Wednesday, October 27, 2010

City Updates and Blue Mars News

It's been a busy month, and lots to report this time.  Both Sandbox City and Tharsis Estates were updated yesterday.  I needed to do both at once because the Common data package (Blue Mars\Game\Levels\SAND\SAND_Common.pak) used by both cities was changed. I have been adding to my modular Home kits, and realized that hundreds of house parts in one folder would not be practical.  I moved the parts into separate folders by type (walls, doors, windows, etc), which will scale a lot better.  Since both cities have houses using those parts already, I had to update both to point to the new folders.

The home kit has grown to about 75 parts in this version.  The first version only had the parts for the red brick house pictured last month here. This one (let's call it version 1.5) has added alternate wood and stone exteriors. More options are coming as I get them done, such as the wallpaper pictured above.  Tenants in either city are welcome to use these parts, as well as anything else in the Common data, for their block or shop.

Coming Changes to Blue Mars

Approximately tomorrow (Thursday), a new website and version of the software will be released, if they don't find any errors.  Changes include:

* Better display of city info.  I submitted larger (1280x720) photos for both cities for this update.
* New movement and camera system.  Added to movement will be mouse steering, and the camera
  will be able to detach from being centered on the avatar.
* Ability to use "residences" and "apartments" and upload animations.

There will likely be other improvements, but we will have to wait to see the final release notes to know exactly what made it into this update.  After the new year, Blue Mars intends to go "public" in a major way when they add games from a major online game provider, and activate the cloud render servers.  Those servers move the graphics rendering from the PC to their servers, and sends finished video instead.  That will make it possible for most any PC or handheld device to use Blue Mars.  Right now you need a PC with a pretty good graphics card.  I am not sure if they will call beta over at that time, but they will be trying to get a lot more players than the small number of early users and developers we have now.

Other Changes in Sandbox City from version 5 to version 6 (25 Oct 2010):

* A pond was added to the leased block at x=1685 y=793

* The red brick house near the spawn point was moved closer to the water, and a start made at displaying the home  kit parts at x=2080 y=1651.  That area is intended to be a "showroom" or visual catalog of what's available.

Changes in Tharsis from version 17 to version 18 (25 Oct 2010):

* The cottage with wood siding at x=198 y=153 is being replaced with an updated version using home kit parts.  It is missing some roof parts which did not make it into this update.  I plan to update all the demo houses using home kit parts over the next month or so.  I am also continuing to make clothes, which has grown to about 100 items in my Tirion Designs shop. Once the demo houses are updated, I also plan to start working on new furniture. (Yes, I am keeping myself very busy).