Greetings citizens, ~
Finally we’ve reached the point where we enter a pre-release state. This means that all the needed features are in, and preliminary bug fixing is done. There will still be issues, and while it should run fine, we strongly advise to backup your universe or try it out on a separate installation. It can be downloaded and installed from the Pre branch.
With more exposure, it will be easier to find those less critical issues and ensure stability before we can release it to everyone to use.
If you come across anything new that doesn’t work or you believe you’ve located a new bug, report that here to help us out: Report a Bug (Release Candidate)
If you’re not too sure about it, feel free to contact @Lancake in a private conversation, or leave a comment on this thread.
While we wait on people to try it out and report issues, we’ll continue building on features for the update after this.
What follows, is a quick overview of what’s new compared to release. We’ll make a more in-depth version for the actual release.
A quick overview of major features and changes:
* adapted font size to be readable
* new structure build info panel
* more context based information
* HUD context filters: all, most, some, crucial only, none. Crucial only is advised for experienced players.
* right click reset brush size
* removal prompt for storage/faction/shops/shipyards/warp gates in use
* setting waypoint to faction members from within members list
* shift click hotbar remove for creative mode + keybinding creative mode (if allowed)
* catalog blocks menu has a toggle to show resource cost
* chat GUI update (more coming in next update)
* reactor GUI, graphics and block textures
* new module use system (faster and a lot less error prone)
* new power consumption model (faster and less error prone)
* fixed major memory leak for servers
* fixed framebuffer VRAM usage
* reduced general VRAM usage (by more than half depending on Anti-Aliasing)
* network optimizations
* gui drawing optimization
* beam optimizations (more than double performance)
* several memory allocation optimizations
* normal mapping tangent space fix
* general chunk loading and validation optimizations (vastly reduced amount of calls)
* several block editing optimizations
* several group speed calculation optimizations
* optimization for chunk request queuing
* grouping calculation canceling to increase performance and responsiveness during battle
* combined-module power consumption processing optimization
* usage of some more advanced shader functions for graphics cards that support it
* faster debris handling
* new power system
* new power balance
* chamber system
* effect system
* effect functionality (~130 effects for entities)
* structural integrity
* new shield system
* recon vs stealth system
* factory production cap
* storage pull limits
* manual turret aiming
* graphic presets for simpler option management
* new HP system
* reworked overheating conditions
* several menu fixes
* server message fixes
* fixed placing blocks when the ship is moving
* several other bugfixes
As you can see, a lot of optimization was done so make sure keep your eye out for graphical glitches, block grouping bugs and block destruction issues. In case you’re interested to see which issues occured in the past, this task https://phab.starma.de/T2720 holds a link to many of them. It can give you clues about any other issues that were missed.
Also keep in mind that we’re working on the weapon update too, the current offensive effects are not fully supported as some will be changed or removed only a few weeks after. The combination system will stay, but the combinations themselves can change drastically.
We’ll make sure to post a dev blog about weapons specifically after the next public release.
Please keep in mind that all config values are not 100% final yet. In case you encounter any oddities where specific mechanics are too strong or weak, please mention those and make sure to include a blueprint of the ship or structure were that is clearly the case.
There is an all new power system in this build. Old ships are still loadable and fully usable but the old power and its related blocks are disabled in shops, creative mode and factories. They can be re-enabled in the block editor if needed (set inShop to true) or you can still access them through the admin command /give “player_name” “block_name” if you’re an admin, or in single player.
There is an option in the ServerConfig to completely disable the old power system should a server admin want that. However, once a universe is started with the old power disabled, this option cannot be reverted, as that would lead to incompatibilities with the Structure and Reactor HP system and can lead to overheating of many structures.
If old power is allowed, the system will detect which version to use based on the structure’s root entity (mothership, station or planet) and check if that has any old power blocks. All structures will be counted as “new” power until you place down an old power block at which point they will convert to the old system.
This is mainly for game worlds to be fully functional and for players to get accustomed to the new system without rendering all their creations suddenly completely non-functional.
How to use the new system
This systems makes ships work a lot differently. All ships made in the old power system, will not translate well into the new system. Simply swapping out the old power blocks with new ones does not make that ship functional again. Instead, we advise you to remove all power blocks, shields, thrusters and usables to start from a clean slate.
The best way to keep track of your power is to frequently check the detailed power consumption in your reactor panel (‘insert key’ by default, or use the radial menu with tab, or press ‘activate’ key when looking at a reactor block)
On the surface, the new system is really simple. You have your main reactor blocks which add power recharge to your ship, only a single reactor group is active at any given time. Power capacity itself is fixed and low, as all weapons and systems use power over time.
Weapons need a minimal amount of power to function, and require a lot more while they’re reloading. If you don’t have enough recharge, it will simply charge it slower.
Other systems such as thrusters and jump drives, only use power when they’re in use.
If your reactor group is small enough ( < 10 blocks), they work just fine on their own. You don’t need any additional blocks to make them function.
However, larger reactors have deteriorating stability. They will not gain power recharge unless you fix their stability. For that, you need to place down stabilizer blocks. These blocks will work at most ranges, but to be efficient, they need to be placed a certain distance or further from your reactor. This distance increases with your reactor size, so make sure to keep an eye out on your stabilization when adjusting its size. The hud context in build mode will tell you exactly what that distance is and indicate the efficiency of your stabilizers, it also shows additional information based on what you’re using.
While reactors have to be built grouped, stabilizers can be built distributed anywhere on your ship. If you have other inactive reactor groups, then all stabilizers look to the biggest reactor, and their resulting stabilization will be used.
You can also build multiple reactors and switch between them. A reactor switch is instantaneous, but there is a cooldown to switch again and it also takes time for chambers to become active.
As said, all modules now consume power over time. Additionally. you now have full control on what is going to be consumed first. Open the reactor panel (‘insert key’ default, or use the radial menu with tab), and you can prioritize certain systems. This means that they will get power first in case your total power consumption is above 100%. So if you prefer your shields and thrusters to work over your giant cannon, you can do that now. It also regulates power that goes into your docks or turrets, giving you more control over their power consumption.
Most systems have a linear power consumption increase that depends on the group size. The few systems that have no group size, instead scale with the mass of your ship.
Docked reactors will switch off on docking and all power needed is drawn from the mothership. This means, that turrets cannot have any power reactors on their own when docked. We will change the behavior a bit more in the weapon update to increase performance in battle and to add more versatility to docks and turrets.
Structure HP -> Reactor HP
Ships now use reactor HP, which is based on the active reactor and the chambers connected to it. If you use multiple reactors, you can switch to a backup before your current reactor ends up overheating. As for the overheat mechanics, they’re similar to what you’ve known with structure HP but each reactor tracks its own HP.
Reactors can only be scanned when they are active, so having a backup in another part of the ship can greatly increase survivability.
Chambers are an all new feature to customize your ship with. We added over 100 different effects that you can activate with chambers. For this an all new effect system was implemented to enable fast and save management over network.
Chambers can be imagined as a skill tree. Each reactor only has a limited chamber capacity which chambers consume based on their type and level.
The difference to other skill trees is that here, you are physically building the tree yourself. You need to connect groups of chamber blocks with reactor conduits to the main reactor or to each other. Then you can open the reactor panel (‘insert key’ default, or use the radial menu with tab) and specify what exactly you want in your tree. The possible options will adapt based on what you build.
There are 8 general chambers currently:
Some functionality is now available by default, like the jump drive and the scanner. Chambers can be used to make these a lot more powerful.
Stealth and Recon
Each ship now has a recon strength and stealth strength only if the respective scan/stealth drives are active. The more recon you have over an enemy ship’s stealth strength, the more information you get about that ship. This ranges from simply seeing a cloaked ship to being able to see a ship’s reactor and weapons fully outlined. For the weapon update we plan to add more to it and tweak it were needed.
Respectively, to cloak or radar jam you need a higher stealth strength than the other ship’s recon strength.
Shields have been reworked into local shields. They now have a radius and only cover the blocks within. This includes docks. Only shields on the mothership will work to prevent abuse and maximize performance. The radius and recharge is based on the main recharger group, and so is its power consumption. The origin of the radius is the center of mass of that group and its capacity is determined from all shield capacity groups that are within the radius (up to 20 groups max). If a local shield radius falls into another recharger group, only the bigger recharger group will stay active. Shield damage that falls into blocks covered by multiple local shields will do damage to all of them.
While adding an interesting mechanic, this system is mainly to avoid building ships in ‘islands’ that are very far apart as you would need multiple groups to cover them, making it more expensive and power intensive to maintain the same shield HP for each of them than you would get if it was a single more concentrated shield group.
This is a measure to prevent exploiting certain system shapes without constricting free building too much. This as well as local shields are to solve general problems that already existed in the old power system in one form or another, and would translate and persist on the new system without these measures.
This mechanic will likely not be relevant for most builders. It is to prevent building ships that are too spaced out, mainly abusing line patterns. Most systems will now have an integrity value. This values starts fairly high and is modified based on how the group is built. If any block does not touch enough other blocks of that group, it will lose integrity. If it touches enough (up to 6 max), it will gain integrity. It can be set to scale differently in the config, allowing us to make sure normal builds do not get affected. This means while single lines are now impossible to build while maintaining a positive integrity rating, anything “dense” enough is still ok.
Thrusters count their integrity all in one, meaning that a checkerboard pattern will be the fastest way to lose it.
Shield integrity is based on the lowest integrity of the rechargers and capacity groups within that local shield.
For weapons and other computer + modules, it’s a separate integrity value for each group although this will be tweaked in the weapons update.
If integrity of a system is below zero, hitting that system will cause additional explosions across all groups of that same system. If a shielded ship with negative shield integrity is hit within its shield radius, the same will apply to the shield recharge groups and its capacity banks.
This new block enables you to hover a certain distance away from anything physical. They act as an output for your onboard thrust, and require you to distribute an amount of thrust to them in the thrust configuration menu. They work well in any gravity field and when balanced right, allows you to hover any entity.
Manual Turret aiming
Turrets can now be set to manual aiming. They will then automatically try to align themselves with where the pilot of the mothership is looking at. This includes looking around while using right shift (or double tapping right shift to make it sticky). You can of course also fire your turrets in this mode assignable from your weapon panel.
Factories can now be set to limit production. The factory will also stop pulling resources when that happens, only keeping enough in storage for one extra production step.
Additionally, storage blocks can now be set to limit the amount of blocks to store per type, to stop pulling once that is reached.
We will continue work on refining the GUI and fix issues/exploits that come up that need fixing for an actual release. Some content such as the tutorial videos and block descriptions are still being worked on, but will be available on the actual release.
The weapon update is next and is going to bring more balance and exciting additions to the system. We’ll be making a dev blog about most of its content
Thanks to all the testers and people helping,
Thank you for playing StarMade,
- the Schine team
Last week, we learned of several exploits and how to reproduce them. To prevent further harm to servers, we've made a hotfix to address them. As a general security measure, we are also not going to list them here.
If you have any more information about other exploits, or that were only partially addressed, please report it here. Note that reported bugs are always private from the start and only a few Schine members are able to see them.
As mentioned in the last dev post, the power update is coming along swiftly, and will result in a dev build in about 2-3 weeks.
Thanks for playing StarMade,
~ the Schine Team
Just a quick update on the current progress: Due to all the work in the previous months, the power update implementation is going fairly swiftly. The basic mechanics are in. There are still a few things missing, especially in terms of effects, GUI and usability, but it’s coming along pretty nicely. Then, we will do some preliminary testing as well as writing some test configurations, since the whole system is based on a new config and effect environment. All values of the new system will of course also be user-customizable.
Expect a first protoype dev build in ~2-3 weeks.
As promised, the first versions of this system will be able to run alongside the old system. For testing purposes, only ships that have a new main reactor block will switch to the new system.
Thanks for playing StarMade,
~ The Schine Team
Greetings Citizens, ~
We just uploaded a new release to fix some bugs of the previous release, as well as some older bugs:
~ T2513: Old exploit fixed
~ T2510: OSX OpenGL crash
~ T2507: Connections and statistics not showing correctly - client issue that was always there, but became a lot more common because of the improved speed with chunk requesting.
~ T2500: Sorting in Main Menu Local Play Adv. Settings is by tooltip
~ T2498: Unable to lock symmetry plane in place with empty hotbar slot
~ T2495: false positive for “is waiting for docks” | “still needs entities to dock on it”
~ Fix for infinite stock shops
Additionally a new “context help” has been added, replacing the old help keyboard list. it’s a lot less in the way and hides/shows information when needed:
You can deactivate these “Keyboard HUD Icons” in the options menu - general.
Onwards to implementing the power system prototype (which has been worked on already for the past weeks).
Thanks for playing StarMade,
~ the Schine Team
Greeting, Citizens ~
A new release version is out, quick summation below:
~ A new segment requester, streamlining the chunk load requests.
~ Our build mode has seen an extensive GUI and functionality overhaul, making building even easier than it already was.
~ A new graphical effect, an outline used in targeting and block linking.
~ Fleet orders are persistent now, they won’t change back to idle after server restarts
~ 2 new rail blocks to make unloading and loading of cargo between entities much more versatile to use
~ General GUI changes, including an updated keyboard menu and a heat warning marker if you’re getting dangerously close to a star.
~ Bug fixes
A full list is provided below, but first we like to thank @Schnellbier and @0ldskull for helping us out with our pre-release candidates, making sure there’s less chance of a game breaking bug slipping through.
As mentioned in a previous dev blog, we’ve completely rewritten the chunk request system.
The new approach streamlines the order of chunk requests over multiple entities. They’re now ordered in the background on a global level, meaning nearby chunks will have much shorter load times. This also benefits the lighting calculations, which should improve overall performance.
A new graphical effects that outlines/highlights entire entities or groups. Right now we only use it for the current selected target and for most C + V systems out there. Most likely we’ll integrate this system later with the upcoming power changes and its information warfare portion.
The outline system uses a highly optimized mesh that can quickly be generated for any number of blocks. Although this system is not able to replace the existing mesh and chunk system due to lacking information, they’re still a necessity for future plans as they would also be used in far-aways LoD views of a model. In combination with higher-granularity chunk system, should give a large FPS increase when viewing bigger objects in the distance.
Note: framebuffer has to be enabled in your graphic options as it would not work properly otherwise. We’ve added the option where you can enable/disable the older purple box from within the build mode Display menu.
This is an addition to the build helpers. You set two points (using your camera position, as with the fill tool) and it will create a line between them. You can adapt the line thickness with a slider.
We’ll add more features in the future, such as splines.
As with the new GUI, this is also a work-in-progress, so we’ll be improving it and fixing any issues that arise.
The fill tool allows you to incrementally fill (or replace) areas with your desired block. It’s quite simple to use: you can freely select your starting point with the camera (similar to ‘create docking’), and press the fill button with a block selected on your hotbar.
The fill tool allows both space-filling and block-replacing, depending on what the starting point is. If it’s empty space, the tool will flood-fill; if it’s a block, only that block type will be replaced. Also: this is a step-based system, meaning undo and redo work, allowing you to easily fix any mistakes.
You can use the slider to set the amount of blocks added by step. The max amount can be changed in the config.
Different method of selecting
With adding the line tool, we added a new way to select portions of blocks altogether. It is now possible to select boxes by selecting the starting and the end point. This comes in especially useful for copy & paste which in the past always was a bit finicky to use.
Besides the new look, we’ve changed quite a lot of the original’s build mode functionality. We’ve grouped the available tools together accordingly and those groups can be collapsed or expanded when needed. When the expanded areas become too large, it becomes scrollable. However, the orientation group with the undo/redo buttons however is fixed at the top so that you never lose track of it.
Which group is expanded or closed is saved on exit and restored next session.
The orientation group at the top also functions as a radial menu for shape selection, simply left click it and hold to make it popup.
The sliders have received a makeover, now allowing more ways for you to change their value. Their value can now be entered manually by left clicking the value on the left side and functions like a text box only allowing numeric input.
If you have a mouse wheel, you can also change the slider’s value by hovering your mouse over the textbox on the left and scrolling up or down, allowing for quick adjustments.
The build helpers have also gotten a general overhaul. We got rid of the annoying popup dialogs, so everything can be set or changed directly from the build mode panel itself. This also allows you to recalculate a build helper’s parameters without having to redo everything. You can also change the placement of the build helper
The placement of the build helper can also be moved independently without having to clear the current build helper.
Symmetry planes now have their individual odd-mode, allowing you to work with an off-center XZ plane but a centered YZ plane at the same time for example.
Symmetry received another option to disable/enable the mirroring of non-cubic blocks such as wedges. This also works with the replace filter.
We’ve also added tooltip support to the build mode panel. It’s not used that much right now but later we can add some nice descriptions to some of the tools if needed.
Additionally we added “sticky advanced build mode” by pressing the advanced build mode key twice rapidly, which allows you to keep advanced build mode active without having to hold the key. Pressing the key once more gets it back to normal.
A Block picker function, to look at a block and add that to your hotbar is in the game too now, you use it by holding the advanced build mode button and clicking with your middle mouse button.
If you use the middle mouse button in normal build mode, it gives you the ability to automatically switch to any of your docked ship you’re looking at.
We’ve added two new blocks to the game: the “Rail Load” block and the “Rail Unload” block. (We’re still working on their textures)
You can place them anywhere, and they work identically to normal rails, but they have an added feature: item transfer. These blocks allow transferring items between connected storages on a station and a docked ship via the Load/Unload Rail. Example:
You connect a storage to your rail docker on a ship, and dock it to a Load Rail on a station. The ship is then able to pull items from any storage on the station connected to that Load Rail.
If you instead dock the ship to a Rail Unload block, the station may then pull items from the ship’s connected storage to any storages connected to that Rail Unload block.
Again, both docker and rail need active connected storages. Also, the station will only pull items if it has permission to do so!
The ship radial menu allows you to select between 5 different permissions for the load/unload rails:
~ Always allow
~ Always allow faction, ask for rest
~ Always ask
~ Allow current (the entity you’re docked to; this allows manually activating or deactivating)
General GUI updates
~ Main menu tooltips:
~ Loading advice
~ Keyboard options menu using new lists with subcategories and filters
~ Sector Heat warning marker if you’re getting close
~ Shop menu panel is a bit better/consistent
SQL in StarNet
In one of the previous updates, we added the ability for server admins to query the server’s database directly via SQL. This is an incredibly powerful tool, and many server owners have taken advantage of it to create fancy features on their websites, write fine-tuned automated scripts, gather game metrics, etc. However, this functionality required us to inject the command directly into the console, and parse its reply -- not the cleanest or most direct approach.
StarNet, our dedicated tool for this sort of thing, has now permissions to both run SQL queries and to also return its output to you.
This should give admins cleaner, easier access to the internals of their server’s database.
~ ALLOW_PASTE_AABB_OVERLAPPING: Server option to disable/enable the building check if overlapping with other ship’s bounding box
~ ECMStrengthMod: BlockBehavior option that modifiers the amount of scanner modules needed versus mass of target ship to disable cloakers/jammers.
~ T2437 (Private): block exploit
~ T2379 (Private): Ctrl+A in client password entry field uncensors text
~ T2360 (Private): Cloaking/radarjammer issue
~ T2295 (Private): Uploaded blueprints can have no owner
~ T2467: /kick_players_out_of_entity kicks everyone on the server out of their entities
~ T2401: Light rods have wrong block icon colour
~ T2391: Rail + Storage disconnecting
~ T2388: Nullpointer with displays
~ T2372: Shootout rail launching at 45 degrees
~ T2361: Power auxiliary is disabled for AI
~ T2357: Typos in credits
~ T2323: Rail or display connection not shown or desync after logic swap
~ T2284: camera detaches from character when numpad+ key is pressed multiple times
~ T2220: weapon menu unlinking support/effect doesn't update list
~ T2218: /SQL_Query command cannot be used with starnet.jar
~ T2202: Alt Gr combinations for characters don't register
~ T2159: Race disappears from race menu
~ T2124: Advanced Build mouse cursor does not show up when key reassigned to RControl
~ T1840: shopkeep can't be respawned
~ T1819: Tooltip doesn't update for single stack items <-> multi slot | meta-item interaction
~ T1686: Shop can only accept one incoming connection
~ T1494: Display Module  tags are cap sensitive
~ T1362: Jump distance not consistent (with changed sector size)
~ T1350: Thrust setting not saved in Blueprint
~ T111: Wireless connection isn’t wireless when on same Entity except Asteroids
We’ve also added more translations to the game and all of the typo fixes that were brought up by our hard working translators!
Now that our building tools are up to the job, we’re switching our focus on the power system update. We’ve already implemented some parts of it that should further reduce the amount of time needed to get the system in-game.
Balance, of course, is going to be tricky and will delay its real release date. Internal testing will catch quite a lot of issues, but public feedback on it will speed up things even more so make sure to keep an eye out on our future dev blogs for more information on that.
Thanks for playing StarMade,
~ The Schine Team