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Re: Development Update #20: August & September 2014

I took some notes. :)

1. UI and HUD

The HUD looks cleaner. The UI does seem to be a nice blend of the node model and conventional UI components (although I still miss the flower-like node editor).

The central rotating thingie didn't seem to do anything, but that's just NOW. It may just be a temp function to show what the new UI code can do. Or maybe it's meant for something practical later: for (just one) example, maybe it's invisible until you get closer to a docking zone, then it shrinks toward the middle until it flashes as a dot to indicate that you're at a place where you can initiate docking.

2. Graphics

Holy cow, nebulae look incredible with the soft clouds and bloom!

I also would like to see dust fields visible from a distance outside that zone -- maybe a localized fogging effect? Something for when future-Josh lets Graphics Josh out to play again, maybe....

The UI color blending effect was so nice I didn't even see it until Josh pointed it out.

3. Colonies and Cultures

I noted in another forum post (sorry, Mo! ;)) that Josh has updated the NPC and colony personality system from his very early AEGIS model to one with seven traits. I'm still hoping I might persuade Josh to go with the slightly different organization I suggest, but it's wonderful that NPCs and colonies actually have personalities! Not many games can say that. I'm looking forward more than ever now to the NPC interaction interface.

I also appreciate the point that we might be able to get a clue to the personalities of NPCs by knowing something about the colonies they came from. Josh's comments about the gameplay value of information in perceiving and organizing deep knowledge of a game's systems -- the process of discovering the structure of the world -- are something I've been trying to communicate for years. I'm pleased beyond words to see how this concept is being realized in Limit Theory.

Josh's point about "spatial coherence" was also very pleasing to my ears. This is a developer who understands that the sub-systems of a game are improved when they share behaviors behind the scenes. Even if players never consciously observe these coherences, they can still realize that nothing is knocking them out of the game world. I suspect Limit Theory is going to be described frequently as an extraordinarily "immersive" game.

4. LTSL Live Coding

Well, it certainly was easy to modify bits of the UI, wasn't it? Wow.

LTSL clearly allows an experienced developer to add new features very quickly, such as the new piece of UI that shows the frequency characterization of game objects. That was pretty darned cool.

It is worth noting that, in addition to learning LTSL, it's going to be a substantial challenge to understand the LT-specific code that Josh has built. He may be able to add a cool new feature in eight minutes, but the rest of us haven't lived with this code for two years, and I think it's safe to say that most of us don't have Josh's l33t skillz. It's going to harder for us to figure out what all those pieces of text mean, and harder still to achieve a deep enough understanding to reach that "can't type fast enough!" mode. (Certainly it will be for me.) I'm not saying it's impossible, and I'm sure some folks here will pick it up very quickly. For many of us, though, we may never be as fluent in LT as Josh was in update #20.

5. The Future of LT

Testbeds are awesome.

I am extremely impressed that LT doesn't crash if LTSL code breaks. What I'd like to mention is that I will bet that this graceful degradation is not something Josh explicitly added just a few days ago. I suspect this feature of LTSL is one of the many benefits of Josh building LT the way he did: he spent months insuring that the foundations of this game were laid with care and precision. That bottom-level code, based on Josh's descriptions, is elegant and bulletproof... and the extreme resilience of LT today when LTSL breaks is the consequence of Josh's insistence on that approach to coding. Yes, it looks slow at first. This is the payoff.

Video updates now to be described as appearing "around the end of the month": good.

Why is the awesome music at the end of this video not going to be somewhere in the game?!

Finally, I don't expect this idea will fly, and I probably shouldn't even suggest it, but... since LT is now mostly an engine, could a bare-bones version be released with no LT scripts included so that we can try to learn the LTSL language as soon as possible? I fully expect that LTSL will change again before LT ships, probably in several ways. But it looks like the fundamentals are there. So it sure would be handy to get a head start on learning how to code in LTSL by being able to run some test scripts through the equivalent of a checkout compiler. Again, I don't really expect this... but what the heck; you don't ask, you don't get. :)

Overall... wow. What a hugely important update.

I can see how the basic components of LT, from the UI to world generation to NPC/faction/colony AI, have been shifted into LTSL. Now that those core elements are exposed, I'm thinking that October through December should see a massive spike in the number and depth of the hands-on gameplay mechanics that will feel like "the game" to many people.

Personally, I'm still looking forward to seeing LT operating at a macro level: most NPCs buzz individually through their home systems, while some fleets spread their faction's culture and economy between systems, and a few energetic executive NPCs conceive and inspire strategic plans to expand -- or impose -- their faction's control across multiple star systems over time. After today's update, I know we're closer than ever to seeing something like this on our very own personal computing devices.

Thank you for your dedication to this project, Josh. Almost there! :)

Re: Development Update #20: August & September 2014

Suitably blown away by the video. The graphics had me picking my jaw off the ground, those nebula are just so pretty I could gaze at them for hours. The UI looks crisper and more polished. I love that it's quite basic at first glance but you can drill down into it very quickly to a great level of detail. It was also great to hear that colonies are coming together and starting to function fully.

Overall, just wow. Suddenly it looks like everything is coming together to produce something unbelievably interesting, something that at first glance looks simple but is actually incredibly complicated when you scratch the surface. Great work Josh and just a word to the wise, do not put yourself under pressure to produce the monthly videos. Yes they are great and we all love them but what's a few days here and there between friends! :D

Re: Development Update #20: August & September 2014

Flatfingers wrote:It is worth noting that, in addition to learning LTSL, it's going to be a substantial challenge to understand the LT-specific code that Josh has built. He may be able to add a cool new feature in eight minutes, but the rest of us haven't lived with this code for two years, and I think it's safe to say that most of us don't have Josh's l33t skillz. It's going to harder for us to figure out what all those pieces of text mean, and harder still to achieve a deep enough understanding to reach that "can't type fast enough!" mode.
I consider myself an experienced S&M type and I'm not even trying to understand the bits and snippets that show up here and there.
Without context it's all so much hiburni hiburni hiburni.

Knowing how a fastening screw of the left forward axle assembly looks doesn't help me understand how a car works. =)
There is no "I" in Tea. That would be gross.

Re: Development Update #20: August & September 2014

Okay, watching the update for a 4th time already, I'm a bit past the :wtf: :clap: :thumbup: :mrgreen: :D :D :D :D :clap: :squirrel: response, there have been plenty of that in this thread already. I had that response too, but instead I will share my criticisms/immediate suggestions. First, I LOVE the chapter format, you should absolutely do that from now on, the coherence allowed you to express more than you would have without it i think.

First thing I notice, your glyphs are pure math. every symbol you use is done constructed out of basic shapes. I get why you are doing that, I really do, but might i suggest, now that you have a drawing testbed, maybe try drawing some glyphs too? I get how that's not quite procedural, but you should leave something for Andy to do... :lol:

Just a thought on closing windows that you bring up: Since you want a dreamy feel to the game, rather than go with the default X in the upper left corner, maybe have something around the perimeter of the window which closes it. I suspect, that especially in tense situations with fly by cursor, that little X will have a statistical pull on the player to the upper left. Also, I always hate when a UI makes me throw my cursor all over a screen from one small icon to another in a hurry. Note how when you closed the window from the X, the ship was right next to it, easy to click on, but what if it was on the other side of the screen?

For targets in the reticle(sp?) I liked the targeting feature, but what real gain does placing them on the perimeter of the reticle in addition to the perimeter of the screen give you? My immediate thoughts are that your reticle should display information in 3D, so that your targets can actually go into into its boundaries, maybe changing color in the process, to indicate there position behind you... Just a thought.

Scanner, again beautiful... but as has been suggested before, if it was zoomable, you could fit some serious amount of information in there. As some additional thoughts, i think a passive "listen your way through the static" would be cool, where you can just hear the mixed frequencies of everything around you all at once... Makes it a bit more realistic than reticle(cursor) over area shows me X. If instead you heard everything (adjusted for distance) and the scanner merely showed you that isolated signal hiding in the background (because you cataloged it already) then that would be awesome. One more additional thought on that, if you went with that "all nearby objects produce a scanner peak, scanner recolors and identifies cataloged peaks" there should be a way to click on your scanner, and have an icon pop up in the reticle, indicating the source of the signal on your radar.

Your planets are beautiful, but I really think they should put off signals too, They shouldn't be dead bodies in space where things land, but rather rich and living things with storms sweeping across their surface, Auroras at their poles, great oceans of water or magma or methane. These things on a planet should broadcast signals out into space, detectable from almost as far away as wormholes or the central star. Information about a planet and its makeup would be invaluable to explorers and generals alike.

Good God your nebulae are beautiful. But this response is to be critical! Do you need space flecks in dusty zones? you have the asteroids to indicate your movement, at any rate they are too strong in general, and too strong to the point of distracting in dusty areas.

Dusty zones look AMAZING from within, and that is part of why I am conflicted over this next criticism. Your dusty zones, seem to have way too much dust in them. They are practically opaque to the outside from within, if you were going to get any semblance of coherence to how dusty from the outside they are, they would be entirely opaque... I think either you are going to have to lighten up on the dust in zones, or admit that dusty zones will look like blobs in space. I mean I guess that is an aesthetic you can go for, and thunderclouds in space certainly have their place, but i think a much lighter approach to them would be better for the overall picture... But as I said, I am conflicted by this suggestion because of how beautiful they are from the inside.... I guess what I am asking for is a variety of dust levels, with what you have now being towards the heavy end, while in other places, there would just be a tiny amount of dust, but if you looked at the central star through the dusty zone, it would look much like your heavy zones do while you are inside them.

The fading of the dust as you leave is beautiful, but seems almost too smooth. I think if you added noise to the dust, letting it form clumps of dust and pockets of clear, it would look prettier.

Colonies and Culture
"What happens when one AI player loves another very much" THIS!!!!!!! This is where I want to see the AI going... I want to see how their interpersonal relationships will be.... granted, maybe a bit much for now, but this is the sort of thing that I think you should definitely find a way to get in.

Cultural traits: I love that you have all this information about them running, and that this sort of thing dictates their behavior, I really do. Just HIDE IT! Nothing would break my immersion faster than to see bars which say exactly how aggressive or greedy they are.

Spacial Coherence: Like Flatfingers, I LOVE this, however I think that there should be some hard barriers too. I would really like to see some massive differences not too far from each other... Seoul and Kaesong (DPRK) are 54km and yet they are worlds apart culturally. Again like nebulae and zones, I think a higher level of variety which controls how different any one location is from another is also pretty important... Soft rolling hills vs steep cliffs. Thinking back to Korea, even some De-Militarized zones, where two enemy factions come face to face, but don't fight... forming uneasy bonds in a few select locations, and where both sides tolerate no funny business from anyone, would be fairly interesting to see.

LTSL/Live Coding
Can't really be all that critical here... but know that this game is one of the main reasons I am learning to code. :D

The Future of LT DEV
You should make a number of testbeds that even the most unskilled of players can go into and start messing with things to create interesting stuff, after release though ;) Maybe even have a catalog with snippets of code that can be plugged into various areas.
Last edited by Hyperion on Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
Challenging your assumptions is good for your health, good for your business, and good for your future. Stay skeptical but never undervalue the importance of a new and unfamiliar perspective.
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Re: Development Update #20: August & September 2014

That bloom, that dust, that scenery! man, that's literally a dream game. Just after a couple of frames and I'm immersed into this gorgeous world that is complex and elegant at the same time. Mind just cant stop at wondering what might be next to see and explore. Overall, awesome update! :thumbup: Saw lots of exiting features and I really like new chapter format. One minor nitpick, I'm really missed god-ray effect that you showed back in dev update #6, where is that nice crepuscular rays? Always ask when I see your new dust graphics. Well, one can dream to see effect in future updates. :roll:

PS. Is graphics Josh still in this cage? I know he's getting some free time now and then, but c'mon cut the guy some slack! :D

Re: Development Update #20: August & September 2014

One thing I thought of as I was considering the implications of what I saw in the video as well as what has been discussed in previous devlogs about LTSL is that it would be really great if the player/modder could have a code-library and that certain chunks of code could be packaged and then traded to other players. Really good ones could be rated highly by the community and hence become more valuable etc

However the main reason for it is to be able to build interfaces and other things with lego-style building blocks of code chunks as assemblies, then assign hotkeys to the loading of those assemblies and so on.

Re: Development Update #20: August & September 2014

Hey Josh, don't you think it would be a nice idea to update the home page with the last video before the next one is released?
Edit: Seriously though, someone in the RPS comments thought the project was dead because the homepage hadn't been updated since July :ghost:
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