I’ll keep this one short, promise! This is a week late but I really wanted to write a brief wrap-up for June. It was a busy month filled with nonstop play testing, bug fixes, and nerf wars. We launched Alpha 0.8.5 a few weeks ago but we didn’t stop there. We’re constantly on the grind at Nerd Kingdom, so what comes after an update for us?
After patch monitoring
While we extensively test our own patches in-house, after any release we make sure to monitor user activity to see if you all come across anything we didn’t. It’s fairly standard for game studios to keep an eye on bug reports and rage comments to make sure the patch went smoothly. This means we are ready to look into and do our best to fix any major reported bugs. We have been pretty good so far *knocks on wood*.
We revisit our existing plans after each patch cycle to see how (or if) we want to reprioritize any upcoming features or systems. After that, we break the work into sets of smaller goals that can generally be done in smaller internal milestones known as Sprints. No, this does not mean we are going to race around the office. Our public releases typically occur after 2-3 Sprints; this length can be longer or shorter depending on what we’re trying to get out (and what bugs we encounter).
What we are working right now
Here’s a nice little list for you. We will go over these in detail for our future blogs.
We are committed to making TUG a unique and fun game for you. Give us some time and we will keep you updated as we move forward.
In the meantime, check out the latest “In The Works” episode.
These past few weeks have been super busy for the team. We have been working on adding new features, tech improvements, and more content. The new stuff you saw in our “In the Works” videos are in place and we’re just working on the best part now, bug fixing!
So what have we been working on since the last update?
The most anticipated feature ever – functional doors!
You can now craft Crude and Wood Doors for your builds. Modding in your own doors is super simple. All you have to do is just add our “door.lua” script to your door object schematic.
Our revamped SkyDome now has generated clouds, a moon, and a sun that revolves around the player on a hemisphere. We just added a feature that allows the sky to transition between biomes. You’ll notice darker clouds and fog in swampy areas while the rolling hills is filled with blue skies.
Body Morph & Growing to a Teen Seed
Still an early prototype of the system but we wanted to get this out for you to play with. Food consumption will now impact your body weight. How about growing? That will depend on your crafting activity.
There are two new biomes added, Red Cliffs and Bedrock. Five previous biomes were improved but we’ll list the details in the patch notes once we’re ready.
Creative Mode Rework
Let’s not forget about creative mode! You have a new UI to play with and the option to switch to survival interaction.
New crafting stations and recipes
The artisan workbench and the loom were added without any bugs *fingers crossed*. This includes new recipes and resources to go along with them.
These are just the few things we are working on that will be released in the next update. We are working on larger systems too but not much can be said until we make more progress.
You’re probably wondering when the next patch is coming and we don’t blame you. We don’t have a set date because play testing and bug fixing can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks. We’re aiming early June if everything goes smoothly and @input_output_7 stops breaking code.
For those of you who gave us a heads up about our launcher issues, thank you! @JoshuaBrookover is on it and we’ll be making some changes to resolve the issues. We don’t have a time frame yet but he’s been working on it since it was reported.
Hey guys. This is Grim from NK here to tell you a little about how the voxel shapes in TUG are represented. This will get a little technical, so bear with me!
Many people try to think about voxels in terms of blocks. Blocks are easy to think about! Blocks can be either solid or air which are stored as 1’s or 0’s in data.
In TUG we have smooth voxel contouring that can represent a variety of shapes. Smooth shapes are hard to represent as blocks. Because there is no good way to tell if a block should be smoothed-over or not. We solve this issue by storing our voxel data as a signed distance field. A signed distance field is a grid of numbers that tells us the distance away from the nearest geometrical surface. A positive value means we are outside of the surface, and a negative value means we are inside the surface. Here’s an example in 2D for a circle:
Red values are negative (inside) and green values are positive (outside).
Each voxel is assigned a field value based on the distance to the center of the circle.
A signed distance field shape representation is convenient when it comes to adding and subtracting geometry from the world. To add another shape, we just have to take the smallest distance-field value from both shapes.
Notice how the field values outside the first circle have been replaced with the smaller field values of the second circle.
Removing geometry is also easy! All we have to do is negate the field values of the circle being removed so the inside (negative) field values become outside (positive) field values, and then take the largest field value. Adding and subtracting any shape is possible as long as a field function for the shape can be defined.
Now you might be wondering how a signed distance field is actually turned into triangles that can be rendered in-game. Remember that a surface sits where the field values change from positive to negative. We start by identifying the edges along voxels where there are sign changes.
After we have identified a surface edge, we have to find where the surface actually sits along the edge. Depending on the field values at the two edge end-points, we can place a point along the edge.
After these edges and points are identified, we use the surface-edge intersections to come up with a single vertex position for each voxel. We calculate a voxel vertex position by averaging together all of the intersection points.
There are more expensive techniques to place interior-voxel points more accurately (like Dual Contouring with QEFs), but we have opted for speed over accuracy.
Now that we have voxel points, we have to figure out how to connect them together into faces. This is done by connecting together points across edges that have sign changes.
You can see that the average points connected together do not perfectly represent the circle, but it is pretty close.
This process extends directly to 3D except that the squares are cubes, and that a cube edge has four voxel neighbors instead of two. Across these edges we connect all 4 voxel neighbor positions together to form two triangles.
I hope you have an idea about how geometry in TUG is represented underneath the hood. I hope you’ve enjoyed my overview!
If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message on twitter @NKGrim.
Don’t forget to check out the latest “In The Works” video on Creative mode rework.
Last week’s blog focused on our new skydome, which allows our artists to really push stylization with shape and color exploration. @NKDenthorn did a stellar job programming in the skydome feature because I, @TheCamboRambo, was able to pull off some slick color combinations for the environment and I am no artist. Really… check out my sweet “Seed” concept art if you think I am kidding.
Now that we have this feature, what’s next? More biomes of course! If you have been playing TUG since the old terrain generation tech, you’ll notice that there are a few biomes missing in our current build. The good news is that @input_output_7 and @x_nekochu_x is working hard to get them all back in. They were temporarily removed because it required some rework for the new terrain generation tech.
Warning! The updated biomes will break game your games saves once we have it in. We tried our best to avoid this but the biome generation code has changed significantly.
With this new update we have reworked our generation system. While a lot of these biomes will look familiar and others are being brought back from some of our older generations, the big change you will see is biomes of proper size! Gone are the tiny deserts or the smattering of trees from one biome in the middle of the other. You will see vast plains, large arid sands and polar regions tucked away in the mountains.
This update also gives us much better control over the restrictions of biome regions. What this means is that we are able to control which biome occurs next to another. So no more snowy mounds in the middle of a desert! Unless that’s your thing…
Finally one more little addition that will come out of this update is a one to one for material gathering. We’re opening up the floodgates and now when you dig a particular rock pattern, you can expect to get resources of that rock to place back into the world. There will still be cobblestone and other unique patterns but now you’ll be able to build with the cliff rocks and granite that has previously been unavailable in survival mode.
Now feast your eyes on some biomes!
Check out our latest ‘In The Works’ video of the new skydome tech and art revamp tease. The art update is still very early but we are moving towards that direction!
Cambo checking out
Ahoy! You know where you can cram it?!?!?! IN YOUR WORKING CHEST! Finally got around to getting storage containers working, along with equipables and a few other bits… not to mention my personal favorite, TRAPS! I think by now we all know, that any researcher has a little bit of troll in them, so things can start to get a little more fun. We are starting to get into some of the more “RPG”ish stuffs, so see plenty of other bits below.
Ghost and I got to spend a bit of time at PaxEast this past weekend, it was an absolute blast. We got to hang with the dudes from Forge, Mindcrack and ForgeCraft (so many forges!), and got lots of interesting insights about tools, maps and all things shameless minecraft clone. It was encouraging to also hear that the things that drove us with this project, are also things that are important to the dev community… so with that, expect some more mods along the way from a few modders you may recognize.
Speaking of modders! We are going to be starting a mod jam here in the next couple of months (TUG Jam?), so we can start showcasing some new tools, and offer up some gift cards/prizes to modders that could help them beef up their rigs in the process. Don’t have all the details, but working them out with Lex (Forge) and Pahimar (ForgeCraft) over the next couple of days and will announce that soonish, so be sure to troll me on the twitters for deets (cause I just deleted my Facebook, its true, the most epic unlike of all time).
As usual, if you run into any bugs, crashes, splosions, please leave it as a review for how terrible this game was and how much of a rip off it was… I mean… email support *cough* or post to the bugs forums. Your feedback helps us make better tech, which means better game, and even better mods, so be kind and leave feedback behind (T-Shirt!).
Follow updates to our Game & Tech here: @TheUntitledGame
Check out some concepts and random bits of stuff n things here: @Nerdkingdom
If you are tired of this DX11 limitation, spam this guy here: @CoreyClarkPhD
If you want 1980s style freeze frame jumping high fives, yo: @inoritewtf