Mac OSX BuildGood news! We have a Mac build of Trains & Things functional! But, we have no Mac to test our build on! So I've sent a demo build to a mate who has confirmed that it is working!
Secondly, you may have heard the news of Apple depreciating OpenGL and OpenCL.
Track Building Over TimeSince time began (early 2017 for Trains & Things) tracks have always built instantly. You plan the path they are to take, press the buy button and *BAM* instant track.
Yet it has always been planned that tracks would build over time. I've been putting it off, others on the team have kept nagging me to do it. The reason I have been deferring it is the complexity involved. Building a track instantly resolves any issues where players might be constructing tracks that cross each other, then come to a point in time where a collision occurs. What should happen here?
Now, this has not been a question I've wanted to face, but I started investigating why a common crash would occur in multiplayer games and found that at the stage the user hits the buy button, a huge blob of data is passed to the server, then this data is handed out to the clients, which then cause them in the frame that they receive the blob to generate a massive track which does a huge amount of computations to extrude a mesh along the terrain.
This would cause a huge spike as the game locked up momentarily. It was also causing some issue in that it caused the network stream to for some unknown reason to sit and block until a timeout occurred and the client would either lock up or disconnect. Yet is has been a rather rare occurrence until I found that making a crossing track allowed me to repeat the crash consistently.
As a result, I brought in track building over time. It doesn't look very pretty, in fact it looks a bit janky at the moment. I do have plans to clean it up to add some nice effects to make it look cool, but this will come later down the road. For now, it seems to have fixed a bulk of multiplayer issues.
I can also see it bringing in some interesting game mechanics, such as someone building across the map alerting other players to the incoming track and other players quickly building across a narrow passage to deny the other player the route they want! Settlers of Catan style!
Moving website to AmazonWe have been having some issues finding some good hosting for our website. It seems you find a great host, then deploy the website only to find after it is all setup that there is this little problem that turns out to be a show stopper, for example, our last host injected some sort of bot detection code into my website meaning my master server could not be deployed!
To that end, we have now moved to Amazon AWS, this also makes deploying/updating our website a single command:
./upload.shNice! This should also allow for our website to scale if required. So far so good, and I certainly hope it stays that way. While I've been stuffing around with the website, I've also made a few tweaks, namely that the news/blog feed is shown on the game websites, this makes it easy for me to just tell people "go to http://bitshift.io/trains-and-things/ it has everything there!" they then don't need to go searching through other pages to find the news.
Kickstarter, Steam & Itch PreparationsTime to share some news about release! Yes the news you have been waiting for! We have reached a stage where we are ready to crank out a Kickstarter campaign to help us finish Trains & Things. We are quickly approaching the point where we are ready to ship a demo and the first version of our game - Version 0.1!
The demo will include a brief tutorial map, and Hawaii which can be played for around 30 minutes before encouraging you to support us. Version 0.1 will be available shortly after the Kickstarter campaign is successful for some of the higher tiered backers.
Finally, some press coverage is coming online: