Massively Multiplayer
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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 2016-11-09 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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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


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[Yeah, freelook camera is fun.]


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


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


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


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


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


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


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[Harvester at work.]


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[Warm up that lightning cannon.]


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[Nice vents.]


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


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[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!)]


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[Fingers crossed nobody ever sees this view.]


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[They'll never see me behind these.]


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[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: onemanmmo.com 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.

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[First Dual-Server Combat]

By Robert Basler on 2016-10-24 00:30:47
Homepage: onemanmmo.com 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: onemanmmo.com 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.

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[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: onemanmmo.com 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.)

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[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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By Robert Basler on 2016-10-04 01:53:36
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
One more screenshot. This shows the beginnings of a tutorial (red arrow) as well as the new inventory empty icon (box) and a design that is locked out because of missing Perk prerequisites. Also, the resource field looks quite nice while harvesting.

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[UI Updates - Tutorial & Status Icons]

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By Robert Basler on 2016-10-03 23:09:59
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Superanim.gif
[Fuel-Air Explosion Superweapon]


I was doing some quality assurance work on Superweapons today and I thought it made for some nice screenshots. The first test there was nothing left of my base but the construction yard. :) The Fuel-Air Explosion is an area of effect attack. Here are the hi-res frames: [1] [2] [3].
By Robert Basler on 2016-09-30 02:09:45
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Demoing a multiplayer game on a single computer with no internet is not optimal. The funnest part of Miranda is blowing a bunch of stuff up, but without any other players, that's a little hard to do. I thought a lot about the single player content in Miranda on the drive home tonight. Most MMO's have NPC's to fight. Should I focus more on PvE? There are things to do in Miranda by yourself, but is it enough? I kind of concluded that if nobody is online, why have an online game in the first place?

One of my favourite players, I call her The Clicker came by and played Miranda again tonight. The first time I watched her play at Full Indie I was completely flabbergasted. I had never seen anyone play like her. She clicks all over the screen, continuously and fast. Click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click! The first time she played the game it crashed almost instantly. After watching her last time I added a visual feedback for every click on the terrain to tell players that their click was accepted. It turns out that for her that is completely ineffective. I have plans to add audible feedback as well (not that you'd be able to hear that in The Butcher and Bullock.) I hope I see her again so I can learn if that helps. Oh, and she was able to crash the game tonight, but it took a lot longer than last time. It's probably worth investing in a soak test that randomly clicks the UI.

One intriguing comment was that by making such an ambitious game am I inviting unfavourable comparison with games with much higher budgets like Starcraft II? OK marketing department, there's your challenge.

I got lots of helpful feedback tonight. Watching people play your game is so educational/scary/thrilling. A big "Thank You" to everyone who came out to Full Indie to play.
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By Robert Basler on 2016-09-22 01:50:34
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
This is a response I posted to some concerns about balance and progression on Reddit.

The blog post doesn't make it explicit but Miranda isn't a traditional RTS with individual matches. It is a seamless open world RTS with 10,000 players all together on the same map. I'm still figuring out all the ramifications of that reality.

More Posts

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Looking for a Fast Square Root - 2012-03-29 11:19:56 (4 comments)
Enabling NVidia GPUs on Optimus Laptops - 2014-12-03 02:31:40 (3 comments)
2016 was a Thrilling Year - 2017-01-02 01:54:01 (3 comments)
Miranda Today - 2016-11-16 00:49:45 (2 comments)
Fixin' Bugs - 2016-08-14 11:29:43 (0 comments)
First Multi-Server Combat - 2016-11-06 00:05:25 (3 comments)
Load Testing by Day, Features by Night - 2016-08-08 11:54:08 (0 comments)

Recent Comments

Improved Base Layout Map - 2017-01-22 12:38:18 (2 comments)
I've been adding tutorial elements as I come up with them (red arrows on UI while playing, tooltips.) Eventually I plan to replace the "wall of text" on the layout screen with voiceover. Does anyone know of games with really good tutorial ...
Improved Base Layout Map - 2017-01-22 10:49:59 (2 comments)
I think that heat map it is an awesome idea, i must admit during the play test i did struggle to put down buildings etc, one thing i would recommend is a good tutorial at the start of the game, i have seen games that had lots of potential come and ...
A Busy Week of Tweaks - 2017-01-11 04:59:40 (3 comments)
That "Dementors" screenshot looks like it would actually be an awesome animation for something equally sinister. Any ideas for a chemical or biological warfare superweapon, maybe? Or maybe some really nasty volcanic vents?
A Busy Week of Tweaks - 2017-01-10 10:44:39 (3 comments)
Thanks! I don't have a specific date in mind (I think by now I have thoroughly proven that I am terrible at dates) however the TODO list is down to: trailer, test weekend, press, store, early access.
A Busy Week of Tweaks - 2017-01-10 05:12:47 (3 comments)
I had the good fortune to play on one of the test weekends, cant wait for this to be available to get my teeth into properly, any ideas on a time line for a release or is it sit and wait, which is kinda fun too ;-)


Keep up the awesome work !!
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