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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:56 pm 
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Oolite beta release 1.75 is now available from Oolite.org.

The beta series
The word beta means widely varying things to different people. In this case, it means: there will be no new features before the next “stable” release, only bug fixes. (The difference can be subtle, and some bug fixes can have features as side effects, but if you start off by thinking “wouldn’t it be nice if…”, your idea is probably not a bug fix.)

Our ambition is a relatively rapid release schedule from now on. 1.75.1 will be in two to three weeks, followed by new beta releases until we run out of bugs. Then – assuming FireFox 4.0 has shipped, so we have a non-beta JavaScript engine – there will be one or more release candidate versions, leading up to 1.76 stable. Note to OXPers: this means you have two weeks to fix any JavaScript warnings about incorrect use of System and Player.

The stable, release candidates, and probably some later betas will omit support for various debug/testing/cheat features, including Debug.oxp support, Time Acceleration Factor and the various secret hotkeys while paused. Once the stable release is out, there will be a special “OXP developer” release with these features. The game without these features is somewhat smaller and faster, and the barrier to cheating (at least in certain ways) is higher.

Changes since test release 1.74.2
  • Smarter, more aggressive NPCs – for example, they are now able to shoot you when you cunningly stand still.
  • New master weapon lock key (default: _) disables primary and secondary weapons, and turrets.
  • Simplified autopilot controls: C (or key_autopilot) attempts to autopilot-dock with the current target station – your target if any, otherwise a station within scanner range, favouring the main station. Shift-C (now key_autodock instead of key_autopilot_target) is the same, except it will fast-dock if permitted. Shift-D is no longer used.
  • New “primable equipment” concept: equipment can produce scripted effects without having to be a missile. New keys: Shift-N and Control-Shift-N cycle through the list of primable equipment, and N activates the currently selected equipment. (Key config keys: key_prime_equipment, key_activate_equipment.)
  • Target-sensitive reticle mode is now more accurate.
  • Fuel price now depends on the mass of your ship.
  • Jumping between overlapping systems now uses 0.1 LY worth of fuel.
  • A hyperspace misjump now takes 3/4 of the time of a successful jump, rather than the full time. (It has to be at least 3/4 to avoid exploits. See this thread for more information.)
  • The trumble offer “mission” now repeats as intended, in case you accidentally missed it.
  • Escape pods now aim for the nearest friendly station/carrier.
  • The escape pod key/joystick button must now be pressed twice in rapid succession to eject (except in strict mode, or if the escape-pod-activation-immediate hidden setting is set).
  • Comm log messages are now spoken. (Feature request #4970)
Bug fixes
  • “Lollipop flashes” eliminated. (Bug #17215)
  • Hyperspace countdown messages don’t repeat themselves.
  • You can no longer sneak into the contract screen through the back door in secondary stations.
  • Secondary weapons are now accounted for properly when evaluating your ship. (Bug #17450)
  • Fixes to joystick configuration (Bug #17482, Bug #17490)
  • The usual indescribable yet important “minor tweaks and fixes”.
  • New icon by seventh.
  • Reduced memory usage of various special effects and JavaScript objects. On the other hand, the new JavaScript engine uses more memory.
  • The Dread Sound Bug of Doom is fixed. (Bug #17214)
  • Joystick support.
  • Automatic update support (Sparkle).
  • The Oolite Screen Shots folder can now be moved from the desktop and Oolite will continue to use it (as long as it isn’t renamed or moved to the trash).
Windows and Linux
  • Due to a bug in GNUstep, older versions cannot read credit balances of more than 429496729.5 credits correctly. 1.75 writes saved games in a way that avoids this problem (even when loaded with old test releases). The Windows version can also read larger credit quantities in old saved games.

E-mail: jens@oolite.org

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:57 pm 
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…and here are the boring technical bits no-one cares about.

  • New shipdata.plist keys:
    • allows_auto_docking (station only): if true, player autopilot docking is permitted. Default: true.
    • allows_fast_docking (station only): if true, fast docking is permitted. Default: false, except for main station.
    • counts_as_kill: if false, the ship does not count as a kill and does not participate in q-mine cascade happy fun time, even if its scan class and other properties would otherwise let it do so. Default: true.
    • cloak_automatic (NPCs): if true, cloaking device is activated when attacking; otherwise, it must be activated by a script. Default: true.
    • has_patrol_ships (station only, fuzzy boolean): if true, the station will periodically launch patrols if it has any police ships docked. Default: false, but ignored (treated as always true) for main station.
    • hyperspace_motor (all ships, including player): required to be able to jump. Default: true.
    • interstellar_undocking (station only): if true, docking with the station in interstellar space doesn’t cause the station to jump to an adjacent system. Default: false.
    • weapon_range (turret subentities): plasma shot range. Default: 6000.
    • tunnel_corners, tunnel_start_angle and tunnel_aspect_ratio (station only): these replace docking_pattern_model. See this post for more information.
  • A new ship role, “cinder”, is used to generate debris in post-nova systems. The default cinders look like the default asteroids and boulders, but have very high heat shielding. If you make custom asteroids, you probably want to make cinder versions of them. If you’re abusing the “asteroid” role to put random stuff in asteroid fields, you don’t want to make a cinder version.
  • Turret weapon_energy now defaults to 25.
  • Beacon icon data is now handled in a more flexible way (see here; Bug #17828). Additionally, it is looked up using the ship’s beacon code as a key, instead of its primary role.
  • New equipment.plist extra-dictionary keys:
    • script: used to implement primable equipment. Equipment scripts have one predefined property, equipmentKey, and one event handler, activated().
    • visible: controls visibility on status screen and shipyard blurbs. Default: true.
  • NPC missiles are now represented as equipment entries instead of ships. For efficiency, it is recommended that all NPC missile types have an equipment.plist entry, even if they’re not available to the player. (For example, there is now an EQ_THARGON.) For assistance in setting this up, enable ship.setUp.missiles in logcontrol.plist (or use console.setDisplayMessagesInClass("ship.setUp.missiles", true) in the debug console).
Other configuration files
  • Sounds that are listed in customsounds.plist are now preloaded to avoid loading delays. Sounds that are played through JavaScript by specifying a file name cannot be preloaded; if you’re doing this, and your sound isn’t particularly rare, I suggest going through a customsounds.plist entry.
  • Fortuitously, using customsounds.plist entries from scripts now works properly.
  • Screen backdrops and overlays can now be scaled, allowing for higher resolutions. (Bug #17201) See this post for more information. Additionally, screenbackgrounds.plist entries may be arrays, in which case one element is picked at random.
  • Planets using cube map textures now rotate around the expected polar axis. Planets using traditional textures don’t, but they never did. (Bug #17243)
  • New HUD dial selector: drawWeaponsOfflineText:.
  • Upgraded SpiderMonkey to bleeding edge (1.75 uses the same version as FireFox 4.0 beta 11). This adds most ECMAScript 5th Edition features, notably including strict mode, which I recommend all OXPers adopt.
  • On the other hand, the old SpiderMonkey-specific “strict mode” is disabled by default because it has some false positives. It can be enabled through the debug console by setting console.pedanticMode to true.
  • Native JSON support may be useful for storing structured data in mission variables.
  • The JavaScript global and console objects are now replaced when resetting the game, and can no longer be used to smuggle information across sessions.
  • Vector3D and Quaternion objects can no longer be compared using == and !=, because the wart in the JavaScript engine we were previously exploiting no longer exists. See this thread for more information.
  • Scripts are now stopped if they run for more than one second. (Slow Oolite functions are not counted towards the limit. The idea isn’t to force a time limit on you but to kill scripts stuck in an infinite loop. If your script is deliberately running for more than a second you probably have problems, though.) During loading and the startUp event, the limit is two seconds.
  • All Oolite-provided JavaScript methods and properties have been audited for consistent error reporting and sane handling of bad values. In some cases, their error checking has become stricter. In others, they perform normal implicit conversions (like converting a string with a numerical value to a number) instead of failing or crashing. All normal parameter errors should now become JavaScript exceptions; calling an Oolite-defined method with the wrong type of this value will just halt the script, but it’s hard to do that by accident.
  • Oolite now has the ability to write a stack trace when a JavaScript exception goes unhandled or a warning is logged. This helps you find out how you reached the point where the error occurs. This is on by default if the debug OXP is installed, off by default otherwise. You can toggle it by setting console.dumpStackForErrors and console.dumpStackForWarnings if the console is active, or the dump-stack-for-errors and dump-stack-for-warnings hidden settings otherwise. When the console is active, you can also log a stack trace at any point using the special statement debugger;, which will otherwise have no effect.
  • The JavaScript global object is now exposed as a property of itself, called global. global === global.global.
  • The player’s ship is now treated as invalid after ejecting or dying.
  • Some exceptions thrown in event handlers, which were mistakenly suppressed before, are now reported.
  • Frame callbacks: callback functions that are called once per frame, useful for driving animations.
Scripting bug fixes
  • The prototype chains for Oolite-defined objects were previously set up incorrectly. This has been fixed. An effect of this is that using methods and properties on singleton constructors instead of their instances stopped working. For the most common cases, System and Player there are compatibility accessors which log warning, much like we’ve done for deprecated methods in the past. If you want to actually understand what’s going on, my best stab at explaining it is here.
  • As far as scripts are concerned, the player can now only die once. (Previously, shipDied() would be called twice, once without parameters and once with.)
  • When the player is killed by a q-bomb, the damageType parameter to shipDied() is now “cascade weapon” (not “energy damage”).
  • You can now award multiple trumbles, to the delight of customers everywhere.
  • “Display models” of ships and planets no longer show up in the system’s entity lists. You can get at the display model for mission screens with the new mission.displayModel property. The others are intended to be inaccessible.
  • Sound.load() now handles customsounds.plist keys properly.
  • Ship exitSystem()/AI performHyperSpaceExit now work in interstellar space.
New world events
  • playerWillSaveGame(saveType) (Feature request #5095)
  • escapePodSequenceOver() (called immediately before deciding how to rescue or kill the player after using an escape pod. See [url=http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/Oolite_JavaScript_Reference:_Player#setEscapePodDestination]player.setEscapePodDestination()[/url]).
New ship events
  • [url=http://aegidian.org/bb/viewtopic.php?p=127388#p127388]coordinatesForEscortPosition(index)[/url] (not exactly an event, but whatever.)
  • distressMessageReceived(aggressor, sender)
  • shipTakingDamage(amount, fromEntity, damageType) (Feature request #5077)
  • shipKilledOther(target, damageType) (fires after target’s shipDied(), but before actually blowing up).
  • shipWillLaunchFromStation(station) (previously restricted to player).
Modified ship events
  • commsMessageReceived() now takes a second parameter, the sending ship.
New JavaScript properties and methods
  • Entity collisionRadius
  • Entity dumpState() (only available if console is active): writes a bunch of junk to the log.
  • EquipmentInfo canBeDamaged
  • EquipmentInfo canCarryMultiple
  • EquipmentInfo isAvailableToNPCs
  • EquipmentInfo isAvailableToPlayer
  • EquipmentInfo isVisible
  • EquipmentInfo scriptName
  • Global defaultFont (object with one method, measureString())
  • Global addFrameCallback()
  • Global formatCredits()
  • Global formatInteger()
  • Global isValidFrameCallback()
  • Global removeFrameCallback()
  • Global takeSnapShot()
  • mission.displayModel: the spinning-ship backdrop, if one is in use. (If you set spinModel to false in the runScreen() parameter object, it will refrain from spinning around for easier manual animation.)
  • player.setEscapePodDestination()
  • player.ship.viewDirection
  • player.ship.weaponsOnline
  • player.ship.removePassenger()
  • Ship subEntityCapacity
  • Ship restoreSubentities()
  • Ship scriptedMisjump() (previously player-only)
  • Station allowsAutoDocking
  • Station allowsFastDocking
  • System countEntitiesWithScanClass()
  • System scrambledPseudoRandomNumber()
Modified JavaScript properties and methods
  • Ship commsMessage() now takes an optional second parameter, the target ship.
  • Ship equipmentStatus() now returns "EQUIPMENT_UKNOWN" when passed an undefined equipment identifier, instead of throwing an exception.
  • The Ship property roleProbabilities has been renamed roleWeights.
New AI commands
  • enterPlayerWormhole
  • setDesiredRangeForWaypoint
  • setTargetToNearestFriendlyStation
  • thargonCheckMother
  • updateEscortFormation
New AI messages
Descriptions.plist changes (for translators)
  • Additions:
    • number-group-size
    • number-group-threshold
    • number-decimal-separator
    • number-group-separator
    • autopilot-station-@-does-not-allow-autodocking
    • autopilot-multiple-targets
    • autopilot-red-alert
    • witch-no-motor
    • witch-user-galactic-abort
    • weapons-systems-online
    • weapons-systems-offline
    • equipment-primed-@
    • equipment-primed-none
    • equipment-primed-none-available
    • station-docking-clearance-denied
    • initializing-debug-support
    • charts-distance-f (short-range-chart-distance-f and long-range-chart-distance-f now reference this; it is not used directly by the game)
    • charts-est-travel-time-f (short-range-chart-est-travel-time-f and long-range-chart-est-travel-time-f now reference this; it is not used directly by the game)
    • commodity-market
    • stickmapper-weapons-online-toggle
    • stickmapper-snapshot
    • stickmapper-prime-equipment
    • stickmapper-activate-equipment
    • stickmapper-escape-pod
    • stickmapper-cloak
    • stickmapper-scanner-zoom
    • gameoverscreen-escape-pod
    • snapshots-directory-name
    • snapshots-directory-name-mac
    • rescue-reward-for-@@-@-credits-@-alt
    • capture-reward-for-@@-@-credits-@-alt
    • speech-synthesis-incoming-message-@
  • Deleted/unused:
    • initialising-universe
    • speech-synthesis-incoming-message - no longer used directly by the game, used by speech-synthesis-incoming-message-@ so existing localizations will (possibly) work.
    • autopilot-cannot-dock-with-target – still included, but currently unused.
Debug console
  • Previously, the console object was available from within the console as console, and anywhere else as debugConsole. Both are now global, and console is preferred.
  • Profiling support: call :profile <expression> to see where <expression> spends its time. For more detailed information, as a bunch of JavaScript objects rather than a text dump, use this.profileData = console.getProfile(function() { <expression> }).
  • Tracing support: call :trace <expression> to see the hierarchy of function calls made by <expression>. (The trace is written to the log.) Tracing and profiling can’t be used at the same time.
  • When the result of an expression is an array or plain object, its structure is now pretty-printed. You can also pretty-print the structure of any object using the :d <expression> macro. I suggest getting into the habit of doing this to any object you’re curious about. :d player.ship is a good starting point.
  • The call() method has been renamed callObjC() to avoid confusion with the standard Function.prototype.call(). It now works on more objects – just about everything except vectors and quaternions – and can deal with Objective-C methods that return numbers, vectors or quaternions.

E-mail: jens@oolite.org

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