The One Man MMO Project
I have a couple of new screenshots to share. I've been worrying about the performance of rendering and loading for a while now, but I ran Miranda in Release mode today for the first time in ages, and was very pleasantly surprised to find that everything is in fact running wonderfully. Load times are good, frame rates are solid. Stuff like that makes a Friday.
This first shot shows everything I've been working on this week. Buildings are tinted (when selected) with a color selected by the player. Selected (or under attack) units have health bars overtop of them that match the tint color and the background color of the name in the new player list in the top left corner. The player list shows the faction, player name, color and level for every player you can see. I experimented with putting the player name directly above every unit, but with a lot of units onscreen it was an illegible mess. Kills Today is an idea I shamelessly stole from Transistor - thanks Supergiant!
This shot shows the same base from the top of a nearby mountain during heavy weather. I changed the magnification mode on the dust which got rid of some pixellation.
Because I think this was mostly a waste of time I'm putting the one I built in the public domain in the hopes that someone else doesn't waste time on this. If your lawyer isn't satisfied with this statement, feel free to have them email me.
I experimented briefly with this cool css hexagon drawing example, but in the end I went with squares which are simpler. The picker can be resized easily by making the squares smaller/larger in the CSS.
Here's a live example of the color picker.
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I get occasional questions via email, I thought I would share some of those questions and the answers here. Anything here is just my current thoughts, game development is adaptive, so don't be surprised if things are different in the game. Thanks to those who sent me these great questions. Keep them coming.
You mention on mmorts.com that units and buildings disappear after 30 seconds. How do you handle situations where, say, an opponent of mine logs off and I build a whole bunch of cheap buildings where their buildings were? What would happen when they log back on and the spaces their buildings occupied are now blocked?
While I haven't implemented this yet, the plan is to allow the player to either quickly rebuild their bases at new locations, or if their previous locations are unoccupied, to place buildings where they were.
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I was not at my sharpest yesterday so I decided to tackle something I thought would be easy and pretty helpful: Windowed Fullscreen. Windowed Fullscreen is a window rendered on the regular Windows desktop but with no window decorations and on top of the Windows Taskbar. It looks just like Fullscreen, but it avoids the screen flashing it takes to get into Windows' real Fullscreen mode (which I also have since it allows you to set the resolution and color depth independent of the Windows desktop.) Windowed Fullscreen doesn't work as well as Fullscreen if you have multiple monitors since there is nothing to constrain the mouse to the game window.
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Since warning messages bug me, I took another crack at finding a solution to this warning message today. I'm building with the Windows 7.0A SDK which has a defective mt.exe.
..\compatibility.manifest : manifest authoring warning 81010002: Unrecognized Element "compatibility" in namespace "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:compatibility.v1".
Microsoft's official instructions are to install the Windows 7.1 SDK, but it wouldn't install for me because I already had the 8.0 SDK. Apparently this is a pretty common problem with a really messy workaround.
Thinking there was a good chance that mt.exe still existed in the newer SDK's, I looked around and found that it can be found here:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.1\bin\x86
I did a quick run of each version of MT.EXE and these are the versions reported by the 7.0 and 8.1 toolkits respectively:
Microsoft (R) Manifest Tool version 5.2.3790.2076
Microsoft (R) Manifest Tool version 6.3.9600.17029
I then made backups of the troublesome:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\Bin\
Then replaced those binaries with the ones from the 8.1 SDK and voila, no more warning message!
(If UAC gives you problems moving files around, click on Start, type Windows Explorer and when it appears in the menu, right click on it and choose Run as administrator and you'll have no more problems.)
I quickly tested the new build of the installer and it appears to have the compatibility manifest it needs.
This week I built a single file downloadable installer for Miranda. This had been on my wishlist for awhile. I had planned to use a regular Windows installer, but I had the patcher built so I thought I'd see what else was needed to make it into a full installer. It turned out to be easy to install the files, and kind of challenging to hook it into Windows. It was the first time I've built a Windows dialog in 8 years!
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Something I think is really important in shipping a product is getting the number of bugs down to zero. The fewer bugs you have, the less people will need to rely on support, and the more time I can spend adding features. I used this theory on a previous product with considerable success.
So before I send the game out for people to play I thought it would be good to have web-based crash reporting in place.
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I've never been happy with the look of the in-game map. This week it occurred to me that maybe a topographical map would be a more in the theme of the game and a military-strategy-friendly way to go.
The Miranda map is made with WorldMachine. A little Googling led me to discover that WorldMachine can generate topographical maps of the terrain it renders. This seemed a whole lot easier than writing a topographical map generator into the world importer I wrote for Miranda, so off I went.
I brought the image into Gimp, inverted it (since the terrain in WorldMachine is flipped on the Y axis in Miranda) and got this:
Originally I looked at old maps and experimented with using a tea-stained paper background, but that didn't really go with the hi-tech nature of a future spacefaring society, so I used Google image search to search for "cool topological map" and found this neat old source of inspiration (12MB).
Next I took the image from WorldMachine, added a transparent layer, then used Gimp's select color to delete the black, then select color again and bucket fill with "Fill Whole Selection" checked, to change the white to blue. I pieced together a background and cleaned it up with the stamp tool and a soft brush, then I added a grid with Filters|Render|Pattern|Grid. Then I added a legend, making up some lore-consistent details, and the final map looks like this:
[The full 2048x2048 image is 5M so it will take a while to download if you click it.]
The map covers the entire 20x20km test area I'm currently running.
I was looking at Twitter today and realized I haven't posted anything about The Imperial Realm :: Miranda since the beginning of May. Still here! Working hard. Well except last week.
Since around March I've been working pretty consistently on the trailer for the game. I worked out a script, did the voiceover recording, put together a roughcut using beautiful hand-drawn storyboards like the one below, hunted down some music, and started showing it to people looking for feedback. Since then I've been building all the features into the game that I wanted to show in the trailer. This is not going to be a prerendered scandal like Crysis 2's trailer, I'm using almost 100% in-game graphics.
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I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice.
If you want to contact press (or anybody) that you don't have an existing relationship with about your game, you have until July 1. Canada's new anti-spam law will come into effect on that date and the implications for anyone with a commercial message are huge.
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Designing a Secure MMO Login System - 2014-08-30 12:19:14 (6 comments)
Its just a random number appended to the data you are hashing so that if you hash the same password for two different users, they don't have the same hash. That way it is harder for someone with a list of common passwords to hash and compare them ...
Designing a Secure MMO Login System - 2014-08-30 12:11:57 (6 comments)
hi, im new to all this ... what is "salt" ?
Thanks for the suggestion, I hadn't considered that. I'll try to figure a way to let players do that.
So I notice that the colour picker has no place to simply input an RGB colour. Will we be able to input an RGB colour manually in-game so that we can get the exact shade that we want?
Single-File Installer - 2014-07-23 17:48:47 (2 comments)
Found a solution to the MT warning message http://onemanmmo.com/?mt
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