Hard Light Productions


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HLP Newsletter - January 2017

Happy new year! I wonder what new things the year will bring to this now 18 year old space-sim. Hard to say, but let's take a quick look at what happened in the last month of 2016 first.

Campaign News

0rph3us gives us some sad news about the progress being made with The Lost Generation - Ashcroft:

"On the 23rd my PC went under, and without Microsoft Support I am not able to troubleshoot the problem. The problem ammounts to user error, with a high probability of device wear.

I was able to pull out most of my files, and only a few remain on the PC."

That's too bad, but I know that HLPers are pretty patient when it comes to waiting for releases! Hopefully 0rph3us Command Central 2.0 will be up and running in no time!

Bryan See posted a year-end update for the progress made for Shattered Stars:

"An almost ready fleetpack (GRW, Authority, Horologian?), with balanced high-speed movements, weapons, etc.

Missions 1-4 (>99% complete)

Outlines for Missions 11-13 is clear and settled: it's set around and after the respective climax and ending of the 2012 Total Recall movie. FREDding is underway.

Mission 15B is actually a bonus SP mission from Woutersmits, I'm going to re-tweak it heavily.

Built for future FSO 3.8.0 versions, with PBR, particle effects, fonts, and more to come."

He also says he'll be releasing a teaser trailer and gameplay trailer once release gets closer. I'm sure those videos will also be great showcases for the new features being put into FreeSpace Open too.

I missed this from last month, but Trivial Psychic is doing an FS1 upgrade campaign. Not like FS Port, no! This upgrade looks at the actual missions and gameplay itself. A revamp of sorts to try and bring a more structured military approach to it all, and adding more bonus objectives and special mission loops. There's a long list of changes Trivial Psychic plans to make if you want to give feedback or have your own ideas.

And Axem (that'sa me!) posted a video showcasing some of the new primary weapons forthcoming in Just Another Day 2.2. There's some same looking stuff like the Prometheus, and some new stuff like the Flak Cannon. Fun for all ages.

Coding News

by niffiwan

Goodbye 2016 and well hello 2017! For some 2016 has been a bad year, so to counteract some of that lets quickly review all the cool code happenings in 2016!

  • 3.7.4 was released
  • Physically Based Rendering (PBR) and High Dynamic Range Lighting (HDR) added
  • SDL 2.0 support added for all platforms
  • Improved shield hit effects added
  • TrueType font support added
  • OpenGL core profile support added
  • H264 cutscene support added

That's a pretty sweet set of new features, can't wait to see what 2017 is going to bring!

New Features List (targeting 3.8.0)

  • Fiction viewer character conversion (Yarn) This adds support for non-ASCII characters to the fiction viewer i.e. bringing the fiction viewer to the same level of internationalisation support that the rest of FSO has. Nice work!
  • jettison-cargo sexp (Goober5000) As it says on the tin! The new SEXP makes the older SEXP obsolete, but naturally it still exists for any missions already using it. Also of note is the original sexp used "interesting" physics calculations, the new one uses the relevant docking point normals which should produce better results.
  • Add collision group support to beams (MageKing17) This is pretty funky, and makes me think the Dimensional Eclipse team are up to no good! :) And to be honest, a picture describes this better than words.

Here's the current bugs scoreboards. Firstly we have Mantis bugs & Github issues, both are about the same as last month:

(Mantis includes 32 feature requests not including HPC)

Next up we have Coverity issues, they've jumped up quite a bit this month. I suspect that Coverity have updated their checks to find more potential issues, security never stands still...

Trivial Psychic has submitted another feature request that he'd like for his missions, more customisation options for asteroid & debris fields! Sounds pretty cool, if you're a coder at a loose end, go have a look & see if you'd like to create this feature.

Admiral Ralwood (aka MageKing17) has updated his PR to add interval based countermeasures. This would be super cool to have added to the engine to make countermeasures actually make sense, so if you have a spare moment go give it a test & see if you can find any problems.

Modding News

Trashman has come back with a vengeance, finishing up 3 models ([1], [2], [3]) that have been just sitting on his hard drive. So if you're looking for some harsh looking weapons of war, consider these for your collection.

Betrayal releases a spiffy looking corvette, the GTCv Eurynome, that is going to be included in Shadow Genesis: Reborn. But it's being released early so you can enjoy its power now!

Droid803 releases a redone FT BV Euryphaessa by AndrewOfDoom and the not-a-Star Fury HAF Cyclone by Axem and AndrewOfDoom. You can be sure they'll be in the next DE release, but you can take them home today, for free!

BlackWolf has started work on the K-Wing for Fate of the Galaxy. Already in the texturing stages, I don't think it'll be long before we see some nice in game shots.

Over in 'What Are You Working On' there's a couple of nice looking WIP ships. One by fightermedic (a blue and white one) and a model by Cadius that Betrayal is working on (a scary looking gray one).

Screencap Contest - November 2016

Okay, so we were a little late on this month. That's okay, we can make up for it. The theme was Vasudans. And BlackWolf stole the show with this planetary shot. Everything screams Vasudan, the ships, the sky, the... sand.

Honorable mention goes to tokimaki and some amazing shots of Vasudan ships. So that leads the scoreboard to be...

Screencap Scoreboard:
Betrayal - 1
Spoon - 2
Black Wolf - 2
Erebus Alpha - 2
Darius - 2
Tomimaki - 1
Niffiwan - 1

Screencap Contest - December 2016

And to end off the year, the theme was Whatever you like!

But the real question is... what do I like? And that was Darius' screenshot of a destroyer duel. The flak, the beams, the missiles, they all encapsulate the very essence of why we play FreeSpace. For the explosions.

And with that, Darius pushes just ahead of the rest of the pack to win 2016's Screencap Contest winner of the year!!

Screencap Scoreboard:
Betrayal - 1
Spoon - 2
Black Wolf - 2
Erebus Alpha - 2
Darius - 3
Tomimaki - 1
Niffiwan - 1

Congrats to all the screencap winners and participants!

Now to head into the 2017 season of the contest. January's theme will be Community Models.

Take a screenshot that doesn't have any retail Volition ships! Showcase community additions. The more original, the better!

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.