The One Man MMO Project
Wow, been a while. I've been on vacation, playing with my daughter, going out with the wife. First time since my daughter was born that I can say I've seen 5 of the top 8 movies on Metacritic (or any of them actually.) Dark Knight was fun, Prometheus was fantastic, The Amazing Spiderman I saw in 2002 - it was called "Spider-Man".
There has been some small amount of progress on the game, but I tried to take my own advice this year.
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I was looking into consumer internet offerings this week and I was shocked to find there are still internet services with as little as 15GB/month and with punitive $1.50/GB overage fees. 15GB/month is about enough for email and web browsing, not much more. For someone with this type of account to give some of the popular MMO's a try, check out the cost:
There's your business case for building a streaming MMO client right there. If you can get players started with a couple hundred megabyte client they'll save money, be able to get playing way sooner, and you'll save the cost of having them download Gigs of files they may never need.
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I struggle a lot with wanting to share my excitement over how things are going with all the cool things I'm building, and with my internal quality bar which says which parts of the game aren't ready to have people judge them.
Indie games don't get any sort of pass on presentation just because they're put together by small teams. Like it or not, you're competing with AAA. If your product isn't immediately visually appealing you are putting yourself at a huge disadvantage. People won't even give it a chance. Sure you can put out an ugly game and slowly build a following with amazing gameplay, but you're putting up a significant barrier to casual interest. Look at all the big indie game successes of the last few years - can you think of any that weren't pretty in their own way?
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I've been meaning to talk about some of the software I'm using to develop my game, so first up: Klok Desktop time tracking software.
Working full time on my game I wanted to be sure that I was getting the hours in, and to know how much time I was wasting on things that I maybe didn't need to. I've used a few different tools over the years, none of them were particularly easy to use or provided me with the kind of simple reporting I wanted (how much have I worked on X this week/month/year?)
I've been using the demo for a little over 2 years and I continue to be impressed by it. There's no huge pressure to buy but I finally purchased my copy today. For $15.99, I think I got my money's worth. The program has some little buglets, but they continue to disappear as the author updates the software regularly. The program does charts, and exports to Excel and has some other tricks. Go check out their website to learn about all that.
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You may have noticed the little Facebook Like button above. There is now a One Man MMO Project page on Facebook. I'll be posting links to new blog posts there, so if you're using RSS or Twitter and prefer Facebook for updates, now you have that option.
If you have a Facebook account, I'd appreciate it if you'd Like the blog as I need 25 likes to get the vanity URL I want. (Their SMS verification can't send text messages to my phone even though everybody else can, so I don't know what their problem could be.)
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Another big step ahead today, the circle of life for my game is finally complete. Birth, life, death, rebirth.
The game simulation (Life) has been working for a long time. Next up was entity creation (Birth) since if you're going to be killin', you really need an easy way to make things to kill. Back in April I added lasers and fiery Death. The final element I was missing was rebirth. Or as we in the games business like to call it - Loot.
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I've been playing quite a few new games lately. Some of them are research, but a few I am really enjoying. Playing all these new games has made me consider the new-user experience for my game. I'm not sure what that will be yet, but here are some of the lessons I've taken from my newbie experiences.
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Wow, people are so depressed over the failure of 38 Studios, the layoffs from the Star Wars: The Old Republic team, and Pitch Black Games' Dominus getting cancelled during Alpha.
38 Studios had apparently been working on their game for six years. They gambled big (rumours of over $100M spent), but I sort of wonder what their strategy was - other than that they wanted to take over World of Warcraft's spot. I had no interest in their MMO Copernicus - there are dozens of swords and elves games to choose from. Turbine has three! Really, can't anyone make an MMORPG in another genre? Does it have to be me?
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My first Screenshot Saturday.
This is the Design screen I've been working on this week. The player designs their units by dragging components from their inventory to the design template. The template's slots change based on which components (of 12 types) the player selects. The components selected determine the unit's strength and abilities as well as its cost. The player can compare stats by hovering the mouse over each component and the full unit's stats are displayed to the right of the template.
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Had a bit of a thrill this weekend. An artist friend of mine gave me a sneak preview of something he's been working on. He took one of my in-game screenshots and is drawing overtop of it using Photoshop so we can see what the game will look like once the art-style and effects I have in mind are completed. Wow! So nice looking.
One of my big uncertainties was that I had some ideas which move away from a couple of the age-old standards of the genre. Seeing those ideas onscreen, I'm now convinced they're going to be awesome.
He's still working on the screenshot, so I won't post it yet, but I'm sorely tempted.
As for me, I have some tech to work out. I need shadows, and he has made his case for SSAO. I was resisting that particular feature but it really gives a whole bunch more realism to the models. I need to add some foliage and work on my terrain textures, but those were already in the plan. And he gave me an idea to make my tooltips look way cooler.
It's good to have help from an artist.
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Grab Bag - 2014-12-11 00:21:13 (2 comments)
I knew that quadtree template would work better than Facebook ads! I never played Warzone, but I am taking a lot of inspiration from Red Alert 2 and the other games in the C&C oeuvre. You're right, The Imperial Realm::Miranda is awesome and I will ...
Grab Bag - 2014-12-10 17:38:02 (2 comments)
I randomly found your site while searching for implementing quad trees :D
Anyway I cant believe the awesomeness of your game, it seems like command and conquer, tiberian sun, yuri's revenge,red alert2 etc online???
Also reminds me of warzone ...
Enabling NVidia GPUs on Optimus Laptops - 2014-12-03 12:18:32 (2 comments)
This seems somewhat heavy-handed given the documentation, but it does work. I had to modify the popup to tell the user to restart The Imperial Realm::Miranda since this doesn't take effect until the next run. Might make this an installer step at ...
Enabling NVidia GPUs on Optimus Laptops - 2014-12-03 02:45:15 (2 comments)
Wow, did some more testing and even successfully loading NVAPI isn't enough to enable the NVidia card with the 334.75 drivers.
Dates are Hard - 2014-11-16 11:58:48 (3 comments)
Also still following this project.
Hope we can jump into action soon.
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