What has really changed in the last month or so, is the level of integrated community features, also many new persistant aspects have been added into the game.
There is full stat tracking, and database integration into the game. While the game servers have always maintained a 24/7 connection with the master server, I've made it so the clients now do the smae. They report their status, much like a mini-instant-messaging system.
I want to integrate the 'clan' aspects that usually develop outside a game...so that's what the "Gangs" are for. There can be up to 9 people per gang. Also I'm going to up the maximum # of people allowed in a server from 6 to 18, that should be done next week.
I'm really searching for a perfect way to allow players to "challange" eachother in-game. It'd have to go through the "boss" of the gang, the person who created it. You can send a "join gang request" to a gang if you want to join them.
Your personal account gains "global respect points" much faster if you're a member of a gang. Though it requires a 50,000 respect points to create a gang, so you'll have to slug it out in unranked matches until you either join or create a gang of your own.
All this stuff is still very much in the works, I'm just sort of blurbing it out. Seraching for a perfect way to tie it all together.
Another aspect that I want to allow a lot of user interaction is the "City Browser", users will be able to upload their created cities [limit 3 per user @ at a time, stored in the global database]. The maps can be downloaded/previewed in the City Browser. Also maps can be ranked on a 5 star system. I'm thinking of the many ways for people to screw this system up, ie: upload 4 empty cities just for the f*** of it...there are many other gotchas in designing these types of systems so I'm quite hesitant when implementing them.
Anyways, in keeping with tradition I will now splatter un-thumnailed 1280x1024 screenshots with blatent disregard for bandwidth or margins. 8-} j/k
At startup, the user is presented with the message of the day....They can choose which windows they want open, etc.
Money if you can guess which window was the most complex to design :-/ Seriously...take a second and stop reading and glance at the screenshot below and see which one you think would take the longest time to design, go on...look down.....ok....ready for the answer? Yea it was the Open File dialog box. That thing was a pain, but I'm happy with how it came out...an almost exact duplicate of the Win32 OpenFile Dialog Box :-] Probably took me 18-20 hours of work to get it perfect...I'll post a video soon...:-D It's cool to change the file wildcard, and see it updated in real-time...windows should adopt that feature.
Smaller 800x600 @ Medium shader quality...note ~500 FPS mmmmkay.
Of course the most important window of all...the SERVER FINDER!
Overall I'm about 55% completed with all the work I slated for the game on May 10th 2007. So I'm about 5% behind schedule...that means things must get slashed...we will see...I have some more stuff planned that might not make it into the game :-/
Also check out the Urban Empires homepage/website - This has consumed much of my time
I've had to cut some stuff from it, but eh'...I'm pretty happy with it at the moment. I'll probably change it around in the near future though :-]
Ok that's it. I'm going to be at the DGXPO Game Expo in Raleigh this weekend...showing Urban Empires :-D, and just hanging out...drop by the Radioactive-Software booth if you're in the Raleigh NC area, or are going to be at the expo.