Linux porting

The new prototype of Simerge was successfully ported to Linux OS. This is a great step in development towards platform independence.

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Video releases on Youtube

It’s nothing new. Last month I’ve released some videos at Youtube showing early development states. The two last videos show walkable interiors. There I used simple test models instead of the ones from X3. Don’t expect quality. Also take in Account, that FRAPS, I used for video capturing, caped down all frame rates.

Space flight from planet to station
Ship docking test
Ship boarding

Entering ship and then docking to a station

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Opensource

I decided to release Simerge as opensource under GPL License.  I will give more information about it soon.

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Portalized indoor scenes

I’ve recently implemented zone culling portals which will get used mostly by indoor scenes. Portals are something like gates or windows which connect places. They are usually represented by 2D shapes. Their function is simple: If the player resides at one zone, he can only see and move to a neighboring zone through an existing portal between both zones. On this way it is possible to skip invisible zones and attached geometries inside.

Portals are very powerful due to some new possibilities

  • Visibility culling: Connection of indoor and outdoor scenes, room to room connections. Visibility control (e.g. door opening/closing, LOD)
  • Interactive content paging: That means no annoying loading zones are needed. Portals can serve as hint to load required content on the fly.
  • Coordinate switching and axis reorientation: Makes things possible like gravity direction redefinition, wrapped or infinite geometry.
  • Stencil culling through shapes makes effects possible like wormholes.
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First BSP maps for indoor scenes and other news

It was a very long time since I’ve last posted news on my project. It doesn’t mean it was dead for this time. I spent the most time with things which needed to be done on the engine. For example, rewriting the graphics modules. Tidy up some chaos a.s.o.. Unfortunately none of these have brought any new funny shots I would show on this site. Since today.

I’ve recently managed to import BSP scenes successfully. Which will be used for some of the indoor walking. For example the player would be able to walk inside ships or space stations. Currently I’m trying it with a combination of occlusion portals and BSP maps.

Ship interior example

The image above shows an example how a corridor inside a spaceship could look like.

Info: The mapping I’ve done myself. The textures were borrowed from an old Quake games editor (I think called Quole). The lamp textures are from Halflife 1. As usual, I’m gonna replace this borrowed content later.

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Planetoids test

I’ve tested the behavior of the terrain engine by choosing huge mountain heights (around 35 km) in combination with a planet of tiny diameter. For example the one lesser than 1000km diameter. As a result I got an interesting planetoid celestial body, which behave the same way as a normal planet. This means the player is also able to land on it and walk on it’s surface. Because of the half irregular shape, such planetoid reminds more of a huge asteroid than of a planet.

Planetoids are existing in our solar system inside the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Also there are different moons orbiting our gas giants and Mars. These moons are often shaped irregularly.

Planetoid

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Notes on futural releases

It gets important to clearify one point, because I’ve been asked many times on this.

Simerge is decided to be a Mod for X3 reunion and I-War 2. This means it will be freeware and it will depend from these applications to run. The installation won’t contain foreign game resources. Hence Simerge will require both games to be preinstalled.

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Imported GUI Elements from X3

Finally I’ve got it working!
The GUI system is an independent chapter. Perhaps not an easy one, but an exciting one. I’m using something like a widget system where the user can create an own GUI based on existing control elements. He can derive existing elements and create new ones with inherited functions but other styles for example or he can write completely new elements. It’s the same way like windows API programming.

To keep the X3 reunion feeling in Simerge I decided to import controls skins from this game. Like X3 too, the player will be able to manage his ships, give them orders or group them together into sqadrons or whole fleets.
X3 Reunion is a really great game, alltough I’m a little bit disappointed with the GUI design. I thought of making a few tweak ups in Simerge. Unlike X3, the GUI in Simerge should allow the player to select multiple ships at once and give them orders with only a few clicks. New features will be/are added like context menus and a multifunctional side applet like the one in Comand&Conquer games.
I also though of something like a collection or clipboard where the player can store his units for later usage. He can recall these ships at any time. It gets useful if ships are spread around all corners in space and they can’t be selected at once. In X3 it can get problematic if the player wants to do maintenance stuff on his fleet like repairing or equipment changing or if he wants to send a bunch of new fighters to carrier ships or replace older ones.

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CPU @ SPACE magazine

This time I want to post something not concerning Simerge, but concerning space softwares in common …

One day, I’ve been contacted by a writer. He told me that he wants to start writing for an upcoming online magazine dedicated to space software. Being a fan he wants to make his magazine available for free. My first intention was quite neutral. I must admit, I was neither surprised nor interested.
Some days later he sent me a small snippet of his work and then I realized that he is going to create something very interesting. It’s not only the content of the magazine pages. He uses also an own kind of design which attracts the reader to read more.

I think his magazine project deserves attention.
If someone wants to take a look on this, please follow the link http://multiverseweb.com/

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Terrains reloaded

I’ve ported more code from my old terrain engine. The terrain is generated with a simple perlin noise and rigded multifractal function. The picture below show a planetary surface of the planet. The ship is flying at an altitude of 1 km above the ground.

Terrain

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