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Sequel to the award-winning, genre-breaking, asymmetric strategy cult classic.  The most sentient AI in gaming.
Sequel to the award-winning, genre-breaking, asymmetric strategy cult classic.  The most sentient AI in gaming.
2,545 backers pledged $97,205 to help bring this project to life.

Updating the ship aesthetic in the game?

Posted by Chris Park/Arcen Games (Creator)

Chris here!  Wanted to run something by folks.

Hopefully you can click on that and get the fully zoomed-in full-quality version.  If not, here is a link to a version that will definitely be full size.

In case that (tiny, tiny) text at the bottom is hard to read, here's what it says:

Note that this effect actually uses vastly less VRAM than the other approach -- insanely -- because we’re able to use compressed textures. The smooth, cel-shaded look shows imperfections in texture compression super fast, so we have to use higher-quality compression or even no compression. The PBR-based approach is inherently grungy and messy, which fits with the general vibe of a war-torn galaxy anyhow, and DXT5 compression doesn’t show any artifacts that aren’t just something your brain writes off as more grunge.

This overall aesthetic helps to make things look less “happy,” since that was a complaint with the art before, but it also keeps the exact same underlying textures. However, we’ve overpainted those textures using procedural work in Substance Painter, giving a blend of hand-drawn and PBR styles that seems unique.

Thematically this seems more appropriate, and it’s also a lot (LOT) more efficient on your GPU, particularly if you’re on OSX or Linux (which can’t read BC7 compression). We’re talking a 4x to 10x reduction in VRAM, while getting added detail -- just to be crystal clear. 4x on Windows, 10x on OSX and Linux.

We should also be able to make some of our LODs and asset-integration work a bit more efficient using this, too.

Any complaints?

Oh, Also -- About The GUI

We're having a lot of discussion about the GUI, and I've made a pair of videos on the topic.  Cyborg has been a huge help in focusing our attention in a positive way in this particular area.

Also, when it comes to the vibrance of the space backgrounds I've toned those down as of today, too -- with the next build that comes out, 0.601, those will be much more muted.

And About Those Remaining Keys...

Still waiting on those from Valve.  So sorry about that!  I assume I'll have the keys from Valve either this afternoon (PST) or tomorrow afternoon.  Otherwise I'll get up with my contact there.



J. Mackey, Gli, and 8 more people like this update.


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    1. Chris Park/Arcen Games 2-time creator on

      Nice, glad you guys like it.

      In terms of saving RAM, it does actually save regular ram as well as vram on the GPU. It also reduces the amount of data that has to be passed on the CPU to GPU pipeline each frame, and that speeds things up substantially. As well as having less data to crunch through on the GPU, too. So this is faster and more efficient in basically every respect.

      Well, except one -- when it comes to disk space, it won't make much difference. The images were already stored in a very compressed format in the unity asset bundles anyhow, so that doesn't really get smaller. But it might actually make game load times a bit faster. Particularly on non-windows machines.

    2. Missing avatar

      Curiouser and Curiouser on

      I like the grungy sense of things. Three thumbs up! (.... don't ask where I got the third)

    3. Austin S. Hemmelgarn

      So, in other words, this will save video memory usage, probably save disk space (better compression = better disk usage in almost all cases), and result in an appearance more consistent with how you want the game to feel? I can't really see any downside to that, unless it takes some huge amount of extra time on the GPU to render it.

      In my case, I've backed because of the gameplay, not the graphics, so I don't really care either way in terms of appearance, though I always love to see performance improvements that don't make things look worse!

    4. Chris Park/Arcen Games 2-time creator on

      Thanks. :) Hopefully these actually increase the quality of your view of things as you're looking at things from a distance, too, just in terms of how light reflects off of it less evenly, etc.

    5. Missing avatar

      Jerry Han on

      FWIW, looks good to me. Besides, If I'm zoomed in that closely and staring at a unit for an extended length of time looking for the flaws, I figure I'm not playing the game right anyway. :)