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 Post subject: V 0.9.0 The Merging Is Complete (Engine Upgrade)
PostPosted: Wed 01 Mar, 2017 9:37 pm 
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Hi All,

We have finished upgrading from Unity 5.0.4 to Unity 5.4.4. The last time we upgraded the engine was before we entered early access. This is a huge change and is the first major SPAZ 2 engine update that you will have been exposed to.

The main reason to upgrade the engine was to stay compliant with the ever changing operating systems and technology. The last engine version was already two years old, and we feel it is critical to stay up to date to ensure SPAZ 2 continues to work for years to come.

We tested the build as best as two people can, but there may be issues here and there. Please keep your eyes out for bugs and weird issues, and if you see them, please report them on the bug forums here.

So this update isn't about new stuff, in fact ideally the game looks and plays identically to v 0.8.8. The goal was to get everything working as it was in v0.8.8 and then build on that foundation for the rest of the project. Since gameplay didn't change between v 0.8.8 and v0.9.0 we can roll back to v0.8.8 without breaking saves. We want to ensure that we don't disrupt peoples' progress.


First a note about dual monitor setups:

So between Unity 5.0.4 and Unity 5.4.4 somewhere monitor 0 and 1 became swapped in the engine. What this means is that your monitors may be swapped next time you play. We tried to make this as painless to fix as possible and have added an in game display switcher to the Display Menu.

Beyond that, we also detect if you have dual monitors and place a one time helper button on the main menu to fix the problem. The big yellow button will go away as soon as you start a game, and it will never return. We wanted to make sure people wouldn't be frustrated by the unintended swap.


Loading/Spawning Performance Improvements:

As discussed in the v0.8.8 announcement, multiplayer wasn't going to work. See:

Announcement: V0.8.8 Progress Update. Some Bad News.
Space Pirates and Zombies 2, 16 Feb
It has been a hard month upgrading from Unity 5.0.4 to 5.4.4 and there have been some really unexpected road bumps. We still aren't fully 5.4.4 ready, but one thing has become clear, the Arena...


Although experimenting and trying multiple methods to bring multiplayer online ate most of the time between v0.8.7 and v0.9.0, we were able to make some improvements. Also, again, thank you all for your amazing understanding and kindness about this.

After v0.8.8 we began to remove the Unity 4 legacy networking hooks from the game (took 3 days, there were tons). This means that all of our spawning routines and level loading now flow directly from function calls instead of traveling through a virtual network layer and object lookup system before reaching their eventual destinations.

What this means to you... Speed. You should notice that there is much less hitching when ships spawn and level spawning should be really fast. Everything is essentially on a direct pipe now.


DirectX11 Support:

SPAZ 2 is now DX11 capable. If your card only runs DX9, don't worry, the game will default to DX9 if DX11 is not present.

People with DirectX11 capable video cards can expect frame rate improvements. Visuals wise, the game should hopefully look identical, just faster.

There were rendering improvements for everyone across the board, especially on the map due to some shader changes.

Please report any rendering issues you see. We tried to catch em all, but there is a lot of stuff out there.


Camera input standardized:

We found a really odd bug that has been around forever and fixed it. It turns out when vysnc was off and frame rate was really high in some cases, like the ship assembly level because there is almost nothing in there, the mouse input would slow way down. What was happening was the mouse input was being divided by the frame speed. This meant higher frame rates, slower mouse.

What this also meant was lower frame rates, faster mouse. The mouse input changing based on frame rate is just bad so we fixed it.

Since we played with vsync on we never noticed the issue until now.

Now at low and high frame rates the mouse input should be consistent.

What this means to you: You may need to readjust your mouse sensitivity, but once you adjust it, it will be consistent.


The Starmap Background:

This was an artistic change that would not effect save games, so we let this one in. The Starmap now has a cool 3D background. It adds a lot of depth to the Starmap... Badum tish... I will see myself out.


Going Forward:

The next version will focus on the sandbox and improving tuning and replaybility.

We hope to release a large set of game mutators for the sandbox.
We want to make missile builds more viable.
A new map for the Starmap!
A first crack at a really hard insane difficulty mode for experts.

Beyond that there will be a focus on physics and script performance improvements. Rendering wise we probably have done all that can be done, but we think we can squeak out some more frame rate by taking a bit more load off the CPU. Never hurts to try anyhow.


Thanks everyone!

Andrew (Blorf) and Richard (Narlak)


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