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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 2018-01-21 23:41:22
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Two weeks ago I knew exactly zero about DXT. I was surprised to find a lack of resources on the topic and spent two days researching to get where I am. It's been ten months since I've written anything really technical and I've been missing that.

The goal is to reduce the amount of GPU memory required for textures. The reason for that is that I am going to be drastically increasing the amount of textures in the game in the coming weeks as I do a major overhaul to Miranda's rendering and art, and according to Steam, 14.48% of gamers still have only 1GB of VRAM. The two weeks adding support for DXT texture compression are for those people. For the 2.76% of players with less than 1GB of VRAM, Miranda isn't going to work any longer after the next update.

Up until today, Miranda only supported run-time compression (using GL_COMPRESSED_*) which it turns out isn't really a solution since it can take seconds per-texture for the GPU to compress them on load. The GPU VRAM savings of run-time compression is alright, but not great.

[Miranda with DXT compressed textures - it looks the same!]

By Robert Basler on 2018-01-04 12:38:33
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
A new build of The Imperial Realm::Miranda is available now. The focus of this update is bugfixes.

After their initial confrontations with the Independents and the Empire, The Fallen have retuned their weapons and increased their armour, although the first players in will face some pretty banged-up Fallen.

[Loot dialog is now a little clearer about what players receive.]

A problem where sometimes a single Fallen unit would appear near a base, then disappear shortly after has been fixed.

The perk which allowed teleport while in combat looked like it unlocked when players selected the perk for cheaper teleports. It actually wasn't available at all.

14 crash bugs fixed.

Bug Alert: Some vendors are selling Vendor units. The icon is a large V. If you buy one, it will make your force unplayable.
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By Robert Basler on 2018-01-02 01:54:36
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
2017 was the year that The Imperial Realm::Miranda, my multi-year game development odyssey, actually shipped out to paying customers. Yay!

I have really enjoyed talking to everyone about the game this last year. Having people interested, who want to talk about the game, and are enthusiastic, is pure oxygen for a lone developer like me. I can't emphasize enough how great that feels or how much it helps.

[Combat with The Fallen]

There were a lot of great accomplishments this year, although with the game out now you already know about many of them. I was particularly thrilled to finally have not one, but two trailers. The two big themed updates Nemesis and Return of The Fallen were also very cool. I even took a few weeks of summer vacation where I sat in the sun, ate ice cream and went to movies with my family. That was really nice.

By most measures, the first eight months of Miranda's Early Access campaign has been really successful. People are having fun playing with the game. I have gotten a lot of great feedback which has really helped me figure out what sort of game Miranda is going to be. I've also received lots of helpful bug reports. The only real problem is that there just aren't enough of you lovely people yet.

This is my favourite blog post of the year, mainly because I was really happy with the way the poster turned out. So much so that I got it printed and framed for my wall. Eventually I am going to get it printed poster size.


Goals for 2018

Make Miranda Prettier - The most common negative feedback I get is that the game looks like something from the '90's. It's ok, that doesn't really hurt my feelings. Just as many people have told me they like the art, or that they don't care about the art. But the reception the game has gotten so far leads me to believe that people are immediately dismissing it based on looks, and so I need to address that. Part of the problem is the technical abilities of the renderer at this point in time, part of that is the art.

The renderer is the easier part of the equation to fix, it actually isn't missing that much, it's more a matter of using what's there with a more modern sensibility. The really tricky part is finding art, or more specifically, finding pieces that work together. Buying assets from artists on places like the Unity Store is an imperfect process. Nothing is usable as-is. Some things end up not working at all. I think the difficult solution is going to be making more Miranda-specific art.

More Gameplay Variety - I thought Miranda could be successful as a PvP game so I focussed first on building out that gameplay. Unfortunately it turns out I wasn't able to attact enough players to make the PvP systems work the way they were intended to. After much thought, I've concluded that the key to having more players playing is giving them more activities to choose from. I've already started down this road by adding PvE and map discovery. In 2018 I will be adding more individual activities, expanding the AI, and adding more unit types to play with.

Marketing - I have not put as much energy into marketing as I need to. For my current five prong strategy: Twitter is alright, the blog is good, press reach is minimal, Facebook is a disaster, and Google+ is totally dead. Miranda's marketing strategy is getting two new prongs this year: The first is advertising, the second is going to be a surprise.

[The Fallen Await]

Here's some numbers for 2017:

309,463 lines of C++ code.
226 additions and changes.
197 bugs fixed.
34 blog posts.
2 updates.
1 release.

Happy New Year everyone!
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By Robert Basler on 2017-12-21 15:07:24
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Miranda now has a PvE enemy, The Fallen, returned after being gone for nearly 40 generations.

PvE in The Blue Zone

The Empire and the Independents have forged a temporary truce. Within the Blue Zone, players cannot attack units owned by other players, but they will always need to be on guard against The Fallen. Miranda's new Blue Zone offers a pure PvE RTS experience. Players who have bases within the Blue Zone cannot participate in Nemesis matches.


Miranda's map now features three types of discoverables: Vendors, Points of Interest, and Monoliths. Once discovered, these items will stay on the map for easy reference. Vendors allow players to buy and sell extra inventory. Points of Interest are places players may find interesting. Monoliths are - interesting. In-game sensors have been improved to reveal interesting locations nearby players' bases on the map.

New Mission

"Find a Vendor" for new players to encourage them to locate a vendor.

Perks & Attributes

Due to a technical issue, all player-selected perks have been reset. Perk points have been refunded, so players just need to reselect their perks. There are several new Perks to choose: Fallen Monoliths, Tranquil Glyphs, Fuel-Air Explosives, Orbital Bombardment Satellite and Ore Purification.

Other Notable Changes

  • New forces will be given many more Attribute points to allocate than before. In addition to stat bonuses, Attribute points give a boost to the level of specific Perk categories. The minimum level requirement for earning XP in Perk Categories has been eliminated.
  • New Achievements: Stalwart Explorer, Bargain Shopper, Mono-Maniac. Sadly, the Build a Building achievement has been retired.
  • Unit weapon effects now support weapons with multiple barrels, Quadlasers!
  • Loading screens during fast camera movement via the map and keyboard controls have been eliminated or greatly reduced.
  • Vendors now have different prices and inventories, make sure to shop around for the best deals. Happily, the original four vendors in the north-west corner have retired after many years of dedicated service to Miranda's shoppers.
  • New Audio for loot crates, missiles, teleportation.
  • One of the most-asked-for feature requests for Miranda is new in this build: Saving of unit selection (Ctrl) groups.
  • With the new challenges present on Miranda, initial force inventories have been increased to reduce the chance of a dead force early in the game.
  • The disappearing UI bug has finally been reproduced and vanquished.
  • Some players noticed that powerplants, satellite tracking, and silos took effect as soon as they were built, before they were positioned. That problem has been eliminated.
  • Players will no longer lose their shroud progress in the event of a server crash.

Known Issues

Movement Desyncs - occasionally unit positions are going out of sync between client and server. Symptoms of the problem include: in-combat teleports, discoveries for items which are still invisible.

The problem that resulted in duplicate inventory accounts has been fixed. Any players with duplicate inventory accounts can get rid of the bonus accounts by selling components until only one account remains.
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By Robert Basler on 2017-12-18 00:42:51
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com


Emperor Cauto I was hailed as a saviour when he single-handedly ended years of pitched warfare with The Fallen. Now, forty generations later, the price of his treachery is finally coming due.

"When the explorer ships of Emperor Paine CXC came upon Miranda, it was not devoid of intelligent life. The indiginous species were unlike any creatures the Emperor's Ridiit had previously encountered. All attempts at communication were a disastrous failure. The Ridiit were unable even to determine what the natives called themselves. Reporting to the Emperor after an entire season of effort, the Ridiit described what would come to be known as the language of The Fallen, as the 'most subtle and complex form of communication ever encountered.' The Emperor took this as a personal affront to his divine nature and ordered the immediate extermination of The Fallen. Every one. The Fallen would not go so easily however, and a bitter conflict raged for nearly seven seasons as the Emperor's elite troops repeatedly failed to execute their Emperor's command. Then the Emperor was assassinated. And on the same day, The Fallen simply vanished from the face of Miranda. For a few days there were rumours that his successor, Emperor Cauto I had engineered Paine's demise and made some sort of deal with The Fallen. Then the rumourmongers mysteriously disappeared as well."
- Excerpt from The Mystery of The Fallen, 10681 Y.O.E.

The Return of The Fallen is the second major update to The Imperial Realm::Miranda, an open-world real-time strategy game now in Early Access on PC.

The Fallen are a new AI faction which adds to the two existing player factions: the Empire and the Independents. The Fallen provide new PvE challenges throughout Miranda's 400 square kilometer seamless map.

"His Divine Eminence the Emperor has in his unlimited benevolence accepted the Independents pitiful pleas for mercy during this unprecedented period, and decreed the immediate establishment of the Blue Zone, temporarily suspending hostilities between Imperial and Independent forces in a small area of His realm. May His enemies hide there and prepare for their obliteration."
- Excerpt from The Record of Royal Decrees, 19 Painedays, 30696 Y.O.E.

The Blue Zone is a new map area where players can engage in PvE battles, safe from attacks by other players.

With the Return of The Fallen, Miranda's mysterious Monoliths have suddenly come to life, providing fast travel across Miranda for players who can discover their secret. Miranda's huge map also now features vendors, monoliths and points of interest to discover.

This update also adds Quadlasers, a new Mission, new Perks, new Achievements, new audio, larger initial component stocks, 40 bug fixes and 47 other changes.

The Return of The Fallen update will be available to play on December 22. Buy your copy of The Imperial Realm::Miranda today at or sign up for our mailing list.
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By Robert Basler on 2017-11-23 13:46:26
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Secret Lair Games is offering our Lowest Price Ever on our one of a kind open-world RTS The Imperial Realm::Miranda with an additional 17% off our already huge 40% off Early Access discount prices.

Shop now at!

Sale runs until Midnight November 24, Pacific time.
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By Robert Basler on 2017-11-19 20:57:31
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
You might think I'm going to rip on Mass Effect Andromeda, because that's the cool thing to do, but there are some lessons on open world RPG design that I have been able to draw from my time in Andromeda that I can apply to make Miranda a better game. Truth be told, after 60 hours and playing through about 40% of the game, I can see the Mass Effect game they were trying to make and there are things I quite like about it. I play some games just to try to figure out how they are designed, but I wouldn't still be playing Andromeda if there wasn't some of the old Mass Effect magic in there.

[A view of Eos]

The first hour of Andromeda is spectacular. Bioware always really nails the first hour in their games. It is spectacularly beautiful, engaging, with lots of story, lots of action, and it moves at a good pace. Too many games don't make this effort and their first hour is like any other hour of gameplay. Designers would be smart to look really hard at what they put in, and more importantly, what they leave out of the first hour of gameplay to make sure players' first experience is amazing.
By Robert Basler on 2017-11-04 15:53:48
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Next Thursday is the 8 year anniversary of my start on The Imperial Realm::Miranda. That's a really long time to work on a project, particularly a game, but I can see the end now so that's something to look forward to. I don't have anything exciting planned to mark the day, I expect I'll still be working on the next update.

The most frustrating thing about working on a super-secret new feature is that you can't talk about it! Or even ask questions about it. Sure you can talk to people you know won't spill, but sometimes you just want input from the people who play the game.

[The Monolith - I made that!]

By Robert Basler on 2017-10-27 01:17:24
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Super-secret feature #3 of 4 wrapped up last week. I'm pretty happy with it. I simplified the design so nobody should have any problem figuring it out, which I think is the right direction to take. The effects are also looking nice, but there's always more you can do on that.

Things got off to a bit of a slow start on super-secret feature #4 this week. The core of it is an adaptation of a program I wrote a while ago, but when I tried to get it going, it was crashing with a bug that I've seen extremely rarely in-game. Like, once every four months over the last three years. The lucky thing is that because I could finally reproduce it, I was able to fix it at last. Next the program's clock was going out of sync with the rest of the game which was causing problems. That had never happened before. Turns out the update loop was only running about every 45 seconds rather than 30 times a second like it is supposed to. Fixed that. Then I encountered a thread deadlock, first time ever, so that was a surprise - those cause program hangs, but are easy to fix. I also fixed a server bug that's been plaguing me for months. At the end of the day, I have a base to build the new feature on.

So then it was Wednesday and I finally got to working on the design for what I'm doing. I like to design up-front - I find I make fewer false starts that way. Once I was satisfied with the overall plan of attack, I started on some of the new art I need. I'd forgotten that there was a wierd problem with this particular art that I hadn't been able to figure out when I originally bought it, but I'm taking another crack at it, moving ahead and hoping a solution presents itself. Art is always a challenge, like today I had to teach myself Blender again. It has been long enough since I used it that I've forgotten all the shortcut keys, luckily I made decent enough notes the last time I had to re-teach myself Blender.
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By Robert Basler on 2017-10-08 15:00:08
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Two more things still to do before the next update but a lot has happened already since the last build. I spent a couple days tracking down all the bugs I found making the Nemesis Mode Demo Video. I don't know if anyone else noticed them, but they're there. I added the missing audio for missiles and loot crates, and added a new mission to encourage beginning players to locate a vendor. To get the new mission to work, I have made vendors discoverable. Once you find a vendor once, it will continue to show on your map.

[Locate a Vendor mission.]

There are also discoverable points of interest now on the map, although their locations are visible from the start. There are only three POI's now, but more will come. To make these new discoverables a little easier to discover, the ones nearby your base are highlighted on the map.

Sadly, this is also an end of an era. The original four vendors have closed up shop and retired.

[This is the last you'll see of the original four.]

I'll update you on the remaining two new features as they come along, but the details about them are going to be a surprise. I'm curious to see how long it takes someone to figure out the one.
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Recent Comments

Broken WM_POWERBROADCAST - 2021-02-20 22:45:14 (1 comments)
You'll also need this:

So What's Going On With Miranda? - 2020-09-24 10:00:32 (1 comments)
Stay strong my friend!
Automation - 2020-09-21 13:10:33 (1 comments)
Are you still developing this game ?
The Combat Update - 2020-02-12 18:13:30 (2 comments)
Thanks! Much of the work in this update was polish and there are indeed more NPC's.
The Combat Update - 2020-02-12 05:03:40 (2 comments)
Looking good m8, just coming back to this after i bought t some time ago, looks more polished and interesting, are there more enemy mobs now ? do you have a constant onlineplayerbase now so world is more active ?
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