Developer Diary #1: 05/12/2019 to 05/19/2019

May 22, 2019 ()
Burntstrobe (@Burntstrobe)
Kad Venku (@Kad_Venku)

The Developer Diary is a new format of newsposts for Yuuzhan Vong at War. Each week on Wednesdays you'll receive a small update on what has happened during the past week, similar to what we do on our Discord every Sunday/Monday.

About the "Developer Diary"

The Developer Diary is a new format of newsposts for Yuuzhan Vong at War. We've been doing something similar on our Discord Server for a while now, but we don't want to leave all our loyal fans out of the loop.
A Developer Diary usually gives a short high level overview over the work we've done in the past week, design decisions that have been made, bugs that have been fixed, and beta releases that have been pushed live.

Bugfixes and Improvements

We are happy to announce that we have finally solved the issue of flickering on models. One of the points that our testers brought up on multiple times are lights and blastmarks are flickering on various ships.
With how Empire at War works, we usually responded in a similar manner: "We're aware, but in the end there is not much we can do about it without a huge amount of additional time poured into re-texturing everything we've already done so far."
Up until now, there were two ways to fix (or "fix") the flickering:

  1. Work on the model and offset the light meshes and damage decals until the flickering is gone for the default zoom level and the cinematic camera. That's a way to "fix" it but take a huge amount of time and there always will be a camera angle where it doesn't work and the meshes still flicker ... so basically out of the question.
  2. Use a shader that has a additional emissive map. That's a possibility that actually fixes the issue for good, and rids uf of the use of lightmeshes, but it has two issues:

    • The shader only allows for a single colour emission, which, if you look at out ship lights, is not exactly something that fits with our design.
    • We would have to re-texture every ship we have done so far, so a huge time investment that we're not willing to make at this point, specially as it limits us in our art direction.

Queue Doci: He created two new shaders for YVaW, the MeshAdditiveAdaptiveand MeshAlphaAdaptive shaders... If applied to the ships those shaders fix the flickering issue without us having to edit the model at all. Both of these are global fixes that do not require manually editing each polygon instance, which is a tremendous discovery for us.

Additions

The Ummufahl

We have started texturing the Ummufahl cruiser, it is a very complicated texture (aren't they all?) that incorporates 6 different texture styles all on one ship. Doci and Strobe reviewed the ship after Revan completed another flawless UV creation to make the texture artists' lives easier. Doci will be working on this texture throughout the week with the texture samples that Strobe has created for him, so we should have that soon to show.

The Avek Liluunu

The Avek Liluunu texture is now complete, and is just waiting for a shadow before we can show that, the Miid Roik is still being worked on and Strobe is still creating the detail sets for the Kor Chokk, which will introduce a new revolutionary method of texturing for this game. We have discovered a new method to allow the texture of the Kor Chokk to be as crisp and high resolution as a texture on a corvette while using ambient occlusion, and soft shadowing, all while only using 3 x 2048 textures -- this has never been achieved before in the modding community. We solved it, it works, it is in game and looks amazing.

Other Updates

  • The new smuggler space station that Strobe created has been finished being textured by Azat.
  • Revan has almost finished the New Republic space station.
  • Strobe has finished creating the new asteroid mine model which is currently being UV'd by Revan.
  • The pirate base is still continuing production.

Changes

After working with our testers and having them check out the Beta build, we have decided to make a radical change to some of the ships of the mod. We initially wanted moving turrets on all our ships, but after testing, the game engine sadly cannot support this properly. We tried our best to keep a base performance by limiting the battle size, but ultimately decided that this measure was not enough.
Our new solution is to reconfigure our ship models to allow only the largest or most prominent/important weapons to rotate, while all others become static representations (so they are present on the ship hull, but do not move).
This was a hard decision to make, and a bit disappointing, but there is only so much that can be done to such an old game. We feel that as long as the main weapons are still animated, the visual experience will still be present and enjoyable, and keeping all the other weapons present on the ships will allow nice cinematics and pictures to be taken, so it is a compromise between performance and visuals.
This change will significantly improve our game play performance, which will allow for a much smoother experience and possibly even greater population cap sizes.

Thank you to all our testers and the valuable feedback you have provided, it really helps our team a lot. We will continue to keep everyone posted as get closer and closer to our release, we are trying for best experience possible with no bugs or errors, so please be patient with the progress, we are working hard to bring you all something very enjoyable and to tide everyone over, here is a quick glimpse of the improved details being made for the Kor Chokk:

Kor Chokk Details

Releases

Version 0.10.7 has been pushed live to all members of our closed beta crowd:

  • Changes / Balancing:

    • Non-AA weapons are less accurate against fighters (#468)
    • L1 weapons are now 10% less accurate
    • L2 weapons are now 20% less accurate
    • L3 weapons are now 30% less accurate
  • Fixes:

    • Fixes an issue with the MC80 Liberty hardpoints that didn't have proper rigging (#490)
    • Fixes a CTD issue with Ackbar's Concentrate fire ability (#488)
    • Fixes an issue with UI categories not being applied properly (#480)
    • Fixes an issue where the the AI's escort force would try to attack a non-existing object (#477)
    • Fixes an issue where the AI tried to move to a non-existing position (#476)
    • Fixes a missing text error on the TIE Scimitar (#471)
  • Environment:

    • Updated build configuration (#492)

Yet again, "that's all folks!"
The Shapers - Team Yuuzhan Vong at War