[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:   
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
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.
Work on player progression is still progressing - for four weeks now. There's probably another week and a half more work then I'll make a video of the new screens (cuz they're whizzy.)
You Got Your RPG in My RTS(*)
Traditional RTS games unlock units as the player progresses through the campaign (or based on rules selected by the person who sets up the multiplayer game.) Miranda doesn't have a campaign, so I needed a way for the game to unlock abilities for the player as they play through the game. Something that would give players time to use each new tool and learn how it can be most effectively applied. Prior to this work, every unit in the game was unlocked right from the start which was pretty overwhelming and not very fun.
The solution I've adopted mashes together ideas from Skyrim
, Fallout 3
& Dragon Age Origins
as well as Dungeons and Dragons
. Miranda now lets the player choose their optimal blend of light or heavy weapons, attack power, defense, stealth, economic, or even high or low technology approaches to the conflict. It also limits each commander to about a third of the total set of abilities for each faction. This makes for interesting choices, and encourages play with other players who may have complementary strengths.
There are 9 attributes for commanders which vary in value from 1 to 9.
[The new Attributes Screen]
Another exciting week of load testing and fixing bugs. The good news is that all but one were client bugs - the server was super-stable all week.
[Terrain Builder Tool]
I got a third test PC this week and was able to push the server past 60 users. I decided it was time to up the ante and turn unit movement back on for load testing. I fixed the couple of bugs that immediately showed up, but with everything working good I enabled the profiler on the server and discovered that the pathing, collision and movement code is still way too slow to support 1000 players per server.
I was back to working on load testing this week. The week started with me being able to get about 30 clients connected to the server before something would crash. By Friday afternoon Miranda was running in the high forties.
[Load Testing Client]
I fixed a lot
of bugs this week which is a little surprising given how stable Miranda usually is. All of these new bugs only showed up when systems were under heavy load. The interesting thing for me was that the bugs that showed up were new every time. I'd fix each new bug, then run until I got another. Any bug I that I couldn't fix immediately, often didn't show up a second time. Usually the bugs were straightforward to fix, but by Friday they took a lot longer to occur and were getting really challenging to fix.
Short week for me last week but one visible change: the HUD now shows the percentage of map ownership by each of the four factions in the bottom right corner. There is more to come with the faction map, but its a start.
[Map Ownership (Lower Right)]
I spent the rest of the week fixing bugs and working out the details of everything left to do before All Access
. It's not too scary.
This week I took a week off from server upgrades to continue to get ready for the launch of The Imperial Realm::Miranda All Access
. It's kind of like Early Access, but with even more Access! And I'm hoping - a bit less stigma.
[I Am - The Ultimate]
When I originally envisioned the server for Miranda, I thought it would have a massive Tranquility-style
MySQL server at its core running on giant SSD's and a ton of RAM that contained every bit of information about Miranda's world where I would dramatically tweak game settings in real-time to fight griefers and continuously refine the gameplay. Initially this was how the game worked. All the information about players, every setting, every unit stat, all of it was loaded into MySQL.
[Miranda's Servers Under Development]
The first two superweapons in Miranda are the the Empire's Fuel-Air Explosive Missile and the Independents' Orbital Bombardment Platform. Both weapons are powerful area-of-effect attacks and each player can only have one. Unlike superweapons of old, the superweapons in Miranda have a 5KM maximum range - this range limitation reduces their griefing potential. The really dangerous thing about superweapons is that they erase the shroud above the superweapon for all players in-range who have radar. You build a superweapon, you better be ready to get hit by one.
Okies just wondered, atv's are cool anyways ;-)
The ATV's are the smallest unit in the game. Animating people is hard and I decided early on I wasn't going to do that.
Do you have any plans for adding in ground troops ? just wondering i dunno if you ever played it but there was a game called end of nations that i played alpha in before it was cancelled, right before the end they added in troops and it opened a ...
Well it is called a Teaser after all.
You are just flat out teasing us now, i so wanna play again cant wait for test and release of this ;-)