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Code Wars Episode II: Attack of the Backlog

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I've been neglecting to write some entries as of late, so I'll have to lay a fairly big one here to make up for all of the stuff that's happened in my little world of gamedev. :)

The Recovery

For those of you who recall, my old harddrive (Eliza) died, leaving my project, Star of Shadows RPG, essentially frozen. The last backup I had was a whole version behind, which meant 2 months of hard work. Not to mention Magma Duel, Gundown, Meteorites, and every other project I've worked on over the last 3 years. Gah.

But today, there is a light. It was much easier than I had thought it would be: I simply unhooked the IDE cable and power from my CD-ROM drive, and plugged it into my [supposedly] dead HDD, set as a slave drive. Booted my new HDD up (Minda), and boom, there it was on the D:\ drive: Eliza! She was beautiful right then. Sure she was dead, but necrophilia doesn't count with harddrives. :P

Long story short, I saved everything, and couldn't have felt better about it. Star of Shadows v0.03 should hit the metaphorical shelves in the very near future. :)

The Server

Finished building up my server in my Computer Engineering class, and lugged it home today. Take my word for it: carrying a desktop home on a 15 minute walk is not fun. My arms were cramped for the next few hours. That, and us programmers aren't really that buff. :P

Spent the greater part of this afternoon getting everything hooked up and functional on the server. Bought a wireless network card for 'her', and tossed in that old 64mb AGP video card I had lieing around, which I knew I'd need one day. ;) Beats the 16-colours 800x600 mode that the 4mb nVidia card it came with offered.

Now it's buffed up a little more. Not bad for $65(CAN). Here's the beauty:

(Playing a fun game of 'Street Invaders'!)

No Apache or FTP or anything like that just yet. Apache looks pretty easy to get going, but I have no idea about how to set up FTP. Am I just to write an application that processes FTP requests, or is there something else? Any software to be recommended here? I'm a complete server newbie. Tips from the pros are welcome.

Skirmish Online

Skirmish Online has been moving along just swimmingly. In fact, I'm sort of worried at how well things have been progressing. It was only the other day that I realized something very important and impressive: the game is very stable. No big bugs, no crashes, and no (known) exploits. Compared to my last online game attempt, Bizlof War (2003), which crashed like mad on players and had wierd glitches occuring on a regular basis, this is miraculous. It feels great to be making such a solid game. :D

So, what's new, you might be asking? You're not? Well, too bad, Joe. I'm telling you anyways:

Started off with the minor stuff: fixing some player input formatting, version checking (so players can't use old clients), and a packet type for the server to send that shows a custom messagebox (usually for something like "cannot connect" or "game is full").

Then I went on and got to the fun stuff: a playerlist with names and pings, key customization (saving, too!), some gamehost commands ('kick' being the highlight :P), and the workings of the HUD. Also a makeshift form for logging into the game. Additionally, Draffurd went gung-ho on the sprites and kicked them up several notches. They look much spiffier now (Robocop-esque?) and they can by dynamically coloured by the game. This'll be handy for gametypes with teams. Looky:

(Hurrah for local ping times!)

And even more recently I've been getting more work done on the HUD and the slot system for player inventories. You can select your weapon via the number keys, and each item type has a delay associated with it that takes a certain amount of time depending on the item. For example, switching to a rocket launcher is a lot longer than pulling out a pistol or grenade. The groovy part is that the HUD dynamically grows/shrinks the slot rectangles as your switch, so you can tell how fast your switching to your next weapon/item. Soon your player will transition between animation states based on what gun you're holding (eg. pistol-hold stance -> rifle-hold stance).

Oh, and now you can hide underneath trees. Your name vanishes and you can usually completely hide from someone else if you're crafty enough. Me and my testers had quite a few enjoyable rounds of hide-and-seek. Or rather, "Guess the Tree". :P

And then, after I do that, I get to write the guns themselves. Much fun. :)


Am I the only one who has adopted the weird habit of naming my harddrives? My current main HDD is Minda, my last one (dead) was Eliza, my server's is Violet, and my last few were Wilma and Bertha. Aaah, Bertha. We wrote some nice QBasic text adventures together way back in the day. :D
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Don't use FTP; FTP is notoriously insecure and sends all of its passwords in plaintext. It's also an ancient protocol that should have died years ago.

I recommend running an OpenSSH server so you can have SFTP; all the decent clients (like FileZilla) should support SCP/SFTP.

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Not to distract you from the two current projects. But Hope how about hooking the IDE chord up to the other hard drives. You never know what we'd find. "Mystery recording" :P

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