The One Man MMO Project
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.
In Chrome, if you try to use event.dataTransfer.getData("Text") in the dragend event handler, it returns "undefined". In the drop event it works fine. Huh?
Workaround: replace event.dataTransfer.* with dataTransferString as follows. This has the added benefit of also working in all other drag events.
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I discovered Screenshot Saturday on the weekend. What a cool idea to promote progress on your games. So I've decided to participate.
The first step for me was to get some of my screenshots up on the site. You'll note there's a new [Gallery] link at the top of the page. I have a bunch of older screenshots in there now - no spoilers - but it is going to grow.
I think the Gallery is pretty cool, what do you think?
A demonstration of the proper way to use a laptop for game development.
Sometimes your kids bring things home from school that you really don't want. My daughter brought home the plague. For a week I slept all the time. The next week I managed to work up the energy to make it to the couch each morning so I could watch TV. I was so run down I didn't even have the energy to think about my game.
Up until I got sick I had been working on a new particle effects system which I plan to use for smoke and weapon effects. It uses the GPU to move the particles as well as render them so it should be able to render a whole lot of particles. All the cool techniques to power that came out of the very last chapter of the OpenGL SuperBible Fifth Edition. I bought the latest edition just for that chapter.
All of that is on the shelf for the moment. While I'm feeling better and have been back to work for a couple of days, I still don't have the energy to tackle that difficult a feature.
For the last while I've been focused on the appearance of the game and gameplay has suffered. I do sometimes miss having other people around to help things move forward on more than one front at a time. But it is time to start correcting that so I'm back to working on gameplay.
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It's funny how things can sneak up on you. I've been working on adding lasers, fixing bugs, mucking about in Blender, and adding animation to my recent art acquisitions. There have been a lot of evil, evil bugs to fix, and I've been pretty heads down. So today, after I hunted down the last bug in a rather long series, I was testing the fix when I had the sudden and shocking realization that the game I've been working on full time for two years and five months had become a game!
Not a monstrous pile of code. Not a graphics demo. Not an engine. A game.
I could show it to a grandmother and she'd recognize it as a game. People can play it. Quite a few people I suspect. Not as many as I need it to, but a lot.
It's still missing many of its big features, and it has lots and lots of bugs, but it is undeniably a game.
More importantly, it is THE GAME!
The catalyst for this project was the great times I had playing co-op LAN games on Tuesday nights with my buddies. I had a vision of the kind of game I wanted to play. None of the big game companies ever made that game. At long last I can play that game.
So cool! So amazingly cool. Wow.
No, you can't play it yet. Sorry.
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Last night I needed a square root function that would work on 64-bit unsigned integers. I have been using the standard library's sqrt, but my first thought was that an integer square root could be faster.
I looked around and found what was said to be a "fast" integer square root on Stack Overflow by Craig McQueen. I used the code as-is except that I changed it to use 64-bit unsigned ints because that was what I needed.
It seemed like a reasonably performance efficient algorithm, but I had always heard that sqrt, even in hardware, was slow. Because sqrt gets used a lot, I thought better safe than sorry, so this morning I decided to benchmark the integer algorithm against sqrt just to be sure.
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Dates are Hard - 2014-11-16 11:58:48 (3 comments)
Also still following this project.
Hope we can jump into action soon.
Dates are Hard - 2014-11-15 02:34:23 (3 comments)
After the Friends and Family Alpha starts I'll be able to talk about dates.
Dates are Hard - 2014-11-14 17:56:02 (3 comments)
That's a shame, but don't forget that your rabid fans are still fanatical, and er, rabid.
Would you like to give an updated release estimate, or are you a little wiser this time :P
Happy Anniversary! - 2014-11-12 11:36:58 (2 comments)
Thanks, we really did have fun. The EMP museum & Darth Vader's lightsaber were the highlights for me although the Seattle underground tour was really interesting as well. It was strange to leave the laptop behind and not work on or even think ...
Happy Anniversary! - 2014-11-11 17:16:10 (2 comments)
Huzzah! I hope you had fun with your family :)
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