All your base... well you know the rest. Asset #2 for the next patch is done. The SO Outpost (which replaces the WCP starbase). The Outpost is an odd duck, in a world where artificial gravity and faster than light travel is a thing, the outpost relies on good old fashioned spin gravity - many have speculated as to it's purpose: a legacy of a bygone era? A cheap civilian installation? A mammoth revolving space restaurant (which is my favorite). Either way it makes a fun appearance where you have to save it from a nasty Hydra attack. Of course if you fail, you get to see more of the awesome Plunkett cruiser so it's almost worth doing it that way. ;)
Unsung hero update: So while the art usually gets top billing here I forgot to point out in last night's post that the outpost is also making use of a long-asked-for feature in WCP:Unlimited - That of the destroyed hull object. gr1mre4per has done a lot of impressive work making the Vision engine jump through hoops it wasn't intended to do and this was one of the big ones. Using sneaky LOD (That's Level of Detail for you non-game developer types) switching we can cheat Secret Ops into hiding a blown up main hull object until the cap-ship registers as destroyed. At that point (the big white flash when a capship dies) the engine swaps in the destroyed hull. Pretty neat, right?
This also allows us to do more with emit mapping. Prior to this enhancement we have to cheat a bit by using transparent textures and an underlying "emit mesh" which we usually create as a CARGO chunk (which is why sometimes you cycle through sub-targets and see 'Cargo' pop up even though it isn't a pelican or a leatherback). Since the main object doesn't have a destroyed mesh (and the engine didn't allow for it), any emit mapping would remain in place after a ship was destroyed. So windows stay lit, etc. Now the dead hull can have an entirely new set of textures so we can make full use of emit mapping and save on polygons! Win/win I say.
There are a few limits with it:
1. it currently exists in Secret Ops only - We want to back-port this feature to WCP at some point but it's more challenging as the EXEs are different between them. So that means that for now, shared Capship assets between WCP and SO will not make use of it currently; and I don't want to create two full sets of capships between engines as that can cause a bunch of issues with version management (and the 3.1 alpha was an example of what crappy version management can wreak on the players) - and it's also a ton of work.
2. dead hulls have to retain the same basic shape as their non-dead counterparts: This is due to the fact that the dead hull and the live one have to share a collision tree. So if I blow up a carrier and the dead hull is cut in half, ships would still collide with the missing half because the collision tree has to remain the same.
Over the next few releases we will be adding in dead hulls for SO-only assets like the Murphy, Vesuvius, and Plunkett to punch up the drama of some of the cutscenes. But this is an engine enhancement that we've long been asking for and was delivered! We're excited to see what else we can do...