Well, I think it's clear at my end that I've bitten off more than I can comfortably chew with v0.8.Finishing all the various loose ends and little projects that I set myself as part of v0.8's brief is turning out to be very time-consuming at a busy time of year.On the good side: I managed to merge my new Astrofighter Carrier behaviour with the 'special' carriers in Missions 2 and 7 meaning that for all the different colours and configurations of the baseline carrier that you see in the show - one object and one behaviour in the game is controlling all of them.Infact it was going so well that I actually made that behaviour along with the behaviour for the Astrofighters (In the show the Fighters and Carriers essentially form part of a whole) part of the engine. I worked out that the Carriers and Fighters were used in 14 of the 17 levels so the decision to integrate it into the engine was a no-brainer.I also pushed in the new Asteroid Behaviour because those different Asteroids are used in a lot of levels too and only one object is required aside from a particle system that is included in the engine anyway.Also, since the Astrofighters and their Carriers make use of a dazzling assortment of bullets, lasers and rockets - all those collisions and behaviours for all those bullets ... are now part of the engine, since they were already getting referenced there anyway!I'm also planning on grouping certain enemy ships and buildings into packs such as "large transport ships" and "ground defences" seeing as objects of that sort tend to reside together in levels and so it would be nice to export a single, large package into a level to update all those objects's behaviours in one fell swoop.The music system is coming along well. Unfortunately, the DirectShow Object is being a bit of a pain when it comes to controlling its own volume but I think I've got it whipped into shape for the very most part.Also I'm about 2/3rds of the way through converting all the levels to use the new, single powerup system. (That is a really nice bit of code by the way). I may be creating a lot of work for myself lately but the quality of the new coding going into the programme is reasonably high according to my standards.Also, the particle/dust system (that I've been talking about for ages between v0.79 and v0.8) was going to get basically retconned and given a lobotomy in order to make it lighter for machines to run.To that end it was going to have 4 particles rather than 1 multifunctional one. However, seeing as it wasn't the multifunctional detection element that was causing slowdown, I have generated a hybrid system that combines the elegance of having as few particle types as possible with extremely high performance.The system will now comprise a "standard" particle which handles dust, blue hyperspace dust, green radiation and 'basic' fire/napalm.A second 'special' fire particle will be available and used instead of basic fire for faster CPU machines that can handle the constant control over colour gradation from white -> yellow -> orange -> red on each of the particles.The second, (special) system will yield impressive, large-scale fire effects, while the first (basic) will perhaps look more realistic if less overstated and will allow slower CPU machines to handle the Mission 10 Fire Guardian etc. with ease while giving a good emulation of the special system.Unfortunately, with all the internal upheaval, the Options Menu has totally lost track of being able to control the now-totally-changed vapour, dust and particle systems. Therefore I think I'll issue v0.8 with a reduced complement of display options in order to give everyone a speedy-ish release, while making them able to customise the output according to their system but only where those changes are actually gonna make a difference anyhow.But hey, I know it's all worth it - v0.8 is gonna blow people away because it already looks stunning and runs pretty darn well.UPDATE: - New Powerups working on Missions 0-10.- Enemy Drones and Homing Missiles integrated in engine. - Found a couple of bugs in the Drone's coding making it spontanteously explode when operating in one mode and getting stuck in one attack pattern in another - All fixed.- I also managed to simplify some of the ground-based mobile rocket launchers (EDF vehicles commandeered by the Alliance). They had two objects each making up the turrets in order to accommodate the required number of firing-points. Now it gets the job done better with just one.One thing which should be done is to handle all the ground turrets with a single object. At the moment there are single, twin and triple gun turrets handled by three objects with different code in half-a-dozen levels which is unacceptable from a design perspective and they will form part of a "ground-forces pack" to keep everything together and standardised.
Dream big and bold and daring.