Hello, it has been a pretty hot week here in Prague, and we have finally wheeled-out and hooked-up our little air-conditioning unit, which has been making a valiant effort to keep the office cool.
We have had a Linux developer join us this past week as a trial, and he has been tasked with several train related UX features. For instance a small indicator over a pump when it cannot connect to a fluid wagon for some reason, and automatic snapping to position when placing locomotives at train stops.
While not the most glamorous or highest priority tasks, these are the sort of polishing and general improvements we are looking at for 0.16, and has involved quite some exploration of our code-base. We are happy to say that Tom's work has been really excellent, and he will be joining us full-time later this summer.
Albert, Jitka and I (Klonan) have spent the first half of this week organizing and planning more and more party related topics. This is the first large event we are setting up, so there is quite some learning we have had to do, but it is no doubt good experience for a potential 'FactorioCon' or 1.0 release party in the future. We now have a set of party related graphical assets, as well as designs for party merchandise.
We have sent out a specially designed party invitation to the local developers and games media here in the Czech Republic, and all the fan tickets are now sold out, so our outlook is optimistic that the celebration will be quite successful. Jitka has been handling most of the communication with the venue, figuring out the more mundane details such as what food and music will be there.
We released 0.15.17 this week, which included a new set of high-resolution sprites for the inserters. It was a natural choice to choose Inserters as the next entity to upgrade, mainly because they are everywhere, we knew it will take some time, and the solution might not be the final one, so we wanted to know what are we dealing with as soon as possible.
The base platforms were quite straight forward, just like any of the other entities we brought to high resolution. However the hands and arms are special. Since they stretch all the time, we thought it fitting to make them in an even greater resolution - 4 times the normal resolution on each axis. This lead to some difference in the painting, as the normal level of detail we are used to is suddenly scaled in various ways. So I (V453000) set up some automated system for rendering and putting them in the game as always, and just iterated on the painting, sometimes changing just a few pixels here and there.
For now we are happy with the result and we will be prioritizing other tasks before revisiting the inserters. In general the biggest issue is that inserters can reach and grab in all crazy directions, so the hands must look kind of flat otherwise they would look wrong in about half of the orientations. The other family of entities we are currently working on are the wire-connected things - electric poles and combinators, which you can look forward to seeing very soon.
We are also working on a total terrain rework including high resolution. With making the red desert last year we realized what we need to do with the other terrains as well. New decoratives, rocks, and many other things, all of which make the terrain look nicer, in additional to new water, and transitions from water to any other terrain. We are also working on new algorithms and processes for map generation, so it will also be more than just a cosmetic improvement.
This is a very large and complex topic, so the plan is to release it in 0.16 as a smaller release, soon after 0.15 is stable. We just wanted to make this clear as there has been some confusion about the terrain among players, mostly because we haven't mentioned it much. Hopefully we will have a larger update on the topic to show soon, to build on the small preview that was shown in FFF 187.
So let us know if you have any thoughts and opinions you'd like to share over on our forum.