Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Cosmoteer 0.13.2 - Miscellaneous Improvements

Cosmoteer 0.13.2 has been released! This is a relatively minor update that fixes bugs, reduces RAM usage, and adds some quality-of-life improvements and modding tools.

The reduction in RAM (and VRAM) usage is largely because Cosmoteer now uses "texture compression" to reduce the size of almost all of the graphics textures by 75%. This saves a couple hundred MB of RAM in the vanilla game, and it makes an enormous impact for some mods: "Abh Mod" for example has gone from using more than 4 GB of ram to around 1.2 GB of RAM.

Most games use texture compression and package already-compressed textures as part of the game installation. But Cosmoteer is a bit different in that it compresses textures on the fly from the raw PNG files during loading. It does this primarily to keep the game very easy to mod (most paint programs are unable to save textures using GPU-compatible texture compression formats, and none can generate the texture atlases that Cosmoteer uses for its ship graphics). The downside is that it takes much longer to compress a texture than it does to load an uncompressed texture, and so after compressing a texture for the first time, Cosmoteer caches the compressed texture on your hard drive and only re-compresses it if the original PNG file has changed.

This update also adds a "Developer Mode" to Cosmoteer, which makes available a number of development tools and features that should hopefully make mods easier and more convenient to create. These tools include a particle effect editor, a planet editor, and the ability to "cheat" by giving yourself money and fuel.