20 September 2008

Quite an eventfull week

This past week has been pretty busy, with some important changes happening:

1. The polymorph skill is in the game, although the glyphs to actually shape shift are not obtainable in the game except from the shop. This will change in a few days, when they will become manufacturable under the summoning skill.

2. KF (the most popular PKing map in the game) was made a non items drop on death map. This has wide implications for the game economy, because now a lot of people go and PK there, and they use all kind of potions and essences, as well as break all kinds of gear. So it's a nice push to the economy, gives players the chance to match their skills against others for free, and generally makes everyone happy. The downside is that there will be fewer rostogol stones used in the game, so less money for me, but this should be offseted from the high end items breaking there.

3. I am doing an important "behind the scenes" update in the server logic, which should improve the speed of some critical functions. This will allow faster response time (just a little), as well as being able to add some very neat things (which are secret for now). That code almost works, and today I just finished fixing the latest bugs, and, hopefully, it should be on the live server some time next week.

4. A few years ago, the server was crashing every once in a while because of an error that shouldn't have happened. I prevented the crash by adding a specific check for that error, so now it is logged whenever it happens, and the crash is avoided. Well, today I looked over our critical errors log (where only the nastiest, "shouldn't ever happen!" stuff is logged), and I've seen that error happening maybe once or twice a month. So far it is harmless, but I'd rather find out what the hell is going on and fix it, so I added additional debugging information. Hopefully, it should happen again soon and with the extra debugging see why did it happen.

13 September 2008

Shapeshfting again

Well, it seems that the client crash mentioned in the previous post was actually due to the server sending something wrong. Once that was fixed, shape shifting works fine for the most part.
However, there are a few issues with special effects. The problem is, most of the special effects were done assuming that the actor that casts spells or get harvest effects are human like, and have a hand bone.
Since mules do not have such a bone, that leads to a crash. Error checking FTW :D
The bug was fixed in the CVS, but not everyone can build their own client, and the abuse potential was high. For example, triggering a harvesting event or casting a spell on someone while being a mule could have caused arbitrary client crashes for those around you.

Initially, I wanted to check every single special effect, and if the person who casts a spell or receives a harvest event is a mule, do not send that effect to anyone.
This is pretty tedious, because there is a lot of code to modify (all the harvesting and spell effects), and I wasn't really excited about doing it.

Today, however, I came up with a better idea: It is not realistic (as far as realism goes in a game) to have a mule casting spells or harvesting resources. In fact, it is not good for the game to allow that, because then everyone would be shapeshifted to a mule for anything that has to do with harvesting and manufacturing.
The idea of a mule is to CARRY stuff, not to do everything a normal player does. The game would look really boring if everyone in every mine or around every storage is a mule.

The way I see it is to have the mules as support player types, for example one player harvests while others goes and mules their resources to the storage (for guild projects, or for a fee).

So I decided to disable spell casting, harvesting and manufacturing for the mules, and possibly for the other pets as well. Because that will make the mules less usefull (to the power players), I will either make the polymorphing tokens and food cheaper, OR increase the load capacity of a mule. I am not sure which way I will go yet.

10 September 2008

Shape Shifting

Recently I started working at the shape shifting skill, and almost implemented the mule (90% done), and I ran into a big problem:
The client was not designed to dynamically replace an actor with another, so it crashes :/
This means that we need to fix the issue on the client, and then have a client update before we can add shape shfting in the game :/
There is a good news too though: We MIGHT implement two new, very cool and secret features that pretty much everyone will love. They are (almost) implemented on the CVS client, but they need server support (which can take a few weeks or more). So probably the shape shifting and the other cool features will be available in two months.

06 September 2008

School started

In many parts of the world, the school started, and that reflects pretty well in our players population. The number of players online at a time declined by about 60. I am curious what the weekend numbers will be.
This number (~10% of the online population at a time) is very consistent with our age polls, where only about 20% of the players are under the age of 18. From those 20%, it is safe to assume that only some will stop playing (or spend less time) in the game once the school started.

On an unrelated note, this apst few days I added 3 new potions in the game, and I am going to add a few more soon. Potion is the skill with the fewest makable items, with the highest potion requiring level 62, while the highest ranking potioners have over 100 in their potion skill. The last person in top 50 potion is level 82, so a few more potions are needed. There will also be a potion god by the end of the year.