Reactor Online, Bug-Fixing, and Capturing Footage

Hey Folks! I did a bit of work over the weekend, and the reactor is now fully operational. Or, at least, looks convincing enough for video.

All of the readings you see in today's screenshot are approximately realistic for "ignition" mode. 6 partially charged batteries are linked to the reactor and UI via the PWR BUS knob, where they can power the indicators and various pumps/regulators. Once the chamber was evacuated, capacitor charged, and all systems ready, the IGNITION switch fired the lasers at the target pellet, initiating fusion.

Technically, this is where the fuel flow slider is adjusted to control ignition to get a stable reaction. However, for the purposes of the video, the culmination is really the IGNITION switch, and the LEDs reacting to it. I may, if time permits, enable the CYCLE slider to control screen-shake, in order to simulate the reactor opening the rear aperture to produce thrust. That might be a useful final beat for the teaser instead of the switch. But we'll see.

It's actually pretty cool to watch, though. If it had sound effects, it'd be almost as fun as watching the power-on sequence to my favorite 80s vehicle shows.

Once I had that sequence recorded, I moved on to some other low-hanging fruit. Docking sequences, course plotting, watching a crew person use a control panel, etc. It should hopefully be enough footage to unblock Joshua so he can resume cutting the video together.

And while he's doing that, I'll be fixing bugs to record additional sequences for things like repair, dialogue, etc. A few things were still broken from the rendering overhaul, and today's fixes almost addressed them all.

One other thing I might try to tackle is giving each condition a "friendly" name. Currently, they either have names like "DcAchievement01" or "Nick Lowe feels useless," and these appear in a big list next to each character's portrait when selected. The former is not meant for human consumption, and the latter is often too wordy. Ideally, there would be single-word names for each condition, like "Dejected" or "Hungry." Then, the recorded footage showing the character stats won't look so...debug-ish.

Anyway, it felt good to have something finished and handed-off, plus being back into actual engine work. I had a bit of rust to scrape off after the break, and I was worried I'd forgotten everything. Progress seems to be restoring, though!

Tags: Ostranauts