Spaceway project
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Latest version is 140923
Spaceway is in a chaotic infinite development, so don't expect stable versions.
Typically producing a string of versions over a few weeks, followed by months of inactivity.

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  • 09.12.2014 - The D word
    It would appear that some site design changes are long overdue.
    Neither the colour scheme, not the basic layout was changed since 2008 or so.
    Even worse, they are themselves based on one of my sites for another game project from circa 1998.
    Summarily, that appears to make the site look dated.
    To quote the Reddit, "Awww, even the website looks like it is from 10 years ago."

    So, i was experimenting a bit.
    Simple things first - getting the colours to match together and be easier on the eyes.
    I've also made the comments more readable and usable, by adding visual cues between them and fixing the "incorrect captcha deletes what you typed" bug.

    What do you think?
    Anything else that is in an urgent need of changing?

    Post/read comments

  • 02.12.2014 - Spaceway 140923, Linux 32bit

    Spaceway 140923 Linux 32bit (826 Kb)

    Linux version compiled, per popular request.
    Main problem is, i don't currently have a Linux system capable of running Spaceway to test it on, so it's not being built by default.

    Even now it is somewhat of a blind build, since the system i built it on can barely run it.
    So, i will appreciate feedback on it's functionality.
    The code itself is portable enough that i'm reasonably sure it would work fine, but Murphy is always out there.

    Things that are known to be broken: UAP (autopilot), Hius vessel, trees/rocks, TransX.
    Things that weren't ported to Linux at all: Sound.

    Post/read comments

  • 22.11.2014 - Progress report, late 2014

    415 downloads for 140920 and 140923 total.
    Nope, not quite dead.
    There are a few bugs left in the 140923, most notable is the V key being both a warp drive and a screenshot key at once in the alternate key set.
    Not quite enough or serious enough for a new bug fix, so now they are waiting for the next release.

    Adding a story seems to have been a good idea.
    To quote, "I haven't ever done so many different things in Spaceway before... Sure I could have practiced orbital interception using a warp drive, but frankly the thought never occured to me.".
    Even then it's still somewhat too difficult towards the end to people without grasp of orbital mechanics.

    On the publicity side, i'm trying to figure out Facebook... Without much luck. It just does not make sense to me.
    I still get most of the feedback on Orbiter forums.
    There have also been some talk on Reddit lately.

    On the development progress side, there haven't been much visible.
    I've done extensive refactoring of the Pascal compiler used in Spaceway, and tweaked some other back-end things - stability stuff that isn't explicitly visible to players.
    Adding sounds in the last update also derailed me into full-on research on procedurally generated sounds.
    Hopefully the next update will have a better ambiance than the silence of space (and feature a "TaDa" sound currently missing at the end of the storyline ).
    But at the end of the day, the development still stumbles forward aimlessly, and there is once again no scheduled next update time.

    But there is something related that is scheduled.
    I haven't talked much about science involved in making Spaceway before, since it's all published in Russian so far.
    This might soon change, since if all goes well the core ideas will be published late 2015, in an English book.

    It so happens that the procedural generation methods i developed have applications in artificial intelligence.
    It's the ability to generate an image from an idea, from simple description.
    One way, it turns spoken text into an image, a schematic, a blueprint, etc.
    The other way, it helps image recognition - the description produced is turned back into an image, to match with the input and refine the recognition by feedback.
    Fascinating, how you start making a game, and end up doing science.

    If you find that interesting, i'll post the details when the books goes out.

    If not, next progress report will be in early to mid 2015, or around the next Spaceway release, whichever comes first.
    All in all, catch you later.

    Post/read comments

  • 23.09.2014 - Bugfix 1 (Version 140923)

    Spaceway 140923 Windows 32bit (1.4 Mb)
    Spaceway 140923 Linux 32bit (826 Kb)

    Thanks everyone for the feedback!
    Here is a little update to fix a few little bugs and a big one.

    -Fixed the non-appearance of a *spoilership* after intergalactic travel
    -Fixed Relative MFD target select (MFD API was out of date)
    -Fixed quicksaves being in the wrong directory

    -lowgraph_start.bat will start the game with a simple launchpad menu, giving you an opportunity to tweak the options if the FPS was too low (--lowgraph from command line)
    -Various tweaks to the story texts ("Of course I immediately jumped the rover off the cliff to see if anything would happen when I get to the pink ice, and nothing did")
    -Moved star map to the infopad
    -Made the fuel generator a bit smaller ("look at that 30 meters tall fuel generator I just happened to have in my pocket!")

    Post/read comments

  • 20.09.2014 - Version 140920

    Spaceway 140920 Windows 32bit (1.4 Mb)
    Linux version might be compiled in case of requests - i don't have a Linux machine to test it on.

    A lot of changes were done to the interface.
    From trivial stumbles, like putting main menu on obvious Esc key instead of unexpected F4, to removal of duplicated and confusing functionalities.
    From moving a few buttons around, to moving essential functionality from obscure locations to obvious places.
    From more straightforward controls, to in-game quickstart guide.
    I hope it's playable now. :)

    Gameplay elements
    You know the parable about a donkey, who sits exactly between two stacks of hay?
    The poor beast can't decide which one is closer and dies of hunger.
    Apparently, that is what was happening here. So, want to get moving - pick a direction and go.

    Not to say that the gameplay idea was picked completely at random. I think it fits.

    If it works out, i can work on a grander idea.
    Any one story is tiny, compared to the infinite universe.
    However, you can make as many stories as you like, without them coming close to each other. Or, instead, interacting one with the other.
    If there was a way to write the stories in a universe like Spaceway, would anyone bother writing them?

    It sounds tempting, like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, only in space and written by a community.
    Unless i'm blinded by useless hope once again. :)

    In short, there are now two game modes - sandbox and gameplay.
    Sandbox is what Spaceway always was, gameplay is something slightly different.
    Also, the universe is no longer a single entity - each save keeps it's own set of starlogs, system and planet names, bases, buildings, etc.


    -Gameplay mode and sandbox mode
    -A short storyline, for introduction to the game
    -Interface improvements (infopad instead of many MFDs, inventory window, controls, guides, story, etc)
    -Death and failures in game mode
    -Quickstart guide in game
    -Scanning worlds instead of all-knowing at once
    -Start directly into a game
    -Reload on big option changes
    -More sounds
    -Fuel derricks

    Post/read comments

  • 29.06.2014 - Follow-up on 2014 progress report

    First of all, thanks to everyone who responded and to the guy who posted about this on Reddit.
    Sorry for sounding like an attention whore - when i wrote that progress report i honestly thought i was talking to a proverbial empty room, so i wasn't paying much attention to how it would sound.

    Honestly, lack of Spaceway's popularity does hurt, but mostly i am making it for my own fun.
    As much kind words as i heard in the last days is enough, just so i can stop wondering about there being flat out none of them.

    Which brings us to the real issues at hand, that more constructive posters noted.
    I'm having fun with it, in the same way someone with a home-built factory can have fun with it, while an outsider will be ground by gears and dumped into a vat of acid within first minutes of trying.
    Spaceway lacks purpose, goals, meaningful gameplay. It is as of now a wide open sandbox with an excessively complicated and undocumented toolset.
    And i am by now clueless as to what to make of it.

    Just making an infinite universe that you can fly around could have been a nice game on it's own, but Space Engine got there first, and i can't beat his graphics.
    Making a "build your ship and fly it" type of a game is too hard to do without ripping off Kerbal Space Program.
    Anything else i tried does not stick and does not fit, does not get any traction.
    The wider the world is, the harder it is to stick a player into it.

    That's the gist of it - i would like to make a game out of it, but i don't know how.

    So, let's put this influx of views to some use:
    What sort of game do you think Spaceway can be made into?

    To recap the main features:
    -Infinite universe, no borders to it.
    -No discontinuities. All the distance between one planet, star, galaxy, etc and the other is actual space - no cuts, jumps or loading screens.
    -Every planet, star or galaxy in it is a place you can get to - no backdrops or skydomes.
    -Every planet or moon is real-world sized, with the requisite details.
    -Real Newtonian physics underlying it (this part could be made optional, since real space flight just confuses people).
    -Everything is algorithmically generated. No images, model files, etc. If it can't be described procedurally, then it's out (add-ons/mods are an exception).

    I'm looking for ideas that can capitalize on the features, so something that uses a dozen solar systems here, and ignores the rest of the universe is likely a kind of idea that won't stick and get traction.

    Some miscellaneous notes and responses to Reddit posts:
    -CAPTCHA for comments ask for arithmetic addition of 1. So, if it says 4321 then you type 4322. I heard some people didn't catch that.
    -I will try to get the Linux version working again.
    -I have repeatedly failed miserably in making networking programs in the past, so there is basically no chance of any sort of multiplayer or MMO in Spaceway. "Online" is not my area of expertise.
    -Open source is not an option. I found i can't have my peace of mind with that code being open, so i reverted back to closed source in 2011.
    -I am not looking at monetizing this in foreseeable future.
    Post/read comments

  • 26.06.2014 - Progress report, summer 2014

    There is little progress to report, over the past 5 months.
    Zero progress, to be exact - last commit in the GIT is still dated January 22nd.

    Basically, i am clueless as to what else to be doing with Spaceway.
    The 2014 version was downloaded a bit over 500 times.
    Most of which are by bots and accidents, since over that time there were about 5 posters on the forum, 3 comments on the videos, and 0 comments on the site.
    Even assuming 1 to 10 comment to silent ratio, that comes to about 50-100 players, total.
    I am directly aware of maybe 10 of them, over the whole span of the project's existence.

    For a game 9 years in the making, this is pathetic.
    Why is it going so badly?
    I don't have a clue.

    Next progress report will be in late 2014, i do not anticipate much progress.
    Post/read comments

  • 21.01.2014 - Bugfix 2 for 140119

    Spaceway 140119-2 Windows 32bit (1.4 Mb)

    -Terrain visibility now depends on apparent radius (Chunk rendering is better)
    -Improved Surface MFD
    -Fixed module issues
    Post/read comments

  • 20.01.2014 - Bugfix 1 for 140119

    Spaceway 140119-1 Windows 32bit (1.4 Mb)

    -Fixed SC3 leftover animation bugs (parent-child animations, input checking glitches, state saving)
    -Fixed frustum sizing (disappearing VCs)
    -Fixed module (MFD/vessel) error interception
    -Fixed no plugins crash
    Post/read comments

  • 19.01.2014 - Version 140119

    Spaceway 140119 Windows 32bit (1.4 Mb)
    Linux version to be compiled in case of requests.

    And here comes the update worthy of several months of development.
    Refubrished the interface, added some backstory, fixed a ton of bugs.
    Clearly defined arcade mode along the realistic simulator one (q or v to switch), more straightforward controls, usable autopilot.
    Etc, etc.


    Arcade gameplay:

    Simulator gameplay:

    -Starting scenarios for arcade and realistic modes
    -Redesigned interface
    -MFDs are now mouse-controlled
    -Planets can now be named
    -Procedural mesh for Rapier
    -Caching of generated vessel meshs
    -Cache versioning - new version will clean up old cached files
    -Made warp motion FPS-independent
    -Warp drive does not need peculiar key combinations any more
    -Added a refuel button to control menu
    -Added presets to autopilot
    -Made help screen more readable

    -Fixed saving on window close and other exits
    -Fixed terrain graphic presets
    -Fixed crash on same system gate travel
    -Fixed freakish textures bug
    -Fixed autopilot throttle bug
    -Fixed clouds
    -Fixed persistence of gate address
    -Fixed gate names in systems with more than 26 planets/moons
    -Fixed textures breaking after changing graphic settings
    -Fixed cockpit jitter at high interstellar speeds
    -Fixed lights going out after interstellar trip

    Post/read comments

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