It's been a while since the last blog post (5 months almost) and this is due to several factors. I won't go into many details but the short story is that i had to relocate to a new city on the other side of the country and find ways to make rent. Now that things have settled I'm back to work and I have something neat coming your way. And the next alpha is getting closer and closer. So, here's what you can expect to happen in the upcoming weeks:
- The editor is getting an overhaul to improve functionality, usability and to integrate commanders (and a small campaign support)
- Better (virtual) keyboard support for tablets
- Ability to export maps as a single package (instead of 3 different files + tile set)
- Importing tilesets for different kinds of maps
- Units, Buildings and Commanders/Generals/Gang Bosses are loaded from a csv file (sprite, icon, stats), so creating maps for mods should be easier
- Separate entry in the main menu leading to an overworld map
- Ability to trigger text boxes and events (spawning units, changing tile sets on the fly) at the beginning and during the game
And, probably the biggest thing yet, Multiplayer support!
Multiplayer: This is something I wanted to try for a long time but never had the chance to do so. Although early campaign support has been added and the commander logistics are in the code it will take a little while before that part of Alpha 2 will be ready for the public. Thomas is busy pushing pixels for the Penarium (A deviously deadly platformer game by SelfMadeMiracle) and hasn't finished drawing all of the animations for the commanders so, until I get those things, I'm free to work on everything else. Soooo why not use what I already have available and get multiplayer working? So, here's my plan for the next 1-2 months on this subject: I already have a basic multiplayer implementation of the contents in alpha 1. One player can host a game and the other can connect to it and duke it out. Over the next few weeks I plan on releasing via itch some new builds in the following order:
- First multiplayer test release featuring real-time play. This is the most basic functionality where one player hosts and the other one connects to his IP and plays the game normally. If any of the two disconnects that's it, they will have to start another game.
- The second multiplayer release will feature a Master server and a "lobby" and it will work in the same fashion other games work, like "counter-strike' for example, . Once the "Host" button is pressed all people that have the "multiplayer" menu open will see a list of servers that are online and will be able to join them.
- The third stage will include social features like chat and the ability to play asynchronous (play-by-email fashion). Once a game is setup the players can take their time and turns. Once a player ends his turns a list of all his actions and movements will be sent to the master server which will relay them to other player, when he is online.
For the first release I'm interested in seeing how the game performs, if it lags, if there are any problems joining/hosting or if any desync happens between the users as well as see what kind of caveats occur. For example, due to the game's open source (anyone can access the code, hack it, change it, etc) I find myself not knowing how to prevent cheating, other than relying on the HOST server to handle all the logic of the game and provide the data/info for the game. What this means is that the client (the one joining) will not use any locally stored data (unit stats, prices, images). On another note I'm also interested in seeing how the, albeit small, community of supporters (you guys) react to this feature. In a perfect scenario I'd like to have my inbox filled with request for features, tournaments, praises and maybe even setup a ladder it remains to be seen but I'm hoping to get my bum handed over by some of you. So what do you think? Excited for the multiplayer? Do you have any questions or suggestions about the implementation?