Naev Development Blarg (Page 1)
BY BOBBENS, ON AUGUST 22ND, 2021
So it’s been over 10 years from the first edition of our sporadic naev newsletter, so it seems like it might be a good time to have the second edition. In the previous edition, we talked about the state of 0.5.0 and the introduction of big systems and electronic warfare. In this edition, we’ll talk about the state of 0.9.0 and new features like stealth and safe lanes.
State of 0.9.0
We’ve passed 5,500 commits from 0.8.2. This is going to be the largest amount of content and changes from any release ever with tons of graphical improvements, new mechanics, and new content added all over. It is already all live in the nightly images which are available from both github and steam via the opt-in beta. That said, it is recommended for you to back up your save or use a new one if you attempt to do this. At the current moment, you will lose many outfits and experience hiccups trying to use an old save game. Unlike the official releases, the nightly is still rather unpolished.
Currently there is no hard ETA for the release, but we hope to release it within the year and follow a more timely release cycle. We hope that we’ll be able to do a feature freeze in a couple of months and focus exclusively on polish until the release. As always, we will release one or more betas before the official release to try to debug potential issues.
Electronic Warfare Overhaul
Electronic warfare was originally introduced in 0.5.0. With the move to big systems, it no longer made sense for all ships to be visible at all times. Furthermore, we wanted to differentiate the roles between smaller and larger ships, while aiding survivability of small ships by making it harder for the largest of turrets to track them and hit them. While this worked well to some extent, it was never transparent to the player. We’ve revamped it this time around to be fully visible to the player. Each ship, depending on its mass and bonuses, will have three separate values: detection, evasion, and stealth, that control when the ship is first detected, when the ship details are shown and scanning is possible, and finally how well the ship can stealth.
Hiding is the most important attribute that controls when ships are detected at and affects both evasion and stealth. Evasion is usually 75% of detected at value, and controls how well turrets and missiles track a ship. Furthermore, it controls the distance at which a ship is scanned at. Scanning a ship allows you to see the details of cargo and outfits. Furthermore, patrol ships will scan your ship and make sure you don’t have illegal cargo.
That leads us to the final mechanic: stealth! Stealth allows ships to become completely invisible if no ships are within their stealth distance. When stealthed, ships get a -50% penalty to all movement: max speed, thrust, and turning. However, they cease to appear on all system sensors. This allows ships to sneak past systems or ships, opening lots of opportunities for contraband, piracy, and survival.
One of the last major gameplay changing features is safe lanes, which have been recently incorporated into the main branch. Safe lanes consist of routes in space that are more regularly patrolled. Most traders and factional systems will use these routes, while areas away from space lanes will naturally lead to more pirate activities. Core systems with many planets and stations will naturally lead to more safe lanes, while systems far away from core systems will end up having sparser lanes, or none at all.
Ship Classification Redux
This is a more minor change, but rare ship classes, such as cruiser ships, or motherships have been removed. Other similar classes have been merged, such as heavy drones and fighters, which retain the name of fighters. Furthermore, fighters have been split into fighters and interceptors (light fighters), and cruisers have been split into cruisers and battleships (heavy cruisers). This changes are mainly there for the equipment algorithm and AI to exploit.
Nearly all the outfits in the game have been modified or completely revamped. Core outfits and weapons have been designed to be based around 6 tiers: interceptor, fighter, corvette, destroyer, cruiser, and battleship. Utility outfits have been made to be based on conditional behaviour such as being below a certain armour threshold, or temporary behaviours. Finally, structural outfits have been made be stronger and play a more significant role in outfitting and not being left as an afterthought. Many new outfits have been added to fill in missing slots and roles, with many left to come.
Visual Novel Framework
Another fairly large change is a Lua based visual novel framework that has been written from scratch. It allows to show images and special effects while having text progressively appear. This greatly enhances some of the storytelling ability of the game and allows creating more complex conditional branching behaviours.
Furthermore, the entire system is based on the LÖVE framework which we recently started to partially support by mimicking the API in Naev, and allows for nearly infinite customizations.
There are lots of other improvements we have not mentioned in this newsletter: linear programming-based equipment optimization, discoveries, new missions, new ship attributes, more shader support, etc. We might go deeper into new features in future blarg posts as we refine and polish the mechanics.
With regard to what is coming up, there are no too major things left to do. Besides overall polish, which will take most of the time, some new missions have to be written, in-system objects implemented, jamming rework, pricing rebalance, and a few odd ends here and there. We’re hoping for a release within this year, but given the ambition and scope of 0.9.0, we’d rather delay and have a better release, than rush it and have it be unplayable.
If you wish to contribute to Naev, we have lots of things that can be done, even without programming experience! From making cooler beauty shops for comm and shipyard window, adding an uninhabited frontier, more loading screens, new character artwork, new outfit artwork, more missions, gameplay testing, etc. Tasks to be done can be found on the issue tracker, and discussion can be had on Discord.
This concludes the Sporadic Naev Newsletter Vol. 2, and hopefully the next will be sooner than 10 years from now.
BY BOBBENS, ON JULY 18TH, 2021
This post is about development on Naev 0.9.0.
Even though explosions in space games generally defy the laws of physics, they are some of the better and necessary eye-candy. However, explosions in Naev remained unchanged since about 13 years ago. While not necessarily awful, they have always left a bit more to be desired. One idea that has been around for ages has been to try to redo them in procedural shaders to look better and more variable. With the recent shader improvements, it has never been a better time to revamp the other special effects.
The explosions have been redone with ray marching and are completely procedural: each explosion should be completely unique. Furthermore, the explosion parameters can be tweaked to create plasma clouds or other special effects, replacing a large amount of image-based animations we were using. Images speak louder than words, so see for yourself the new explosions in action!
BY BOBBENS, ON JULY 2ND, 2021
This post is about development on Naev 0.9.0.
So fact is, beams are cool. They can hit multiple targets and do a lot of damage while being accurate. Sure they have short range and bad tracking, but they more than make up for that in coolness factor. We thought about it and decided the only way to make beams cooler is to sprinkle some shader goodness ontop. Not only will this make beams look great at any resolution, but it will also allow creating new beams easily, as there is no longer a need to muck around with graphic images.
In the blarg post about Lua outfits, some of the new beams were already shown:
There are also a lot of new beam graphics, some of which are not used yet, but open up a lot of exciting new possibilities. Look forward to more and fancier beams in the future.
BY SYNCHRO, ON JUNE 21ST, 2021
This post coincides with the 11th year this blog has been up in some form.
In early 2020, the new incarnation of naev.org was born, and with the new site came an unfortunate lack of the older historical posts from the old WordPress Naev site. With Naev being one of the older open source game projects out there (and one my my personal early forays into FOSS games) I realized that the history of this project is a good record to keep.
With more than 10 years of history here it would be a crime not to attempt to restore as much of the old content as possible. With recent updates to the Blarg you can now browse through almost all of the posts from years past; be it explanations of ‘new’ mechanics, past releases, or some extra fun posts. As important as viewing the past is it also lets us see how far this project has come and how far we can continue to expand this awesome game.
On top of all this restored Blarg content, we will be attempting to bring older releases of Naev to modern Linux and Windows systems, on Steam, Itch.io and on our Github Releases page. This will give any brave souls the chance to see where Naev was at various points in time. Be it for nostalgia’s sake or to see how things were 5 years ago.
Present day sees a lot of cool new things brewing in the development builds of Naev, but I’ll leave that for future Blarg posts :)
As always, feel free to join our Discord and say hi.
BY BOBBENS, ON JUNE 6TH, 2021
This post is about development on Naev 0.9.0.
Most non-weapon outfits in Naev have consisted of simple modifications, with some notable exceptions like afterburners. This has always meant that most of the game is built around setting up outfits, without non-weapon outfits playing an active role in combat. In order to allow much more flexible outfit design, we have incorporated Lua, the widely used scripting language in Naev and other projects, into the outfits.
The result? Now outfits can react to environmental conditions or trigger in certain instances. Furthermore, the behaviours don’t have to be fixed, but can be dynamically set during runtime. This allows doing simple things like having outfits give you bonuses above certain shield levels, or depending on nearby ships. Below are some examples of what can be done with this.
The Emergency Stasis Inducer will automatically trigger when your ship takes armour damage. Not only will it slow down time around you, it will also speed up your ship for a great bullet time effect!
Do you like holograms? Would you like to project a fully equipped model of your ship into space to distract your enemies while you blast them into smithereens? The revolutionary Combat Hologram Projector does just that!
Have you ever felt so angry that you wanted to slow down time and get a large bonus to damage while you damage yourself? Think no further, the Berserk Chip does just that, without making you turn green and rip out of your shirt!
Of course, it would only be right to pay homage to the original Cloaking Device by implementing it in Naev. While active, nobody will see you, and you will be able to do what you please freely.
Other than these showcased outfits, there are many more to explore, however, we leave that up to you to look forward to in-game!