My, what a snazzy new helmet. The pilot’s reflection is only really visible when lit by something particularly bright, which is all the excuse I needed to show off the new explosion effect. It’s not subtle.

I also ported the ping effect to GPU, but though my experiments with integrating it into the vertices of the background geometry looked cool, they failed to express “communication wavefront”. So it’s just a circle again now. I then found success with the new road renderer, which shows transit routes as dashed lines on your HUD. These look quite nice as they wind along ahead of you, and they add a lot of structure to the environment.

Oh, and I finally fixed the bug that causes a camera jump whenever modules are added to or removed from your ship. That took me, what, six years? Anyhow, the scrolling adjusts smoothly now. So that’s nice.



35 Comments » for Welcome Back, Pilot
  1. Vittoria says:

    So much update! I can’t handle it!

  2. Arilou Lalee'lay says:

    Ha-ha! Our clever ward has found our nook in *time*!
    You are the first, brave human! No others have made the trip.
    This is our home sector, Falayalaralfali, nestled safe in this 2D eddy.
    We are wondering, have you met with the Peacekeepers recently?
    We entrusted a damaged Command Module into their care
    and we were curious about its progress.

  3. Captain Notdoppler says:

    God, these new graphics look amazing…
    now I just have to wait for my new computer.

    I’m curious: what do you use to render everything?

  4. Farbs says:

    I’m using Stage3D, which is more or less a subset of OpenGL. I like working at this lower level, since it allows me to be creative in defining how my graphics work rather than in what textures I paint on them. This explosion, for instance, would probably just be a collection of sprites if I were using an existing engine. Instead it’s a single fullscreen quad with a highly stretched texture panning out from a point in the middle, and a distance based flare added in to the mix.

  5. Will says:

    Farbs, as a representative of your fan base, we are asking for a new build to be released. Please.

  6. Farbs says:

    I know, sorry, yes, this is on the top of my TODO list.
    In order to build a new release I need to port the last few remaining CPU rendered objects to GPU, but there are only a couple left. AFAIK I just need placeholder systems to render asteroids, hot rocks, and all the modules that I haven’t built 3D models for yet (via GPU lines) and then I should be good to go. I think that’s right, anyway.

    I’m super keen to get this build out because I really want to hear what people think of the roads. Oh and I need to add roads to the nav maps I guess. So there’s that too.

  7. ChrisK says:

    Does that also mean that the nav map is going to change format in some way? Seems like the present system would be quite cluttered with roads added in.

  8. Farbs says:

    The long term plan is to make the map much bigger, showing further in each direction. That won’t make it any less cluttered though. My plan for now is just to add roads to the map in the simplest way possible and evaluate that before worrying about clutter. Odds are I’ll end up drawing little lines on the map, since connected lines aren’t so cluttery.

  9. ChrisK says:

    Whoa, your website suddenly does not look broken on my phone. I’m digging it

    Also I suppose simple lines wouldn’t do bad. I had figured you’d keeping everything as ASCII art, which get hard to read if there was too much going on

  10. Hayden Leete says:

    ETA for next build release pls?

  11. Chris K says:

    What will come out first, Half-Life 3 or The Dawn Star alpha 0.9? My money is on Half-Life

    Love you, Farbs

  12. Farbs says:


    The reality of it is that the Captain Forever games have slid back into free-time project mode. That said, I made a ton of progress turning the first three games into a single GPU accelerated standalone executable over the break. My current bottleneck is coming up with a cool title screen, which frankly isn’t that big a bottleneck. That and the final season of Parks and Recreation arriving on Netflix.

  13. Capt. Bim says:

    Hey Farbs, it’s been a while, but I think I can personally say for the fans that you should take all the time you need to perfect this game :^).

  14. Tom says:


    umm farbs this bugger seems quite a bit similar…

  15. Arilou Lalee'lay says:

    @Tom Reassembly is fun, but came out 6 years after. And Reassembly’s ‘concept’ is far from similar to Captain Forever’s. It was actually kind of like that in the past though, during the Alpha. You had to reactivate stations and build your ship with part schematics found in dead ships. (Yes, I was a member of the Alpha testing group. Those days were glorious. Glorious.)

  16. Chris K says:

    I should get that game. I have been looking for a fix ever since I got bored of Captain Successor… That was years ago.

  17. David says:

    Ah yes, the alpha… such good times. Vast regions of dead space; no idea if launching yourself into the void was going to invite death by asphyxiation. The desperate race to return to an oxygen bubble… the anxiety of getting lost in an asteroid field as oxygen dwindled… such good times.

    Captain Jameson is a much different game now, and honestly, I can’t bring myself to play it any more. The Morning Star, even more so. Tempted to revisit the alpha to relive the glory days.

    Also – Arilou: How’s QuasiSpace these days?

  18. Arilou Lalee'lay says:

    Er… I was referring to the Reassembly alpha, “Gamma Void”. IIRC, there was never such a thing as “oxygen” in any point in Reassembly’s history.

    As for quasispace, it’s boring. The humans already beat the Ur-Quan and the Kohr-Ah, so there’s nothing left for us to do but watch.

  19. Chris K says:

    So how are those native versions coming along?

  20. Farbs says:

    Slow but steady. I’ve cleaned up a bunch of bugs, finished some of the less exciting port work (like moving all the game text over to the new GPU systems, re-doing the pilot reflections, cleaning up dangling listeners etc), and have a title screen I rather like.

    Tonight’s not-thrilling-but-important task is to code a simple audio manager so every game can access the same audio systems & settings. Also I’ll be adding a ton of music to the various front end menus, which I’m kinda excited about.

  21. Farbs says:

    …but instead I ported the smooth scroll on module snap code from TDS back to CF/CS/CI, and added some noise so they look like the module has been knocked around a little. That and I fixed an exception in the main menu.

  22. Chris K says:

    Sounds like some good progress then. I really hope these games can find a second life outside of the browser. Maybe CF Remix’s positive reception will spark some interest.

  23. Dave says:

    Great to see you’re still at it, Farbs! The Captain series is very dear to my heart, and I love seeing it grow :)

  24. Gam says:

    I’m also happy to see that there is still progress being made on the series as well. Nice work!

  25. Aklyon says:

    Progress, hurray! Even if its very slow.

  26. Robert K says:

    Still love your game farbs, you’ve done something excellent.

    Does anyone know if there’s a trick to using uni boosters to counter asymmetrical thrust? Whenever I use them I end up throwing them away really early when I find other thrusters because I just don’t seem to be able to mix em that well. Maybe I’m just not using them correctly.

  27. Chris K says:

    So, any plans for the big “One year since last blog post” anniversary?

    I’m just itching for a new weekly build. Or a dev diary video with your sexy accent.

  28. Farbs says:

    As you can probably guess, I got distracted again. I blame Netflix, specifically Netflix Originals.

    Aaaaanyhow, I think I can see the end of the tunnel on Captain Forever Trilogy so hopefully I’ll get some momentum on that again soon. Then I’ll probably (sadly) have to stop accepting purchases through the supporter program, because if I were to, for instance, sell Trilogy via Steam and distribute keys to supporters, then I open myself up to losing a ton of cash on credit card laundering. It’s happened to a few devs already, and it works like this:

    1) Buy stolen credit card data
    2) Buy game through developer’s storefront
    3) Get Steam key
    4) Sell Steam key via G2A or similar
    5) Repeat thousands of times

    At some point the thousands of owners of stolen credit cards start to (quite reasonably) reverse the charges, costing the dev not only the original sale price but also chargeback fees. Oh and then potential real customers just buy the game on G2A for a lower price anyway, oblivious to the fact that they’ve just helped someone commit fraud.


  29. Chris K says:

    Just don’t give out keys to supporters then, we’ve already gotten plenty for free. Besides, our steam reviews won’t count towards the rating if you give us keys.

    Are people still buying supporter accounts?

  30. Max says:

    Actually, I just purchased a supporter account yesterday. That being said, I really hope to see an update to this game.

  31. Chris K says:

    I’m not holding my breath. I’m pretty sure The Dawn Star is a dead project at this point.

    Would be nice to see some of the improvements and new components backported to Captain Successor/Impostor for the Steam release though.

  32. Max says:

    Yeah, it’s just that I’ve seen a lot of posts with updates like the roads and stuff, but never actually seen them released, so it makes me wonder if they ever will be.

  33. Arilou Lalee'lay says:

    Oh dear.