Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Open beta update and a small gadget

I thought this day would never come! It seems that there's no major/moderate bugs left! The errors log is empty and I haven't received any report about game breaking bugs for some days now.

There's still some annoyances left and some tweaks to do but at that point, Golemizer could have been released for 3 years that I would still be saying this. It's quite the reality of all MMOs IMHO, you can always improve something.

So I can now concentrate on content! I got one new dungeon in the work and had some time to begin the players cities system. I think this system will be a nice addition and will help to make Golemizer a little bit more like a sandbox game, if such thing really exist (I guess it depends on how you define it anyway...).

Maple have thrown some more ideas to help me build more content which is really helpful and will force me to add more decorative items to make the world a bit more alive.

Tonight I added a small gadget on the forums. It's an automated signature linked to characters in the game. The login of the forums must match the login used for the game (NOT the character's name, the login) to show an dynamically generated image containing the avatar of the character, it's name, rank, points, badges gained and the creation date of the character.

It's really just a gadget but it helps to link the game with the forums and make a nice little trophy that can also be used on other web sites, blogs or anything else.

To see a sample, click here.

To know more about this signature and how to post it on your blog, go to this thread.

It's great to finally have some time to spend on other things than bugs.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Open beta update

It's going very well! The error logs is getting shorter and shorter each day. Yesterday there was about less than 20 logs related to 3 different bugs and tonight's update should at least fix 2 of them and I'll have to wait to confirm the other one is fixed.

I've said it before but the comments screen on logout is probably the best feature of the game (well, on my side at least). I've been receiving loads of reports AND feedback (always nice to get some nice words from a player that enjoyed what he saw).

Tonight's update see the addition of global chat, a feature requested by some players on the boards. I think it will help the growing community to help each others and to share ideas. There's a small increase of forums activities too which is also great. A lot of good stuff is being discussed there and it provides a nice way for me to help fix the remaining bugs.

The diminution of errors logged means that I'll probably be able to focus a bit more on content now. Among the things currently planned there is a new "dungeon" (with a new type of NPC), the players' cities system (which I'll work on during my vacation at the beginning of August), more collectionable items that can be bought with prestige points and more quests.

My goal would be to make an official release of Golemizer by the end of the summer. Press release is planned and I have already spotted some web sites that might help getting the news out.

However, the best way to attract more players is still to have players talk about it. So if you enjoy the ride, see the long term potential of this project, I invite you to share your experience with others. Links to the game on blogs is always welcomed!

Oh and digging up the official open beta release here: is also a good way to help the game!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

First week of open beta

It's been already 1 week since I officially launched the open beta for Golemizer. So far the feedback is quite positive and the comments screen after logout has proven to be quite useful.

Having a way to easily allow players to send feedback is priceless. Not much have created an account on the forums but I received near 100 comments from the comments screen.

Some stats just because I like stats:

- Total characters created since July 8: 97
- Total characters: 268
- Players that have logged in today (July 16): 31
- Most players logged at the same time (checked every 30 minutes): 10
- Total golems crafted: 166

To my great pleasure, not much have gone wrong. The worse bug was that from time to time, the client was freezing for some people. It turns out it was because the javascript code was a bit too fast and slow at the same time. When opening windows, there was time when the code was trying to update containers that weren't available yet. I removed the animation of windows scrolling up and down and did some tweaking and the problem now seems gone (at least, I haven't received more reports of it since I did the changes).

I also improved the code of golems to follow a player and attack a target which should make the tutorial a bit smoother. Those clockwork gnomes were a bit too random to make a good impression.

One thing a new player will notice is that there's a lot of houses. A lot. It's a bit messy and reminds me of early days in SWG, before players' cities.

Talking about cities, this will probably be the first big addition to the game. I want to give players more creative power so letting them build their own cities is a nice way to get started. Players are pretty much limited to setting up houses and merchants right now but with the city system, I want to allow them to use stuff like roads, wells, fences, lakes and such.

More details about players' cities will come later as the design is not yet totally completed.

So to conclude this post, I'd like to thanks all players that helped by either sending comments after logging out or by posting on the forums. This feedback is really important to help improving Golemizer, to take this open beta to official release.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Official open beta for Golemizer

So here it is:

So what "open beta" means exactly for Golemizer? Well, it's basically the official release of the game. I'll keep the beta tag as long as needed, until I'm satisfied with the global state of the game with active/returning players in it.

Beta doesn't mean there will be data reset or any such things. It's mostly a friendly warning for "work in progress". More content will be added, mechanics might be adjusted, data tweaked and other such things.

To advertise the game, I first did some basic directory submitting and then started some minor ad testing with Project Wonderful. Project Wonderful is a nice and cheap way to generate some traffic to get things started.

I builded some banners which are simple but should be enough for now. You can take a look at them by clicking these links:

468x60 (animated)
468x60 (static)

So I invite you to take a look, leave some comments and spread the word! Remember, that's only the beginning! I'm still as motivated as the first day and not afraid to put in the work needed to make this a success!

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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Smooth change to AI system

So the AI system is now using .NET code instead of LUA and everything has been running smoothly since saturday. Memory is stable, logs aren't full of strange LUA errors and I even allowed did some minor improvements here and there.

Tonight I finished what you could call the first "dungeon". For now, it's mostly just a place to provide targets to new players so they can play around. At the end there's a small reward and a badge.

This first "dungeon" was also a first test for some new commands to check how easily I can add new stuff to the game without the need to reboot the server. Well the experiment succeeded. I built the whole thing inside game logged with my admin account. No fancy stuff with the database was needed or reboot to reload new stuff. Quite happy with it. Got a clear idea for the next place of interest of this kind which I should add this week.

Tonight, I also wrote a list of web sites to advertise the game as open beta, some directories where other free MMORPG are listed. I will probably announce "officially" the game this week, but still as beta. Been waiting for this for a long time now so I can't wait to receive more comments. From now, holding the game longer is useless. It needs to live a bit.

Off to sleep to get this started later this week.

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