December 1, 2013 at 7:10 pm
November was another dull month, unfortunately. This is both because of life getting in the way and because I've had legitimate computer problems as of late.
I'm hoping I can get some solid work done over the holiday break. We'll see. Still planning on a release for January 1st but it will be another incremental update.
November 1, 2013 at 10:31 am
October was definitely more productive than September. I can say I got some good work done. Most of the work is, again, back-end and scalability work but I did fix a minor visible bug. You can try this in the released version. If you double-click on the terrain to move the camera you can escape the city. Maybe I shouldn't have fixed this as it was pretty amusing, but it's fixed.
For the technically interested:
October 1, 2013 at 9:44 am
I didn't get too much work done this month. Personal cruft got in the way. In the last minute (or last weekend rather) I managed to fix a very old bug regarding buildings overflowing their lots sometimes. But that's it.
October should be a lot more productive. Hopefully.
September 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm
It's been too long, again, but here comes another Synekism release. I really wish it was a grand one but this release is pretty routine.
Among non-visible back-end graphics work I spent considerable time on minor fixes and features. I added an extensive tooltip system (activated by holding down F1) that will display detailed information on the UI element or active tool. The road and lot tools also get an extra guide before building has been initiated - while the tool is selected but not active. You should see a guide road node under your mouse as you walk over the terrain. This node will lock and validate like the active road building guides do so it should be much clearer where a new road segment will start. A couple of bug fixes made it as well.
In terms of a general project update, work continues. The light at the end of this seemingly indefinite tunnel is starting to trickle in. The new graphics engine is taking shape and I'm almost done modernizing (and cleaning up) the codebase as per my 0.5 objectives.
Let me know if there are any problems. Otherwise, the next release is slated for January 1st, 2014.
August 1, 2013 at 7:20 pm
Work continues still. More work on the engine, the installer, and my general infrastructure. There may be a chance that the new engine will not get in this coming release - yet again. We'll see. But there will most definitely be a release next month. It's been way too long!
As for the specifics I made the Overview (activated via space bar) indicator on the bottom horizontal bar a button now that will change state depending on whether the game is in overview mode or not.
Also, I removed my own custom raytracer from the project completely. This was the Ctrl + R pretty screenshot semi-hidden feature added last year. I really needed to consolidate my efforts and raytracing is a rather deep rabbit hole, especially given my inexperience. I may add it back or I may integrate with or support extraction to a third-party raytracer in the future. For now, no more pretty screenshots. Sorry :(.
July 1, 2013 at 6:32 pm
Work continues. I got my new computer fully set up which has greatly increased iteration time.
I managed to finish the initial dry implementation of my new graphics engine and should be ready to start integrating it into the rest of the game.
To reiterate, the new engine will separate graphics related code from the rest of the game and allow for faster implementation of future graphics improvements.
The goal for the September release is now to get this bloody engine integrated which could maybe mean noticeable improvements in visual fidelity (shadows?). Along this major goal, the game should be more accessible with improved help features and platform support - possibly the introduction of 64-bit support.
June 1, 2013 at 4:45 pm
Work has begun! Though it wasn't a full month's worth, at least the distractions will benefit Synekism in some way. I finally got a new computer which should aid in development.
I've decided to focus on user visible features at the beginning of each cycle and then go on to infrastructure work.
As such, last month I worked on some minor UI tweaks. The F5 key that used to hide the UI now also hides the white city border. And holding down F1 will now display extended context-dependent tooltips which should make the game easier to figure out.
May 1, 2013 at 8:58 pm
As predicted last update, April saw little progress but my obligations are quickly concluding and I will be able to start the major push with Synekism this month, as promised.
April 1, 2013 at 10:21 am
So March was not any better than the lull that came before. I didn't even have time to invest into some sort of April Fools update today.
Honestly, given the progress I made so far and my availability between now and May there isn't much point in keeping the May 1st release. You'll have to wait until the September 1st, 2013 release.
I'm really sorry. I made some commitments last year that affected my Synekism time much more than I predicted. However, said commitments will no longer play a role come May which is why I promised the spike in Synekism progress during the summer.
I just want to be very clear that these lull months are just temporary and the project is in no way in danger of hibernation or abandonment.
As a final note, it is interesting how after the release of a certain city simulation game the number of Synekism downloads tripled their normal rate. Thanks?
March 1, 2013 at 7:19 pm
Well, February was unfortunately a lull. Between my day job and getting sick I didn't get much time for Synekism.
Given my obligations for the rest of the term (until May) I don't believe I will finish the graphics engine rewrite by the May release so I will be focusing on small fixes and improvements until then. One such improvement will include better in-game help as I've learned is badly needed.
I know I've promised not to promise anything but to balance this update I will say that the summer term (May to August) should see a spike in Synekism progress.
Synekism is an attempt at a modern city simulator rooted in procedurally generated content. The project was started in 2010 to address some frustrations with the city simulation video game genre. It is actively developed on and currently in a purely alpha-experimental stage. Updates on the project are posted on the first of every month. Note that work on this project is more or less done by one person so progress will be slow, but steady.
The game is a sandbox where control is not explicit but indirect. The player can designate residential, commercial, industrial, and government zones and watch them grow, instead of explicitly plopping each building manually. The game tends to lean towards macro-management.
The key features of Synekism include grid less 3D environments and procedurally generated buildings. The lack of a grid results in total freedom when zoning and building roads allowing for more realistic looking cities. Procedurally generated buildings allows for more visual variability. Instead of querying a finite list of static models, a building is generated uniquely upon creation using local as well as city-wide conditions.