So, Hernan's back from Europe and Dicta is back in "go" mode.
Last night we had our first multiplayer combat flight test.
Regardless of the bugs one would expect of such a first test, I can say I was quite happy with how it felt.
For the first time, Dicta felt like a game!
It became apparent to me that we were on the track to something enjoyable when I thought, after a few protracted, kilometre-long turns, interrupted by a tiny chaotic window of gunfire, "this would be really awesome with a few more people..."
Then I realised, if the feeling the game gave you when you played it, was that it needed more players, then surely we have finally built a playable game.
We won't lie... It's only barely playable.
Playable enough for some, but it's still only a fragile hatchling.
To be more specific, Here's a list of what we have.
-Improved (again) flight physics. Flying feels quite noticably, more like a flight sim. Altitude has become a serious advantage for those who have it, and we can no longer corkscrew our way into the clouds in a matter of seconds.
-Machineguns! Sure, they have unlimited ammunition, don't overheat or jam, but they are nearly pointless after a few hundred metres (as most ww1 flight historians will agree)
-Fragility! Yes, you can shoot eachother. Yes, you can shoot your enemy's wings off. Yes, they will spiral into oblivion when this happens.
-Balloon Busting! This was originally implemented as a test for the machinegun physics without needing to spawn another plane in. A static observation balloon which can be shot down. In future it could evolve into a single-or-multiplayer game mode... We'll see.
And here is a list of what we want before we will be happy to release a beta.
-More stable netcode. Currently, it's only been tested with 2 players. Myself and Hernan. Hernan's netcode can in theory support infinite clients, but obviously we'll have to impose some kind of hard limit.
-At least one more plane with fully modelled damage. At the moment, our Camel is the only plane with fully modelled destruction. We'll get the Albatros in and maybe another one or two before we call it ready. We can't have Brits shooting down Brits!
-Framerate-independant gameplay. Most computers will be asking "is it in yet?" when they run Dicta, but those of you with slower machines, or those of you making fraps videos (found that out the hard way) will find that it actually effects the responsiveness of your controls. This is because everything at the moment revolves around the framerate - it's like the "heartbeat" of the game.
-Working, physical map. Right now our terrain is just for show, and the collision with the ground simply stops you at a hard-coded altitude. We need to, 1. Make ground collisions dangerous, and 2. Allow for variable heights, mountains etc. This is something we really haven't touched since we first put a groundplane in the game.
-Revamped interface. Hernan and I are, at the moment, pressing "c" or "h" in the main menu to connect or host, respectively. Both of which are to a hardcoded IP address (our VPN). Obviously this needs to be altered before you guys will be able to use it.
I might take this moment to note that all the planes in Dicta are currently stored in an unbinarized, uncompressed, standardised model format which can be easilly exported from almost any 3d package.
While I'd recommend against planning any significant plane modding for the first release (as things can change) you will be able to modify planes and eventually probably even add your own from the ground up - Paddock Master style.