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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 2011-06-25 01:21:09
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com

One thing that bothers me about writing a MMO is that one day, it will be gone. SOE announced they will be shutting down Star Wars Galaxies yesterday which got me thinking. So much effort went into developing that game, players played it for years, and as of December 15, it will all be gone. Just like The Matrix Online, FIFA Online, Tabula Rasa, and so many others. Sure, from time to time a MMO comes back, Hellgate, APB, but usually once they're gone, that's it.

I have programs I worked on 25 years ago that people still use today. And nothing is preventing them from running another 25. A MMO is a different beast.

People ask the developers to open-source the servers, but often that isn't practical. The company might be closed with nobody to do the work to get the program ready for distribution. The servers might use licensed code or components that can't be made available and are expensive to strip out and replace. Perhaps the game technology is running other games and security is an issue. In many cases the servers are simply big and complicated and require experienced people with a lot of game-specific knowledge to build and maintain.

I do think its cool when people decide to write their own replacement servers like SWGEmu which brings back the old Star Wars Galaxies.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do about the inevitable future of my game. Something to think about.


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By Robert Basler on 2011-06-21 00:07:52
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com

Four weeks. Four-freaking-ever. That's how I'm feelin'. Tooooooo long. But pathfinding is running! It is glorious to finally see things move!

I implemented the A* algorithm which works really well for finding optimal paths. Here are some things you should consider if you are implementing A* pathfinding:


By Robert Basler on 2011-06-04 00:01:45
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Project Line Counter is super handy, but it hasn't been updated since Visual Studio 2005. Here's how to get it to work in Visual Studio 2010
By Robert Basler on 2011-05-30 12:31:45
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
So I drink Coke when I work. That's about as relevent as this post is going to get, but this is so mindboggling I had to share.

I have a case of 24 Coke in my 70 degree crawlspace that nobody had touched in a week. There was no visible damage on the case. It had a 12-pack of Coke Zero on top of it. I'd taken four cans out of it so far. When I went to get a couple more cans out of it on the weekend, I found the case was full of Coke - not in cans. Damn.

Digging the cans out of the Coke-soaked case, I found this can which blew my mind. The pictures are exactly as I found it (other than I rinsed the remaining Coke out of it.) Check out the ends of the vertical rip, those are horizontal tears. This Coke exploded. Yet the top and bottom aren't bulged. I never would have imagined a Coke could burst like this.

I'm glad nobody was holding it when this happened.

CokeExplodesSmall1.jpg CokeExplodesSmall2.jpg

You can click on the images for the full-resolution images.
By Robert Basler on 2011-05-24 01:29:58
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Last week I attended the first Canadian Games Conference. Having attended GDC Canada the last two years, I was a little unsure what exactly to expect, but to my surprise, the conference was very good, although a little small. So if you didn't attend this year, you should reconsider for next year.
By Robert Basler on 2011-05-11 11:12:28
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Last night I was working off my regular development machine, when to my surprise, I discovered that one of my tools wouldn't run. It just stopped with a mysterious Windows error message. Some googling around I discovered that one of the libraries I use was looking for a specific version of a Visual Studio runtime DLL which is part of a security fix for Visual Studio 2005. Hmm.
By Robert Basler on 2011-05-06 16:45:14
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
I got shirts made - which turns out to be surprisingly easy. These are the mockups:

tshirt-white-picture.png

tshirt-tangerine-picture.png
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By Robert Basler on 2011-05-05 21:43:45
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com

This week I'm working on a tool to generate a navigation mesh for my world. The world is currently made up of about 200,000,000 triangles. For each of those triangles I need to evaluate if they are walkable, and then combine those triangles into larger convex polygons, removing any unneeded vertices so that the navmesh is smaller and more efficient for searching.

The example I have been looking at builds its navmesh by comparing every triangle in the world with every other triangle in the world to see if they are connected. Thats 40,000,000,000,000,000 comparisons. And you end up with tens of millions of triangles in your navmesh. Even on a quad-core hyperthreaded Core i7, I need something a little more efficient.


By Robert Basler on 2011-05-04 14:09:45
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com

In a few days I'll have been working on this game for 18 months. Longer if you consider previous projects that are now incorporated into this one.

That's a long time. Longer than any other project I've done. In the past when I reached the year mark, I wanted that software out the door. And it went.

At 18 months, this one isn't ready yet. And that's hard.

Persistence, determination, confidence, they all fail at some point. This takes faith.


By Robert Basler on 2011-04-27 12:26:41
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com

A few years ago I built a credit card processing system. It used 2048 bit RSA encryption to encrypt the credit card data on the customer's own computer, then stored the encrypted information on our server until the order could be processed. Then that encrypted data was transferred via floppy to a PC which was never connected to the internet where the decryption key was stored so the order could be processed. That system was pretty secure against outside breaches.

I had to shut it down when the credit card PCI data security standard came out because the cost of security auditing the software plus annual third party security audits for the rest of the company combined with the potential for $500,000+ fines levied by the credit card companies in the event of a security breach made it totally not worth the hassle and financial risk.

So I feel a lot of irony today with Sony saying this about their 77 million PSN accounts:

we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID ... profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip) ... PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers ... your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.

Wow. All that information. Apparently none of it encrypted. Too bad they're big enough that those PCI fines won't really hurt. I expect their security auditor will get hung out to dry.


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Recent Comments

Early Bird Test Weekend - 2017-05-14 17:15:54 (1 comments)
The Early Bird Test Weekend is "officially" over, however I won't be updating the server until tomorrow, so all supporters will be able to continue to play until then.

Everyone seemed to have a good time. Play time for some users is much higher than ...
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Ultimate Edition, Co-Op Ultimate Edition, Collectors Edition, Limited Edition.

Look at where it says "Start Playing"

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Hi, looked on itch.io and im a bit confused ? which edition allows me to play now ? the standard says available may 2018 ?
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Awesome cant w8 you gonna post here when its done my wallet is burning a hole in my pocket lol
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I'll be excited to play when I get money on my card. shouldn't be long.
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