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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
Server Scaling Week One
By Robert Basler on 2016-10-24 00:30:47
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com

This week I started work on my final big feature - getting Miranda's server to run on multiple server PC's at the same time. This is the key to scaling Miranda up to tens of thousands of simultaneous players. The server has been designed from the start to run on more than one PC, but until now I've never actually tried it. The work requires 13 programs plus their associated debuggers running on two PC's to test anything. I use batch files to set everything up, but its still really time-consuming and tedious.

So far the work is going pretty well. A lot of things just worked which is always nice. I had a few places where the client sent commands to the wrong server which were pretty easy to fix. Mostly I've been filling in little missing pieces. At the end of Friday I saw for the first time a simulation replication packet sent by one server arrive at the other - that was pretty exciting. I would have gotten to that point sooner, but I got sidetracked when I noticed a performance problem with the terrain loader. Tracking down that problem consumed most of the day. Then a second diversion resulted in me figuring out the cause of one of my longest standing bugs. Hopefully I can fix both of those problems this week in the downtime while I'm waiting for all the server programs to start.

Truth be told, server scaling is something I should have gotten working years ago. If you're making your own MMO, get this working as soon as you can. I knew I should have, I just kept putting it off.

Lessons from Full Indie Summit 2016

The Full Indie Summit took place this weekend, and it was a really great day. There were a lot of really interesting presentations, but the one that resonated most with me was the one by Hugh Monahan from Stellar Jockeys on some of the reasons why his highly rated game Brigador has not been a financial success.

Miranda has old-style Command & Conquer mouse controls because those are the controls I grew up with. One of the big problems he saw with his game was that people expected it to have twinstick controls when it had tank style controls. He liked tank style controls and thought that people would realize that they were better once they tried them, but what actually happened was that too large a percentage of people simply gave up in the first few minutes of play because the game didn't have the user interface they expected. A large percentage of people who sit down in front of Miranda expect it to have Starcraft style controls. So the lesson is that sometimes developers need to get out of their own way and just provide what people expect. I'll be adding Starcraft-style mouse clicking (left to select, right to move/attack) as soon as I can swing it.

Keyboard Control Improvements

In the evenings (because I don't have a convenient second PC) I've been making a bunch of improvements to unit selection and adding a number of new keyboard commands. The current full list is:
PrintScreenTake Screenshot, result in Documents/Secret Lair Games/Miranda/Screenshots.
Ctrl-+ Ctrl--Zoom User Interface.
EscShow Main Menu.
F1Toggle onscreen help visibility (on screens that have help.)
1-0Select group of units.
11-00Select group of units, focus camera on the centre of the group.
Ctrl-1Ctrl-0 - Make selected units into a group.
Shift-1Shift-0 - Add selected units to a group.
TABToggle HUD display on/off.
WASD or ArrowsMove Camera Drone.
QZZoom Camera Drone.
ERTYUISelect build queue, press repeatedly to cycle through all construction facility queues.
OSelect all units of the same type as the selected unit within 100m (or double-left-click desired unit.)
OOSelect all units of the same type as the selected unit on the whole map.
PSelect all mobile combatants.
Ctrl-AToggle an alliance with the player who owns the selected unit (they must agree for the alliance to be valid.)
HMove Camera Drone to Construction Yard. Press repeatedly to cycle through all construction yards.
KToggle building Repair mode.
LToggle building Sell mode.
BSelect previous unit.
NSelect next unit.
MToggle fullscreen map (if available.)
Ctrl-BReport a Bug.

Am I missing anything critical? Let me know!

By Kurt Ingleson on 2016-10-27 13:33:49
Homepage: email:
Looking forward to some testing of this, i am really interested in a permanent style rts mmo that doesnt end after each round, the thought of a persistant battlefield with players fighting over control of land is cool as ****

Keep it up , and let us play soon .... ;-)

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