The free downloadable demo has been updated. Get it here.

  • Bug fixed: Fixed crash that would occur sometimes when starting a Deathmatch game.
  • Bug fixed: Mouse was spinning ship too fast at framerates below 60Hz.
  • Bug fixed: Shield energy could go below zero, so gaining shield energy would have no apparent effect.
  • Fixed lighting on humans. They were unlit by dynamic point lights before.
  • Gave humans flashlights and signal flares so they are easier to spot on small screens.
  • Made humans smarter so they flee from enemies and debris that might crush them.
  • Rebalanced difficulty settings, score multipliers, and rate of token distribution to give out more tokens.
  • Added “brute force” score multiplier when ramming enemies to death.
  • Updated OpenSceneGraph to version 3.2, removing some deprecated OpenGL slow-path code.
  • Upgraded from SDL 1.2 to SDL 2.0.
  • Mouse now ignores acceleration in Windows and controls rotation linearly. If you thought the mouse control was finicky before, try it again now. (This was never a problem in Linux.)
  • Made major changes to the rendering pipeline. Best performance improvements for multiplayer games.
  • Added anti-aliasing choice to Settings menu.
  • Better depth cueing to help distinguish foreground from background.
  • Added customizable menu navigation buttons to USB game controllers.
  • Shader optimizations.

This demo update is marked by big infrastructure changes. Not only has Retrobooster been upgraded to OpenSceneGraph 3.2 and SDL 2.0, but the rendering pipeline has been overhauled. In previous versions, the glow effect was rendered as a separate pass and then applied to the frame. Now, the main image and glow image are rendered to separate textures simultaneously. After processing the glow texture to make it glowy, both images are combined and rendered to the framebuffer at the same time. This gives more flexibility to the glow effect and balances performance better.

The performance changes caused by this rendering pipeline change were not straightforward. The best overall performance gain was seen on NVidia graphics. Single player performance got better on some platforms and worse on others. Performance for 4-player games improved significantly on all platforms that were tested. On average there was a performance improvement and a reduction in the performance difference between 1- and 4-player games.

SDL has moved on to version 2.0, which is really a complete rewrite of SDL. It appears there won’t be any new development on the 1.2 branch, so using SDL 2.0 is the way to get all future SDL improvements. It does a few things more cleanly already, such as not absorbing your desktop mouse acceleration into the game. If you use a very high mouse acceleration in Windows, this may make mouse control feel a lot better. After some more bugs are worked out I should even be able to add gamepad rumble support.

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