Yet another new record
Today we had 766 players online. Counting the bots too, there were almost 850 connections, and the server load was minimal, as it can be seen on the graph.
The last few updates were met with almost unanimous approval from the players, which means that either we are doing something right, or that they got too tired of complaining :D
I miss doing some programming. In the last few months I did very little programming for the server; mostly I did edit the definition and scripting files to add the new items and monsters. This is somewhat reccurent, I felt like that many times.
Sure, there was some little programming here and there, like adding new special days, but it was mostly copy and paste. The scripting (Small) also requires programming, but, again, is mostly copy and paste.
One thing I want to do soon is to make a 'light map' for the server. This light map would precalculate the luminosity of each step tile in the game, taking into account the nearby light sources and the background ambient light in the caves, dungeons and inside maps. Ideally, the nearby objects should also be taken into account, some sort of ray tracing.
There is a problem with this though; the dynamic maps (player based houses, factories, etc.). Such a precalculated map would need to be changed each time a new lightsource or object is placed there.
If we are going to do a raytracing to each nearby light source, recomputing the map would require a lot of CPU time. One possibility would be to have a background thread doing that each time something changes. The problem is, right after a map change the light map will be wrong (not yet computed), which could cause all kind of problems.
Perhaps you are asking what is the point of having such a light map anyway.
Well, the idea is that I want the server to take that into account, so depending on a variety of factors (the light level of each tile, the items a player is wearing, the perception attribute of other players) one player will be able to see or not another close by entity (another player, monster or NPC).
Similarly, a player in the dark fighting another player in the dark would have some penalty if his perception skill is not high enough. I don't know yet what kind of penalty that would be (how severe). It will have to be determined through additional testing.
Once we have this system in place, we can add a lot of neat things, such as spells to reveal players in an area, a perk such as "night vision", and so on.