As mentioned last week, some of the guys have been at the GDC in San Francisco this week. That group happens to include Thierry as well, so writing the blog this week rests upon my shoulders once again. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Save System Refactoring
Let’s go ahead and get one of the bigger things out of the way. I doubt anyone thought otherwise since we’ve mentioned it in the past, but the save/load system is one of the systems in game that’s seeing some of the more major refactoring. Not only is the current release version of the system unable to save certain bits of info, such as if catapults are loaded and where they’re aimed, but it also lacked scalability for future additions. That’s just no good.
This week has seen some major improvements and strides towards getting the save/load system where it needs to be in our master branch. This will give us that scalability for most anything we’ve got planned for the future of the game.
Now, this does present one little problem. Because of this, in addition to all the refactoring we’ve already done, this will break existing saves. However, we believe we can safely say that unless we make another major architectural change to the engine, it’s very unlikely that an update will break saves again in the future. And even then it’s unlikely.
AI Improvements and Refactoring
Luc has been working very hard on the AI systems this week. Now that the refactoring has progressed to a certain point, he’s been starting to rebuild our humble little Bricktrons. He’s starting with the basic scaffolding. Locomotion, movement, stuff like that. Soon, he’ll begin Frankensteining the old Bricktron, pulling out bits of their behaviors, fixing them, and putting them into the new implementation.
This will include rewriting loads of their intelligence, from behaviors to jobs to pathing. As Luc has previously said, the AI can’t ever really be done, it can always be improved. However, it’s going to be much, much better when this part of the job is done.
Paolo has also been hard at work. The multiplayer components have been one of the casualties of the refactoring process, so he’s been working his butt off trying to get it functioning properly again. Fortunately, according to him, that process is much easier now thanks to the refactoring that’s already been done throughout the Master Branch, so we’re guessing it should be behaving again pretty quickly.
In addition, we’ve been working hard on another little component, namely accounts. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback about the current multiplayer implementation being very difficult to work with. So, we’re working on this from two fronts. On one side, we’ve got everyone who’s playing the game on Steam, in which case we want to just link their Steam account into the game and use that. But we’ve also got lots of people who are playing the game from Humble Bundle and don’t use Steam, in which case they need to be able to use a basic Castle Story account, rather than Steam. So, for those users, we’re putting a system directly into the game that will allow them to make a Castle Story account easily. Everyone’s Castle Story account from way back when will work here too, of course.
In addition, we didn’t like that people would have to go in and edit game files in order to change parameters of their multiplayer games, such as round length, players, all that. So we’ve also been working on making it so those parameters can be changed from within the web-page front end for the server.
I’ve seen a few questions about how this has been going, so here’s the latest stats.
Wave for backers that we received info from:
E-mails sent: 100% (847 total)
Verifications received: 81.11%
Addresses Changed (as percentage of verifications received): 24.31%
Packages sent (as percentage of verifications received): 83.26%
Wave for backers that we never received info from:
E-mails sent: 100% (178 total)
Info received: 32.58%
Packages sent (as percentage of verifications received): 3.45%
Notice: This number is less because we’re focusing on the backers who initially responded first.
I have 2 more waves of e-mails to write that I’ll be working on this weekend. One for packages that came back to us after we sent them, 21 e-mails total (so far), and a second one for backers that wanted the Build t-shirt in a men’s 2XL size, as the printer never delivered those originally, 26 total e-mails. All in all, I should have those two small batches done tonight.
You’ll also notice if you crunch the numbers that this means we have 280 people (!) that never responded to us. So, if you backed us at any level that included t-shirts, and you haven’t yet gotten either an e-mail or your stuff, PLEASE check your e-mail or contact us on our support site ASAP. We want to make sure you get what you paid for.
Soundtrack of the Week
We’ve used Jimmy Hinson, also known as Big Giant Circles in the past on our soundtrack of the week, but I’ve been listening to his latest album constantly on Grooveshark lately, with plans to buy up all his stuff as soon as I’ve got the spare money. This is “The Glory Days” by Big Giant Circles. Enjoy!
And, as always, thanks for reading!
15 Comments for Dev-Diary Eighty-Six: Saving, AI, and Multiplayer