Back In the Saddle

Hey Folks! Hope everyone had a good two weeks. I had a wonderful time visiting with family, exploring nature, singing karaoke, and trying out new bourbons :)

Back at the office, I've nearly clawed my way out of the email pile that accumulated. I still have a few things to reply to, forms to file, and tasks to finish, but I should be able to resume dev as soon as tomorrow!

What's more, I think that was the last major vacation for my foreseeable future. So I should be able to regain momentum from here and start making better progress.

Fortunately, even though I was gone, work continued apace!

Chris was busy working on NPC history simulations and celestial mechanics/physics. The NPC stuff is a system to start generating plausible reasons for NPCs to move around, such that we can get ships flying around the System, and reasons for those NPCs to fly there. I'm hoping this also will tie into player histories, such that rivals, ex-lovers, and other contacts are constantly updating to keep the world seeming alive.

It should also help with "freezing and thawing" NPCs as the player leaves them behind, then encounters them again in the future. No need to simulate every NPC in the universe each frame if we can effectively plot their future history and just fast forward to the present whenever we encounter that NPC again.

Charlie's been hard at work on a new set of sketches for the Renbao Smart Technology product line. He provided a range of sketches for various handheld devices, accessories, and mounting options on EVA suits. And we eventually settled on a final design for their handheld "Portal" unit. It's basically a PDA that the captain can use to manage data, communicate with people, and do all the other things smartphones do now.

Plus, EVA suits have a forearm slot such PDAs can go into for use when outside the ship. It's pretty cool looking, and might even become the basis for some game UI elements.

Bjørn's gotten started on footstep audio that he can use to test our audio system. We're trying to make the audio responsive to the player's current status, such that we only hear noises when there's pressure. But we can also feel vibrations when there's no air, and even get special audio treatment when the EVA helmet is on. I'm really looking forward to my first test of this system. I'm expecting the presence of sound to be a huge step forward!

I'm getting excited. Even though there's still such a long way to go on this thing, it's taking shape almost faster than I can keep up, and it's awesome to see it go!