Author Topic: Alpha v0.123 "Ship Batch 4 of 7, And A Metric Ton of Improvements" released!  (Read 1026 times)

Offline x4000

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The release notes are here, and huge.

I've been neglecting to update the blogs, instead just posting to the forums and the kickstarter comments section when the last few releases went up.  Honestly?  Finding a picture for each release was taking too much time, so I'm skipping that here.

Anyway, Keith has been in process adding all of the for-start-of-early-access ships, and this is batch 4 out of his 7 for that.  There are more ships for 1.0, but those will be in batches coming after May.

This build also has a huge number of things that I've wanted to do for a while, ranging from a cheats console to bugfixes with errant ships and ship selection statuses, to better zoom.  Some of these were thanks to Keith helping me out whittle down my list.

Meanwhile Keith has also added a bunch of new AI capabilities, and so things continue to develop on that front.  Things like the black hole generator you'll also notice are very similar to how they were in Classic, but improved to be a bit more graceful in how they work with the game.

Things are going well!  Cinth and Blue and myself are also busy on art things, and a wide variety of pieces are coming together all at once for the Early Access launch later this month.  Still quite a ways to go in terms of the feel of polish (which is presently utterly absent), but we're getting there. :D
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Offline MaxAstro

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Quote
Corrupt design. Prevents the AI from ever producing more of that ship type.
Note: the response to this particular hack includes scads and scads of the ship you're trying to get rid of.
I cracked up laughing at this.  You guys are evil.  :)

Also, yay for mouse-centered scrolling!  Honestly I've been putting off playing the game much at all until that came back; fighting with the camera was too frustrating.

Offline x4000

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How does it feel with the camera the way it is now?  I think it could use a little work maybe, but I'm curious how it feels for you.

Glad you're enjoying it. :)
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Offline BadgerBadger

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The camera feels way better now, but it could stand a bit of tweaking; I feel like in the planet screen it consistently winds up North of where I expect it to be.

Offline BadgerBadger

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Do we think the performance improvements from GPU batching the ships will be enough to allow large scale combat yet? I remember you mentioned the sidebar was also bottlenecking things....

Offline x4000

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The sidebar problem is a temporary thing, at the moment -- the bottlenecking aspect of it, anyway.

I've been doing a variety of things with the instancing, and thus far I've got it cutting down the load by about 50% only and I'm still running about 90FPS in that slow savegame you sent over.  That's on a 1070, and I was getting in the 30fps range prior to this.

I still have a lot of work to do going into next week, but the entire look of the game is getting upgraded AGAIN, heh, and it's getting vastly more performant.  My goal is 160+ FPS in that slow battle scene on my machine, although I don't know if that will be feasible.  The particle system will also be slowing things down temporarily, although I'm going to be swapping out particles for some other things instead on a lot of the ship destruction (ships fragmenting apart via vertex shaders, instead, and glowing increasingly as they do).
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Offline BadgerBadger

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.124 is looking pretty full already! Is there anything else large planned for it?

Offline x4000

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I still have some things to sort out regarding the sprite batching, and I'd like to get a few GUI visual improvements (minor, but something) in there, if I can.  Keith is finishing up ship batch #5 out of 7, but I'm not sure what is left on that.  I think he'll be done tonight with that, and I'll be done sometime tomorrow with mine.
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Offline BadgerBadger

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I am quite excited to see what happens when I mod my fleet to be powerful and hack the super controller. I want to see how well your new GPU instancing stuff holds up!

Offline x4000

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I'm sure that something else will become a bottleneck, and we'll have to figure out what that is, heh.

The biggest worry I have is collider position updates, since I'm not sure what the overhead is in pushing those updates to PhysX.  If that becomes too expensive, then I'll be able to come up with a different approach based on Axis Aligned Bounding Boxes, although that's not my favorite idea.  There are a few other possibilities, though.

Flame trails also worry me, but those are something that can be turned off via settings or that I can throttle based on distance if need be.

The particle effects are presently also still a big hog, but I have a different approach to ship death that I'm going to be taking for most ships that won't involve the particle systems (but will kinda look like it does, although cooler).

So there are still some likely hotspots at the moment in terms of performance once the battles get really big and active.  I'll just want savegames as those come up, and we'll work through them as they come up. :)  All of those things have solutions, so I'm not too worried about it.  The actual ship graphics themselves are the only intractable thing, if that makes sense -- the instancing was always my fallback for those, and now we're to that point, so I'm happy about it.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Not going to finish #5 tonight, but I'm over 3/4 done with it.
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Offline x4000

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I'm still running into some remaining funkiness with the sprites, but I got the text going well at least.  I'm feeling confident I can have that fixed up tomorrow, though.
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Offline BadgerBadger

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Are the sprite changes you mentioned going to fix the "Sidebar doesn't really work on linux" problem, he asks hopefully?

Offline x4000

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Are the sprite changes you mentioned going to fix the "Sidebar doesn't really work on linux" problem, he asks hopefully?

I won't know until I test it for sure, but it's extraordinarily likely, yes.
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Offline x4000

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Going to be a late night for me, from the looks of it.  I think I can get this working today, but the sprite stuff has taken longer than expected.  The really hard bits were getting some new HSV shader code set up, and getting uv remapping that happens on the GPU per instance.  The amount of efficiency gained is freaking nuts.

In the test project where I was working with the shader directly, it all works great.  Then it's a matter of hooking it into the game pipeline itself so that the game creates them and batches them and manages them and dirties them and so forth properly.  I'm I think about 70% of the way through that for icons on the planet map, and 0% of the way through that for the sidebar and for the galaxy map.

The galaxy map is an incredibly simple case since it's mostly a copy of the planet view case, and then the sidebar is an unknown challenge because I have to hybridize the GUI system and the world space sprite system.  Shouldn't be too bad since mostly I just need to find stuff in camera space... but the devil is so often in the details when it comes to things that take longer than expected.

Anyhow, the change on the slow battle scene is to take the number of draw calls down from 400-something with dynamic batching of 700-something draw calls, which is pretty pricey on the CPU in particular, but also somewhat the GPU bus.  And instead moving that down to something close to 1 draw call, which is practically free on the CPU, and the GPU bus, and puts all the load on the GPU itself (where it belongs).

It's not literally going to be 1, because there's a limit to the number of instanced properties, so it's probably a couple of dozen in that particular scene, and will vary between dx11 and opengl (dx11 will have half the number of calls for those because it has twice as many instance keywords possible).  Either way, the setpass calls should be 1 from that, which is a big deal in and of itself.

So that's all coming... it's just a long slog.
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