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The unnamed RPG

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This post provides a bit of an overview of my plans for my as-yet unnamed RPG. One of the biggest lessons I learned with my previous game (which I talked about last time) is that players want to interact. The in-game chat was pretty much an afterthought in my previous game (in fact, it was the very last feature I added before going to "alpha"). Most of the work I did post-release was community-based features -- an alliance system, one-on-one and group private chats, and so on.

So I wanted to make sure my new game supported a vibrant community right from the beginning. Also, I was a little tired of the limitations of working with a phone, so I wanted something that ran on a PC. But more than that, I wanted something that was cross-platform (I personally use a Mac laptop and a Linux workstation, so it needed to run on those platforms as well as Windows, of course). Because I'm a masochist, I decided make the game browser-based.

The first iteration I was using a directly and drawing 2D sprites. It worked pretty well, but performance was generally pretty horrible -- and that was with practically nothing on the screen! I actually got pretty far with that 2D engine, including multiple players, chat, animations and so on. Here's a video:


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That video didn't have pathfinding, but that was also added before I decided that the performance just wasn't there. My plan was going to be to use webgl to speed up the 2D engine, but as I was coding, this happened


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So I made it fully 3D with three.js as the backend renderer. In fact it's actually not that hard to get webgl up and running -- the hardest part, at least for me, was content. The initial "rewrite" was still talking to the same backend server, so it still supported all those wonderful multiplayer features, but I had an MD2 model (from Quake) as my main character, and some procedurally generated tree I found somewhere as decoration.

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The most interesting thing about the rewrite is the terrain. I found this cool article on Gamasutra and implemented it as a GLSL shader in three.js.

Then I taught myself how to use blender to create some basic 3D objects and animations. All the content in the current gameplay video was made by me in blender. Yay!

So that's where we are today. I've have a few ideas for the basic premise behind the game and also some information on how the game has been "architectured" (I put it in quotes because it's much more organically developed than architectured...)

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