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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 #13 - Dev Demo Report Returns

Posted by InvisibleLf Tuesday December 30 2008 at 1:30PM
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Cross-posted from members.gamedev.net/ifthensoftware/journal/

News

The Dev Demo Report is back! This article is written by the testers and is about the latest Loradon 3.0 demo released privately. Be sure to check it out at the bottom of the newsletter!


From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

Not really programming related, but I recently installed Bugzilla for tracking Loradon 3.0 bugs. I highly recommend it to anyone that needs a bug tracking system. It was easy to install, and their IRC channel was friendly and helpful.

As for the system itself, it takes a little getting used to, but works well once you figure out where everything is. One issue that had us puzzled is that there was no immediately noticeable way of getting a complete bug list. After a bit of trial and error, I found that the search system is actually what you are supposed to use for this. If you make an advanced search and leave it at the default values, it will display a list of all bugs that have not yet been fixed/assigned.


Community Spotlight
Written by pifreak

SAO has had a server update to make it easier to moderate. This fairly simple update included moderator commands to mute people, compare IP addresses between characters, send a server message, and also a fun command has been added for everyone to use, the /me. Everyone can use it and it sends a roleplaying style message in purple text. "/me dances" becomes:
*pifreak dances*

Moderators now talk in a gold colored text and a server message is in yellow. HAL, the IRCBot linked with SAO, talks through the server command so it does not have to have it's own nametag. This way, new players aren't confused why it says "HAL" or why different names show up. HAL has also been made invisible so that new players aren't asking "who is HAL and why is he in the ground?!"

Old
HAL: InvisibleMan: Hello
HAL: Ace: Hi everyone

New
[Admin]InvisibleMan: hello
[Mod]Ace: Hi everyone


Dev Demo Report
Written by Roarman

It has been a few weeks since the latest demo report. Many small things have happened since then, and because of this, many small bugs have been found. If you were wondering why progress has been hovering around 62% for awhile it is because most of these small things have not been put on the page. As with all enormous lists of small things, once brought together they are bound to take up time. Due to the amount of bugs that are found, as in any game, Invis has decided to use a website for us to better track them. This has made it easier for us to keep everything in one spot and not lose any information in conversation.

Onto actual gameplay! Finding equipment has become more exciting. A feature I can't talk too much about, but it will make trading of items more common and player interaction increase. The character page has been redone into a wonderful display of talent from both the programmer and the artist. Mobs speed has been changed so that you can use strategy and skill to dodge and move around as some class' are intended to do. This has brought more intense fighting to the game and it is great to practice for pvp, although you are only dealing with a numb npc. These changes have brought better gameplay to 3.0 and I am looking forward to the legendary melee system.

Newsletter #12 - Not Dead

Posted by InvisibleLf Friday December 26 2008 at 3:23PM
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Cross-posted from members.gamedev.net/ifthensoftware/journal/

News

Sorry about disappearing a couple weeks ago. We had to take a sudden break due to personal matters. However, we are now back in full force!

The Twitter widget is back! You can view it in the news on the Loradon Online website, or at the top of the forum index.

Overall progress on the Loradon 3.0 Preview has reached 62%!
Loradon 3.0 Preview Progress Page


From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

Aside from wrestling with the Twitter widget for an hour, nothing really interesting happened. Unfortunately, I will be starting work on the melee system soon, which means I will have to be even more tight lipped then usual. I will do my best to get something interesting into here each week though!

A word of warning to anyone that wishes to use the Twitter widget: Make sure you have the align property of the embed tag set correctly. I spent an hour trying to figure out why it wasn't displaying correctly, until eighty4 in the #html channel on freenode mentioned that align was set to middle...


Community Spotlight
Written by Lee and pifreak

This week I'll be honest, and say that SAO really isn't the best game in the world. It's fun and enjoyable, and some people even say it's addicting, but in all honesty there's not much to do whilst online. If you regularly read the newsletters it has probably been stated somewhere that SAO only has one map and two monsters.

Despite this, and one of the reasons I believe this part of the newsletter exists, the community is quite large and a fun place to be. Even though the most the game has ever been updated over the last couple of years is adding PvP, many people are still around within the community. People may think it's quite small on first viewing it, there aren't the most people in the world around here, not on the scale of some of the biggest MMORPG's anyway. But, looking at the size of the actual game itself, there is a very large variety of different and unique members, and the world (well, map =P) of SAO is usually full of people.

Overall, what I'm trying to say, is although it's been a very long time, a large number of people are still around, and as the game grows and expands in the future; this will hopefully not change.

SAO has been sort of a mess these past weeks. The problem is that a lot of people are disobeying the unwritten-rules. It is hard to enforce rules that don't exist in writing.

A player has been banned multiple times logging in at different i.p. addresses, and on an account that was locked out but somehow allowed to come back in.

New additions to the SAO system-

RULES!
Stick Adventures Online now has official rules, basic as they may be, will provide a foundation for the moderators to justify actions and for players not to have an excuse at all.
http://www.ifthensoftware.net/StickAdventuresOnline/rules.php

Project 1337-filter
A problem with the swearing filter is one that is commonly abused; using spaces or dashes to say something that is blocked. Creative players even have resorted to using numbers as letters!
How the new system will be designed to work is very interesting, making the filter ignore multiple spaces and dashes thrown in-between words, and it might even consider certain numbers to be letters when checking to see if there is a "bad" word.
This would be quite a task for InvisibleMan to program, so we will keep you updated on when it should arrive.

On a happier note, pifreak has decided to release a new version of his snowy mod, since the Holiday season is approaching! It seemed to be popular so he made some additions, and improved the graphics. See the forum post and description here:
http://www.ifthensoftware.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=1191

Newsletter #11 - The Bet

Posted by InvisibleLf Thursday December 4 2008 at 10:17AM
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Cross-posted from members.gamedev.net/ifthensoftware/journal/

News

The overall progress on the Loradon 3.0 Preview has reached 58%! This is up from 55% the previous week.
Loradon 3.0 Preview Progress Page


From the Programmer
Written by Invisible

After working on it for the past month, secret feature #2 is finally finished! This means that we were able to release a demo to the development team for testing last Friday. Within an hour, 10 bugs were found, but luckily they were fairly simple to fix.

Earlier today, I ran into a rather odd problem. I was using OutputDebugString() to output debug strings (big shock) from a member function of a struct that is inherited by another struct. For some reason, the strings weren't being displayed, even though I knew for certain that the function was being called. I output some test strings around where the function was being called, and they displayed correctly... After about 20 minutes of testing, I decided to clean the solution and rebuild. Surprisingly, it worked! For some reason, the struct changes were not being compiled. Yet another quirk to add to my list of things to try if the code is not working the way it should be (right next to the entry on making sure that #pragma pack is being used correctly).


Community Spotlight
Written by Jay, pifreak, and Ace

With Christmas approaching, the Loradon community has begun to feel excited about bomboms0's Christmas event. However, due to internet issues, bomboms0 is unable to get on the game in order to accept donations. Bomboms0 contacted Jaythemage and told him to collect donations in his stead. The event is still being planned out and a possible date for the event has been suggested: December 23rd. More information is being concocted by Bomboms0 and soon all the details will be available.

Since Thanksgiving break started, Stick Adventures Online has been very active. The server had quite a few people on it, anywhere from 5-15 players at a time. A lot of bored people decided to train for many hours; some for almost the whole weekend! The more famous of these are Miotatsu and Dead9000. Dead9000 has managed to level up to 45, which is very amazing. He needed 41,403 experience points to level up this time! Currently, there are only two monsters in the game. The one that gives the most, a pollinator, deals out 3 xp. You can imagine how long it took for Dead9000 to level up!

Miotatsu was level 43 at the start of the break, and has gotten to level 44. He actually tied with Dead9000 (who had the highest level for over a year) but only for five minutes. Despite this achievement, he lost his $5 bet with me (pifreak). The bet was for him to get to 46 by Monday, and the loser of the bet would have to donate $5 to IfThen Software's PayPal account. I am extending a compensation bet: if miotatsu can reach level 46 by next Monday, 12/8/08, I will donate $5 to InvisibleMan's account. (If Dead9000 happens to read this, he will be sure Miotatsu doesn't beat him at all costs! We'll have to see!)

I, (pifreak) found time to level up to 42, promoting myself to the top 3rd or 4th player in the SAO standings. It is unconfirmed what level Alexander is...(41-43?) Now, after Thanksgiving break, the server has calmed down, but the game is still rolling on. I think miotatsu and Dead9000 should go outside and get some fresh air though!