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Hello, it’s been a while!
Last week or two I’ve been sick and other stuff has occupied me, which is kind of frustrating when you have a kick ass game to finish.. I recently downgraded the european mp server to save a little money (and lower the noise level in my office). It won’t be able to handle as many simultaneous games running, but it will do just fine until we fire up a round of promotion or something.
We’re busy reworking the concept of this game. A lot of planning has been done and the code is well on its way. Still lots more to do, of course! The new thing will be relaunched (or taken into closed beta) after the summer, at best.
A new blog will be set up eventually, on the new site. But you’ll be notified and able to find it easily from here, or rocten.com so no problem.
Yeah, we’ve decided to go for adding the new cool concept instead of following the original plan! We even managed to come up with a good name AND an accompanying domain name. There’s nothing there yet, but we will use it to present the game, once we’re ready with the details and design.
So what will happen then? Well, we’ll change the name and way this game plays to something much more involving. The core game will still look and play very similar, so no huge changes there.. It will be a paid game, since running it will cost us money, but with a free full featured trial to get you hooked. Anyway, it won’t be as expensive as say, minecraft (not that MC is particular expensive, but to have something to compare with).
It will also not be any way near as dependent on a critical mass user base, but once it exists, it may leverage it. Initially, we will run a closed beta to find bugs and unfair balancing etc. You can apply for beta testing on the soon to be announced site, but it’ll be a few months before anything playable will surface anyway.
Stay tuned for further info.
Me and Dave talked a lot about the new mode today. It’s a bit hard to decide if we continue with the original goal or switch to building this even more promising mode first. But it’s really leaning towards doing the new thing right now. Other than that, I did a little poking around the code and fixed a few things worthy of a bug fix update. Here’s the list:
– One of the bonus rooms could have you trapped in multiplayer for various reasons (the one with three keycards and doors in it). It has been redesigned to workaround the quirks.
– A not very common crash from within the shop has been fixed.
– Stats regarding total number of enemies on a level was just a crazy value, fixed to show the real total number.
– The input system used for chat (and now soon logging in etc) was terrible and caused letters to be swapped very often. It also caused problems writing smileys on Windows computers. I remade the whole bit of that and introduced it to the game.
– Finally did a few adjustments to the robots. The robots still come in three difficulty levels, but the easiest one now moves much slower than the others. The robots also got reduced armor, and the amount of damage the cannons of the laser robot can handle was lowered too.
– This slower level one robot required some changes to the ramp up of robot levels in multiplayer, but the first round is still robot free.
The update has already been deployed..
We got great response from the latest version and it sure improved the game, great fun to see it work and people having fun. Even with the now dramatically more difficult survival mode, people get amazing scores registered. I can’t even compete! That’s great!
As you may know, we discussed a single player / coop player story mode before. It felt like a good solid way to make the game better along with the original plan of making the multiplayer mode more of a customizable experience (player profiles/names, lobby, achievements the usual kind of thing). That would make it a good game, yes. Good, but great?
Then we got a really awesome (and secret!) idea on what to transform this into, instead. It does not terminate the original plan, but would effectively put it on hold. The new idea just feels much more probable to put food on the table and enable us to do this full time. It will reuse most, if not all, of the current game and expand on it to remove the risky initial critical mass requirement that multiplayer has.
But anyway, first we’re gonna investigate it a bit further and plan. See if the idea really is as good as I think it is. Then some furious hacking is sure to follow! We’ll keep you posted.
Woha, it’s been a while. I’ve been working on the project as usual, and integrated the robot to the gameplay, testing and stuff. Consumes a surprising amount of time! Anyhow, I just pushed out an update.
– The big change is the presence of the robot. He (and later his friends) turn up when you grab the keycard in survival mode. He will hunt you down, burn you, shoot you and then step on you if you don’t get away (it doesn’t even help if you’re immortal when he’s stepping on you). As rounds progress, he will also be stronger and better armed. Don’t try and fight him unless you’re a real bad ass and armed to the teeth. Fly you fool!
– The very level puts up more of a fight too, it’s not quite as easy to cut down trees. Use grenades for that if you’re in a hurry.
– More effects when teleporting out from a round has been added.
– We also added a little more help in the shop, a lot of people don’t seem to realize there’s an inventory view. Hopefully this change will remedy that.
– In survival mode, there’s an objectives box to keep you on track.
– Last, but certainly not least, our backstory can now be read in the intro when the game starts. Finally, you get to know what this is about!
– A lot of bug fixes, such as the non existing keycard and fire stop to the weapon have been mended.
As for a little longer perspective, we have a great idea for an additional game mode that we will start implementing right away. This game mode does not have the player critical mass requirement that multiplayer has, but will still involve several players. We are also considering to add achievements before that, but it’s not really decided yet. Right now, we just want to get the new mode out and hope that it brings people in! Then some money.
Go play, the highscores have been reset!
The new robot proves to be a complex challenge, not only when played as an opponent, but also programming it is complicated. Getting a good behavior is hard enough alone, but I also have the issues of animating something remotely (in multiplayer, all enemies are controlled by the server and the bare minimum of information is sent to the players) and sync its sound effects properly..
It’s coming together now, but I still need to improve the behavior in city levels. We also gave it yet another central mounted gun, a flamethrower thing! This one cannot be shot off and is mainly used to remove obstacles blocking the robots path. It makes a evil hissing sound while fired..
Having one or two of these robots in the survival mode changes the game entirely, meaning less exploring and more running in terror to put it short. I kinda like that..
In other news, I realized that my home brew assembler/compiler written in java, always has been running crippled. Since it’s invoked as a command line program for each compile, its own java code never gets around being JIT:ed. I made a tiny change, running it as a continuous running prompt instead, and once it’s warmed up, it runs 10x faster! I also added an initializing warm up loop, assembling the game 15 times in a row on startup. I’d love to use GCJ or Avian for this instead, but it’s too much work getting them to run properly.
Anyway, this means that my current code base being 742KB in 68 files (34787 lines) fully builds under 250ms! Half of that time is spent as IO merging all the sources. It’s so unbelievably fast that I sometimes find my self compiling just for the fun of it 🙂 It’s as fast as pressing enter with a little determination..