Slow progress towards 0.4

Our last blog post was over a month ago, how time flies! As our regular followers will likely know, bitshift is a 2 man studio, me (Fabian) and my brother (Bronson). We have both been super busy recently and have had little time to work on Trains & Things lately. Some of this busyness comes from the Corona virus and looking after family. Some from work and some from other life things going down.

On the programming front, 0.4 is about ready. The company panel overhaul is complete! But what exactly does that mean you ask? It means we have reworked the whole of the company panel to be sweet. The major part of this is breaking it down into tabs and the finances tab involved breaking down the game internally storing revenues and expenses for each quarter instead of just showing you a block of revenues and expenses since the company had begun. This means you can tell each quarter very quickly if you are improving or not.

New company panel W.I.P

Also here we have removed the option to create a new company, as this defeats the purpose of playing PvP games to some degree. You can now rename your company and when you do an event is fired to notify all players a company has been rebranded. When players change companies an event is also triggered to let every one know.

One pesky bug we've fixed is the janky vehicle motion. I thought the problem might have been a broken PNG importer, as we have written a custom PNG importer so we can load 16-bit height maps. Turns out this wasn't the case at all. I spent a good day stuffing around debugging and trying to nail this bug. Turns out all I had to do was scale the terrain normal maps down to be a quarter the size of the height maps. This had the effect or reducing the detail in the normal maps effectively smoothing them out. As a side effect we should get a reduction in load times.

On the art front, our China map hasn't progressed much so there is still work to be done here.

The real kicker/blocker for us has been in regard to Godot. There is a bug halting us from upgrading to the latest version of the engine. And with all that has going on there, it looks like a somewhat low priority issue for the team. Our next release (0.4) is on hold until that is resolved.

That's all for now,
The bitshift team

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