The One Man MMO Project
I was talking to an artist buddy on the weekend about post effects. I wanted to add a heat refraction effect for my hottest biome, and we got to talking about what other post effects I might want to consider. There are a ton of possible post effects, but as a non-artist, I'm often unsure as to whether they're really worth the effort of implementing. Color Correction came up as very worthwhile, and as it turns out, it is super easy to use (even for the artistically challenged.)
[To test Color Correction, I made the world sepia (not final art.)]
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I needed to accurately determine the distance of particles from other scene geometry in order to fade out particles that are too close to things (which gets rid of nasty seams in the particles.) I'd used a method copied from somewhere but I noticed that particles got faded the further you got from them. This felt like a math error.
This week I did some digging around and found not one, but two methods to get the distance (in world coordinates) of a pixel from the camera.
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I'm looking for my next game after Skyrim so I thought I'd try out some new games.
I had 20 minutes to play Thursday, so first up was Magicka on Steam. I'd heard nothing but good things about it and I'd installed and started it before, so I figured it should be good to go. But no. Steam told me that before I could play it needed to convert my files to a more efficient format for 15-20 minutes. Like it's so important to do that right away. So that was the end of that. I ended up browsing news sites.
Friday I got Magicka going, only to discover that it only lets you save about once an hour. This isn't rocket science people, you already have checkpoints in the game. The game idled most of the night while I put together bits of time to get to the end of the second chapter when I could quit without losing progress. It was fun, but I'll probably never play Magicka again.
Saturday morning game time: I pick Starcraft 2 to start on the single player campaign. I'd installed and started it before so I should be good to go. (I tried to start playing Starcraft 2 last year but there was a problem with my battle.net account and I couldn't log in to play it at all for about a week.) It isn't on Steam so color me shocked when it insisted it needed to optimize my files for 15-60 minutes and download 6GB before I could play. Fail. Fail! Fail!
How about an oldie but a goodie. I played Crysis a couple years ago and it was sort of pretty. I know it's installed and working! Maybe it's time to get into a little shooting. Started it up, black screen, no sound. It worked fine the last time I played it! I started downloading newer video drivers and the latest Crysis patch when I realized I was again not having fun!.
Last up, Borderlands. I'd installed it previously using Steam but never tried it. Pressed Play and what happens? Steam starts installing 4 more things! Shouldn't Install have done that?
Play time is precious. When I want to play, I want to play. I don't want to fix bugs. I don't want to download drivers. I don't want to optimize my files (whatever the hell that means.) I don't want to patch my single-player game. All of these issues could have been avoided if the companies behind these games had a lick of common sense and any respect for the player.
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Back from vacation for three weeks now, productivity hasn't quite returned to normal levels. I'm used to having several uninterrupted hours every day, but with the family home that hasn't been happening. I think I've figured it out now though. Anything big or complicated that I've tackled has gone poorly, but a couple little features have come out just perfect.
The main feature I've been working on this summer is vehicle movement and pathfinding. I decided my original plan to replace the navmesh with a grid based on the terrain mesh wasn't going to work. Instead I have done some work on my original navmesh implementation and am working towards adding a steering system for units based on the collision data.
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So there's been a lot going on, but nothing interesting has been complete and ready to talk about.
An RTS staple feature which is new is building placement. Buildings render as transparent until they are placed, and they use the collision data, terrain incline, and distance from other buildings to determine if building placement is legal (with a red/green indicator.) Using red/green is a risk because some people can't tell the difference, and maybe I'll add an additional rendering indicator later, but for now I cheated a bit and made the green a little blue (the same trick used on traffic lights.)
[If you're color-blind, do me a favour and tell me in the comments if you can tell which of the squares under the building are red and which are green.]
I've also been thinking a lot about business models and how to monetize Miranda. I read this super-interesting piece in Wired on A/B testing a couple days ago (my stack of unread magazines has gotten a little unruly the last while.) If you have a website that gets any volume of traffic at all, and given how seemingly minor and arbitrary changes to a page can hugely affect the outcome, I can't understand why anyone wouldn't implement A/B testing. I'm going to be getting out my statistics books pretty soon.
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I think Microsoft's mistake with the XBOX One is that they didn't go far enough. They should have gone full-Steam and gotten rid of game disks entirely. And if they really wanted people to love them (and leverage their massive PC market dominance,) they'd make it so that you could play your games both on XBOX and on Windows if the game has a PC version. Or they could make the PC version (or the XBOX version depending on your gaming system of choice) a cheap extra like the blu-ray sets that come with a DVD version for an extra $3.
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I was off my game on Friday - completely wiped out, so rather than struggle on with collision detection, I decided to watch "Despicable Me" (which is awesome) and add achievements to Miranda. Looking for a feature set, I checked out achievements on Steam, Xbox and PS3 which are all pretty similar.
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Whenever I tell someone in the games industry what I'm doing, they give me a look. A whole lot of information is packed in that expression: you're crazy, it's never going to work, try something easier, you're wasting your time. Non compos mentis.
This experience doesn't seem to be unique. A couple days ago Dave Toulouse said, "When you have no experience making games and you work on an MMO you avoid telling too many people what you are doing because nobody believe you can pull it off and many will make sure to discourage you from doing it."
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After spending so long on the patcher, I decided I wanted to cherry-pick a few small items off of the todo list this week, knock a bunch of 'em out and have a good sense of accomplishment. That was Monday.
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Designing a Secure MMO Login System - 2014-08-30 12:19:14 (6 comments)
Its just a random number appended to the data you are hashing so that if you hash the same password for two different users, they don't have the same hash. That way it is harder for someone with a list of common passwords to hash and compare them ...
Designing a Secure MMO Login System - 2014-08-30 12:11:57 (6 comments)
hi, im new to all this ... what is "salt" ?
Thanks for the suggestion, I hadn't considered that. I'll try to figure a way to let players do that.
So I notice that the colour picker has no place to simply input an RGB colour. Will we be able to input an RGB colour manually in-game so that we can get the exact shade that we want?
Single-File Installer - 2014-07-23 17:48:47 (2 comments)
Found a solution to the MT warning message http://onemanmmo.com/?mt
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