Ordered a nice nVidia GeForce 6600GT today. Should beat the pants off my current card, even though it's not really that high-end by today's standards. I'm intentionally offering no further details because I don't want to hear "you got ripped off" or the likes. Us Canadians are used to it. :P
Decided to call v0.04 finished. I think that the network rewrite and all of the other big changes planned warrant their own version. Thus, we are now on v0.05 Alpha. :)
I haven't actually started the rewrite yet, it may be worth mentioning. Today I focused on figuring out ways to improve security in the game.
I found out that Toxic Hippo wrote the beginnings of a 'bot' to play Skirmish Online, via a Python script. The idea is cool, but I'm 100% against the whole hacking thing, even if it's a non-malicious attempt. He explained how just using a packet sniffer he was able to figure out some of my packet types and get a dummy player to connect and chat in the game. Uh oh. If it's that easy, then it's time to step security up a notch. >:) Toxic Hippo recommended somesort of simple encryption to keep out the quick-hack folks. A wonderful idea. I think that packet encryption combined with more server-side authority will be the ideal way to keep the game out of the grasp of hackers and not make it a complete chore to code. :)
Spent the last 3 hours or so implementing an encryption library I found. The implementation itself was simple, but the library had enough 'quirks' that it made the process quite painful. The game runs exactly the same now, but the packets are encrypted upon sending, and decrypted upon arrival. Eventually it'll be more secure, whereas the client needs to receive a cipher key from the server or somesuch. This was just a quick test to see whether the library could do it or not.
Now the actual rewrite of the network code begins. If all goes as planned I should be able to host at least 20 players without a problem. My limit so far has been about 7 or 8, due to the inefficiency in my code and some bugs that need squashing. To have that bug-free release is still my dream. :)
Online games are love-hate relationships. I loathe the painful parts of the coding, but get indescribable joy from watching people log-in and gun down eachother.
Aaaah, I love this job. :P