Woo, colourful! These screenshots show off the evolution of The Dawn Star’s emissive rendering. The first shot shows little red and green blobs representing the ship’s running lights. You can also see a big row of blobs that are actually placeholder lane markers for the new road system. Did I mention there are roads now? They’re cool, but they could be a lot prettier. I’ll fix that. Anyhow, this blob rendering system has been quite handy! I discovered I could warp the blobs to create a nice thruster effect – shown blasting out the main boosters and also in little blue jets from the command module. The warping effect creates a teardrop shape, and looks really great in motion as the exhaust flames flicker around. I also discovered I could stretch these blobs in a completely different way to create laser bolts, and that’s exactly what I’ve done here. Fun!

Other things you might notice:

Dynamic lights! There is no ambient light in these images, just light from the thrusters, laser bolt, and running lights. The Dawn Star was built to handle a ton of dynamic lights, and it’s super exciting to see these in action.

There’s a new command module! I don’t much like this direction though and plan to scrap it and try again.

It’s a standalone game now! Okay maybe you can’t see that in these images, but it’s still true. I’ve ported The Dawn Star to AIR, which means it now runs outside the browser just like a regular game. It also runs on more systems and at a much higher framerate.

It’s great to be back on this and making progress again. Next I’ll add GPU-based font rendering using Signed Distance Fields, which should be fun. After that I’m considering a complete UI overhaul – more on that later!



11 Comments » for Fun With Emissives
  1. Chris K says:

    Ooh, pretty

    Question: Do roads have any function in game (like maybe trade routes becoming active as stations are activated or something, I dunno) or are they purely decorative?

  2. Farbs says:

    The roads are a navigational aid, and also a not so subtle hint for new players that hey, maybe they should go explore a bit.

    They link settlements together, as per this algorithm:

  3. Uzguz says:

    Well well! It lives! And it’s looking nice.

    Is that girder red to indicate power level as per the old graphical style? I wondered if that was why the OpenSCAD modules switched to solid grey, instead of using colour normally like the first prototypes did.

    And because someone has to be that guy: is there a public build on the horizon?

  4. ChrisK says:

    I think those are just running lights.

    Also, that sounds like a good idea. Will they work through asteroid fields?

  5. Farbs says:


    Not sure about public builds for a little while sorry, mostly because I haven’t started on Mac builds yet.

    The girder is red due to light from the laser bolt. There will be somewhat subtle coloured decals a bit like on the earlier builds, I just haven’t put them on yet. There’s also a special render mode which makes power levels _very_ apparent, but I’ll save that for another blog post :)

  6. Farbs says:

    Oh, sorry, just saw your second comment there ChrisK. The roads will guide you around asteroid fields, but not through them exactly.

  7. Notdoppler says:

    Yes! This looks so pretty ^w^

    Question: How will the game play offline through Adobe AIR? Is it a download? Or something else, like a zip file?

    The new graphics look amazing but I’ll have to wait until November (Thanksgiving, specifically) for my new computer D:

    But anyway, this build looks sick and I’m really looking forward to it :)

  8. Farbs says:

    It’ll be a download, yes. Hopefully at some point you’ll just be able to grab a key from my website and download it through Steam. I need to get it on steam first though…

  9. Avior says:

    I don’t like these textures. They are too… generic.
    And I want the old command module back.

  10. Farbs says:

    Not sure what you mean by “these textures” sorry. Do you mean the module designs? ‘cos they aren’t textured yet.

  11. Capt. Bim says:

    Hallelujah, the Dawnstar lives! I remember giving up hope after checking this blog most every day, with no news. Farbs, I think I speak for everyone when I say this: take all the time you need to make this game shine! When this gets into Steam Greenlight, please drop a new post letting us know so we can all mash the button! Looking forward to sinking many hours into the new build. :^)