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Journal of Raduprv

Working at Barren Moon

Posted by , 28 January 2005 - - - - - - · 74 views

Well, in the ast two weeks I didn't do much at all for Barren Moon, being busy over my head with some Eternal Lands stuff. Most of it non programming stuff, but still, it takes a lot of time to manage the team, do some customer support stuff, look for bugs, etc.
Now that the update is fine, it's time to focus on the new project. Sadez, one of the BM developers came back recently, and added some new stuff to the BM server, such as the ability to add 2d/3d/particle objects in a map, on the fly. Now he is working at the buddy list, the serverside implementation, which will be shared between Eternal Lands and Barren Moon.
Meanwhile, I will work at the vegetation part, that is having the plants growing, getting ripe, then die. They will also take the resoruces from the ground, while they grow, and give their resources back when they die. Unless you harvest them, in which case they give less resources back to the soil.
The data structures are done, and now that we have the functions to add dynamically 3d objects, I can finally write the appropriate vegetation functions.

Next plans

Posted by , 26 January 2005 - - - - - - · 84 views

Yesterday and today, in order to celebrate the update being succeesful, and almost everyone enjoying it, I got a little bit lazy and didn't do any coding. I held a contest, in Eternal Lands, being hidden in a secret spot, and promising a nice prize to the one that finds me (sans mods and admins, of course). No one did, so I told them we'll continue the contest tomorrow.
I also found out that we were supposed to have 3 new manufacturing formulas released every 2 weeks (each one every 2 weeks), but one of the staff members inadvertently(?) leaked all the 3 formulas on the news forum, which spoiled the surprise. I told Rogue (the one now I charge of the server) that if we are going to have items to be released later on, we should NOT enable them until the time of their release, so people won't leak them again.
I also decided to spend a little more time with the Eternal Lands team, because otherwise there are all kind of mistakes that shouldn't happen. Plus, the team needs someone in charge of the technical stuff, like some sort of arbitrer. And, of course, since the new project, Barren Moon shares a lot of code with Eternal Lands, it's good to oversee both projects to make sure the code can be used in both projects. Of course, there is some game specific code that can't be used in the other, but stuff such as the buddy list can.
Meanwhile I posted on the OpenGL forum about our Zbuffer shadows problem, and hopefully someone can point us what exactly is wrong, and how it can be fixed.

Update done

Posted by , 25 January 2005 - - - - - - · 90 views

Well, the update went smoothly, there was no incident. The mirrors were updated in the morning, after I was resonably sure that there are no problems.
So far, no one reported any problems, and apparently everyone is happy with the new maps and new features in the client. Soon we will have to add some new manufacturing formulas, so that the players will finally be able to make all kind of axes. This kind of sucks tho, because we won't be able to sell titanium axes for money (they are 20 USD for the time being).
But we do have some p2p races, they will be 50 USD/lifetime, so maybe we will make some money from them.

At this time it's night in the game, so the shadows are not there yet (we can't have shadows from different lights, would be overkill). Now the morning is comming, and I'll have to see what the players think about the deepth buffer shadows. Hopefully they will like them.

After I finish this log entry, I will head to Freshmeat.net and update the project. This adds some new players to the game, and also boosts the vitality of the project, which is cool. Besides, there are some Linux distros that are subscribed to the project on Freshmeat, so they can update their files and such.
Then I will submit a post in the Announcement forum, here on Gamedev.net and after that party a little :)

Eternal Lands Update, part 2

Posted by , 24 January 2005 - - - - - - · 89 views

Fortunately, my DSL connection worked just enough so I can upload the install file, which is 22 MB. Then it died on me, so I went back to Dial Up.
Everything is ready for the update, the files uploaded, the mirrors not yet updated (it's pointless to update the mirrors now, if the final test shows that something is wrong).
But for the time being, there are no problems reported, except by those who don't know how to follow simple instructions.
If everything is fine until tomorrow, then the update can be finalized.
Normally we don't do so many testings before an update, but a lot of things changed since the last one: 2 developers left, a few new developers came, so it's better to be safe than sorry. Besides, we had some previous versions that had various more or less critical bugs in them.
It is a good thing that we didn't rush, because we were able to fix some map problems, and, most importantly, today I fixed a few shadow related problems. Our old shadows looked totally crappy on the snow mounds, because they were projected on the ground, so if there were small bumbs then the shadows apeared to be floating, or some objects apeared to be floating.
The deepth buffer shadows also looked very crappy on Ila Prima (the first map) because we changed it to a snow map, to reflect the season in the northen hemisphere. So the problem with them on the snow was that they were very blocky, due to the inherent problems of this technique, and on the snow that was VERY vissible and annoying. In order to address this issue I change the ambient color computation for the snow maps so that the ambient light is actually a little brither, and slightly bluer than the difuse light. I also changed the default shadow map size to 2048. that doesn't really make a big difference, unless the use switches to the highest resolution.

On an unrelated subject, mikeman, our newest volunteer, did some testings with the avatars shading, and I must say it looks much better. Unfortunately, this will be useless since we plan to switch away from MD2s, and use a skeletal animation approach. He is responsible for implementing that. But I wish he joined the team earlier, and done this stuff so we can have it for this update :)

Eternal Lands update

Posted by , 24 January 2005 - - - - - - · 115 views

Here we are again to the thing I hate most: Updating the game. Not only that this sucks because I have to upload a lot of files via Dial Up, but it is also annoying that I have to update all the mirrors. Of course, I don't have to use the Dial Up for the mirrors, I just upload it on one server then take it via wget or ftp from that server and put it on the mirrors. But it's still a pain in the ass.
However, the biggest problem is making sure that the new update does not crash people's computers. For example, we had big problems with Win98 and XP computers, due to a bug in the Iconv library. Wytter rewrote one of the functions and now it works fine. We also had a problem with the Win98 users, because of the way the command line was processed. That bug is fixed as well.
Yesterday we had two preliminary update tests, the second one being almost OK, with the mention that we forgot to put some files, so we will need yet another release candidate. If that works well, we will finally update the main server (so far, the tests are done on a test server, which is pretty much an updated copy of the main server).
There is one more issue with one of the users reporting a crash when entering a building. Now I have to see if others have similar problems, and if they do try to to see WTF is wrong.
If others have no problems, then I have to see why it crashes for that user. Might be because he didn't update properly, or maybe because he has a drivers problem.

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