A long standing issue with Captain Forever is that the ships themselves – especially player ships – look like what an old workmate would call “blobs of multicoloured puke”. So that’s not great. In The Dawn Star I’m toning the module colours down, indicating module level on small decals* rather than across the whole sprite. Of course that makes the module level much harder to discern, so what’s a pilot to do?

Why, they just click on a module of course! Then this happens:


Neat! In this mode module shapes and levels are clearly visible, and building is super easy. Once you’re finished building you simply hit the thrusters (or any other key) and…

…the renderer fades back to gorgeous lighting + background + details + etc mode.

Other things you might notice here:

  • There’s a new font! In fact there’s a whole new font rendering system based on Signed Distance Fields which – unlike the composited flash text fields – does not cause my CPU to melt down five times a day. Hooray!
  • There are new mouse cursors! In fact, there’s a whole new line rendering system, again to avoid CPU-hungry compositing issues.
  • The UI has moved in a little toward the middle of the screen. I like it there. The unit information display is also docked to the nearest screen corner.

Next week I’ll port VMEDS to the new text system, and very likely change the button layout, add colours, and hopefully even add some map icon characters. Fun!


*I haven’t added these yet.

8 Comments » for Build Mode
  1. Ampa says:

    Great to see the updates flowing again – and the game is looking gorgeous!

  2. Uzguz says:

    I like the look of this feature. It would probably suit my style more if it were toggled on a key bind, though others will disagree. Any chance we could have “auto mode switch on selection” as an option (on by default), and also configurable key binds for build mode on toggle and/or hold (unbound by default)?

    I can also see this being used to evaluate enemy ships quickly… and for the occasional retro aesthetic indulgence.

  3. Aklyon says:

    Updates, yay!

  4. Edward says:

    This looks great! I’m so glad that this project is underway again. I was disappointed for so long when I thought you had given up. Good luck!

  5. Uzguz says:

    By the way… Are trusses the same size as girders now? Build mode makes the segments look like separate pieces.

  6. Edward says:

    Also, I agree with Uzguz, I’d much prefer a keybound toggle for build mode. Oftentimes I will click on an enemy or myself to check the health of my pieces and I don’t want to have to see build mode during a battle.

  7. Will says:

    FARBS! Great to see you at it again. I need to play this, is there a new build out since #8?

  8. Farbs says:

    TBH I’ve lost count. I’m considering calling the next build #11 just to be sure I don’t accidentally use a version number twice.