Welcome to Unknown Horizons

Aug 28, 2011

Summer of Code results are here!

Category:Summer of Code Main Development 
Posted by: Christopher Oelmueller


Since our last posting is rather old already, we'll update with the big news today: during last week, both Summer of Code students working with UH finally merged their results into master. This means that you will see a combat system and AI players our next release!

Let's again summarize what gscai and mihaibivol created over the last few months (a plus as huge as 55% of the lines of code we had in April, according to ohloh, now at about 60k)! Within the next weeks, all our students will probably write a blog post on their own about how their summer went, we will link these postings here after they are published.

First of all, there's our artificial intelligence system (click here for the original proposal which we selected). gscai literally started with nothing but his mentor nihathrael and the code that drove our free trader around the map and created a tough player that is able to look for a nice island to settle on, divide that islands into parts with different purposes, deal with inhabitant needs and taxing, produce goods, optimize collector coverage, watch production chains and consumption stats, react accordingly, buy and sell resources as needed, deal with other players, expand through feeder islands where more resources are cultivated and then shipped to the main island by trade routes, conform to several hundreds of personality constraints where you can tell the AI how to behave in an intuitive file format, well, I will only stop now because this sentence needs a period at some point, but really: the only thing that it does not know about right now is combat -- because this had been worked on during the same time in a different branch :)
As a player, the important news is that you can select a number of AI players when starting a singleplayer game. Oh, and you will need to be quick, else they will take all cool islands and only leave you a very small patch of ground to settle on. All this is achieved without any cheating by the way, our AI gets the same starting resources as any human player, has the same building pool and uses the same balancing values!

On to our second huge and brand new feature: War! Cannons! Destruction! Aww, sorry, still like it? mihaibivol, mentored by totycro, implemented his combat system proposal which, amongst others, included the classes FightingShip and FightingGroundUnit; unit stances such as aggressive, hold ground or flee; combat based on individual weapons which are equipped to units; cannon tower as defense building; design of tabs for single units and unit groups; a diplomacy system that currently knows Friend, Neutral, Foe and behaves accordingly if you deliberately attack units of players not your enemy before; and finally a lot of calculations under the hood when it comes to damage dealing.
As a player, you will also see new graphical content such as the cannon tower, our awesome new ship model, the attacking tool cursor, new tabs, icons for stances and so forth. We currently work on a dynamic boat builder that actually allows you to build ships with cannons and will definitely include this in our next release!

As you might remember, kozmo was selected to improve our engine FIFE with both vtchill and prock as his mentors and the results of his reconditioning are just great! Only a few of the many improvements available for FIFE 0.3.3 are: support for atlas files, animation spritesheets, batching and the experimental OpenGLe renderer (check his application proposal here).
Just to give some numbers, FPS on average improved by 200 % and the atlas files also reduced the disk space consumed by our assets from around 30 MiB to 10 MiB. Additionally, kozmo kept a branch in our repository up-to-date with these FIFE API changes and has as well merged all new UH stuff in already. This helps us hunting bugs while keeping our master stable for you.

After the new FIFE release in roughly four weeks, we will do our best to quickly follow up with packaging all those new features into Unknown Horizons 2011.3. Stay tuned :-)

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