The One Man MMO Project
Today I had my first ever working multiplayer session. Up until now I've been testing all my technology with just one client hooked into the servers. But today, I logged two clients in, then I had guys moving around on one machine perfectly synchronized and moving on the other PC. It is so awesome to finally see it all go. Networking is working, time synchronization is working, replication is working, camera's working, I still need to do some work on interest management, but it finally looks like a real game. Making a 2, 4 or even 32 player game work is challenging, but it is an entirely different thing to see the technology I've built to support 100,000 players running. Whee!
Tonight I got invited to a Microsoft Studios party for a new studio starting up in Vancouver. They're recruiting, and the way they describe what they're doing, it sounds like a whole lot of fun. It seems the new studio is largely populated by my old buddies from Fusion, so it was great to see so many of them. Fusion was one of the most enjoyable periods in my career, so that they seem to be doing the same thing again is really interesting. I also saw a lot of people I know from EA (and who are still working there.) It had an open bar and I got a nice new 343 Industries branded 2G USB drive and a Microsoft T-shirt. They're not saying what they're working on, but I'll bet you're going to play it.
Now if my ears would just stop ringing…
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I haven't really talked about networking at all on the blog. That might seem a bit odd given that I was a 'networking guy' at EA. There's no conspiracy here though, the simple fact is that my networking code was done and dusted before I tackled the blog in earnest and I write about what I'm thinking about. Networking is a big topic, so there'll probably be other articles later.
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One thing that bothers me about writing a MMO is that one day, it will be gone. SOE announced they will be shutting down Star Wars Galaxies yesterday which got me thinking. So much effort went into developing that game, players played it for years, and as of December 15, it will all be gone. Just like The Matrix Online, FIFA Online, Tabula Rasa, and so many others. Sure, from time to time a MMO comes back, Hellgate, APB, but usually once they're gone, that's it.
I have programs I worked on 25 years ago that people still use today. And nothing is preventing them from running another 25. A MMO is a different beast.
People ask the developers to open-source the servers, but often that isn't practical. The company might be closed with nobody to do the work to get the program ready for distribution. The servers might use licensed code or components that can't be made available and are expensive to strip out and replace. Perhaps the game technology is running other games and security is an issue. In many cases the servers are simply big and complicated and require experienced people with a lot of game-specific knowledge to build and maintain.
I do think its cool when people decide to write their own replacement servers like SWGEmu which brings back the old Star Wars Galaxies.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do about the inevitable future of my game. Something to think about.
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Four weeks. Four-freaking-ever. That's how I'm feelin'. Tooooooo long. But pathfinding is running! It is glorious to finally see things move!
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Project Line Counter is super handy, but it hasn't been updated since Visual Studio 2005. Here's how to get it to work in Visual Studio 2010…
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So I drink Coke when I work. That's about as relevent as this post is going to get, but this is so mindboggling I had to share.
I have a case of 24 Coke in my 70 degree crawlspace that nobody had touched in a week. There was no visible damage on the case. It had a 12-pack of Coke Zero on top of it. I'd taken four cans out of it so far. When I went to get a couple more cans out of it on the weekend, I found the case was full of Coke - not in cans. Damn.
Digging the cans out of the Coke-soaked case, I found this can which blew my mind. The pictures are exactly as I found it (other than I rinsed the remaining Coke out of it.) Check out the ends of the vertical rip, those are horizontal tears. This Coke exploded. Yet the top and bottom aren't bulged. I never would have imagined a Coke could burst like this.
I'm glad nobody was holding it when this happened.
You can click on the images for the full-resolution images.
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Last week I attended the first Canadian Games Conference. Having attended GDC Canada the last two years, I was a little unsure what exactly to expect, but to my surprise, the conference was very good, although a little small. So if you didn't attend this year, you should reconsider for next year.
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Last night I was working off my regular development machine, when to my surprise, I discovered that one of my tools wouldn't run. It just stopped with a mysterious Windows error message. Some googling around I discovered that one of the libraries I use was looking for a specific version of a Visual Studio runtime DLL which is part of a security fix for Visual Studio 2005. Hmm.
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I got shirts made - which turns out to be surprisingly easy. These are the mockups:
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This week I'm working on a tool to generate a navigation mesh for my world. The world is currently made up of about 200,000,000 triangles. For each of those triangles I need to evaluate if they are walkable, and then combine those triangles into larger convex polygons, removing any unneeded vertices so that the navmesh is smaller and more efficient for searching.
The example I have been looking at builds its navmesh by comparing every triangle in the world with every other triangle in the world to see if they are connected. Thats 40,000,000,000,000,000 comparisons. And you end up with tens of millions of triangles in your navmesh. Even on a quad-core hyperthreaded Core i7, I need something a little more efficient.
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You SHOULD build your own MMO! - 2013-05-20 12:11:16 (6 comments)
Trackback: crydev.net - Want to make an MMO? Read this first.
You SHOULD build your own MMO! - 2013-05-19 13:57:11 (6 comments)
Yeah, and to meet you part way I'm not saying that there are no overly negative game developers. (Bitter game developers? Heh.) But, I think there is some wisdom in pointing out the warnings rather than being simply enthusiastic.
Honestly? The ...
You SHOULD build your own MMO! - 2013-05-18 22:00:37 (6 comments)
I should clarify: there have been a few game developers I have spoken to who have reacted quite enthusiastically when I tell them about Miranda, so it isn't exclusively negative. I have just found the ratio to be really disappointing.
You SHOULD build your own MMO! - 2013-05-18 16:29:09 (6 comments)
I have a family, a mortgage, a history of entrepreneurism going back to the '80's, 31 game titles shipped, 4 non-game titles shipped, 3 years work on this title and a small amount of startup funding, and still when I tell someone in the industry ...
You SHOULD build your own MMO! - 2013-05-18 12:27:14 (6 comments)
Keep in mind that game developers usually have to speak in generalizations, because every game project is unique. Some of us get paid a hefty amount to go and advise people on the specifics of their projects. I try to be generous with my advice ...
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