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The One Man MMO Project
The story of a lone developer's quest to build an online world :: MMO programming, design, and industry commentary
By Robert Basler on 2016-11-30 00:50:18
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Even with players submitting 130 crash reports on the first test weekend the feedback on Miranda was overwhelmingly positive. What was most gratifying to me was to see the amount of playtime everyone put in. A lot of people spent a large part of their weekend playing with this game I built. I got a lot of great feedback and I wanted to address some of it here.

A couple of players had problems laying out their bases. With Miranda's realistic terrain, there are ridges and peaks and cliffs and buildings can't be put just anywhere. It can be particularly tricky for large buildings like the refinery. One of the attributes of buildings that can be increased is the foundation height so buildings with higher foundations can be placed on steeper slopes. Miranda's base layout map shows how steep the terrain is so players can choose flatter areas for their base. Communicating all of this to the beginning player is an issue I'm still trying to figure out.

Some players mentioned that they didn't like the loading screens when moving the camera drone around the map. Luckily that was something I just hadn't gotten around to yet and players this weekend should see faster camera drone movement and fewer loading screens.

One player was concerned that players will just move their base if they see someone coming to attack them. It is not immediately apparent, but that actually isn't a good idea. What happens when you log off from Miranda is that your units stay on the map for 30 seconds. But during that time nobody is controlling them, they won't fight back, they just sit there. So if someone is about to attack you, it is a very bad time to log off. To make that clearer to players, I'll be adding a warning if the player chooses to log off when enemies are nearby.

One of the big UI problems during the test weekend was with the chat window getting confused with when it did and didn't have the keyboard input focus. I've fixed that up and added a hotkey (Enter) that puts the player into the chat window instantly.

Some players mentioned they didn't like having to go to vendors to purchase parts instead of just building units with war factories. Vendors aren't going away, but the feedback gave me a really good idea for another feature that I think those people might like.

The magic wand also brought forth some really great suggestions so keep them coming. A lot of things that people asked for are already planned, things like walls and Starcraft style controls and engineers.

One feature that sadly won't be coming to Miranda is Supreme Commander style Strategic zoom. Most RTS games (like Supreme Commander) use a system called deterministic multiplayer. The way that works is that everyone starts at the same time with the same conditions and rules, and the multiplayer just passes each player's keyboard and mouse input to all the other players in the game. This is extremely efficient with network bandwidth but it doesn't scale beyond a small number of players and it doesn't support players joining and leaving the game. Miranda uses a different system which is also very efficient and allows players to join and leave the game at any time, but the size of the area which is replicated with high fidelity is limited. If you zoom out, there's actually nothing to see. So no strategic zoom on Miranda.

I did modify the camera to zoom out a little further, I'm not sure yet if I like it.
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By Robert Basler on 2016-11-21 00:38:06
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
The first indication there was a problem was a new name popping up on the list of players. I had set up a line of ATV pickets around my base but I never saw what happened to my picket unit. Its brave sacrifice was noted only by a tiny light going out on my minimap. But he had done his job. The incoming force was a small group of lightning tanks backed by a much larger force of long-range rocket launchers and they were two minutes out.

My base was reasonably well guarded by laser towers and I had a small force of Lancet Tanks I had bought from Tahh Mahtahh as well as a few Heavy Tanks armed with powerful Beam Cannons. If I could get lucky and punch through the front line of lightning tanks, they would make short work of the rocket launchers before the rockets could destroy my base. Initially my tanks were out of position, so by the time they could be brought to bear, the lightning tanks were already within range of the laser towers' beams.

With the tanks nearly in position, things were looking hopeful until the alarm sounded and the voice came over the command channel "fuel-air missile launch detected." Uh-oh. Despite the pounding I knew they would take, I moved my tanks in closer to the lightning tanks hoping the plan wasn't to sacrifice them as the rocket launchers came into range. The flash came moments later.

Brilliant white. The world shook and the battlefield was wreathed in smoke while my base burned.

[Fuel-air missile attack.]

But fortune smiled upon me. My generators and laser towers were undamaged.

With my defenses intact my tanks made quick work of the tip of the spear. When the smoke cleared I went looking for the rocket launchers, but they had snuck off back into the dark.

That was awesome! Totally why I made The Imperial Realm::Miranda.
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By Robert Basler on 2016-11-18 16:03:36
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
[Fireworks seemed appropriate for today!]

If you are playing The Imperial Realm::Miranda this weekend, please fill out this short anonymous survey when you're done. It should only take a couple of minutes.


After you start the client once patching is complete, at the bottom of the login screen it should say Version

Status Updates

If there are any problems or news about the test, I'll be posting that first on twitter then here.


If you experience a crash, please let the Lair Crash Reporter submit the crash report. I've already fixed one crash from the reports submitted earlier this week.

For non-crash problems there is an in-game bug reporting tool, just hit Ctrl-B at any time. If you prefer, you can email me (that's my email at the top of this post) or add a commment below. I'll be doing my best to keep an eye on things this weekend.

Friday Evening Update

I played Miranda tonight with people from the UK, France, Canada and Hungary. The first trans-Atlantic players. Overall the game was a bit crashy - but that was to be expected. Luckily it was more client crashes than server crashes. I'll be looking at all those crash reports this week as well as the bug reports people are sending in.

Tip: The chat box sometimes won't accept typing. If that happens, click the arrow to minimize the box, then restore it and click on the text box to type.

Tip: There is a list of the keyboard controls here
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By Robert Basler on 2016-11-16 00:49:45
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Miranda's map is gigantic for an RTS. Before I had the shroud in-game and because the camera drone moves very fast, you could move the camera drone from one side of the map to the other in about 5 minutes. The map felt huge. But with the shroud, players can only explore at the speed of their fastest unit. It now takes time to discover and explore Miranda's mountains and valleys and plains. Players starting out will find that the amount of the map they can explore is limited - at least initially. With only a few players online, Miranda's current 20x20KM map is enormous and is not as densely populated with things of interest as I'd like, so here's a map to help players this weekend find some of the things Miranda currently has to offer.

[Miranda Today.]

Players will probably want to set up a base near the vendors fairly early in the game to gain access to additional components and to sell extra ones. (Once players have discovered a vendor, they only need to move the camera drone to it to access the vendor's wares.) There is currently only one vendor per faction, eventually additional vendors will be spread throughout the map, carry different inventories and accept different components.

Players should be wary of placing their bases on areas where the contour lines on the map are closely spaced. Close contour lines indicate hilly areas where players may find it difficult or impossible to successfully place buildings. Later in the game, more advanced buildings provide higher foundations and can be placed on steeper terrain.

The plan for All Access is to both increase the density of interesting places, and expand Miranda's world to 300x300KM.
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By Robert Basler on 2016-11-09 11:26:48
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
I have been developing The Imperial Realm::Miranda on my own for seven years and now I need your help. I need people to play the game, tell me what they like, tell me what they don't like (kindly please) and take part in discussions to decide what might make it better.

[Independents invade the mysterious Glassed Region.]

I will be holding two free test weekends for the people who are signed up for the Mailing List on November 18-20 and November 25-27. The test weekends will run from Friday at 4pm to Sunday at midnight (Pacific time.) I will be sending emails on Monday November 14 and Monday November 21 with a link to retrieve the Secret Lair Code needed to play the game the following weekend.

On the November 18-20 weekend I will be limiting it to just 25 players on a first-come first-served basis. The number of players for the second test weekend is TBD.

I will also be asking players to complete a short survey.

[Lightning Cannon at Work.]

Miranda now has most of the features I originally envisioned. Developing the technology to support thousands of players, each controlling hundreds of units, has been enormously challenging and time-consuming. While the game is by no means finished and bug-free, its many components are reasonably complete and ready for wider testing.

From this point forward the development focus is on filling Miranda's world: giving the player more gameplay options via additional units, expanding the world to its full size, bringing that world to life with things to do and discover, and of course, adding any remaining features it needs to become the best strategy game it can be.

I never imagined my two year plan to build a little MMORTS would end up taking more than seven. Thank you to everyone who has continued to follow my progress over the years for your enormous patience and encouragement.

[Rich resource field - that's worth fighting over!]

I look forward to seeing you on Miranda, Commander.
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By Robert Basler on 2016-11-08 01:47:38
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
I posted a bunch of screenshots to Twitter tonight, here are the hi-res images.

[Maybe someday I'll make the free-look camera into a real feature. It's kind of fun to play with! :)]

[Yeah, freelook camera is fun.]

[Too bad you can't see them waving in the breeze.]

[You will never see this view in-game.]

[Rare indoor views of the Emperor's Vendor Queen Penelope.]

[Rare indoor views of the Emperor's Vendor Queen Penelope.]

[Rare indoor views of the Emperor's Vendor Queen Penelope.]

[Rare indoor views of the Emperor's Vendor Queen Penelope.]

[Harvester at work.]

[Warm up that lightning cannon.]

[Nice vents.]

[Some day maybe these cool looking crystals will do something in the game.]

[I'm not much of an artist, but I'm pretty pleased with the resource crystals I made.]

[Inside the Construction Yard. (I should really remove these building interiors!)]

[Fingers crossed nobody ever sees this view.]

[They'll never see me behind these.]

[I've been playing with the freelook camera for two hours so yeah, it needs to be a feature. Good night!]

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By Robert Basler on 2016-11-06 00:05:25
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
I made some good progress on getting multiple servers working this week. The screenshot below shows the first multi-server combat encounter where each client was connected to a different server. Most of the work so far has been on Interest Management - how the server keeps track of which clients and which servers are interested in which units. Interest in Miranda is vastly complicated and I built it long ago, so a lot of time goes into just trying to figure out how it is supposed to work. Progress is slow but it is looking good so far.

[First Dual-Server Combat]

By Robert Basler on 2016-10-24 00:30:47
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
This week I started work on my final big feature - getting Miranda's server to run on multiple server PC's at the same time. This is the key to scaling Miranda up to tens of thousands of simultaneous players. The server has been designed from the start to run on more than one PC, but until now I've never actually tried it. The work requires 13 programs plus their associated debuggers running on two PC's to test anything. I use batch files to set everything up, but its still really time-consuming and tedious.
By Robert Basler on 2016-10-12 15:47:27
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Fun bug showed up last night, first time in the five years I've been running Miranda's pathfinding. I was driving a group of tanks around the map when all of a sudden, two of them wouldn't move. I looked in the log and the pathfinding was giving up with "no path to destination" errors. Weird, they were moving fine a second ago and the destination I was clicking on looked fine.

[Stuck tanks - This should never happen!]

Stuck characters are a common problem for MMO's, usually requiring special menu options and customer service and I thought I'd never have to worry about that particular problem so... Eek!
By Robert Basler on 2016-10-11 02:10:00
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
This screenshot shows another of the new HUD icons. Unit designs at their unit cap get an infinity symbol overlay plus a note on the tooltip explaining why they can't be built. (Players can only build a single superweapon.)

[Superweapons at Unit Cap (infinity symbol)]

I was fixing bugs and adding little features last week. Box select no longer selects buildings, only vehicles. Clicking on the minimap moves the camera again like it is supposed to (still have to add the ability to move selected units.) I fixed the harvester so it doesn't complain out loud every 3 seconds if there are no resources for it to harvest. I also fixed a bug which left the superweapon UI on the HUD after it was destroyed. All in all, 12 major bugs fixed along with a bunch of little crash bugs I fixed along the way.

I added a resource capacity bar for harvesters. It shows both the volume of resources contained in the harvester and the type. Borrowing an idea from one of the achievements I actually worked pretty hard to get in Skyrim, I added Rich and Wealthy achievements when the player reaches 1,000,000 and 100,000,000 dollars. So 5 new features in all.

The biggest feature this week is the addition of better handling for when a player gets wiped out. The wiper now gets some XP as well as a notification popup. The wipee is a bit more complicated. They receive a popup notification when their last unit dies. The server keeps track of whoever the last real attacker was for each player so that even if a player decides to try to skip out by selling their remaining units, the attacker still gets credit for the kill. Previously the eliminated player had to log out/log in again to get a new construction yard. Now the game looks at the player's inventory and bank balance and decides if the player gets a free construction yard or needs money, then the client switches back into base layout mode. That last transition is pretty tricky, I'm optimistic I can get that working tomorrow.
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Recent Comments

Broken WM_POWERBROADCAST - 2021-02-20 22:45:14 (1 comments)
You'll also need this:

So What's Going On With Miranda? - 2020-09-24 10:00:32 (1 comments)
Stay strong my friend!
Automation - 2020-09-21 13:10:33 (1 comments)
Are you still developing this game ?
The Combat Update - 2020-02-12 18:13:30 (2 comments)
Thanks! Much of the work in this update was polish and there are indeed more NPC's.
The Combat Update - 2020-02-12 05:03:40 (2 comments)
Looking good m8, just coming back to this after i bought t some time ago, looks more polished and interesting, are there more enemy mobs now ? do you have a constant onlineplayerbase now so world is more active ?
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