INTRODUCTION TO EVOCHRON LEGACY
Platform: Windows PC (Vista, 7, 8.1, and 10)
Genre: Freeform First Person 3D Flight Space-Sim
Evochron Legacy is a freeform space flight simulation that focuses on 'lone-wolf' survival gameplay and pilot controlled spacecraft management. The environment setting is a vast seamless style universe where you can perform many activities including buying, trading, spying, racing, escorting, delivering, emergency responding, mining, exploring, weapon/equipment crafting, cleaning solar panels, clearing paths through asteroid fields, recruiting, protecting, hiring crew members, fuel harvesting, building stations/cities, and designing/selling ships. Some objectives are part of the game's contract system with established parameters and pay levels while others are available for you to set up on your own terms through your choices of where to go, what to do, and how to do it.
Evochron Legacy is a technical flight simulation, not a story or character based game, so you are not limited by plot requirements or pre-selected character roles. You can change the course of gameplay and your role in the game's universe at just about any point. Your decisions and actions define your role in the game and establish your reputation, wealth, progress, and ranking. The emphasis is on real-time tactical gameplay strategy and flight simulation for both combat and non-combat objectives. You are in control of your ship virtually all of the time in open space, including player controlled combat and planetary descents.
Your ability to successfully survive dangerous scenarios in space, develop trade strategies, evade detection, harvest resources, efficiently explore for hidden benefits, and transport items can be just as important as your skill in combat. Set in a vast explorable universe, Evochron Legacy offers a high level of freeform gameplay with many diverse objectives and paths to choose from.
Advanced Space Flight Simulation Focused Gameplay
Evochron is a tightly focused technical flight 'space-sim' with options and gameplay specifically geared toward that objective. The game focuses on what flying and managing a spacecraft through sparsely populated systems in a large region of the galaxy as a lone-wolf pilot might be like in the future. Evochron's focus is on the elements of piloting a spacecraft and the complexities, challenges, and rewards that go along with it while exploring and utilizing a vast 'seamless' style universe.
Extensive Space Combat Systems and Options
In conjunction with the space flight sim focus is combat. Evochron is also largely a space combat simulator, so much of its gameplay focuses on that objective as well. The player is in control of combat related aspects such as heat management, shield array management, energy management, weapon selection spanning three classes, automatic and manual aiming factors, stealth devices, 2D and 3D radar modes, full three rotation axis and three direction axis Newtonian style physics, detailed instrumentation (including six velocity gauges, flight path markers, compass, and pitch ladder), multiple counter measure options, subsystem targeting, target specification scanning, and selecting detailed ship design configurations.
The game's display systems have been designed with gunsight focused information presentation in true fighter pilot fashion, including the current target indicator which provides details to the player without them having to look away at a separate display. As much information as feasible is displayed on the central HUD gunsight and directly on the target being tracked, rather than scattering it all over the screen. The reason this is done is basically the same as it is for modern jet fighters, keeping the pilot's visual focus in the smallest region possible for the most efficient rate of gathering and processing information. For example, on the central HUD gunsight, this information is available without the pilot having to look anywhere else across the surface of the screen or on a different display:
- Forward velocity
- Sideways velocity
- Vertical velocity
- Gravity pull velocity offset
- Absolute velocity
- Set velocity level
- Pitch (via traditional ladder)
- Heat signature
- Weapon tracking status (MDTS)
- Weapon firing mode
- Target direction indicator (when outside gunsight)
- Inertial mode status (IDS)
- Forward/reverse/left/right shield array status
- Weapon energy level
- Hull damage level
So all of this relevant information is available within a very tight central viewing angle for the player. None of this information requires the player to look away at the side of the screen, in a corner, or on a separate display. This is one of the design goals of Evochron's combat display systems. In any combat gameplay scenario where the focus is putting a target near the middle of the screen for attacks, it's important to never force the player to have to look away from that focal point to retrieve important information about their flight conditions and ship/weapon status.
In addition to information relative to the player's ship, there is also the information provided directly on the targeting indicator of the ship being tracked. That information is as follows:
- Target range
- Target hull damage level
- Target forward velocity
- Target absolute velocity
- Target forward/reverse/left/right shield array status
- Target description
Again, this information is provided directly on the HUD targeting indicator for the ship being tracked. The player doesn't have to look away at a separate display to retrieve this information nor do they have to look at the edge/corner of the screen or on a separate display mode, it's all available right on the current target indicator. The player can also 'padlock' the target so that their view focuses on this indicator rather than being locked into a forward view only.
Evochron's combat systems have been designed to provide the player with diverse control, weapon, energy, and countermeasure options while the game's display systems have been designed to convey a maximum amount of important information with extreme efficiency within the confines of a PC monitor.
Freeform Gameplay Directed by Player
Evochron is a sandbox game, so in almost every facet of gameplay, the choice is up to you. The game's intended design is one of a space combat flight simulation first with many individual smaller activities to perform as part of an overall freeform sandbox structure. The game gives you a framework from which you can develop your own sequence of events based on your choices, performance, interests, and abilities. Your decisions and abilities define your role in the game and establish your reputation, wealth, progress, and ranking.
Diverse Gameplay Options
Within the primary space flight simulation framework are numerous gameplay options and activities available to the player. These include racing, spying, mining, trading, commodity shipping, escorting, combat (both in civilian space and military war zones), exploring (shipwrecks, data drives, discovering new uncharted systems, etc), asteroid clearing, solar equipment cleaning, emergency distress call response, equipment crafting, weapon crafting, crew management, station/city building, and ship designing. There are many ways to make money and advance in the game within the main context of space flight simulation.
Make Gameplay Decisions Based on New Advanced Information Systems
Formulate trade, mining, exploration, or combat plans in advance of performing the actions of that plan. The news console now provides information on quadrant-wide events related to commodity price fluctuations, territory shifts, economic/technology level changes, building operations, and station attack events. For trade, you can tell where the high demand pricing is at before making the decision to travel to that location to take advantage of it. For economic level changes, you can tell where an area may offer higher tech equipment or weapons in advance, then make the decision to travel there to explore for those items. For territory shifts, you can observe when your allied faction is losing ground and needs help to defend their space against the opposing faction. You can then travel there to help defend your faction's interests and even help rebuild their station/city resources if needed.
For mining, a new target scanner system allows a player to scan a targeted asteroid for materials before actually mining it. And each asteroid can have a unique quantity of materials. So you can use this new system in conjunction with the news console to formulate an optimal mining plan.
The new systems offer an information network designed to keep you informed of the dynamic changing conditions within the game's universe, giving you the data you'll need to make gameplay decisions in real time with the changing events and conditions around you.
Starting Role and Simulation Options
When creating a profile, you can select which faction you will be allied with in single player and which initial role you want your ship to be optimized for. The role you select also establishes your starting location, what ship you get, and how many credits you're initially given. You can choose which elements you want the game to simulate changes for. Available options for game simulation are commodity, economic/technology, and territory conditions.
New Quest Menu and Options
New 'quest' menu system lets the player select and activate a single player quest on demand. Players are no longer bound to one quest at a time, they can manage multiple quests in one menu interface and choose when/where to activate them. They can also continue from where they leave off in each individual quest. The new quest system is designed to operate entirely on its own without any contract-based dependencies to offer many new and unique options. Support for branching structures lets a quest designer include both losing and a winning paths.
Advanced Seamless Style Universe Structure
A vast universe that lets you fly virtually anywhere without in-game loading screens. The Evochron universe is not boxed in by 'walls' or 'rooms' that require a jumpgate 'door' to access, there are no required gates or trade lanes to restrict your travel and hold you back. You can travel virtually anywhere you want. Descend into planet atmospheres to land at city trade stations, mine valuable materials, or explore for hidden items. You can escape to nebula clouds for sensor cover or hide in a massive asteroid cave for protection. Fly from planet to planet, star to star, and star system to star system without cut scene or loading screen interruptions. Explore a consistently interconnected universe.
Expanded Interactive Training
Expanded interactive training mode with selectable stages to provide the necessary basics for flying your ship, managing its systems, docking/landing, building, and surviving in combat.
Unified Save Game Architecture and Offline Support
Unified gameplay architecture and profiles let you keep the ship, upgrades, equipment, credits, weapons, crew, and commodities you acquire in the game for use in both single player and multiplayer. No required online account or login dependencies allows you to play the game entirely offline and keeps your progress stored locally on your own computer for offline access.
Simplified Faction and Location Based Cooperative Multiplayer
A new two faction system provides a consistent territory and reputation structure across the entire Evochron quadrant. Players choose the faction they will be allied with, either the Alliance (ALC) or Federation (FDN), in single player when they start a new profile. The new faction system also lets players select either faction temporarily when they join a multiplayer game. Faction selection establishes which systems will be friendly to the player and which ones are hostile. Players can join together with the same faction to team up or join opposing factions for PvP battles and competition. Territory control is now exclusive to ship destruction, requiring changes to a faction's presence in order to alter a territory control value in a region.
Join forces with other players in multiplayer to complete more challenging activities that can offer higher pay. To link with other players, simply travel to the same sector and have one player accept a contract at a local station or city. Cooperative multiplayer objectives can pay all linked players.
New Single Player Fleet Command System
You can now order individual ships in your fleet to form up, attack hostiles, attack your target specifically, mine asteroids, or reload and refuel. A new 'Fleet Status' option lets you view the damage levels of each ship in your fleet while the new 'Fleet Orders' option lets you view the order each ship is currently following.
New Planet Terrain System
The new planetary terrain system features a far greater scale level than in previous Evochron games. The larger scale and greater detail level allows planets to have diverse terrain features such as canyons and mountain ridges. Rivers can now include paths that are cut through the terrain surfaces. The new massive sizes give the player a lot of surface area to work with for the new city building options and to use terrain for cover. And with additional potential surface objects to discover as well as new related contract objectives, players have more reasons to explore and utilize the surface of planets.
Direct ship-to-ship trading lets you negotiate trade deals with AI pilots in single player or other human players in multiplayer. You can trade any items in your cargo bay for an agreed price. And in multiplayer, you can also exchange fuel pods, send a race challenge, connect as a gun turret operator, and even arrange short term contracts from the trade console.
New Build and Deploy System
A new build system features a dedicated console menu with a piece-by-piece module construction setup to let players select the shape and placement configuration of the stations they build. Players can also now build city buildings on the surface of planets as well as stations in open space. Station/city modules require metal ore to build from that the player must acquire by either mining or purchasing. Individual station/city modules provide unique functions and benefits including shielding other nearby modules, powering other nearby modules, protecting other nearby modules, expanding inventory/economic conditions, and providing new places to dock for buying, selling, crafting, and storing. New weapon turrets provide a way to build automated defenses for stations and cities. All station/city modules are now destructible, so the available trade, docking, and storage conditions of the game's universe can change dramatically over time. In multiplayer, player built module structures are stored with the server so other players can have access to the new stations/cities and trade routes you create. Deploy options also use the same build menu and require metal ore to be constructed.
New Economy and Market Systems
Market prices are no longer limited to slight random variation and can change significantly over time based on simulated supply/demand activities and actions taken by the player. Both pricing markets and overall economic conditions are divided into 500X500 sector regions and can be tracked via a news console and economy quadrant map. Continually delivering the same commodity to a location can result in dramatically lowering its value while draining a region of a commodity can result in increasing its value. Specialized industries still apply to effect local commodity prices and building certain station structures can also effect the local economic conditions.
Three Installable Weapon Classes
Three weapon classes - beam weapons, particle cannons, and secondary missiles/equipment. Beam weapons move at the speed of light and do not require target leading. They are most effective against shields, but mostly reflect off of ship hulls. Particle cannons fire high energy projectiles at high speed. They can be effective against both shields and ship hulls, but require leading a target for intercepting. Missiles are mounted to secondary hardpoints and vary in speed, agility, and yield.
New Weapon and Defensive Capabilities
Particle cannons now provide about twice the range and have a wider variation of yield levels. Beam weapons have also had their ranges increased to about double. The MDTS (Multi-Directional Tracking System) also provides about twice the range to accommodate the longer ranges of cannon weapons. Shields now protect ships from the kinetic effects of weapon fire. Missiles are now armored and can take several direct hits from cannon fire before exploding.
New Equipment Technologies
New equipment items include a repair beam, target scanner, and several secret items that can only be obtained by building in the engineering lab. The new ship module component option can also expand the capabilities of the player's ship without consuming an equipment hardpoint. Such options include shield, thruster, energy, ECM, and heat management improvements.
New Contract Objectives
New and improved contract objectives including local emergency distress calls (including meteor intercepts), animal specimen recovery, retrieve damaged satellites descending into atmospheres, and deploy module placements.
New Exploration Options
Shipwrecks scattered throughout the game's universe can often provide valuable items and/or information within in their wreckage. Data drives can be found in open space and on the surface of planets which can contain historical information, clues, and even build templates for equipment items.
New Models and Textures
All new models for player flyable ships and other entities including capital ships, carriers, and station/city structures. All of which have been designed with a higher level of minimum detail.
Engineering labs can fabricate equipment items from raw materials. Templates for building items can be obtained from other AI controlled ships or from lost data drives that can be found through exploration. Several new commodities have been added to accommodate the new crafting options available in the engineering lab. New commodities include memory chips, batteries, energy emitters, mirrors, radio components, particle accelerators, and lenses.
Expanded Shipyard and Design Options
Shipyards let you design and customize your ship for the role you want to play. Optimize your ship for defense, exploration, combat, racing, or transporting... the choice is yours. You can also position and scale each component to give your ship a unique appearance. Save your designs with the template system to rebuild it later. Store ships and cargo in hangars you can access at trade stations. Expanded design options include the ability to include twice as many cargo bays, new hull material types, adjustable armor thickness, weapon energy resistors, and specialized modules.
Newtonian Style Flight Model
Realistic zero gravity inertia based 'Newtonian' style flight model including complete 3 axis rotation and 3 axis direction control with optional variable input. An advanced inertial dampening system helps keep flight control simple in space, atmospheres, and gravity fields. Physics systems also take into account mass (including additions for cargo), thrust, and vector calculations.
Interactive and Functional Universe
Realistic environment interaction far beyond the genre's typical 'background wallpaper' or 'view only' approaches. Nebula clouds, asteroid fields, planet atmospheres, moons, and more all provide unique options for shelter and strategy. Such environment elements include changes in gravity, fuel consumption, physics, sensor range, and visibility. When you see a planet come into view, it's an object you can access and land on, rather than just being a wallpaper image or a giant 'space mine' that destroys you if you dare get to close. And reachable objects in the game's universe are also available without interrupting cut scene transitions or separate 'sharded' modes within the game's universe. While in their spacecraft, players remain in the same consistent universe whether they are on a planet, in a nebula cloud, in a gas giant, near a star, in an asteroid cave, or in open space. This means players can chase each other or be chased by AI ships consistently when going from open space to a planet and vice versa in the game's universe.
Quick Navigation and Inventory Management Access
Quick one-key access to navigation, building, inventory management, and ship-to-ship trading. No 'walking' requirements to delay buying and selling options or other gameplay activities. You control all system travel and inventory decisions right from the cockpit or directly linked hangar/lobby menus. All option/menu transitions are direct without cut scenes or required unrelated gameplay modes.
New Music by Rich Douglas
The dynamic music system (with music by Rich Douglas) features all new songs composed specifically for the game. Music changes with the level of hostility from soft ambient to high intensity action.
Diverse Flight Control Systems and Options
Supports keyboard, mouse, gamepad, and joystick flight control with dedicated modes designed for each input system. Evochron's Global Control System (GCS) aims to provide consistent control behavior regardless of the input device being used by adapting signals from the selected device to a unified flight control architecture. Evochron's flight control system also supports up to 10 simultaneous control devices for more advanced HOTAS, rudder, and control panel capabilities. Use the control device(s) you prefer to play the game. To learn more about the game's flight control system, visit this page on the forum.
Broad Compatibility and Adjustable Performance
Evochron Legacy supports a wide range of system configurations, requiring only a minimum of shader model 3 hardware support, 1 GB of dedicated video memory, 2 GB of available system memory, and a 2.2 GHz processor. The game has been designed to incorporate impressive special effects and detail levels using minimal resources and low system requirements. Adjustable detail settings and special effect options allow the player to optimize performance and/or image quality for the performance level of their system. The game will generally run well on any low to high performance gaming systems built within the last decade or so.
Track IR Support for 3D Head Tracking
Supports Natural Point's TrackIR 3D head control system for managing the viewpoint from the cockpit with all six degrees of movement.
LATEST EVOCHRON LEGACY NEWS
March 12th, 2017|
Version 1.0528 includes the following improvements:
- Customizing options added for target direction pointer.
- Target direction pointer relocated to edge of inner gunsight rim for improved legibility.
- Internal font creation/coloring optimized to use fewer indexes and provide faster loading.
- Forward/reverse inertial thruster output now displayed at engine outlets in external view modes.
- Space station radio chatter voice selection now set to a fixed value based on location (player request).
- New green highlight lines added to quadrant map to better indicate player's current sector location visually.
- Server programs updated to improve behavior with large 'chatlogfull' file save delays potentially causing player drops (optional update).
- New bar graph indicators added to outer gunsight rim for weapon energy, hull damage, set velocity, forward velocity, gravity, and altitude.
- Server programs updated to accept default 'Dedicated1' as a server name if using private mode for LAN/direct IP hosting (also an optional update).
- Cargo, equipment, and missiles that can't be transferred to a newly built replacement ship is/are now automatically sold for credits rather than discarded.
- When fuel is sold during item transfers to a newly built replacement ship, the event is now displayed in the message log along with the credits received.
- MDTS system updated to auto-lock weapon aiming almost instantly when a target initially reaches range, eliminating the previous momentary delay.
- Automatic repair and restore system for sw.cfg settings file implemented to attempt to recover a lost or damaged file due to external interference.
- Optional digital readouts (enabled through hudtext.dat) now display in both HUD modes 1 and 2.
- 'INERTIAL', 'IDS X', and 'IDS OFF' labels moved to 'text.dat' file for optional customizing.
- Several minor UI improvements (click ranges and mouse over sound prompts where needed).
- Screen resolution list in Options menu updated to better sort from lowest to highest.
- Quest marker not appearing in nav map rear view mode under certain conditions fixed.
- Destination jump/nav waypoint (yellow marker) is now displayed on quadrant map.
- Nav Map/Quadrant map toggle button added to zoomed map mode.
- Highlight bars added to multiplayer public server list.
- Compass tape given brighter band for better contrast.
Servers that had the setting for saving the full chatlog enabled could run into long delays when trying to save large full chatlog files (particularly if the system running the server program had a slow hard drive). This could happen if the server programs were left for long periods of time without occasional moving/backing up of the full chatlog file(s). The long delay during the save operation could result in players getting dropped. The new server programs can now contend with this condition and better handle long save operation delays without dropping players. It is still recommended that you back up any chatlogfull.txt file periodically to prevent long save delays from impacting gameplay status for connected players.
The target direction pointer has some new formatting and options to accommodate its move to the inner gunsight ring. The pointer is now smaller than before, so it uses a larger arrow pointer relative to the image size as a result. So any custom target pointer images will need to be updated for the new format and placement system. The size of the pointer itself will need to be about twice the size, unless a much smaller pointer is desired. The customizing kit has also been updated with new images to show how the pointer textures should look for the new formatting. The target direction pointer can also now be customized further, beyond just its textures. And these new options will allow you to continue to use the old format, if desired. Just keep in mind that doing so will render the target pointer along the outer gunsight ring on top of the new bar graphs. The texture surface can be scaled as well as the 3D surface it is rendered to. To specify custom scaling values, use a file named 'targetpointer.txt' in a custom \hud folder and include these values in each line:
- 1st value sets the texture UV X scale (default value is 1.0, use 0.5 to use an old format texture image)
- 2nd value sets the texture UV Y scale (default value is 1.0, use 0.5 to use an old format texture image)
- 3rd value sets the texture UV X offset scale (default value is 0, use 0.25 to use an old format texture image)
- 4th value sets the texture UV Y offset scale (default value is 0, use 0.1 to use an old format texture image)
- 5th value sets the scaling percentage for the 3D surface (default value is 40.0)
This build introduces new bar graphs on the rim of the gunsight. These bar graphs provide optional quick visual cues for their respective values. Each bar graph starts from the center of the line that is drawn from the digital readout it corresponds with. So each bar graph starts at its zero value at the center of each corner of the gunsight. Included for gravity and altitude are bar graphs indicating the rate of change with 5 lines used for center, so more lines indicate an increasing rate of change and fewer lines indicate a decreasing rate of change.
The new bar graphs can also be customized or disabled. The bar graphs use a circular format designed to fill in the gunsight, so the placement options for them are based on angles and distance from center. The distance from center value simply sets how far away the circular placement pattern will be for the bar graphs. The starting angle for upper bar graph sets how far above and below the center line to place the upper bar graphs. The lower angle sets where to start the lower bar graphs. All angular distances start from 0 for the horizontal center line of the gunsight. The step distance values tell the game how far apart to space each line in the bar graph, also in angle values. The character index tells the game which character to use for each line in the bar graph. The bar size values tell the game how large to make each bar indicator. The default 12113 value is for a '-' symbol. Characters start from index value 12100 (blank space) and increase from there using the character layout in the bitmap font image. The color mode will render the bar graphs in either standard white/blue with the default 1 value, or green with yellow medium and red low levels when the value is set to 0. To specify custom placement values, use a file named 'hudbargraphs.txt' in a custom \hud folder and include these values in each line:
- 1st value sets the distance from the center of the gunsight (default value is 2.31)
- 2nd value sets the starting angle for the upper bar graphs (default value is 42.5)
- 3rd value sets the starting angle for the lower bar graphs (default value is 48.5)
- 4th value sets the step distance for the upper bar graphs (default value is -1.5)
- 5th value sets the step distance for the lower bar graphs (default value is 1.5)
- 6th value sets the bar X size (default value is 225.0)
- 7th value sets the bar Y size (default value is 50.0)
- 8th value sets the character index to use for the bar graphs (default value is 12113)
- 9th value sets the color mode to use for the bar graphs (blue/white or green with mixed coloring, default value is 1)
- 10th value sets the offset width parameter (longer width for minimum and maximum lines, default value is 1)
Since some users reported problems with the automatic DPI detection and scaling system capping their mouse pointer limits (seemed to be related to using a desktop resolution that was far below what an attached monitor was capable of), the original system has been removed and replaced by one that merely switches to full screen exclusive. This won't provide the maximum potential image quality the display may be capable of, but should now allow for 1:1 mouse limit alignment under such conditions. You can still manually select a desired resolution if you want to try a different setting.
Both the customizing kit and the custom cockpit viewer program have had their version numbers changed to align with the minimum client build they support. The latest updates to both are available on the customizing page here: http://www.starwraith.com/evochronlegacy/customkit/readme.htm
February 14th, 2017
Version 1.0518 includes the following improvements:
- Build menu 3D panning mode now persistent once activated.
- 'Unlock Build Point' button option added to build console.
- Build menu build point locking can now also be reset when toggling between Cockpit View and Overhead View.
- Internal work around coded to solve potential issue with connection delay that could freeze the game when trying to connect to a server.
- HAT/POV control system updated to support a dedicated control mode on one device with additional key/button HAT/POV mapping(s) on another device simultaneously.
- Build menu 3D panning mode now supports vertical placement of build point (lock X and Z build point first, then activate 3D panning mode, then left click again to lock Y position).
- Axis configuration, engineering lab, weapon lab, and shipyard indicator/slider bars moved to 'chatslider' image set for improved image quality (customizing kit updated to accommodate changes).
- New auto-matching system added to engineering lab to support combining two separate cargo or hangar bays to meet build array requirements (see notes for details).
- Display detection system updated to detect if an overscaled DPI setting is being forced by Windows to automatically enable full screen mode as may be needed.
- Menu buttons and scroll bars updated for a simpler, cleaner, and less gradient color appearance (also better aligns with the new HUD/gunsight elements).
- Single player fleet ships would sometimes remain near station entrances until player jumped away, now follow last order more consistently.
- Experimental VR system now set to disable the multi-threaded frame update system by default to accommodate forced changes in SteamVR.
- Server programs updated to better contend with operating system timers that are out of expected range (optional update).
- Fleet command menu updated to space ship selection buttons further apart for less crowding and broader click ranges.
- Ship status and target status cockpit displays updated for brighter lines between readouts for clearer divisions.
- Deploy module placement system updated to align better with build point indicator while in planet atmospheres.
- Three digit single player fleet ship identifier characters updated to better align with latest frame names.
- By request, screen modes renamed to 'Optimized (FullWindow)' and 'Locked (FullScreen)' for clarity.
- Single player fleet ships would occasionally not follow order to mine nearby asteroids, now fixed.
- City module persistent dependency system updated to align with space station module dependency.
- Improvements to ice particle behavior in planet rings while in external view modes.
- Improved error handling when custom music files are improperly sequenced/misnamed.
- Improved small spacecraft collision detection around station command modules.
- Single player fleet formation system updated for smoother flight behavior.
- New text message alert added for low fuel notification (<25 units).
- City weapon turret movement updated for smoother motion.
- Engine thruster effect direction reversed when needed.
- Several minor fixes and UI improvements.
There are some significant changes and additions to the build mode/UI in this update. The build system is no longer limited to only the X and Z position locked to the vertical placement of the player's ship. Y can now also be changed without the player having to move their ship up or down. The new two stage build point locking option lets you set the X and Z position first, then the Y position. To use this option, you can lock the X and Z position in the overhead view mode first, then engage the 3D view mode (hold the right mouse button and move the pointer around). At that point, release the right mouse button when you have the view you want, then you can move the mouse pointer up and down to set the Y vertical placement point. Once you have the build point indicator in the position you want, left click again to lock in the Y placement point. From there, you can go ahead and activate a build operation. The build console will display '< Build Point Locked XZ >' when the two initial placement values are locked or '< Build Point Locked XYZ >' when all three placement values are locked. If you need to reset things to start over at any point, you can click the new 'Reset Build Point' button or simply click on ‘Cockpit View’, then ‘Overhead View’ again and all variables will be reset so you can start over. You can also open and close the build console to do the same thing. The 3D panning view mode also now remains persistent. So once you right click and move the panning 3D view, it will remain active even if you release the right mouse button. When the 3D panning view is active, you can reposition the mouse pointer and continue to pan the view around by holding the right mouse button. This way, you can set and reset the view as may be desired with losing the current view angle.
The experimental VR system is now set to disable the multi-threaded frame update system by default to accommodate changes in SteamVR, which removed support for the system anyway to utilize their own internal 'wait screen'. With the multi-threaded system now disabled, the SteamVR wait screen will appear any time there is the slightest pause in the game... during loading, menu transitions, or any other time where frame data is not being fed to the compositor. It's not an ideal approach, but seems to now be required with the changes in SteamVR that now disable the multi-threading system. There appears to be no way to enable the option, so this is a forced requirement of SteamVR for the time being. I'll be watching for future changes in SteamVR should other, better options become available that we can utilize in the game.
The display detection system has been updated to detect if an overscaled DPI setting is being forced by Windows. Previously, if a DPI setting was applied that was offset from a 1:1 pixel ratio (above 100% in the Windows display settings menu), it could have forced the game to work within a lower output resolution. For example, a 1920X1080 monitor with a 125% DPI scaling value applied in Windows 10 could force a rendering output condition of around 1536X864, which would render in significantly lower detail, resulting in potential legibility and image quality issues. The new system detects if the game is being forced to operate in suboptimal output resolution conditions and can now automatically apply the 'Locked' screen mode to keep the pixel ratio at 1:1 and final output resolution aligned with the best the monitor can provide. The only condition is that the selected resolution mode in the game's Options menu be set to 'Optimized'. Then if a 'Locked' screen mode isn't already active, the game can optionally activate it as needed for maximum image quality.
City module before and after build dependency conditions now align with space station modules by request and for consistency. This addition will also help resolve issues where some city weapon turrets may not have been active because of undetected/distant dependent modules. Weapon turrets under such conditions should now be active if they have required power and storage modules in range.
The new auto-matching system for the engineering lab will combine units of a matching material from two different cargo bays or two different hangar bays to meet a build array slot requirement (to address the previous 1:1 array slot-to-cargo/hangar bay requirement). This removes the requirement to consolidate or split two separate cargo or hangar bays and also helps with players flying military ships that only have one cargo bay, making it difficult for them to consolidate or split two separate bays of the same material. The game can now do that for them as long as the required material is in two cargo bays (civilian ship) or two hangar bays (any ship).
January 18th, 2017
Version 1.0488 includes the following improvements:
- New font to provide better legibility, improved numeric/letter distinguishing, and dedicated lower case character set.
- Displayed button values in configuration menu now use numerical range (starting at 1) rather than index range (starting at 0).
- HUD gunsight, target indicators, and pitch ladder updated for finer details, reduced color saturation, and a cleaner/simpler appearance.
- Button images updated to reduce width of highlight bars at edges and vertical shading aligned for a thinner and more consistent appearance with scroll bars and indicator bars.
- Ship and object collision alert system added, providing a warning when the ship's vector may impact an asteroid, planet, moon, station/city, cargo container, shipwreck, or certain other structures.
- New item restoration system for multiplayer added to recover lost items stored in a destroyed command module, even if significant time has passed, if replacement command module is built.
- By player request, initial close proximity build module binding restrictions/dependencies added to cities to align with space station build module behavior.
- Quadrant Territory and Economy map labels moved to text lines for easier editing and 'Neutral' territory category added for 'IND' affiliation.
- Space station shield, power supply, and weapon turret modules now require retaining their dependent modules in range in order to function.
- Spacecraft landing gear could remain temporarily visible on another player after they engaged a terrain walker, now fixed.
- Potential cause for a very rare runtime error message when client terrain detail setting is mismatched from server fixed.
- Physics adjustments to player ship after cargo changes may not have correctly applied after build operation, now fixed.
- New cargo delivery point path indicator added to HUD (to help guide player to delivery point below receiving ship).
- Command module now counts as 2 power supply modules for dependency credit and has extended energy coverage (1000).
- Docking fee notice could display incorrectly in single player for a newly constructed command module, now fixed.
- 'IND' built weapon turrets will no longer automatically attack ALC or FDN ships without them attacking first.
- New cockpit strut structures added to military and civilian cockpits for a more detailed appearance.
- Instructions updated to include new images that align with recent graphics changes and improvements.
- HAT/POV control mode changed to provide drop down selection menu rather than left/right toggle.
- New 'Rev Y' reverse vertical mode added to Pan, Strafe, and Snap View HAT/POV control options.
- Weapon lab missile stats updated to better align with standard missile stats for comparison.
- In weapon lab, more missile casing armor now adds hull strength for higher speed rating.
- Server programs updated to enforce build dependency changes server side in multiplayer.
- New subtle animation effect added to landing/docking and cargo delivery indicators.
- By request, music tracks from previous titles in the series added for more variety.
- Base yield level for custom missiles in weapon lab increased by about 100 points.
- Player request for an option to auto-save entire message log to text file added.
- Station under attack alerts could sometimes display incorrect player, now fixed.
- Target scanners can now display material levels near planet terrain surfaces.
- Planets can now vary high and low levels of materials across their surfaces.
- Improved UI alignment and support for 5:4 resolution ratios (ie 1280X1024).
- City command module sector build limit changed to four.
- Several minor fixes and UI improvements.
The new multiplayer lost item restoration system will now recover items stored in a station hangar for a command module that is destroyed by another player while the storing player is offline or in another sector, even if time has passed as long as a replacement command module is built in the same sector and the items continue to be displayed in the 'Hangar Details' list. This way, you can effectively recover lost items from a destroyed command module by simply rebuilding it at the same location, even if significant time has passed. The system will also allow recovery of items stored in an old command module built while playing on a different server by building a new command module in the same location while playing on a new server. You can also change the name of the station, which doesn't have to match the original. The sector location simply has to be the same. Single player and multiplayer self-destructing lost item conditions will still apply, so if you destroy your own command module, the items will continue to be lost. This exception for item restoration is specifically for multiplayer to accommodate a player request since that environment is more prone to lost/destroyed station command modules.
The new text font is now in place and is designed to primarily address three requests/issues. First, the new font moves away from the 'all caps' structure of the old font, providing a more distinguishable lower case character set. The new font also provides new numerical characters that are designed to be more distinguishable from similar letter characters (5 and S for example), making it is easier to tell the difference. The third objective is to provide a more legible character set overall, making finer text details easier to read on various displays and indicators that use them. The characters are more consistent in their structures (line width/height and overall horizontal/vertical size) and spacing in between characters/lines has also been increased to reduce the reported crammed/cluttered appearance of the old font.
Space station shield, power supply, and weapon turret modules now require retaining their dependent modules in range in order to function. If they lose a link to a required module, they will lose power (their lights will visibly turn off) and will become ineffective. This change may have some side effects, including any partially built stations possibly needing dependent modules to be built in order to expand/activate their functionality. City modules only have dependency requirements upon building. Once built, they can sustain themselves from the resources of the planet.
Materials that can be mined from planet surfaces now vary randomly, creating 'pockets' of higher, mixed, and lower value materials that can be recovered. Players that equip their spacecraft with a target scanner can see the percentages of each material when they fly at a low enough altitude (similar to how the contents of an asteroid can be viewed when targeted). The scan is done directly below the player's ship, so they can fly over the spot they are scanning to retrieve the materials in the indicated percentages. Scanning results are displayed on the lower right section of the HUD. Required altitude is currently around 500, so players will generally need to fly a 'nap of the earth' style low altitude pattern to perform faster scans.
The customizing kit has been updated with the new landing/docking indicator texture information.
An option to save the entire message log to a text file is now available. To enable the option, include a blank text file named 'messagelogsave.txt' in the game's install folder (Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Evochron Legacy for Steam or \sw3dg\EvochronLegacy for the direct download version). The game will then automatically save all lines in the message out to a text file in the save data folder (default location is c:\sw3dg\EvochronLegacy) every time you save or quick save your profile. Each saved message log will carry the format 'messagelog[timestamp].txt' (where [timestamp] is a unique timer integer). To disable the option, simply move or remove the 'messagelogsave.txt' file.
December 8th, 2016
Version 1.0428 includes the following improvements:
- HUD docking/landing tunnel behavior near planet cities improved.
- Glass effect on civilian cockpits made glossy to better align with military spacecraft.
- AI traffic patterns updated to increase frequency of routes to main cities on planet surfaces.
- AI traffic patterns updated to be more varied and responsive with movement/activities in sector.
- Ability to consolidate and transfer matching commodity cargo in open space added (hold Alt key and left/right click).
- Option to adjust throttle level with mouse wheel at 10X added for mouse flight control modes (hold Alt key, then adjust mouse wheel).
- Save data output option updated to include vertical velocity, horizontal velocity, control input, and thruster output values (see customizing kit for details).
- Residual shield benefit could still be applied to certain station modules after a shield module was destroyed, now fixed.
- Default basic axis configuration for mouse pointer control updated to better distinguish between joysticks and gamepads.
- Default basic axis configuration for flight control updated to better distinguish between joysticks and gamepads.
- Location data received from NPC/AI pilots in ship-to-ship trades now automatically stored in map log.
- Improved city docking tractor beam holding system to prevent slow reduction in altitude while docked.
- Player's ship no longer has to be absolutely still to quick save while inside a carrier hangar.
- Docking zone indicator in stations and at cities scaled 2X for improved legibility.
- Nav map database updated to correct misplaced icon listing for an uncharted planet.
- Sensor range for target scanner (2500) now displayed with item description.
- Verification step added for right click deleting map log entry.
- Verification step added for jettisoning cargo.
- New option to rename map log entries added.
The game can now better detect certain control device conditions for a basic default axis configuration. Pitch and yaw are now configured uniquely for the first two axis channels depending on the class of device, whether joystick or gamepad. The new system also includes the addition of roll control to axis channel 3 while throttle remains unbound, leaving it controlled by keyboard/mouse options and open to mapping by the player as may be desired. This will help set basic default axis mappings for joystick users and gamepad users, particularly for the mouse pointer control mode (when the player wants to use their flight control device to control the mouse pointer). But it also works for a default setup the first time the game is launched. The player can still select a preferred alternate device control profile in the Axis Configuration menu, manually map controls as desired, or activate a non-controller flight mode as well. The changes in this update simply provide a default basic axis configuration that's better relevant for the preferred device being used (the top listed device in Windows). If you've already mapped controls, these changes won't effect any existing control configuration since they only apply if the configuration files don't exist and the game is creating them for the first time based on what it detects.
You can now consolidate and transfer commodity cargo while in open space, you no longer have to dock at a station to move things around. Simply hold the Alt key as you would when docked earlier, then left or right click on the matching commodity types you want to consolidate/transfer.
New verification steps have been added by player request to the map log entry deletion and cargo jettison option. These options now require two clicks to complete and a text prompt will be displayed after the first click to verify if you want to complete the action. The relevant button will also change color to red before the second click as an additional alert and in the case of map log entries, to verify which entry is ready to be deleted.
If you receive location information for discovered planets or cargo containers from NPC/AI pilots in ship-to-ship trades, the information is now automatically stored in the map log. If you want to delete this information, simply open the map log and right click on the entry you want to remove twice.
The new rename map log entry option lets you change the name of an entry while viewing the log. Simply click on the 'Rename Entry' button, then click on the entry you want to rename. The naming prompt with then be filled in with the original entry name and you can use backspace to remove characters and change the listing as desired. Press enter when finished.
November 8th, 2016
Version 1.0418 includes the following improvements:
- Station attack alerts in multiplayer now include name of attacking player in message log.
- Dedicated contract objectives added for terrain walkers (survey, plant sample, and lost item recovery).
- 3D item description icon for terrain walker now constructed from modules in memory for optimal loading performance.
- Server programs updated to display station attack alerts in message log (including new addition of the name of attacking player).
- Smoothing now standard across all texture detail modes for softer light reflections and higher detail appearance.
- Particle cannon weapon range and damage level tapering updated to align better with indicated MDTS range value.
- Scenarios that could result in parts of a nebula cloud or planet ring being left behind during training fixed.
- Radar display mode 1 horizon plane separated from base texture image and is now a fully 3D rendered surface.
- Energy score displayed in shipyard now includes higher base capacitor level for military ships in value.
- Target MFD detail mode ship orientation tracking indicator also updated to render as a full 3D surface.
- HUD target direction indicators updated in VR to remain locked to a fixed orientation (player request).
- Issue that could cause faction ID mismatches in cooperative delivery contract in multiplayer fixed.
- Default VR depth scaling and head movement scaling adjusted based on player feedback (see notes).
- Collision system added to plant structures, including potential damage for higher speed impacts.
- Pitch ladder depth reduced to better align with gunsight depth and render ahead of lens flares.
- Compass cylinder 3D position updated to better align with menu frame in experimental VR mode.
- Waypoint placement updated to better account for potential planetary defense ring conditions.
- 25% pay bonus notification line moved to below contract pay line to avoid overlapping.
- 25% pay bonus notification added to relevant planet side missions in war zones.
- Radar range and mode controls enabled for terrain walkers.
- New mesh structure and texture for terrain walker cockpit.
- New mesh structure and texture for jump gate object.
The server programs will now display attack alerts in the message log. The name of the attacking player will also be displayed (and recorded in the server message log). When an alert is logged, it will display the sector location of the attack, the faction of the attacking player in brackets, the name of the attacking player, and finally the faction of the module being attacked in parenthesis.
For radar display mode 1 and target orientation indicator, the new horizon plane 3D surface also has a new additional dedicated index for its texture. The filename is 'ccpitblue1c.png' and details are included in the customizing kit. The horizon plane has been made into a full 3D rendered surface to better align with the 3D sphere in the experimental VR mode.
The new default values for the experimental VR system are 3.4 for 'EyeDistanc', 3.4 for 'HeadMScale', and 0.4 for 'VRUIScale'. So if you want to adjust those further, simply make changes to any vrsetup.txt file you may have in place. And if you want to restore the original values for any reason, they are 1.0, 1.0, and 0.5 respectively.
Particle cannons now have an increase of at least about 80 meters to their range. This helps them better align with their indicated MDTS locking ranges. Some custom weapons may have over an 80 meter increase, depending on their previous MDTS locking range values. So overall, particle cannons can now shoot a little farther and should better line up with their locking ranges. They can also now shoot a little past their MDTS locking distance, but not by much and their damage effectiveness can deplete when over the MDTS limit.
Since smoothing is now standard across all texture detail modes, the 'High + Smoothing' option has been removed from the Options menu. More objects in the game now also have smoothing applied for a more unified appearance between various structures in the game. A new 'Surface Smoothing' option has been added to the texture detail menu that will still allow you to turn smoothing on or off as may be desired.
October 10th, 2016
Version 1.0408 includes the following improvements:
- Ability to import a custom global asteroid mesh added (see customizing kit for details).
- Ability to import custom station/city module meshes added (single player only, see customizing kit for details).
- Military cockpit design updated to move upper canopy strut lower (below compass and console menu) and to add side struts.
- By player request, AI traffic and guidance systems updated to allow hostile ships to more frequently arrive near player in disputed and hostile systems.
- Rate of potential non-contract battle scenarios in disputed systems increased (including friendly and hostile ships jumping in for reinforcements).
- Low light visibility mode updated to additionally apply illumination to asteroids and metallic structures rather than terrain only.
- Fix for an issue where terrain walker step sounds could align with music volume rather than effects volume after switching views.
- Dedicated HAT control modes for game control devices now align with indicated device ID in configuration menu.
- New black hole effect (layered swirling accretion disk with dark center) and extended gravity field.
- Directive 88 in custom quests now clears any quest object left behind automatically.
- Altimeter updated to align with navigation distance scale factor.
- Dedicated sound option for disruptor effect added (s4c.wav).
- Heat alert indicator updated to be more visible.
- Aurora borealis effect added by player request.
- Lighting effects and visibility improved.
- Collision system added to jump gates.
- Improved MFD transition effect.
The new aurora borealis system is designed to render with unique colors based on atmosphere type and provides an animated movement effect. If you would like to try your own custom textures for the effect, see the customizing kit for details.
For those interested in using over-sized DPI scaling values in Windows 10 (over 100% in display properties) rather than an aligned 1:1 pixel scaling (100%), one of the 'Locked (FS)' screen modes is recommended. When using the default 'Optimized' full screen window mode, the game will attempt to submit/adapt to an over-sized scaling level, which can look strange (blurry, low detail, etc) on some configurations. Using a locked screen mode will force the game to use a 1:1 scaling factor, even if the desktop scaling level is set to something else in Windows 10. As a result of the benefit of using locked screen modes with over-sized scaling conditions, the locked screen modes are no longer highlighted in red in this build.
To retain the original large value altitude readout scale level, simply create a text file name altitudemode.txt and place it in the \hud folder (you'll need to create one if you haven't already) within the game's install folder.
September 5th, 2016
Version 1.0388 includes the following improvements:
- Jump caster deployable option added (see notes).
- More customizing options added for menu graphics (customizing page updated).
- Tractor beam type mounted on ship now transfers to terrain walker so players can select which materials to mine with the walker as well.
- Space station module build point allowed to be one position step closer for production and storage modules connecting to smaller module types.
- Planet terrain impact damage now possible at higher cruise speeds (no longer requires engaging jump drive to overpower shield resistance).
- Moon impact damage now possible using consistent conditional parameters as planet collisions with the new impact damage system.
- Asteroid and asteroid cave impact damage behavior aligned with new collision impact damage system for planets and moons.
- AI system updated to allow hostile ships to travel closer to planet terrain while in pursuit of player or other ships.
- 25% pay bonus now applies to combat contracts accepted planet side (with waypoint(s) in atmosphere).
- Rare issue that could cause capital ships to appear at wide vertical angles after respawning fixed.
- Specular level on cockpits raised slightly to better align with other shiny metallic surfaces.
- Minimum water retrieval elevation reduced for closer proximity requirement to water source.
- By player request, shield module stacking recharge rate set to 70% per additional module.
- Vertical displacement that could occur when jumping near station command modules fixed.
- Increased AI travel paths near/around stations in multiplayer.
- A few minor fixes.
Sometimes a fairly difficult and potentially controversial feature/option gets considered and eventually implemented. The new 'jump caster' deployable is one such option added to this update. I have been considering such an option for years (since Renegades in 2007) and a recent surge of requests and feedback have pushed it from concept to reality. So far in testing, it has been providing what requesting players have asked for while also addressing the concerns of others.
Here are some details. Feedback over the last near decade has kept this option from being implemented until now. Fears of reducing the scope/size of the game's universe and providing persistent short cuts have been two of the biggest concerns. Once building jump gates to anywhere is available, it's inevitable that they will eventually be sprinkled throughout the game's universe. This makes getting anywhere very easy, too easy by many accounts. The unique and hard to find locations suddenly have a marker and a quick route to get to them, likely through the efforts of someone else the player never met or worked with (never shared gameplay with). So if placing static permanent jump gates were implemented, it would have meant that player A could skip huge portions of the game's exploration process just by using a gate player B built long before. Combined, the potential scope reduction, long term risk/challenge reduction, spoilers, no effort persistent shortcutting, desire for discovery exclusivity, and more have all resulted in keeping the idea from being implemented in the past. But I do listen and try to work out solutions to such things if there is enough interest and constructive feedback indicating it's worth re-re-re-evaluating.
After careful consideration, I've decided to make the move in the direction of providing a way to travel very long distances without requiring a traditional static jump gate, including travel to remote uncharted systems. But it's been implemented in a way that does not provide a permanent short cut (generally the most strongly voiced concern). This way, a player can establish a jump point to where they want to go if they know the destination. That is, if they travel to an uncharted region of space and find a system there, they can store the location in their map log and then later return to it using the new device without having to spend hours making short range jumps to get there. Since the device is temporary, it also doesn't leave behind a shortcut for others to exploit. This allows players a way to still keep their discoveries fairly exclusive while making them much more accessible and available to utilize for trade, storage, and construction. And if they want another player to join them at the distant location in multiplayer, they can meet up in a particular sector and then build a route that both of them can use (they can share the new 'jump caster' just like they can share other deployables). So from both a solo and cooperative standpoint, it made the most sense to provide a new deployable way for setting up a temporary jump route to try and meet as many of the requested objectives and concerns as reasonably possible.
In short, the 'jump caster' is a new deployable device that lets you construct a temporary jump gate. When preparing to deploy it, you can enter the destination coordinates for where you want the caster to take you (done in the navigation console prior to building the jump caster, which also allows for easy map log entry retrieval). The jump caster links to your ship's navigation console to retrieve the selected destination coordinates and will target that destination when you build it. Building the jump caster requires 50 units of metal ore to build and can travel up to 1000 sectors away. The ore requirement is low enough to allow players to be able to build multiple devices in sequence should a destination require more than one caster to reach. Once deployed, the player can fly through the caster to travel to the selected destination as though travelling through a traditional jump gate. Once the device is used (or not linked to a player in multiplayer, as with other deployables), it self-scuttles. There is a modest level of resource investment required to use them, but the trade off is very quick access to wherever you might want to go in the quadrant.
The new collision system provides a more realistic impact response when running into planets, moons, asteroids, and caves (shield-to-shield and shield-to-hull collisions remain unchanged). It is now possible to ram nose first into a planet or moon and destroy your ship (without the previous requirement of overpowering your shield resistance using the jump drive). Damage is also variable, causing more severe hull damage the faster you go. Speeds around 1000 or less are generally safe, above will generally encounter damage. The new system also takes the angle of impact into account, so skimming terrain with fairly level pitch generally won't cause damage, but nose diving into it can.
August 8th, 2016
Version 1.0348 includes the following improvements:
- AI traffic patterns updated to appear near and fly more consistently around stations.
- Engineer crew member can now perform emergency repairs to damaged ship subsystems slowly even if no repair device is installed.
- Spawn placement system updated to prevent rare potential mismatch when renaming a profile (causing a displaced spawn point).
- Territory quadrant map indicator colors changed to consistently align with text readouts (green = allied, red = enemy).
- New neutral faction affiliation option added (indicated by IND/Independent) for players, see notes for details.
- Build system updated to allow 'IND' stations to be constructed that allow any player to dock at.
- Default station module data stored to fixed template for possible future functionality.
- 'IMG' faction label renamed to 'IND' to support new independent faction option.
- Terrain texturing changed for improved detail appearance at higher altitudes.
- Improvements to depth appearance and rendering for experimental VR system.
- Head movement factor value option added to vrsetup.txt VR file options.
- Several minor UI fixes for a few click ranges and indicators.
- Performance improvements for planets with plants and animals.
- Passenger transport objective added to single player mode.
- Minor fixes.
The new neutral faction option (IND) provides players interested primarily in exploration, trading, racing, recovery, delivery, mining, and/or other miscellaneous non-combat objectives a way to perform those activities in any ALC or FDN controlled region of the game's universe without the risk of attack. This largely provides the requested independent/neutral, non-combat, open trading, all sector access way to play the game. When the IND faction is selected by the player, all other ALC/FDN ships will switch to a neutral threat level (yellow) and all stations will be available to the player for docking. The restriction for the IND faction is that no combat contracts in civilian space will be offered to the player. Players flying with the IND faction tag are limited to non-combat contract objectives in ALC/FDN space, but are free to dock, design weapons, craft equipment, design/buy/sell ships, store ships/items, accept non-combat contracts, and trade at any faction's station. IND players can still participate in war zone battles against Vonari. All non-war zone territory regions will be marked yellow on the quadrant map for an IND player, indicating all regions are available to the player to fly in as a neutral ship. This new faction option may be changed/expanded later on depending on player interest/feedback as it is an initial effort to provide some of the features and options that have been requested in recent months (in this case, namely a neutral, largely peaceful/non-combat option with docking access to the entire quadrant).
Players can also now build stations with the 'IND' faction tag, resulting in a neutral station that allows any player to dock. However, docking fees may apply to a neutral/IND player docking at an ALC or FDN affiliated station as well as an ALC or FDN player docking at a neutral/IND station. Docking fees will not apply when docking at a station of the same faction affiliation (IND = IND, ALC = ALC, or FDN = FDN). Docking fees will also not apply until the player has progressed from the earlier stages of the game and has a significant number of credits. Docking fees will also not apply in war zones.
The quadrant map territory indicator colors are now aligned with the player's selected faction affiliation (matching the text readouts). So regardless of ALC or FDN faction affiliation, friendly regions will be green, hostile will be red. No longer are the indicators always green for ALC and red for FDN. As mentioned above, independent ('IND') players will see yellow in all human regions.
For those trying out the experimental VR system, a new default value of 1.0 has been applied to the 'EyeDistanc' value. Any VRSETUP.TXT file that may be in place will need to account for this change going forward. This change aligns that distance factor with the changes in this build to improve the 3D appearance and depth effects in VR. A new head movement scaling factor has also been added as an option to the file. This option lets you change the rate of relative head movement. You can reduce the response by using values less than 1.0 or increase it to 2X with a value of 2.0. The default value is 1.0. The latest sample file is available here: http://www.starwraith.com/evochronlegacy/customkit/vrsetup.txt
The changes to the VR system represent the last of the remaining technical issues/objectives to sort out in terms of depth/rendering and functionality. I now plan on looking into trying to optimize performance further for a default VR configuration. I would appreciate your feedback (please send result via starwraith.com > contact) for those trying out the experimental VR system as to the exact system specs you are using (video card make and model, driver version, CPU make/model and clock speed, bus speed, system memory, etc) and what performance results you are achieving.
July 4th, 2016
Version 1.0308 includes the following improvements:
- 'High + Smoothing' option added to Texture Detail setting in main Options menu (see notes).
- Added ability to change single player simulation options and faction affiliation of profiles (added to 'Rename Pilot' option).
- Bypass added to Steam cloud save system to prevent a folder error message if security settings/software block the game from being allowed to access the folder.
- Experimental VR rendering system converted to OpenVR to support the HTC Vive and other compatible VR devices.
- Many HUD, menu, UI, and indicator graphics have been updated for improved appearance in experimental VR system.
- Contract link in multiplayer no longer overrides jump point if player's jump drive is already activated.
- Top tier civilian frames reduced in assembly caps to accommodate absolute equipment limit.
When the Texture Detail option is set to 'High + Smoothing', the game will generate additional surface smoothing details for certain objects in the game including ship frames, ship components, station/city modules, and cockpits. The generation process will add additional loading time during the initial startup phase of the game. The benefit is that various surfaces of these objects will appear smoother and rounded for a more detailed look, rather than flatter with sharper angles. The 'High + Smoothing' setting is also more of an optional mode. If you prefer objects to have sharper edges and angles, you can use the 'High' mode as the maximum setting and full resolution texture details will still be applied. If you prefer a smoother and more rounded appearance to various surfaces of objects, then the 'High + Smoothing' mode is available as an option.
This update also adds the ability to change the single player simulation options and faction affiliation of any profile. This way, you can change the game simulation conditions for commodity prices, Econ/Tech, and territory control for existing profiles. You can also change the single player faction affiliation of any profile. Keep in mind that if you change the faction affiliation, you will instantly become hostile to the original faction, resulting in being bumped out of a station you may be docked at and immediately attacked. So before changing a faction, you may want to save your profile out in neutral space or current enemy territory first.
For anyone interested in testing the experimental VR mode, be sure to remove any vrsetup.txt file you may have in place for the old system. The new system uses a different format and list of options for that file (available here: http://www.starwraith.com/evochronlegacy/customkit/vrsetup.txt ).
May 28th, 2016
Version 1.0298 includes the following improvements:
- Terrain Walker values doubled.
- Option to customize region territory control value indicators on nav map added.
- Fleet ships are now much more likely to stay with player if/when they explore deep space.
- High energy nebula clouds can now cause the nav subsystem to sustain damage during close lightning strikes.
- AI combat systems updated to allow enemy ships to better avoid being baited into attacks from ships flying backwards.
- New long range radar equipment item added, supporting detection of generic ship signals out to 20K and 40K (see notes).
- Minimum econ/tech level for several advanced equipment items reduced to increase potential availability in Federation space.
- The game's device control configuration system is now additionally linked to string descriptions rather than just ID values.
- Short range sensor masking capabilities for certain objects now properly active to provide correct benefits of crew and equipment.
- 'Technology' nav console button and related text lines renamed to 'Econ/Tech' to match news category title and simulation setting option.
- Added ability to right click on any nav map long range sensor blip to set the nav point in the area of a detected signal.
- Joystick/gamepad axis controls can now be enabled simultaneously with mouse flight control modes.
- Compass displays (both tape and digital) now correctly respond to nav subsystem damage state.
- Animal life indicator added to planet details section of system information screen.
- Hostile drones reduced to three in last combat training sequence.
The game's control input systems are now additionally linked to each device's string description as displayed in Windows, rather than being bound to only a static device ID value. This should allow the game to adapt to changing controller list conditions if the player plugs in new devices and/or unplugs old ones. Any device USB port changes need to be made before the game is launched (always be sure to keep the devices you have mapped controls to plugged in before launching the game). Once the game is launched, it will compare the current device list (as managed by Windows) with the list when the game was last launched. If it detects differences in the total device count or order of the device string names, it will then analyze the current control bindings for any links between the original device name(s) they were assigned to and any new device names/order. If the game finds that the device name is in a different list position than it was last time the game was played, the game will automatically apply control map changes so that the original device(s) can continue to be used when it is assigned a different ID value/rank position in the device list. The game will back up current key/button and axis control bindings before making any changes and will place the keymap8.sw and stickt.sw files in a folder named \ControlSettingsBackup within the save data folder (default is c:\sw3dg\EvochronLegacy). If you would like to bypass this system and retain locked ID values, simply create a text file in the game's save data folder (default is c:\sw3dg\EvochronLegacy) named stickidmode.txt and in the first line include the word 'enable'.
The new long range radar equipment item adds two new range modes to the 3D and 2D radar system. The LR Radar system supports detecting ship signals out to 20K and 40K. Details on a ship signal are limited to direction/distance only on the radar and will not provide full telemetry, status, or threat level information. Ships at long range (beyond full sensor/scanning detail 10K distance) will be displayed as yellow dots on the radar and no target detail information will be available for them. Ships will still be required to be within 10K range in open space for short range sensors/scanners to retrieve threat, ID, frame class, shield status, hull status, subsystem status, orientation, and velocity information. When the equipment item is installed, two new 'LR2' (20K) and 'LR4' (40K) modes will be available on the radar, indicating when one of the long range radar modes is active. The long range radar/sensor system also passively extends the detection range of lost items (which do not broadcast signal data and are well masked from short range sensors) and escape pods by about 50%. Detection range of hidden/masked cargo containers is also doubled.
The new right click option for long range sensors on the nav map will now let you place the nav/jump point marker in the area of a detected signal when using either a deployed sensor station or a sensor probe. For objects that transmit telemetry data, such as ships and deployed structures, the marker will be placed very close to the object's location. For objects that do not transmit telemetry data, such as cargo containers and shipwrecks, the marker will be placed in the area of the signal, but not precisely to it. You'll generally arrive within short range sensor detection of the object, but close range scanning and visual detection will still be useful. This way, you'll no longer have to try and guess pixel-by-pixel where to plot the nav point to a detected object, the game will now help you plot a nav point close by when using this new right click option.
Region territory control indicators on the nav map can now be customized. Images for green, yellow, red, and purple indicators can be specified for both normal map size and the zoomed map size. Image sizes are 24X32 for normal and 48X64 for zoomed. See the customizing kit for more information.
To accommodate requests for an increase in challenge from hostile AI ships when the player flies backwards, enemy ships are now allowed to break off an attack and engage other ships when in such situations under certain conditions. They are also now allowed to engage in at closer range when attacking a player flying backwards to counter attack.
Work has begun on transitioning the experimental VR system over to OpenVR/SteamVR in an effort to support a wider array of devices. I'm not sure when/if this system will become available, but we're in the early stages of the development process and converting things over.
The included instructions have also been updated for new options and recent improvements.
April 22nd, 2016
Version 1.0288 includes the following improvements:
- Double button input support added to pre-defined control profile script system.
- XBox 360 Gamepad profile added to list of available pre-defined control profiles.
- Display system for the hudtext.dat modification option and savedata export option updated to display correct in-sector location.
- Horizon surface added to 3D radar sphere and target detail orientation indicator.
- Autopilot updated for improved rotational search pattern for navigation marker.
- Signal indicators/blips on radar in 2D mode increased in size for legibility.
- Game controller support for menu and console selection added (see notes).
- Invalid limb error occurring when linking gun turret fixed.
- Hangar transaction fees now apply as indicated.
Game controllers can now be used to select options in the game's menus as well as the navigation, build, inventory, and trade consoles. The default game control device will be used by default (optionally changeable, see below). For joysticks, axis 1 will be assigned to vertical mouse pointer movement and axis 2 will be assigned to horizontal mouse pointer movement. For XBox controllers, axis 1 will be assigned to horizontal mouse pointer movement and axis 2 will be assigned to vertical mouse pointer movement and inversed. For both device types, button 1 will be assigned to left mouse button control and button 2 will be assigned to right mouse button control. This should support most joystick and gamepad devices. However, the system can also be customized or disabled entirely if you'd prefer to return to the original mouse only menu selection system. A new 'Menu/Console Control' option has been added to the main Options menu to enable this system with default settings. Settings for the system are stored in a file named menucontrols.txt in the save data folder (default c:\sw3dg\EvochronLegacy). The following values can be modified in that file for custom options (default joystick values are displayed below):
2 ` control mode, = 0 off, 1 = menus only, 2 = menus and consoles
1 ` pointer movement mode, 1 = pan, 2 = from center
0 ` device ID for first device (change for different device ID as listed in Windows)
1 ` horizontal axis
0 ` vertical axis
0 ` left click button
1 ` right click button
100 ` horizontal deadzone offset (out of an input range of 1000)
100 ` vertical deadzone offset (out of an input range of 1000)
0 ` invert horizontal axis (1 for enable)
0 ` invert vertical axis (1 for enable)
0.01 ` rate (the speed the mouse pointer will respond)
If the game detects a joystick, the horizontal axis will be set to 1 and vertical axis set to 0. If it detects an XBox controller, those will be reversed and the invert vertical axis value will be set to 1.
April 4th, 2016
Version 1.0278 includes the following improvements:
- Overall loading time from main menu to startup sequence reduced slightly.
- Option to limit yaw and pitch rotation added for mouselook, key, and axis view controls.
- Market value of terrain walkers increased significantly for new market availability option.
- Consolidating commodities in hangar now automatically removes any 0 quantity material listing.
- Sensor station and probe nav map indicators updated to reduce clutter and include square shape.
- Sensor stations and probes now render signals within a 50K cube shaped section of space rather than circular.
- There is now a rare chance of terrain walkers being available for sale in high technology class inventories.
- Equipment list in inventory console now adjusts with capacity limit rather than installed items (matching cargo list behavior).
- Nav map indicators for cities, ping location, and contract waypoints rendered with higher performance and can now be customized.
- Region territory link to war zones removed, all human ships are now linked as 'Navy' while in war zones.
- Weapon turrets will not attack 'Navy' faction human/AI piloted ships in war zones unless attacked first.
- Quests 2 and 3 updated to indicate decameters/in-sector coordinates for certain module placements.
- Proximity check that would sometimes incorrectly allow plants to disappear when approached fixed.
- Added option to import separate dedicated texture images for each individual custom ship design.
- The last module in a sector would often return on respawn/reload after being destroyed, fixed.
- Cargo list in build console more clearly defined to match frame design in inventory console.
- Rare chance of a training vocal stage playing when entering a station or city fixed.
- Global custom cockpit option enabled (ccpit.x and ccpitshader.txt file options).
- Ability to set a custom size of nav map signal blips added (dotsize.txt).
- Race course and cargo delivery HUD indicator texture detail improved.
- Cave entrance auto-guidance system updated for smoother adjustment.
- Pitch level (integer) added to savedata text file export options.
- Pitch level readout option added to hudtext.dat file options.
- Message log controls disabled when mouselook is active.
- Ship nav lights given a slight lens flare effect.
- Ability to import a custom jump gate mesh added.
For the option to increase the size of the dots rendered on the nav map when a sensor station or probe is deployed, use a file named dotsize.txt inside the \hud folder and include the size you want for the blips in the first line. The default size is 4. It is generally not recommended to increase the size too much as the dots will eventually overlap each other if they are close together and are too big. So it's only recommended if you are using a low resolution display (below 1920X1080) and/or prefer the oversized blips on the nav map.
For the custom jump gate mesh option, use the \environment folder and filename gate.x for the custom mesh you want to use. To keep game rules consistent in multiplayer, the collision setup will remain the same, so you'll want to use a design that is pretty close to the same shape and size of the default mesh if you want the collision to match the appearance of the custom gate mesh you use.
By request, the new sensor station and probe systems now scan a square shaped section of space to cover the full 50K section of a sector out to its edge. The sensor signal strength is increased out to the corners to provide a more complete field of coverage across a square section of space to better match the square shape of sectors.
For the option to limit yaw and pitch rotation for mouselook, key, and axis view control, create a file in the game's install folder named 'panlimits.txt' and include the angle limit for yaw in the first line along with the angle limit for pitch in the second line. Default values are 178 and 88 respectively.
To address player requests/reports of different factions being present in war zones causing increased difficulty for escort objectives and mixed faction fighting, the regional territory link has been removed from war zones to lock all human ships in under one 'NAVY' faction. This way, any ALC or FDN ships in the region will behave as allied with any other ALC or FDN ship in a war zone with a common interest in fighting the Vonari. This change won't impact certain station conditions, so ships from opposing factions still won't be able to dock and the station modules themselves can be destroyed/built to still retain that level of control/behavior for a faction. But ships will no longer attack opposing faction ships in war zones, regardless of the regional territory control level.
March 4th, 2016
Version 1.0248 includes the following improvements:
- Shield array deployables now require minimum distance (3000) from station modules.
- Radar total hostile counter now only counts enemy capital ships when they are in radar range.
- In some barren uncharted systems, respawning could result in mismatched faction ID affiliations for AI ships, fixed.
- Certain building operations in the engineering lab could result in 0 quantity items remaining in cargo or hangar bays, fixed.
- New 'Scuttle Module' option added during build process to allow player to destroy a module being constructed before it is finished.
- Regional news reporting system updated to properly align for increases/decreases in FDN controlled territory.
- Navigation lights added to ships, red for left, green for right, visible when viewed from front of ships.
- Evasion of carriers by AI ships updated for smoother behavior and improved movement.
- Animals would generally not animate when shadows were turned off, fixed.
The new nav light system renders two forward facing light effects color coded to a ship's orientation using the standard format of red for the left and green for the right. The lights are fairly soft and dim, so not overly bright, just bright enough to visually discern a ship's orientation at a distance. The new light effects are also customizable using the \ships folder and the filenames navgreen.png and navred.png. The flash pattern can also be customized by creating a text file in the game's install folder named 'navlight.txt' and entering a value in the first line from 0 to 4. 0 will render the nav lights with a double pulse flashing effect. 1 will render the nav lights with a single pulse flashing effect. 2 is the default mode and will render the nav lights with a slow fade flashing effect. 3 will render the nav lights always on at full strength. 4 will hide the nav lights.
For the new scuttle module option, simply close the build console after starting the build process. The scuttle module button will appear in the middle right of the screen and includes a timer to indicate how much time is left before the build process is finished beyond a point where the module can be scuttled. The scuttle option will be linked to the first module you start building (only one scuttle link can be active at a time), so if you want to have the scuttle option for a module you build, make sure to build one at a time unless you are certain you want to keep multiple modules in selected locations that you build simultaneously. If you scuttle a module, you won't get the metal ore back as the module will be destroyed, but it will allow you cancel the module entirely in case it is worth it to you to remove it and/or rebuild it in a different location.
March 4th, 2016
Version 1.0228 includes the following improvements:
- S281 system name restored to accommodate beacon clue description.
- Server programs updated to enable additional minimum client version enforcement for online public servers.
- Disruptor sequence updated to show a more electric style pulse explosion and sound effect.
- Trade links could be denied between human players when asteroids were nearby, fixed.
- Displayed fuel costs that could vary depending on rounding differences fixed.
- Refuel menu centered in lower left frame of inventory console.
- Several minor UI improvements.
Public multiplayer server listings will require the new server builds next time a list attempt is made. As with any server update, always be sure to back up your text8.dat, factionmap.txt, and universemulti.txt files if you want to keep custom settings and gamestate conditions since the installer will restore the default files.
Now that it seems most technical and functional issues have been sorted and feedback has been transitioning more toward larger scale elements, I'll plan to begin the process of evaluating and prototyping more significant changes and additions that will likely require more development time and testing. This will probably result in a slower update schedule with more gameplay related improvements, with the rate and scope being based on feedback/requests.
I'd also like to work toward making the Oculus Rift mode the best it can be with the goal to transition it to an official mode rather than something more experimental. If you have been using the OR mode and can provide feedback on settings you've been using in conjunction with the specifications of your system to get good performance (at 75 FPS most of the time to avoid judder), that will help me formulate possible changes for improved potential default support in the future.
February 28th, 2016
Version 1.0218 includes the following improvements:
- Mining probe could be deployed with a build constructor, fixed.
- Axis configuration menu saving system updated to avoid defaulting to earlier configurations under certain conditions.
- Fuel tanks could be mismatched for military frames in shipyard, limiting fuel capacity to 1000 when 1500 should be available, fixed.
- Option to use the default documents folder in the user folder tree for the savedir.txt option added (using the %docfolder% tag).
- Creating a new profile after playing a previous profile could result in carrying over a faction affiliation, fixed.
- In zoomed mode, the nav map could appear larger than it should when rendering zoom animation, fixed.
- Update notification and download menu updated to align better with menu frame and shadow enlarged.
- Auto-leveling and stabilizing while in 3rd person chase view improved.
The game now supports a dynamic %docfolder% tag in the savedir.txt file for anyone interested in using a mod that needs to specify the Users\UserName\My Documents folder in a global way that is independent of a specific user name that may be on the system. This also allows players to direct the game to keep save data in the documents folder using one standard (global) line rather than requiring specific folder names. So for example, if you want to have the game keep save data in the 'My Games' folder that is generally located in the documents folder tree, you can specify this line in the savedir.txt file:
The game will then poll Windows for the current system drive, user folder, user name folder, and documents folder and apply them all automatically in the target save data folder. It will then take the characters after the %docfolder% tag and include them in the target save data folder string along with the \sw3dg\EvochronLegacy text, so the end result will be something like this to the game:
c:\Users\[UserName]\My Documents\My Games\sw3dg\EvochronLegacy
And the save data files will then be saved and loaded to/from that folder location. If you want to apply this change to the game, make sure to copy all of the original save data files from the default location of c:\sw3dg\EvochronLegacy to the new folder location you specify before launching the game the next time.
February 24th, 2016
Version 1.0208 is now available and includes the following improvements:
- Planet G452 placed in original location for improved quest 3 and 4 support.
- Black hole objects increased in size for improved visibility and relative scaling.
- Double click verification check implemented for exit option in pause/exit menu and respawn menu.
- Transaction fee displayed in hangar menu now reflects half price reduction when station license applies.
- AI ship engagements with capital ships reduced to extend life of capital ships during combat and escort objectives.
- AI ships allowed to go much farther inside gas giants and properly arrive for contracts with waypoints inside gas giants.
- Fixed issue with certain contracts that could be incorrectly completed when a friendly capital ship is destroyed before a required hostile capital ship is destroyed.
- Joining/respawn messages changed to show player name and version number so sector locations are displayed exclusively in player list, nav map (allied), and message log (when enabled server-side).
- When sector masking is set to mode 2 on a server, completed contract details will not be displayed in the message log.
- Dual button input system updated to bypass a single button input when the first of a two button combination is pressed.
- POV/HAT input is now displayed in the configure key/button menu along with regular button inputs.
- Ability to map button + POV/HAT input for individual control functions added.
- X52 Control Profile updated for new control system.
- Minor visual UI changes/fixes.
To accommodate requests for separating single button input control functions from double button input control functions, the all-response system is bypassed when a button is mapped to two functions with one of them also mapped to a second button. All-response is still available if you reverse the mapping order. So for example, if you map button 1 with control function 10 and also buttons 2+1 with control function 11, function 10 will be ignored when you press buttons 2+1. This allows for a full bypass and alternate function for a double button input. If you want to activate both function 10 and function 11 when 2+1 is pressed, simply reverse the mapping order to 1+2 in the configuration menu. This way, the original all-response system is still available for those who want to activate multiple control functions simultaneously and a bypass option is available for those who want two different functions for one button with an alternate second button input option. In short, any primary button will activate a control option (1 and 1+2) and a primary button will submit to a secondary button before activation when the primary is also used in the second slot of a double button combination (1 and 2+1).
The ability to map a button plus a POV/HAT input has also been added. This way, you can use a button as a kind of Alt key for a POV/HAT inputs the same way double button mapping works. You can also reverse the input and use a POV/HAT input as the alternate control function for buttons.
February 20th, 2016
Version 1.0198 is now available and includes the following improvements:
- Station attack alert notice now displays faction of attacked module.
- Ability to control horizontal and vertical pilot view with axis inputs added.
- Station names and certain planet types now display properly when 'all' text mode is active.
- In some deep space regions, ship type sorting could produce Talon only class ships or visual anomalies, fixed.
- More time added to server status system to help compensate for low connection quality when checking for players.
- When attempting to retrieve system information, a '< No system information available >' message is now added to the message log when no system information is available.
- Experimental Oculus Rift system updated to incorporate automatically detected field of view to improve support for changing parameters (different potential devices).
- Added ability to hot swap equipment and weapons to/from the cargo bay while docked at a deployable station hangar.
- Default deadzone precision increased to 1:1 signal input to provide less auto-centering behavior.
- Anti-exploit system for cargo duplication reduced to allow certain profile switching actions.
- Uncharted systems have been updated to eliminate unwanted name and location duplications.
- Server program updated to resolve an issue with commodity values locking at 0% or 100%.
I received a few requests to implement support for a device called the Tobii Eyex. One way to do this is apparently through supporting view control via axis inputs as the Eyex system can provide variable input signals via a virtual joystick device. So I've added the ability to control the pilot's view with axis inputs using the same limits as the mouselook option. This also means that if you have a spare control device that provides axis inputs (or just spare axis inputs on an existing device you're already using), you can now use it as a way to control the pilot's view as well.
Duplicate planet names and positions were found in several regions in uncharted space. This was likely due to some kind of pattern that formed in the system generator. So uncharted space has been given an update to remove such duplications and update planet locations. You'll still find the uncharted systems in the same locations, but the planets around the stars will now be unique in terms of locations and names. An orbit pass has been applied to many of the planets, giving them new locations around their home stars. And names have also been updated to remove duplications. So you will likely encounter changes in system structures. This may have an unfortunate side effect of displacing/removing cities and stations that you may have built in uncharted space, but this was a necessary change to remove the reported duplication issue. If you do run into problems with a profile saved in uncharted space, you can send it to me (starwraith.com > contact) for possible adjustment. However, the game is designed to handle such orbital/position changes and the effects they have on constructed structures for most situations (at least to allow a proper respawn).
The default deadzone condition has been removed to provide added central precision. This should help those who've asked for such a change and wanting to provide the option for exact 1:1 response for ultra-precise control devices and tracking mechanisms using axis inputs. This can mean that some users may need to increase the global deadzone setting after this update to compensate for any unwanted drift that may occur.
As with any server update, make sure to back up your current universemulti.txt station data and text8.dat configuration files before installing a new server build. Then after running the installer, you can restore the files and/or values as desired after the installer puts the default files in place.
February 12th, 2016
Version 1.0178 is now available and includes the following improvements:
- Build system could allow placing module on edge of atmosphere near planet, fixed.
- Quadrant map regional territory and technology level indicators given better defined color divisions.
- Rendering performance for regional territory and technology level details on quadrant map significantly improved.
- New dual-button input system added to button mapping options to support using up to two buttons for individual control functions.
- Password entry option via text file (multipassword.txt) added to allow players to specify a password for connecting to servers via direct IP.
- Consolidate option added to main storage hangar menu to allow players to combine materials in their ship's cargo bays and hangar bays.
- By request, build module dependencies introduced to limit scope of larger scale station designs for improved PvP conditions.
- New control system implemented to add new control options, improve support for the X55 on Windows 10, and improve precision.
- Engaging afterburner with full range throttle active and set speed negative will now fire afterburner in reverse.
- Deploy modules other than sensor stations now properly require scuttling before re-deploying in same sector.
- Deployable hangar now allows for saving in/near high gravity environments that would otherwise not allow it.
- Global alert broadcasted to all players in multiplayer when a station/city is under attack.
- Proximity minimum for building modules increased vertically around command modules.
- Control profile script system updated to support new multi-button binding system.
- Ability to individually map POV/HAT inputs to button control functions added.
- Support for up to 40 button inputs per device added via new control system.
- Training vocal sequences now apply selected volume level in Options menu.
- Sensor blips on nav map render with higher performance.
- Command module armor level increased by 200%.
The new POV/HAT control mapping system will let you bind the angular signal returns to button controls. The original dedicated HAT mapping system is still in place and you can use both systems in conjunction with each other. But it will generally be best to use one or the other. The POV/HAT system uses individual precise signal returns for mapping functions while the new dual button input system will allow up to two buttons to be assigned to a control function. So to map the POV/HAT to a control, simply click on the control option you want to bind to, then push the POV/HAT in the direction you want to map it to, then release. Single button mapping works the same way. Then for the new dual button option, select the control option, then press and hold the first button, then press the second button. That control will then require both buttons to be pressed at the same time to activate the control function. This way, you can use a button as a kind of 'alt' key for mapping additional control options to devices with limited button options.
The new consolidate option in the storage hangar menu will allow players to combine the materials in their cargo bays and hangar bays (each on their own) for easier engineering lab setup. Previously, it could be difficult for a player who only had a military ship or a civilian ship with one cargo bay to manually consolidate their materials for the engineering lab, which requires sufficient material counts in individual bays to build items with. They would have to swap to a civilian frame with at least two cargo bays to manually consolidate materials into individual bays. With the new consolidate option, they can take care of combining materials in one click for both their ship's cargo bays and the local storage hangar bays.
For the new build module dependencies, the format is quite simple. The dependencies affect building only and only for certain modules above a certain number. For every 2 shield modules above 2, there must be an additional power module in range to support them in order for the additional shield modules to be built. For every 5 weapon turrets above 5, there must be an additional storage module in range. For every 2 power modules above 2, there must be an additional crew/living module in range.
Features of the new control system:
- Support for the X55 on Windows 10 regardless of whether the devices are sorted properly in Windows joy.cpl.
- Support for 10 fully independent axis channels per device (no longer limited to 7 primary and 3 secondary).
- Full device names listed at top of the axis and button configuration menus.
- Support for multiple POV/HAT inputs for devices that have them.
- Added support for POV/HAT inputs for button functions.
- Overall tighter and more accurate response.
What will likely change when updating to the new control system:
- Axis channels will be mapped to different ID's. This may vary by device type. So you will likely need to remap your axis controls in the axis configuration menu.
- New axis input options may now be available to you that weren't before.
What shouldn't change when updating to the new control system:
- Buttons should remain mapped the same way they were before under the old system. However, this may not be true for all devices across all operating systems. So just be aware that you may also need to remap button controls after updating.
If you do not want to use the new control system and would prefer to keep the original system, that option is still available as both systems have been left in place for players to select which one they prefer. To keep the old control system in place, simply place a text file named 'deviceinputold.txt' in the game's install folder. It can contain nothing or the word 'enable' in the first line. It will be best to migrate to the new system as it will be the default/standard going forward, but the original control system will remain for those who wish to continue using it.
The server programs have also had an update to allow the operator to hide location details for players from each other (the server operator will still be able to view location details for players). The default option is the current system that displays the sector location of each player. Option one disables the sector locations from being displayed in the player list. Option two disables the locations in the list as well as allied ship indicators on the nav map. The new line for the option is 840.
As with any server update, make sure to back up your current universemulti.txt station data and text8.dat configuration files before installing a new server build. Then after running the installer, you can restore the files and/or values as desired after the installer puts the default files in place.
A new update is available that makes significant changes to the new control system to support certain control device configurations (X52 Pro, Thrustmaster Warthog HOTAS, and certain other device combinations). All axis inputs should now be detectable by the game and an additional 10 axis channels have been added to the game's axis input capacity (for a total of 20 per device). I've changed the version number from 1.0178 to 1.0188 to help indicate the changes in the new build that distinguish it from the previous version.
February 5th, 2016
Version 1.0148 is now available and includes the following improvements:
- Shield array spheres given smoother/higher polygon surfaces.
- Alt key option added to radar range mode for increasing range level.
- Option to scroll 5 sectors at a time using nav map arrows added (right click).
- Building a space station command module now automatically provides a license to the builder.
- Accepting planet side contracts now requires player to be in ship to accommodate retrieval contracts.
- Mouse pointer state and ship wireframe in inventory console now reset correctly after returning from exit menu.
- Speed/drift tolerance increased for repair and fuel deploy modules to better support high gravity conditions.
- HUD and cockpit display elements now set to reload when exiting shipyard in anticipation of custom cockpit designs.
- Shipyard zoom mode for player ship updated to retain zoom factor when applying other components or switching frames.
- New cargo restoration option added to respawn menu in multiplayer to allow a player who is destroyed by another human player to restore cargo from their last save for a fee.
- Cargo no longer spawns from destroyed human piloted ships when caused by collision/environment events.
- Shield sound effects that were amplified at long distances to indicate battles removed by request.
- Center mouse pointer locking in mouse flight control modes when no target is selected fixed.
- Closing the trade console before linked player opens console now terminates potential link.
- Cleaner transition from intro to pilot manager on Windows 10 systems (flicker removed).
- Self-destructing in multiplayer now does not spawn cargo from destroyed player.
- Example quest template files (in slots 5 and 6) emptied in install folder.
- Under some circumstances, selling mined cargo would be blocked, fixed.
- Tractor beam sound effect looping after respawn fixed.
- Jettisoning cargo now auto-saves fully in multiplayer.
The new cargo restoration option is designed to reduce the possibility of improperly duplicating cargo under certain PvP conditions. After reviewing options with players who have been requesting such a system be implemented, the restoration from last save approach has been added to the game, as well as some other more minor changes. How it works is fairly simple. If a player is destroyed by another human player, they will generally be given a chance to restore the cargo they had last time they saved for a fee (which will usually be around 50% of the original value). If they pay the fee, the cargo will be restored when they respawn. If they don't pay the fee, the cargo will not respawn with them and will be removed from the profile. This will continue to allow pirate/ambush type activities for PvP battles while also preventing some possible exploits from occurring. This system doesn't affect players who die from environmental factors such as asteroid collisions, gas giant hull crushing, atmospheric burning, etc. It also doesn't apply when a player is destroyed from an AI ship. Under those conditions, the regular respawn conditions will apply and all cargo will be restored. The cargo restoration option only applies in human player vs human player battles.
February 1st, 2016
Version 1.0138 is now available and includes the following improvements:
- Option to zoom in on ship design hologram in shipyard added.
- Main menu logo now visible when player starts game from open space cryo mode.
- Target range list now displays ship ranges exclusively, even when non-ship object is targeted.
- Proximity requirement of flight lead in order for kills to count in multiplayer contracts removed.
- Items stored in hangars would sometimes not display when activating the 'View Hangar Details' option, fixed.
- Shield augment controls via dedicated HAT mode disabled for panning in certain third person views (to target and from target).
- Subsystem description, damage, and highlight indicator on target detail display now clear when target leaves range.
- Minimum station module build proximity near jump gates increased from 5000 to 8000.
- Base energy level rating changed to include addition of energy cores in shipyard.
- Assembly values in shipyard for frame descriptions corrected.
- Custom size factor options added to gauges.txt file options.
- Fuel cost levels for location variation tapered.
- 3D enabled server program updated to synchronize with maximum FPS value parameter (line 801).
- New default values applied for maximum FPS and vsync settings (120 for line 801 and 0 for 802).
Default server performance settings have been changed to better accommodate maximum player values above the default 8. Line 801 can also be increased to 150 or 180 as may be needed, depending on system performance and resource needs.
As with any server update, always make sure to back up your text8.dat config file, factionmap.txt territory control file, and universemulti.txt module file before installing an update. The installer will put the default files back in place, so after installation, you'll need to restore your original files to keep your current settings and game conditions. Once the files are restored, you can modify lines 801 (set to 120) and 802 (set to 0) in the text8.date file as desired to match with the defaults.
In response to the reported fuel price issue, fuel cost variation based on location has been reduced significantly. There can still be value in selling fuel, but it is now much more in line with other gameplay activities. I will likely continue to evaluate this option and related factors going forward for possible further changes. If you have feedback you would like to submit to me on this (or any related value factors), please send it to me via e-mail (starwraith.com > contact).
January 29th, 2016
Version 1.0128 is now available and includes the following improvements:
- Civilian frame agility stats aligned with center console indicators in shipyard.
- Build constructors allowing deploy modules to be built with no deploy constructor installed fixed.
- Descending into gas giants now provides a smoother transition effect with fading fog density, turbulence, and wind noise.
- Hull damage from high pressure crush zone near center of gas giants now gradual instead of instantly destroying ship.
- Fog illumination now decreases as player approaches the center of gas giants to convey increasing atmospheric density.
- HUD targeting indicator now displays object description when target display is in range list mode and a non-ship object is targeted.
- A new command module could prevent new contracts from being offered due to old faction links, fixed.
- Equipment list will now automatically sort and minimize if player stores equipment items in hangar.
- Saving a ship design template in the shipyard could cause background objects to disappear, fixed.
- Missing ships at patrol waypoints during high traffic multiplayer sessions should now be fixed.
- Attempting to destroy a station/city module under construction could result in an error, fixed.
- Inactive crew members are no longer allowed to leave while player flies a military spacecraft.
- MDTS lock on sound effect now responds correctly to selected effects volume level.
- Quests 3 and 4 updated to correct a few potential issues with certain stages.
- High pressure near gas giant crush zones now generates a red glow in fog.
- Item icon in slot 5 of hangar bay in engineering lab now shows correctly.
- Component highlight indicator in shipyard no longer persistently visible.
- Base prices for Federation frames aligned with local cost values.
- Overall chance of crew leaving reduced by about 50%.
- Idle/inertial fuel use reduced to 0.
January 27th, 2016
Version 1.0118 is now available and includes the following improvements:
- Performance increase for experimental Oculus Rift mode.
- Center key added to experimental Oculus Rift mode (F12).
- Module build system expanded to cover wider area from -80K to +80K.
- Sensor probe system updated to properly align with 75K placement region.
- Image quality and legibility increases for experimental Oculus Rift mode.
- Option added for Steam users to clear their current save files and update from the cloud.
- Fleet mining system updated to better support leaving mining ships unattended in same sector.
- Nav map position marker for player's ship now remains visible when centered on outside sectors.
- Nav map placement in 3D space adjusted to better calibrate with the experimental Oculus Rift mode.
- Accurate head positioning regardless of rotation angle implemented for experimental Oculus Rift mode.
- Meteor intercept distress call objectives now correctly fail if player abandons the intercept waypoint.
- Combat pilot role starting locations moved to Pearl (Arvoch WZ) for Alliance and Sierra (WZ) for Federation.
- Mining probe deployment in asteroid cave would occasionally leave containers in inaccessible location, fixed.
- Planet build verification could be off slightly and could deny build requests in valid locations, fixed.
- Command modules given powerful EMP type weapon to protect again short range attacks.
- Consolidating and transferring commodity in cargo bays no longer affects values.
- Mining probe being deployed even without a deploy constructor installed fixed.
- Fuel packs, charge packs, and shield packs reduced in price by about 90%.
- Energy cores now correctly displayed for ship being built in shipyard.
- Weapon impact camera shake effect reduced by about 50%.
- Base price added to frame descriptions in shipyard.
- Training drone practice made easier (see notes).
The instant death event that would occur when firing weapons in/near station command modules has been replaced with a new cyclical weapon system. If a player tries to attack a command module at very close range, the station is able to defend itself with this short range weapon system. This should help resolve the exploit potential of firing from vulnerable location near the top/bottom of the modules and give the player more of a chance to stop firing before they are destroyed if they accidentally fire particle cannons.
The experimental Oculus system now uses significantly higher resolution by default, providing improved image quality and text legibility. This change goes along with some significant performance improvements that help the system to run significantly faster, which should help offset the increase in resolution. It should be much easier now to maintain that 75 FPS target. A new line has been added to the VRSetup.txt file option (VRCenterKy=88) which lets you specify the scancode of a key you want to use for centering the HMD. 88 will be the default setting and represents the F12 key. A note to those using the VRSetup.txt file, a new default setting has been applied to the 'EyeDistanc' parameters. Previously, this value was set to 2.0, it should now be updated to 3.0 used as default for any further adjustments or testing.
The drone combat sequence in the training mode has been made easier. In addition to the reduction of camera shake by 50%, the drones also spawn much farther apart, giving the player time to select and briefly engage the first one before the others enter range if they so choose. Their spacing also provides several additional escape routes to avoid getting trapped in the middle (an important practice tactic the drone combat is designed to provide). Previously, the player needed to fly directly up or down to avoid getting caught in the middle of the inbound drones. Now the player can take some diagonal routes toward/between the more distant drones before they enter range. As long as the player avoids letting them cluster or surround them, it should now be easier to pick off the drones during this sequence. It's also important to keep the shield arrays charged to prevent direct hull impacts, which causes the shaking effect.
I've added the option to manually update save files from the cloud. The new option will appear in the main Options menu and will prompt you to accept or cancel if clicked to avoid accidentally activating it. Normally, the game will preserve any local save game files and will only restore from the cloud if some/all save files are missing. This is to protect local content from being overwritten by cloud files that may be older. With this new option, you can manually import cloud save files and allow them to replace the ones currently on your system. The game will still take precautions by backing up your current save files to a folder named \SaveFileBackup before attempting to import the cloud save files. This way, if you accidentally import old save files from the cloud and want your original files back, you can restore them from the back up folder.
January 22nd, 2016
Version 1.0108 is now available and includes the following improvements:
- Cargo scanners now properly display container contents on screen when in range.
- Improved field of view and perspective behavior added to experimental Oculus mode.
- Ability to pan head around and 75Hz refresh during intro added to experimental Oculus mode.
- Background object surfaces set to masked during launch sequence by default for experimental Oculus mode.
- Bypass added to mouse flight control modes to prevent message log button highlighting while in flight mode.
- Limb error that could occur if a client with a low terrain detail setting joined a server with a higher detail setting fixed.
- Missile tracking system updated to prevent occasionally locking onto incorrect threat level target after initial target is destroyed.
- Description of Pulsar and shipyard specs updated to reflect smaller military frames having 8 secondary weapon hardpoints.
- Alt key bypass added to consolidate and transfer cargo when docked at location where selling would be rejected.
- Problem with ships not showing up in multi-waypoint contracts in certain system locations should now be fixed.
- Custom control profile system updated to load from install folder rather than save data folder.
- Variable inertial forward/reverse control input now appears on thruster output display.
- Axis specific deadzone setting for inertial forward/reverse now applies correctly.
- 4X higher precision added to global and axis specific deadzone adjustment options.
- Vonari capital ships missile spawn points less likely to self-collide.
- Capital ships now properly fire missiles at nearby hostile NPC ships.
- Several issues with escort contract missions in war zones corrected.
- Fleet ships mining in open space under certain conditions fixed.
- Trade requests to AI ships set to be declined when mining.
- Capital ship armor level increased by about 40%
- Private text chat in multiplayer fixed.
- 3D enabled server program updated to use DirectX 9Ex by default for improved display interruption handling.
- Server programs updated to check current active folder first for universemulti.txt file.
- New checking/validation systems added to territory control value changes.
On the experimental Oculus side of things, this update should help make things look better without any stretching or distortion. However, it comes at a penalty of text legibility. With a wider FOV to line things up, the central scope of view has to be reduced, requiring the scene ahead to be rendered through fewer pixels. This of course reduces what detail can be rendered across the same number of pixels. I'm hopeful the CV1 will provide a significant increase in resolution and image quality to help counter these kinds of compromises. In the meantime, anyone wanting to test the Oculus system can change the FOV setting back to one of the other supported values to bring the scene closer in to the player's viewpoint. One significant remaining issue involves a left/right head turning and a Z axis shift. I'll be focusing my attention on that next.
Regarding the server programs. I'd received a report of a server operator running into problems with having to refresh the server display in the 3D server program after certain events. This was due to the fact it was based on DirectX 9.0c, which has to reload/refresh data in video memory when the display device is interrupted. This created some unwanted behavior and as such, I've updated the server program to use 9Ex instead. This allows it to use the WDDM and not require reloading/refreshing of video memory data when certain display events take place (control-alt-delete being one of them). The display behavior benefits are significant and should help provide improved stability for server operators using this version of the program. The drawback to this change is that it no longer supports Windows XP, which shouldn't be too much of a compromise. If anyone still needs to run the server program on Windows XP, the 2D version of the program should continue to run fine on that OS.
Another issue involving the server program was when it would be installed to a non-default folder. The server program looks for the universemulti.txt file in the default save data folder location and if one isn't there, no station/city modules would appear in the game. So changes to the server programs now include the current active folder path in the search for the universemulti.txt file. Make sure to back up your universemulti.txt and text8.dat files before installing any server update. That way, when the installer places default files in the install folder, you can restore them from the backups to keep your server settings and the latest station/city module data.
January 19th, 2016
Version 1.0098 is now available and includes the following improvements:
- Strafe axis control input caps removed and center ranges adjusted.
- Persistent full range throttle option added to axis configuration menu.
- Thruster output indicators updated for more accurate strafe control input.
- Auto-save option would frequently bypass city docking due to planetary rotation moving the player's ship, now saves consistently as long as all conditions are met.
- Objects left behind when entering the frame configuration menu and related menus properly hidden.
- Training highlight indicators would remain hidden if pilot view was not centered, now visible.
- Issue with panning/zooming nav map causing in-sector moon to vanish visually fixed.
- Issue with ship centering to heading 0 pitch 0 after using exit menu fixed.
- Error 8003 occurring on some Cyrillic based versions of Windows fixed.
January 18th, 2016
Evochron Legacy is now available! Thank you for your support and patience. I hope you enjoy the game and look forward to hearing of the adventures players have in the new game. It's been a long 5 years getting this project completed and an incredibly difficult challenge for me personally. Much of the history of the game's development and design goals are available on the development page.
The customizing kit is available is the downloads section and it is now online as a website you can read. Sample files are available as a download link from the website.
If you currently own Evochron Mercenary and purchased the game directly, you may qualify for a 40% discount on the new game. Check out the order page for details. If you purchased the game on Steam and currently have it in your library, you should also see a 40% discount offer available to you as well.
December 28th, 2015
The direct download version of the game will be available shortly in limited release to current owners of Evochron Mercenary. I've set aside some keys for the limited release for the first few players interested in getting the new game. An announcement will be posted on the forum with instructions, then be removed once the keys have sold out. The broader release should be available within the next few months, including Steam. Those interested in the direct download version of the game now can have the ordering details sent to them by sending an e-mail (starwraith.com > contact) with the reference ID for their license to Evochron Mercenary in the message body.
Update: The keys have been sold, stay tuned for full release details/announcement in the new few months.
December 18th, 2015
The final stages of development have mostly been finished. A new fully WDDM 9Ex minimum baseline rendering system is place and has tested well and provides the framework from which also accessing DirectX 11 can be achieved for possibly supporting the Oculus Rift (see the development page for more information). The update to newer DirectX capabilities was a major project that has taken many months to complete and is a big part of why the game has taken longer to develop. It required updating the development language the game is written in (DBPro) to access the newer graphics technologies. Several other additional systems the game depends on were also designed for older DX9 technology and required updating. Thanks to Joel Sjöqvist and Ron Erickson, two very skilled programmers, for their help with these projects. If things stay on track, a limited release of the direct download version of the game game may be available soon.
November 4th, 2015
The project transitioned from alpha to beta a few months ago and is progressing well through testing in recent weeks. Integration of Steam functions, including achievements and cloud saving, has been completed and tested. At this stage, I am beginning the process of finalizing the game's codebase, focusing on bug fixing, and working on any remaining balance/tuning issues. From there, one final technical hurdle needs to be solved before the game can be potentially ready for release. Not sure yet if/when this will happen. I've been working on the issue for a few months now with marginal success. but hopefully, it'll be possible to complete sometime over the next several weeks/months.
July 14th, 2015
The official website is now online and available for testing.
More content will be added as available and this section will be used for posting news.
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