My progress lately has been mostly engine-related and conceptual, which I suppose explains the lack of the usual pretty pictures that I like to post. I vowed to start from scratch at the beginning of summer, which I have done.
As per the "top-down" post a while ago, I am attempting to work in such a fashion. Already, I have built something that looks more like a game than anything else that I've ever created. Of course, it comes at the expense of polish. The graphics aren't stunning. And there's still not much to do. But it's more than the usual single-idea tech demos.
Below are some shots of a few planetary surfaces. I used my old method of chunked LOD with skirts. This is all done in a forward-renderer though, so no fancy postprocessing. The surface function is very simple and generated on the CPU (multiplication of two fractal Worley noises). Still, each planet is different, and it's neat being able to fly to and dock with different ones. I'm working on a trade interface right now, so hopefully gameplay isn't that far off. I re-used the GUI shader code that I developed for the XDX engine, as I really liked the look of it (but the GUI logic was rewritten and simplified for the new engine).
As for conceptual work, I have developed a nice, modularized game architecture, as well as a neat component-based entity system that I will probably describe in detail in a future post (it took a lot of thinking to come up with). Finally, I've factored this project into standard .h/.cpp separation (unlike my usual fast-prototyping style) so that I can use DLL-based scripts to control game logic. More on that later, but suffice it to say that being able to hot-swap game logic is going to be a real plus!