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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
Four Year Anniversary - Screenshots!
By Robert Basler on 2013-11-09 17:36:20
Homepage: www.onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com

Thursday morning it occurred to me that today would mark the 4 year anniversary of the start of my work on The Imperial Realm :: Miranda which made me think, "it's about time I put up some real, unretouched in-game screenshots."

Waiting out the Sandstorm

[Waiting out the Sandstorm]


Immovable Object, Meet The Irresistible Force

[Immovable Object, Meet The Irresistible Force]


I love the sand storm effect! Sometimes I park the camera under a ridge and watch the sand blow over my head. Getting all those particles interacting with the terrain at a decent frame rate was tough.

These screenshots show The Wasteland, one of several biomes in the game. It is hot, white sand, and rock and nothing lives there except some curious flowers. Anything you can see in the screenshots you can go to with no immersion-breaking load screens.

You may have noticed the second shot borrows a note from Oblivion. I loved the shots of Jack motorcycling between buried ships in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. If the final game reminds you a bit of Iceland, Oblivion and Prometheus are why.

I've been experimenting with the UI quite a bit. It's funny playing other peoples' RTS games now, because if they don't have WASD screen scrolling it drives me crazy. You'll notice that the first screenshot has no UI in it. After playing Skyrim, I kind of appreciate the no-hud aesthetic so right now the hud only appears if you hold down a key. I am going to make it react intelligently to ingame events, so if a new enemy comes in range, the minimap will appear. If a friend comes online, a little notification will appear for a moment. I'm not sure how this will work out yet - I suspect many players will just lock the HUD onscreen and go from there. Playtesting will tell.

One thing I discovered while taking these screenshots is that Alt-Printscreen is terrible in an OpenGL full-screen. I was trying to catch an image that gave an idea of what the moving screen looks like so timing had to be precise. As it turns out, Alt-Printscreen takes a screenshot of when you switched to the app not when you press Alt-Printscreen. So about 30 minutes of frustrating attempts to get a good result ended in me downloading Fraps which worked perfectly and also saved me the step of pasting the screenshot into Gimp.

Contemplating the length of time I've been working on this game, I spent a few minutes this week looking at other indie games with long gestations. Phil Fish spent five years on Fez and had a pretty tough time of it, although he admits that a lot of that is his own doing. I think I'm a bit more like his programmer - reasonably well balanced. Having a family really helps with balance. There's a nice piece on the difficulties of making of Fez at Gamasutra. I also read that Jonathan Blow spent three years and $200,000 of his own money on Braid. That makes me feel a bit better since I haven't spent nearly that much yet.

The game has come a long way from its first screenshot.

First ever screenshot of MMO-1

[First ever screenshot of MMO-1 (as it was known as on January 15, 2010)]

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