[FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS]
The level of technology required to develop a game of SFC's radically differs from that of the previous games. The graphics are run by a state-of-the-art 3D graphics engine called Storm3D Plus, and the complexity of the game world engine greatly exceeds that of even the semi-freeform themed StarFight VI.
Automated Content Management
The game world for the StarFight: Comrades is created using in-house, innovative state-of-the-art content creation and management tools. The world for the game will be absolutely massive, dwarfing that of StarFight VI by two orders of magnitude. While SF6 had a dozen star systems SFC will have hundreds.
This all means that there are thousands of planets, moons, asteroid fields and other locations to explore!
This time the space exploration aspect of the game will be there, big time.
Storm3D Plus 3D Graphics Engine
Storm3D Plus is a combination of three entities:
- Storm3D version 2 by Sebastian Aaltonen. Storm3D version 2 forms the basis of the Storm3D Plus graphics engine. It provides all the basic features the the engine, such as 3D model manipulation, vector math, resource management, texture compression, and last but not least, hardware transformation and lighting through use of DirectX7 compatible fixed-function pipeline.
- Snowstorm 3D by Frozenbyte Inc. See the features and benefits of the Snowstorm 3D at the Frozenbyte's site.
- JP-Production's enhancements specifically developed for StarFight: Comrades.
Brief introduction on some of these enhancements is included in the following section.
Arbitrary multitexturing means that the surface materials of objects can be composed using any number of textures, far more than the hardware is physically capable of. Feature is acomplished by using multipass techniques. Supported texture layers at this point include diffuse color, lightmaps, detail texture layers, glow texture, reflection texture and dirt overlays. All at once, and as many as you'd like.
Per-pixel glow effect
Per-pixel glow provides extremely bright looking markings on an object . Effect is especially suited for creating like weapon nozzle glow or really bright spacecraft windows. In addition, it can be used to create true volumetric glow, which is ideal for creating certain traditionally problematic graphics elements such as engine exhaust fume and hyperspace tunnels.
Dynamic depth buffer
Ranges and scales used in StarFight: Comrades are way too large for even 32 bit depth buffering to handle properly. Game will be showing scenes with spacecraft the size of a passanger car next to an asteroid a hundred kilometers in diameter next to a gas giant with orbiting moons. Dynamic depth buffer is a feature which most players will likely never know about. Without it, however, some elements in the aforementioned scene would either pop in and out violently or be missing altogether.