The One Man MMO Project
The story of a lone developer's quest to build an online world :: MMO programming, design, and industry commentary

### Terrain Mesh Level of Detail

By Robert Basler on 2013-09-25 19:53:09
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
In my quest to increase draw distance, I needed to find a way to reduce the number of triangles in my terrain block meshes from 7938 to something much smaller but that still retained the overall shape of the original block. I found lots of algorithms for decimating (reducing the number of triangles in) meshes but nothing specific to terrain meshes.

By Robert Basler on 2013-09-23 13:16:54
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com

I was approached by a fresh-faced rep from Hansoft at Game Developers Conference a couple years ago. She asked me if I used project management tools, and after replying that I used their software, she was really excited and asked me what I thought of it. I told her I had never seen a product so thoroughly designed to make people feel bad about their work. She stared at me blank faced, then handed over one of every tchotchke they had in their booth.

The toys didn't make me feel any better about Hansoft. Do you have a happy team? Hansoft may well drive it into the ground.

### 2D or 3D Distance from a Point to a Line

By Robert Basler on 2013-09-13 11:10:58
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
I spent a couple hours reading pages of Google results trying to figure this out last night. There are a lot of people who seem to have problems with this. The pictures are all reasonably clear, but the implementations are quite variable for a non-math guy. Here's the resulting vector code which seems to be good. Maybe this'll help someone. Note that you can replace Vector3 with Vector2 and this will work for 2D lines.

p1 and p2 are points on a line. DistancePointLine returns the perpendicular distance p3 is from that line. It returns true if p3 is perpendicular to the line segment from p1 to p2, false if not. It also returns the distance from the infinite line going through p1 and p2 (because I found that more helpful.)

IntersectionPointLine returns the point on the infinite line that runs through p1 and p2 that is perpendicular to p3. Some variations of IntersectionPointLine return either p1 or p2 as the intersection point if p3 is not within p1 to p2 (u is out of range 0.0-1.0) which would give the distance to a point which is on the line segment, but in this case it is no longer the perpendicular distance. If this is what you want, in IntersectionPointLine return p1 if i < 0.0 and p2 if u > 1.0. That wasn't helpful in my case (I'm using this to decimate meshes) hence the code below finds the perpendicular distance from the infinite line.

Here is the C++ code:

`    bool Geometry::DistancePointLine( const Vector3& p3, const Vector3& p1, const Vector3& p2, float32 *distance )    {        Vector3 intersection;        bool withinLine = IntersectionPointLine( p3, p1, p2, &intersection );        if ( distance != NULL )        {            *distance = ( p3 - intersection ).Magnitude();        }        return withinLine;    }    bool Geometry::IntersectionPointLine( const Vector3& p3, const Vector3& p1, const Vector3& p2, Vector3 *intersection )    {        Vector3 diff = p3 - p1;        Vector3 dir = p2 - p1;        float u = Vector3::DotProduct( diff, dir ) / Vector3::DotProduct( dir, dir );        if ( intersection != NULL )        {            *intersection = p1 + dir * u;        }        if ( ( u < 0.0f ) || ( u > 1.0f ) )        {            // closest point does not fall within the line segment            return false;        }         return true;    }`

### Color Correction Post Effect

By Robert Basler on 2013-08-29 16:17:38
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
I was talking to an artist buddy on the weekend about post effects. I wanted to add a heat refraction effect for my hottest biome, and we got to talking about what other post effects I might want to consider. There are a ton of possible post effects, but as a non-artist, I'm often unsure as to whether they're really worth the effort of implementing. Color Correction came up as very worthwhile, and as it turns out, it is super easy to use (even for the artistically challenged.)

[To test Color Correction, I made the world sepia (not final art.)]

### Distance to Camera in GLSL

By Robert Basler on 2013-08-26 18:50:02
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com

I needed to accurately determine the distance of particles from other scene geometry in order to fade out particles that are too close to things (which gets rid of nasty seams in the particles.) I'd used a method copied from somewhere but I noticed that particles got faded the further you got from them. This felt like a math error.

This week I did some digging around and found not one, but two methods to get the distance (in world coordinates) of a pixel from the camera.

### Play Time is Precious!

By Robert Basler on 2013-08-26 10:45:27
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
I'm looking for my next game after Skyrim so I thought I'd try out some new games.

I had 20 minutes to play Thursday, so first up was Magicka on Steam. I'd heard nothing but good things about it and I'd installed and started it before, so I figured it should be good to go. But no. Steam told me that before I could play it needed to convert my files to a more efficient format for 15-20 minutes. Like it's so important to do that right away. So that was the end of that. I ended up browsing news sites.

Friday I got Magicka going, only to discover that it only lets you save about once an hour. This isn't rocket science people, you already have checkpoints in the game. The game idled most of the night while I put together bits of time to get to the end of the second chapter when I could quit without losing progress. It was fun, but I'll probably never play Magicka again.

Saturday morning game time: I pick Starcraft 2 to start on the single player campaign. I'd installed and started it before so I should be good to go. (I tried to start playing Starcraft 2 last year but there was a problem with my battle.net account and I couldn't log in to play it at all for about a week.) It isn't on Steam so color me shocked when it insisted it needed to optimize my files for 15-60 minutes and download 6GB before I could play. Fail. Fail! Fail!

How about an oldie but a goodie. I played Crysis a couple years ago and it was sort of pretty. I know it's installed and working! Maybe it's time to get into a little shooting. Started it up, black screen, no sound. It worked fine the last time I played it! I started downloading newer video drivers and the latest Crysis patch when I realized I was again not having fun!.

Last up, Borderlands. I'd installed it previously using Steam but never tried it. Pressed Play and what happens? Steam starts installing 4 more things! Shouldn't Install have done that?

Play time is precious. When I want to play, I want to play. I don't want to fix bugs. I don't want to download drivers. I don't want to optimize my files (whatever the hell that means.) I don't want to patch my single-player game. All of these issues could have been avoided if the companies behind these games had a lick of common sense and any respect for the player.

### Daddy, will you play Skyrim with me?

By Robert Basler on 2013-08-19 14:49:50
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Back from vacation for three weeks now, productivity hasn't quite returned to normal levels. I'm used to having several uninterrupted hours every day, but with the family home that hasn't been happening. I think I've figured it out now though. Anything big or complicated that I've tackled has gone poorly, but a couple little features have come out just perfect.

The main feature I've been working on this summer is vehicle movement and pathfinding. I decided my original plan to replace the navmesh with a grid based on the terrain mesh wasn't going to work. Instead I have done some work on my original navmesh implementation and am working towards adding a steering system for units based on the collision data.

### Going Dark

By Robert Basler on 2013-07-10 23:46:41
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com

So there's been a lot going on, but nothing interesting has been complete and ready to talk about.

An RTS staple feature which is new is building placement. Buildings render as transparent until they are placed, and they use the collision data, terrain incline, and distance from other buildings to determine if building placement is legal (with a red/green indicator.) Using red/green is a risk because some people can't tell the difference, and maybe I'll add an additional rendering indicator later, but for now I cheated a bit and made the green a little blue (the same trick used on traffic lights.)

[If you're color-blind, do me a favour and tell me in the comments if you can tell which of the squares under the building are red and which are green.]

I've also been thinking a lot about business models and how to monetize Miranda. I read this super-interesting piece in Wired on A/B testing a couple days ago (my stack of unread magazines has gotten a little unruly the last while.) If you have a website that gets any volume of traffic at all, and given how seemingly minor and arbitrary changes to a page can hugely affect the outcome, I can't understand why anyone wouldn't implement A/B testing. I'm going to be getting out my statistics books pretty soon.

### Microsoft Should Have Gone Full-Steam

By Robert Basler on 2013-06-14 19:16:06
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
I think Microsoft's mistake with the XBOX One is that they didn't go far enough. They should have gone full-Steam and gotten rid of game disks entirely. And if they really wanted people to love them (and leverage their massive PC market dominance,) they'd make it so that you could play your games both on XBOX and on Windows if the game has a PC version. Or they could make the PC version (or the XBOX version depending on your gaming system of choice) a cheap extra like the blu-ray sets that come with a DVD version for an extra \$3.

### Achievement Unlocked: Sidetracked

By Robert Basler on 2013-05-23 17:18:16
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
I was off my game on Friday - completely wiped out, so rather than struggle on with collision detection, I decided to watch "Despicable Me" (which is awesome) and add achievements to Miranda. Looking for a feature set, I checked out achievements on Steam, Xbox and PS3 which are all pretty similar.

[The Achievements screen with placeholder art.]

Project Line Counter in Visual Studio 2010 - 2011-06-04 00:01:45 (5 comments)
A Chrome UI - 2011-04-07 10:28:46 (6 comments)
Enabling NVidia GPUs on Optimus Laptops - 2014-12-03 02:31:40 (4 comments)
Looking for a Fast Square Root - 2012-03-29 11:19:56 (4 comments)
The Evolution of a Feature - 2017-08-28 11:47:49 (0 comments)
Return of The Fallen Release Notes - 2017-12-21 15:07:24 (0 comments)
What I CAN Tell You - 2017-10-08 15:00:08 (0 comments)
8 Years of Development - 2017-11-04 15:53:48 (0 comments)

Bugs are Demoralizing - 2018-07-10 19:26:18 (2 comments)
I'm not a Dropbox user, but I'm guessing you mean "browser style" menus? Miranda's user interface is actually the Chrome browser. Sometimes that was a great decision, other days not so much. At some point I want to hire a graphic designer to do ...
Bugs are Demoralizing - 2018-07-10 11:49:52 (2 comments)

Regarding the "unicorn" textures you should definitely check out texturehaven.com and freepbr.com. Of course the scale is wrong (as in not 40x40m) but maybe with some ...
Anniversary! - 2018-05-12 13:33:26 (4 comments)
Thanks for the feedback Dondergod, I don't think you are alone in that evaluation.

I have extensively considered F2P, but it doesn't foster the type of community and game experience I'm trying to build. It also brings a whole pile of design, ...
Anniversary! - 2018-05-12 04:52:16 (4 comments)
To be honest, it's the reason why I decided not to buy into the game.
While I really like the concept and even the gameplay from the test sessions that I've played, I've already looked at a lot of MMORTS, and they all have the same issue.

No one plays ...
Anniversary! - 2018-05-10 13:33:49 (4 comments)
Thank you. Hopefully people are a little happier with the visuals with the next update. After that, the plan is to work on getting more units into the game, adding more missions, and making The Fallen into a more formidable adversary.
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