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About this blog

This blog centers on DRTS, the distilled real-time strategy game.

Play the HTML5 port in your web browser at https://play.drtsgame.com

Entries in this blog

The first implementation of DRTS came in form of a windows application. While the windows app did its job, I felt uncomfortable with the bottleneck resulting from depending on windows as a platform. To lower this barrier, I started developing a version to run in web-browsers. The web app has come a long way since then, offering an interactive tutorial and playing with bots.

The update released today expands the web app by support for playing with other people online.

To play the game, head over to play.drtsgame.com

Starting today, the web app there also offers to join another player for a game.

The video below demonstrates the new feature, using two different web-browsers:

2018-02-23.DRTS.web-app-play-with-other-people

Under The Hood - Rendering Efficiency And Visibility Changes

Also with this update, visibility of the game world is changed in several ways:

  • The computation of visibility is reimplemented using a new algorithm to be more efficient in common scenarios. This change drastically improved frame rates in Firefox, Edge, and Chrome.
  • Symmetry for view propagation along edges: With the new algorithm, visibility is changed for symmetry between pairs of nodes. This means that viewing along an edge always works in both directions, regardless of the travel direction of the edge.
  • When the game is over, the complete game world is revealed to all players.

Just released another version of DRTS.

You can play it at https://distilledgames.itch.io/distilled-rts 

Picking Maps

I improved the UI to preview maps before starting to play with bots. Now it is easier to find a map you like and see what you are getting into before starting the game.

2018-01-30.DRTS.map-preview

Camera Controls

In addition to earlier input methods, you now can control the camera also via keyboard: To pan, use arrow keys, for zoom plus and minus. To improve onboarding, I added buttons for controlling the camera. This visual addition to the UI should help new players notice that the field of view can be changed.

Under The Hood

  • To prepare for competitive games, the map generator was improved for exact symmetry of edges in generated maps.
  • Pathfinding now yields optimal paths in more cases.

Today I released a new version of DRTS. You can play it now at https://distilledgames.itch.io/distilled-rts

The changes made since the last release are primarily about the tutorial and playing with bots.

Tutorial

Hugo Blanco recently helped me test the game. He patiently worked through the tutorial and so I learned about stumbling blocks in there. Based on these observations, I compiled a list of planned changes to improve the tutorial and UI

Selecting The Split Ratio

When testing the tutorial, we found a problem in the stage which instructs the player to split his unit. In the step to select the split ratio, there was insufficient guidance on how to proceed. I implemented several changes to improve this and also make the UI for this easier to use in general:

  • In the tutorial step, visually point out a location the player can click on to complete the step. This is done by displaying an arrow pointing to the slider control.
  • Make the slider control react to moving the mouse over it, to help understand that we can interact with this thing.
  • Make the slider control work the same way with all mouse buttons.

The video below shows how this part of the tutorial looks like now: 2017-12-28.DRTS.select-split-ratio.gif

Some other improvements made in the tutorial:

  • Enable the player to complete the tutorial without relying on external instructions about camera controls: In the tutorial, the camera automatically follows the action to make sure the player can always see everything of interest.
  • The visuals to draw attention to objects to interact with now also indicate if the player should use a specific mouse button.

Playing with Bots

There are now more maps to play on. You will find a new map each time you start a game. I expanded the map generation function to create symmetric maps. With this release, you will automatically get a symmetric map when starting a game.

Since the last release, several bugs have been fixed:

  • Fix a distracting visual glitch discovered by Hugo: Avoid splitting a unit when the resulting units are going to be merged in the next progress step anyway.
  • Game World Movement: Opponents units block each others movement on opposite edges.
  • Game World Movement: Opponents unit blocks movement from node to edge.
  • Game World Combat: Make unit attack the unit blocking its movement with the highest priority.

Following the plan from last week, I expanded the web port of the DRTS game.

You can play this new version at https://distilledgames.itch.io/distilled-rts

In the upper right corner of the screen, you will now find a button to access the main navigation, and from there, you can start new games.
Besides the tutorial, you can also play on a larger map with a bot.
To make this a bit more of a challenge, I spent a few hours on building a basic behavior for the bot.
It will spread out, conquer more and more area on the map and eventually overrun you if you don’t act.

I also started implementation of the map generator, which is used to generate random maps, and the new map you see is coming from this generator.
A good part of the map generation functions are already implemented, but it needs some more work, most importantly to enable symmetrical maps.
Symmetrical maps will come with a future release, as well as a user interface to customize the map generation process.

The screenshot shows a game with the new bot and map.

2017-12-18.DRTS.play-with-bot.png

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