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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
Many Little Things
By Robert Basler on 2015-07-21 15:08:05
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com

I had planned to add a bunch of new units to The Imperial Realm :: Miranda next, but when I started to work on that, I discovered I hadn't actually figured out how best to do that, so instead, I've been doing a few little things while I thought about it.

[Shields, Territory Capture & Unit Caps]

You can see in the screenshot that shield bubbles are back! They've been in-game for a few years, but it turns out that I recently broke it by making the shield much smalller than the vehicle it was protecting. Since the shield uses environment mapping and the environment maps I was originally using weren't properly licensed, I also updated them to one I have licensed from the wonderful 3DRT.

I had a sudden realization one afternoon that there wasn't any kind of fanfare, or even a simple notification, when players capture a territory. It seems like an obvious thing to have given that is one of the main gameplay elements for factions, but I just hadn't thought of it. So now when a player captures a territory, there's a ding and a notification as shown in the top left of the screenshot. The trick with implementing this feature was that the map is big, and the server doesn't actually know which players are in each map territory (it just has the number of units of each faction) so I couldn't build a server-side solution with my current map technology. So instead I added a client-side check whenever a territory changes ownership. The only limitation is that you won't get a notification if you helped capture a territory but weren't there when it finally fell to the unrelenting power and merciless advance of your faction's forces.

I also implemented unit caps which we talked about a couple of weeks ago. Miranda already had unit caps for construction buildings (which as it turns out had a pretty serious bug) but I also needed an overall unit cap. That turned out to be trickier to implement than I would have thought. I needed a solution that would work on both client (to provide status) and server (to enforce the limits.) On the server this was greatly complicated by the fact that unit creation is a several step process and units are created slightly differently by the player's build queue, loot and vendors. On the client I modified the build queue to disable itself when unit caps are reached and took a hint from Homeworld and added a pop-out window to the HUD which shows the current unit counts. Since most of the time players won't want that information, when it is not needed it is just a tiny blue arrow. I need to add the same arrow pop-out feature to the Player Info box which is also big and something some will consider unnecessary.

I'm now back to adding units to the game. I have a tool to write for that, and a bunch of 3D modelling work to do, but when that's finished I'll be doing another release for testers.

I mentioned a couple blog posts ago that I'd talk about player progression next time. Progression is still a couple items down on the to-do list, so that discussion will have to wait.

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