October in Review (Part 2)
Besides the major announcement of our transition to SharpDX, the second half of October was a really busy month on the refactoring end of things! The refactoring have led to (what we believe to be) the last pipeline upgrade before we're ready for supporter builds again, but the benefits should be well worth it!
Just in-case you missed October in Review Part 1, check it out here!
To get more detailed information on each day's events be sure to click on the links below!
Tidbits from October Week 3
In Brief: Nathan over the weekend sets up the new external loading of angles system (so we/you can make up new angle blocks with ease), Micah experiments with the chromatic-style hulls for ships, Nathan provides Gabe with a "rapid access" spritesheet designed for temporary UI elements, Zack further refactors the lighting code to correct the specular issue, and by the end of the week we look at how the texture DXT loaders will need to be replaced.
Tidbits from October Week 4
In Brief: Zack starts the week off by cutting the code clutter in render.cs in half (cleaner, meaner), Gabe Nathan and Zack work on a deeper renovation to block mod-ability, Nathan begins working in his new mesh assembler that improves and replaces the old process for loading .obj mesh data, Micah experiments with a system for handling 30m+ engines, the first new block using the new data format is put into the game by Friday evening!
Tidbits from October Week 5
In Brief: Zack swiftly replaces the old physics system with the new BEPU Physics, Nathan and Zack discover and fix a the bizarre green flickering glitch with the 2D pipeline, Gabe returns a scissor rectangle clipping functionality to fonts, with the 2D end of things stable Nathan and Zack turn their attention towards 3D polygons, and a major upgrade for the way we tell entities to draw their voxel meshes and textures has begun.
Bullet Points for 2nd Half of October
+ SharpDX Transition Announced!
+ Render code clutter cut in half (and then some)
+ Piece (block) re-code completed (improved mod-ability)
+ New physics system integrated for entities
+ 3D mesh loader replaced for .OBJ's
+ 99% certain specular issue has been solved entirely
- 3D voxel mesh and texture system for entities require renovation (scheduled for all of November), shouldn't hurt live gameplay videos or dry-run tests but push back a 'polished' release a tad
Earlier this month we announced secret developments the transition from XNA to SharpDX that took place over the summer. The actual conversion only took about a month (from May to June), but the deeper access to DirectX provided opened up a lot of long-sought areas for refactoring, which we're obviously still going through on into November.
If you haven't read through the announcement yet, you might want to check out the Summer & Autumn Upgrade article for some insight into Blockade Runner's development from spring onwards.
October Synopsis (Part 2)
The first half of October focused on cleaning up the 2D renovations from September as well as restructuring the way meshes loaded their normals and tangents to fix the lighting issues.
There was a lot done in the second half of October, but Zack's correcting all of BR's lighting issues stood out as a big personal victory on our end. We'd also done what is now a third rebuild of the data for blocks, with the last re-build having been done back in April. Six months since then and we've already tweaked and adjusted the game's design here and there and were able to look at the concept of modding the blocks from a fresh perspective.
More or less called for easier portability, which was touched on a bit in this thread.
We've re-scheduled November to focus on building a voxel pipeline that makes working with the voxels a much easier process. Similar to the 2D Pipeline and 3D Pipeline upgrades, the 'Voxel' Pipeline upgrade will greatly improves developer (and eventually modder) accessibility to the voxel meshes and textures and overall voxel structure.
In particular, its going to improve the way textures are handled by entities, and wraps voxel rendering up a big dynamic ball of gooey awesome! ^^
October overall was a really busy month, with a lot of incredible refactor work done by Zack Nathan and Gabe. Everything's basically getting cleared out of the way for a new year of development, and hopefully our hard work to make Blockade Runner's engine a dynamic beast in 2013 will prove useful for the modding community to help bolster new content in 2014!
To follow the daily development resource postings, head to the forum, sign up for the newsletter, follow the Twitter, or check out the Facebook page! We're also on the Dev Chat from 9:00am-5:00pm (EST) almost every day, so if you've got a question or comment fire away!