"The SCIENCE! Update" is now available to mess with
APS has been rather low on my priorities list recently (as evidenced by minimal updates since release, beyond the new soundtrack files), but there's some new stuff I'd worked on a bit after release that I wanted to just go ahead and get out there - namely, a new map (technically, 3, but one of them's purely a debugging map, and one of them's massively unfinished due to it itself being massive), and some new features to play with. It's all very WIP stuff, and there're a number of occasionally hilarious and/or catastrophic bugs to be found, but it's decent enough I reckon it's worth sharing. No guarantees on when it'll be complete, but PROBABLY some time before Sol enters its Red Giant phase..
- New map: Ivnokkudagb! Based off my original No Man's Sky homeworld that was lost with the first universe wipe with the Foundation Update release, Ivnokkudagb is a large, landlocked terrestrial planet, with an unrealistically-nearby ice moon of unusual scale & atmospheric existence. It has many more stations to visit, some semi-epic vistas, and much better opportunities for getting into orbit, plus a brand new set of musical stems, giving it a different musical mood than (38628) Huya. Its scale is actually comparable to the real-life (38628) Huya that the microplanety version featured in APS is based off of!
- New feature: Optional flight UI! It's still rather unfinished & buggy, but with planet rotation & such off, its Global velocity mode & distance tools are more than enough to get yourself into orbit, if you know what velocity to aim for. Roughly the ~100m/s range for (38628) Huya a few km above the surface, somewhere in the ~1,000-2,000 m/s range for low extra-atmospheric orbit around Ivnokkudagb, and somewhere in the ~7km/s range for low Earth orbit. Dunno what to give for the testing map; haven't actually orbited the test planet yet.
- New feature: Planet rotation & orbiting moons! These are VERY work-in-progress, with some pretty nasty physics glitches due to the floating point limitations Unity has, but good enough to get some pretty excellent views, especially in smaller maps, like (38628)'s, or the debug map. Watching a planet rotate underneath/above you in time-warp is so satisfying, and watching a moon orbit from the surface of said planet is magical.
- WIP new map: Earth! Yes, a to-scale Earth. It's incredibly low-rez, the physics breaks down pretty badly, and even at maximum timewarp and a velocity of several km/s, getting to Luna will take you half an hour. Great for beautiful orbits, though, if you give yourself cheaty amounts of fuel & cheatily strong suit thrusters. Currently bugged & unfinished in the material department - accurately texturing our 12,000km-wide homeworld's gonna take a while to get right.
- New-ish map-ish thing: Debug Map! A tiny little debug system for testing the rotation physics in. It's not so much for playing as it is for making sure the game doesn't explode, or fling you into intrastellar space for moving the wrong way. Cute little planetary system, though!
Please keep in mind, a lot of this stuff is incredibly WIP. Ivnokkudagb, and its moon Ulebskapapen, both need flora, maybe even some sort of fauna, but decorating several hundred square kilometers of planet with trees is no walk in the park. The Earth is in even worse state; the materials are currently incorrectly mapped, and a number of areas straight-up don't have any material mappings at all, to speak nothing of trying to decorate it faithfully, and to speak nothing of the low-resolution model simply smoothing some features out of existence - though, it does have the the excuse of pretty much just being an engine-test I wanted to do for fun, rather than being a playable level meant to be completed.
I don't know when a proper "complete" version of The SCIENCE! Update will be done - there're a number of critical bugs I still need to address (like the rotation physics issues, or inaccurate surface & relative velocity readings when rotation is on), and other stuff going on that takes priority over APS, but it'll get there eventually. In the meantime - have some fun! There's enough working that there're plenty of opportunities for some most excellent screenshots, gifs, and stories to tell!
On that note - that just about wraps this post up! Thanks for reading, and I'll have more words on APS' future sometime down the line.
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