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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 2011-04-03 19:07:38
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com

There was a bit of a scandal recently when it was revealed that Rogers Cable here in Canada was throttling its World of Warcraft users. Rogers quickly came out with a release that this was a mistake, but it turns out the reason they are (still) throttling, is that World of Warcraft uses Bittorrent as the primary means to transfer its multi-gigabyte client patches. And it does it in the background while you are playing - so when Rogers throttles your connection, it kills gameplay at the same time.


By Robert Basler on 2011-03-16 12:02:44
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
This week EA banned a user from their single player games as a result of a forum ban, which got me thinking. Why is it a game company's responsibility to punish someone for bad forum behavior? They bought and paid for those games, they are customers.

Wouldn't it be better to allow each customer to choose who they ban? It seems it should be pretty easy to implement, just put a "ban this guy" button next to each user's name in the forums. Manage a global ban list for each user. Apply that ban list to forum posts, in-game chat, trade and messaging. If someone was on that list, they just don't exist as far as the player is concerned.

Now granted, some people are just troublesome, maybe the company should offer a banning service for their customers with moderators adding certain persistently troublesome players to a special section of all players' ban lists for them (that they could opt out of of course.) Maybe this is the place for the 72 hour ban the Dragon Age 2 guy got?

Now EA claims the game ban was a mistake, however given that their Terms of Service says explicitly that they can do that, I'll let you draw your own conclusions on the veracity of that claim.
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By Robert Basler on 2011-03-10 20:36:18
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
One of the big pains of using OpenGL on Windows is that the Windows SDK only ships with OpenGL 1.1. There's probably a really good technical (and non-political) reason for this, but the fact remains, if you want to do anything with OpenGL on Windows, you're on your own.

What you need then, is something to bring the Windows SDK up to current standards (OpenGL 4.1 as I write this.) When I was originally trying to solve this problem (around the time of OpenGL 3.0), I came across GLee which is a cool library which makes the full OpenGL spec available easily. I didn't like their license, so I decided to write my own extension loader.

I don't think anyone should ever have to do this again, so I'm making this one public domain, do with it as you will. I'd like to hear if you use it in something, but that's not a requirement.
By Robert Basler on 2011-02-02 10:47:59
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com

Sometimes you design something and it seems like it is a good solution, efficient, easy to implement, and then there's the reality.

My system for updating entities across the network was based on a simple idea. Everybody who is interested in a particular area gets updates for all entities within that area. Sounds simple right? But here's the problem. The areas are relatively small, so entities move from area to area pretty quickly.

Each time an entity moves to a new area, it needs to be synchronized with everybody interested in that area, ie the game needs to send the full entity definition to the new guys. There are a couple ways to do that, one is to send everything to everybody, the other is to send full updates only to the new guys. I implemented the latter since it is more bandwidth-efficient, but it turned out to be pretty expensive anyway. Too expensive in fact, but not in the way you'd think.


By Robert Basler on 2011-01-25 16:11:52
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com

I've been trying to get my camera simulation working. Last week, I realized that the network was misbehaving resulting in multi-second packet round trips. A week of optimization work, and that issue is resolved. Now I looked at the camera motion system I worked out, and I remember that in order for the simulation to be somewhat rational, that all of the servers need to have synchronized clocks.

I was going to try to soldier on with my camera work leaving time for later, but the problem is that I've already figured out most of the time synchronization issues this morning, and if I go back to the camera work, I have to figure that out, then when I come back to the time, figure the time out again. So the efficient solution for a single developer is to do time synchronization first, and put off the gratification of seeing the camera work.

Sigh.


By Robert Basler on 2011-01-14 17:21:54
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com

I've been getting anxious about having a playable to show people. It is getting really close now, so this week I expected to be getting the code running to move the camera and synchronize it with the simulation server. But as I was getting that going, I was shocked to discover that a round trip from the client to the simulation server took

SEVEN AND A HALF SECONDS

Gack!


By Robert Basler on 2011-01-14 12:24:26
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
I never learned about C++ templates in school. I mostly learned Pascal. Then I went on to C and never really understood the need for templates when I started using C++ features. When I was working at EA, templates were effectively banned for game code, but I was encouraged to read programming books featuring templates which enabled me to finally understand their appeal. And it is strong.
By Robert Basler on 2010-12-05 11:01:43
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
When I went through school, I was taught that computer programs should recover gracefully from every possible error condition. That every function return should be checked, and that only through diligent use of nested error handling would reliable programs be built. As a result, the programs I have written have been largely error handling code, and not so much actual "do stuff" code.

I'm here to tell you, this is a complete waste of effort.
By Robert Basler on 2010-10-08 14:12:16
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
For the last couple of months I've been working on a distributed simulation server for my MMO. Breakthrough today, first units for the user loaded on the server displayed on the client. I've really got to get a more interesting model than that cube.


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By Robert Basler on 2010-10-08 14:10:13
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Every couple of years I mess up with my version control program and delete a bunch of stuff I didn't mean to. It's my own fault for not reading the dialog boxes thoroughly, and for deliberately not saving a backup copy before making the changes, but it still sucks. Yesterday while trying to roll back changes to three files, I accidentally rolled back the changes to the 20 or so other files I had made changes to over the previous two days. AAAAaaaaaaaaarrrrgggghhhhhh!

Ok, I feel better now. And I'm still a strong believer in version control. The ability to roll back changes and track changes over time is just too worthwhile not to do.

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Recent Comments

So How's it Going? - 2017-08-04 13:27:26 (1 comments)
Any news on updates ? been a while ?
The 5% Problem - 2017-07-27 18:22:17 (4 comments)
That all sounds like a pretty reasonable summary of the state of RTS multiplayer. Mostly I played co-op multiplayer with friends because in 1v1 I would slaughter them. While you can play 1v1 in Miranda's Nemesis mode if that's what you want to do, ...
The 5% Problem - 2017-07-26 13:35:05 (4 comments)
One of the major reasons there is so little competitive multiplayer in RTS (the scene is almost exclusively made up of starcraft, along with some other extremely tight communities) is that in most cases the competitive MP is designed for 1v1 ...
The 5% Problem - 2017-06-10 13:59:01 (4 comments)
Thanks for the feedback. Ideally at some point we will have enough players that there will be other players available 24 hours a day. I added Nemesis Mode to encourage players to interact with each other since often I see multiple people online who ...
The 5% Problem - 2017-06-10 04:36:06 (4 comments)
The one thing i always wanted was a persistant online world where i could build up forces, build a base and defend it and the resources i hold. Would be good if it persisted through logoff time as well which would give people something to do if not ...
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