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Developer Journal #8

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Developer Journals 0


The Platform Port: Rapid Reality Explains the Process of Changing Engines

As many of you know, we have made a strategic decision to migrate from our current platform to the Aura platform that we acquired not so long ago. We would like to share with our community some of the positives of the platform and the process we are undertaking to migrate to it, and also some of the challenges. In this developer’s journal, some of our new team members and some of our existing leads share with you what’s going on inside the doors of Rapid Reality. Hopefully by the end of this developer journal, our community will have a taste of the process we are undertaking and the energy and excitement here at Rapid Reality.

“We have been involved in the porting process for three weeks now. Within the past three weeks we have already learned and discovered many things that have surpassed our expectations and a few things that present exciting challenges. The porting process consists of many levels, of which we experience many new possibilities and improved capabilities that were not at first apparent. The largest gap in transitioning the art and game mechanics is the subtleties when exporting art for one platform versus another and the different techniques being utilized to maximize the art’s appearance in the new platform, and the porting of the game mechanics to a more extensible language that enables us to do more then previously thought. With that said, it’s truly exciting as each day provides us with new challenges and amazing results that far surpass our expectations, and hopefully our users.”

  • Rick Wells, Technical Director

    “My focus so far has been familiarizing the team with the toolset and what it can and cannot do, on the side I have been developing an array of new shaders targeted to the effects that we want in the chronicle, everything from skin shaders to land shaders and remaining extremely performance and memory conscious. During the following weeks we will finish importing a world with some playable characters and they will use the new effects already created, screenshots with some of these new shaders are provided.”

  • Aaron Boucher, Chief Architect / Lead Developer

    “What I did last supper...I am of course excited to join the MMOCenter's team. One, because the art staff is incredibly talented. Two, because .....well hell, if I can be apart of a great looking game, or even better, help be a reason it runs and looks so good (even though I didn't actually do any of the art), I'm all for it. The art side is done, getting it in an engine so the art can be represented with glory is all that remains. Who the pressure is on now is them game-play makers. The graphics/engine crutch is no longer valid...it's a benchmark.”

  • DJ Cassel, Technical Artist / Integration Lead

    “Over the course of the next few weeks I will be aiding in the design and development of the new MMOCenter portal while porting the existing code of the previous MMOLands portal to be compliant with the MMOCenters specifications and requirements, this porting process includes a completely new layout as well as new graphics and programming. This portal includes a great deal of the community driven content aspects that will all be accessible via one single login, what this translates to is the ability to have ones forum account linked to their in game account thus removing the hassle of having to remember multiple logins and passwords. Some of the most notable creations for this portal are the 100% custom and integrated forums and player statistics which lend the ability for browser viewable stats about player’s characters as well as area, clan, and personal player rankings. All accounts within this portal are heavily secured with the latest industry standard encryption levels to ensure the maximum security of our community’s personal information. Along with the previous said systems, a dynamic news system is being integrated into the portal that lends the ability for our community to see the news they want to see without having to search through news unrelated to their topic of interest. Account pages for each player will be dynamically created to display the more personal and user definable aspects of the users account as well as the ability to enable and disable the features of the site they do not wish to participate in. A support desk feature has been ported to the portal to allow our community members to quickly and easily get in contact with the MMOCenter support team for whatever reason. The portal will hold a great deal of dynamically changing content and media to keep our community informed as well as entertained. I have also been designing and developing the main site for the game The Chronicle. This site should be ready for release soon.”

  • Sean Barnes, Web / Tools Programmer

    “Well, this process has begun with a boom, the whole office is buzzing with excitement as we add even more fuel to the Chronicle fire! The boys from Florida are a helpful addition to our team, adding even more programming power to Rapid Reality. They have been walking us through possible answers to lighting issues, optimization, and useful options for texture utilization. They will also need to tune up everyone on server and client tool changes. Even though, these changes are not huge, they are very time consuming when hundreds of textures are considered, characters needing re-scaling, zone layouts re-adjusted to ensure optimum performance. Though this doesn't constitute remaking the assets, we are definitely moving everything through a much more thorough pipeline. Bottom line, things around here didn't get any faster, just a whole lot better!! Hope you like what is coming your way.”

  • Eric Webster, 3D Art Lead

    “I haven't the words to say how pumped I am from wandering around inside the Crypt. It looks amazing, very creepy. The corridors are finally given a little "mood lighting" and shadows that make the textures pop out at you as you sulk along. Turns out my guy's textures look way better than I gave them credit for. Oops, ...... good job, guys. Also, normal mapping on the Goblin is getting the full push from the engine and making my day all full of sunshine. Now, of course, there is always a price to this happiness, and that would manifest itself in time and effort. It will certainly take some time to make all my player characters do like the goblin has done, and I'm more than willing to take that hit. The lighting and shadows are as of now, non-negotiable, and command a rightful place in the planning pipeline. The entire team is undergoing a very valuable education in better assets import, production streamlining, and shader capabilities that we can take full advantage of. Lots of cookies to bake, gotta fly!!!”

  • Poca, 2D Art Lead

    “Migrating to the Aura engine requires a change to a different, but more robust, programming language which the programming team has been very enthusiastic about. Due to the different language, migration to the Aura platform will require all of the existing programming functionality, such as game play features, to be re-written. Although porting existing code is time consuming it is also giving us the opportunity to rethink the way we previously wrote features and write them in an industry standard language.

    With the decision to move to the Aura platform we also gained a lot more power to decide how the engine will handle certain events. This additional control will allow MMOCenter to produce games with even more unique features than originally conceptualized and bring players better game play.”

  • Chris Schrier, Lead Programmer

    Any comments on what you've just read? You may post them in our comment thread, our Chronicle Discussion Forums or in their hype meter.

  • Guest_Writer

    Guest Writer