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Graphics Developments

To slightly sweeten the remaining time while (impatiently) awaiting the 0.5 release, here’s a short update on the recent graphics developments.

Support for mipmapless DDS textures for space backgrounds has been enabled in the recent version (thanks go to safemode), which will reduce the memory footprint used by your graphics card and further speed up system loading. Two missing backgrounds have been also added to the data set.

More planet textures have been improved over the last month. Now all 74 exo-planet textures are of high quality (though I think I will go back to the gas planets and remake them after 0.5). The remaining 46 textures are from solar system planets and bodies. Here, the previously existing 2 different data sets have been joined inheriting the best textures and more than half of the solar system bodies have got additional improved textures. While all solar system planets have high quality textures (2048×1024 resolution ), I wanted to keep the remaining bodies as close to the reality as possible. However, freely licensed high quality maps for moons and other significant bodies are not readily available, so the approach was to reduce the release quality resolution requirements to 1024×512. Still 11 maps remain with lower quality (512x), probably until our solar system has been better researched and photographed. Nevertheless, the phase of improving planet textures is considered closed for now, and I will focus on other future tasks.

Finally, new and better planet rings are now available in the data set. They are of reasonable quality so that you may still enjoy them when flying close by. Further, 20 of the upgrade images have been provided with better quality pictures. And last, on your HUD you will notice that 3 indicators - the weapons capacitor charge, the FTL and JUMP drives energy, and the fuel status - have now a text overlay, so you don’t need to remember the meaning of each one.

You may wait for the new release or check out the SVN version to start enjoying the improvements already.
I hope that you will like those changes.

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