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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 2017-01-10 02:20:00
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
It has been a busy week of tweaks. I'm working on the trailer, so I'm having to fix a bunch of little things to get Miranda looking her best for recording.

The ATV is the star of the first shot of the trailer, and it needed a bit of work. Previously it had exhaust, but I was never really happy with the look of it. I added wheel dust which looks pretty great, but that made the exhaust look even worse, so in the end I removed it.

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[New ATV tire dust.]

By Robert Basler on 2017-01-02 01:54:01
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
This year Full Indie demo nights and the weekend playtests gave me a chance to see people play the game I have worked so hard to build. It was awesome. It was also the year all the technology to run a massively multiplayer seamless open world real time strategy game finally came together. Miranda can now run on multiple servers just like it does on one. With this last piece of uncertainty gone, Miranda is finally ready for a larger audience.

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[My favourite screenshot of 2016.]

By Robert Basler on 2016-12-17 18:29:48
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
So after the second Test Weekend, player numbers were up, per-player playtime was significantly up, and bug reports were down - so I'm pretty pleased about all of those trends.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Superweapons_Lo.jpg
[Random screenshot of the week: Early test of orbital bombardment before damage radii were set up correctly.]


I've been busily at work fixing bugs. There were 115 crash dumps submitted the second test weekend, 80 of those are now fixed. With a lot of easy bugs fixed after the first weekend, there were some real headscratchers submitted this time around. I also went through all 234 of my existing bugs and categorized them into A (Hang/crash/missing feature) B (Major defect, no workaround) C (Minor defect, cosmetic, has a workaround) and D (probably never going to get fixed) so I can start working on them. That's actually really nice for me because I can just ignore all those C's and D's for now.
By Robert Basler on 2016-12-02 11:39:04
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Test Weekend 2 runs from Friday December 2 noon to Sunday December 4 midnight (Pacific Time.)

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[The aftermath of The Independents' Orbital Bombardment]


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 and your feedback really helps.

Version

After you start the client once patching is complete, at the bottom of the login screen it should say Version 0.0.7.55.

Status Updates

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

Troubleshooting

If you experience a crash, please let the Lair Crash Reporter submit the crash report. Like last time, Miranda is what is affectionately known as a Crash Build so if even the slightest thing goes wrong, the game crashes and sends a report. Crashes are to be expected, sorry if they mess up what you were doing.

There is also an in-game bug reporting tool, just hit Ctrl-B at any time or choose Feedback from the main menu. 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.

Release Notes

Most of the bugs encountered in the first Test Weekend are fixed. Big thanks to everyone who sent in crash dumps - they make bug-fixing much easier. There were only a couple of bugs I wasn't able to figure out, but I've added some code to gather additional info should they occur again. The bulk of the "mysterious crashes" were caused by a single pathfinding bug which is now fixed. All the bugs that resulted in server crashes are also fixed. The changes in this release are:
  • Clicking on the map, showing a group(11) and home (H) have fewer loading screens.
  • The Chat window focus issues are fixed.
  • The camera now goes a bit higher. I'm not sure if I like it. (Does not apply to previously created Forces.)
  • Players can now press Enter to chat.
  • The Main Menu now has a feedback button.
  • 3 other additions, 11 changes, 25 bug fixes.


Welcome back, Commander.
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By Robert Basler on 2016-11-30 00:50:18
Homepage: onemanmmo.com 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: onemanmmo.com 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.


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Battle_Lo.jpg
[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: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
fireworks_Lo.jpg
[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.

Version

After you start the client once patching is complete, at the bottom of the login screen it should say Version 0.0.6.17.

Status Updates

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

Troubleshooting

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: onemanmmo.com 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.

demomap.jpg
[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: onemanmmo.com 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.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Free%201_Lo.jpg
[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.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Free%202_Lo.jpg
[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.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Free%203_Lo.jpg
[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: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
I posted a bunch of screenshots to Twitter tonight, here are the hi-res images.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Freelook%201_Lo.jpg
[Maybe someday I'll make the free-look camera into a real feature. It's kind of fun to play with! :)]


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Freelook%202_Lo.jpg
[Yeah, freelook camera is fun.]


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Freelook%203_Lo.jpg
[Too bad you can't see them waving in the breeze.]


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Freelook%204_Lo.jpg
[You will never see this view in-game.]


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Freelook%206_Lo.jpg
[Rare indoor views of the Emperor's Vendor Queen Penelope.]


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Freelook%207_Lo.jpg
[Rare indoor views of the Emperor's Vendor Queen Penelope.]


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Freelook%208_Lo.jpg
[Rare indoor views of the Emperor's Vendor Queen Penelope.]


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Freelook%209_Lo.jpg
[Rare indoor views of the Emperor's Vendor Queen Penelope.]


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Freelook%2011_Lo.jpg
[Harvester at work.]


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Freelook%2010_Lo.jpg
[Warm up that lightning cannon.]


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Freelook%2017_Lo.jpg
[Nice vents.]


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Freelook%205_Lo.jpg
[Some day maybe these cool looking crystals will do something in the game.]


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Freelook%2012_Lo.jpg
[I'm not much of an artist, but I'm pretty pleased with the resource crystals I made.]


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


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Freelook%2015_Lo.jpg
[Fingers crossed nobody ever sees this view.]


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[They'll never see me behind these.]


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Freelook%2014_Lo.jpg
[I've been playing with the freelook camera for two hours so yeah, it needs to be a feature. Good night!]

Read more... (3 comments)

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Load Testing by Day, Features by Night - 2016-08-08 11:54:08 (0 comments)
The Imperial Realm::Miranda Test Weekend 3 - 2017-02-23 13:08:23 (7 comments)
So Many Good Bugs! - 2016-12-17 18:29:48 (0 comments)
Fixin' Bugs - 2016-08-14 11:29:43 (0 comments)

Recent Comments

Things To Do - 2017-03-18 19:57:04 (2 comments)
Thanks, I'm still looking for ideas of what people think could be fun to do in an open world RTS.
Things To Do - 2017-03-17 14:23:37 (2 comments)
Sounds awesome to me, i like the idea of NPC encounters/quests etc,one thing i found when i played was you are right once you build a base and get harvesters running etc, if noone is there to fight you kinda float about waiting. Dont know what you ...
So Much Fun - 2017-02-27 18:31:54 (3 comments)
I had an absolute grand time playing this weekend. Thanks for helping me out whenever you could, Rob!

Looking forward to an awesome future
So Much Fun - 2017-02-27 11:01:54 (3 comments)
Hey Dondergod, what firewall program, and what did it complain about? It's not BitDefender is it?
So Much Fun - 2017-02-27 08:32:45 (3 comments)
I tried to get in, but my firewall kept blocking it.
Unfortunately I did not have the time this weekend to look further into it. Probably an easy fix, but I had too much to do.

Hope I will be able to enter the next test!
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