With my solidified decision of taking on DreamHost to provide me with hosting for my in-development project, Skirmish Online, I find -- er -- my wallet a little lighter. [smile]
My purchase is confirmed, and I'm just waiting on approval before I get cracking with my new-found webspace. In particular, I'm excited to put some of the HTML/CSS/PHP/mySQL stuff I've been reading about into practice and see how things begin to work out. I'd imagine that the website development will become nearly as taxing as the game itself, for a time. Sheesh! Any free webmasters out there? [smile]
Unfortunately, I really can't afford to pay for both GD.NET+ and web hosting at the same time. This means that I will be canceling my GD.NET+ subscription, and will no longer be hanging out prime-time at GD.NET. I intend to start up my new development journal on my web space within the week, but I plan on cross-posting my entries until my current subscription expires. I hope that those of you interested in either Skirmish or my various other exploits will find your way into my new home on the 'net as things progress.
(EDIT: Ugh, I'm in many ways quite happy to move hosts. I've been waiting for ages trying to get the Web-File-Manager page here to upload my screenshot below, but to zero avail. I actually had to resort to ImageShack -- ungh. I'm looking forward to real hosting [smile].)
Skirmish is going great -- both in programming and design. I feel really confident about the game, the direction, and what kind of gameplay I'm after. My last iteration(s) were mostly developed without a solid final image or plan in mind, and so they suffered from ugly code and design holes.
Equipped now with a reasonably solid storyline and a passion to succeed, the problems of the days of yore should be deftly averted. I've also got a generous handful of interesting gameplay plans that will add a degree of extra "umph" to the classic "kill it if it moves" gameplay. The ideal is to incorporate the skill and development of the individual with teamwork, tactics/strategy, and an interesting environment, which I'm working furiously towards.
Development places me at the point of having basic player physics implemented, with still some tweaking to go. This includes collision detection of tiles (full and sloped), but not other entities (props, bullets, etc). Loading/handling user-configuration files and font loading/rendering are in the works now, which will lead into some GUI work. Here is a shot depicting some fully animated/physics-icized player entities:
(Antialiasing is on the list as well -- hush, you! [grin])
The one thing that I've found very interesting is the battle of Speed versus Good Design. The iteration of Skirmish that came even longer ago (circa '03) took me about two weeks to have players online shooting eachother, whereas the last two weeks only places me at basic player movement and collisions. Why is this? I've been putting extra effort into the design of my code, and pushing to keep code reasonably modular and hack-free. This was the opposite of my previous attempts, which were hack-laden and full of poor design. This route certainly takes longer to create visual progression with, but the result should be a project that gets seen through to the end.
I ask you folks to continue to bear with me during the 'slow period'. Sprite management systems and basic player physics aren't exciting points in development (unless you're me [grin]), but with each line of code written the game is drawing closer and closer to looking and feeling like a real product. All I need is time. All we ever need is time!