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Messages - Lurler

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Bug reports / BUG REPORTING GUIDE - Read this please!
« on: January 16, 2014, 02:55:16 am »
To improve communication between testers and us and just to make the process simpler for everyone, we would like to offer you some info on how to better structure your bug reports.
This will greatly help us to quickly identify and fix all the problems you might encounter.

When reporting a bug, please try to include the following details:
Game version: The version you are using.
Game mode: Single-player or Multilayer, or both.
Bug location: Where exactly you encountered the bug.
Steps to reproduce: This serves as a guide for us to be able to reproduce the bug.
Reproduction rate: Is this a one off occurrence or you encounter it many times and can easily reproduce?
Screenshot: Having a screenshot of the problem is the best as it would really help us to quickly identify the problem.
Bug description: Once the other details are in,  a quick paragraph describing the issue can help us understand the bug in greater details.
Bug thread title: This can tell us at a glance the essence of the issue.  Please be specific to the issue, e.g.: "Weapon doesn't fire after Alt+Tab", is much better than "NOTHING WORKS! I KEEL YOU!". Please also include version number and game mode. So the final topic name would be "Weapon doesn't fire after Alt+Tab [v0.7.9][SP]".
Mods used: List all mods you are using. Also, try playing the game without the mods - as this could be the reason for bugs.

Additional notes:
* Please try to reproduce a bug before reporting it.
* If you think it is of any relevance to the problem, please provide details of your hardware configuration and system.
* Don't combine multiple bugs into one report.

When reporting bugs - please upload your log files which are located in the "Documents\AtomicTorchStudio\VoidExpanse\Logs" folder.
Additionally if your game crashed there could be a crash dump file. It would look like this 2014-04-05_094710 or a folder called dumps.
This would immensely increase the chance of us figuring out what the bug was.

TL;DR - We need logs! Otherwise we simply won't be able to help you...

Here is a blank version of the bug-report template.
Game version:
Game mode:
Bug Location:
Steps to Reproduce:
Reproduction Rate:
Bug Description:
Mods used:


Q:Where can I find game logs?
A: You can find them in the "Documents\AtomicTorchStudio\VoidExpanse\Logs" folder.

Q:Where can I find game saves?
A: You can find them in the "Documents\AtomicTorchStudio\VoidExpanse\saves" folder.

Q:How do I upload files to the forum?
A: You can use any file sharing service of your choice such as dropbox or google drive. Then share a link with us. Don't forget to make your files public!

News and Updates / VoidExpanse development update #18
« on: January 02, 2014, 07:17:55 pm »
Original post:

Happy new year! And what is the best way to start a new year? Of course with a new build of the game! It's a shame that you can't try it yet. But we are working on it :)

Here is our list of updates this time:
    New main menu. It is still work in progress, but even what we have now is way better than what we had before! The background is animated with a ship flying through space.

    New galaxy map. As you can see it shows factions zones of influence and other information such as system names. You can hover the mouse over a system to see even more information.

    New system map. There is not much changes compared to previous version, but it looks way nicer than before.

    Aliens! I won't reveal much information about them, because I don't want to give you any spoilers, but here is one of their ships.

    Conquest system is finally working. You can visit alien systems, do *something* to reclaim them.
    Completed skill view and a whole lot of new skills for piloting category. Also a new skill system. Skill effects are divided into three categories for even more broader effects and ease of modding and extending.
    Whole lot of new quests. For now these are only the quests you can take multiple times. We will work on the main plot later.
    Music playlists. Depending on where you are you will have different music playing. And guess what? Even that is moddable. You can create new galaxy generator and make it setup new playlists for the systems it generates. Everything is procedurally generated :)
    Fancy galaxy generation / loading screen with status updates.
    Static turrets that defend some objects such as stations.
    New ship explosion effect.
    Optimizations: reduced memory footprint, some other optimizations.
    Other things: alien hives, completed hud, automatic docking to stations, visual jumpgate effects.

News and Updates / Re: VoidExpanse development update #17
« on: December 10, 2013, 03:54:22 am »
Ah, if they're star dust then that clarifies it! But yes, some games do have the background stars bleeding over the planets and that just bothers me.
I see. No, star background and nebulae are completely separate and rendered in background.

News and Updates / Re: VoidExpanse development update #17
« on: December 10, 2013, 03:28:02 am »
Lovely animations! The game looks beautiful day by day. I know these are all WIP but I hope the visible star field on planets will be addressed before game release. :D Most games actually still have them visible post release unfortunately.
Well, technically it is not stars, but "star dust" :) It is there to make you perceive motion more easily when you fly around. But you are right, we need to do something about it, because it looks like it is stars over the planet.

Game discussion / Re: VoidExpanse discussion
« on: December 10, 2013, 03:26:22 am »
With more ships comes the question: can I own them all? :D
Sure! You can have as many ships as you want. They will be stored on one of the stations. But of course at any one time you will be piloting only one ship. But if you have more, you will be able to switch whenever you want.

Game discussion / Re: Question about Planets
« on: December 10, 2013, 03:24:52 am »
I'd like to be able to trade with planets. Maybe buy certain commodities that are unavailable on space stations...agricultural products like meat, fruits, veggies? Or if the planet is in an area where anarchy is rampant...maybe illegal agricultural goods too?
This is an interesting idea. But in regards to trading we were actually thinking that a space station would "represent" one of the planets in a star system. So, you can buy things like you mentioned, but on the station, not on the planet. But if you have a particular implementation in mind please share it with us!

News and Updates / VoidExpanse development update #17
« on: December 09, 2013, 01:32:59 am »
Original post:

Remember our weekly news? As it turns out they are not very weekly :)

So, I decided to rename them to just "development updates", I think it would be more interesting if we post them less often, but with more interesting updates on the progress, rather than just listing things from our logs.

Anyway, in these past three weeks were able to implement really a lot of new stuff.
Here comes:
    Quest window with quest log and journal. You can see what quests you have at any time and their progress making it much easier to be aware of your progress and goals.
    New engine and RCS trails system, with exhaust colors depending on the engine, and indicator lights, or as we call them "blinks". You can see example of these in our previous post.
    Finally completed the target lock system that we mentioned in previous posts. Now you also get extra information about the target in a small window after acquiring the lock.
    Options window where you can setup everything you need. We also implemented the ability to change graphical settings and optimized performance a whole lot. The game can now run on low-end/integrated GPUs. For example with Intel HD Graphics 2000 it is able to produce 40 FPS, which is pretty good.
    Better interpolation of movement data, meaning that now you can play without any problems even with ping as high as 300 ms.
    Finally added items bar for quick access to consumables, such as shield boosters or special equipment, for example EMP field generator.
    Started work on a new jumpgate system. It will function in somewhat similar way to how it is done in EVE online. But with a twist.
    Repair and refuel now possible on stations.
    Tons of new icons for items and weapons.
    Cruise mode for the ship. In this mode you get twice the normal speed, but almost impossible to steer. This mode is great if you need to travel long distances within the star system. We have also added warp-jumps that are great in combat for avoiding projectiles.
    Finally implemented multiplayer chat. We are closer than ever for our first closed beta test and we will certainly need chat for that! :)
    Low fuel notification.
    Music! We got a deal with an awesome veteran composer. He is in the industry for more than 15 years now. And I love his works for VoidExpanse so far!
    New awesome planets. You can see an example of that below.
    And a whole lot more! The game is really coming together!

Planets, click to see animated version of the pictures.

Base window. All interface is work in progress and do not represent the final quality. But hey, it still looks pretty cool :)

News and Updates / First gameplay demo!
« on: December 09, 2013, 01:29:38 am »
Original post:

Here is a small demonstration of gameplay. Click on the picture to see animated gif version (like a short video). Please remember though that gif animations do not convey real colors, plus to make it smaller we had to use compression which degraded the picture quality somewhat.

Anyway, here it is!

Some things to note:
    Engine trails including RCS thrusters.
    Shield effects on collision with the station.
    Light indicators on the ship (with dynamic lighting!).
    Planet and space station (still work in progress, though).
    Weapon mounted on the top of the ship.
    Space background with parallax effect.

News and Updates / Character generation & development
« on: November 26, 2013, 11:50:46 pm »
Original post:

I will make it short, but I would like to share our views regarding the RPG system and character development in the VoidExpanse. We had a lot of discussions about this ourselves, but the basic idea was always the same - to only add features that make the game fun!

So, here are some principles of our design for the game:
* Make the game an RPG. That was, after all, our most important decision from the beginning. This would enable the player to advance their character, and subsequently the ship as the time and game story progresses.
* There must be a character generation when you start a game. Here is what we have so far - work in progress character generation screen.
* No stats for character. That wouldn't make much sense to add attributes such as "strength" or "dexterity" as in classical RPGs. We could have, of course, made that work with attributes like "reaction", "intelligence" or "accuracy", but there is just no reason for it. It wouldn't add anything to the game.
* What we wanted to add was skills, and a whole lot of them! Skills as in "Diablo 2 - skills"! Here is an example of skill tree in VoidExpanse. It is an example of asteroid mining tree. It is of course work in progress, but it is very close to what we will have when we launch beta. Oh, and this skill tree is procedurally generated too. You can add as much skills as you want and the game will automatically generate a skill tree for you! That means all the skills can be modded.
* The skills themselves are mostly passive, grating you access to a particular technology or ability, or increasing your character efficiency with something. In the example above the first skill in mining tree grants access to asteroid mining in general. It means that anyone can start mining quite easily, but to become really a proficient at it you will have to spend some time advancing down the tree to get better skills and increase your efficiency.
* Now, how do you get these skills in the first place? For this you will need to spend skill points. Each skill can cost anywhere between 2 to 10 skill points, but usually around 5. Each character level you acquire 10 skill points which means you can usually get around two skills each level.
* To advance your character to a new level you need experience points. You receive these from a lot of sources, for example in combat when you defeat your enemies or from missions and a few other sources.
* Now what about character classes and pursuing a particular path? That is interesting topic and I want to talk about character classes in details, so I will make a separate post for it. In short - we want to give players the ability to develop their character in a particular direction. But at the same time I want to allow for multi-classing.

Well, I think that pretty much sums up the basics of the character development system!

What do you think of all this?
Do you possibly have ideas to make it better?

News and Updates / Why VoidExpanse?
« on: November 22, 2013, 02:11:19 am »
Original post:

Today I decided to change the usual routine of posting only about updates to the game and do a post on a topic not directly related to the development of the VoidExpanse. Instead I would like to talk more about the game in general. So, why are we making VoidExpanse? That is actually a long story, but I hope it will be interesting to read.

The idea to make this kind of game actually came to me a few years ago. At that time I was playing several great Sci-Fi games such as Space Rangers: Dominators, System Shock 2, Master of Orion 3, and a few others. I always loved the space theme and it was while playing these great space games that I finally decided to start writing a concept document for a game in that genre. However, at that time, I wasn't really going to start the development of an actual game any time soon. I was just thinking on how it could be done and what would be fun to see. The document went over much iteration over the years but eventually I was happy with it.

So, how did actually making the game start? That is actually the funniest part of the whole story. In January this year I decided to start building a kind of prototype for the game just to see if the concept would even hold. I did a basic game where you could fly around in space shooting things that was a very simple at its core. Once I had the basic game made I mentioned my idea to one of my acquaintances at the time, including the idea that I might possibly make it into a big project. He was like "OMG dude, let's create a company and totally do this thing! This game sounds awesome!" You can guess what happened next! So, there we were in Singapore in February earlier this year creating a company to start a full blown development of this game and (I hope) many other games to follow.

By June all of the formalities were ready and we started looking for people to join us in our new company. We immediately found two great people: Vladimir, a Unity3D god and Dmitry, C# etherlord. With their help we finally started the development on what has become VoidExpanse. A few months later Andrew, the art almighty joined us in a role of 2d and 3d artist.

Now here we are, working on this great game!

News and Updates / Re: Weekly news #16 - Discussion
« on: November 21, 2013, 01:45:05 am »
ECM? How is this going to work? Can we equip one too?
Yes. We plan to make it possible to equip a lot of different support items such as ECM in this case. Each of them will have different active or passive effect on your ship. For example ECM (passive) will just make it harder for other ships to target you, while let's say a miner module will allows you to mine asteroids (active).

News and Updates / Weekly news #16 - Discussion
« on: November 15, 2013, 03:25:07 am »

I really like our new feature this week! Target locking and homing missiles are finally implemented. It is extremely rewarding to see your weapons chasing after the enemy ships. But let me tell you how it works. First you need to equip a radar capable of inquiring a target lock. Then after pressing [R] button and pointing in general direction of where your target is you will get him into a targeting reticule. Then depending on how powerful your targeting speed and enemy ECM (electronic counter measure device) you will acquire a target lock. Usually it happens withing couple of seconds, but could take longer on some ships. So, then what? Then you can fire all missile weapons your ship has equipped (with homing capabilities of course) to bring down hell on your enemy! Of course they can do the same to you, though :)

What else is there this week?
 * We are almost finished with the space stations. Shops are fully working now, and other features are almost completed too.
 * Added jettison / destroy functionality for items you are carrying.
 * Improved shield collisions with objects. Now it will activate on asteroids and other static objects too.
 * Implemented new NPC scaling system that would make it much simpler for us to reuse the same enemy profiles thus enabling us to create really a lot of variations even for the same enemy types. It would make game difficulty progress more steadily throughout the game.
 * A new save system also got implemented this week. It works in an incremental way making save times almost instant. You won't even notice it in single player, and for huge multiplayer servers it could be just 100-500 milliseconds which is also perfectly okay.
 * And finally we have improved latency handling. Now in single player there is no latency at all, and in multiplayer it is perfectly okay to play even with 200-300 milliseconds lag. Most likely you won't even notice it thanks to interpolation and extrapolation algorithms that we use.

Here is also a wallpaper for you to put on your desktop. I think it looks pretty old school :)

Game discussion / Re: Question about Planets
« on: November 15, 2013, 01:27:40 am »
How about colonization of various planets that you come across ? Will there be native inhabitants to wage war with ? I think it would be pretty cool if you can colonize planets that you encounter.
Well, you are flying a small vessel that can only take several people on board. I think it would be stretching it a bit if you want to colonize other planets with this :)
We had other ideas in mind such as planetary battles, landing on the planed with drop pods and so forth. We will certainly do something interesting! Still, if you have any ideas please let us know!

News and Updates / Re: Weekly news #14 - Discussion
« on: November 15, 2013, 01:25:13 am »
What happens when a ship is wrecked ? What happens with the ship, cargo and the player ?
It depends on what kind of ship we are talking about and also on what mode you are playing.
For now in SP mode we want to go easy on the player, so even if your ship is destroyed you don't lose anything. I think it would be just too much. But in multiplayer it is entirely possible for server admin to make it a hardcore server where you would lose your ship if you are destroyed. So, you would be able to destroy other player's ships and loot their wrecks.

News and Updates / Weekly news #15 - Discussion
« on: November 14, 2013, 12:03:25 am »

Hello again. It's Friday and here is another developers update!

This time we finally started implementing space stations, or "bases" as we call them. In the game you will be able to dock to many different stations and use their services such as shops, shipyard, visit canteen, etc. Different stations will provide you with different options of what you can do. For example on a mining outpost you can sell your ore for a better price.

Anyway, here is a detailed list of changes this week apart from implementing the bases as I described above.
 * It is now impossible to change your ship equipment while in space. Well, it does not make much sense if you can just swap your weapons in the middle of a fight, right? :)
 * Now it is also possible to change your ship hull. What that means is that you can now buy better ships with the progression of the game.
 * Better galaxy generation. It is now all script based and can be easily changed in mods. We are also continuing working on the map editor that would allow us to make the game campaign as awesome as it can be!
 * Many enhancements to the faction system. All factions are now defined in XML files and you can add your own. You can also script any custom features for them. One of such features is that when you belong to a particular faction they will offer you better prices when trading. It will be in the game by default, but you will be able to add any other features like this.
 * And finally we tweaked the physics of the ships a little bit. Now it is possible to precisely define the mass distribution across the hull. For example a ship might have it's center of mass right in the middle, or to the side which would completely change how it behaves in combat.
 * Oh, and we added money! Yes, no game like this can be without money! :)

Here is a picture of our map editor in progress and an example of galaxy that it can generate. I think it is quite nice gameplay wise. Colored zones represent zones of influence of a particular faction.

And here is a render of the space station.

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