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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
Levelling Up!
By Robert Basler on 2019-09-09 17:29:45
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com

Unnamed Update is still coming along. My regular work schedule got slightly derailed the last couple weeks of August with travelling, a bunch of unreasonably hot weather and back-to-school. I have a whole bunch of things that I have been working on, none of which are finished. Most of my thought and effort the last month has been focused on level progression through the game. Other games I have seen have a little notification screen every time players level up that tells them all the new abilities they have unlocked and sometimes even gives loot. I'm not at the point yet where every level adds new things to do, but that is the direction the game is heading.

Level Requirements

There is now a minimum level requrement for components, so if players aren't a high enough level for a component they can't put it in designs and can't buy or build units that contain it. Each time a player levels up, they will gain access to new, better components. Most of the existing components will be assigned to level 1, so I'll be adding new components to fill the higher levels.

I started work on some of those new components I mentioned, my favourite is this tank chassis with ten guns on it. Those white boxes aren't part of the model, and don't show up in the game, they are how the game tells where to add guns and exhaust and other effects.

10guns_Lo.jpg
[Upcoming unit with white-boxes for positioning dust and weapon effects. And 10 guns!]

I am also working on a bunch of new weapon effects which will make it so that the visuals for weapons will indicate the weapon's relative strength.

One way players will get those higher level components is via the loot tables, which now change as the player levels up. I thought that work was done, then I realized that the current implementation doesn't allow me to accurately control the probability of obtaining particular loot items, which is pretty important in a loot-centric game.

Unit Component Templates

As I explained last time, the biggest problem with expanding Miranda's content to cover a full range of levels is that I need to create tens of thousands of unique components with varying strengths and weaknesses and rarities. The sheer number of components and the complexity of component definitions for the game means that I would be faced with a ton of simple math error bugs and a gigantic testing and maintenance challenge I could see no way to surmount.

I borrowed a solution from another game and did some substantial changes to my tools in order to add unit component templates. These templates allow me to add a single component, carefully verify all of its values, then the tool uses some rules and large tables to automatically generate additional components in the desired level ranges and with a variety of rarities and names. So one component design becomes twenty to forty components that are useful throughout the player's levelling progress.

With thousands of components, the problem becomes how does the player get enough of the particular component they want in order to guarantee a relatively uninterrupted manufacturing process? Currently components are purchased from Vendors, but that doesn't really scale. I have an idea of how to address this that players will probably be pretty happy about, but it has some pretty substantial consequences for the company, so I'm still thinking.

Veterancy

I removed the old Veterancy perks code and combined Veterancy Perks with Attributes Perks internally so that Veterancy has additional effects that it didn't before. The Veterancy Perks are pretty overpowered so they are well worth getting, I may need to nerf these later.

    NORMAL  - baseline.
VETERAN - 1.2x speed, 1.5x health, 0.6x reload delay, 1.1x damage.
ELITE - 1.3x speed, 1.75x health, 0.55x reload delay, 1.2x damage.
HEROIC - 1.4x speed, 2x health, 0.5x reload delay, 1.3x damage, self heal.

Perk Tree Changes

I removed the medium/heavy tank and medium/heavy armour Perk categories. I initially had a whole bunch of categories of Perks and those four didn't get cut at the time despite the fact that I was never really sure what I was going to do with them. The perk trees now are just Tanks and Armour. Everything needed to support simple stat Perks (+2% health etc.) is in, so I've been thinking I should add a bunch of those to start filling those trees.

I did some website work, fixing the bottom menu here and completely reworking the secretlairgames.com site. I did a cool thing where the entire site is actually only a single page. It's a little weird but I like it.

I also read How Steam users see your game on how people actually use Steam store pages and it made me realize that I've unintentionally removed all traces of Miranda's UI from its site and store pages - which is not a good thing. When I looked for a pretty shot with the UI in it, it turns out I didn't have any post-Bold New World screenshots with the full UI, so that's one more thing for the todo list.

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