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The One Man MMO Project
The story of a lone developer's quest to build an online world :: MMO programming, design, and industry commentary
By Robert Basler on 2017-11-23 13:46:26
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Secret Lair Games is offering our Lowest Price Ever on our one of a kind open-world RTS The Imperial Realm::Miranda with an additional 17% off our already huge 40% off Early Access discount prices.

Shop now at itch.io!

Sale runs until Midnight November 24, Pacific time.
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By Robert Basler on 2017-11-19 20:57:31
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
You might think I'm going to rip on Mass Effect Andromeda, because that's the cool thing to do, but there are some lessons on open world RPG design that I have been able to draw from my time in Andromeda that I can apply to make Miranda a better game. Truth be told, after 60 hours and playing through about 40% of the game, I can see the Mass Effect game they were trying to make and there are things I quite like about it. I play some games just to try to figure out how they are designed, but I wouldn't still be playing Andromeda if there wasn't some of the old Mass Effect magic in there.

MassEffectAndromeda_Lo.jpg
[A view of Eos]


The first hour of Andromeda is spectacular. Bioware always really nails the first hour in their games. It is spectacularly beautiful, engaging, with lots of story, lots of action, and it moves at a good pace. Too many games don't make this effort and their first hour is like any other hour of gameplay. Designers would be smart to look really hard at what they put in, and more importantly, what they leave out of the first hour of gameplay to make sure players' first experience is amazing.
By Robert Basler on 2017-11-04 15:53:48
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Next Thursday is the 8 year anniversary of my start on The Imperial Realm::Miranda. That's a really long time to work on a project, particularly a game, but I can see the end now so that's something to look forward to. I don't have anything exciting planned to mark the day, I expect I'll still be working on the next update.

The most frustrating thing about working on a super-secret new feature is that you can't talk about it! Or even ask questions about it. Sure you can talk to people you know won't spill, but sometimes you just want input from the people who play the game.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Monolith_Lo.jpg
[The Monolith - I made that!]

By Robert Basler on 2017-10-27 01:17:24
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Super-secret feature #3 of 4 wrapped up last week. I'm pretty happy with it. I simplified the design so nobody should have any problem figuring it out, which I think is the right direction to take. The effects are also looking nice, but there's always more you can do on that.

Things got off to a bit of a slow start on super-secret feature #4 this week. The core of it is an adaptation of a program I wrote a while ago, but when I tried to get it going, it was crashing with a bug that I've seen extremely rarely in-game. Like, once every four months over the last three years. The lucky thing is that because I could finally reproduce it, I was able to fix it at last. Next the program's clock was going out of sync with the rest of the game which was causing problems. That had never happened before. Turns out the update loop was only running about every 45 seconds rather than 30 times a second like it is supposed to. Fixed that. Then I encountered a thread deadlock, first time ever, so that was a surprise - those cause program hangs, but are easy to fix. I also fixed a server bug that's been plaguing me for months. At the end of the day, I have a base to build the new feature on.

So then it was Wednesday and I finally got to working on the design for what I'm doing. I like to design up-front - I find I make fewer false starts that way. Once I was satisfied with the overall plan of attack, I started on some of the new art I need. I'd forgotten that there was a wierd problem with this particular art that I hadn't been able to figure out when I originally bought it, but I'm taking another crack at it, moving ahead and hoping a solution presents itself. Art is always a challenge, like today I had to teach myself Blender again. It has been long enough since I used it that I've forgotten all the shortcut keys, luckily I made decent enough notes the last time I had to re-teach myself Blender.
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By Robert Basler on 2017-10-08 15:00:08
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Two more things still to do before the next update but a lot has happened already since the last build. I spent a couple days tracking down all the bugs I found making the Nemesis Mode Demo Video. I don't know if anyone else noticed them, but they're there. I added the missing audio for missiles and loot crates, and added a new mission to encourage beginning players to locate a vendor. To get the new mission to work, I have made vendors discoverable. Once you find a vendor once, it will continue to show on your map.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Vendor%20Mission_Lo.jpg
[Locate a Vendor mission.]


There are also discoverable points of interest now on the map, although their locations are visible from the start. There are only three POI's now, but more will come. To make these new discoverables a little easier to discover, the ones nearby your base are highlighted on the map.

Sadly, this is also an end of an era. The original four vendors have closed up shop and retired.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Vendors_Lo.jpg
[This is the last you'll see of the original four.]


I'll update you on the remaining two new features as they come along, but the details about them are going to be a surprise. I'm curious to see how long it takes someone to figure out the one.
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By Robert Basler on 2017-09-27 11:05:09
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
I did a little video to demo some of the new features in the Nemesis Update to The Imperial Realm::Miranda.


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By Robert Basler on 2017-09-22 21:17:52
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
The Nemesis Update is now live for all players. Anyone who has purchased any Early Access Edition from the secretlairgames.itch.io store will be able to log in this weekend (GMT) and try out the new features.

Nemesis Mode

I've written about Nemesis Mode before. With a single click, Nemesis Mode pits teams of players against one another in PvP battles. The final version of Nemesis Mode is very much as originally described except that it now supports up to 16 players. Annihilation, the first Nemesis mode, tasks players with destroying the other team's buildings and rewards them with loot and bonus XP. Additional Nemesis modes including Assassination, Slaughter, Claustrophobia and Greed will follow in future updates. To activate Nemesis mode, click the icon in the top right corner of Miranda's HUD. Settings for Nemesis Mode such as chat preferences and game length can be found on the Settings screen off of the main menu (Esc.) Once you are in a Nemesis match, you can click the Nemesis Mode icon to see the other players, and your statistics, or to leave the session.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Nemesis%20Mode_Lo.jpg
[Nemesis Mode session info screen.]


Mission List

Miranda's Mission List makes it easier to keep track of the player's current objectives. Player-selected missions display on the HUD. At the moment the only objectives that show on the list are ones from Nemesis Mode. Press J on the HUD to display the Mission List or click the icon in the top right menu.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Mission%20List_Lo.jpg
[Mission List displaying objectives for a Nemesis match. Double arrows indicate missions that show on the HUD.]


Foundation Extensions

Miranda's rough terrain sometimes makes finding a flat enough spot for buildings difficult. The Foundation Extension is a consumable which can be used when laying out your base to temporarily increase the foundation height of a single building by 25m. Foundation Extensions are stackable which makes it possible to place buildings nearly anywhere. Buildings with taller foundations will be available as standard components for higher level players.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Foundation%20Extension_Lo.jpg
[Foundation Extension button on Base Layout screen (lower right.) Sadly I don't have any.]


New forces will be given 10 Foundation Extensions. Unfortunately, existing forces will have to buy Foundation Extensions from Vendors and they are a little pricey.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Foundation%20Extension%20Consumable_Lo.jpg
[Select the Flask icon on the Vendor screen to only display consumables.]


Map

The Map plays an important part in planning your battles. The Nemesis Update greatly increases the performance of the map screen and adds icons for important map features. When playing a Nemesis Annihilation match, the objective locations are now circled on the map. The map will also now show where combat is underway anywhere in the world.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20%20Map%202.0_Lo.jpg
[Map with objective location circled.]


HUD

Many HUD features have been reworked and are now more compact and hide-able, allowing for a clearer view of the battlefield.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Decluttered%20HUD_Lo.jpg
[HUD with optional panels hidden.]


The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Decluttered%20HUD%20-%20All%20On_Lo.jpg
[HUD with optional panels displayed.]


Weapon Sound Effects

Sound effects heard in the Early Access trailer have been added to a few of Miranda's weapons.

Resource Shortage

The number of resource fields on the map has been greatly reduced so resources may be more difficult to come by. Unfortunately, resources on rough terrain can be difficult to harvest (there is a pathfinding problem on rough terrain which is on my to do list to fix.) The next update will bring some additional resources to the map.

Bonus Inventory & Design Slots

I made an error when I set up the entitlements for Inventory and Design slots for players. Each player only received the correct number of Inventory and Design slots for a single force (obtained by selecting Redeem Code from the Main Menu.) I have now corrected this and each force should get the correct number of Inventory and Design slots specified for the Edition they purchased when they create a Force. I have decided not to remove the bonus Inventory and Design slots from the Redeem Code menu, so players can redeem that to give one force some bonus Design & Inventory slots. Once the current batch of Secret Lair Codes are all sold, new codes won't include that little bonus.

Vendor Improvements

Vendors now show accurate prices for what they will pay when buying from players. Unfortunately the 3% premium vendors were paying over the standard price has come to an end, and vendor purchase discounts now range from 25% to 85%. Buy Design now shows the correct number of units buildable. Vendors will also no longer accept unsellable components.

Bug Fixes

The game has been running very stable since the May bugfix update. Since then 23 bugs have been fixed, there were also 25 additions and 25 changes and removals. Some of the more important bug fixes in the Nemesis Update are:
  • Unit veterancy should now be much easier to obtain.
  • Player's Luck now affects their loot find rate.
  • XP should now accrue at a much faster rate. An algebra error was resulting in about 7-10x slower XP gain.


This update took a lot longer than I would have liked, I hope everyone enjoys the new features!
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By Robert Basler on 2017-09-20 23:28:42
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
It's not too often I get to make a Venn diagram, but here it is:

venndiagram.png
[After everything I read about crowdfunding, this result was surprising.]


That outcome is not optimal. To encourage more players to try the Standard Edition, Deluxe Edition, Co-Op Standard Edition, and the Co-Op Deluxe Edition, I'm changing those Editions to offer weekend playtime starting immediately.

Because the server works on GMT, the "weekend" is from 12:00am Saturday morning to Sunday night 12:00pm GMT, so for me in the Pacific time zone, the "weekend" runs from Friday 5pm to Sunday 5pm. Those editions will still receive unlimited playtime at the same time as they did before.

I have always planned to slowly decrease the discount as Early Access went on, so now that the first Early Access update is complete, I'll be taking the first step on that path on Monday September 25 and the 50% discount off of all Miranda Editions will be changed to 40%.

If you've been wanting to check out Miranda, and also want to save a few dollars, you might want to pick up one of the revised packages this weekend.

theimperialrealm.com and the store pages will be updated with these package changes soon.
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By Robert Basler on 2017-08-31 12:54:50
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
This really hurts my feelings. I entered the 2017 Intel Level Up Game Developer Contest back in May, fully not expecting to win. Miranda isn't a finished game and its certainly not the prettiest game out there, but I've worked eight years to build The Imperial Realm::Miranda, a one-of-a-kind massively multiplayer seamless open-world real time strategy game, and the contest judges couldn't even be bothered to try it.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Test%20Weekend%203_Lo.jpg
[This is what Miranda looks like if you play it.]


I am confident they received my entry because when I asked them about it back in May (because nobody had played it at that point) and they indicated they had received a lot of entries and would get to it soon. And because the system I created to dispense Secret Lair Codes to the judges was used once.

But the code they received was never redeemed.

All I really wanted from the contest was for someone to check out my game.

The winners were announced this morning. I look forward to checking out their games.
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By Robert Basler on 2017-08-28 11:47:49
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com
Debugging finally started going a little faster this week. Iteration time - the time it takes to make a change and then test it - has been terrible with Nemesis mode. Typically, iteration time with Miranda is about a minute which isn't bad, but with the new server for Nemesis mode acting up, I was constantly having to shut down and restart everything which takes at least 10 minutes and really chews through a work day. As of Friday I can finally play several Nemesis matches in a row without having to restart everything.

The%20Imperial%20Realm%20-%20Miranda%20-%20Nemesis%20Victory_Lo.jpg
[Victory!]


The last thing I worked on this week was penalties for players who disconnect during a match. I thought it was interesting because it illustrates how even simple features sometimes have to evolve through a number of iterations before a workable solution is found.

More Posts

Project Line Counter in Visual Studio 2010 - 2011-06-04 00:01:45 (5 comments)
A Chrome UI - 2011-04-07 10:28:46 (6 comments)
Looking for a Fast Square Root - 2012-03-29 11:19:56 (4 comments)
Enabling NVidia GPUs on Optimus Laptops - 2014-12-03 02:31:40 (3 comments)
Early Access Week One - 2017-05-17 19:42:05 (0 comments)
HUD Redesign - 2017-03-26 02:13:55 (0 comments)
Bug Fixing and Little Features - 2016-10-11 02:10:00 (0 comments)
UI Updates - 2016-10-04 01:53:36 (0 comments)
Trailer Update - 2017-04-03 00:05:02 (0 comments)

Recent Comments

Lessons from Andromeda - 2017-11-22 06:21:13 (1 comments)
Well for me i super excited about the secret feature ;-) hmmm wot can it be , for me i hope thats its some kind of Ai to fight against when noone is online ... and quests maybe or well who knows , for me +1 for Ai battles ...
Bug Workaround: If you are attempting to get a Nemesis match and it is not matching, try placing your base in an exact horizontal line from your opponent's base (look for the red flag on the base layout map and select a square in the same row.)
Here are some better images showing the Foundation Extension in action.

The Imperial Realm - Miranda - Steep Cliff_Lo.jpg
[Too steep a cliff for a building]


The Imperial Realm - Miranda - Steep Cliff Consumable_Lo.jpg
[Used one of the Foundation Extensions]


The Imperial Realm - Miranda - Steep Cliff Positioned_Lo.jpg
[Tadaa!]
So How's it Going? - 2017-08-04 13:27:26 (1 comments)
Any news on updates ? been a while ?
The 5% Problem - 2017-07-27 18:22:17 (4 comments)
That all sounds like a pretty reasonable summary of the state of RTS multiplayer. Mostly I played co-op multiplayer with friends because in 1v1 I would slaughter them. While you can play 1v1 in Miranda's Nemesis mode if that's what you want to do, ...
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