Transcendence 1.6 Beta is now ready for download!

This version implements the most significant graphical upgrade in the history of the game. Over the last few years I've concentrated on building up the infrastructure (e.g., the Multiverse) and creating more content (Corporate Command and Eternity Port).

Now, as development begins on Part II, I've decided to upgrade the graphics engine, and I'm very happy with the results:

Graphics

The most obvious changes are the new space backgrounds: wispy nebulae and starry scenes floating behind the stations of a star system. Volumetric shadows convey depth and make asteroid fields a visual pleasure to fly through.

Several images, including stargates and Commonwealth metropolises, have been updated with more complex designs and better textures. This work is not quite done in Beta 1, and I expect to create more images for the final release, including a re-rendered Arcology in St. Katharine's Star.

Under the covers, the engine has been updated to render at 24-bit color (upgraded from the previous 16-bit color). The increased dynamic range was necessary to render the subtle shades of space backgrounds, but it will also reduce the banding previously visible in glow effects and star shine.

Lastly, because some of these new effects are processor-intensive, I've added a graphics quality option to Settings.xml (graphicsQuality). There are currently four setting implemented:

  • maximum: This turns on all visual effects.
  • standard: This will turn off the most processor-intensive effects without degrading the visual quality too much. This setting is recommended for any machine with less than four processor cores.
  • minimum: For all those netbooks out there, which Transcendence supports, this setting turns off all optional visual effects (leaving only those required to play the game).
  • auto: The default setting is auto, which does a quick performance test at launch time and sets the graphics level to one of the three settings above.

More

Concurrent with this release, I've also updated both Corporate Command and Eternity Port. Corporate Command finally implements the new dock services screens. And Eternity Port adds 6 new missions to the early game (though no new Atlas missions yet). If you own either these they will download automatically after you run 1.6.

Because of the extensive nature of engine changes, I expect there to be many new bugs. If you notice something, particularly in graphics or in graphics performance, please file a bug with Ministry (https://ministry.kronosaur.com/program.hexm?id=1) or email me at: [email protected]