[dev update] Orbits Panel + HUD Button + 64 bits for Next Release

Status of the work for this 0.6.16 version:

  • fixing the memory leak in the creation of a 3D scene, due to bad code with the generation of satellites.
  • [WIP] adding a full and definitive implementation of Low and Geostationary Orbits, including changes in 3D and user’s interface.
  • removing the 3D space units and replacing them by 2D counterparts (icons) + updating the Unified Management Interface to permit the player to see the list of its space units and to be able to set mission orders directly from it.
  • adding assets: 2D pictures, icons and new infrastructures.
  • 3D:
    • [New: DONE] add an icon to serve as HUD button to display the orbits panel.
    • [New: DONE] when an asteroids belt is focused, certains useless parts of information are hidden now.
  • Graphics:
    • [New: DONE] creation of standard / hovered-selected icon for the orbits HUD button.
    • [NOT DEV] creation of stylized surfaces with their region to show which Orbital Zone is linked to which columns of regions..
  • Interface – Action Menu:
    • [New: WIP] this element of interface is completely removed since it isn’t really satisfying. Its functions are being replaced by the the Planetary System List and a few OpenGL HUD buttons..
  • Interface – Help & Knowledge Base:
    • [New: DONE] creation of standard / hovered-selected icon for the orbits HUD button.
    • [New: DONE] the panel’s name “Help Panel” is modified to “Help & Knowledge Base”.
  • Interface – Orbits Panel:
    • [New: WIP] full panel creation. It contains 3 lists, one for each orbit (low, geostationary and gravity limit). The first list is cut into a North and South part, for location purposes. (see explanation in the next paragraph below)
  • Interface – Planetary List Panel:
    • [NOT DEV] full panel creation. Tree list which contain the full list of orbital objects, in the current planetary system, and their possible satellites. Allow for a faster browsing.
  • Space Units (in-game):
    • [NOT DEV] expand location/attitude to the 3 types of orbits.
  • Universe:
    • [New: WIP] expand the data structure by adding data for low and geostationary orbits. It includes their distance, their orbital zones including surface’s latitudes that are contained in them and the space units located in them.

Here are some explanations:

  • As a reminder, any orbital object (planet/asteroid) will have 3 types of orbit:
    • low: this type of orbit is useful as a fast access to space, but requires reaction mass over the time to keep the orbit. This orbit is particularly useful for precise observation, orbital strikes, orbital survey/communication/monitoring with the orbital object. Also any space unit in low orbit will change of Orbital Zone (OZ) over the time. This can affect operations and offensives.
    • geostationary: this type of orbit allow a space unit to keep its position in a specific OZ. It’s not a stable orbit (not a Lagrangian point)
    • gravity limit: it was the only available orbit in the game, until now. It represents the frontier where a space units can have a stable orbit around an orbital object. They are useful to specify the boundary of gravity that could affect a certain type of faster-than-light mean of travel.
  • each orbital object (planet/asteroid) is virtually cut, like an apple, into 4 Orbital Zones (OZ). According to each size of surface (= total number of regions), the columns of regions a grouped into specific OZ.
    In clear a OZ gives acces to any regions, contained in it, to any space unit present in the zone. They can land, set an orbital strike to any infrastructure / army and so on present in the regions (depending of many factors like the sensors a space unit is equipped with) and so on. In low orbit only, these OZ are cut again in two (in the equatorial direction) into north/south OZ. Since in Low Orbit, a space unit in the north part cannot see another space unit in the south part, due to planet’s curvature and asteroid features. This separation into north / south parts is irrelevant for Geostationary and Gravity Limit Orbits, and then isn’t used, due to the distance and the wider view these orbits provide.

Anyway I will publish a screenshot when done, it will be more explicit.

Today (Monday) I have also passed a fair time in a virtual machine to set up a new IDE with full range of updated third party development addons. The set up is complete and FARC has been succesfully compiled in 32 and… 64 bits as last tests by the end of PM.
That’s mean this weekend I will upgrade the IDE and change of Delphi version with a wee bit of jump of 9 years of software updates. The new community edition is (finally) fully featured, even if limited by licensing. But since the game is a free project, it doesn’t affect me.
For the end users that’s means that FAR Colony will be delivered in 64 bits, starting at the release of this working version. You will not see a big change, even if the OpenGL framework and the “corporate evil” heavy third party addon for most of the user’s interface are now updated with 9 years of features and bug fixes. For example, the size of the tab’s headers is now correctly set and doesn’t truncate a bit of text. Also the game seems to be a bit faster in its 64 bits version.
This updated IDE also includes native parallel code in a pretty manageable way and without the need of another third party addon, so I will see how it goes.

But the whole works well in 32/64 and the changes I had to make into the code were fairly light.

Nothing very major, but some changes that will set in a definitive way.

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