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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.

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Development Update #8: August 2013

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Hey there :)

The Video. Sans Apology.

I told you I'd get it right one of these days.  So...was that day today?  Yes.  Yes it was.  Energetic voice? Check.  Awesome new music?  Check.  15+ minutes of shininess?  Check.  Sorry folks, no apologies this month ;) I mean, other than that apology.  Which was just a sarcastic apology for the lack of apologies.  Anyway.  Onto the goods.

Watch the Video! Do it!!

The Summary.

August: it's as though someone ripped off half a month of graphics / engine fun, then ripped off half a month of thought and design, and slapped them together into this lovely thing sitting here before us.

Have a look as I attempt to convince you, in bullet-point form, that the month was a productive one:

  • Dynamic entity loading system for vast, dense tracts of asteroid-laden space!
  • Improved shading model for asteroids and dusty space in general
  • ~50% finished with conversion to double-precision engine (biiiiig planets: they're on the way!)
  • First successful high-level AI test runs
  • Almosttt finished with simulation engine architecture
  • Shinier interface graphics
  • An awesome new preview track for the game's music by François Jolin

Infinite Asteroids.

Listen, we all know asteroids are the cornerstone of a good space sim.  So how do we build a better space sim?  The answer is simple, of course: more asteroids.  WIth LT's fancy new dynamic loading system, you'll never be left with want of more rocks to explore!!

(Full Resolution)

Infinite Interface.

Crisper text, softer edges, and an overall boost in user interface well-being.  Ok, maybe "infinite" is a stretch.  But it sure is looking nice!

(Full Resolution)

Conclusion.

Graphics are moving forward, as always.  But perhaps more importantly, the architectural back-end seems to really be falling into place now.  A few months ago there were only questions.  Now, however, the answers outweigh the questions, and the remaining questions feel a lot more tractable.

With the high-level architecture of the simulation and A.I. engines nearing completion, it won't be long before we start to see more gameplay!  Gameplay progress has been put on hold until the high-level design is done...but with that approaching completion, the day of reckoning (i.e....."real" gameplay) draws ever-nearer.  The day when the LT universe wakes up and breathes it's first breath of life...it will be a wondrous day.  That day is nearing!!

Now, into the chillier months we must go, but the fires of Limit Theory will surely keep us warm.

Thanks for backing :)

~Josh

Development Update #7: July 2013

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Hey everyone!  Sorry for the late update today.  Here's the story to which I'm sticking: lately I've been working in Linux as my primary development environment.  Sadly, when I went to build and run LT on Windows to capture the video, I realized (all too late) that the Windows build had decided to work itself into some serious breakage.  After throwing away an hour or so realizing how much of a dead-end video capture on Linux is, I had to spend quite a while rescuing the poor Windows build.  In the end it survived and I'm expecting a full recovery :)

The Video.

Let's face it, I'm always apologizing for something.  Last month it was the voice.  This month I made sure to get some sleep and even ordered a better microphone to make sure the vocals were top notch.  Too bad I got the length wrong -.- One of these days.  I'll get it all right.

Watch the Video Here!

The Summary.

As mentioned in the video, a homeward visit and a westward foray to a graphics conference both managed to steal a great deal of time from me this month.  Nonetheless, the simulation architecture has seen a great deal of new clarity - clarity which will make the implementation that much simpler.

A last-minute (literally) graphics sprint introduced more kinds of atmospheric scattering, water, and some ragtag trees into the planetary mix, and these kinds of luxuries are only going to get better with age!

  • Even more conceptual revelations related to level-of-detail universe simulation - leading to clean and unified design!!
  • Made significant progress with the "real" AI algorithm
  • Implemented water for planet surfaces
  • Implemented atmospheric scattering for planet surfaces
  • Full Mac Port

And now...let's review what we've gained this month (in witty, trivialized form)...

50% More Compatibility!

This month we welcome OS X, the newest member to the Limit Theory-compatible family of operating systems!  With both the Mac and Linux ports behind us, the multi-platform stretch goal can already be crossed off the list!

[ This is where I would place an Apple logo if I weren't afraid of lawsuits! ]

100% More Atmospheric Scattering!

Sure, we had space-to-ground scattering.  But it was just so...one-sided.  If things are going to work out here, we need a two-way relationship.

(Click for Full)


∞% More Water!

Because sometimes, solid rock just isn't enough.

(Click for Full)

Conclusion.

Sure, it may have looked like slow times there for a bit...but make no mistake, the tides of war are turning.  The armies of architectural problems are falling one-by-one to the glistening swords of thought.  We will steal the day yet, my friends, as we march into these lovely sunsets with our high-tech stallions of space.

No but seriously.  It's a fun ride.  We've a ways to go yet, but no problem thus far has proven unsolvable! :)

~Josh

Development Update #6: June 2013

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Happy summer!  I've been spending most of my time sunbathing on the deck of my battleship.  Care to join?

The Video.

Yet again, I must apologize for this month's video.  This time, not due to lack of length, but rather, because my voice would suggest that I have become some kind of living zombie programmer.  Truthfully, the filming of this month's video went unusually late, which left me unusually tired by the time recording the audio came around.  Forgive the groggy coder!

Watch the Video Here!

The Summary.

It was a month of many burnt neurons, countless scribbled pieces of paper, and one or two "AHA!"s that could be heard throughout the galaxy.  June brought by far the most conceptual progress of any month so far, laying in place foundational ideas for AI and simulation that will go on to drive the whole shabang.  On the surface, the graphics continued to increase, albeit with less fervor than last month.  Finally, the successful porting of the engine to Linux along with the first-ever 64-bit build of LT have brought about a great deal of technical excitement!

  • Many conceptual revelations related to AI reasoning and level-of-detail universe simulation
  • Significantly improved ship texture algorithm
  • Significantly improved HDR implementation
  • Tracking missiles
  • Basic construction
  • Prettier and more responsive interface
  • Full Linux port + 64-bit compatibility!

The Shiny Stuff.

Better plating, better metal, better HDR, better dust, and some chromatic aberration - put them all together and you've got a whole lot of stylish ways to blind yourself.

(Click to View Full)

The Manufacturing Stuff.

Not happy with what the universe has provided for you?  Then build your own stuff.  With basic construction mechanics already implemented and technological research mechanics on the way, you'll have everything you need to blow the local population away with your own, home-brewed technological monstrosities.

(Click to View Full)

The Multi-Platform Stuff.

LT is up and running on Linux!  Not only is this great news in and of itself, but it also means that the Mac port is not far off.  At this point, a multi-platform beta is more-or-less guaranteed.  All hail the penguins!

Conclusion.

Time is flying, but so are the ideas and the code.  The conceptual work is getting harder every day, as we begin to face challenges like creating a coherent and balanced economy, simulating a universal history, building a powerful-yet-not-omniscient AI, and so on.  These are the times that will determine the sophistication of LT.  These are the times that will test the metal (pun intended..) of us all.  I'm hopeful that, in a few months, we'll see a living, breathing universe emerge from this fledgling sandbox of a game.

Thanks for sticking along for the ride! :)

~Josh

Development Update #5: May 2013

1 like

It's that time again!

The Video.

You know what to do :) I apologize for the rather meager content of this one - it seems a bit lean compared to previous months, and clocks in at about five minutes less.  As I explain in the beginning, this is mostly due to the fact that close to half of my month was focused on supporting the recent Limit Theory Prototype release, and pushing out the first major round of bugfixes.  Although it inhibited the development of "new" content, it's great that we're already getting rid of some of the bugs (and accumulating loads of suggestions)!

Watch the Video Here!

The Summary.

Despite not offering quite as much "new" development time as March and April, May still managed to bring about a whole lot of good progress, both of the shiny variety:

  • Dramatically improved system backgrounds (nebulae and stars)
  • Overhauled planets
  • Improved shaders all across the board - ships, asteroids, planets, and post effects
  • Preliminary universe generation technology (system layout and connectivity)
  • Jump gates / worm holes

As well as the not-so-shiny-but-still-important:

  • Dramatically improved camera control system
  • Patching system for easy game upgrades, plus an automatic updater on the way
  • Upgraded sound engine
  • First LTP patch (v1.1)

As you know, shiny progress absolutely demands screenshots!

The Nebulae, The Stars.

They're getting better :)

(Click to View Full)

The Planets.

They've been in hiding.  Not anymore!

(Click to View Full)

The Unknown.

The jump hole is a thing of beauty.  But it's not so much the anomaly itself.  It's what it represents.  On the other side, a whole new world awaits.  And in that world, more jump connections to other worlds.  And so on, to infinity.  How far to go?  How many worlds to cross?  How lost to become?  Hard questions - you must face them on your own.  But whatever you decide, the jump hole won't stop you.

(Click to View Full)

Conclusion

It's an exciting time for Limit Theory - we're moving past the first publicly-released version and saddling down for the long haul. There's a tremendous amount of work left to do, but it's going to be some of the coolest and most rewarding work to date. Things like deep AI simulation, dynamic economies, faction mechanics...the fun has only just begun!!!  Strap yourselves in :)

~Josh

(Click to View Full)

Development Update #4: April 2013

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Well hi there! Let's talk about April :)

The Video.

Unfortunately, with the release of LTP only two days ago, I haven't had enough time to make a new video for this update - however, there's not really anything new to show over the LTP video.  So, with the highest level of sorrow, I will direct you to the LTP official tutorial video, which I'm going to pass off as this month's dev update.  It does show you pretty much all of the LT developments this month!  Sorry for not getting around to making a new video :/

Watch the LTP Tutorial Video Here!

The Summary.

And I thought March was insane.  Pshh.  But April just blew it away.  By a wide margin.  Here's some of what happened:

  • Ability to load and save the game
  • Significantly improved combat AI
  • Better graphics, particularly thrusters and weapons
  • A main menu
  • Massive cleanups in the engine (particularly stability and memory handling) to prepare for release
  • Preparations for distribution (resource archive, installer, etc)

And of course...

  • The first version of LT to be released to the world (well, some of it)!!!

Bigger Battles

LTP already features massive fleet battles of 50-60 ships ("Major Conflict" missions).  The engine can, for the most part, handle these titanic clashes without any problem.  But that's only going to get better, and the scale of the battles that you'll see in the final game is only going to be bigger!

Bigger Ships

Shooting asteroids has always been fun.  But with everything up to frigates available in LTP, harassing asteroids has never been better.


Now, I've saved the best development of the month for last! I'm very pleased to present you with a nice surprise..

Introducing Andy Thompson, Art Lead!

I'll bet you thought you'd never see the day when LT would become more than a one-man team, but that day is here, and I'm extremely excited to introduce you this month to Limit Theory's new Art Lead, Andy Thompson! Not only is Andy my best friend, but he's also the most skilled artist that I know, and one of the only people on this planet that I would trust to handle the intense scope of LT.

When you see some of Andy's work, you'll know why I'm excited to have him on-board. Although he's only 20, Andy's already garnered some seriously-impressive credit in the art world, which I'll let him tell you about.

You might ask, why would we need an artist for a project that is fundamentally procedural in nature? Well, although LT is indeed totally procedural with respect to assets, those assets are modeled off of artistic visions. I don't generally just slap random code together and hope that it makes something pretty - I always have space concept art books by my side while designing the procedural algorithms. As you may or may not have noticed from gameplay footage up to this point, my attempts are still somewhat lacking in certain areas (*cough* ships..*cough*). But I blame it on my lack of artistic talent, not on procedural techniques! Andy's going to be working with me to build the best possible content creation algorithms, and he's going to be able to inject a level of artistic knowledge that I simply don't have. On top of content generation, however, there's still a lot of art-related work to do for LT, including interface aesthetics and layout, logo and branding, the t-shirt, the poster...you get the idea! The more of this that Andy can take over, the more time I will have to code...which will make me one happy camper!

Ok, enough of me talking, let's meet the man himself...I present to you Andy Thompson!

Hey everyone!

My name's Andy Thompson. Some of you may have met me on the forums, but for everyone else this is just a formal introduction! I've been involved with Limit Theory since its inception. I'm Josh's best friend IRL, and will be handling the art & creative direction, UI, and helping Josh develop systems for constructing beautiful space graphics!!

A little bit about me and my work - in case you were wondering. I've been accepted to Pixar's art internship program as well as Universal Studios post-production internship. I've won (2 gold & 2 silver) ADDYs. I did tour visuals for Skrillex, Zedd, Madeon, Nas & Speedy J last summer in LA. I'm currently doing contract compositing/modeling work for Vera Wang's commercial director remotely, working as a 3D Artist at a local game studio in Baton Rouge (Pixel Dash Studios), and doing various contract concept art, graphic & motion design for a variety of clients remotely. I'll be finishing up these projects and my semester classes this month and turning my full attention on Limit Theory.

I love games, I love Limit Theory, I know what it can be, and I'm really looking forward to being a part of this great community and continuing to work side-by-side with Josh to create the best game possible! I also look forward to hearing art suggestions, etc.. as I'm fully open to anything and everything. Feel free to contact me on the forums if you haven't already!

If you're interested in seeing some of Andy's non-LT-related work, I encourage you to check out his Instagram account, http://instagram.com/binarydream !

In the mean time, Andy's already signed up and active on the forums, and has made an introduction thread here: http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=910. Feel free to drop in and say hi, or poke him, or really anything you like.

Conclusion

Remember last month when I questioned whether the trend of doubling productivity each month could continue?  Well, the good news is that it did.  April blew March away.  If you keep up with the dev logs...you know what I'm talking about ;) But the real question is...can it continue even further!?!?!?

We shall see, friends.  We shall see.

~Josh and Andy