March was a busy month in terms of fixing up bugs for the hopefully soon 3.8.0 Release Candidate. So get testing those nightly builds so we can have a new rock stable engine version!
0rph3u5 has some paragraphs of intrigue related to their campaign in progress, The Lost Generation - Ashcroft. Here they have an in universe filed report about the GTCv Cassiopeia's mysterious disappearance.
"GTVI’s CRI unit evaluated the available data. A summary of their report follows, [REDACTED]:
[REDACTED] spectral analysis of the debris confirmed its origin to be GTVA. Analysis of the visual evidence suggest an internal explosion, consistent with a fusion reactor containment failure.
As well, 0rph3u5 has opened the thread to any and all questions you may have about the campaign!
So it was April 1st and Torchwood tried to fool us all with a fake campaign release… but then he really counter-fooled us with a real legit announcment; A WoD fan campaign: Emerald Dreams.
"My upcoming campaign, titled Emerald Dawn, will show the universe of Wings of Dawn from a different view. You will get to explore the galaxy as a young hopeful joining the vanguard of the CSA in their qest to explore the galaxy and protect the Cyrvan people from any and all would-be threats. In this campaign, you'll get to fly highly capable fighters that are equipped with glide, reverse afterburners and fast strafing as you travel the galaxy, meet interesting new life forms... then kill them before they kill you."
Bryan See has an update on his Shattered Stars endeavor.
"The mission infrastructure has been laid out carefully, with in-mission jumps, NAV points, game stages, and checkpoints are the main defining features, along with Battle of Endor missions. With that in place in all missions, it will be fun. ... I even contemplating modifying the SCP engine to bump or remove mission limits and the implementation of underlying functions and routines to optimize the rendering of many objects, effects, bitmaps you name it, at once."
And if you like stories about modders wrecking their brains over small subtle gameplay elements, you might be entertained by Spoon's tale of countermeasures and missiles in Wings of Dawn.
"As I currently understand it, countermeasures are active for exactly 2 frames. You drop one, it checks if it can spoof anything in those 2 frames, it goes inactive. Until any new CM is dropped. Then every CM currently in the mission becomes active again for 2 frames.
What the poopoo, right?"
The SCP is almost to the end of the bugfix drive with another 20 pull-requests merged for bugfixes. The 1st release candidate for 3.8.0 is probably just around the corner now...
Since we're in a feature freeze, we'll put the spotlight on interesting bugfixes!
- Add a Windows executable manifest to FreeSpace2 (m!m) The most notable effect of the manifest is that this should improve compatibility with High-DPI displays! (see #1273 for the similar fix for OSX)
- Adjustable fresnel term in lighting model. Model shader cleanup. Deferred lighting shader fix (Swifty) This helps models without PBR textures look more like they used to, fixing a lot of the concerns raised in this thread, thanks Swifty!
- Fix generated shields rendering in cockpits (m!m) Fixes missing shield icons in cockpit/RTT gauges, i.e. you can see your shields again!
- Fix depth test of lasers when using a cockpit ... again (m!m) This fixes lasers being able to be seen through cockpits, for the second time it seems (needs higher strength Mortein to end this bug!)
- Always use the english key name in the scripting interface (m!m) Internationalisation is hard, here we have a fix that'll make keypresses in scripts still work if the player is using a non-english language. i.e. make the code deal with it so that scripters don't need to account for all the languages FSO supports in all their scripts
- Lighting attenuation fixes and deferred tube light stencil test removal (Swifty) More lighting fixes; pretty sure this means that lighting from beams themselves (not the warmup/down glow) should be more noticeable now
- Correct shield decal selection logic (DahBlount) Simple fix to allow the new shield decals to be correctly visible, from the change it makes you wonder how this ever worked (thank you Codethulu!)
- Fix for intense glare when rendering a model in a render target with no lighting (Swifty) This fixes intense glare that was washing out models rendered in cockpit displays, e.g. for the ship model used in the shield displays
- Reorder fragment shader destination binds to fix Mac deferred lighting (Swifty) This fixes a number of graphical issues on OSX, Mac users rejoice!
- Fix OpenGL errors when framebuffer effects are disabled (m!m) This fixes slowdowns in FSO when Framebuffer effects were disabled. By, er, actually disabling the distorion framebuffer code
- Validate seek offsets in cfseek (m!m) OSX was crashing on mission load, where the missions used certain sounds. This fixes that, hurray!
Here's the current bugs scoreboards. Firstly we have Mantis bugs & Github issues, both are up ever-so-slightly, again since there's been a lot of bugs fixed we can only conclude that they're mostly new bugs found in the last month.
(Mantis includes 30 feature requests not including HPC)
Next up we'd normally have Coverity issues, unfortunately Coverity builds are broken at the moment!
AdmiralRalwood has posted some interesting commentary about Player-persistent-variables and Campaign-persistent variables. The short story is the differences between the two aren't what their names suggest AND the behaviour changed with the new pilot code (3.7.0) and no one noticed (oops). The real different was intended to be between when these variables where saved. Either they save on mission acceptance (so if you don't accept the mission results, the variable is reset to the value it was when the previous mission was accepted), OR they save when the variable is set, regardless of the mission results being accepted. In order to reduce confusion & provide more options, it's been suggested that there's two "axes" to cover here, being campaign or player specific, and save-on-accept or save-on-change. If you have an opinion on this, head on over and post! You could affect the change that'll possibly go into the 3.8.2 release. (Also, when creating variables, take the time to name them appropriately! Your future self will thank you! )
Torchwood has posted a topic about FRED hotkeys. It's safe to admit that FRED could really use some User eXperience (UX) TLC, despite being really powerful it's hard for newcomers to harness said power because the UX is very different to modern software. The thread is specifically about hotkeys which might not be that hard to implement, so if you want to add this to FRED (or wxFRED ) head on over to check out this request!
Discussion has continued in m!m's thread about a new FSO UI framework. One of the iussues with the currently selected framework (libRocket) is that it doesn't seem to be maintained much, meaning that potentially the SCP would need to do more work to maintain it. CEGUI seems more active, however there's an outstanding question about LUA support which is pretty essential for FSO. If you've got any experience with CEGUI & LUA, go post what youy know, I'm sure it'd be greatly appreciated.
And I missed this last month (shame on me), xenocartographer has created a script to automatically disable engine glows when a ship is not moving. Very cool, much better than having to remember to disable the engines via SEXP each time it needs to occur! Go grab it & give it a spin.
RELEASE - GTSc Whiteside
BlackWolf was on a roll all month with releases and models to show off. First is the GTSc Whiteside, a high tech looking science ship for all your sciencey needs.
RELEASE - GTFr Jupiter
Next, BlackWolf goes back in time with a big ugly clunked called the GTFg Jupiter, a 14 Year War-era capital ship. It even comes with a script for folding those engine panels when it moves.
WIP - PVFr Cleopatra
And to round out BlackWolf's accomplishments for the month, he shows a work in progress of a Vasudan Frigate, the PVFg Cleopatra! Good for carrying any number of cannonfodder.
UPDATE - 2_HUD
I (that is, Axem) recently updated my HUD mod that makes things easier to see. I also included a link for FS1 huds for use with the FSPort MediaVPs.
WIP - GTS Hygeia
Bryan See has some very preliminary work started on the GTS Hygeia, just the cockpit so far, but we all have to start somewhere!
This month's contest was a free month, so everyone was free to do whatever they liked. And this month's winner was… this just in time entry by tomimaki of a shot that looks like it could be right out of Homeworld 2.
I could only believe its FreeSpace because of the subtle graphical quirks I am very familiar with (also that beam graphic!). It's a simple shot, but sometimes less is more in this case. You focus on the prominent beam and go "yeah, that's what FreeSpace is all about". The giant beams.
Honorable mention to Torchwood for his pretty cool WoD ship engagement shot.
This leaves the month's scoreboard at...
Darius - 1
niffiwan - 1
tomimaki - 1
This month's theme is: It's a Trap! Show a deadly ambush being sprung!
Watch those HUD gauges (especially that sneaky FPS gauge) and check out the Screencam Script to help you win a badge and bragging rights. You can see the rules and the previous winners here on the Wiki.