As we prepare for our (hopefully soon) Mac/Linux test, I've stepped back from adding features and focused more on optimizations.
The most notable optimization is the shadow system. All non-moving objects on the map are now assigned to chunks, which are loaded and destroyed as the player moves around the map. Each shadow contains a single image shadows are baked into. These chunks are quickly re-rendered as objects are created or destroyed.
Baked shadows has allowed us to provide much prettier graphics at a much smaller cost - in fact, this in addition to several other less notable optimizations has reduced the render costof the game in half, roughly doubling the frame-rate on our test machines.
Previous builds featured shadows that consisted of two sprites faded over one another for each object. This much faster build features up to fourteen for each object, smoothly faded and creating soft shadows.
(Above) New soft shadow system and new tree sprites (Below) Old hard shadow system. The new system is more visually appealing and runs much faster.
Additional resolutions are now supported. Issues related to the settings menu have been resolved.
I am taking this time to clean up the code, optimize systems, investigate bugs, and consider the feedback we've received for our previous test (thank you for all the comments and bug reports, we really appreciate it.) If there are any changes you'd really like to see, now is the time to suggest them.
A minor, but pretty, addition has been lights to all the major player buildings - resource hubs, shelters, and barracks. This illuminates cities without the need for as many lamp posts. Minor graphical changes (including grassland trees and high-grass) have been made.
We also have a new square logo, which can be seen both on this post and all of our social media sites. This will be used for branding from this point forward.
Stay tuned for some news about our Mac and Linux tests - hopefully this announcement is just a few weeks away. We're sorry that the first two tests have been Windows-only but we still do intend for this game to run across all three operating systems.