. /../Noctis V FAQ - Forum Edition/ 1
written by Stargazer on Oct 13, 2003 13:56
Noctis V FAQ - Forum Edition
Main Noctis "Sneak-peak" site
View Official Noctis page here
Jump directly to...
Section 2 of the FAQ
FAQ Updates
FAQ Feedback Thread

For part 1 of the FAQ, please read on.
To ask questions, use the feedback thread.

Note: This FAQ refers to information regarding the original development version of Noctis V. Alex has recently expressed interest in rebooting development, but much of the information here may no longer pertain to the new version.

After the past NV Frequently Asked Questions page went down due to negligence (don't shoot me!), I have been searching for a new host for it, and now that Postline has become so advanced, I figured I might as well give it a new home here - there's many advantages to this; you can post comments about it, moderators and admins can easily edit it (feel free to do so, fellow Powercats - if you got anything new to add, or things you like to change), and it's very much more accessible here, methinks.

"What's this FAQ all about?" I hear you ask.
Well, it's about the new version of Noctis which is currently in stasis development, and will answer some of the most frequent questions about it..

If you got a question which is not answered here, please post it in this thread, or ask us in frespych (the chat frame) or in PM's.

So, without more babble, let's get on with it!

What is Noctis V all about?
Noctis V (also known as "NV", or "Noctis NoVa" ) is a space exploration simulator; currently under its last stages of development.
Like its predecessors, NV will allow you to explore a huge galaxy with about 70 billion stars, each with their own planets, which you can land on and explore.

Noctis is not like many other space-simulators out there: there are no beam cannons, no particle weapons (at least not anymore), no empires to construct, and no bad/sinister aliens to slay; what Noctis has instead are the StarMap and Guide - a way to share your discoveries with other drifters from all over the world (and all over the galaxy).

All previous versions of Noctis were programmed in C++ and Assembly, while Noctis V is being made with Alex's own programming language, LINOLEUM.

Using Lino, the boundaries of the old DOS Noctis are lifted, and more power is given to the simulator. NV therefore also has a lot of new features.

For more information about Noctis V, including all screenshots released to date, please visit the Noctis V sneak-peek page.

Ok, so how big is the development team?
Actually only one man; Italian private programmer Alessandro Ghignola

Will NV have any new graphics? Will the resolution be greater then previous Noctis versions?
Yes, Noctis V will use the new Pitagora 3D graphics engine, a Lino software library which is designed to deliver fast and crisp software graphics. Alex was also recently experimenting with a realtime raytracer for some effects, but it is not yet determined whether that will end up being used.

NV will have the ability to switch through multiple resolution modes. All modes will be available in both window and fullscreen mode.
Other graphical improvements include:

  • 32 bit colour (as opposed to the old 256 colour palette)
  • Edge antialiasing for polygons
  • More realistic water effects
  • Coloured and dynamic lighting (including a personal light-source for those dark planets)
  • New, more and better animations
  • New textures and display methods for space and planetside (including much higher resolution for planets: currently 1080x540 pixels)
  • New, coloured lens-flares
  • Other graphical improvements

Will Noctis V have a different galaxy then than other versions? Will it be compatible with the Noctis IV starmap?
Noctis V uses a new galaxy rendering engine which will spread the stars in a much more realistic fashion, using a selection table, and is in effects a lot more advanced then the one used in previous Noctis versions.
However, the new galaxy will not be compatible with the old StarMap; so in NV, we will all have to re-explore the galaxy from square one. Additionally, there are plans to replace the former starmap system with an improved online version, allowing for immediate updates to the starmap and guide.
I've noticed that in NV screenshots that the stars have some particle effects on their "surfaces" but they have no textured/rendered surfaces, why is that?
The particles was an early experiment for stars in Noctis V - if the screenshots were animated, the bright globes would be pulsating fast in a very bright light, and thereby giving the star an animated glow-like effect. The stars will probably not remain this way, as Alex said he is looking into new ways to render them.

Are the surfaces more realistic/close to the planet type, as in large craters, small craters, canyons, etc?
If you mean topography visible from space, well, planets will have craters and such visible in orbit, but these features are so large that if you land on them, you probably wont know. More detailed planet topography visible from space may come in future releases though.

How about animals? Any new types? Better models?
Alex was working on a "Twin Height Map" creature rendering engine, nicknamed THM, which served in making pieces, then stretching, rotating and mangling them to create a broader selection of semi-random lifeforms. He later mentioned scrapping this idea, and the replacement system is not yet known.

Is there ambient sound (or any sound at all)?
Ambient sounds are in planning phases, and therefore might be in NV.
Is the starguide better organized, rather than just being a huge list (such as different pages organized by writer, etc)
Few details about the new StarGuide and StarMap have been released, although they will likely be based online for immediate updates.

Will there be other drifters (AI or multiplayer) within the same game?
Yup, though chances for meeting one is remote.
Noctis V will be single-player only, and your best chance for meeting an NPC-drifter is to call for help when your lithium-supply runs low - as in Noctis IV.

Are there new planet types?
The planet-types in at least the initial release should be the same as those in Noctis IV, but the new engine will give them new life.

Will there be a pre-launch/startup setup-window, where we can select graphical/gameplay elements (such as view distance, graphic resolution, level of detail)?
Noctis V will start in medias-res as is the tradition; there probably won't be a setup menu.
However, there will probably be an ingame menu to select different resolutions and anti-aliasing effects.

Are the ruins more interesting with more variety?
Unknown, but probable.

will there be things such as big oceans, beaches, and caves etc on planets?
Felisian planets will probably have several landscape-types, from forests, to vast plans and savannas, to deserts and oceans, but I do not think it is likely they will have beaches.
Caves are also not probable, due to problems with importing indoor-geometry to Noctis' surface engine; it is a popularly requested feature though, so who knows what might appear in the future...

How big will every world be? How many sectors/quadrants?
Noctis IV has 64800 quadrants for each world (360 x 180 degrees), Noctis V will have more: 1440x720 degrees, that's 1,036,800 quadrants. Each is theoreticly reachable from solely one landing location, but the worlds are big, so if you want to explore every sector on foot, prepare to be using a few years in real-time.

Will it be possible to take photographs, like in Noctis IV?
There will be both the two photo-options we saw in Noctis IV - normal and panorama, but the output will probably be in PNG format, as Noctis V will have much higher color depth than Noctis IV. The output filesize may therefore be greater as well.

How about the weather and lighting effects: will there be any improvements there?
Indeed, there will be.
NV will have real-time, dynamic weather and lighting effects, so you can, for example, see sunrises and sets in real-time.

Dynamic weather? Will there be snow, will the weather be observable from space?
The weather will be observable from orbit in the same manner as that in NIV, some screenshots also suggests Felisian planets may have trade-winds, which can be detected from orbit.
There will also be a new weather effect: the dust-storm, and Alex has been experimenting with snow. All previous weather effects like rain, wind and thunder have been updated and will be in NV.

Will there be an "anti-radiation" visor in NV, like that in NIV?
Probably not - NIV used the visor as a rough anti-aliasing feature to smooth jagged edges by making the view blurry.
NV's new graphics engine will feature better anti-aliasing, so the radiation visor won't be needed. This was going to just be a supersampling method that Alex called Quadscan and Twinscan, although recently he added edge anti-aliasing to polygons, which should perform better and will likely be used instead.

Can you see moons, suns and rings from the surface of a planet?
This feature was intended for Noctis IV, but was scrapped due to memory restrictions of the DOS-environment.
Now that the restrictions are gone, this feature will be in NV. It should make stargazing on alien worlds an interesting experience.

Will there be aurora-lights, nebulae, other sky-light phenomenon?
Probably not in the initial release.

Will the planets be more "real" 3D in space than those in the past Noctis?
It is expected with the new slew-mode that you should be able to go above, below, and on the sides of planets, since they are now being rendered as 3D objects.

The FAQ is continued here, as it became too large for one post.
└> last changed by Cryoburner on February 19, 2010 at 14:13
written by Explorer on Oct 13, 2003 23:08
I have a set of questions! okay here goes.
1.are the surfaces more realistic/close to the planet type, as in large craters, small craters, canyons, etc?
2.is there ambient sound (or any sound at all)
3.are there new planet types?
4.is the view distance increased/changeable in a setting menu
5.are the ruins more interesting/more types?
6.is there jumping or flying planetside?
7.will there be things such as big oceans and beaches etc of fel planets?

I know you probably can't answer all of those, but I'd be grateful for any answers at all ^_^
written by Explorer on Oct 13, 2003 23:12
oh yeah.. umm .. one more. what's the deal with the dynamic weather? will there be moving systems of rain/snow, etc? will you be able to see
weather systems from space?

thx again
written by Stargazer on Oct 14, 2003 06:48
Thanks for your questions, Explorer. The answers have been added to the FAQ.

Well, the answers that I could answer that is; its largely incomplete as you see, hopefully we'll be able to fill in the blanks quite soon.

Thanks for the feedback
written by Explorer on Oct 14, 2003 12:22
I got a little bit of info from alex himself. He said that the view distance will be variable and you can make it
further than in NIV. There might actually be some sort of options menu.
written by Stargazer on Oct 14, 2003 14:35
Thanks for the heads-up Explorer; I have modified the FAQ accordingly.
written by Explorer on Oct 14, 2003 20:49
yeah it's me again. I'm a big bag full of questions...
1.Any details on the changes to the new seed generation method for planet surfaces and stars?
2.Is the starguide better organized, rather than just being a huge list (such as different pages organized by writer, etc)
3.Will there be other drifters (AI or multiplayer) withing the same game?
4.Can you see moons, suns and rings from the surface?
5.Any updates on the state of the game?( I think he said he was on the animal generation, which was the last part)
6.Is Alex going to release more screenshots, or are we gonna have to wait to see the panet surfaces?
written by Raptorjedi on Oct 15, 2003 03:29
Here is a commonly asked question, well 2

Q: How do I update the inbox and how long does it take?

A: You goto the GOES console and type inbox and hit enter, it could take a few minutes to 15 or 20 minutes, depends on the size. And, it cannot be stressed enough, if you have downloaded Noctis recently, then you do NOT need to download the inbox, its a waste of your time.

Q: When will there be another Inbox?

A: When Alex gets around to it.
written by Vib rib on Oct 15, 2003 03:31
Raptorjedi said:
Here is a commonly asked question, well 3
That's TWO questions.
written by Raptorjedi on Oct 15, 2003 03:33
Okay, there WAS going to be three.... but I forgot

Or did I combine two of them into one... whatever....
written by Stargazer on Oct 15, 2003 06:40
NV FAQ continued:

Can I still go up on the "roof" of the StarDrifter?
Yes, just like NIV.

Will there still be an "invisible wall" like the one in Noctis IV? Or can I explore an entire planet from just one landing-location? And how will I avoid getting lost on big worlds?
There will no longer be an "invisible wall", nor any other limits when it comes to exploring planets in NV, and each planetary quadrant should load seamlessly when on the surface of planets.

As said at the question about planet size in quadrants at the first page of the FAQ, this means you will be able to explore entire worlds from one landing-location, without having to go back up to space to select a new quadrant.

You won't need to worry about getting lost planetside though, as an indicator will be displayed in your HUD pointing back to your landing capsule. Even if you have made it to the opposite side of the planet, you should be able to find your way home.

Since the worlds will be so big, will there be any jumping or flying planetside? Some other type of quick transportation?
The landing-capsule may have limited propulsion like that in Noctis IV.
More importantly, NV will also have a personal "jetpack", for fast planetary exploration.

Will the surfaces be true globes (as in you can walk in one direction and eventually return where you came from), or will they just be looped as one infinitely huge field?
The planet surfaces will be globular: you could walk in one direction, and eventually return where you came from.

What about landing on a planet? Will you - as in NIV - just appear over the surface or will you be able to experience the whole landing procedure seamlessly? (as in Frontier)
Although it is theoreticly possible for NV to have seamless space-surface transition, doing so would involve changes to huge amounts of code, which at this stage of development could be quite "scary" according to Alex.
Maybe in a later release, when the basic frame of the NV engine has been settled and the first public versions of it released; but this probably won't happen for the first release.

In other words, there will still be a black screen as the computer loads the selected quadrant, with the landing capsule appearing at its final seconds of decent. This loading time should be very brief though.

How is the Noctis galaxy generated, and what's this "StarSeed technology" you talk about? How does it work?
Although I'm not familiar with the exact specifics of how the technology works, I'll try to explain what I do know. In this field, I'm much a layman.
StarSeed technology was first piloted by the game StarFlight (in making about eighty planets across the galactic sector in the game), in the mid 1980's, and was later evolved with the Elite series.

Noctis I-IV were apparently the first to utilize solely StarSeeds in creating the entire galaxy.

In short, StarSeeds work on a mathmetical basis - it takes one starting number - in the case of Noctis this is a mix of the X, Y, Z coordinates of the starting location of the SD when you first enter the game - and from that number, it draws out new pseudo-random numbers around it; each number being a new "seed" to draw yet new numbers in cubic sectors.

I think Alex can explain this better then I ever can:

Alex said:
well, Noctis takes the current position of the drifter to make the "starseed", the number from which the positions of the surrounding stars are found

That number is a mix of the X, Y, Z coordinates of the drifter.
It gives the sequence of numbers that determines the position of the stars within cubic "sectors"

Those sectors may or may not contain a star, but they never contain more than one. Where the density is max (near the galactic centre...), every sector contains a star, but the position of that star in respect to the center of the cubic "sector", is influenced by the starseed.
That position is also given as X, Y, Z relative to the center of the sector. at that point, to create a system of planets around that star, those relative coords are mixed, and make a seed for the star system, from which sequence of numbers, the first one gives the type of star.

In NIV, star types are equally distributed, but NV has a "distribution table" reflecting a more realistic distribution, reflecting a typical galaxy.

So in NV, class-zero are about 1 star every 4, and pulsars are more rare, etc...

From the same sequence the type of star is extracted, planetary orbits and types are also extracted.
Planetary orbital data is then mixed, exactly like the XYZ triplets, so inclination, eccentricity, radius of the orbit, tilt etc... give another SEED.

That last seed is of course different for each planet: from that seed, and along with the landing coordinates, and considering many factors (factors like type of planet, brightness of the surface, latitude) the landscape is then generated for those exact coordinates.
Since the starting seed is the same to every explorer, the galaxy is drawn identically to everyone - thereby making it possible to share starmaps.

As said, StarSeeds are also used to generate the planet surfaces. In this case, the starting seeds is the location of your surface pod as it starts its descent; the landscape is then quickly drawn out from this one seed - and mountains, cliffs, ruins and pits are then randomized from that seed.

Noctis V will take this concept one step further: with much more detailed worlds with absolutely no limits whatsoever - which I think appears to be a first time in freeware computer gaming (and maybe any computer gaming in general) - and will as said also provide more realistic star-rendering seeds then seen in previous versions of Noctis.

Are there any new controls in Noctis V? Or are these the same as Noctis IV?
Although details about the new control-scheme have yet to be cleared out, Noctis V will have new controls - including a very anticipated slew-mode which will allow manual, mouse-based control of the ship.

Slew-control specs said:
- Dragging the mouse will point the ship in any directions
- Pushing and holding the left mouse button will raise physical acceleration (for in-system exploration)
- Pushing the right mouse button will raise Vimana-amplification (for inter-stellar exploration. Watch the fuel-meter when using this one)
- pushing both buttons at the same time will leave you at risk for getting a speeding ticket from the interstellar police (actually, pushing both buttons will let you travel pretty fast)
- By tapping the buttons, the SD will quickly slow down.
Will the outbox-inbox system work differently?
Alex has hinted that the system will be quite different, and the explorer name and date will be recorded automatically.
NV will likely store guide data directly on the AnywhereBB server, allowing for live updates, and removing the need for inboxes.

How will the framerates differ from space to surface?
Depends on how much is on the scene, and how fast your machine is.

Will Noctis V require a 3D-accelerator card?
Noctis V uses software rendering only, so no special hardware is required. Faster video access might improve framerates a little though.

So when can we expect the release of this game? Any ETA?
When it's ready.
Actually, there is no ETA for the release, and the more you ask this question, the more time it may take. So please don't ask.

During the winter, Alex estimated a possible mid 2006 release, but was just an estimate, and should be treated as such.

Why has there been such a long time since the last preview-shot? Why aren't there any screenshots from the planet surfaces? Why has there been so little public updates?
Remember that Alex has a real-life too; he can't work on NV in 24/7! He's not a machine after all. (not like Stargazer - RJ)
Please be patient: new updates and screenshots will be released when Alex feels the simulator is ready for it.

What work is now being done on this game?
Work continues on planet surfaces and creature-engines, though more complete detail of what's currently going on is yet released. Just be patient.

What will the required system be for running Noctis V?
The minimum system requirements were estimated to be around a 300 MHz processor with 64 MB RAM and a 16, 24, or 32 bit display, with a 733+ MHz processor with 128+ MB RAM and a 32 bit display recommended. However, that was a few years back, and one should expect the actual requirements to be higher now, as new features and effects are added, and the average household computer becomes faster. The actual system speed for comfortably running Noctis V will vary based on preference, but a faster CPU will allow for reasonable framerates at higher resolutions. Since the 3D engine is software based, the choice of video card has only a minor effect on framerates.
What operating system will Noctis V run on?
Any OS that supports Linoleum. Currently only Windows is fully supported, but who knows? Some kind and intelligent programmer may port it to other systems in the future. For the initial release, expect support for at least Windows, and possibly Linux.

A Lino master programmer named PeterPaul is working on porting Lino to Linux right now, a project which could be well worth following.

Will the source-code to NV ever be released?
Sometime in the future, but probably not anytime soon. NV should be out long before the source is released.

Will Noctis V still be freeware?
Yes. Noctis is a free hobby, after all, not a profession. It'll be freely downloadable from the main Noctis site.

How big will the Noctis V download file be?
Last I heard (a while back), the file was 613 KB (uncompressed), it may be different now.
Actual download size (compressed) will likely be less than a Meg.
In other words, you won't have to worry about not having enough disk space.

Who wrote this FAQ, and how can I contact him/her/it?
As of 13-10-03, this FAQ is open for moderator modification, but was initially started by Noctis-explorer Stargazer.
Contact me? Just send a PM, or ask me in a post.

Hey! There's a question I have that's not listed!
Any other questions not listed here can be asked in this thread, I hope you'll take advantage of it.
Only by your questions can I improve this FAQ further, so by all means, if you've got a NV question, that's the place to post it.

Back to section 1
└> last changed by Cryoburner on February 19, 2010 at 14:21
written by Stargazer on Oct 15, 2003 07:00
This thread is now locked to keep the split FAQ clean, moderators can still edit it though, and I hope they'll do so to add or fix things.

Any NV questions to be included in the FAQ, can now be asked here:

written by Stargazer on Nov 22, 2003 11:38
FAQ Updates
Update on May 17th, 2006:

Completely reformatted the FAQ's appearance to emphasize questions and improve readability. More spelling and grammar errors were fixed, and some information was added and updated as seen fit.
- Cryoburner


Update on August 9th, 2005:

Overhauled the existing entrees, fixing various grammatical errors and pieces of outdated information.
- Cryoburner


Update on August 9th, 2004:

Added a question and answer about the stars as seen in Noctis V screenshots. You can find it at the first page of the FAQ, it's the fifth question from the top.

Thanks to Stellanaut for the question.


Update on August 8th, 2004:

Once again big thanks to Cryo for his help in clarifying more details about the TwinScan method for anti-aliasing. Tthe update can be found in the first part of the FAQ, in the question about the visor.

Thanks once again to Cryoburner!


Update on August 6th, 2004:

New update to present the actual possibility of ambient sound effects in Noctis V (currently in planning phases), and an edit to the question about the visor, adding the TwinScan experimental anti-aliasing mode as a faster alternative to QuadScan.

Also a huge thanks to Cryoburner for removing many of my typos and misspellings in both sections. Thanks again, Cryo!


Update on August 5th, 2004:

Alex is back, and the FAQ has been updated to fit the new style of Postline 2004. RJ has also posted below, with two new answers and questions, and I have also included one of those (the one about weather) in the first page of the FAQ for simplicity.

Further, in news about NV, Alex is now working with the goal to complete it! Yes, there will be new screenshots in a matter of weeks, or maybe even days (including from planet surfaces), and yes, NV itself will be released in a matter of month's (unless something very unexpected occours).
If everything goes as hoped, this is probably among the last updates to this FAQ, as it will be replaced with a general questions FAQ once NV has been released. No, we still got no solid release date, but it appears very probable at this time that NV will be out this fall, or at the very least in this year.


Update on March 2nd, 2004:

With the new Avatar 3D tech-demo having been released, we have also gotten some new information about NV's graphical features - of special interest may be the quadscan-feature - an anti-aliasing effect to remove rough edges.
Also, NV will have selectable resolutions - see the graphics-section of the first part of the FAQ for more info.
Once again: big thanks to Alex for his continued work!


Update on Jan 15th, 2004:

Well, Alex returned, and confirmed the rumours of the jetpack-feature - so we may see a jetpack in NV after all.
The FAQ has been updated accordingly (see the second part of the FAQ - as the first one was too flooded to add much).

I have also added a question and answer about going up to the "roof" of the StarDrifter - to gain an uninterrupted view of nearby space. This feature will still be there in NV; good for taking photographs. This can be read at the end of the first part of the FAQ - as I have just about enough space to add it.

More detail to the question about the new inbox-outbox system has been addded as well, based on new information from Alex.

So, big thanks to Alex for the updates!


Update on Jan 10th, 2004:

Thanks to Cryoburner for his help in correcting a few things in the system-requirement section. Namely that Noctis V will be able to automaticly identify and run in 16 and 24 bit as well as 32, which will be optimal. Thanks again, Cryo!


Update on Jan 07th, 2004:

Added a note about a possible change of outbox-inbox system - though no details are known for sure as of yet.

Also thanks to RJ for the note below; adressing the issue of people wanting to parse their own outboxes into inboxes - which is very unadvisable in both Noctis IV and the future NV.

I also added a "jump-to" section at the start of the FAQ for easier navigation.


Minor update on Jan 04th, 2004:

Added a few notes on the system requirements, and a question and answer about framerates.


Medium update on Dec 27th, 2003:

Just vent over both the FAQ pages and fixed some typos, and restructured some sentences to make it look more like an FAQ, and less as an advertisement campaign.


Yet another minor Update on Dec 22nd, 2003:

Added a question and answer concerning Noctis V's standing in the capitalistic system: as freeware, which is the tradiational standing of the Noctis series.
Just in case anyone wondered.

I also decided to remove the note about the rumoured "jetpack" - as it really was far too speculative to be in this FAQ.


Minor Update on Dec 07th, 2003:

Added on request the rumours that a far-future release of NV may have some type of flying planetside - like a jetpack or something similar - but I stress: these are only unconfirmed rumours, and it's not probable we'll have any such thing in the near future. Actually, I didn't want to put this in the FAQ before I was more certain, but since it was requested.. well.. here it is.


Update on Dec 04th, 2003:

Added a question and answer for how big every world in Noctis V will be, see the first post of the FAQ. Very, very, very big thanks to Alex for the info!


Update on Dec 01st, 2003:

Just a minor update where I fixed a few typos and such, nothing really new.


Update on Nov 30th:

Had to move the Seed-technology explenation down the second post of the FAQ, after having made some much-needeed corrections. Thanks to Alex for his explenations.


Update on Nov 21-22nd, 2003:

Just three minor updates: added StarSeed-technology explenation (or what I could explain of it anyway), more detailed description of Noctis V's photo-abilities, and added a link to PeterPaul's Lino on Linux project.

The first two updates can be found on the first FAQ post, while the other you can find at the end of the second.

From now on, any updates will be explained with editing this post, so look here to see any new additions from time to time.


Update on September 7th

Slight update to poke fun at Stargazer - RaptorJedi
└> last changed by Cryoburner on January 24, 2007 at 21:46
written by Raptorjedi on Jan 07, 2004 14:34
New update....

Q. Can I make my own Inbox?

A. No, you can't, only Alex can, so to safely keep your Noctis from being messed up, leave it to him, this goes for NIV and NV
written by Raptorjedi on Aug 05, 2004 03:36
Q. What type of weather will there be?

A. So far Alex has tried with snow but isn't liking it, obviously there is rain, and dust storms on some planets, but only on non-felisian planets.

Q. Will sectors blend together, forming continents, mountain ranges, large forests and stuff?

A. Straight from from Alex "in some way, yes, but it may not be so realistic."
reading this thread
no members are reading this thread
. /../Noctis V FAQ - Forum Edition/ 1
87548, 16 queries, 0.235 s.this frame is part of the AnyNowhere network