05 July 2006

The update, and what went wrong

We had our update 2 days ago, and it went relatively well, but being the exigent people we are, we are more interested in what went wrong, not in what went right.

One of the first problems was that the monsters definition file had some problems, namely a monster having the wrong name. So we had to fix that problem. Then we've also noticed a few map problems, having to do with wrong data in the map definition files. A map definition file is an ASCII document, which stores info about that map, such as teleporting areas, damage areas, if the map is PK or not, and so on.

One other problem was that the Windows client was compiled using SSE instructions, which has caused some people with older CPUs to not be able to play the game. I compiled a client with 386 instructions, which solved the problems for most of the people.
There were some problems with the Linux download, mainly about mismatched libraries and stuff like that, which is relatively common to Linux. Given the fact that Debian is such a popular distro, and a lot of distros use it's packet management/archive, we'd like to find someone to do a .deb archive for us.

Other problems had to do with a few server bugs, such as the new fire/cold/radiation spells did not reset properly, enabling people to cast the same spell multiple times and basically have immunity to that kind of damage. This and other minor server issues were solved yesterday, and the server was restarted.

Most of the players were happy with the update, although there was some bitching at the fact that the hydrogenium (an ore required for high level armors) is past a PK map, so that not everyone can go and harvest it there. This was, of course, anticipated, and I believe it adds a little more strategy and tactics to the game, as well as some additional guild/interguild cooperation.

A cool thing related to this update was that we made it in to 20 on the Freshmeat, in the Vitality section. We were on the 12th position, which is really cool :)
I've been waiting for this ever since we released the first version of the game, more than 3 years ago.

We are expecting another minor update in about 2 weeks, which won't really bring anything new, but fix some of the minor problems we still have in this client, as well as adding two compiled clients, one for SSE2 and one for 586 so people with newer CPUs will be able to have a speed increase, while people with older CPUs will still be able to play the game.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I would not have thought the update to be so smoothly, given the magnitude of things added and changed. Honestly, you and your co-developers rock!

Yesterday I thought about damage areas and player buffs, and now that you mentioned damage areas it came back to my mind. Here's my suggestion: IMO it's pretty hard at the moment to notice that you are in a damage area, especially when damage is low or infrequent, and when you are in an area where you get multiple damage types (like cold and radiation) it's hard to know what damage you actually get. Now that you introduced the player buffs lately, wouldn't it be possible to use a few of those bits to transmit the "type" of damage area you are currently standing at? Client developers could use that information to display small damage icons somewhere on the screen. I'd suggest to separate positive and negative effects (at least optically), so poison would have to be changed/moved, but I thought it to be in the wrong place next to the shield spell anyway ;).
The main problem of a computer game is to give players feedback, so they feel more drawn into the game. This would add feedback, and players could act accordingly when they enter a damage area without having to guess or try things.
I'd be curious about your thoughts on this...

6/7/06 07:15  
Blogger Radu said...

The update wasn't as smooth as we wanted it to be, which is why we will have a bug fixing update soon, to take care of the existing problems.

Your area is interesting, I'll have to think about it. On the other hand, most of the time the damage is obvious and know (like in a lava cave, you will get fire damage, while in an ice cave, you will get cold damage). Of course, the radiation damage is less obvious, but then again, that's how it's also in the real life.

6/7/06 16:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The requested Debain archives.

6/7/06 17:19  

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