The One Man MMO Project
I demoed The Imperial Realm::Miranda to about twenty people tonight at Full Indie demo night. I wasn't sure I was going to show the game when I went down there, but I found an open table with power, brought out the business cards and started talking to a lot of really nice people.
Holy sh** Is The Highest PraiseI got quite a few "holy sh**"'s tonight which is really the highest praise you can get. Usually it was when I pointed out my base on the map and then zoomed out to show the whole map.
It's been a few years since I've shown anything in public so it was fun to go through the process of figuring out how to best demo Miranda. I got a good laugh from one fellow who pointed out "that you can always tell when its someone from marketing doing a demo and when it is one of the developers, because marketing glosses over bugs, and developers point them out." I think I'm a hybrid, I only mention bugs if its really obvious, like big black buildings in the middle of the screen.
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If anyone ever tells you sorting your meshes by material and minimizing redundant calls in OpenGL isn't worth your while, they're wrong.
Frame rates have been slowly decreasing as I've been adding new content. Recently my 2GHz Core i7 with NVidia GeForce GT 555M had hit an all-time low framerate of around 50FPS. I needed to do something to crank those framerates back up so players with lower-spec machines would have a chance.
The obvious candidate was the way my renderer handled materials. It didn't really do enough to tell if materials that had different settings were otherwise identical (same textures/shaders.) And it did nothing to reduce redundant state changes, happily changing shader and every rendering setting at the end of each material even if the next material used all the same settings.
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As I've added more and more particle effects to The Imperial Realm::Miranda I've started to see problems with drawing order. The most obvious problem is sometimes when the camera moves during explosions and the smoke alternates in front of and behind the flowers on the terrain. It's not so pretty. The large bulk of my particles are transparent (have cut out bits) but I have a few that are truly translucent (partially see-through bits) which really complicates things.
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I watched a ton of RTS game trailers last week trying to figure out what elements people might expect in the trailer for Miranda. Besides a bunch of prerendered stuff that I'm not going to do, what I saw were a lot of explosions, some simple vehicle physics, and a lot of weapon effects that leave trails of smoke. That's not too bad a list.
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Up until today I've been exporting NvOptimusEnablement to enable the NVidia card in my laptop (which also has an Intel card for 2D.) For whatever reason, it stopped working mysteriously this week which led to an hour of trying to figure out why it was all of a sudden taking 3 seconds to render each frame (Intel OpenGL is really, really sad.)
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Lair Engine uses UDP for messaging. Sometimes it is super-inconvenient to break a message into packet-sized pieces so on top of that, I have what I call JumboPackets. JumboPackets support sending messages larger than a single packet. The cool thing about the way I implemented JumboPackets is that as far as anyone outside the networking system is concerned, they are just like regular packets - only bigger.
The one problem with JumboPackets is that they're subject to rate limiting like any other packet, so if a jumbo packet is actually 3 regular packets, it must be reassembled on the proxy, sent to the client and then reassembled again. So a 3K packet at a 1K/second send rate limit with 2 hops takes 6 seconds to get delivered. This problem gets worse as packets get larger. Recently I started experimenting with much larger datasets (more units, more teams) and discovered that some of the packets sent during the initial connection were getting quite large and noticeably slowing "load time."
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In the last blog post I said I'd been working hard to get Miranda out the door. Here's some of the things I've been working on...
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Back at the end of April I decided it was time to get The Imperial Realm::Miranda finished, so I worked out a feature development plan with the goal of releasing the game on November 9th, the 5th anniversary of the project. I optimistically believed that would be early enough to beat the AAA Christmas launch window PR blitz. The plan was:
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To celebrate the 5th anniversary of my work on The Imperial Realm::Miranda I left the computer at home, took the family to Seattle, and spent three days having fun, eating well, and seeing new things.
Darth Vader's Lightsaber from The Empire Strikes Back
The Indie Game Revolution at The Experience Music Project Museum
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Grab Bag - 2014-12-11 00:21:13 (2 comments)
I knew that quadtree template would work better than Facebook ads! I never played Warzone, but I am taking a lot of inspiration from Red Alert 2 and the other games in the C&C oeuvre. You're right, The Imperial Realm::Miranda is awesome and I will ...
Grab Bag - 2014-12-10 17:38:02 (2 comments)
I randomly found your site while searching for implementing quad trees :D
Anyway I cant believe the awesomeness of your game, it seems like command and conquer, tiberian sun, yuri's revenge,red alert2 etc online???
Also reminds me of warzone ...
Enabling NVidia GPUs on Optimus Laptops - 2014-12-03 12:18:32 (2 comments)
This seems somewhat heavy-handed given the documentation, but it does work. I had to modify the popup to tell the user to restart The Imperial Realm::Miranda since this doesn't take effect until the next run. Might make this an installer step at ...
Enabling NVidia GPUs on Optimus Laptops - 2014-12-03 02:45:15 (2 comments)
Wow, did some more testing and even successfully loading NVAPI isn't enough to enable the NVidia card with the 334.75 drivers.
Dates are Hard - 2014-11-16 11:58:48 (3 comments)
Also still following this project.
Hope we can jump into action soon.
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