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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
Test Weekend Feedback
By Robert Basler on 2016-11-30 00:50:18
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com

Even with players submitting 130 crash reports on the first test weekend the feedback on Miranda was overwhelmingly positive. What was most gratifying to me was to see the amount of playtime everyone put in. A lot of people spent a large part of their weekend playing with this game I built. I got a lot of great feedback and I wanted to address some of it here.

A couple of players had problems laying out their bases. With Miranda's realistic terrain, there are ridges and peaks and cliffs and buildings can't be put just anywhere. It can be particularly tricky for large buildings like the refinery. One of the attributes of buildings that can be increased is the foundation height so buildings with higher foundations can be placed on steeper slopes. Miranda's base layout map shows how steep the terrain is so players can choose flatter areas for their base. Communicating all of this to the beginning player is an issue I'm still trying to figure out.

Some players mentioned that they didn't like the loading screens when moving the camera drone around the map. Luckily that was something I just hadn't gotten around to yet and players this weekend should see faster camera drone movement and fewer loading screens.

One player was concerned that players will just move their base if they see someone coming to attack them. It is not immediately apparent, but that actually isn't a good idea. What happens when you log off from Miranda is that your units stay on the map for 30 seconds. But during that time nobody is controlling them, they won't fight back, they just sit there. So if someone is about to attack you, it is a very bad time to log off. To make that clearer to players, I'll be adding a warning if the player chooses to log off when enemies are nearby.

One of the big UI problems during the test weekend was with the chat window getting confused with when it did and didn't have the keyboard input focus. I've fixed that up and added a hotkey (Enter) that puts the player into the chat window instantly.

Some players mentioned they didn't like having to go to vendors to purchase parts instead of just building units with war factories. Vendors aren't going away, but the feedback gave me a really good idea for another feature that I think those people might like.

The magic wand also brought forth some really great suggestions so keep them coming. A lot of things that people asked for are already planned, things like walls and Starcraft style controls and engineers.

One feature that sadly won't be coming to Miranda is Supreme Commander style Strategic zoom. Most RTS games (like Supreme Commander) use a system called deterministic multiplayer. The way that works is that everyone starts at the same time with the same conditions and rules, and the multiplayer just passes each player's keyboard and mouse input to all the other players in the game. This is extremely efficient with network bandwidth but it doesn't scale beyond a small number of players and it doesn't support players joining and leaving the game. Miranda uses a different system which is also very efficient and allows players to join and leave the game at any time, but the size of the area which is replicated with high fidelity is limited. If you zoom out, there's actually nothing to see. So no strategic zoom on Miranda.

I did modify the camera to zoom out a little further, I'm not sure yet if I like it.

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