First of all, thanks to everyone who responded and to the guy who posted about this on Reddit.
Sorry for sounding like an attention whore - when i wrote that progress report i honestly thought i was talking to a proverbial empty room, so i wasn't paying much attention to how it would sound.
Honestly, lack of Spaceway's popularity does hurt, but mostly i am making it for my own fun.
As much kind words as i heard in the last days is enough, just so i can stop wondering about there being flat out none of them.
Which brings us to the real issues at hand, that more constructive posters noted.
I'm having fun with it, in the same way someone with a home-built factory can have fun with it, while an outsider will be ground by gears and dumped into a vat of acid within first minutes of trying.
Spaceway lacks purpose, goals, meaningful gameplay. It is as of now a wide open sandbox with an excessively complicated and undocumented toolset.
And i am by now clueless as to what to make of it.
Just making an infinite universe that you can fly around could have been a nice game on it's own, but Space Engine got there first, and i can't beat his graphics.
Making a "build your ship and fly it" type of a game is too hard to do without ripping off Kerbal Space Program.
Anything else i tried does not stick and does not fit, does not get any traction.
The wider the world is, the harder it is to stick a player into it.
That's the gist of it - i would like to make a game out of it, but i don't know how.
So, let's put this influx of views to some use: What sort of game do you think Spaceway can be made into?
To recap the main features:
-Infinite universe, no borders to it.
-No discontinuities. All the distance between one planet, star, galaxy, etc and the other is actual space - no cuts, jumps or loading screens.
-Every planet, star or galaxy in it is a place you can get to - no backdrops or skydomes.
-Every planet or moon is real-world sized, with the requisite details.
-Real Newtonian physics underlying it (this part could be made optional, since real space flight just confuses people).
-Everything is algorithmically generated. No images, model files, etc. If it can't be described procedurally, then it's out (add-ons/mods are an exception).
I'm looking for ideas that can capitalize on the features, so something that uses a dozen solar systems here, and ignores the rest of the universe is likely a kind of idea that won't stick and get traction.
Some miscellaneous notes and responses to Reddit posts:
-CAPTCHA for comments ask for arithmetic addition of 1. So, if it says 4321 then you type 4322. I heard some people didn't catch that.
-I will try to get the Linux version working again.
-I have repeatedly failed miserably in making networking programs in the past, so there is basically no chance of any sort of multiplayer or MMO in Spaceway. "Online" is not my area of expertise.
-Open source is not an option. I found i can't have my peace of mind with that code being open, so i reverted back to closed source in 2011.
-I am not looking at monetizing this in foreseeable future.
26.06.2014 - Progress report, summer 2014
There is little progress to report, over the past 5 months.
Zero progress, to be exact - last commit in the GIT is still dated January 22nd.
Basically, i am clueless as to what else to be doing with Spaceway.
The 2014 version was downloaded a bit over 500 times.
Most of which are by bots and accidents, since over that time there were about 5 posters on the forum, 3 comments on the videos, and 0 comments on the site.
Even assuming 1 to 10 comment to silent ratio, that comes to about 50-100 players, total.
I am directly aware of maybe 10 of them, over the whole span of the project's existence.
For a game 9 years in the making, this is pathetic.
Why is it going so badly?
I don't have a clue.
Next progress report will be in late 2014, i do not anticipate much progress.
And here comes the update worthy of several months of development.
Refubrished the interface, added some backstory, fixed a ton of bugs.
Clearly defined arcade mode along the realistic simulator one (q or v to switch), more straightforward controls, usable autopilot.
-Starting scenarios for arcade and realistic modes
-MFDs are now mouse-controlled
-Planets can now be named
-Procedural mesh for Rapier
-Caching of generated vessel meshs
-Cache versioning - new version will clean up old cached files
-Made warp motion FPS-independent
-Warp drive does not need peculiar key combinations any more
-Added a refuel button to control menu
-Added presets to autopilot
-Made help screen more readable
-Fixed saving on window close and other exits
-Fixed terrain graphic presets
-Fixed crash on same system gate travel
-Fixed freakish textures bug
-Fixed autopilot throttle bug
-Fixed persistence of gate address
-Fixed gate names in systems with more than 26 planets/moons
-Fixed textures breaking after changing graphic settings
-Fixed cockpit jitter at high interstellar speeds
-Fixed lights going out after interstellar trip
Update: If going interstellar drops FPS to 2, re-download the file - there was a bug, i've re-uploaded it (yes, i suck at testing releases :( ).
A bug-fix follow-up for the release of two days ago.
-Reduced RAM usage from 1.5Gb to 400Mb on a typical run
-Fixed rover mesh
-Fixed a crash with MFDs when going through a gate
-Fixed SC3 crashes
-Fixed lights always on issue
-Fixed state saving of thrusters, lights, etc
-Fixed variety of bugs and crashes
12.01.2014 - Version 140112 and early 2014 progress report
Spaceway 140112 Windows 32bit (1.4 Mb)
Linux version to be compiled in case of requests. 13.01.2014: If SC3 vessel loading cause crashed, re-download the file - there was a bug, i've re-uploaded it.
-Added Orbiter's spacecraft3.dll vessels support
-TransX (Great transfer MFD by by Steve Arch and Duncan Sharpe) ported (might appear upside-down on some systems)
-Various fixes, directories in scenarios, bug removal, etc
Spacecraft3.dll, or just SC3, is a format and plugin for Orbiter that allows complex vessels to be defined with ini files.
It served Orbiter well, and haven't been updated in a while so me and Face done an open-source remake of it, genericvessel.
The way i made genericvessel, it fit into Spaceway framework like a well-oiled part, so now all these vessels (a good third of Orbiter add-ons) can be used in Spaceway.
General opinion is that it's fair use (Poll at O-F)
To use SC3 vessel (you can get them at orbithangar.com, Orbiter add-ons repository site) in Spaceway, just unpack it into the
things directory (as if things was the Orbiter directory).
(There is no need for spacecraft3.dll file itself, the support module is compiled in)
To create an SC3 vessel, use create vessel menu in the game.
One big issue is that keys don't map yet (gears, animations, etc), so you'll have to use vessel control menu for them.
Not all SC3 features are supported, limited by both genericvessel incompleteness and Spaceway's incompatibility.
Not much have been happening, besides the SC3 detour and terrain engine optimizations.
Reason being, i'm mostly stuck and out of ideas.
Most ideas and feedback i get about how to make a game out of it revolves around Yet Another Orbiter, Yet Another Space RPG, Yet Another Homeworld, Yet Another Space Shooter, Yet Another Minecraft IN SPACE!, etc.
None of these i am able or willing to pull off, to any sort of honest quality, and many don't fit the existing highly procedural engine.
Not even the visuals and ability to browse and fly around a generated universe is worth much now, thanks to Space Engine (which is, honestly, quite awesome).
This lack of direction to go makes even polishing the sim as it is lacking much sense.
So, let's do it like that.
If you like Spaceway, and want something specific added to it, or fixed in it - write about that on the forum or in the comments, and i'll be doing it (if possible), and posting a new release.
This way you won't have to wait for changes to accumulate to a point where i'll feel a big release worth making.
And if i'll find a good idea, then the development in general will proceed on it's own.
Should nothing happen in-between, next progress report will be by summer 2014.
-Significant updates to terrain engine. Performance might increase up to tenfold, especially on older systems
-Removed a few failed features, like the sharp clouds
-Sharp sky transition and planet/star appearance through the air fixed
-Various bug and crash fixes
Now there are two intuitive parametres to configure terrain performance:
Uniformness controls how sharp a decline of quality would be, moving away from the camera. When it's low, things would be sharp up front, but blurry in the distance.
With it high, everything would tend to be equally sharp.
Quality controls how much polygons are allocated to the terrain. If it's high and uniformness is high, then you get uniformly sharp terrain and minimal FPS.
If it's low, then there is only so much details the terrain can have - if uniformness is high, then the terrain can be uniformly blurry (but FPS would stay high).
Just a little something to keep this place alive and let more people enjoy the game with higher performance and stability.
Now, to find some spambot poison for the forum...
30.07.2013 - Progress report, 2013 Occasionally you take a short break from a project, then turn around and notice that a year have passed.
So, what's been happening?
When i have a bad mood i occasionally say that this project is dead and is a turned leaf.
That is hardly true - i put a piece of my soul in Spaceway, to abandon it for good would require a total change of interests and career path for me.
Thus, apologies for being a drama queen every now and then.
An impending new version is not completely impossible, but no promises for a time frame.
Spaceway is primarily a "programmer's toy", so there are changes going on on the inside pretty much all the time.
There is nothing to show for them externally, but the code structure is getting cleaner, and the stability improves.
By now i'm well behind the curve on the "nice graphics" and "procedural generation" sides (Spaceway started circa 2005), but i still haven't lost hope on the "fun game" side.
The update is likely to happen once i get some structure into the "game" side.
I can kind of see how people might have troubles with playing Spaceway.
Spaceway's controls, interface, tools - many parts are influenced by Orbiter, a hardcore space flight simulator which is in turn influenced by actual aviation and spacecraft controls and interfaces.
And these in turn need months of astronaut training and a PhD in math and physics to work with.
This is the first attack vector - making an interface, tools and controls that are comprehensible by average folks.
The second vector of attack is the game itself - flying around an infinite universe with ancient graphics is fun for maybe a few hours, but what then?
Sure, you can use your imagination to create some fun, meaning and a backstory, but why would someone with so much imagination need the game in the first place? :)
Here i am at loss for ideas, and that lack is the main reason the project is largely standing still.
What can you populate an infinity with?
Building, mining, space program simulations, ant fortress simulations, empire building, constructions and custom content of all sorts - all dissolves like a drop in a sea when the game universe is infinitely big.
Even a single planet in Spaceway can be as big, or bigger than the real Earth, and is already a challenge to fill.
Multiply by a few dozen orders of magnitude, and you're lost.
If anyone have any ideas, comments should be working. If comments don't work, there is firstname.lastname@example.org .
If there are no comments, or no good ideas in them, then an update will happen once i think of something good.
If i don't think of anything good, next progress report will be by early 2014.
13.02.2012 - Walking around This feature was brewing for a while.
For a while it was placeholdered with an uber-ugly MMU vessel.
The feature is walking aroud, independent of a vessel, and interacting with the environment.
And now i finally mastered 3D CSG, giving this feature a space to walk around.
For example, a rover now has a proper (although ugly as usual) inner side:
Need i mention that a familiar Mouse-and-WASD interface is used for the walikng part?
02.02.2012 - Be awesome, fly Spaceway! It's been some time since the last release.
Spaceway is still brewing, and it's taste is getting better.
First, there are two changes to the site:
-The screenshots in news are now hidden under a closable label, for convenience.
-After some research i've finally added "AddThis" bookmarking buttons for social networks.
I still have no clue how this is supposed to work, so if it works in an improper fashion, please let me know it.
Second, the game itself.
For things like improved stability and performance, fixed bugs and better interface you'll have to take my word unless files are provided, so i'll show something more obvious.
Like bump mapping of the terrain.
The ground is now literally drawn from whole globe down to the rocks and dust:
As cool as it all looks, there is still work to do.
As i found out repeatedly, better to overbrew the release than underbrew it.
After all, i'm making the best space game ever, not some railroaded demo to brag with :)
26.01.2012 - Forums and comments There were several e-mails coming at me following the post i made on 30.11.2011.
In a feat of ironic coincedence, all of them ended up in a spam folder.
And i only check that once a couple months. :(
Sorry for silence, people.
So, several changes were implemented.
First, the forum registration was slightly simplified - there is no longer a need for an e-mail confirmation.
There were reports of registrations failing, and that is the only part of it that i could find that may fail (and 4 inactive accounts seem to confirm that).
If you failed before to register on the forum or to get your account activated, trying again now may help. All inactive accounts already present were activated.
Second, writing comments to the posts here and in the screenshots section is possible again.
The comments section is the same for all posts.
Lastly, it's been suggested to make pages for Spaceway in various social networks like Google+ or Facebook.
Which is unlikely to happen at the moment, but i won't rule that out eventually.
21.01.2012 - Setting preferences Spaceway engine is very scalable.
It can be run on mobile phones and semi-PDAs without graphics.
It can be run on netbooks and old PCs with simple graphics.
It can be run on various PCs with various degrees of detalization.
It can be run on gaming rigs with full set of effects.
Spaceway engine is modular and configurable.
You can have it compute an entire universe, or just a single solar system.
It can have props, stargates, autopilots, first person walks, or you can make it not have them.
It can run scripts and make sounds, or play dumb and stay mute.
Only all that was not apparent, and was hidden among hundreds of parameters in cfg files and code ifdefs.
But not for long.
Various internal settings were bundled together and placed into a GUI.
Performance-related ones were put together into clearly named presets.
Subsystems were grouped into simple switches.
Now you won't need to know the engine inside out to make it work on a non top-grade rig, but just select the appropriate preset as games allowed players to do since dawn of PC gaming.
30.11.2011 - The progress and the mystery Something mysterious is going on.
There are on average 30 downloads of Spaceway a week - 5 each day.
So, it's not a friends-and-family only project, somebody do fetch it every now and then.
And yet, there is only slightly more than no feedback what-so-ever.
This is hardly a well documented game, yet basically no questions were asked about how to play, and barely any bugs were ever reported.
Like if all these 300+ people who downloaded the 110923 version have either understood everything in Spaceway, or didn't bother to play it for more than a few moments.
Or maybe the downloads are from some leech bots?
It's just as likely that the facilities on this site are set up in some wrong or overly-complicated way.
Or i just expect too much. Summarily, if you wanted to give some feedback but failed to do so due to some site issues, drudgery encountered, meanings missed, expectations blown, etc,
i would welcome the descriptions of such issues on my e-mail - email@example.com
Meanwhile, Spaceway does not stand still. There were some updates, both cosmetic and functional.
For example, better sky rendering and sequencing:
-Multiple bugfixes all over the board
-Surface props support - trees and rocks
-Definable surface bases and buildings
-Planetary-wide temperature readings and some weather
-Ice ball type of planet is optimized and ported to GPU
-Ambient lighting on planets with air
-Pre-defined control sets selection - Orbiter or arcade
-Default control set is now WASDQE-keys based
-Mouse controls in MFDs
-MFD control buttons
-Large expansion of add-on interfaces
-Added MFD add-ons support
-Surface MFD and Relative MFD are now add-ons
-Added recompilation of add-ons at runtime (for developers comfort)
-Controls and information improvements
-Added "local bubble", with markings for stars and custom star names
-Basic biomes map
-Action key now controls exit
New nice stuff:
-Numlock independence of numpad controls
-Unwrapped the double negative in exit menu, by popular request
-Dynamically updated help, depending on control set selected
-Added thumbnail screenshots to loading menu
-Added screenshot of current to the main menu
-Added pre-main-window splash to show that it's loading
-Added debug console, to see add-on errors logged messages from in-game
-No more q-saves folder, quicksaves saved to loadable place
-Hide stargate label if further than 10 planet radii away
-Joystick info message
-Added disembark menu (Shift+E)
-Added first run options menus
-Fixed sporadic crashes while browsing the world log
-Fixed the ancient bug with planets and clouds jerking in rotation
-Fixed ancient bug with rotations drifting and shifting in cockpit view
-Fixed the ancient bug with landing drift and relative velocity errors at fast-spinning planets and at high altitudes
-Fixed "Error in smobs_render"
-Fixed ancient bugs with vessel creation
-Fixed gateships loosing their gates on vessel addition
-Fixed crashes on vessel addition
-Fixed slowboat mesh-related crashes
-Fixed stargate passage orientation
-Fixed GPU inridgetf, thus matching terran CPU and GPU
-Fixed the projection of labels, they are now aligned with objects perfectly
-Fixed windows ordering
-Fixed input boxes
-Fixed warp near a star bug
-Fixed at distance with limit bug
-Fixed text-on-black at loading
-Some loading speed-ups
-Flyer can't warp
-Partial fix for intergalactic gateship dialing
-Language selection fix in vessel editor
04.03.2011 - Alpha from 110304 was updated Alpha from 110304 was updated.
Fixing problems with landed vessels and joystick.
If you had joystick-related issues (spinning vessels with no input), then you can now disable joystick in options menu (launchpad or in-game).
Fixed several long-standing bugs, like the terrain stuck bug and rings illumination.
Added some nice features like more MFDs, aerodynamics and planes, buttons to select MFDs and some common things, etc.
Some more variety on Terran planets. After all, green oceans are boring. Now they can be a variety of colors.
Also, source pack was released along with the binaries.
Where is Linux version?
It lacks one crucial feature - separate GPU context for texture generation, that i wasn't able to implement.
That means very dull and slow planets, so i considered it unfair to make a Linux build yet.
-Added joystick input
-Added aerodynamic modelling
-Added Flyer vessel, a simple aeroplane
-Added air breathing engines support
-Added MFD select buttons
-Added surface info tool
-Added Galaxy tool
-Added Stars tool
-Added Solar system tool
-Added Map tool
-Added Relative tool
-Added some more variety to terran planets
-Added world log key to the screen
-Added vessel select button to screen
-Warp mode off on stargate pass
-Fixed vessels stuck in terrain against hover
-Fixed multiple insides falling away on exit
-Fixed rings illumination
-Fixed targeting a full address
-Fixed stars map in intergalactic
-Fixed Orbit tool sizing
-Fixed MFD target select in interstellar