Monthly Archives: September 2013

shaderpicI was messing around with shaders for the ‘space game’, trying to figure out how to do a nice background shader for nebulae and the like. My attempts at a hydrodynamics shader weren’t working, so I just started messing around. The result is this (uses WebGL).

Each pixel of the shader simulates the equations of motion of a tumbling object. When you have an object whose moments of inertia along its three principle axes aren’t balanced, then it does all sorts of crazy spinning and tumbling. This is something you’ve seen if you’ve played realistic flight simulators or Kerbal Space Program – if you’ve got something and it starts to spin, it doesn’t just spin around one axis, it wanders all over the place (or think of how a frisbee wobbles in flight). I then put a blur on top of the whole thing and used the results to make a bump map.

I don’t think this will end up in game, its too dizzying and doesn’t look ‘like anything’, but its neat how you can get spiral waves, ‘up’ and ‘down’ regions (the green/yellow ones are spinning around one pole of the object and the red/blue ones are just the flipped version of that), etc, all from the tumbling of an irregular object.

Since I had a bit of a hard time figuring out how to do all this, I’ve decided to make a short tutorial about it.

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almost_everything

An abridged map of scales. My hand got tired so I skipped all that squishy stuff in the middle called ‘life’.

I’ve been fascinated with the idea of ‘scale games’ of late. I blame ‘Cookie Clicker’, which I will not link to here in order to save you from its addictive properties. The basic idea is, its cool to compress lots of orders of magnitude of something into a single game, be it going from one cookie per click to time portals churning out millions per second, building a space-ship in Kerbal Space Program that finds the first 50km as hard as the next 50 million, or starting by rolling up paperclips in Katamari Damacy and finally rolling up continents and planets.

There’s kind of a magic to taking something huge – so huge that we don’t think of its size in terms of one number, but in terms of all of the smaller worlds it contains –  and fitting it into an experience that we can understand in a single sitting.

Anyhow, this is all going somewhere, and that is that this weekend I’ll be working on something we’ve been calling ‘the space game’ with Jeff Berry. Despite its rather nondescript codename, it’s all about the scales of the universe. This will be my first experience working with a professional artist (as well as my first foray into WebGL) so I look forward to seeing what we can create.

Incidentally, I’m pleased to announce that Cascade was picked as the winner of last week’s Fight Magic Run!

cascade_shot4After a sleepness night, Keanen Wendler-Shaw and I have finished our FightMagicRun entry for the brutal ’2-player’ topic. We went right at it and implemented a multiplayer game, server, lobby, the works in a 48 hour competition. I will probably be horrified when I read this post later, since I’m writing it on so little sleep. In fact, looking at the screenshot I think it was creeping into my constant slew of test user names.

Cascade is a simple little strategy board-game. You can place tiles that convert ‘downstream’ tiles to your type. The scoring is done not based on your tiles at the end of the game, but on having as many tiles active at one time as you can. This plays in with the conversion mechanics of the game to make the last move less important than it otherwise would be.

Anyhow, I’m off to bed, but you might give it a try. It does require 2 players however, so bring a friend. Here is the link.

 

I really do hope the server doesn’t crash within the next 8 hours…

There were a lot of bugs that were stopping the completion of some dungeons and quests, so I’ve made a hotfix that should hopefully address them. As before, the content pack is the first thing updated and can be downloaded here for people that own the game. The installers will be slowly updated over the next few hours, and then finally the versions on the store.

I’ll be doing FiMaRu this weekend so this is probably the last set of bugfixes until Monday unless there’s some game-doesn’t-run bug.

v1.02 Changelog:

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A new version of Travelogue is out. Go to the download page and grab the content pack update! The others will be updated slowly as the night goes on (slow upload speeds on my end) but the content update is currently fresh. This update includes a new dungeon, Roc’s Nest, which is north of Fericant in the mountains.

Changelog:

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Roc’s Nest

Well, I’ve fixed all the reported bugs that I could reproduce (if you get the ‘game crashes outside of a city’ bug please let me know the details), so its time to turn my attention to Roc’s Nest. Right now I’ve got about seven event cards associated with this dungeon, but they’re pretty sequential. I could leave it as more of an extended, sequential quest line, or I could pad it out and turn it into something closer to the other dungeons, or I could merge them into one mega-card that you choose your way through. Obviously padding it out will take the most time of these options and may delay it until a later patch (since I want to get the bugfixes out there asap).

So, what do you think? Would you guys prefer a linear questline, or another dungeon in the current style ‘explore Lv1 and encounter random events, then find the way to Lv2, explore Lv2, find the way to Lv3, …’?

Thanks to the demo and people playing the full game, we’re starting to accumulate a list of things to fix for a post-release patch that will be coming out later this week. One thing in particular that seems to be occurring for some people intermittently is that the merchant in particular glitches out when traveling to certain places (so far its been reported for Seawatch, Sparrow Point, and Witchwood Grove). So far I haven’t been able to replicate this bug, so if its happening to you please shoot me an email. Include the time of year inside the game, since this makes a difference for some events.

Please continue to let me know about bugs as you find them. I’m aiming to release the patch some time Thursday night.

In the mean time, I’ve put up a page that shows you the various region statistics in realtime. These are the result of what everyone is doing in those areas, and its pretty neat to look at now that we have some people playing it.

Travelogue Region Grapher

I’m also thinking of making some sort of route-planner page as well that lets you estimate the value of different trade routes.

Here’s the current changelog (both existing and intended) for the v1.01 patch:

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travelogue_banner2Whew! Its been a crazy three and a half months, but Travelogue v1.0 has hit the metaphorical shelves! Of course there were things I wanted to add that didn’t make it in, and there will probably be plenty of things I’ll want to add after a few people play it. So look forward to some content updates in the weeks to come!

Part of making Travelogue has been an experiment, me trying to test the waters and learn how this whole thing works. I’ve always been  in jobs where I am just trying to complete a certain bit of work or set of tasks, rather than make something that then has to go and capture the interest of an audience. I’ve had to set my own standards for what Travelogue should be and hope that they’re in the right direction to make it something that lots of people can enjoy (while still being enough along my own interests so I can be passionate about working on it). I’m a bit nervous about it, but anxious to find out whether that direction was the right one.

Buy Travelogue
Free Demo

And we have our first bug. Playing a merchant in the demo immediately ends the game. Fixed now, hopefully!