Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bank Boxes and Bugs

Last weekend, my lead programmer finished implementing bank boxes. I kept saying how most RPG's have bank boxes.  For those who do not know about what that means, let me explain.  Characters in computer role playing games often have an inventory where they carry stuff they might need in the course of the game.  That can end up being a lot of items with no real way to organize them.  In addition, in some games, items can be lost upon death or stolen.  Characters may also have a weight or item limit for what they can carry around.  Bank boxes allow characters to put items in them for later usage.  In between adventures, the character can visit the bank box to deposit or take out items.  This bank box can be only accessed in certain usually safe locations, such as towns.  The rest of the time thesse tiesm are not accessable.
Most multi-player online roleplaying games of any size have this feature, so I knew that wograld should have it as well.

I tested the bank boxes and I have not found any bugs with the feature so far.  Unfortunately, I found another serious bug that will have to be fixed before we can even consider a permanent multi-player server.  That is, if you disconnect the client a certain common way, the server will crash.  I have told him to fix that. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Back to development

I finally had a chance to get back to wograld development.  I was actually ready a couple months agotoget back to work on the project a couple months ago, but I wanted to redo my computer with a new set of distributions on it, so I did that in April.  I got that done, and then I had an awful month in May. My cat got very sick and died, and I also had my car totaled.

June is started out well, I got a chance to test some code, add and remove things from the bug tracker, and commit more artwork.  I can't believe I forgot about the bug tracker for years. I think if I had used it more from the beginning, I would not have to keep track of so many things in the development, particularly in cases where I put the project down for a bit and picked it back up again.
I've been daydreaming about writing a book on free software project development, but then I realize half the information I think should be included in the book, I don't actually know, I could ask someone else, but I'm not sure they would know the answer either.  Also I don't want it to get into too much of an argument, such as what distro is better, what desktop GUI is better or what programming language is better etc.  I know people get very opinionated on these things, I know I do.  I don't want the book to be come across as too biased even though I have strong opinions on those topics too, I know not everyone shares my opinions.

I guess you could ask questions like  Should your project use a bug tracker? Should your project use version control? I guess you can get away with not using them if its a very small project, but I've found anything more than 4-5 files it would probably be better to use version control anyway.  With the bug tracker its nice to keep track of things even if no one else ever reads it, because then you know what you fixed and what you did not fix yet.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spawning New Developers

Sometimes, it just takes too long to attract new developers to the project so we tried spawning them.  Now that I look back at it, it might have actually been faster to just do it this way all along.  Its very simple, take a male and a female developer, and then mix some genetic code.  Bake in the womb for 9 months, and then train the new little nurseling to like wograld development.  Who knows though, it might not actually work as well as I hoped, because he already fusses during lectures about free software at a certain time of day.
Another problem with this though, is preparing for his arrival took a lot of time away from working on the project.  I also put my web cartoon at www.jastiv.com as a higher priority than working directly on the project, partly because I could see measurable progress every time I worked on it, and also because I ended up making graphics for the web cartoon anyway I could reuse in the game.  The lead programmer has continued to make several commits, but I've really not written much in this space in a while. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Map Editor Progress

I don't know if you are aware of this, but we are working on gridarta now. That means modifying gridarta so that it works with wograld, and not just crossfire and a couple other games derived from the crossfire source code.

Gridarta is the new map editor written in Java.  It is much nicer than the old wogedit x11 Athena widget editor that came with the server.  Furthermore, it will be able to run under any operating system.  So you won't be stuck using Linux or another Unix system to run it.

We currently have it in the cvs under java editor and intend to submit a patch to Gridarta once we have all the folders straightened out.  The current build would break the other projects, and it has a few other bugs, but it does work, so if you were dying to make wograld maps you can now do so. 

One of the major bugs is the collected arches don't work.  There are also a few display problems when using certain functions. You can import archtypes for the the wograld folder and edit maps now, however.

I haven't been doing much coding on it myself, just testing it and continuing to submit new artwork to wograld.  The last commit I did, was the skeleton, I think. 

CVS follow up

Well actually, the whole cvs thing just was the fact it took a long time to show up on the sourceforge site from when it got posted to cvs.  If you want to make your sourceforge project cvs, you can't anymore.  It is depreciated.  The ironic thing is after it got depreciated, I was looking at job ads and noticed one that mentioned cvs.  Not as old as cobol, but still pretty old stuff.  So don't feel that just becuase you are working with something old, doesn't mean it is useless.

I'm not going to switch to subversion for the project just yet though, or another version control system.  First of all with subversion, the current Linux distribution I'm using is too old to keep up with the latest subversion, and I can't install the new one because I broke it a long time ago trying to get wograld to use folder permissions properly.  Note to newbies, never ever 777 your entire usr directory.   You will no longer be able to use root!  Secondly, I'm not upgrading, or removing it yet because I'm still playing a couple games that I'm not sure will work under a new distribution.  Every time you upgrade software, something that used to work good breaks.  I want to finish my save games before then. 

I've also considered using git, of course, but I'm not sure how well the whole distributed development thing will work.  One thing I always hated about git was how could I tell who's branch was the master branch.  Sure you could just get the file release, but I like to know what branch, as a developer I should start working on rather than download some bug ridden thing that won't compile.

I think I just might put that off till we have more developers anyway, and the project is a bit farther along.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Version Out of Control

I wrote that post title cause I just got the maps and sounds committed under the README folder because no one could make new modules under the CVS folder anymore. According to google, no one else has attempted it either.  Sourceforge documentation is still crap, or maybe it was good for awhile and then got crappy again.  It doesn't help that the new platform isn't going to allow any new cvs repositories, not that anyone would want any new cvs repositories.  Do they even develop cvs anymore? Maybe not. 

Initially people had to download maps and sounds from the crossfire project, the one we forked from, but since we added the gathering skills, I felt we needed some new maps just to test them out.  How can we possiably get this thing ready for alpha without basic game play like gathering skills useable by the players?

In other news, over 250,000 players signed up for old school Runescape.  Unlike the so called "meritocracy" of free software  multi-player role playing games, Runescape and other proprietary (server and graphics) mmorpgs's got it right by having gathering skills for newbies right at the time of release.  They knew the one important way to hook people and get them to play it for years and years.

That is a problem with the free software community. They can make a microsoft office clone and a web browser, but when it comes to games (Specifically morpgs), they can't get the features right. 

I'm kind of dreading the move to the allura platform even though I know I shouldn't because after all the platform itself is free software, something free software zealots have been complaining about from sourceforge for years.  I guess I just like (hate?) CVS too much to let it go.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gathering Skills

The time has come to make this game fun, and by fun, I mean not just some beautiful fork of Crossfire, but rather it's own game with its own game mechanics.  One of the major things missing from Wograld, that was never in Crossfire is gathering skills.  By that I mean things such as fishing, lumberjacking, and mining.  Other rpgs have had other various gathering skills such as farming, herbalism (or the picking of herbs), hunting (for animal parts) and skinning (animal and monster hides) and enchanting (removing magic essence from items).

We simply have to make maps that allow players to use the skill on certain spots and gather resources, then, when the skill gets high enough, they can gather different resources.  The resources could be used in crafting, but for now, we could have ways to sell them to npcs.
The crafting system is sort of a separate system and could use parts from gathering skills and parts from other things gotten elsewhere.