Our first bit of news is that Toggles, the developer of the tnet networking library which Tearsol uses for client/server communication has unfortunately left due to other commitments. He was kind enough to complete tnet and continues to host our project management and source tracking software. I want to say a big thank you to toggles for the work he has done to get our networking and server, which he made an excellent start on. I wish you all the best for the future chap. As a result of this, Stratboy61, who was focused on database implementation and architecture will be taking the reigns for all server development. This stopped server development dead for a couple of weeks, but hasn't caused any long term problems, I'll now be looking for another server dev to help Stratboy out.
During April and the start of May our core team also spent some time working on a small side project for a competition which challenged its participants to create a game featuring the elements of Digging, Earth, Mines and other earthy things, we produced Desperate Digger in around three weeks (yeah, we started a little late). We were extremely pleased with the results and looked forward to hearing how it did in the contest. Although it was playable some weeks ago, the contest due date has been all but forgotten by the organizers, perhaps because of a lack of entries. We do a little testing and polishing before releasing it as a free webstart application later this year.
Apart from Desperate Digger, the majority of our time has been dedicated to Tearsol Online. Joe, Myself and Maaatt have begun work on the first wave of final quality character armour, world items and environment props which are looking exceptional. In addition to this Steve is continuing work on the stunning audio tracks that everyone seems to listen to when they are developing for TO. I can't wait to see all these models in the client, I'll bring you the first shots as soon as the client/server programming is in place to support them.
Alan has continued developing the client with great speed, his current focus is on the building editor system which has been somewhat of a thorn in our side because it's responsible for a large part of the game but is a real challenge to get right, we are now on the right track with it. As soon as Alan is happy with the first version of the system I'll write up a little feature list which should give you all an idea of how the system works and how it impacts the world and gameplay. Here's some shots of an early version.
Milestone 5 got shunted out of the limelight a bit, mainly due to the hiccup of swapping lead server developers. Me and Alan saw this downtime as a good opportunity to re-align our production plan a little so that when server development got back online we would be right there along side it and able to focus his efforts on the client's development rather than worrying about dodgy tools and missing file formats. With that in mind we took the decision to jump into completing the peripheral bits and bobs including completing the terrain editor and our proprietary 3D format and also starting work on the building editor.
Fortunately because the export-games team is quite elite, we did manage to get 80% of our milestone 5 targets completed, oh AND made Desperate Digger too. So all's well that ends well. With a little luck, in a few months we will be pimping Desperate Digger on java webstart for some public appreciation (or indignation) at our work so far. I hope to see you there for tea and crumpets.
-- I wrote the previous stuff a few weeks ago, there's a few other things worth mentioning since then. Firstly the server has come on in leaps and bounds, Stratboy61 is working almost full time on it which has made a fantastic impact on my schedule, I have at least one in-depth architecture/functionality e-mail discussion with him every day, everyone loves those. So right now he's working on BSP trees and player FOV's. Fun stuff :).
Also we will be entering a game in this years 4E contest, we were planning on making it a few weeks before the four elements was announced and by happy coincidence the initial design covered the requirements. It's all about building and smashing castles, it will be multiplayer only, and it will use a lot of code from the Tearsol client and Server.