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    • May14

      StarMade - Devblog May 15th 2017

      Greetings citizens,

       

      We have an update on the power update as well as an exciting announcement for you.

       

      What are we working on right now?

       

      One new thing is that in our internal builds fleets are now saving orders on logout and server start and restart. You can expect fleets to save orders in future dev builds. As previously mentioned, we have been constructing a comprehensive power document to share with the community. It is now being finalized along with a video to give an easily digestible overview of the entire proposal. These will be released simultaneously later this week.

       

      Be sure to check our last news post [prev dev blog] for more specifics, since we are still discussing those internally.

       

      New developer joining the team

       

      For the past two and a half months we've been getting a new game developer familiarised with the code and how we work. Some of you will already be acquainted with him as an active community member, welcome to @nightrune (Sean Sill)!


       

      Thanks for playing StarMade,

       

      ~ The Schine Team

       
    • May8

      StarMade - Devblog May 8th 2017

      Greetings citizens,

       

      It’s been a little while since the last news update. However, we decided, that with a new flexible release schedule it would be best to do weekly news posts when possible from here on out. This is all detailed in a forum post here: https://starmadedock.net/threads/starmade-release-cycle-news-posts.28895/

       

      What are we working on right now?

       

      One major addition will be a new request system, that will give better overall performance and superior logic for requesting chunks allowing for larger entities. Fleet commands will be made consistent between server restarts, as well as improved local movement, and we will be looking to make fleet fight-or-flight behavior a lot better.

       

      We are also working on other projects in the background, but we can’t reveal everything just yet. The level of planning and discussions has probably increased tenfold since StarMade’s next steps will be quite large, so what we can reveal right now is in the next section. Much of these discussions have revolved around our end goals document. We’ve been working on a public version that we would like to release soon.

       

      Future Plans

       

      Our current focus is on outlining the final gameplay elements of the game as a whole and making sure we cover the aspects of exploration, movement, building, fighting and developing your empire in an interesting and satisfying way for the player.

       

      For this to work properly, we have to adapt our current universe layout. We are discussing and planning how the next version of resource distribution will work in the universe. The game’s present universe is very uniform and doesn’t lend itself to a more dynamic universe we would like to see. This leads us to discuss and work on two specific things. Where resources are and how, you as the player, use them. The current system we are designing will be moving to more points of interest and contention in the universe. Meaning only specific capsules and ores will exist in specific parts of each galaxy. The crafting system will also have to take this into account and will be revised the same way.

       

      Our discussion internally is based around a concept of points of interest within the universe. A point of interest could be many things. It could be a sector, a set of sectors a planet or other stellar phenomena. All points of interest will/should have a gameplay purpose within the galaxy. These will become focal points for contention, and exploration. There will be more information about the specific locations and stellar objects in future news posts.

       

      While we prepare for all of that, bug fixing will once again be focused to establish more overall stability this includes fleets and AI. Work is still moving forward on audio, and our new power proposal. Both which will have quite the impact on the universe, but more on power next week.


       

      Thanks for playing StarMade,

       

      ~ The Schine Team

       
    • Apr24

      StarMade v0.199.535 - Spring Cleaning

      Greetings citizens,

       

      The spring cleaning update is finally released. As you probably already know, we changed our release cycle to be a lot safer. You can check out our release cycle here (still a work in progress). For this update we focused on solving a lot of new and old bugs.

       

      A few of the bugs were extremely hard to fix. There are also a few smaller features coming with the fixes.

       

      Features and more noteworthy bugs

       

      Fleets/ships losing entities

      After many iterations and tries, this error seems finally fixed. The main problem was a faulty database query when a fleet changed sector. It was supposed to bring all of their dock with it, but due to the bug only brought some of them. To catch this bug we implemented debug functions, so that fleets would be able to monitor themselves patrolling between sectors.

       

      There is one leftover issue which is catched by a fallback method, and therefore doesn’t affect the game at all. It will just notify the admins with a small popup to send in the logs, since using a fallback isn’t the cleanest way solve this left over.

       

      Thanks to all the testers and helpers on this bug! You really helped a lot finally squashing this pesky bug.

       

      Collision solving for lagging sectors

      Server has a lot of problems when there were a lot of bad spawns caused by either a bug or intentional griefing. It goes so far that some servers has scripts to detect those sectors and despawn objects.

       

      It comes down to that when multiple physical objects were in the same space, the physics would slow down the whole server. In the past this could happen with fleets spawning or asteroids in rare cases. These issues have been fixed. However, should it still happen, the game has now its own detection system, automatically warping objects to a save closest position after the sector was detected to lag from that object causing too much physics lag.

       

      Rail logic switching

      Switching rails through logic interaction seemingly worked well but block data was not properly refreshed. You would end up with ghost connections and depending on building, could create an invalid link. A safety check done by the game would prevent any rail working on that entity because of it. This would most likely explain why quite a few rails stop working.

       

      Rolling Ships

      Rolling ships has been significantly improved. By redesigning the algorithm used, rolling while looking around now feels a lot more natural and doesn’t do these strange figure eights anymore.

       

      OSX Fixes

      We apologize for taking a bit longer to fix some of the more pressing OSX issues. Macs can finally use framebuffer and advanced graphics functions to speed up the game using the optimizations that come with that. Also some crashes with videos and some text input issues have been fixed.

       

      If you find more problems that are OSX related, please report them and we will try to fix them for the next release.

       

      Exploits

      We fixed a number of exploits. Thanks to all the players reporting them.

       

      One of the more difficult things was implementing a system that would check connection validity without affecting performance, because it would be horrible to check every block that has a connection. The system we came up with distributes the load to check connections over time. It also only checks when the numbers “don’t check out”.

      Optimization

      ~ The drawing for display blocks has been significantly improved

      ~ Logic activation sending has been improved significantly, reducing bandwidth and improving performance

      Features

      ~ Fleets can now cloak

      ~ Fleets can now radar jam

      ~ Bobby AI can now be activated via logic

       

      Size Restriction via GameConfig.xml

      Admins can now restrict the ship and station size per entity they want to allow on their server. The exact syntax has been added to /data/config/GameConfigDefault.xml

       

      Also there is a general size restriction in the server.cfg now. RESTRICT_BUILDING_SIZE will restrict building size to multiples of sector size. The value in the GameConfig.xml has priority if set.


       

      List of Bugs fixed


       

      Here’s the full list of all 85 tasks we’ve worked on:

      Private issues are exploits or issues that, if known to the public, would cause a lot of harm.

      Even though we fixed them, knowing the steps to reproduce could give you ideas on finding a way to bypass the fix and still abuse it, for that reason we do not share.

       

      ~ T2349 (Private): Grouping issue

      ~ T2139 (Private): Power and shield drain issue

      ~ T2138 (Private): Player max build area not working properly

      ~ T1969 (Private): Performance issues with logic

      ~ T1963 (Private): Missile and AI targeting issue

      ~ T1931 (Private): Shop module crash

      ~ T1851 (Private): Transporters and grapple beam issue

      ~ T1828 (Private): Jumpdrive/inhibitor charge issue

      ~ T1823 (Private): Bounding box issue

      ~ T1627 (Private): Performance issues with logic

      ~ T1602 (Private): Linking update issue

      ~ T1575 (Private): Undo issue

      ~ T1570 (Private): Ion issue

      ~ T1558 (Private): Crash when enabling shadows

      ~ T1299 (Private): Rail logic switching issue

      ~ T1227 (Private): Collision issue

      ~ T1145 (Private): Derelict stations issue

      ~ T1080 (Private): Faction protection removal issue

      ~ T1050 (Private): Docking issue

      ~ T1023 (Private): System claiming issue

      ~ T941 (Private): Docking issue

      ~ T895 (Private): Faction rank permission issue

      ~ T840 (Private): Asteroid respawning issue

      ~ T823 (Private): Another Ion issue

      ~ T659 (Private): Logic issue

      ~ T654 (Private): Warhead issue

      ~ T643 (Private): C+V linking issue

      ~ T512 (Private): Design issue


       

      ~ T2353: Sector Import fails to load ships docked to planet plates/asteroids

      ~ T2352: (Prebuild only) Shipyards causing disconnect and class cast exceptions

      ~ T2347: Caps-lock mouse interaction on OSX

      ~ T2339: /load_as_faction crashes server

      ~ T2333: Nullpointer being spammed in server console

      ~ T2309: /destroy_uid_docked command not working properly

      ~ T2294: Gold, silver and bronze bar icons missing

      ~ T2291: Autofill “ingame player name” from launcher

      ~ T2289: Make Bobby AI activation logic controllable

      ~ T2278: Cannot dock here

      ~ T2273: Adjust starter equipment for the new block selection method

      ~ T2270: Server deadlock, unknown cause

      ~ T2267: Server crash related to physics, and meta objects

      ~ T2252: Registry has a max password length of 128 characters but not stated anywhere

      ~ T2249: Flip flops not working properly

      ~ T2246: Torch cannot destroy faction module

      ~ T2214: Navigation menu mass of docks is always 0.1 and 0.0 for stations/planet plates

      ~ T2181: Nullpointer with processErrorDialogException

      ~ T2150: Radar jammer and cloak stay active on exiting core for fleet ships

      ~ T2140: Display module performance issues

      ~ T2118: Add dimensional limits to game config

      ~ T2101: Rail detection with rotators and set rotation broken

      ~ T2100: Sell available and price updates at the wrong time

      ~ T2099: Place order edit button is switched around

      ~ T2094: Fleets losing docked entities

      ~ T2044: /despawn command with fleet entities fails

      ~ T2009: Derelict stations get false positive removal for “ship only blocks”

      ~ T2004: Crash when attempting to access online play without internet connection

      ~ T1995: Importing sector fails with ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException

      ~ T1980: Cargo spaces can be reused by multiple storages

      ~ T1957: C+V Rail detection doesn’t send false signals

      ~ T1776: Converted blueprints have undocked entities as response fleet

      ~ T1678: Uplink doesn’t save for OSX

      ~ T1664: Loading sector causes mass timeouts with colliding asteroids

      ~ T1658: Shop price not set without ownership doesn’t allow moving blocks in between

      ~ T1639: Nullpointer with joystick connected

      ~ T1616: ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException with missiles or effects

      ~ T1553: Error handling for version mismatch and missing uplink insufficient

      ~ T1525: ffmpeg causing crash for OSX

      ~ T1510: Nullpointer in character file

      ~ T1466: Frame buffer capabilities not detected for OSX

      ~ T1465: Nullpointer with projectiles, causing invisible beams

      ~ T1422: NaN illegal comparison with shootout rail

      ~ T1384: Nullpointer when charging shields

      ~ T1337: Wedge blast door texture reversed

      ~ T1318: Spawning ships with same names as formerly existing one may lack docked entities

      ~ T1282: Creative mode  doesn’t allow dropping specific block quantities

      ~ T1257: Incomplete build mode undo/redo

      ~ T1004: New unchanged stations turn into red hull blocks

      ~ T990: Rolling not working properly

      ~ T684: Shop permission resets when server restarts

      ~ T524: Weapons hitting deeper inside your ship

      ~ T428: Not staying attached to ship when logging out

      ~ T355: AHP and SHP is capped

      ~ T325: Asteroids can spawn in solid entities

      ~ T252: Startup crash with custom Windows theme

      ~ T25: C+V Linking memory leak



       

      We also did around 20 smaller fixes and issues reported directly by server owners. Crashes, database issues and performance problems were fixed along the way resulting in a more stable environment.


       

      Thank you for playing StarMade,

      ~ the schine Team




       

    • Mar31

      StarMade Pre-Release 0.199.491

      Greetings Citizens,

       

      This is our first "release candidate", which contains what we've worked on since the last official release. A release candidate is a version made available to the public for testing. The intention of a release candidate is to switch it to our full release branch if no significant bugs are found. Release candidates give the public a chance to play (test) the version before it becomes a full release, helping us prevent major issues cropping up in our release branch. If you're interested in helping out, take a look at the changes we've made in this news post and check the features or bug fixes that interest you. This is part of our release cycle changes, mentioned in our previous news post, if you haven’t read that already, make sure to do so: http://www.star-made.org/news/starmade-dev-update-spring-cleaning

       

      If you come across any additions that don't work or you believe you’ve located a new bug, report that here: Report a Bug (Release Candidate)

       

      If you find that a bug listed as being fixed here is not fixed (in this pre-release version), please click on the link listed for that bug and comment that the bug is not fixed, listing the pre-release version.

       

      We'll make sure to classify new issues properly and fix any major bugs before releasing.



       

      To install this release candidate, switch to Pre in your build type.

       

      New (Steam) launcher: Build Type > Pre, make sure to set build version to the latest and then update.

      axVsNEU.png

       

      Old (java) launcher: Options > Installation Settings > Build Branch > PRE > OK

      Ltym5xc.png

       

      pe6RtXz.png

       

      Please note: Release Candidates are versions which we believe to be ready for full release. However, they have not been widely tested, and therefore may still have significant issues. We encourage everyone to try out release candidates, however, please make sure to backup your content beforehand!

       

      This is a period that would last as long as needed; we can fix what comes up while we’re already working on the next update. If all goes well, this would only last a week at most, and we can release a version for everyone to be used soon after, knowing that it was thoroughly tested and the chance of encountering a game breaking issue would be minimal.

       

      In some way you’ve already been doing that with every release, the difference here is that the version isn’t running on every server out there.


       

      We focused on bug fixing this update although a few additional features did get introduced because of that.


       

      Optimizations and New Features resulting from bug fixing:

      ~ Considerable improvement of network load sending logic activations, and improving overall performance of logic

      ~ Optimization of display blocks, making their drawing speed multiple times faster

      ~ Fleet Commands now include cloaking and jamming

      ~ Bobby AI can now be activated via logic

      ~ GameConfig can now include size restrictions on ships and stations to add more customization for servers. This also includes blueprint spawning.

       

      Everything listed below is an attempt at fixing the issue, which means some of them may not have succeeded. Unfortunately, we are not able to give any details about the countless exploits we’ve fixed as they would give clues for any other remaining exploits we might not know of. An exploit could also reappear several months later, which is why we would not like to share any details about them.

      Note, we’ve attempted to fix every exploit known to us so in case you’re still aware of one that is working for you in this version, please inform us about it.

       

      Here’s the full list of all the tasks we’ve worked on:

       

      (most likely fixed)

       

      ~ T2139 (Private): Power and shield drain issue

      ~ T2138 (Private): Player max build area not working properly

      ~ T1969 (Private): Performance issues with logic

      ~ T1931 (Private): Shop module crash

      ~ T1828 (Private): Jumpdrive/inhibitor charge issue

      ~ T1823 (Private): Bounding box issue

      ~ T1627 (Private): Performance issues with logic

      ~ T1570 (Private): Ion issue

      ~ T1558 (Private): Crash when enabling shadows

      ~ T1299 (Private): Rail logic switching issue

      ~ T1145 (Private): Derelict stations issue

      ~ T1050 (Private): Docking issue

      ~ T1023 (Private): System claiming issue

      ~ T941 (Private): Docking issue

      ~ T840 (Private): Asteroid respawning issue

      ~ T823 (Private): Ion issue

      ~ T659 (Private): Logic issue

      ~ T654 (Private): Warhead issue

      ~ T643 (Private): C+V linking issue

      ~ T512 (Private): Design issue

       

      ~ T2289: Make Bobby AI activation logic controllable

      ~ T2273: Adjust starter equipment for the new block selection method

      ~ T2270: Server deadlock, unknown cause

      ~ T2267: Server crash related to physics, and meta objects

      ~ T2252: Registry has a max password length of 128 characters but not stated anywhere

      ~ T2246: Torch cannot destroy faction module

      ~ T2181: Nullpointer with processErrorDialogException

      ~ T2140: Display module performance issues

      ~ T2100: Sell available and price updates at the wrong time

      ~ T2009: Derelict stations get false positive removal for “ship only blocks”

      ~ T2004: Crash when attempting to access online play without internet connection

      ~ T1995: Importing sector fails with ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException

      ~ T1980: Cargo spaces can be reused by multiple storages

      ~ T1957: C+V Rail detection doesn’t send false signals

      ~ T1776: Converted blueprints have undocked entities as response fleet

      ~ T1678: Uplink doesn’t save for OSX

      ~ T1639: Nullpointer with joystick connected

      ~ T1616: ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException with missiles or effects

      ~ T1525: ffmpeg causing crash for OSX

      ~ T1510: Nullpointer in character file

      ~ T1466: Frame buffer capabilities not detected for OSX

      ~ T1465: Nullpointer with projectiles, causing invisible beams

      ~ T1422: NaN illegal comparison with shootout rail

      ~ T1384: Nullpointer when charging shields

      ~ T1337: Wedge blast door texture reversed

      ~ T1318: Spawning ships with same names as formerly existing one may lack docked entities

      ~ T1257: Incomplete build mode undo/redo

      ~ T990: Rolling not working properly

      ~ T524: Weapons hitting deeper inside your ship

      ~ T428: Not staying attached to ship when logging out

      ~ T355: AHP and SHP is capped

      ~ T325: Asteroids can spawn in solid entities

      ~ T252: Startup crash with custom Windows theme

      ~ T25: C+V Linking memory leak

       

      (partially fixed so far)

       

      ~ T1963 (Private): Missile and AI targeting issue

      ~ T1851 (Private): Transporters and grapple beam issue

      ~ T1602 (Private): Linking update issue

      ~ T1575 (Private): Undo issue

      ~ T1227 (Private): Collision issue

      ~ T1080 (Private): Faction protection removal issue

      ~ T895 (Private): Faction rank permission issue

       

      ~ T2291: Autofill “ingame player name” from launcher

      ~ T2278: Cannot dock here

      ~ T2150: Radar jammer and cloak stay active on exiting core for fleet ships

      ~ T2118: Add dimensional limits to game config

      ~ T2101: Rail detection with rotators and set rotation broken

      ~ T2044: /despawn command with fleet entities fails

      ~ T1664: Loading sector causes mass timeouts with colliding asteroids

      ~ T1553: Error handling for version mismatch and missing uplink insufficient

      ~ T1282: Creative mode  doesn’t allow dropping specific block quantities

      ~ T1004: New unchanged stations turn into red hull blocks

      ~ T684: Shop permission resets when server restarts


       

      Areas to focus on:

      ~ Faction signature inheritance and protection

      ~ Building including all advanced build mode tools

      ~ Logic

      ~ Rails

      ~ Weapons and their offensive/defensive effects

      ~ Shipyards and cargo

      ~ Shops

       

      As always, thank you for playing StarMade

      ~ The Schine Team

       
    • Mar15

      StarMade Dev Update: Spring Cleaning

      Greetings Citizens,

       

      It's been just over two weeks since we last posted news, so it's well due for a dev blog! By now most of you will have discovered that the last release we did caused some serious issues with stations and saving block changes.

       

      As a player, these severe issues can spoil your mood to play the game and in some cases also result in you losing in-game progress.

       

      As a game development team, we’re aware issues like these lose our players trust and support. Additionally, having to do several hotfixes also eats away time in every new release cycle.


       

      The release cycle, as it stands, is scheduled for a release every two weeks. Sometimes we extend major releases (such as NPC factions) to go through multiple release cycles. However, we try to stick to the two-week schedule as best we can. During this cycle, we have to plan, develop and test every release. We've found that it's hard to put a meaningful amount of content into a release in only two weeks, especially since we can't add anything new during the testing phase (currently 2-3 days) before release. What tends to happen is that after a release is sent out at the two-week mark, hotfixes are needed, we then lose even more time for the next release cycle.

       

      Adding more testers to our testing phase wouldn’t help in the sense that a tester’s job is to mainly maintain Phabricator and to report any dev issues along the way. It’s a never ending task and finding volunteers that will do this for a long period has so far been difficult.

       

      We've come to the conclusion that the current two-week release schedule is unfeasible for a team of our size. It's inefficient, unmanageable and it's not beneficial for our players or us. For these reasons, we've decided to work on a new release cycle, to eliminate/reduce severe issues in new releases and allow us to get more work done.

       

      New release cycle

      The changes we want to do here is to extend our release cycle to “as long as we need” with Dev Blogs to keep everyone up to date with what we’re working on throughout the release cycle.This gives us more time to do some long-term tests without feeling the need to rush a release out and then having to hotfix afterwards. This approach also lets us monitor any performance issues that pop-up and resolve them before a live release.

       

      Although this should already be more manageable for testing, we would like to minimise the risk of any issue going unnoticed during pre-release testing. Therefore, when we think it’s ready to go, we will inform you about all the dev build changes in a news post but not do a live release. That would be our release candidate which will be used for public testing. You can check those changes out on our test server and help us out by reporting any issue you find. We even have a few servers that want to run this release candidate on a backup of their entire server database to give us even more coverage. Having the community involved in the process before the release goes live will ensure we catch as many issues as we can, avoiding the need for as many hotfixes after it goes live.

       

      If you encounter any new issues, please report them here, and we’ll make sure to prioritise them correctly to fix any annoying or severe issues before live release. We’re planning to do these release candidates on a Friday if possible, and we estimate it will take roughly a full week before it can be uploaded to the release branch.

       

      This will allow us to get a lot more work done, as the two-week release cycle was holding us back quite considerably, often reducing features to minor gameplay and decorative updates while we didn’t make as much progress with bigger features as we would have liked. The most popular updates like the rail update did have long release cycles, so we already know that it pays off.

       

      We’ve written our different phases out here although they’re still subject to change. A lot depends on how well our next release will go when following these rules.

       

      Bug spring cleaning

      The two-week cycle also left bug-fixing in a poor state as we were always forced to fix bugs affecting the new features, and then hotfixing, neglecting other bugs that continued to get pushed back more and more. In light of this, our first usage of the longer release cycle will be the quest to fix all bugs that have a priority above “normal”. This is long overdue. We have also decided that when we release, the release should have fewer bugs than the last release. Not only will this make the game a lot better over time, but it will also free up resources for our testers, as fewer bugs will have to be processed.

       

      We understand that it was a bit frustrating for new testers to see their bug report(s) in queue waiting to be fixed for so long. This is also something we want to resolve through this process.


       

      Power update

      With regards to the power update proposal we shared with the community. We have worked on ironing out the flaws in our concept and were hoping to have been able to present our revision a week ago. However, we’re still not quite ready to share our revised proposal just yet. Some of you mentioned it was hard to judge a system with a lack of details which is why we’ve been working on it for a while now. As we expected it’s not easy to find a complex system where every block has a purpose and affects different portions of your reactor.  We’ve toyed around with several ideas such as heat management and reactor shapes, but the hardest part is finding a good base and sticking with it. For now, watch this space.


       

      Current changes

      Our primary focus these past few weeks has been on bug fixing, addressing all of the higher priority bug tasks that were still in queue. Fifty of them have been addressed so far, although testing is still required to make sure they’re resolved. With bug fixing also comes some small features, such as the ability to toggle cloak/radar jammers on fleets. We’ve also been looking out for those annoying issues that aren’t necessarily a high priority but can still sour gameplay experience after encountering it too many times.  For example, rolling a ship has always resulted in odd behaviour, and we’re very close to fixing it right now.

       

      Our next release will require some extensive play testing; we’re sure our community will be willing to help us out :)

       

      As always, thanks for playing StarMade

      ~ The Schine Team