixes, as usual!

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Miscellaneous bug fixes from 0.15.33.

0.15.35: Window Dressing

(0.15.34 was skipped due to build server troubles. Now live on Steam!)

This build is all about the window dressing; the UI theme!

No point by point changelist this time; the only changes in this build are the way that the UI looks, across pretty much the whole game (with a couple notable exceptions which need larger revisions)

Instead, here are a few Before/After pictures:

Character information window

Player Info_Before
Player Info_After

Action Bar




Plus a few minor bugfixes. But in general, this build contains no functional changes; it’s only UI aesthetics!

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0.15.36: Penultimate

Unless something major is found by testers, this is the last build before the Milestone 16 build! Assuming now bug reports, all I’m expecting to change between now and MS16 is to add some new button icons and scenery/building models.

New in this build:

  • Intro! There’s a new brief animated sequence which occurs after the game’s tutorial. Note that sound for this sequence is not yet present; sorry! (I’m hoping to have that ready to go in time for Milestone 16. If not, I’ll put in some placeholder sound)
  • Character editing! This build has now merged the ‘Design’, ‘Character Ability Editor’, and ‘Character Model Editor’ windows all into a single window, which for the moment I’m calling the ‘Design Codex’. You access it from the same system button where you got the ‘Design’ button before. This includes a brand new implementation of character editing, which adds:
  • Tails! Add a tail to any character!
  • Hats! Yo dawg I heard hats are popular in games
  • Character color editing! Want your players’ armor to be made of gold? Now you can recolor it!

And a bunch of other fixes and changes:

  • Fixed highlighting of action bar buttons.
  • Grass no longer grows under buildings. (Stops grass protruding through the floors of buildings with low platforms, such as starting points)
  • Converted a bunch more windows over to the new window theme! (I think I’ve got them all now?)
  • Fixed players remembering two logins the first time they join the game. (They were remembering creating their character as being a “login”, separate from actually logging in with it)
  • TODO list now moves to the correct location if the game resolution changes mid-game.
  • Clicking the mouse button is now ignored when the mouse is hidden. (Stops you from accidentally clicking on things when you can’t see where the mouse is)
  • Fixed window tabs briefly becoming detached from their windows during window transitions.
  • Textedit selection highlights now correctly cover glyphs with descenders.
  • Removed “VectorStorm Presents” logo from the loading sequence when creating a new game.

…in all, there were 139 commits between the last build and this one!

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0.15.37: Something Major Found by Testers

This build fixes a crash bug which could occur during a load, related to the new character editing interface.

Nothing else here!

0.15.39: Little fixes

(v0.15.38 was swallowed by the build machine)

This is a bunch of little bugfixes. Nothing terribly exciting in this build!

New in this build:

  • Fixes buttons used for editing character combat abilities, which had been unresponsive.
  • Fixes buildings not showing their destruction effects.
  • Fixes appearance of tabs on Region and Zone information windows, to match other tabbed windows.
  • Moved the Region information window to appear in the same place as other info windows, and not overlap the TODO list.
  • Fixes players getting stuck if they were pathfinding around the really wide roads that we used to have back around milestone 12.
  • Fixes ‘rename’ behaviour on player info windows. (You could already rename players’ characters, but the text wasn’t visibly updating until you finished editing. Now fixed!)

0.15.40: Quality of Life

New in this build:

  • Fixed the UI theme in the NPC info window.
  • Version upgrade button modified to match the UI theme.
  • Converted all meters to a new ‘gradient’ style, instead of the skeuomorphic old ‘potion’ style.
  • Fixed dead monsters sometimes reappearing on the map after a load.
  • Most info windows now open near the cursor, instead of always appearing at the top right corner of the screen.
  • Fixed grass sometimes not being suppressed under roads or buildings when multiple roads or multiple buildings were placed close together over grass.
  • Monster zones now flash red when insufficient network bandwidth is available to them.
  • Fixed player-created combat ability costs/effects to be applied properly.

0.15.41: Actually the build before MS16

I’m really bad about releasing MS16! Apologies! Assuming no major calamities, MS16 will be exactly this build, and will be tomorrow.

New in this build:

  • When placing buildings, buildings no longer preview as placed on top of walls or on top of flight paths. They now preview as being placed on the ground underneath them!
  • Added some placeholder sound effects for the introductory title sequence, and also added some sound effects for UI interactions which were missing them.
  • Adjusted the main header’s meters to have a more useful scale for the “Players Connected” and “Subscribers” meters. “Players Connected” now has a maximum that matches your game’s total player capacity at the moment, and “Subscribers” now has a maximum that matches your next subscriber goal.

And that’s basically it! MS16 tomorrow; can’t wait! :smiley:

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0.16.1 : Destroying network objects

  • Fixed a bug which caused the ‘Destroy’ tool to fail to destroy network objects.

0.16.2: The Mac Build

This build fixes a whole bunch of issues in the OS X build. These include:

  1. Erratic cursor movement when using a touchpad.
  2. No visuals drawn to screen (only under 10.14, macOS Mojave)
  3. Not launching at all, due to a missing symlink in the distributed Steam build.

…actually, maybe those should be in the opposite order. Anyhow! Other fixes in this build (which affect all platforms) include:

  • Elite monsters can now be destroyed using any of “Destroy” tool present on most action bar tabs.
  • Fixes wall turrets vanishing at random as the camera moves around.
  • I think I’ve squashed a bug which could cause a crash when exiting to the main menu, if a network server had been placed and/or removed from the map. This one was hard to reproduce, but… I’ve simplified the code a lot and it ought to be okay now?

Now I’m going to take a day or two of break, and then back to features and quality of life improvements! :smiley:

0.16.3: The Other Mac Build

This build fixes one more big issue in the OS X build; a performance problem caused by a weird interaction between SDL and OS X Mojave. I’ve worked around this by building the game against MacOS SDK 10.9, which is pretty old, but also rock-stable!

This probably also means that the game will run on Macs not running the absolute latest system software, although I’ve not tested that. But it definitely makes it run smoothly again!

Other fixes in this build (which affect all platforms) include:

  • Network items now adjust their position when the terrain changes shape. (No more network items vanishing beneath the ground as it’s lifted, or left floating in the sky as it’s lowered!)
  • We now generate more appropriate quest names for quests which send players to kill elite monsters.

And that’s it! Now that the Mac build stuff is well and truly sorted out (I hope I hope I hope), I can get my focus back on the game itself, rather than the tech stack!

0.16.4: Clicking on things

This is a small update which just modifies how the cursor detects what objects it’s over, for all buildings and scenery items; we now actually test against the real renderable geometry, so it’s all pixel-exact. This fixes problems like being unable to select a player who is inside a graveyard (because the graveyard gets in the way), or being unable to select an object that’s underneath the canopy of a large tree.

I’m hoping that this more-accurate collision checking isn’t too much of a performance-hog! We’ll see what the testers think, running on a more diverse set of hardware than I have access to!

0.16.6: Post-Trailer!

(0.16.5 was eaten by the build machine, so we’re skipping ahead to 0.16.6!)

So… I’ve spent the last few weeks putting together an updated trailer for the game, and this build contains all the new stuff and fixes that went in for the trailer, along with a bunch of other stuff! (I’ll post more about the trailer in the near future! Short-version: I think it’s done, and I’m just waiting a few days before doing anything with it, just so I can see it with fresh eyes and make sure I’m happy with it)

Notable new stuff in this build:

  • Loans now give you money! Okay, I’m actually embarrassed by this one. If you paid off your starter loan, you’d be offered up to three new loans. And… if you took one of them, you picked up the debt and had to pay it back, but we didn’t actually give you the loan money. Oops! Fixed now.
  • Fixes video resolution on first run! We used to have a problem where the first time someone ran the game, it would create a fullscreen window but then draw only into a little rectangle in the corner. This is now fixed!
  • Updated shaders! A whole bunch of minor tweaks to shaders. I’m not even going to call them out individually there are so many.
  • Glossy! Well, okay, just one explicit shader note – I’ve added ‘sheen’ and ‘clearcoat’ factors to the lighting; most scenery objects, buildings, and characters now have a subtle layer of clearcoat, which gives them a sharp little specular highlight even if they’re otherwise a very rough surface.
  • Re-Move! Complete rewrite to the path following code used by players, monsters, developers, etc. This should fix a whole bunch of weirdnesses especially around road traversal!
  • You can’t ban me, I quit! Fixed a crash bug if you tried to ban a subscriber who unsubscribed on their own while the banning progress bar was still filling up. (I’m amazed I bumped into this one)
  • Know what you’re destroying, network edition! Network nodes and pipes now highlight to show what you’re hovering over, when you’re using the “Destroy” tool. (This was already being done for scenery objects, buildings, roads, and other stuff)
  • Mountains are less obstruction-y Previously, roads and network cables couldn’t be placed anywhere even remotely near a mountain or a chasm. Now, they can be placed much closer.
  • Pausing bandwidth displays The bandwidth effects around network uplinks and WAN nodes now correctly pause when the game is paused. (Oops!)
  • Obstruction Information When attempting to place a road or a network pipe, if the game decides that the road or the pipe cannot be placed for some reason, it now displays a message next to the cursor explaining why it cannot be placed. Hopefully this will help folks diagnose problems!
  • Faster middle-click movement When using the middle mouse button to move the camera around, the camera now moves about ten times as fast as before. This makes it much, much easier for folks who prefer this camera movement system over WASD keys!
  • Scrolling Like It’s 1984! Fixes GUI scrolling to be synchronised between grabbing the scroll thumb and dragging it manually, and using the mouse wheel. Previously, a thumb which had been manually dragged would be ignored if the user used the mouse wheel afterward.
  • Path-laying tools now put extra detail in sharp corners! This rounds out tight bends a lot, which helps roads look less spiky in bends!
  • The walls now match the turrets! Previously, walls were constructed from a medium-grey stone, while the turrets at the ends of walls were constructed from a white stone. Now both are made of the same white stone!
  • Revamped ‘Grid’ view! Or. maybe “unrevamped”? The grid view now looks more like it used to, with slightly brighter colors, darker darks, and lightly glowing level numbers.
  • Controller support! Well… sort of. You can fly the edit mode camera around with a controller if you have one, now. Not really useful to anyone unless you’re shooting a trailer.
  • Speedy Terrain Editing! Fixed a bunch of little issues when editing the terrain which was causing it to take longer than it should have. Now terrain editing is much smoother again!
  • Characters have weapons again! Fixed a problem in the character editor which resulted in the game not thinking that characters had hands, and so not giving them visible weapon models when they had actually acquired weapons. This is a visible bug only; the back-end simulation was correctly acquiring and using weapons. Note that this fix only works for new games; for older saves, you’ll need to revert any custom characters to a prefab and then modify them again from that point onward; sorry!
  • Rez all the way! Fixes a visual glitch where the ‘rez’ effect often wouldn’t complete before the effect was disabled for scenery objects automatically created as part of terrain editing. Now the rez effect actually completes!
  • Lighter water in edit mode! In edit mode, water faded down to absolute black. Now it just fades slightly, and still obeys fog!
  • Ambient occlusion doesn’t rez! Fix for an occasional bug where regions of SSAO were showing a rez effect. Weird! :smiley:
  • Actually preview scenery to be destroyed by terrain editing! When using a terrain editing brush, we now only highlight scenery objects which would actually be destroyed if you used the brush. (Previously, it highlighted all scenery objects anywhere near the terrain editing brush, even if those objects wouldn’t actually be destroyed)
  • Region tint adjustments! Made some adjustments to region tint levels, to try to make the map look a bit nicer, and to not make unowned regions quite as dark as they used to be.
  • Simpler shadows! Shadows are now cheaper to calculate, and (I think?) look even better!
  • Smoother overlay cascades! The divisions between cascades in terrain overlays are now less severe; easier to not notice them!

0.16.7: Hotfix

This build just has a quick fix for a bug which could sometimes occur when a character walked off the very end of a road. Nothing to see here!