Devlog Weekly Update: Week 19 2016

Well weekly updates aren’t going exactly weekly, are they?

After a busy few weeks in businessmanland, I returned to my inventory system, only to fall into a massive bug when it came to splitting multiple stacks of certain items. So much so that it’s cost me 5 hours of debugging with no progress made (Other than a ton of debug statements and extremely well documented code).

So instead as a bit of a break I ventured into some 3D modeling. Turns out Blender isn’t quite as daunting as I suspected and I managed to knock out a few basic models in a few hours. My artwork direction of choice is to go low-poly, sort of like the old Little Big Adventure game series, but with a bit more flair. what this does mean is that I get fairly decent looking creatures at low CPU cost and extremely rapid development. I will also keep painting of these creatures and items to a minimum (Unless I manage to find a stunning hand-painting style artist to do them for me) and use simple textures to create a very nice effect (well, so I think anyway).

Well, adeerscreenshots my GPU just decided to throw a fit and destroy the beautiful creature (Won’t share what creature exactly it was as that would give away the theme of the game totally), I thought I’d share a WIP screenshot of one of my other models. Yay, a first actual screenshot of what’s to come! It still needs to be painted and animated, but it’s a thing. And yes, the triangular look is what I’m going for. The face needs a slight bit of work to correctly place the eyes, but I’m pretty happy with the result.

 

 

Devlog Weekly Update: Week 16 2016

Oh wow, it’s been a while. I’ve started my own IT service company, which has drained most of my time and resources, so my programming project needed to take a step back for a bit. Things are finally settled again so I can continue, although it will be even slower than before.

I’ve gone back and looked at things, and set up a test project to test little things in before moving them to the main project. I’ve written a new XP bar, which handles itself very well, and surprised me with how much I remember from the newer Unity Canvas. There are still a few minor tweaks I could do, but for now I’m happy and everything works. There’s still one tiny bug with a new character showing as having a full bar of XP which I need to sort out, but that’s an easy fix which I’ll do after writing this. I also need to write in a quick bit of code to fill the XP bar based on the current level and XP amount from a savegame, but that’s also a minor issue.

My new and improved Inventory V6 (or is it 7?) is coming along nicely, with the ability to use items, move items and stack items depending on their stack sizes. I’m loving the way it handles stacks and fills the first stack available. So far no bugs have crept in (except for a very stubborn moth at 11pm last night that thought my screen was a nice place to camp). Next up is splitting stacks, bank and chests, crafting and vendors. Also to come some new nifty equipping of items, with stats that actually will work this time. I’ve planned out all the code properly this time round and learnt from my previous failed/antiquated attempts.

Screenshots will come soon, although once again using purely dummy icons and items. I have however started modeling on a character for the game, and built a resource library of the various creatures in the game. Hopefully my modeling will improve to a point where I can release a playable demo with self-generated creep and items soon(TM).

Devlog Weekly Update: Week 2 2016

Wow, it’s another year again. Time passes so fast. Sadly opening my own business, and the whole new years/wintereenmas thing has distracted me from coding for the last few days, but I had an off day and decided to get back on track.

I’ve restarted the inventory system to take better care of the new item system (which still needs some tweaking to get attributes working 100%) and created a new chat system that seems to handle system messages better. It also has the ability to be expanded to handle text input properly, so things like whispers, clan messages, global chat, etc are all implementable.

On the art side I’ve been collecting resources from nature to convert to my decided art style. As soon as I have time to do some 3D modeling I’ll post a demo scene to show what the first rendition of the game looks like.

All in all I’m just happy that I don’t have to use Debug.Log for everything anymore. Should make things a bit easier.
(Note to self: make the chat system be able to toggle certain messages and group messages according to category, also do a in/out system so that old messages get discarded on client side. Server side will obviously log everything)

Devlog Weekly Update: Week 51 2015

Hi there, and welcome to the first weekly installment of my devlog. Daily (or when I actually do something worthwhile on a day anyway) will still appear on the main Devlog page.

This week not much new happened, but I did finish up revision 1 of the item system and started on the keybind/input system (the two work hand in hand, although the Inputmanager will be able to work independently and load settings from the default ini file). I also decided upon the art style for the Alpha release of the game for the world and scenery (still deciding on character and creep style) and started a bit of work on the GUI style. Weather also took a giant leap forward, with rain and light snow making an appearance in the game.

On the coding side, I ran into an issue with my Dictionary of keybindings not wanting to be shared from the Keybind Manager to the Input Manager, but this was because I was attaching the Keybind Manager to the GUI element controlling the key remapping. As this element was being switched on and off and was only active when the screen was open, it wasn’t able to keep the settings for the Input Manager to grab. Creating a GameObject for the Keybind Manager itself and mapping the input areas to public text variables which were filled by dragging the GUI Text elements in, I was able to circumnavigate this, and created a much cleaner system too.

The Item system and input system both packaged nicely and easily imported into my main project. now it’s just a case of rewriting the movement system and letting the input manager take care of… well… the input. The Input was written in such a way that it sends commands to the movement manager attached to the player. Hopefully the movement manager will take care of player, npc and enemy movement, with the AI system sending commands instead of the input system for the latter two. Speaking of which, my AI system needs to be tuned a LOT. At the moment the enemy simply comes at you in a straight line and collisions cause it to get confused. It also runs back to “base” when you get too far from it’s spawnpoint, which should be changed to keep aggro while damage is being done to it. I’m still thinking about mobs running away… I loathe running mobs but I suppose it’s part of a game like this.

Combat is still just a dream. I first have to get out V2 of the item system, which would include stat modifiers, and get the player to spawn with the appropriate stats and abilities for his/her class, but once I have the basics of that out I will be launching a test arena to the public for some multiplayer PVP action. Stay tuned!

DevLog quick update

This is just a quick catch up, normal Devlog updates will be on the Devlog page again from tomorrow.

It’s been a horrific time for development the last week. I’m in another country, I’m dealing with a temperature drop of 40-45 degrees (Celcius) and I have the flu. So needless to say not much has happened on the coding side of things. I have downloaded a vast array of things I will be needing or testing in the next few weeks, so at least that’s out of the way (Unless I find something else I really need, which I will).

I’ve also scavenged the Unity Asset Store for free models, textures, music and scripts that I can use as placeholders until I can finalize an art direction. Coding on the developer side tools is also nearing completion. The name is 90% finalized and the game direction, classes, races and basic storyline is nailed down firmly. I hope to have a playable demo, single player for now, out fairly shortly (With none of the final assets in place of course, except for some GUI elements) which will give a demonstration of what my game will be all about and how it will play. Don’t forget to subscribe for updates as soon as they become available.

 

Patch Tuesday.

So I’m off sick, and of course it has to be patch day :(

Anyway, here are the basic patch notes (Spent all morning trying to find the in-depth ones to no avail).

Patch Notes for v.0.6.4:

  • Added new vehicles: premium heavy Lowe and KV-5, KV-13 and Pz38NA, tier 8 SPGs: Object 261, GW-E serie, T-92.
  • Readjusted visibility parameters of all vehicles while standing still and on the move.
  • Introduced detailed damage mechanics for tracks. Reworked durability of tracks and repair time for all vehicles.
  • Increased match-making value for tier 9 medium tanks.
  • Reworked vehicle movement system – sticking at vertical surfaces and map borders is nearly eliminated. Reduced chance of getting stuck in terrain objects.
  • Changed damage mechanics for tracks. You can damage tracks if you hit the leading or the rearmost wheel of the tank. It will be much more difficult to detrack it by hitting middle part of the tank.
  • Added the possibility of dismounting non-demountable equipment (Rammer, Coated Optics and other) for 10 gold.
  • Added the automated ban system for teamkillers.
  • Added new maps: Mountain Pass and Prairies.
  • Corrected a lot of mistakes connected with objects’ disposition, passing ability, getting stuck on most of the maps.
  • Fixed a lot of rendering errors, increased the efficiency of advanced dynamic shadows.

My thoughts? Ok, new maps are always good. I like the variety, and some of the current ones need a bit of balancing/reworking. New tanks? Meh, don’t really care. I’m too busy working through the lower classes. As for TK’ing bans, I think it should be based upon a vote. I’ve seen a few instances where a teammate on a narcissistic binge will damage as many teammates as he can without killing them, effectively weakening the entire squad. Such a teammate deserves to be put out of his misery, and banning the person that does is not the solution. I do like the reworked movement and track damage a lot though. I’ve been stuck on map edges and inside sniping buildings way too many times for it to be “novel” any more. And fixing the track damage to be more specific to where it’s hit adds a further layer of realism to the game.

Anyway, last night I played a few rounds, which was quite entertaining and taught me a few things. Firstly, we had a bug on a few maps where certain terrain was indestructible. Imagine a thin guard gate being impassable: we immediately noticed it and used this to our advantage, creating a choke point around our base and defending hard. Easy victory. The next map however had one of the two bridges bugging out, causing neither team to be able to pass over or even see each other across the bridge. This caused a mad dash to the only other bridge, and with quite a few TD’s and heavies, this turned out to be quite the battle.

Next up, with about 8k experience left to my T1 Heavy, I’ve almost given up on the foul M3 Lee. As a diversion I’ve bought some Russian tanks and am progressing much faster to the KV. It’s become so bad that I play extremely cautious with the M3, trying to set myself up way before choke points so I don’t get destroyed too early. This means I don’t see much action, and play longer with less experience on these maps. Then when I switch to another tank, I forget that I’m not in the lumbering beast and sometimes totally forget that I have free turret movement, which brings down my light game. All in all not a nice experience.

On a lighter note, we had a map last night where everyone rushed left. Our team rushed our left, their team rushed theirs. Only 3 tanks were destroyed in the entire battle and we ended up winning by getting our guys in their base faster. Many “gg”‘s and giggles were had by all 😀 . I didn’t even see an enemy blip on the radar all match.

Now… only another 3 hours till patch time is over…

… Yet not a drop to drink

Technical mumbo-jumbo alert. The following post has nothing to do with gaming.

I finally convinced myself I need a bigger hard drive. Since giving up the MMO scene for more casual single player gaming (and the occasional delving into Minecraft multiplayer) and an abundance of series and movies my current menagerie of drives were constantly complaining of low space. The fact that first a 320GB and then a 160GB that I was using to back the 320GB up with decided to start giving SMART errors didn’t help either.

So out came the credit card and in came a shiny new 2TB external drive. This brings my total storage to 4.5TB. (Edit – I just remembered purchasing my first drive: a Seagate MFM full-height monstrosity with 20MB storage. Yes, thats megabytes… took me forever to find enough data to put on it.) On the way home I opened the box and was shocked to see a “quick start” manual as thick as my thumb. It’s a hard drive, how can they fill 120 pages as “quick start”. Turns out that it’s 4 pages, double spaced, granny font… in like 60 languages. I read it more out of boredom than anything else, and giggled to myself when I read the following line: “This drive has been preformatted in FAT32.” FAT32? a 2TB drive? Fat chance. It must be an old manual or something.

Anyway, I started transferring data on Sunday night, moving all my series to the new drive. This went pretty smoothly, albeit a bit slow. Next up came the Anime, which was started on Monday night. This morning I awoke to an error message on my screen. I was half asleep, so I just caught something about “not enough free space on the volume for this file”. I closed the message, thinking how on earth did I manage to fill the drive already. I’d only copied about 800GB to it.

Then it dawned on me… The drive wasn’t full, the file was just too big for the partition… it really was formatted in FAT32. What to do? I hadn’t even started copying over my Blue-ray backups yet. No way would they fit. so I packed the drive in, took it to work and started researching. I wasn’t about to copy everything back again to repartition the drive. There had to be another solution.

First google attempt: Found a program called Easus Partition Master that claimed to be able to convert filesystems without losing data. Quickly downloaded and installed it. 2 Minutes into the transfer process it stopped, claiming critical errors on the drive. It did however undo everything it had done to that point, rendering the drive still useable.

Second google attempt: Found out that Microsoft actually has a built-in command to do this. You open up a command prompt as an administrator and then run the following: convert D: /fs:ntfs (where D is replaced by the drive letter).  However when running this on my notebook, it gave me an “Insufficient memory” error. So I ran it on my desktop and 5 minutes later I had a NTFS drive with all my data intact.

If you’ve just sat through all this drivel, thanks and sorry. Personal life and quitting WoW has kept me pretty much away from writing in general, and I guess it’s time to have an outlet again. I’ve got some ideas as to the direction I’m going with blogging, just have to see if it’s got enough material and content.

Cheers for now,

b0b (Pindleskin nevermore)

Blizz you ninjas!

I’ve been scarce, I know. I’ve just been horribly busy pushing for progression in my guild and trying to get as much betatesting done in Lego Universe (Which I’ll tell you all about once the NDA gets lifted, I swear). And to be honest I don’t have much to post about. The guild’s quite secure, everyone’s peachy and there’s another guild that wants to do joint-25mans in the near future. I also had a great time tanking with a guy I’ve spoken to 100 times ingame but never had the chance to play with.

So the topic today is just something that’s been on my mind for quite a while. Now as some of you may know, my main’s name is Pindleskin – blatantly stolen from Diablo 2. The truth is I couldn’t resist when I made him. I mean cmon, an undead warrior. The character creation screen looks just like him too.

Seems Blizz noticed this though, and struck back with great fury. Here’s how:

The third character I created, shortly after Pindle hit 60 and ages before TBC was even imagined, was a female tauren druid named Keyrah. Soon after the release of The Burning Crusade I was questing through Zangarmarsh when a druid in distress called me over. What would her name be?

Kayra

Ok so the names are just slightly similar, and once is a coincidence right? If only… With the release of The Burning Crusade, blood-elves came to be. I rolled a male priest, thinking the racial at that time would help. I named him Bloodbane. I got him to 70 way before Wrath was announced, and managed to get him quite far in the raiding scene.

Then Wrath hit. I made a Deathknight purely to see what all the fuss is about. In fact, he’s still only level 72, and will probably stay there for all eternity. What I did find during my quest through the DK starting area was a very interesting NPC by the name of Orbaz Bloodbane. This time he wasn’t the same race (human compared to belf) but the name matched 100%.

Since then I’ve used names that are so obscure that if they were to copy it, I’d know for sure. But 2 for 1 seems fair anyway. So umm… you can stop now Blizzard, I get the point. I won’t use any of your names again.

Images courtesy of wowwiki.com and probably copyrighted by Blizzard Entertainment