I'm sorry I missed you, Sky. Apparently you were there a couple of hours before I drove in, and I could only stay for what I think was about 45 minutes before I had to get back on the road.
What can I say? Let's talk in terms of the technical and the personal.
Technically, I was able to see that Josh is, exactly as he says, investigating the extent to which LuaJIT may work. In particular, I want to stress that this kind of investigation has no inherent relationship to gameplay features or graphics. In other words, if Josh isn't posting screenshots of UI or ships or asteroid mining, or of more abstract features such as factions or projects or research, it's because there's no point in porting those things to the new scripting model until the internal testing proves the model is capable of handling actual gameplay features. And there really is nothing to be shown of that performance testing.
I mean, I suppose he could post a screenshot of a profiling session, but thayashlkfsalsadgfasddddddddddd... ! Sorry, I fell asleep while typing that.
Even so, Josh was able to show off basic system generation, plus a placeholder "ship" graphic, because he pushed himself to attend PAX South with a version of Limit Theory that he was uncomfortable showing in order to give us evidence that he means it when he says he's replacing Perfectionist Josh with Pragmatist Josh. When I found the booth (which was perfectly easy to find; it was just my Search skill that had been debuffed), Josh had been coding most of the day to show off LT features even though doing that was taking time away from a thorough analysis of the LuaJIT solution.
Some quick technical notes:
- I saw a snippet of the Lua code -- it's as clean as LTSL was. If LuaJIT winds up working, it will be a fine modding language.
- Freakin' garbage collection, man.
- Josh was not exaggerating when he said his system procgen had produced a beautiful system. Wow.
- The combination of contrasting nebula/star colors, and the lighting model for nebulae, will make your eyes very happy.
- Screenshots do not do these nebulae justice. Videos do not capture what they look like in person. Wait till you see this.
- As Josh was showing me the star system, the exhibitor in the next booth over spoke up to praise it.
That's the technical. On a personal level, Josh was every bit as much a pleasure to talk with as I guessed. He immediately made me feel welcome, and even when my questions weren't very good, he never once shut me down or became annoyed with me.
We briefly discussed how the forums have been for him, and Josh made it clear to me that even the criticisms, as long as they aren't just personal shots, are taken seriously and appreciated. Certainly support and praise are nice, but this forum has been fortunate (and, IMO, inspired by Josh's vision for LT) to attract some remarkably creative posters, even when offering constructive criticism, as well as highly effective moderators. Also, we miss ThymineC's posts.
OK, so all this is nice. But I know some here just want the bottom line on "When can I get the Limit Theory Josh promised?" I can't answer that after a 45-minute chat and a demo of a very early work-in-progress version of the newly LuaJIT-ified LT. What I can say is that from what I saw and heard, Josh remains absolutely committed to completing an enjoyable version of Limit Theory. He was enthusiastic, and determined, and incredibly knowledgeable -- and everything I've experienced and seen of software development for three decades has taught me that a programmer with those characteristics will not be defeated.
I don't know how long it will take. I don't know what features the version of Limit Theory that ships will have.
But I came away from my meeting with Josh today with a renewed conviction that Limit Theory will
And it will