A brand new development update for s&box has just been dropped on Facepunch's blogsite! This post will contain a summary and highlights of what happened to s&box over the month of May.
Have you ever wanted to create a game mode where you can easily generate maps and models on the fly? Layla has been hard at work at runtime mesh generation in s&box. Currently, this works by creating and updating GPU vertex buffers and index buffers at runtime. While this feature is still in the works, dev previewers can try it out already. The possibilities for terrain generation are very exciting, and we can't wait to try it out!
Gamemodes and Addons
Many members of the community who are excited for s&box are coming with expectations of the game being "Garry's Mod 2". The latest dev update makes it seem like this is not the case.
In a section about Dependencies, Garry stated the following:
Using inheritance and re-using code is smart. The issue is when you're doing that at runtime. The addon you're using updates, or is deleted, or an addon which that addon relies on is updated or deleted. Now we have a ton of addons that don't work.
So the official recommendation right now is to copy and paste code into your addon to re-use it between projects.
If you want to make an addon based on sandbox, download the repo and copy over what you want to take from it. It won't stay up to date with changes from the official sandbox repository - but that's a good thing - you're in control.
Currently, it sounds like addons are not going to be included as a base feature for the game. This revelation has struck a chord with a lot of the community. As of writing this, the Dependency section has 26 thumbs ups and 43 thumbs downs. Addons were a heavily relied-on aspect of Garry's Mod, allowing developers to expand upon existing game modes with relative ease. There were entire websites dedicated to hosting and selling addons such as gmodstore.com.
This change definitely sets the tone for s&box - the focus is on the games themselves. Server owners who liked to compile addons and lock content behind paywalls might be sad to hear their main method of monetization is potentially defunct. Meanwhile, game mode purists and developers could potentially be seeing new ways to be paid for their work.
Another section of the blogpost entitled Package Stats explains that top games or maps every month could receive a payout based on certain stats, such as average users, hours played, or some other statistic. It is exciting to see that Facepunch is actively thinking about monetization for game developers, but what it will entail is still largely a mystery.
If you've been following s&box for awhile, you are probably familiar with the loveable-but-ugly mascot Terry. This mascot is rather ugly, but in an endearing sense of the term. It seems like Facepunch has finally narrowed down on an art style for the game as a whole.
The s&box team has been experimenting with art styles for awhile and seem to have finally decided on a direction: cartoon citizens in a realistic looking world. In the above image, Terry is clearly an unrealistic portrayal of a person. But the suit he is wearing has immense detail. We love the direction the art style has taken due to the contrast between cartoon and realism.
Since Facepunch wants to create their own content for s&box such as game modes and maps, having the art direction finalized is a step in the right direction. The blogpost also mentions that some of the Rust assets will be removed from s&box, which will ideally be replaced by new work specifically created for s&box.
Other New Features & Notables
Lots of new changes have been made to s&box in the last month which mostly affects those who have the dev preview. The Player system and Network system have been refactored. A movement helper struct has been created to help simplify entity movement. Health is now a float instead of an integer.
In general, this month has been a great month for s&box. Some new keys were released for dev preview. 23 gamemodes and 30 maps have been published to the s&box API as of writing this. We look forward to hearing more information about s&box over the months towards release!