Friday, April 26, 2013

Sprint 7 Starting - Buildings Cost

So Sprint 7 is starting, which I plan to have a key focus on having a cost for buildings, gaining resources from them, and most importantly, that the server remembers your buildings between sessions.


This image is only an example of how prices might show up.  Since its appearance is not as important right now as the function, all I care about is making it work.  I can pretty it up later.

Goals:
1) buildings are remembered between sessions.
2) buildings have prices, that are taken from your available funds.
3) buildings gain resources by having them.
4) your initial gains in the account will disappear and depend on buildings now.
5) On the site, it should have a "Report Error" link on the Live Demo page, so people can post errors, like the fact it doesn't appear to work in Firefox or Aurora.

Stretch Goals: (Meaning it would be nice to get to these, but the sprint doesn't depend on it)
1) Building Dependencies.  I.e. must build Starter House, then Starter Garden/Shed, then You can add saw Mill/Mine, Then you can add Barracks.  Naturally the orders might change over time, but the functionality should be their.
2) Texture for 1 or more buildings.
3) Music and or Sound Effects.
4) Prettying up the website more.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

24 hours to Sprint 6's Live Demo


I had to make some changes to how the menu code works, rewriting a portion of it.  And I also started getting better at some of the video editing.  Of course I'm just starting out, so in a few months I'll look back and realize how poor quality it was, but no matter, check out the video.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Warp Wars - Sprint 6 (Menus, buildings and logouts Oh MY!)

Friends! Countrymen (and women)!  Lend my your... Artwork!  In the form of a Logo!  Dost thou taketh up the challenge?  Dost thou plan to be a part of this adventure?  Do not sit idly by!  The world is filled to the brink with couch potatoes. 

But that's not all.  I have menus operational (still being cleaned up a bit), I have buildings being added.  I have logouts.  As the video below will show.  


Oh, and the Live Demo is having some issues.  I'm in the middle of making changes to the development side, so I can't post a fix yet.  It might be dysfunctional until Thursday the 25th, the last day of the sprint.  But it WILL be fixed.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sprint 6, Menu added

I've just prepared the first video with audio, in efforts to keep improving the quality of the demo.  There is no new live demo, but this is showcasing part of the menu in the next alpha release.



Let me know if you can think of ways to improve the videos as well.  :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Welcome Herman!

I'm pleased to announce the recent interest and support in Warp Wars from Herman Charles Serrano.  He has a more visible background with such games as Starglider 2, Carrier Command and Chaos Engine.  He has expressed interest in working with Warp Wars to help us create an excellent collection of 3D structures for the game.  You can see a great deal of his past work at CGPortfolio.  Here are a few samples of his work:



And its not just that he is interested in the project, but the fact that he has already produced some content for it, that should be visible in this sprint.  (part of it)  I asked if he could work on a starting structure, which is essentially a log house.  He finished a variety of Low-Poly samples, each of which I believe will work well in various ways.  Here are some samples of his work here:





Monday, April 15, 2013

Welcome Pavel!

I'd like to take a moment to introduce one of the new members of the team: Pavel Marar.  He's worked on a few NDA restricted game projects, so unfortunately, I can't share much about his background.  But he's already been helping out and by far the most interactive member on the GDD, Building Discussions and the future of the Tech Tree.

He's located in Moscow (Russia, in case there is any ambiguity) and is what I would consider a Bohemian in pursuit of riches.  :P  He gets only 3 hours of sleep a night, usually waking up with a keyboard imprint on his forehead.  (I may be winging this description a bit)  He works part time, so he can eat, but the rest of the time he's designing games.  His goal, is to get some great games built with his name on the credits, and hopefully, some cash in his pocket.  Bohemian yes, but you are more free to make games when you don't need a day job.

What to call him?  Pavel, or else his computer's call him "effes".  I did a translation on that, and it comes out as "effes".  So what does it mean?  A while back, he choose a character name in HoMM 3, by hitting the keyboard with no particular word in mind.  Ever since, his computers have known what to call him.

What's he working on now?  He's been working on math models for balancing city structures/tech trees, and also taking an advanced look at the next 2 games, WW Tactics and WW Strategy to start the ground work their as well.  



Friday, April 12, 2013

Sprint 6 Starting

Agile
Able to move quickly and easily
In the technical world, Agile, refers to a method of product development designed to handle change.  One of the perks of following this methodology is that you get new demos out often.  Our last demo was from the end of Sprint 5.  The terrain was all I wanted from that sprint.  I spend no more than 2 weeks on any sprint, and try to get out a good demo.   I prepared all the basic designs I needed for Sprint 6 early, so I closed sprint 5 after only 9 days.  So Sprint 6's focus will be menus and a starter building. At least enough to create a solid demo.

On a side note, I ended up getting sick from my niece, (bothersome little cute thing) and had to post pone the Monday meetup to discuss the HUD for this sprint.  But I had the make-up meet-up Wednesday night and additionally held a long HUD/GUI conversation with another designer as well.  Which is why Sprint 5 was able to close.  Here are the plans for this sprint.

1) Most appealing at the moment is 3D Context menus, mixed with a smaller HUD/GUI.  Here's an example of some minor graphics used as art in this other picture, but that is what I plan on being more of the focus: A couple of basic bezier curves connecting an object to 3D/holographic appearance menus.  (please note, that this image I have was an example of HUD images I did a search on a while back.  I was not able to find the owner of this image though, otherwise I would post a reference back for credit)
You can see how the menus just pop out from the object.  I believe both the game Home World and the app Blender use a similar setup, of right click and have the menus appear directly related to the 3D object.

2) To begin with, I'm just going to add a right click menu to the terrain directly.  By right clicking, you get options, one for testing might be to log out so I have multiple menu options.  But the plan, is to be able to add a building.  As stretch goals, (which mean if they get done, great, but they are not needed) I would also plan on being able to add multiple buildings, and for them to remain when returning to the game.  another stretch goal is to be able to remove them.

Alright, So now its time to press forward.

HELP!!!
 - We can get by without this still, but we are getting further into graphics, models, HUDs, GUIs, etc...
 - If someone with decent 3D modelling skills can offer a starter building, please step forward.  We have people working on it, but our best resources haven't had much time, and the active people don't have as much skill.

If you see something in the way of graphics, models, images, etc... that you think you can do better on, try it. We welcome it.  We'll take the best we can get, and hope to keep upgrading.  Feel free to ask questions on the forum if you want to know some more details about what we need.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What's going on now?

I wanted to let you know about a slowdown that's happening.  Over the last few days, I haven't really written any more code, for two reasons.  The first, is that I'm not sure what to do next, and the second is that I recently got an influx of programmers and designers with good histories from around the world.  Russia, India, UK, France, US and some others I think (I don't have locations from everyone yet)

Why don't I know what to do next?
Well I actually do know what I want to do next, just not how.  I'm about to add buildings, but I want to start it with the player being able to add the buildings.  In order to do that, I should have some form of HUD (Heads Up Display) so the player can click on something.  And that brought me to questioning what the best approaches to HUD's are.  I've posed this question to GameDev.Net, and received some answers to consider, and I'm also having a meetup on skype Monday night with some other game designers, to specifically discuss HUDs and Marketing.  Then I'll probably take another day to plan out my next move, then go build it.

That sounds like a bunch of people joining the team.
Yeah, I wasn't expecting this much reaction, especially from some of the histories that some of them came in with.  So far, any assistance I've had has been primarily through direct communication via email, skype or in person discussion.  But ate up a lot of time, just getting people introduced to the project.  I'm working on selecting/setting up a private message board service for the group to use, so we can work on things as a group, instead of everything going through me and however I may filter it.  This will also take some time to review.  (Any recommendations?)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What's new?
















This image is showing this panel on the top right side of the blog.  See if any of these links fill your buffalo with rice.

1) What is this project about? - This first link goes back to the first post, where I wrote up what the nature of this game is.  A good sign, is that its just over a month later, and this information is still all relevant.  Check it out to get familiar with the project.  The general concept is there in a way that I feel is in pretty effectively sums up the project. (link)

2) Live demo - This link takes you to the game's website.  The website is still a bit under developed, but it is navigable now.  From the site's main page, it is very easy to get to the Live Demo, or back to this blog. (link)

3) Have an idea - I setup a User Voice forum, where anyone can go and post ideas about the game.  People then vote on these ideas.  Because the ideas are couple with voting, it helps to sum up community perspective better. (link)

4) Join the team - I have a classified ad on GameDev.net, that describes some of the things we are looking for help with.  Do you have some skills in game development?  Do you want them?  We have positions open for both Master roles and Apprentice roles (and anything in-between)  Not everyone who applies will be accepted.  This ad will be updated from time to time.  Check it out if you want to be involved. (link)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New Live Demo! Client V0.0.5.420

Client V0.0.5.420 is live and running.  Go here: http://WarpWars.Net.


This version finishes the 3D infinite terrain scrolling.  It never has more than 800 tiles in memory at a time, and simply updates and re-positions them as the player moves the camera.  You would have to scroll around 300 million screen lengths before you found the edge of the map/broke the code.  The final game will close you in a bit more, providing more land as upgrades/features in the game.

WASD map controls are replaced with mouse click and drag.  But I didn't limit myself there.  I also added Rotation, to overemphasize the 3D in a browser.

I also cleaned up textures in the game, so all the tiles are a shade of grass (4 different grass textures).

I also cleaned up the project in general, reducing the download from 16 megs to 4 megs.

I also had the opportunity to learn MVC4/Razor at work, and went through formal training yesterday, so I cleaned up the website a bit more.  Certainly not production ready, but much better than before.  The top links actually work, leading you to the live demo and back here to the blog.

Somehow I lost light shading in this edition and I'm not sure why.  It still works in the game editor, just not the web, and it was working before.  I''ll consider that something to check up on for the next live demo.  I know I made a few tweaks to the rendering system while working on lag issues, so I've got a few good places to look.

**************************

I could use some help.  Please try it out, and let me know if you experience lag, subtle choppiness or it runs smoothly.  Please include your system specs if you do, like OS, Core GHz/count, Ram, browser.  Comment publicly on this post.  Thanks.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Chris Kukla joins Warp Wars

Chris Kukla, a musician who I've had the opportunity to listen to, has expressed interest in joining this project.  He has a history working with other games, commercials and comfort in a wide range of music/instruments.


I spent a couple hours on Skype with him talking about the feeling for the music to convey as well as sound effects.  Music will probably come first, as that might help shape the game.  Sound effects aren't planned until we have specific things (models/animations/events) where sound would be specifically appropriate.

Check out his site: http://chriskukla.com/music/orchestral.html - A lot of his music from Orchestral to 8 bit.  I've listened to most of it, and am quite pleased with the skill and ability involved in each peace.  A few pieces I felt where close to the game already but not quite.  Industrial Horror was a good one.  Perhaps a little too dark for this WW City, but not for WW Strategy.  Chill was another good one, not quite what I would use either, but I felt that both had certain characteristics fitting to my current idea of the game.

No idea when, but I can't wait to hear some of the experimentals/ideas he comes up with.  

Progress Update...

No video or pictures or demo, just a short post indicating the latest progress.

Infinite maps/scrolling works sort of.  You always see tiles now, and they appear to link up/slide correctly.

Demo Update Prevention Bugs
1) Map regeneration causes lag of up to 0.3 seconds, I need to minimize that.
 - - Only a 44 x 44 tile grid is created at a time.  you get within 12 tiles of the border, it reprocesses it with you in the center.  less than 2000 tiles are in memory at any given time.

2) Mouse moves during lag mess with the drag timing, and fling the map at a high speed.

3) Something about the game objects for the tiles are not disposing or recycling properly.  After a certain amount of movement, Lag increases, and then errors occur complaining about too many rigid bodies.
 - My present code is recycling the objects, not destroying them.  resetting the height, texture and location.  It works to begin with, but gets killed by the bug:


I'll be fixing these things prior to uploading the demo.  The lag issues are caused by over processing, and may cause laptops to overheat, heavy processing in general, and potentially web browser crashes.

I have a couple ideas to fix them, in addition to some searching to do.  But once this is done, that means the terrain is done and I can start moving on to more interactive things.

Hope to have a new demo up soon.