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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
Full Indie Demo Night
By Robert Basler on 2015-01-29 01:31:32
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com

I demoed The Imperial Realm::Miranda to about twenty people tonight at Full Indie demo night. I wasn't sure I was going to show the game when I went down there, but I found an open table with power, brought out the business cards and started talking to a lot of really nice people.

Holy sh** Is The Highest Praise

I got quite a few "holy sh**"'s tonight which is really the highest praise you can get. Usually it was when I pointed out my base on the map and then zoomed out to show the whole map.

It's been a few years since I've shown anything in public so it was fun to go through the process of figuring out how to best demo Miranda. I got a good laugh from one fellow who pointed out "that you can always tell when its someone from marketing doing a demo and when it is one of the developers, because marketing glosses over bugs, and developers point them out." I think I'm a hybrid, I only mention bugs if its really obvious, like big black buildings in the middle of the screen.

It was a little scary letting other people drive tonight. I had a few people who couldn't wait to grab the mouse and start building their base. One guy clicked on everything, building out a base, playing with the tanks, I was sure he was going to crash it! Miranda came through with flying colors. It's hard to let go of the mouse.

I did find a few new bugs tonight -- you always do when you show things in public. One was a crash bug due to the scorched desert biome I put in today. The game has been mostly white for a long time. I put fields of flowers into the game because when showed thumbnails of my screenshots they just looked like plain grey squares. They needed some color to attract the eye. The new biome isn't white, I'll post some screenshots once I've finished polishing it.

A lot of people asked me where I get the art for the game. The 3D assets come from and the Unity Asset Store. Terrain textures, flowers, UI, that's all me. I'm not much of an artist, but I'm getting better.

The other most common question was "what engine are you using?" Unity wasn't really a thing when I started development on Miranda. I looked at all the engines that were available at the time, but none of them would do the big world or the massively multiplayer networking I needed, so I built the Lair engine. Two guys I talked to told me they started out by making their own engines and reminisced about how old their code is now. Made me remember there's code in Miranda that goes back 26 years (merge sort and an AVL tree I originally wrote in Pascal.)

I also got a number of developer questions: "what are you using for a back end?" Not sure yet, I've looked at AWS but he suggested Azure instead. "What kind of pathfinding are you using?" A* and some other stuff. "What did you write it in?" C++, about 4,000,000 lines of it (although only about 225,000 by me.) "How are you going to scale the simulation?" That's complicated. A lot of those developers were surprised when I described the scope of Miranda. I like to describe the project as "wildly ambitious."

It was great to have so many people take an interest in Miranda. I was honestly surprised that everyone took as much time as they did to check out the game so thoroughly. At around 10 minutes to 10:00 the steady stream of people slowed, so I packed up and headed for the car. Which was lucky, because I got to the parkade just as they were locking the gates. Apparently the parkade I chose closes at 10pm and I didn't notice the sign when I was leaving.

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