I was looking at Twitter today and realized I haven't posted anything about The Imperial Realm :: Miranda
since the beginning of May. Still here! Working hard. Well except last week.
Since around March I've been working pretty consistently on the trailer for the game. I worked out a script, did the voiceover recording, put together a roughcut using beautiful hand-drawn storyboards like the one below, hunted down some music, and started showing it to people looking for feedback. Since then I've been building all the features into the game that I wanted to show in the trailer. This is not going to be a prerendered scandal like Crysis 2's trailer, I'm using almost 100% in-game graphics.
I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice.
If you want to contact press (or anybody) that you don't have an existing relationship with about your game, you have until July 1. Canada's new anti-spam law will come into effect on that date and the implications for anyone with a commercial message are huge.
Did this screenshot a while back for a magazine but it didn't end up being used. The game looks a lot different now but I really like this shot so I thought I'd share it. I'll be showing off the new look in the Reveal Trailer in a few short weeks.
The Imperial Realm :: Miranda - In Search of Prey"In Search of Prey" gives a hint of the scope of Miranda's single 90,000 square kilometre environment. Anything in the screenshot can be driven to without any loading screens. The area they are searching is known as The Wasteland and it is the most inhospitable part of Miranda. The only life there are a few hardy insects and some curious flowers.
If you're not happy with the quality of your screen capture, just write out the frames as bitmaps then put them together after with a video tool.
Half day coding this up, tried it, crashed, then I did the math. 30FPS * 1920 * 1080 * 3 bytes per pixel = 178MB/s. That's a lot more than the 40MB/s my disk drive can do. Tried a few different things. The best I could do is about 15 seconds of video using PNG with fastest compression and 512K chunk disk writes before it runs out of memory and crashes.
Oh well, at least the game can take its own screenshots now. And I have a shiny new "crash the game" button.
Looks like libavcodec
is the way to go with this.
"I've seen [formations] done really well ... but the guy did spend something like 4 to 6 months on a 2d grid working on just that problem all by itself. And he had done it before."
The one thing you really need to nail with an RTS is unit movement. Unit movement has a surprising number of elements that all have to come together brilliantly to produce smart looking unit behaviour on the screen:
- Long-distance pathfinding
- Short-distance pathfinding
- Collision avoidance
- Collision resolution
- Steering & Animation
The Imperial Realm :: Miranda - Formations
This screenshot shows Miranda's new unit movement systems in action. I still have some work to do on collision resolution, but it is already looking pretty sweet. First, you will notice that the tanks are moving in a square formation. There are some units that are out of position because they've just gone around those buildings (you can tell from the dust trails,) but they'll all eventually get back into a neat grid layout. In the bottom left corner is the formations flyout menu ready to select one of the available formations. Once one is selected, the menu shrinks to display just the selected formation.
I'm feeling a bit snarky this weekend since I haven't been able to try The Elder Scrolls(R) Online
beta. The up-side is that I've learned a whole bunch of things about how to run an MMO Beta program that will be really helpful for Miranda
After all the time I spent playing Skyrim, I was really excited when I saw PC Gamer was giving away beta keys on Thursday, so I hurried over, signed up for a PC Gamer account and lucky, lucky -- I got a key in the email a few minutes later. Hooray!
For whatever reason, Ctrl-Tab in Visual Studio 2010 has been broken for a long time. You have to press Enter to select the new window to switch to it. For ages I hunted for a solution to this problem, enduring the frustration of an extra keystroke but no longer
. The problem seems to involve Magnifier, but Magnifier isn't really the problem. I've read "solutions" that involve completely removing Magnifier (doesn't work.) But here is the solution I've gone with (since the problem comes back after every reboot.)
- <Windows Key> +
- Click on X to close magnifier.
[City of Fire]
I'm working on the trailer for Miranda with G'Mic
and GIMP. This is a reject, but a really cool one.
I had need of a good spatial searching data structure. I found a pseudocode example for a quadtree on Wikipedia
although it had a few key parts missing which is sort of inconvenient, so I've filled those out and decided to post the full C++ template code here.
This is a leafless quadtree
as opposed to a quadtree which has both internal (points to children) and leaf (contain all data) nodes. I'm not yet sure what the performance implications are of the two types other than that the leafless quadtree is going to do more data comparisons than the traditional quadtree during deletion.
This is still somewhat a work in progress and there are some things I'm not entirely happy with. For example, Move could be made faster by avoiding a second search if QuickMove fails. Also see the comments above the Combine method. That said, I've run unit tests against this and can't find any more bugs in it.
The only code missing from here is my vector template used by Query. You can replace that easily enough with an STL vector or the equivalent.If you are here looking for answers to your homework - go figure it out on your own!
It has been a little quiet on the blog the last month. Back at the start of January I came up with a really smart solution to my movement/collision/formation/pathfinding issues which also has the gigantic benefit of reducing the bandwidth needed for unit movement almost to zero, so I've been super-busy getting that put together. I've also been thinking a lot about the viability of Free-to-Play as a business model for Miranda...
Since I started development, I've been planning for Miranda to be Free-To-Play (F2P). F2P makes a lot of sense for smaller developers. It has really solid economic theory behind it (if you're not already familiar, read up on "demand curve" and "consumer surplus") and by making a game free, you can get a lot of people to try your game who probably wouldn't if they had to pay for it.
That's the theoretical upside, but lately I've been reading a lot of articles about failed F2P games. They all had good reasons why they failed, so there is something that can be learned from them, but the statistics shared about those failed games has got me thinking that there are other forces at work in 2014.
I wish I had the art resources to do distinctive outlines for every class of units. :( Colouring the shields is an idea I hadn't considered, that might work. I had planned to add unit rank icons to the current health gauge.
The problem with any sort of taxation or price controls is that in a game like Miranda with an economy, there will be some people who are able to amass so much money that that kind of limitation isn't a limitation anymore.
I was reading about a ...
Not a huge fan of the increasing cost model. It tends towards slowing down gameplay (one reason free to play games use it so much).
I can think of a few options though:
Ongoing supply costs (bit like in Warcraft) i.e. unit tax. It means that smaller ...
That makes more sense, and I wasn't holding up Total Annihilation as a great game (although I know some love it).
As for distinctiveness I guess it depends. If usual engagements are relatively small looking at small details is fine. If it's a big ...
As long as it is high enough, I'm fine with a limit in units. But it should be high enough, that it is very hard to reach, almost impossible.
What another suggestion is, is the following:
You can create X units normally (f.e.x. 100)
For every unit you ...