What's been going down?
Over the Summer Source Media Arcade has been getting a complete over hall from the ground-up, including a rewrite of the entire mod using the MUTLIPLAYER Source SDK Base. Many NEW features have worked their way into the current private beta, as well as a plethora of upgraded old features. Here are some of the highlights from the work that has been done:
- You can host or join MULTIPLAYER ARCADE SERVERS with your friends! NEW
- You are now able to place 3D shortcuts that link directly to files on your PC; no need to build playlists. IMPROVEMENT
- You can now use the official Windows File Browse dialogue when locating your files. IMPROVEMENT
- SM Arcade maintains a "Media Library" which gives you quick access to any items you have previously used. NEW
- Detailed item profiles are stored for EVERY item in your library. NEW
- Missing details such as descriptions or screenshot/marquee artwork can be AUTOMATICALLY downloaded from the internet. NEW
- User-specified download locations for missing games; no longer tied to ONLY the Steam Store. IMPROVEMENT
- Full-featured "App" system to simplify using non-standalone items; such as roms & emulators. IMPROVEMENT
- New Library Browser with powerful filter and search features makes it EASY to choose your media. IMPROVEMENT
- Beautiful HTML-powered menus that can be used to manage any aspect of an item or app. NEW
- SM Arcade now has the ability to tie into your XBMC library and playback videos through XBMC's HTTP protocol on multiple hosts. NEW
- Add-on 3D shortcut models can now be automatically listed in their proper category. IMPROVEMENT
- You can now use a console command to switch between HIGH and LOW resolution modes. IMPROVEMENT
- SM Arcade now accurately detects which Steam games you own by examining your public Steam Community Profile. IMPROVEMENT
Last Friday, the official private test server went LIVE once again and multiplayer testing has resumed on a near-nightly basis. Currently the focus of the multiplayer tests are to work out the bugs in the artwork downloading and in-game match making systems. Testers are also being encouraged to explore in singleplayer mode as well with a focus on the web-scraping and user interface systems.
On the art side of things, I have begun preliminary work on the new map designs. Even though combat is far from the main focus of the designs, the maps will have good flow and allow players to quickly get from one area to the next. Each area will have a particular theme associated with movie/game genres. For example, a Western-themed area to hold all of your cowboy games and classic Western movies. A science fiction area to house all of your space shooters and Star Wars sagas. The transition between the Western and Sci-Fi areas can contain items which are a mix of the genres, such as StarCraft II and Firefly/Serenity. When more than 2 genres are thrown into the mix you can quickly see how the FLOW of the map can become very interwoven and complex.
Ease Of Use
It has never been easier to use Source Media Arcade. Out-of-the-box you will automatically have EVERY Steam game that you own; at your finger tips and ready to be placed in a 3D arcade. The DAY that new Steam games are released they will be in your library complete with screenshot and marquee images without you even thinking. Even adding non-Steam games is now highly automated with massive online databases of information for games, movies, and TV shows at your fingertips. You will be ready to go in a matter of seconds.
If these overview updates are too few and far between for you, keep an eye on the official development blog, subscribe to my feed, like me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter for the details on every little thing I do (as far as game design goes).
PUBLIC BETA TESTING WILL BE HITTING DESURA SOON!
But if you'd like to get into the mix before everybody else, I am still looking for intelligent, dedicated gamers to volunteer their time to the PRIVATE beta testing phase that is going on RIGHT NOW! If you're planning on using SM Arcade when it's released, your feedback during the beta testing phase would be HIGHLY valuable because you are the very person I am trying to please. Just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, leave me a post in the forums, or private message me on ModDB and let's exchange Steam friend IDs. Just remember that beta versions require more effort to use than the fully-polished release versions.