|The future is uncertain, that much is clear.|
Will we ever see a newer, modern version of Noctis? Maybe, or maybe something similar. Clearly, there is a massive amount of interest for it. However, Alex recently announced he was leaving programming for a while, and while we hope that probably doesn't mean forever, the future of Noctis remains to be seen.
There was a project in the last decade called "Noctis V", massively anticipated, it had been a work-in-progress from 2001-2011. Where that project will end up now is unknown; it might still be continued at some point, or it might be integrated into another project called Keyway, only time will tell.
Meanwhile, there is also a community effort for the development of a Noctis sequel, and while little has come from that as yet, there is always hope that someone will be inspired to work on it.
Finally, below, preserved for posterity, is everything we knew about Noctis V; one potential future which - with any luck - might still see the light of day. In some form or another...
And so began the Linoleum Noctis Project, better known as Noctis Five. As you can read in the above segment, it started as a translation of the DOS Noctis IV - which is the current public version of the simulator. The goal was to lift most of the restrictions of the old Noctis engine, and open up for potentially endless future updates and additions to the series, without being confined to the various limitations of DOS. But the project eventually turned out to evolve quite a bit from that original plan.
|Alex on October 9th, 2001 said:|
| NOCTIS GETS KNOWN! Due to a recent review by Home of The Underdogs, this simulator's popularity suddenly increased, and the Noctis' home page has been re-organized, and split into four different pages in the hope that this will simplify finding archives and informationís better than with a single, miles long page. ALSO, yesterday I've got no less than 15 email messages from stardrifters of various ages and nationality, so I would like to thank all the players, old and new, for their interest and contributions. |
In particular, five messages were mentioning the possibility of raising the display resolution, actually 320x200 pixels and with only 256 colours.
Now, I agree this is the most significant weak point, and it's due to the fact that the current Noctis game engine was written to fit the MS-DOS environment.
So, this afternoon I have created a new directory in my Linoleum programs folder, and called it "The Noctis Project". This means, in practice, that I've started translating the program's twenty-two thousand lines of C++ source code, in order to create a new version of Noctis that will be working in my 32-bit advanced L.IN.O.L.E.U.M environment. Because players liked it very much, in my mind the Noctis project's priority has raised, meaning I will be dedicating more of my spare time to it. Nonetheless, I also have my work to follow (I still am a private programmer, and there's nothing to do about it... : ) and translating over 22,000 lines of code is NEITHER EASY, NOR IMMEDIATE. That said, Iíll do my best to try and get the new 32-bit version ready within 2002. Or so I hope...
You see, while Alex was working on translating Noctis IV from C++ and Assembly to the Lino environment, several problems started to present themselves. Eventually, these problems just became so numerous that it was finally judged to abandon the plan of only translating the simulator, and work began on completely rewriting it instead.
Nearly ten years has passed since the start of the project, and sadly, in 2011 development has all but stopped. The project is, if not abandoned, at least mothballed for now.
There were many reasons for the long development period, first and foremost, real-life: Alex is a private programmer, and as such, he is often busy with living his life, and working on other projects which have to take priority. When we get right down to it, Noctis V was just an unpaid hobby after all, and the plan was for it to stay that way.
Another reason was that not only has NV been developed in all this time, but the computer language in which it is written has also experienced many changes - from the network capabilities to optimized speed and performance. In every way: NV and Linoleum evolved together.
We might still see Noctis V someday, in some form or the other, but nothing is certain at this time. All information on these pages regardng the project, should be regarded as a potential; not as a promise.
The following were the confirmed, most highly anticipated changes to the Noctis gameplay and engine. For more detailed information, please visit the FAQ here.
New Gameplay Features:
- No more invisible boarders on planet surfaces; sector transitions are seamless
- Planets have more sectors: up to 1,036,800 quadrants. The current Noctis IV has 64,800 quadrants for each world
- Jetpack for quick surface exploration
- Personal light source (flashlight)
- New terrain generator engine for more varied topography
- All the classic weather effects are present, now in dynamic real-time. Plus a new effect: the dust storm
- Celestial objects (stars, moons and rings) are now visible in the skies, with positions, textures and sizes rendered identically, in real-time, with the same objects as seen from space
- Slew Mode allows for manual, mouse based control of the ship and Vimana drive
- New galaxy generator will place the stars in a more realistic fashion than previous versions
- Whole new control interface; what remains of the GOES console is now integrated directly in the Heads Up Display, together with all other information and commands (please see the screenshots below for some examples)
- New, streamlined StarMap and Guide system. Details are not yet known, however
- Completely new engine, written from scratch with the in-house programming system Linoleum
- Support for 32-bit colours, over a range of higher resolutions, in both window and fullscreen modes.
- Real time dynamic lighting and atmospheric effects
- Much higher resolution textures for all models, both space and planetside, together with new rendering techniques
- Antialiasing effects
- No DOS limitations
- 100% software driven; no hardware accelerator required
- Completely Freeware, no charge to download or play
Here are some screenshots from various development periods of Noctis V.
|Early screenshots from 01-02:|
|cd/jpgs/Stargazer/yellow star s00 (72 Kb) |
The first screenshot ever released from NV; originally shown on October 24th, 2001.
If this was animated, the bright globes you see would be pulsating in a bright, yellow light.
cd/jpgs/Stargazer/white dwarf (60 Kb)
This screenshot, which was originally released on October 30th, 2001, shows off some of the flare effects of Noctis V (those effects might be altered before the first public release). Also note the addition to the interface - the gauges. Nice, eh?
cd/jpgs/Stargazer/blue dwarf (93 Kb)
This one was released together with the screenshot above. A blue dwarf (S07) is a neutron star with little or no rotation, if it was rotating, it would be called a pulsar (S11). These are extremely compact remnants of dead stars: they are not much larger than a city, but can pack as much mass as the entire sun.
cd/jpgs/Stargazer/barren moon (74 Kb)
The first planet officially seen in NV! Ok, so it is a dusty little rock, but itís still kind of cute, wouldn't you say?
cd/jpgs/Stargazer/interface test (63 Kb)
Yup, this is a test of how the marker of nearby worlds looks like in NV. This might have changed over time, only Alex knows for sure.
|Middle-stage screenshots from 02|
|cd/jpgs/Stargazer/felisian world (80 Kb)|
The first screenshot from the orbit of a Felisian world in NV. Those streaks you see in the planetís atmosphere are actually trade winds.
Also note the difference in the interface, as the lower line which now appears to be gone.
cd/jpgs/Stargazer/felisian south-pole (74 Kb)
Close to the south pole of the Felisian planet; navigated by the Slew-mode.
cd/jpgs/Stargazer/felisian dawn (64 Kb)
This screenshot was taken close to a planet surface - showing off details. An alien star rises over a new world.
cd/jpgs/Stargazer/first sd mark 5 (85 Kb)
The first model of the SD mark V, parked high above a planet which is only waiting, begging, to be explored.
cd/jpgs/Stargazer/wall of sd (71 Kb)
That small picture you see in the window at the corner is actually Fractus' S.U.N (StarDrifter Unity Network) logo; NV may also have "wallpaper" functions, but the details are not yet known.
cd/jpgs/Stargazer/mars-like world (85 Kb)
According to Alex, this screenshot lacks some details in the planets atmosphere, but I still think it looks quite nice.
cd/jpgs/Stargazer/moonlike planetoid (69 Kb)
Just a moon, but improved from the one we saw in the earlier screenshots; this one appears more realistic, methinks.
|Screenshots from 03:|
|cd/jpgs/Stargazer/s00 system (86 Kb)|
cd/jpgs/Stargazer/new sd mark v (86 Kb)
The new and cool model of the Mark V drifter. Like it?
|Oh, and before I forget, there is also a Mark V model which is fully viewable in 3D, using the Pitagora Scenery Editor, in which it was made.|
The model is included in the Linoleum package, but if you don't want to download Lino just to see it, you can also download the model itself here:
cd/zips/Stargazer/mark v (73 Kb)
To be continued..?
|└> last changed by Stargazer on May 21, 2011 at 15:39|