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RaMtiGA - Raising a Middleworld to its Golden Age
RaMtiGA - Raising a Middleworld to its Golden Age: Blog
Mar 2

Written by: Jashan Chittesh

In guess, in every kind of relationship, there's ups and downs - good times and bad times. What I'm currently experiencing is that this also applies to the relationship I, as a game developer, have with the game engine / authoring system I'm using to create my game...

I can really say I love Unity - the game engine or game authoring tool that I'm using to create TRaceON. But the last week-end was a real mess. The software has crashed about 20 or 30 times on me, and I've spent about one day doing nothing but trying to figure out what the problem is. One time, I couldn't start Unity anymore, at all. I would try to start it, and it would immediately crash. Turned out there was some really freaked out problem with my project. I almost thought the project was completely messed up - but fortunately, I found a comparatively easy solution to that in the end.

But that was just something "in between" - the really tough nut was still to be figured out. And what's most frustrating: Now that I know what the (primary) problem is, there's no trivial solution. At the moment, I don't really see any solution that makes sense to me. I could write gazillions of lines of code to work around this (and end up with the most terrible software-design), but I don't really want to go that route. But I will... if I really have to...

If you're technically interested, you might read my somewhat desparate posting to the Unity forums. I hope I'm not giving the guys at UT a bad time - they just have gotten about 7 or 8 bug reports from me (and I know from first hand experience how it sucks to get bug reports in such masses, from users who are starting to get more and more frustrated ;-) ).

I'm currently working on V0.85 of TRaceON - and this is going to be a really cool release. I've already implemented a whole bunch of very nice features. For instance 2 new camera perspectives (very far and very very far), which allow you to play with a really good overview of the arena... oh, and I've tweaked some of the other camera perspectives so that they are much more useful. I've also redesigned the lightcycle model - which is mostly due to Greymarch who generously created a model of his own for me. I'd love to use that, because it really looks cool - but unfortunately it resembles the lightcycles of some movie way too much - I'm not considering TRaceON without ACE a four letter word - do NOT say it here, not ever ;-) ... well, we'll see how that turns out... I definitely appreciate getting this model a lot!

With the model-redesign also came much improved performance, because I went from 50k tris to 3k tris, which basically means that the lightcycle model got much much simpler. And interestingly, it still looks much better and even more complex. Well, I'm still new to modelling for games... I'm still new to modelling in general... Did do a bit of it 10 or 15 or so years ago, but then didn't do much for a very long time (um. 10 or 15 years or so ;-) ).

Well, most important, the new version (V0.85) will support multiple game sessions running simultanuously. And that's where I just ran into a rather solid wall this week-end. Well... I'll SOMEHOW get this done, but it's taking much longer than I thought it was going to take.

Hm - I better stay with the good news: The game is now much more responsive even with pretty bad lag (i.e. when the messages to the server and back take really long - that's one of the trickiest issues with networked multplayer games, but it seems I'm developing a very cool solution for that). Also, I store some settings (like the player name and colors) persistently in the standalone player and - not tested, yet - also as a cookie in the Web player. So you finally don't have to enter your date each time you start the game.

I've also cleaned up the game on the server, so that the performance is much improved (see a happy posting on this) - and the clients can check out the performance on the server (which finally makes it possible for me to actually monitor the server performance). There's now also team statistics. A bug with the names above the cycles has been fixed (sometimes wrong names were shown). Fullscreen mode can now be turned off also in standalone. There's more player stats, too - at least on large screen resolutions.

Oh, and last but not least: The cycles now are colored in the user's wall-color.

I still have a large list of funny little new things I will be adding - but first, I have to get this networking issue resolved... Wish me luck, it's been a tough time ;-)

Still, I have to say that I enjoy creating this pretty much more than I enjoyed anything ever before. It's a wonderful thing to do what you came here for - even when there's tough challenges involved. But don't we LOVE challenges - seeing them as an opportunity to grow???

Well, I do... so... back to work ;-)

Oh, btw: I've spend a little more than 250 hours with creating this game by now...


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