This is the proposed feature set for Transcendence 1.6, due for release at the end of July 2015.
NOTE: This is a development spec for a future release. Due to time constraints, the final release will probably drop or alter some features listed here. This spec may contain spoilers, so please be sensitive.
Transcendence 1.6 will be a minor release focusing mainly on the engine and user interface. We have three major goals for the release:
- Upgrade graphical quality.
- Improved usability.
- Expand Eternity Port content.
1.6 will include several bug fixes and it will also include some API changes to support the upcoming CSC America game. (See also: API 26.)
Transcendence is a game of space exploration. We want players to feel the thrill of visiting wondrous megastructures and exotic star systems. We need to make sure the graphics are worthy of that promise.
In 1.6 we propose the following changes:
The game should show beautiful space backgrounds instead of the current starry black. This will give us an opportunity to further differentiate each star system. We need the following features:
- 24-bit color support: The subtle shades of background nebulae need more than 16 bits of color. We need to upgrade the engine to full color support.
- Unique system backgrounds: We need to generate unique backgrounds for each system type (or class of systems). We should consider creating custom backgrounds for key systems such as Eridani, St. Katharine's Star, Point Juno, Heretic, etc.
- Starshine: We should consider painting the star color as a wash over the space background. This will continue to give the player feedback about their distance to a star.
- Volumetric lighting: Once I did the starshine effect, I really wanted to have planets and asteroids cast shadows. Fortunately, it didn't take that long to do, so this will also be in 1.6.
- True shadows: Unfortunately, volumetric lighting clashes with the statically rendered shadows on planets and asteroids. The next improvement is to dynamically add shadows to planets and asteroids based on the direction of the star. We can use the same (relatively cheap) technique we did on Anacreon. See: Star-relative shading for planets.
- Option to disable: In order to deal with slower machines we need a Settings.xml option to disable space background. See: Graphics quality option.
120 Rotation Frames
Many of the larger ships in the core game need to be upgrades to 120 rotation frames. This should either be part of the core download or it should be an automatic extension download (which we need to implement).
Ideally, all ships should be have 120 rotation frames, but we can start with just the capital ships and freighters. See: Large ships in core should have 120 rotation frames.
Many station graphics need to be updated to fit the new scale. In addition, we should add better textures to convey the sense of scale in these large structures.
Dock Screen Images
The dock screen images have not yet been upgraded to cover the new larger dock screen size (which was implemented in version 1.5). For this release we should re-render most of the images to cover the larger space.
We should also consider dynamically compositing a station image (possibly from a different angle) on top of the system background.
We need to start creating unique images for weapons.
See: Item Images: Phase I
We should improve the visual look and large-scale structure of nebulae.
1.6 will have the following game balance changes:
- The player Wolfen class will start with a class II deflector instead of a monopole shield generator. This keeps it from overloading the reactor (and gives it some room for upgrades). See: https://ministry.kronosaur.com/record.hexm?id=3631.
We propose the following usability changes for 1.6:
We will release version 1.1 of Eternity Port concurrent with the 1.6 release. We propose the following additions: