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.
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.
[Upcoming unit with white-boxes for positioning dust and weapon effects. And 10 guns!]
Production is the part of game development where the game’s design and features are mostly set, and the team starts taking all the systems that have been developed and filling them with all the tens of thousands of individual things players will interact with: swords, shields, guns, outfits, soccer players, teams and much more.
[Every item in Miranda actually looks like this…]
Miranda has been in production for a little while now. When I added loot crates I didn’t make just one loot crate, I made 78, 12 different types in all. I plan to add more, but that is at least a respectable start.
The feature brief for my current feature is “Add plasma rifle weapon effect like the one in the Terminator movies.” With the requirements pretty clear, I started digging in to what that actually means to implement with production in mind. First I need new art for the weapon, then a shader that will run it because it isn’t exactly like previous beam weapons, then some code changes to support the additional data requirements of the shader, then code changes to the simulation to support weapons taking time to arrive on target. Doable.
Then I looked at my great list of components in the game – every tank, crate, weapon, building, power source, shield and so on. I realized that I need that plasma rifle’s art and many, many stats to vary by 4 levels of veterancy, by as many as 8 quality levels (blues/greens etc) and by a to-be-determined number of level ranges spanning the player’s 80 levels. OK, I can do that with my current system, but I’m immediately overwhelmed by the sheer number of components and stat variations that will be needed. How can I build all those in a reasonable amount of time without having tons of bugs in the thousands of numbers I would need to calculate and enter? How do I tweak the weapon afterwards? How do I back-port those veterancy/quality/level variations to all the existing weapons in the game? How do I quickly iterate to develop the art variations and test all of those weapon variations?
I don’t know yet, but I’m working on it.
It’s been over a month since I’ve blogged, mainly because I don’t have any one big thing to talk about. So here are a bunch of the little things I’ve been working on.
The tricky change this month was adding a main menu option to Redeploy Forces which allows the player to move their base to a new location. This is a shortcut for the log out, log in, relocate base dance players have done up until now – but it is much faster. I think I might disable this if the player is in combat.
[Redeploy Forces – back when it was Move Base.]
I did a bit of work on The Fallen, adding guardians at monoliths and vendors, increasing the size of base attack forces and modifying the guardians at resource fields to respawn more often. I discovered that the Fallen were having difficulty teleporting which turned out to be a number of bugs working together in concert in addition to my choice of formation. With teleports fixed a lot more Fallen are now at large on Miranda. There is still a bit more I have planned for them.
[Destroying a stack of items on the Inventory Screen.]
There is no level editor for Miranda. The terrain is built in a tool called WorldMachine and then all the textures, plants, rocks and everything you see in the game are added procedurally based on a bunch of text files. So when I added all the vendors and monoliths to the game I randomly assigned them locations, but I didn’t have a way to check that every single one was in a good location (not on the side of a cliff.)
Monday morning I decided I wanted to address that bug. I figured I’d need to add keyboard controls to visit all the discoverables, and some debug prints so I could figure out which discoverable to modify in the text files, then it would take a couple hours to move them all, then another hour to verify after the moves. That should take a day.
[A Vendor in her new home.]
Attributes have been in Miranda for some time, but they reached their final form this month.
There are nine attributes in the game, and each attribute is assigned a value from 1 to 9. There are a total of 45 attribute points available right now. 9 are automatically assigned. Players are given 18 to assign when they start, and one is given each time the player levels up until they reach level 19 for a grand total of 45 attribute points. 9 bonus points will be available through rare consumables.
This weekend, (May 11-12) everyone who has purchased any Early Access package for the The Imperial Realm::Miranda will be able to try all the new features of Bold New World from midnight Friday to midnight Sunday GMT.
Bold New World is the third major update to The Imperial Realm::Miranda and a major upgrade to the art and rendering engine.
[New Biome – Vermillion Hardship.]
[New Rock Formations and Sky – The Perilous Precipices.]
Support the development of this one-of-a-kind massively multiplayer RTS and check it out at the same time with Early Access packages starting at just $8.
Rob will be online at the start of the weekend (Friday 4pm Pacific Time) to chat, answer questions, or blow up your stuff.
I made a video to demo the Independents’ new Spy Satellite. The Spy Satellite removes the shroud anywhere on the map. Once built, it can be used every three minutes. There are four perks related to the Spy Satellite: the first unlocks the unit, the second and third increase the diameter of the area revealed, and the final perk enables real-time surveillance of the target area for two minutes.
Adding the Spy Satellite was really fun. Unlike everything I’ve done the last year, it was a few lines in a config file, a new in-game model, a new icon and just a pinch of new code. This gave me time to do a bit of polish: a new mouse cursor when targeting and custom sound effects.
I’m still working on desyncs – units having different health or position or orientation on the server and clients. Unit movement replication is the second most complicated part of Miranda, so everything I’m doing I usually have to do twice. I do a bunch of analysis, then an initial implementation, then I find a few things I’m not handling properly and then I do it all again. It is slow, but I am making progress.
[Standalone unit path replication system at work.]
Since Bold New World came out I’ve spent much of my time doing PR and catching up on everything that got ignored in the run up to the release. I did the company accounting. I finally installed the new modem my internet provider sent me in December – it tripled the speed of my net connection! Would have been nice if they’d told me that in advance. I also fixed a few bugs in the game and the scripts for posting new builds.
I started this week on the next update (which is currently unnamed.) Unnamed Update focuses solely on gameplay updates: new units, new missions, AI enhancements and improving the combat experience. Hopefully there’ll also be some new perks and a few other things players will like in there.
[I can log in as the AI! That is not how I’m going to improve it. Also, the AI has no unit cap.]
Uploading videos to PC from HF-S100.
1) If you want thumbnails: Connect camera power. Connect camera to PC via USB cable. Turn camera on Open Screen Press Camera/Play button below screen. Generate Thumbnails. 2) Run canonimport for directions.
Please ignore this test comment.
One more issue: If you’ve forgotten your password you’ll have to let me know so I can set your email preferences so that you will receive forgotten password emails. Once you’ve reset your password, you can go into settings to set your email …
Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it.
Looks really cool! Good job! Even though I haven’t bought any of the packages, I am still following your progress and I have to say this looks really good!