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An RPG, RTS, and sandbox space exploration game all-in-one.  Explore, trade, build, and fight in a beautiful, procedural universe.
An RPG, RTS, and sandbox space exploration game all-in-one. Explore, trade, build, and fight in a beautiful, procedural universe.
5,449 backers pledged $187,865 to help bring this project to life.

Development Update #20: August & September 2014

Posted by Josh Parnell (Creator)
44 likes

Well, this one sure took its time, didn't it?  But, my dear fellow stellar explorers, you all know the drill -- when you're late, you bring presents! ;)

The Video.

Clocking in at a whopping 36 minutes, this update is nothing short of a monster.  It's the first regular monthly update to be segmented into pieces for the sake of coherence.  And it's got five of them, plus an intro and outro :D  I'll admit that I'm quite proud of this one, as I think it's reflective of a lot of the strong work that's happened in August and September, and it's also reflective of...a lot of love put into the video-making process!

Really, from the bottom of my heart, I hope you guys enjoy it and that it somewhat eases the pain of last month's cancellation.

Enjoy :) 

The Summary.

I'm not even going to try to summarize these two months in the usual two-to-three-picture format.  It just doesn't suffice.  We need to break out: the list!

  • Merged all existing UI concepts into final LT UI engine, combining the best elements from the older linear UI, the node UI, the layer-based UI, and introducing a few new elements in its own right
  • Developed several isolated, small testbed applications in LTSL to rapidly iterate on specific elements of gameplay
  • Fell into the groove of the new LTSL-driven workflow and have already written around 90 files of LTSL (far faster than I could have written in the equivalent C++!)
  • Implemented colony 'cultural traits,' 'local items,' and AI player spawning
  • Plenty of new graphical polishes

And some pictures to follow....enough for two months' worth!  NOTE : Click thumbnails to view full-resolution images!

New Lighting Techniques
New Lighting Techniques
Hot System
Hot System
Cold System
Cold System
Stand-alone HUD Testbed
Stand-alone HUD Testbed
Object Quick-Action Menu
Object Quick-Action Menu
UI Feature Testbed
UI Feature Testbed

*** Concerning Future Monthly Updates! ***

For those who do not watch all the way to the end, please note that, at the end of this video, I discuss how the process of doing the monthly update is getting more and more involved as LT grows in size, and it's come to a point where I'm regularly missing the 'last-day-of-the-month' timings.  It's both stressful for me and disappointing for the community, so, to that end, I'm saying from here on out that the monthly updates will come out near the end of the month, but not necessarily on the last day -- it may be several days later.  I'm hoping this will relieve a bit of the angst of the whole process!

--

August & September Retrospective

It's takecomingn a long, long time to get to where we are today in LT's development process.  It's taken oh-so-many wrongs to make the rights, but we're finally in a phase of development where those rights are coming to dominate the scene.

The content sprint has truly begun.  It started with UI.  It started with little testbeds that isolate pieces of game functionality.  From here it will grow, piece-by-piece, isolating and polishing every facet of the game until we have enveloped the whole of Limit Theory.

No, there's not a great deal of time remaining on the clock -- but with the right tools, with the right insights, with the right frame of consciousness...there is no limitation to the potential of the mind.  After all, that's precisely the meaning of Limit Theory.

~Josh

EDIT -- Whoops...accidentally left some stuff out of that middle segment!  I was really far too tired to be coherent by the time I posted this ._o

The Forever-Lost Development Update of August 2014 :/

Posted by Josh Parnell (Creator)
72 likes

Guys, it makes me unimaginably sad to write this, but I feel deeply that it's the right choice at this point.

Having worked for an extra week to give this month's update the sparkle it deserves, only to run into some ridiculous issues over the last three days that have driven me out of my mind, I'm just going to have to admit that it'd be a wiser choice to pass on this month's update, collect and return myself to a state of sanity, and continue August's work through to September.

I'm sure you're probably all disappointed about that decision, but please believe me when I say that I'm orders of magnitude more sad about it.  The monthly update has been a staple of LT's development process, but I need to step back and recognize that a staple is of value only so long as it serves the underlying purpose (in this case, to show beautiful progress), and I can't bring myself to put out a lackluster update.

It's not lost on me that this paradigm of promising more goodies for more lateness has had a somewhat-fractal recurrence in LT's development, but all I can ask is that you give me the chance to show how it can all add up to something beautiful (hopefully those of you who got to play the prototype will agree that it was worth it?)

Yeah, that's a cryptic way of saying: I'll bring the goods next month ;)

Thanks so much and...stay sane without your monthly hit -- I recommend staying hydrated :)

<3 Josh

The Mythical Fifth Week of August...

Posted by Josh Parnell (Creator)
35 likes

Hey there everyone!

I want to give a quick notice to you all that I'm going to release August's development update (#20) on September 8th, rather than the usual (today-ish).

Those of you who keep up with the forums may know that I was on vacation for two weeks this month, so I haven't been able to put in quite as much work as I want yet.  Combine that with the fact that development is moving lightning-fast ever since the solidification of the LT scripting engine, and we're left with a Josh that just doesn't want to pull out of the end-of-month coding sprint yet!  So I'm going to split the difference by transferring one week of September to August :)

As usual, being late means I have to bring goodies ;)

Hope you're all able to stave off your dev update jitters for a week!  See you soon..!!

~Josh

Development Update #19: July 2014

Posted by Josh Parnell (Creator)
32 likes

Thanks for waiting on me folks!  I've been on a coding spree for the past two days and just couldn't stop.  I promise it was worth it ;)

The Video.

All went well this time except for...a massive amount of failure getting the audio and video to synchronize D:  I tried as hard as I could to fix it...apologies if anything sounds wonky!

Here she is: July in full-force!

Fast Coding.

The finalization of the Limit Theory Scripting Language (LTSL), as well as the continued development of the in-engine compiler and executor have allowed a good portion of the LT algorithms to be moved outside the hard-coded program this month.  Not only does it make those algorithms moddable, but it also makes them capable of being tweaked and reloaded in real-time from within the engine (without restarting!)

Truly, LT has never had a more powerful toolset for content development and rapid iteration.

Fast Rendering.

With a new and significantly-improved distant level-of-detail system, LT's graphics have never run so smoothly.  Thanks to this sweeping optimization, we'll soon be seeing more in-game geometry than ever before.

Fast(er) UI.

A new layer manager for the node UI makes the interface more powerful than it's ever been.  Tabbing and managing multiple screens of information has never felt so good in LT!

July Retrospective.

At times I felt guilty about July.  I had set a goal to focus exclusively on content, polish, and playability throughout the month.  I did spend quite some time on those things...but in the end, I spent more time on the development of LTSL than I had intended to.  Looking back, though, I couldn't be more thankful that I did.  With the LT scripting engine fully in-place and LTSL already mature enough to use for ship-generating algorithms and game logic, we're in better shape than ever before to see rapid content development.

Only time will tell whether July's investment will pay off, but, having spent a rather small amount of time with fast content iteration and already seeing solid results, I've got a great feeling that I already know the answer :)  The 'bonus' of moddability is also hard to overstate.  I just can't wait to see what LT becomes between now and release, and, to an even larger extent, what it becomes post-release.  It's gonna be a fun ride!

~Josh

Development Update #18: June 2014

Posted by Josh Parnell (Creator)
32 likes

Ready for your monthly dose of space? :)  Please make sure to read the information concerning release date below!

The Video.

Thank goodness, I don't think we need any apologies this time!  The video's about the right length and there are no awful fumbles that I can see.  Head on over and enjoy!

See The June Development Update Here!

The Zones.

With a new procedural zone system, the LT universe is now packed with more content than ever before.  Explore massive asteroid and ice fields without burning your GPU to a crisp.  With dynamic, on-the-fly content generation, LT's zones offer a vastly more potent opportunity for exploration and discovery!

 

The Colonies.

A new planetary colony and landing mechanic offer a way to interact with various unique locations on the surfaces of planets.  Descend to military colonies to hunt for powerful weaponry.  Snag ore on the cheap from mining colonies.  Colonies create unique economic opportunities that can dramatically impact the surrounding system's economy!  Perhaps more importantly, it's just fun to land on planets! :)

 

The Modding.

With a new scripting language and built-in script compiler / executor, the LT Engine is now capable of serious modding possibilities.  What can you do with it?  Surely the possibilities are as endless as the universe itself.  Personally, I'm more excited than anyone to see what arises from the creativity of our very own community members :)

(Not really a feature conducive to screenshots, though, unfortunately!)

*** The Delay :/ ***

Definitely my least favorite part of this month, but I'm afraid we can't put off talking about the release date anymore.  As you can probably see, LT still has a ways to go before being finished, and with the slated release date of mid-2014 upon us, it simply doesn't seem that it's going to happen.

It was a really, really tough call for me to decide just what to do about the release date.  The obvious choice would be "late 2014."  Frankly, though, I absolutely do not want to have to push again.  For this reason, I've decided to play it on the safe side and opt for pushing the release to early 2015.  Rather than cutting it close, I want to ensure that we have enough time to polish LT into the gem that we all know it can become!

Truly, to everyone who has backed, I hope you will accept my sincerest apologies.  LT is coming along really, really well...but I'm just not going to be able to pull it out on the original timeline.

With the new release date in mind, I will be looking to launch the closed BETA near the end of 2014 for KS backers.  I'm hoping it can make a nice holiday gift for those of you who were generous enough to support at that level :)

If you have further questions or concerns about this shift, please feel free to take them to the forums where we will no doubt be discussing it.

June Retrospective

I came into June hoping to grab a handful of polish and content.  I came out with polish, content, and some new tech to boot.  Above all else, the zone system has got me seriously excited for the creative possibilities that we'll be able to unleash on the procedural universe.  The rest of the economy and AI content is, as always, underway and being developed.  But with ever-more technology fueling the content, we're getting closer and closer to that glorious day when you backers will finally get to dive in and wash yourselves in the nebulae of the procedural universes.

Once again, I'd like to sincerely thank you all for your patience and understanding, especially given this month's announcement.  You've all been so supportive of this little dream, and I vow to continue giving 100% to making sure that your support is not ill-placed.  Thank you for helping me build my dream game :)

~Josh