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UA 2008: Traces of Illumination - Multiplayer

Discussion in 'Made With Unity' started by jashan, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Posts:
    2,963
    ... well, sometimes, I experience the unexpected ;-)

    When I started this project, my idea was to create a quick Lightcycles-clone to get used to Unity and multiplayer and, well, creating games. However, it turned out there were quite a few ideas waiting to be had and, once they were had, they had to be implemented. The idea behind the original name was to have a version of Lightcycles in Unity, which is designed from the ground up for Multiplayer, and being a "solo-project", thus the name: JC's Unity Multiplayer TRaceON (JC being the initials of my spiritual name, kind of saying "this is my personal version of that game concept").

    But during the last couple of weeks, I started to like the name "TRaceON" less and less. Simply too close a name to the movie (of which a sequel is about to be made - see my blog posting, which has a link to the trailer).

    Aside from the legal issues potentially arising from this, I feel that this clone-shoe simply doesn't fit. Here's a screenshot of "Airborne", one of the more advanced tracers(*) - in the third level, which is a cube and thus is called "The Cube" ;-) :

    (*) "vehicles", just anything you could ride around with in this game world



    This is kind of a hovercraft, and what you can see on this screenshot is that it's got quite a bit of airtime when you do jumps. After going back down to the floor, it looks somewhat like this:



    So, I guess I'll consider "JC's Unity Multiplayer TRaceON" just a working title from now on, and let that name become history of my first game, which is now called:

    Traces of Illumination

    Since that's a unique name, I don't need the JC's Unity Multiplayer prefix anymore (but I guess I might still add "powered by Unity" somewhere, since I think that's just too cool to be dropped ;-) ).

    There's also a new version available: V1.0alpha2.

    Aside from the changes announced recently, that's:

    Code (csharp):
    1.  
    2. - added a possibility to disable the motion blur camera effect on
    3.   opponent explosions (this is also done depending on the quality level,
    4.   and if the quality level goes even futher down, the glow effect is
    5.   also switched off)
    6. - made pretty much all settings persistent
    7. - fixed a very nasty bug that prevented Tutorials 02 and 03 to work on Windows
    8.   (most key strokes were not recognized - ouch)
    9. - fixed one "little bug" that's been annoying me since I had created the
    10.  tutorials: whenever another tracer appeared, the light went off ...
    11.  this happens no longer ;-)
    12.  
    I also added quite a bit of performance and playability tracking (see my privacy statement, most relevant for now is the section Anonymous Data).

    And, very important: Much improved loading of the Web player by splitting those three tutorials into 3 separate levels and arranging the order of levels in a way that should be most convenient, see the player size statistics from the build:

    Code (csharp):
    1.  
    2. Level 0 'SceneLoader' uses 534.5 KB compressed / 2.4 MB uncompressed.
    3. Level 1 'Startup_01' uses 117.5 KB compressed / 486.0 KB uncompressed.
    4. Level 2 'Startup_02' uses 223.5 KB compressed / 517.0 KB uncompressed.
    5. Level 3 'Startup_03' uses 182.5 KB compressed / 317.3 KB uncompressed.
    6. Level 4 'Startup_04' uses 92.5 KB compressed / 310.1 KB uncompressed.
    7. Level 5 'Startup_05' uses 296.0 KB compressed / 364.1 KB uncompressed.
    8. Level 6 'AStartup' uses 2.1 MB compressed / 9.2 MB uncompressed.
    9. Level 7 'Level_00_Tutorial_01' uses 372.5 KB compressed / 585.2 KB uncomp.
    10. Level 8 'Level_01' uses 902.0 KB compressed / 1.0 MB uncompressed.
    11. Level 9 'Level_02' uses 737.0 KB compressed / 2.1 MB uncompressed.
    12. Level 10 'Level_03' uses 1.5 MB compressed / 2.4 MB uncompressed.
    13. Level 11 'Level_00_Tutorial_02' uses 714.0 KB compressed / 1.3 MB uncompressed.
    14. Level 12 'Level_00_Tutorial_03' uses 5.0 MB compressed / 7.9 MB uncompressed.
    15. Total compressed size 12.7 MB. Total uncompressed size 28.8 MB.
    16.  
    Now, I'd say, it's time to play: Traces of Illumination!!!

    ;-)

    Sunny regards,
    Jashan
     
  2. Charles Hinshaw

    Charles Hinshaw

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Posts:
    1,070
    Jashan - I'll try again later since it may just be a fluke, but I'm getting horrible performance (3 FPS) when cycles spawn or when I die... the loading of a level with cycles spawning is like bad stop motion :(
     
  3. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
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    Posts:
    2,963
    That sounds odd ... did the performance decrease for you, compared to the previous versions?

    One thing that I've noticed on an older Windows notebook is that sometimes, the framerate is really awful (like maybe 5 FPS in the startup screen) but that's only on certain occasions and seems to have to do something with Windows doing odd things in the background. Like, when that happens, the next time I start it up, it runs pretty smoothly. I've never seen such inconsistent behavior on my Mac (but I might just not notice since it's a pretty powerful machine).

    Another thing I've noticed on slower machines is that sometimes the performance in the Web player is much better when going to fullscreen (which I find somewhat surprising because I have 1920x1200 resolutions). I wonder why that happens - when it does, it's like going from "barely playable" on 900x500 embedded in the Website to "pretty smooth" on 1920x1200 in fullscreen (but that could also just be coincidence with this other effect I've seen on Windows, so it's still subject to further investigation).


    Looking into the logfiles, I have to say, however, that almost everybody seems to see 3 FPS occasionally.

    :oops:

    The avg FPS is around 50, but something (most likely the effects you mentioned: cycle spawn / explosion of own cycle) seems to pull it down real badly. By the switch I had added, this should no longer happen when opponents explode (unless you switch that back on).

    So what I'll do is push out another build where these effects are disabled by default, and can be enabled on demand (more settings sneaking into the "simple version" ;-) ). I'll also fine-tune my performance tracking, namely I'll log whether these specific effects are currently active, and I'll also check on the smoke effect (which, due to the intense particles is also quite a beast ;-) ).

    I totally agree with Forest: Especially for multiplayer, the varying framerates can be quite a disaster because it can create very unfair situations (plus multiplayer adds varying lag to the soup).
     
  4. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
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    Posts:
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    Alrightee - new build is online :)

    You can now switch off both the motion blur separately for yourself and for the other tracers - or, if your computer is giving you a really hard time even disable the effects altogether:



    I've also improved the tracing ;-) ... well, the performance logging, so now I can separate out the FPS during spawn-time, FPS during "high explosion activity", usage of the "Smoke powerup" (bad for your computer's health, I guess ;-) ), and normal gameplay.

    It will be quite interesting to see how the new features are being used, and what effect this has on the avg, min and max FPS on different machines. From my tests so far, it seems that letting go of the effects might improve playability on many machines quite a bit.

    Oh, and I also fixed one bug that occured on graphics boards that don't support render textures (bullet time would give you a huge ellipse filling the monitor ;-) ). And I forgot to mention one significant playability tweaking I did for the last build: in the default camera distance (3), the camera turns quite a bit quicker now which makes playing with that camera distance quite a bit easier ;-)
     
  5. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
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    Posts:
    2,963
    Just a minor status update:

    I'm currently "deep in the realms of multiplayer" ;-) ... I've also pretty much finished implementing the behavior of almost all tracers (but there's still quite a bit of modelling to be done). Surprisingly, most of the new features converted very nicely to networked multiplayer (the few that don't convert nicely are all the more challenging ;-) ).

    The most advanced tracers can now turn in six directions while in the air:

    - Left and Right (well, that's kind of old)
    - Up/Down (that's new for me in multiplayer ;-) )
    - Tilt Left / Tilt Right (that's all new ;-) )

    As you may have noticed from the screenshots, I'm moving into hovercraft-land. Only the first 3 tracers are "cycles" - what comes then are "flying things" (except for one very secret exception). This has two gameplay consequences: Jumping and airtime play a more significant role, and turns become more difficult to control ;-)

    Turns becoming more difficult means: When you hit "left", the tracer takes a moment to do an animated 90° turn (left in that case ;-) ), while still keeping its original direction. The actual "sharp turn" happens on completion of that animated turn. The delays vary on different tracers, I currently have values between 0.05s and 0.25s. For the same tracer, the behavior is the same in any direction.

    Obviously, this has both gameplay and networking reasons: It's adding an interesting twist to the gameplay because you need to think ahead more. And by delaying the actual turn, I can handle lag even at comparatively high tracer-speeds. ;-)

    In the real game, you have to complete all levels before getting a new tracer, so there's plenty of time to get used to one "behavior". For UA, I won't finish all 12 levels, but I'll provide "random access" to the finished levels and the finished tracers. That way, you can test everything "at will" instead of having to play many hours with many people to even see the second tracer ;-)


    ... at the moment, I'm working on the "plane-transitions" (that's where you go "up the wall" in level 3, this is surprisingly tricky to get working for multiplayer with lag). There's still a few more things on my list, including a lot of play-testing and bug-finding and -fixing, but I'm hoping to get a nice playable version out this week-end, so next week, we could arrange a couple of multiplayer-sessions ;-)
     
  6. mehware

    mehware

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    742
    Yeah I get really low FPS when I die too! :p 4-5fps
     
  7. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
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    Hi Curve,

    Does it still go that low when you switch "Show own explosion-effects" off in the start-screen (or was it already switched off)? And if so, does it *still* happen when you switch off "Fancy Effects" altogether?
     
  8. Dragon Rider

    Dragon Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Posts:
    280
    Hmm, I dunno...

    "Traces of Illumination".. Good name, but it doesn't imply action or excitement. To me, "Traces of Illumination" sound more like the name of a novel.

    No offense, but I don't think very many people will go looking for a uber action game and click on a link to "Traces of Illumination". The name just doesn't do the game justice.
     
  9. Charles Hinshaw

    Charles Hinshaw

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Posts:
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    That is true, it is pretty mellow -- but I think it fits into Jashan's larger theme for the game in context. (you know, the five-year-plan :wink: ) It also looks like the initials TOI are probably pretty useful, as is generalizing the type of vehicle to transition from light cycles to a wide range of "tracers". "T.O.I. Tracer" or something like that could be made to work, I think.
     
  10. jashan

    jashan

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    Multiplayer beta-testing has started

    I've just added all people that have already registered with the site www.ramtiga.com to the Team-Betatesters group, so you now have access to the first multiplayer beta-build. The server is up and running and if you get a few people together, you should be able to have some fun multiplayer sessions ;-)

    The beta-Webplayer is available at the same location as the other Web players. I've created a DotNetNuke module that delivers different Web players depending on your security role. So, if you're not logged in, you get the "evaluation version" (which will be available for anyone to put on their Websites once it's ready). If you're just registered, you get the "registered evaluation version", which allows storing high scores.

    And if you're in the beta-tester group, you get the beta-Web player which has a different user interface and multiplayer - enabled ;-)

    I've opened the first 3 levels for random access, and for now also the first 3 tracers. I'll probably add the 4th tracer for random access somewhen during this week.

    Since during the Unity Awards, it's unlikely that anyone will "play through the whole game", I've decided to make everything available without the usual game progression.

    ... oh, I'll continue this later, someone just logged in, so I've got to play ;-)
     
  11. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
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    Posts:
    2,963
    Just a quick note: If you play with the current build, make sure to turn down the settings; best is probably "Auto-Adjust Quality Settings -> OFF", Quality to something around 4 (but not Best), and "Fancy Image Effects" switched off.

    To do that - when you've logged in to the beta-client, click on "configure" (that's the first thing you need to do in that client), then on "System Settings", and there you'll find all you need under "Quality Settings".

    Also, I'd recommend currently not using the Airturn cycle and Level 03 - The Cube (these both have kind of disastrous render-texture settings) ;-)

    I'll probably post a new build with that fixed in the evening tomorrow but won't get to do it today (since it's already almost midnight).

    Problem is: If you set the quality too high, the machine might freeze.
     
  12. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
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    Ok - that bug's fixed (at least I couldn't reproduce it anymore ;-) ). In the best quality settings, I still had some render-texture settings for hi-res screenshots in place ... which is not a good idea for a public build ;-)

    Anyways, I've updated the version, and it should be safe to play now. Very sporadically, there still seems to be some NullReferenceException or the like, which will start the Firefox crashreporter. So if you use Firefox, make sure you don't have any unsaved forum postings or the like open ;-)

    Since there's still only a few people who play this game, it's best to announce when you want to play via the forums, and give it some time (you can keep it open and will get a "User Logged In" notification when someone logs in).

    I'll post release notes and further information this evening - gotta rush to work now ;-)

    ... just one thing you should know: Everything's tracked now - so theoretically, it should be possible to replay any game session at a later point in time. That's not really tested in the current builds, so it might not work for sessions you're doing right now - but I have one feature planned that will not only let you replay sessions but also control the camera in those replayed sessions and actually create movies from your sessions. That'll be "post-UA", possibly even post "initial release", but it's on the list, and will be a lot of fun...

    Btw: If you haven't registered, yet - you could still do so. I just have to add you to the Beta-group, which I'll do either "next morning" or "next evening". If you don't want to play multiplayer, you can still do so without registration ...

    So play at: http://www.ramtiga.com ... or (direct link): Traces of Illumination



    Sunny regards,
    Jashan
     
  13. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
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    Posts:
    2,963
    Okay, finally some release notes for alpha4/alpha5 which is now online:

    Code (csharp):
    1.  
    2. - added almost all logic for all tracers
    3. - implemented delayed turns for "hovercrafts"
    4. - made all types of turns (left/right/up/down/tilt left/tilt right)
    5.   available in networked multiplayer
    6. - fixed "PlaneTransition" (level 03, where you go up the wall) for
    7.   multiplayer
    8. - moved movements from Update() to FixedUpdate() which made collision
    9.   detection more reliable
    10. - fixed a problem in Tutorial 03 that sporadically occured on Windows
    11.   in Step 9/9 where power-ups got "stuck in the air"
    12. - picked up powerups can no longer be kept between any tutorial
    13.   steps
    14. - powerups not picked up "explode" when moving from one step to
    15.   another (which prevents cheats where you would leave the power-ups
    16.   in one step to collect them in another step)
    17. - music in tutorials now reacts to general sound settings (before,
    18.   it was always playing, only relevant to beta-client)
    19. - tracers with delayed turns (hovercrafts) now have a "turn
    20.  indicator" which shows where a turn will be completed (which makes
    21.   playing those tracers much easier, and actually, much more fun)
    22. - major update to the DotNetNuke module I use for my Web players:
    23.   this now allows having different Web players in the same module,
    24.   selected by DotNetNuke security role (before, I had to have one
    25.   module for each Web player)
    26. - same player can no longer try to log in multiple times (would
    27.   cause much trouble on the game server)
    28. - fixed a nasty "crash" bug due to crazy render textures
    29. - made first 3 levels available for all multiplayer-players
    30.   (= beta-testers)
    31. - made first 3 tracers available for all multiplayer-players
    32.  
    There are a few known issues I'm working on:

    Code (csharp):
    1.  
    2. - sporadic exception that causes trouble on Firefox (try to
    3.   reproduce with Safari so I can check the stack trace and fix it)
    4. - fix session times on server (I'm getting 10000+ seconds for a
    5.  single session ... this only happens under Windows, not in the
    6.  editor or with servers running on my Mac)
    7. - fix a problem where shooting with the Airborne tracer in the air
    8.  (while jumping) would explode the tracer
    9. - fix some sporadic synchronization problems (causing little
    10.  "jumps") while jumping with Airborne tracer
    11. - provide special anonymous login-procedure for the AI controlled
    12.  test-clients for load-testing
    13. - create a little screencast explaining the user interface
    14.  
    ... so, there's plenty of work to do "very short term" (and since I also have a "day job", I can't work on this full-time, but progress is made) ;-)
     
  14. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Posts:
    2,963
    Alpha6 is online :)

    Release notes:

    Code (csharp):
    1.  
    2. - fixed synchronization problems on jumps
    3. - fixed shooting while jumping with Airborne
    4. - fixed times on server
    5. - allow logging in anonymously with "TestClients" for load-testing
    6. - fixed a bug where the rotation got messed up on other clients with delayed turns
    7.  
    If you're registered (which means you're now also in the beta-tester group), you can now also download a standalone client, which basically behaves just like the Web player. However, you can easily open up as many instances as your machine can take and go into "load-test mode": Click on "Configure", Select "Multiplayer" in Game Configuration, but instead of entering your login name and password, just click "Start Testclient". This will log you in as some sort of "AI controlled load generator". The only thing you then still need to do is join some team with that instance of TOI.

    Earlier today, I've tested this with 5 instances running on my Dell Inspiron 8600, and another 5 running on my Dell Inspiron 9200 - they both worked "pretty okay", only loading levels got stuck sometimes (usually, I had between 8 to 20 FPS - but that with 5 instances of my game running simultanuously one old Windows notebooks). Anyways, with 3 instances per machine, it was "easy" (be sure to set Auto-Adjust Quality Settings to "Off" and Quality to "Fastest", and disable Fance Image Effects, and switch to 640x480). This is all done in the "System Settings".


    ... so, OMG - an invasion of black tracers has come on my server, so I need HELP to defeat them!!! Come online quickly, we need to save the world from the dark AIs ;-)

    ... I'll be online for about another hour or so. Hope to see you online! And - as a little incentive (and to make sure we defeat those evil AIs), I've just given everyone an upgrade, so now you can also play "Airborne" - the currently most advanced piece of TOI technology available to the public!

    Come Play!
     
  15. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
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    2,963
    I'll be doing a load-test for my game-server tomorrow (Sunday, 2008-09-28), at 16:00 CEST (I'm planning about one hour for the whole test). It would be great if as many people as possible could participate in this. I'll provide a load-test standalone client for this purpose (no registration or anything required to download and use that - but it's just the "testing client" which plays on its own).

    Basically, all you need to do with this is start it up (it will automatically log in to the server) and then join a team. Depending on your machine and Internet connection, you'll be able to start a couple of instances of this (I can easily start up 8+ on my Mac Pro, and 3-5 on DELL Inspiron 8600 / 9200 notebooks). Each instance will simulate one "real player", so if we could get together 10 people each simulating 5 clients (by starting the client up 5 times), that would be 50 "players".

    To check your local time for when this happens, you could use: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/city.html?n=37

    I'll post more information (and the test-client) later today.
     
  16. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
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    Posts:
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    Here's the instructions for the load-test (just went out via e-mail to the beta-testers as well). You can participate in the load-test even if you haven't registered at www.ramtiga.com - however, you can only participate with AI-controlled load-test clients (so you can't control the tracers yourself). Anyways, each client participating will be greatly appreciated since I really want to get some load on the server ;-)

    So here's the Instructions! ;-)

    The Load-Test clients are available at: Load-Test Clients

    On that page, if you have the Unity Web player installed, one instance of the Load-Test client is immediately started in the Web browser. The download for this is around 7MB. Below the Web player, you'll find links to standalone versions of the Windows and Mac Universal Load-Tester. These are also available directly through the following two links:

    Windows Loadtester Client (17MB)
    Mac Universal Loadtester Client (24MB)

    Both clients don't require any installation. Just download, unzip, and start. On Windows, you can simply start multiple instances of that client by double clicking on the icon multiple times (but I'd recommend starting with one and then gradually adding clients). On the Mac, this is a little tricker: Right- (or ctrl-)click on TOI_V1.0alpha7_Universal_LOADTESTER(.app), in the menu, select "Show Package Contents" (in German, I think it should be "Paketinhalt anzeigen" ;-) ). Now navigate to Contents/MacOS/. Here you find TracesOfIllumination - simply double click as often as you want to start the client.

    The client immediately logs in after starting. However, it does not join a team. There should already be some players online (me ;-) ), and some teams. You can either join a team by clicking on the "Join" button below one team, or - if there's less than 4 teams - you could also create a new team. It might be that when you log in, there's currently a game session going on. If that's the case, you'll just have to wait for a moment before you can join a team (usually, the sessions last less than 2 minutes ;-) ).

    Whenever all human players in the game group have clicked on Play, the game immediately starts and lasts until only one tracer is still online.

    We should have at least one human player in each game group. You can switch to another game group via "Game Sessions" (oops, should be "Game Groups" ;-) ), which is right below "Configuration for Multiplayer", next to "Teams", "Team Stats" and "Player Stats". Each game group can have up to 20 players, they're all hosted on the same server. How many load-test clients you can run simultanuously on your machine depends on your machine. 3 should always be possible, up to 10 should still work on a very powerful machine. Check the FPS (bottom of the screen, left-hand side) - if it goes below 20, you might consider closing clients. Also, check how long the clients take to load the level when a game session starts. I've noticed that with lots of clients on a Windows machine, this sometimes takes awfully long - which is also a good reason to shut some load-testing clients down.

    Usually, it's a good idea (for the fun of it), to have one "real client" with which you can actually participate in the game sessions (and you could select any of the first four tracers for that ;-) ). But that only works if you have registered (you could still do that now ;-) ).

    I'll be in the chat, and online with Skype (jashanchittesh). It might be that I need to restart the server now and then - if that happens, simply wait for a moment (30 seconds should be enough), and then click on the button "Start Testclient" (or "Login" if you're playing yourself with a real beta-client ;-) ).

    Btw, to get help on the chat commands, simply type "/help" in the chat. If you change the mode (all, game group, team, tell), the mode stays the same until you change the mode again. In the game, there are a few message shortcuts (Team spread!, Need Bullet-Time! and the like) which also change the mode, so you might have to change back after using those during a play session.

    Ok - looking forward to seeing you later (in about 1 1/4 hours) for a round of fun-TOI-sessions ;-)

    Btw, there's one little "bug" in the load-tester client that shows progress for the tutorial being downloaded (which isn't included in the load-tester client). You can simply ignore that ;-)
     
  17. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
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    24 clients online, FPS on Server 170 with around 30% processor load ... so there's still plenty of room for more ;-)
     
  18. burnumd

    burnumd

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Posts:
    367
    Hey, sorry I missed the load test. Since I've gone back to school, I haven't had much free time. I did get to check out the tutorials in the most recent build, and it all looks really nice and is, in general, an extremely good example of what a talented person can do with Unity. Nice work!
     
  19. jashan

    jashan

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    Mar 9, 2007
    Posts:
    2,963
    Hey, thanks ;-)

    Never mind not being at the load test - there'll be another one, most likely Saturday, Oct 4th, 8pm CEST (so that'll be 11am PDT, 2pm EDT ... well, sorry to the Australians - in the middle of the night for them, EST: 4am ... Sunday morning, I guess).

    I'll post more details after I have finished my version for UA.
     
  20. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Posts:
    2,963
    Traces of Illumination - Unity Awards 2008 Version

    I've just uploaded the Unity Awards 2008 version of Traces of Illumination and for the purpose of the Unity Awards 2008 also created a copy of my Website which is available via a separate URL.

    That site has an own server, database etc. and will stay the way it is while I'll keep on updating my project site at www.ramtiga.com.

    The Unity Awards 2008 version comes with the first 7 Tracers and the first 3 levels, all "randomly accessible" which a) simplifies testing ;-) , and b) was all I could finish in time ;-)

    The upcoming load-test (Saturday, 8pm, CEST), will still be with that same version as the one I've entered to UA, but on the official beta-server www.ramtiga.com.
     
  21. jashan

    jashan

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    Posts:
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    Traces of Illumination - 2nd Load-Test

    Today - Saturday, 2008-10-04, 8pm CEST

    To check for your local time, see: countdown-timer

    I have a standalone load-tester Windows client and a standalone Mac universal binary load-tester client. This should be fairly easy to use: Simply start via double-click, watch the client log in, look for a real player in that game group, and join a team (if there's no real player in the game group, the game will immediately start, which is not a problem, but also doesn't make a lot of sense).

    These load-tester clients are AI controlled, so you can't play with them - only watch ... and chat. The chat is useful for coordinating things ;-)

    If things go wrong badly, I might have to restart the server. In that case, just wait a minute or so and re-login.


    If you're in the beta-test (which currently basically just means "registered with www.ramtiga.com"), you can also participate as a real player (which is greatly appreciated ;-) ).

    I'm using version alpha8 for this, which is basically the same as the version for the Unity Awards 2008, here's the release notes for the UA version:

    Code (csharp):
    1.  
    2. + display of spectators now correctly resets after sessions
    3.  
    4. + weird messages on crashes ("Jashan crashed right into Jashan") - fixed, now shows correct messages
    5.  
    6. + Force starting game after timeout to avoid "getting stuck" when players can't load the level (with messages every few seconds)
    7.  
    8. + Web player now uses authentification of current Web session to log in for multiplayer (so players no longer need to enter their login data twice - first for logging in to the site, then again for authenticating with the game server)
    9.  
    10. + Added new tracers: JumpmaStarr, Airmaster, TilTair
    11.  
    For alpha8, I just changed a few cosmetic things, mostly for a better flow when starting multiplayer sessions ... and for load-tests:

    Code (csharp):
    1.  
    2. + improved Load-Tester-functionality: Load-Tester Clients now have names based on IP-Address and numbers (to make them easier to distinguish instead of having hundreds of "Test-Clients" in the sessions, first byte of IP-adress is hidden, so they are still anonymous)
    3.  
    4. + Major text-improvements; made some texts orange to pull the players attraction to them; cleared some texts up a little bit, added some texts to guide new users through the user-interface (for multiplayer), explaining when one can start a game (at least two teams with at least one player for each are needed)
    5.  
    6. + fixed "Game Sessions" (this must be and now is "Game Groups") and "Select Cycle" (this must be and now is "Select Tracer")
    7.  
    8. + disabling "[P]lay" button instead of hiding it (this was a "left-over" ;-) )
    9.  
    10. + Improved "user's online": Now shows # users online, # users in current game group and # users in teams
    11.  
    12. + list of players now only shows players of current game group which are not in a team (yet), which makes this list much more useful ... and the players in a team are shown in the team list, anyways (and listing *all* players on the server, as it was the case in previous versions really doesn't make sense)
    13.  
    14. + when a player shoots a wall, a message is displayed "A has shot one of B's walls"
    15.  

    ... looking forward to playing with you! ;-)
     
  22. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Posts:
    2,963
    Traces of Illumination - ALPHA 9 - and Load-Test on Sunday!

    I've just put Traces of Illumination ALPHA 9 online, which we will be using for a more massive load-test this upcoming Sunday, at 8pm CEST. The last load-test was pretty successful: We had up to 65 clients simultanuously in one session, and the server was still pretty relaxed. So, I've made kind of a "headless version" of the load-test client in order to be able to run more instances simultanuously. Now I can easily run 12 instances on a single old DELL Inspiron 9200 with Windows - so for that upcoming load-test I'm optimistic that we'll get more then a 100 clients simulated (and hopefully more than 20 real players).

    Great thanks go to all the people who participated last time, and everyone who made suggestions. Special kudos go to Charles who made the suggestion of adding strafing left/right to the tracers - this is already implemented in this version, so with all hovercrafts (starting with Airborne), you can now move sideway by using shift+left/right (only works while you're riding on the floor, doesn't work while in the air - but in the air, you can do a lot of other cool things, try shift+left/right while in the air with TilTair, to see what I'm talking about ;-) ).

    If you're not registered with the site, now is a pretty good time to do so - this will be the last test-session where you can access 7 tracers (3 cycles and 4 hovercrafts) and 3 levels without first having to complete anything ;-)



    So here's a list of the most recent changes (as you may notice, most of these are for the load-tests which is currently what I'm focussed at):

    Traces of Illumination - Alpha 9

    Code (csharp):
    1.  
    2. - auto-relogin für Load-Test clients (waiting about 30 seconds after logout); auto-join for Load-Test clients (first, look for game group that
    3. starts with LoadTest, then look for teams that start with LoadTeam) - Load-Test clients now pretty much automatically do everything they can to get into a game
    4.  
    5. - load-test clients: random use of collected power-ups (checking every few seconds for available power-ups, and if there's power-ups available, use them; exception is Bullet-Time, that one's not used by AIs for obvious reasons ;-) )
    6.  
    7. - "Headless mode" for testclients (h to toggle this mode on/off, show "press H to switch GUI on"), default is "headless" so you need to press H to see anything
    8.  
    9. - Logging memory used by server
    10.  
    11. - players are now correctly removed from teams when kicking them out of sessions
    12.  
    13. - added a "global collider" that disables the check for "nothing below me" as long as the tracer is within that collider, this should fix one very nasty bug
    14.  
    15. - implement strafing (starts with Airborne), use shift+left/right, while on the floor
    16.  
    17. - added some extra checks to find another very nasty bug that basically destroyed multiplayer for the UA-version: it seems that after a couple of days, builds stop working (as odd as this may sound); symptoms are that on turns, the tracers are like "teleported into nothing"; so I've added logging whenever I get a weird diff between Network.time and NetworkMessageInfo.timestamp or when the location of tracers changes very significantly
    18.  
    As usual, you'll find everything at www.ramtiga.com ... I'll post more information (including some instructions on the user-interface and how to control the more advanced tracers) either tomorrow (Saturday), or Sunday ...
     
  23. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Posts:
    2,963
    Hey there - anyone wants to join in for a test-session of Traces of Illumination? We're online right now ... and ... you can play any of the following cool Tracers if you wish.

    So here's a little introduction to the 7 available Tracers which are all available to be tested during this session:



    TOI-Cycle V0.88

    The Cycle you begin with. Does simple left/right turns - cannot do turns in the air, cannot strafe.



    Airturn Cycle

    Usually, you would receive this after completing all 12 levels with the TOI-Cycle V0.88. It's a bit faster, jumps a bit higher - and can do simple left/right turns in the air, which is already pretty cool!



    TOI-Cycle V0.1

    Usually, you would receive this after completing all 12 levels with the Airturn Cycle. It looks bad, is the slowest Tracer in the game and has no specials. Well, but it's a challenge -- to see if you can still make it with this thing - before you get the first hovercraft tracer, which will be a rather significant reward!



    Airborne

    ... when you've managed to complete all 12 levels with the TOI-Cycle V0.1, you get Airborne. This is the first hovercraft. It can strafe (activated by shift+left/right), and has much more airtime when jumping. Also, it allows turns while in the air. But only left and right, like the Airturn Cycle. One thing you might have to get used to with all hovercraft tracers is that they have a little delay before they turn. But you get an indicator that shows you where the turn will be finished.



    JumpmaStarr

    Once you've completed all 12 levels with the Airborne (not needed for this test-session ;-) ), you get this nice Tracer. It's a bit faster, jumps a bit higher and farther. The special thing about this one is that it's the first one that can do "up-turns". Try it: While jumping, hit the down-arrow key. This is quite a bit of freedom in the air.



    Airmaster

    This is a very special one: It doesn't really jump. Instead, you have to control the jump yourself. For this, you also get "down-turns". So, when you have a jump-power up, hit space. Then hit the down-arrow to turn upwards. Then hit the up-arrow to turn downwards (now you're parallel with the floor again). Wait a moment (look in the lower-left corner of the screen to see when the air-time is up), and glide towards the floor. Or, do another up-turn. Just don't over-do it - if you fall too fast, you'll crash.



    TilTair

    The last Tracer available for this test-session. It jumps "normal" again, but has a special new feature: While flying, you can tilt left or right. You use shift+left/right to do this. So, the controls are: left/right - as usual, normal turns. While "on the floor", shift+left/right does strafing left/right. When you're in the air, you can do left/right turns, up/down turns with left/right/up/down - or, with shift+left/right, you can tilt 90° left or right. This is the ultimate "air freedom" in Traces of Illumination.


    Hope to see you there ;-) ... in case you're not a beta-tester, yet, you can simply register and will become one (so you can immediately join in the multiplayer session).



    Sunny regards,
    Jashan
     
  24. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Posts:
    2,963
  25. Ryuuguu

    Ryuuguu

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Posts:
    316
    It was fun and I liked the look. I found the tutorial a bit frustrating though. I go stuck in the tutorial it said turn left first and I did, but it just keep saying turn left first. Also the speed of the tutorial message was very slow for me. I understand some people may find messages coming to fast frustrating but I found myself looking around while waiting for a message to tell me to do something.

    Cheers,
    Grant
     
  26. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Posts:
    2,963
    Hi Grant,

    thank you for the feedback! Which tutorial step did you get stuck at? I had a somewhat similar problem a while back with the Windows Web player - there, the "normal keys" didn't work (but that's fixed by now). So, it might be also interesting to know what machine that happened on.

    There's two reasons for the tutorial messages be a little slow: The first is - as you assumed - that for some people, it's easier to follow when it's a bit slower. The second one is that the messages are synced with the music, so most of the time (with a few exceptions), the message "bumps in with the beat".

    However, you can use the enter key to "fast-forward" messages. Each time you hit enter, the next message is immediately displayed (unless you still need to do some action). You can also use backspace to go to the previous message. And tab/shift-tab to quickly skip whole tutorial steps.

    Sunny regards,
    Jashan
     
  27. Ryuuguu

    Ryuuguu

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Posts:
    316
    it was the first tutorial, I think was going to show me hitting my own wall because the message was first left turn. near the end of the tutorial. using arrow keys on mac , firefox 2.x
     
  28. jashan

    jashan

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Posts:
    2,963
    Hm ... so the first left/right turns worked, but then it didn't work? At that particular section, you do have to do 3 left turns (which will make you run into your own wall ;-) ), but you should get different messages for each turn.