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IfThen Software

Development log for IfThen Software. IfThen Software is a family owned and operated indie game development company. http://www.ifthensoftware.net/

Author: InvisibleLf

Newsletter #17 - States and Sounds

Posted by InvisibleLf Wednesday January 28 2009 at 10:12AM
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Cross-posted from members.gamedev.net/ifthensoftware/journal/

News

Overall progress has reached 63%.
www.ifthensoftware.net/loradon_online/progress/


From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

A few weeks ago I finally cleaned up the NPC/player state code. Each player and NPC has a ChangeState() function which changes their state and handles any graphic changes related to the new state. This has cleaned up animations and fixed a few glitches where an NPC or player would get stuck in an animation. As a side-effect of this, I also finally created a CNPC and CPlayer class. I'll slowly move player/NPC specific code into these classes to make the code cleaner.


Community Spotlight
Written by Jay and pifreak

Since "Loradon 3.0" has been taking up most of Invisible's time, Stick Adventures Online has not received any serious updates in a long time. Sure, HAL now exists and a word filter has been added, but that does not help enhance the fun factor as much as adding a new map or enemies. This lack of an update has caused some players to stop playing to do other things while waiting for the updates. However, new players are continuing to show up and play, so the community still has plenty of members.

With only the melee system, sound effects, and music left, "Loradon 3.0" is almost ready for testing and previewing. This means that many members are much closer than ever to finally being able to play the much anticipated game.

InvisibleMan has been working on music and sound effects for Loradon 3.0, and since it is in C++, he can easily port it over to SAO and fix the bugs dealing with the sound core. I am excited a little for this because it will mean more fun mods to play and cooler sound effects. You may see some mods with sound effects of InvisibleMan shouting "oh hey!" from Ventrilo chat every time someone kills a monster, instead of the punching sound ;-)


Dev Demo Report
Written by Invisible

No demo was released last week due to lack of new features. Because of this, there will be no dev demo report this week. There should be one next week though!

Newsletter #16 - Bad Moderating Day

Posted by InvisibleLf Thursday January 22 2009 at 9:17AM
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Cross-posted from members.gamedev.net/ifthensoftware/journal/

News

There hasn't been anything news-worthy this past week.
www.ifthensoftware.net/loradon_online/progress/


From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

While working on the sound core, I ran into linker error LNK2019 with the CSoundCore::PlaySound() function. I tried the usual check-list for this error (make sure the declaration name and the definition name are the same, make sure they both have the same parameters, make sure that I don't have the function defined multiple times...) but nothing fixed it. Rather frustrated at this point, I asked for help in the #gamedev channel on AfterNet. Turns out that the problem was caused by the Win32 function PlaySound(), so I renamed my function to just Play() and it works perfectly. Thanks to species and MaulingMonkey for helping me out!


Community Spotlight
Written by pifreak

When InvisibleMan asked me to write this week's article, I really had nothing to say. Surprise! My evening was one of the most stressful and confusing nights of moderating, ever.

InvisibleMan and Ace conveniently went away for the night, and Roarman was playing a game. It was left up to me and a spam-filter in HAL.

There was a lot of rule-breaking, including swearing, avoiding the swearing-filter, impersonating moderators, and insulting moderators. I warned each of the rule-breakers that I was serious, but they did not listen... I ended up kicking them out many times, using the HAL auto-kick or temporary account ban, but that did not work.

BadGuy1 swore a bunch and said he was a moderator. I gave him a temporary ban, but he came in on another account and asked to be unbanned. Too bad his nickname was... A very bad word... *ban*

BadGuy2 came on with another account, but would not stop swearing. I told him he would get a temporary ban, but he logged into another character, and complained about the rules. A very foul nickname entered the game from the same i.p. address, involving someone's mother... *ban*

BadGuy3 was really bad. He swore multiple times and avoided the swearing filter.

After that, one of the angered players joined IRC and started cussing me out. Luckily KingSpore was there... *ban*

That was a pretty confusing-stressful-crazy night of moderating...


Dev Demo Report
Written by Roarman

Good news! Many many bugs have dwindled down to almost none. Almost, because a new npc movement/attack feature that was just introduced is slightly buggy. The jelly stops trying to chase you if you run away just as it comes in range and then stop moving. It reminds me of a staring contest. This new npc feature was introduced to go along with 'the melee system' we keep talking about. It will complement some of the aspects of our design quite nicely and spice things up a bit.

On a personal note, I will be going on vacation and will miss next weeks report. It is possible InvisibleMan will find one of the other misplaced testers to write the Dev Demo Report. Bye for now.

Newsletter #15 - Bug Week

Posted by InvisibleLf Wednesday January 14 2009 at 4:59PM
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Cross-posted from members.gamedev.net/ifthensoftware/journal/

News

Because most of last week involved fixing bugs, the overall progress percentage has not increased. We are thinking of ways to fix this, but for now here is the progress page:
www.ifthensoftware.net/loradon_online/progress/


From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

I completely rewrote the lag simulator I mentioned in the last newsletter. The old system would only apply lag to incoming packets, not outgoing packets. To fix this, I made the lag simulator part of the networking core so that it could directly block incoming packets.

The lag simulator consists of 2 queues. One queue of incoming packets, and another of outgoing packets. Each packet has a dwLag variable that is set to a random value between 200 and 300. The first packet in each queue is delayed for dwLag milliseconds, then sent/received.

Enabling and disabling the lag simulator is as easy as commenting out "#define LAG_SIMULATOR". The lag simulator is enclosed in #ifdef/#else/#endif blocks to ensure that if it is not enabled, it won't affect the normal server. In light of the problem I explain in the last newsletter, the server now displays a red warning message if the lag simulator is enabled.


Community Spotlight
Written by pifreak

There haven't been many big events happening lately, but there is still activity in the community.

Here are some small things which may or may not have been mentioned in Twitter:

In IRC
-The embedded mibbit client does not auto log you in, so you can choose a nickname first.
-When entering, people are put into #lobby instead of #loradon

In SAO
-InvisibleMan installed Ruby into his Linux computer, so he is now hosting the HAL program.
-There are a few new clans and some new members being welcomed in.
-Still waiting the PVP tournament.

In Loradon 3.0 Development
-The melee system has been started and is still getting tested
-A lot of bugs have been found and fixed quickly
-Awesome Dev Demo Reports (see below)


Dev Demo Report
Written by Roarman

This weeks release had many bug fixes. Most of them were minor oversights that needed to be corrected. That is how I can tell the end is almost in sight. It seems that everything is being touched up before the rest of the melee system will be worked on. A few enhancements were suggested to make some features easier to use, like the chat box able to use mouse scrolling. Also a spawn point on a particular map moved so multiple users wouldn't get stuck. Everything is coming along nicely and we thank the community for their support.

Newsletter #14 - HAL

Posted by InvisibleLf Wednesday January 7 2009 at 10:46AM
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Cross-posted from members.gamedev.net/ifthensoftware/journal/

News

The progress page has been cleaned up and features that are no longer in the preview have been removed. Due to this, the overall progress has gone down to 62%. It should get back up there quickly though!
www.ifthensoftware.net/loradon_online/progress/


From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

While testing the ping system, I found something strange: When connected to localhost, my ping is about 150ms. Naturally this is a bit higher than I was expecting it would be, so I spent a good part of Monday and Tuesday attempting to figure out what the problem was. After long discussions in the #gamedev IRC channel, and numerous code tests, I found the problem. Sometime around the beginning of this year, I coded a lag simulator into the server so that I could test the networking easier. After running the tests, I promptly forgot all about it... Until yesterday. Ooops. Apologies to the people in the #gamedev IRC channel that were completely confused by this problem, in particular Shadowdancer who went out of his way to code a test case.


Community Spotlight
Written by Lee and pifreak

Last week, a player named Dumaine started to play SAO. He then went ahead to create a variety of mods and helpful tools for the game. He designed and created a mod viewer program using Game Maker, which automatically displays SAO's image sprites as you update them. This allows players of SAO who like to create mods for the game, to view and edit them easily without opening and logging in.

Dumaine also created a piece of music for a SAO, which some players have been using as a substitute of the original game music. Along with this, he also created a mage sprite, and changed various other in-game graphics.

Sadly, he decided to leave the game after just one week of being here. But hopefully he'll be back. ;)

All of the clans within the community are currently remaining dormant, with not much activity happening within them.

In the Loradon community, the forums are fairly quiet with only the odd comment being posted. Various older Loradon players can still be seen within the IRC server however, and many are eager for the preview of "Loradon 3.0". :D

Ace has been gone for a while, and with him, his bot HAL. Not having HAL to help us moderate the in-game chat has shown us moderators how much we really depend on Ace's creation. The good side of this is that it has forced us to log into the game, and it was fun to see InvisibleMan's character. There were many noob wars against him, but they did not go very far since his character is invincible. It was quite funny to see.

Although it is fun to login from time to time, we still need HAL back soon. It is troublesome to be in the game 24/7 if you aren't a bot, and it is a lot better to hook it up with your IRC client. This also gives us an easy to access chat log, and an IRC client is easier to minimize than the game. This made me realize how much "Loradon 3.0" will need something similar, more likely in the form of a direct IRC relay programmed by InvisibleMan though. I would love to see the Loradon moderators getting this because they can do a better job and see everything that goes on in the game without necessarily being online or even at the computer. Whoever is chosen for the job, I wish much luck because I am planning on playing "Loradon 3.0" and I want it to be a fun, appropriate community.


Dev Demo Report
Written by Roarman

The bug tracker is working out better the longer we use it. There are a lot of aspects to it that increase efficiency and make it easier to work with reoccurring old bugs. Creating the topic for each bug correctly was a problem at the start, but with time it is working for the better.

This weeks demo brought an exciting new change. The start of the melee system overhaul has started with a new feature. Now melee characters have a chance to use this skill and not take as much damage like their archer and magic user counterparts. Most of the 'fixed' bugs were re-tested and some found to only be half fixed. Testing is a challenge sometimes, but I'm up for it. Til next time.