A Holiday Release - SolomonRPG:Alpha 0.3

Download the client: SolomonRPG.apk
Signup here: http://solrpg.com

It's been a few months since I last made a release.
With the restlessness of the holidays, and finally achieving some sort of stability I've decided to make another alpha test release.
Here's a breakdown of the issues and notices for this release:

Because I am unemployed at the moment, I can't afford to keep my linode running without any sort of income.  I've gone ahead and shutdown the previous Linode I had setup so I don't waste money.
As with the previous release, I'm hosting the server on my home server so things will be noticeably slow.
I've made the http://solrpg.com point to my home server as well.  Because I'm sort of at a feature freeze I hope that I won't be messing with the server that much.

I've gone ahead and spent some time polishing the client code.  Making sure it'll work in various resolutions and just polishing up the lifecycle of the application.  I've tested it on a few G1s running Android 1.5 and Android 2.2 and it works just fine.  I also tested it in the emulator with larger screens and it seemed to work just fine although it's unusably slow in the emulator.

This whole project has been centered around learning Erlang.  These past few days I took the time to learn about the Erlang OTP application setup.  Creating an .app file, bootstrapping the application when the VM starts, creating a proper application supervisor, and updating the various sub servers to die and restart more gracefully.  I also added things like database connection pooling.  This was very fun and I learned a lot about the Erlang ecosystem.  

I finally added the concept of switches and created my first real 'quest'.  A switch, can hold any given value.  Anything from a string, to a boolean, to an integer, or float.  Each switch is defined by a name, and needs to be defined with an NPC.  Once it's defined, you can use it globally in other events.  Here's how my first quest looks like.  This is real game scripting code:
Generic person NPC:

var PENDANT_SWITCH = 'village_pendant_quest';

if (Solomon.getSwitch(PENDANT_SWITCH))

function describeQuest()
    var MessageStr = "Hey, if you find a pendant in the forest, please bring it to me. \
My mother gave it to me, and it's not of much value, but I'd be happy to pay a \
small reward for it.";

Dropped pendant NPC:

var PENDANT_SWITCH = 'village_pendant_quest';

if (Solomon.getSwitch(PENDANT_SWITCH))
    Solomon.message("It's empty.");
    Solomon.setSwitch(PENDANT_SWITCH, true);
    Solomon.message("You've found a pendant");
I've also added support for catching errors and when the script fails to load.  A message is simply sent to the player, so the creator has to make sure there are no mistakes in the scripting code by constantly testing them in the client.  

The Future
Certainly the most time consuming aspect of the game seems to be the story development and map making.  My girlfriend is helping me create maps for the games and she's really good at it, so that's a load off for me.  Now I'm just concentrating on coming up stories, making maps, fixing bugs, and stabilizing all the features.
However, there are a couple of features I'd like to implement sometime next year:
  • HTML Tileset Editor
  • NPC Auto Walking
  • Compress data sent over network
None of these features are critical to the game.  The NPC autowalking is something I'd like to see soon.  Right now all you see are moving water, moving players, but I'd like to have the option for the NPCs to move as well.
Compressions of data is sort of important, this is actually just needed at a couple of critical points.  When teleporting from area to area and when first logging in.  Not a priority. 

There are also plenty of lesser features I have to implement before releasing the game, but those are the big ones

Mainly just brainstorming with my girlfriend on the world map.  She's making the maps on RMXP and then I select whichever tiles she used and compact the tilesets and import them into the game.  
I'm also polishing the battle system. 
I also had to implement leveling curves which was pretty fun.
Basically, it's a way to keep track of how many experience points are needed to get a certain level.
Each class has the following attributes:
level, exp, hp, mp, attack, defense, speed, and critical_hit_chance.
Each class has a certain algorithm to calculate how many exp points are needed to reach a certain level and what to set the attributes to when the player reaches those levels.  
Then I used a jQuery chart library to generate some tables to visualize it better.  

I still have a bunch of story related work to do, here's my TODO list for the release:
  •     Full concurrent world map
  •     4 races with full story lines
  •     All races and content up to level 20
  •     Monster and monster parties for all world areas
  •     Integrated multiplayer communication and party management
  •     Fully working multiplayer battle system with stats
  •     SOLRPG.COM - 
  •         Full documentation of game overview and gameplay
  •         Fully working site with minimal feature set, doesn't have to be perfect


The Erlang Game Loop

After my last blog post I took the time to signup for Linode and setup my application there.
After running a few tests it was apparent my initial game loop was flawed.
Even with the beefy hardware the erlang beam process was hitting 300% after around 50 areas.

My initial approach to the game loop was a bit naive. 
When loading each area I would spawn an erlang process with a game loop that would grab all the players in that area and process any new move flags, pathfinding, checking collisions, updating character positions, etc.

I figured that even though this was CPU intensive it shouldn't be too much of a problem.  I was wrong.

However, if you pay attention you'll notice I can easily improve this by having a global game loop, and processing all the players regardless of their area.

So, the old was was something like this in pseudo-code:

foreach (areas)

It took me no longer than 30 minutes to update the code.  Now it looks like this:

foreach (areas)

I then ran some tests on my Linode, first I had to set my ERL_MAX_ETS_TABLES to 7000.
I was able to load over 3000 areas with the beam process hovering around 10%.  Great!

It now seems like SolomonRPG should handle well for a good while.  There are a few things that need to be smoothed out, but for the most part everything seems to work.
With all these areas the only issue is now running out of memory but Linode has some good plans for adding more memory.  And although I haven't done much testing, thanks to Erlang, I think I can just add more nodes and have them process sets of players.
For example, have node1 process players 1 - 1000, node2 1001 - 2000, node 3....
Or perhaps separate them by area.  Either way should be easy to implement, damn Erlang rocks.


On The Road to Release - Part: 1

After having ported the map editor to HTML and Javascript, I also took the time to setup a domain and implement the player's website.

The final url for the game is: solrpg.com

There is still a lot of work to do, though, before I release the client in the Android Market and enable signups.
Here's a breakdown of what's needed or being worked on.

For reference, here is the hardware I'm developing the SolomonRPG server on:

1 Core CPU - AMD Duron(tm) 1.2GHz
80GB - PATA Hard Drive
Cent OS 5 - x86

Hosting - Linode
At the moment, the domain is hosted on my only spare computer at home.
Obviously, I can't release the game because my upload speed is pathetic.

Linode has a hosting plan that starts at $20 a month.  I've been hearing good things about them, and I'm excited to try them out.
Here's what the basic hosting plan includes:

4 Core CPU - Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU L5420 @ 2.50GHz
512MB - RAM
16GB - Hard Drive
Cent OS 5 x86_64

The Solomon server holds a lot of small bits in memory ram, such as player credential, player location, status, tileset layouts, etc.
Simply storing a player and area definitions in memory can be a scaling issue
However, from preliminary tests reveal the real wall seems to be the game loop for each area.

Each area has a process that handles all the game logic for that area.  Each game loop runs at a variable 60FPS.
This is fairly CPU intensive, and my development machine starts giving out at barely 20 areas.

At the moment, I'm not sure if I can optimize this.  Perhaps by having a game loop for each Erlang node and try to squeeze the game logic there, but I haven't given it much thought.
I want to do some tests on the Linode host itself to see if its worth my time to optimize.

Content Creation
The fun part is creating content for the game.  Creating tilesets using Gimp and constantly testing them out and choosing which tiles to use.
I have choose carefully because tilesets have to be as small as possible.  The bigger the tileset, the longer it takes to load in a mobile phone.

Mapping out areas is also quite fun, I have to first map out the world on grid paper with a pencil.
Then, mapping out each area using the new editor. 

Story making is another challenging aspect.  For that, I'm turning to my favorite book in the world, The Bible.  In the coming months, I hope to continue carefully reading the Bible and implementing some of the cool stories into the game.  I want people to know that I'm Christian and that God was the only one who helped me make this game, I never would have been able to get this far by myself.

Polish, Polish, Polish
Continue to refine the SolomonRPG codebase and try to fix as many bugs as possible.
Make the client not drain the phone battery.
Lower the SolomonRPG CPU requirements.
Implement scripting in Erlang using erlang_js (MAYBE)
Make teleporting from area to area as smooth as possible.

Funds and Revenue
If I am unable to lower the CPU requirements, it'll be very expensive to release the website for the game.  Ideally, I'd like players to create as many areas as they'd like for free.
I will have advertisement in both the client and the website, but I'm not sure if it'll be enough.
I don't have a budget for the game at all, and I'm trying to save up enough to sign up for the Android Market and the first month of hosting.  Anyway, I'm thinking of adding a donation button to the blog.  We'll see though.


New Puppy!!

For the longest I've been wanting a dog.  Finally, this weekend I went down to the animal shelter and picked up a Staffordshire mix.  Here are some pictures, it's sooo awesome!


Player Map Making in the Browser

After spending some time creating maps and thinking about story telling, quest designing, and map making I've decided to move the map making process to the browser.

For one, it'll help speed up the flow of the development of content for the game.
I've decided to use jQuery for this.

Since the beginning I've thought about the ability of players to be able to create the story and world around them.  The infrastructure was set up with the thought in the back of my head.

So, now that I've decided to port the map maker to a web interface I've also decided to add the ability for players to make the world.

Here's a break down of this new feature-set:

== Player Web Interface + Web Map Maker ==
    Each player has a login to the web interface.
    One can create maps using existing tilesets.
    In each map one can create events/npcs.
    Npcs are javascript driven.
    World is empty except for current areas
    Player creates account either in web or in client (pre-allocates X scripting switches)
    Player can then create areas.  
        Set Name, Select a tileset.  Width and height are 20x20.
        Area Settings:
            Troops (if empty, non-battle area)
            Encounter Rate
        The area is automatically added to the system.  
        Player can add event and script them as necessary
        Regular players cannot modify stats.
    Only an admin can link the outside world to you.
    You can ask to be teleport into your created areas.  When done you can ask to be returned to your previous position.
    Needed Features:
        Upload character sets. (OPTIONAL)
        Create item
    For fast scripting:
        A list of switches (filter by 'created_by_you', 'system_switches')
        A list of items (filter by 'created_by you', 'system_generic_items', 'created_by_others'
    Areas must be able to be deleted!!!
    Scripting (Pseudo-code):
//Merch Area Trader - 10x Small Wolf Claw Quest
//Go to the forest, collect 10 wolf claws and come back and i'll give you a red pin
 if (checkSwitch(25)) //quest_finished_yn
     //player already finished this quest
     message("Hey, how u liking that pin?");

 if (checkSwitch(24)) //10x wolf claw quest
     //player has accepted this quest, check the status...
     var nWolfClaws = getItemCount(1005); //number of walf claws collected
     if (nWolfClaws >= 10) //small wolf claw
         //the player has collected the necessary amount of claws...
         setSwitch(25, true); //quest_finished_yn
         addItem(1006, 1); //add 1 red pin item, created by me
         message("Well done!  You've earned this pin!");
     //player has NOT accepted this quest...
     message("Man I need me some wolf claws, go fetch me 10 claws and I'll give you this shiny ribbon!");
     var response = choice("Do you accept this quest");
     if (response == true)
          //player has accepted the quest....
          setSwitch(24, 10); //10x_wolf_quest
          message("Great!  Good luck!");
          //player didn't accept the quest...
          message("Fine then...");

I want to make map making as easy as possible.  Event/NPC making will be way more difficult.  It'll be scripting based.  The cool thing is you should be able to create areas, modify, and test them using the master server with the android client.  Once approved these areas can become part of the larger world and story.

The scripting will be very RM2K/RMXP inspired and powered by Javascript, so hopefully it'll be easy to use.  I'm guessing the most challenging aspects will be the new territory such as scripting in a multiplayer context.

With this detour there is going to be a significant delay in the release of the game, however there should be no reason this can't be achieved in a reasonable amount of time.

I'd be interested to hear any thoughts on this!

Here's some snapshots of the work in progress:


FunShot, Making Maps

For the next few months or so I'll mainly be working on adding some content to the game.
Mainly making tilesets, prototyping the maps in RPG Maker XP, creating the maps in my own custom editor.
After that I have to work on adding quests and adding more features to the scripting system for this.
Getting close to a release.  Stay Tuned.


Technical Diagram 1A

I was bored so I thought I'd map out the game's network architecture.  
Each component in itself is complex.  
This is the most basic diagram with the server running in a single machine.  
However, it should be fairly easy to decouple each component into separate servers and scale as necessary.  

Anyway, now I'm working on creating tilesets to continue mapping the game.
The SolomonRPG game engine is at version 0.3.  
It's solid and stable enough where I can finally concentrate on adding and creating the content!


Fun Shot, 3 A.M.

Just working on the battle system...


Setting Up a Queue Consumer with RabbitMQ's Erlang Client

Ok, so in this post I will outline how to set up a consumer using the rabbitmq erlang client.

We'll start with a basic chat server in which clients can post and listen for messages.
Continuing from my last post: http://developingthedream.blogspot.com/2009/10/rabbitmq-erlang-client-yay.html
You now have a basic project skeleton to start building your server.  We'll call the project chat_server.

I followed this blog post http://mutlix.blogspot.com/2007/10/amqp-in-10-mins-part3-flexible-routing.html for a visual representation of the AMQP specs,
although it's outdated the basics are the same.

So, the project would look like this:


Now inside the src/ directory, we'll create these files:

I made a mistake in my last blog post regarding how to properly symlink the rabbitmq dependencies.
Unlink any previously created symlinks:

unlink /usr/lib/erlang/lib/rabbitmq_common
unlink /usr/lib/erlang/lib/rabbitmq_erlang_client

Now create some symlinks in the deps folder:

cd deps/
ln -s rabbitmq-server/ rabbit_common
ln -s rabbitmq-erlang-client/ rabbitmq_erlang_client

Here's the content of the Makefile we'll be using.

.SUFFIXES: .erl .beam

    erlc -W $<

ARGS = -pa ebin \
       -pa deps/rabbit_common/ebin \
       -pa deps/rabbitmq_erlang_client/ebin \
       -boot start_sasl -s rabbit

ERL = erl ${ARGS}
ERLC = erlc -I . -I deps +debug_info -o ebin

MODS = src/master.erl src/chat_server.erl src/test_client.erl

    ${ERLC} ${MODS}


    rm -rf *.beam ebin/*.beam src/*.beam erl_crash.dump 

We'll start with the master.erl file which basically sets up the exchange, queues, etc.
Mainly bootstraps the server.
Here is the content of master.erl:



start() ->
    RID = amqp_connection:start_direct(),
    Channel = amqp_connection:open_channel(RID),

    X = <<"global_chat_exchange">>,
    Q = <<"global_message_queue">>,
    Key = <<"global_message_queue_publish_key">>,       %%our routing key, all clients have this

    amqp_channel:call(Channel, #'exchange.declare'{exchange = X, type = <<"topic">>, nowait = true}),
    amqp_channel:call(Channel, #'queue.declare'{queue = Q}),
    amqp_channel:call(Channel, #'queue.bind'{queue = Q, exchange = X, routing_key = Key}),
    io:fwrite("bound queue: ~p to exchange: ~p using key: ~p~n", [Q, X, Key]),

Here's the breakdown of the start() function.
I'm not doing any sort of error checking, take a look at deps/rabbitmq_erlang_client/test/test_util.erl
for more complete code.

First, we connect to rabbitmq.

RID = amqp_connection:start_direct(),

We simply call start_direct in the amqp_connection module and receive the connection id.  (this is just the id of an erlang process)
Next, we open a channel which is pretty straightforward.

Channel = amqp_connection:open_channel(Pid),

Afterward, we bind the queue to the exchange using a routing key.

So here's our names:

X = <<"global_chat_exchange">>,
Q = <<"global_message_queue">>,
Key = <<"mysecret">>,       %%our routing key, all clients have this

amqp_channel:call(Channel, #'exchange.declare'{exchange = X, type = <<"topic">>, nowait = true}),
amqp_channel:call(Channel, #'queue.declare'{queue = Q}),
amqp_channel:call(Channel, #'queue.bind'{queue = Q, exchange = X, routing_key = RoutingKey}),

Here we tell the erlang rabbitmq client to declare the exchange.
You can look at the file: deps/rabbit_common/include/rabbit_framing.hrl for all the record definitions.
You can specify things such as the exchange type and other things.

Now, first we'll start by compiling this module manually to go over the erlang shell.
Run 'make run' to start the rabbitmq server.  You'll be greeted with the shell.
Compile the master module by typing:


You can now run the code like so:


Now we're ready to start consuming messages.  So, the content of the first draft of chat_server.erl is:


start() ->
    RID = amqp_connection:start_direct(),
    Channel = amqp_connection:open_channel(RID),
    Queue = <<"global_message_queue">>,
    spawn( fun() -> consume_loop(RID, Channel, Queue) end ),
consume_loop(RID, Channel, Q) ->
    amqp_channel:subscribe(Channel, #'basic.consume'{queue = Q}, self()),
         #'basic.consume_ok'{} ->
            io:fwrite("subscribed to queue: ~p listening for messages...~n", [Q])
        {#'basic.deliver'{delivery_tag=Tag}, Content} ->
            amqp_channel:cast(Channel, #'basic.ack'{delivery_tag = Tag}),
            handle_message(RID, Channel, Content),
            consume_loop(RID, Channel, Q);
        Unknown ->
            io:fwrite("unknown message: ~p tearing down~n", [Unknown]),
            teardown(RID, Channel)

handle_message(RID, Channel, Content) ->
    io:fwrite("got message: ~p from pid: ~p on channel: ~p ~n", [RID, Channel, Content]),

teardown(RID, Channel) ->

Here we open a channel and spawn a process to consume messages from the 'global_message_queue' queue.
You've seen the start of the code in master.erl.

Queue = <<"global_message_queue">>,   %%Here we declare the queue name to be passed around
spawn( fun() -> consume_loop(RID, Channel, Queue) end ),    %%spawn a process and return immediately
self().  %%return our process id (unused)

Here we spawn a process that loops forever consuming messages from the 'global_message_queue'

consume_loop(RID, Channel, Q) ->
    amqp_channel:subscribe(Channel, #'basic.consume'{queue = Q}, self()),
         #'basic.consume_ok'{} ->
            io:fwrite("subscribed to queue: ~p listening for messages...~n", [Q])

Here, we start the loop by telling the server that we're ready to consume on the queue 'Q' by calling amqp_channel:subscribe.
We immediately recieve a confirmation message and continue.

        {#'basic.deliver'{delivery_tag=Tag}, Content} ->

We wait for an erlang type message which contains a valid amqp message.
We save the payload to the variable 'Content' and the delivery tag to 'Tag'.

            amqp_channel:cast(Channel, #'basic.ack'{delivery_tag = Tag}),

We immediately acknowledge that we've received the message.
You may wish to move this after you've processed the message.

         handle_message(RID, Channel, Content),
      consume_loop(RID, Channel, Q);
We send the content to the handle_message() function and then loop again to wait for messages again.     

        Unknown ->
            io:fwrite("unknown message: ~p tearing down~n", [Unknown]),
            teardown(RID, Channel)

If we get an unknown message for any reason we exit and tear down the channel and connection.
The handle_message() function simply prints the content of the message to the screen.

Now you can compile the module like so:


Start the consumer process by typing:


Now we can start publishing messages, this is the content of test_client.erl:

say(Msg) ->
    RID = amqp_connection:start_direct(),
    Channel = amqp_connection:open_channel(RID),
    X = <<"global_chat_exchange">>,
    Key = <<"global_message_queue_publish_key">>,
    Packet = list_to_binary(Msg),
    Publish = #'basic.publish'{exchange = X, routing_key = Key, mandatory=true, immediate=false},
    amqp_channel:call(Channel, Publish, #amqp_msg{payload = Packet}),

First we turn the message into a binary for delivery:
    Packet = list_to_binary(Msg),

Here we simply turn the message to a binary.

    Publish = #'basic.publish'{exchange = X, routing_key = Key, mandatory=true, immediate=false},
    amqp_channel:cast(Channel, Publish, #amqp_msg{payload = Packet}),
First, we declare a variable 'Publish' which sets up the publish options.
Then we call 'cast' instead of 'call' simply because we WANT to wait for the message to be published.
The reason we want to wait is because we immediately close the channel.

Now you can compile the module by running:


And test it by running:

test_client:say("hello world!").

You should now see the output from your consumers which have read the message.

This concludes this introduction to using the rabbitmq-erlang client.
You can find the full test project available at: http://github.com/therevoltingx/chat_server

Any comments, questions, etc are welcomed!


Fun Shot! #2

Hi all, here's a snapshot of notes on the battle system UI flow.



As The Grind Continues

After releasing a super alpha version of the game so far, I've just been grinding along.
Nothing entirely interesting has happened in the last month, here are some of the things improved and/or added:

  • Stabilized name display and tile animation
  • Added team functionality
  • Added personal messaging functionality
  • Battle against monsters [Draft]
The most tedious part was starting the battle system, i turned to rpg maker 2000 again for inspiration.
Fusing together its old school battle system with my own vision of the game (and with the limitations of man power and working with Android.)
Battling is turn based, like an animated card game.
Each player or monster takes a turn. (Attack, Defend, Special Attack, etc)
Everyone takes turns, according to different stats, damage is dealt and players are chosen for attack.  (Level, Speed, Defense, etc)
An animation is played for each attack and players can attack or do things like defend or use items.

At this point many things are finished, but the battle system is still in a rough stage.
I've gone to pains to keep a clean code base though, so I can tweak the settings as I see fit.
So far, for the battle system I've written:

  • Erlang: 
  •   A single module/process handles all the battle systems such as creating the message queues.
  •   Periodically stores to global database and keeps track of handling turns
  •   Stores and executes monster battling action patterns 
  •   Waits and notifies players when a turn is taken
  •    (566 lines of code.)
  • Java/Android:
  •     A dialog activity is launched when it's notified a battle has started
  •     Bootstraps battle UI, downloads resources accordingly
  •     Listens for events and displays battle animations
  •     Have the player select a monster and take attack, etc. (TODO)
  •     The main class is 481 lines of code so far, but a lot of code is in its own class, and I'm lazy.
  • Perl/HTML/SQL:
  •     Add data schemas for new battle system components (attacks, teams, monsters, battles, etc)
  •     Add to the existing admin functionality the necessary components
  •     This includes a web UI for managing: monsters, parties, attacks, backdrops, etc.
  •     The Client->Server Battle module is only 63 lines so far.
  •     The Admin->Monster Management module is 263 lines, (fairly complete.)
 There is still plenty of work to be done, no one said it would be easy.  I think the battle system is one of the most challenging aspects of making any game.  I hate math :p


Super Alpha Test (Tech Demo)

UPDATE:  Due to major updates in the server, this client no longer works.  Stay tuned for further releases!

Hi all,
Today I am releasing a super alpha version of the game so far.
However, it's still not much of a game. This is more like a tech demo.
This is mainly to get some very early feedback on what I've got so far,
to gauge the interest in it.
I also hope to pull in a bunch of testers to help me further develop the multiplayer aspect of the game.

Please note that it's still really buggy and unpolished, I also don't have a production server and am using my development server.
So expect plenty of downtimes and broken server communication.
Also, the game was developed with an Android 1.5 (stock G1) and doesn't fully work with 2.0+ just yet.
Make sure you have TasKiller ready, you'll need it.

So with that said:
You can download the latest alpha apk here.
Use the signup word: 'douchebag'

Features so far:
Signing up for an account
Camera movement via trackball
Touch based movement, click on the tile where you want to move to.
Area to area teleportation, just step over some of the NPCs and you'll get teleported. (not polished)
NPC/Event/Player activation. Long touch a player or npc for the player menu to come up.
Tile animation, check out the water move.
Remote player display and movement (not fully polished)
Character name display (though it hurts FPS, it'll be optional)
Zone chat
All multiplayer enabled

Feedback, Comments, Questions, Testers, etc:


Fun Shot!

Pressing forward, I've added a few features to my custom map editor for my game.
* Better toolbar icons (for the meantime)
* Muti-tile select/paint
* Eraser
* Area/Layer Clear
* Layer VIew Toggling - Alpha blending support in wxWidgets is weak :-(
* Toggle view grid and tile indexing/numbers information

This will help me make maps for the game.
I've also started to use the excellent Inquisitor RMXP tileset.

Here's a couple of shots of a map I designed using that tileset and the new features I've added.


On The Road to an RPG

During the past couple of weeks I've been thinking how I wanted to handle the RPG aspect of the game.
Since I come from an RPG Maker background, I'm familiar with the event/switch system it implements.
However, bringing this into an MMO aspect was a bit of a puzzle. The answer turned out to be simple, and once I got all the details together I set forth into making a scripting engine for the game.

The scripting engine uses JavaScript and it aims to resemble an RPG Maker functionality in script form.
It was also challenging figuring out how it could handle many players at once, from the rough tests it seems that i can handle the load just fine, but only time will tell.
I'm not sure I should even be blogging about this, since it's part of the backend server and the project is not open source.
However, I find it too exciting not to talk about.

So, now that I'm able to sew together an RPG I've started 'prototyping' the game using RPG Maker XP.
The graphics that RMXP uses are pretty much identical to the ones I've designed to be used by my game. This will make finding an artist and transferring ideas much easier.

There is a mountain of work to do with the software, but I'm working on it. However, it would be great to get some help with mapping, scripting, quest designing and story brain storming. I'm also in talks with some artists that have offered to make the art (tilesets, character sets, sprites, etc.) for the game, but nothing too serious yet.


Let's Chat!

After taking a brief vacation, I'm back working on my game.

I was heavily inspired by the Android game 'Pocket Empires' which I think is brilliantly designed.

Integrating the chat involved working with Perl, Erlang, and Java all at once, but I got it mostly done in less than a week.

Most of the time was wasted fiddling with the Android UI toolkit.

So here's a screenshot of the rough results, of course multiplayer enabled!


New Client Screenshot

After a lot of work on the game's multi-player code, I've seemed to have wrapped up most things regarding real-time movement.

Though it's not perfect, it's working quite well, so I'm posting a screenshot with 3 players on the screen at the same time.

Videos should be coming as soon as I get some time.


Status Report 2/19/10

So, after a good 6 months of development for my game it seems that things are coming along nicely.

So here's a status of how things are going:

Android 2d Engine (Completed Features):
  • Loading areas and displaying rendering to screen
  • Independent frame-rate animated tiles/sprites
  • Pixel based camera movement
  • Character/Object loading/rendering

Android 2d Engine (Upcoming Features):
  • Pixel based character/movement inside the area (DONE!)
  • Character idle animation
  • Render strings. (i.e. player names/levels/status)
C++ Area Editor (Completed Features)
  • Loading previously saved areas.
  • Editing and saving areas.
  • Editing tileset properties (Tileset Editor).
  • Works on Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows.
  • No immediate upcoming features.

Master Server (Completed Features)
  • Validating users
  • Pathfinding character movement
  • Track object/character positions/status/collisions

Master Server (Upcoming Features)
  • Save player information