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Tag Archives: Xenominer

XenoMiner Version 2.0 Rolling Out

#XENOMINER VERSION 2.0, adding the first mob and the first two weapons (of many to come) is now in the release process!

PC – Released! (we don’t have to wait for Review)
Xbox – Up for Peer Review this evening (expected but not promised to pass by the 16th)

Price reduced to $9.99 for the PC version!
Buy it over here!

New PC buyers will get Version 2.0. If you’ve already purchased the game, use the download link from your original email to redownload. Just install the new version without uninstalling the old, unless you get an error saying “already installed” (this happened some in testing).

Venator “hunter” style mob added, along with nests. Nesting will be improved as we take a second look at terrain, but for now functions as a spawn point that can be cleared by those wishing to “settle” an area.

The SRS Service Pistol and the Assault Rifle (plasma weapons) are now available to fabricate. Watch your batteries.

Old voxel textures have been repurposed back into the game: Structural Ferrocrete and Banded Wall are new additions to your craftable voxels for all the builders out there.

Transparency updates should improve the look of crystals and glass.

Peaceful mode is available for those who lack the will to fight.

Crash Foam can now be fabricated.

Light Basalt and Dark Basalt were moved to a gray color instead of brown, to bring back a more stone-like palette and better lighting. Ores and Silicon remain in the old “brown style” basalt, this helps them stand out more.

Other Fixes/Updates:

Massive overhaul of Networking and Packet handling. We hope to have taken a big dent out of network lag, especially for the Host. We’ll be monitoring this carefully.

Saving – we’ve attempted to fix much of the weirdness that occurs from saves not truly writing to disk (swapped containers with other people, missing items). This one is tricky and we’ll be watching it too, expect more updates along this line. Autosaves may cause some hitching for the host 🙁 but are less frequent (10 minutes instead of 3). Again we’re still exploring options here to make this as smooth as we can.

Possible fix for corrupted worlds. If you had an old world that wouldn’t convert in the past, please try it again (make backups as usual!)

Thanks all for your patience and support. This is just the first addition of mobs, expect more threats and other interesting creatures soon. Networking, Lag and Save issues are top on our priorities, and we continue to work to minimize them. Next update should be much sooner, this was the last big hurdle to cross!

Join the conversation about this update on our forum or on the XenoMiner Facebook page!

Thank you all again for helping us build this game and community!

VoxMill – Thoughts on the Engine behind Xenominer

Our VoxMill engine has been modified quite a lot from the prototype used for the ZPoc project. Our team decided to step in the ring again for Dream Build Play, and we needed an engine that would work well on the XBox for what we had in mind. Since the XBox has 3 cores, and 2 threads per core, that meant a threaded engine.

In the beginning we tried to find something off the shelf to use. Some of the open source projects were quite promising, but when pushed hard just couldn’t make the cut. When programmers hear “threaded” they generally lift their eye brow as if to say — “Are you sure you want to go there?” You see, there really are dragons there, the multi-headed Tiamat sort of beasts. Not to say there aren’t a lot of capable programmers that can handle it, but many modern engines and software solutions keep “we” the coders at arms length for a reason. It’s terribly easy to make a mess, and many times harder to clean it up. It’s generally just not worth the time or pain….yet we did it anyway…and still have a long way to go.

The nature of Dream Build Play is that you end up with a hard crunch at the end. This was no exception. Coordinating a team that can only work nights is very difficult. Inevitably, a host of features are piled on top of the engine at the last moment. So this time, we invested up front so it would be ready for the final push.

At the prototype level of the game, we were routinely hitting 100+ fps on the XBox. Even now, after the final content and additional features, we’re still hovering around 60.

So, we have the typical blocks (voxels) any builder would have, sunlight propagation and multi-colored light propagation. But there are still a lot of features to add. Normal mapped voxels, liquids, radiation fields, “decals” and semi-complex constructs. All of that, just to get caught up with where we feel we should be. After that, we hope to start adding complex/dynamic systems that interact with the world in an accessible manner. Sounds vague — it still is to me too 🙂

Xenominer has a large story to tell. Only a fraction of the features we have on the board made it through to Dream Build Play. The VoxMill engine will continue to grow through the process, and will likely live on for more titles after this. Many of those will look nothing like Xenominer. It seems to me that the simple voxel has a long future, and when combined with its siblings in the millions, will form some very beautiful constructs!