Ebb and Flow

Hello loyal fans!

You may be wondering if Freecon is dead – and the truth is that it continues to exist in a state of semi-dormancy, as Free focuses on his full time job and I work toward completing my master’s.

Alas, your faithful developers have nonetheless been occasionally busy. In the past few months we’ve found time to make some major additions, including NPC/turret simulation and logic, team functionality, basic colonization, and quite a bit of behind the scenes recoding as Free and I continue to grow as programmers.

Although as we move forward, we always feel that there’s increasingly more to do, we’ve actually implemented a large proportion of game mechanics – and our major shortfall presently is a lack of graphical content and GUIs for various game states. Some of the major features we’ve prepared include:

  • Port, space, and planet game states, complete with docking, warping, and landing
  • Generic weapon and ship classes
  • Turrets and NPCs which can logically target and attack each other
  • Teams (many hours of turret/NPC/player wars for “testing”!)
  • Ship cargo, which can be bought and sold at ports
  • Various projectile and shield types, including persistent, stackable damage effects (e.g. slower attack speed, or slower thrust speed)
  • Planet colonization

We’ve also developed much of the game with hackers in mind – anticipating potential exploits and attempting to ensure a secure, fair game after release. And efficiency is a priority too – running the game on a lowly Pentium D allows for around 1500 projectiles on screen at any time. A number of major incoming additions prior to release include:

  • Game universe persistence – this is actually our current priority, and on a technical level, it means restructuring the server to work with MongoDB – our server will be robust and entirely database driven.
  • A wider range of ship, weapon and turret types – that means lots of new, pretty sprites, contact us if you’re interested in making graphical contributions!
  • GUIs, GUIs, and more GUIs – for all game states
  • Ship and weapon balance – at some point we DO still plan on releasing an alpha build, particularly for balance adjustment
  • Multiple building placement on colonized planets, and possibly in space – you’ll be able to build a small city, complete with mines, biodomes, refineries, factories, power plants, and a host of other buildings with potential bonuses according to placement
  • Basic planet development – different planet types will confer various bonuses to your colonies, we just haven’t quite worked out which ones do what yet!

There is also a range of features which we’d like to see once we’ve established a basic gameplay system, including many of your forum suggestions. As Free and I move into 2014, you might see us able to dedicate more time to the code, and we’re both eager to share our labor of love with you as soon as we’ve developed something worthy of release. We can’t quite promise a release date though; if we’ve learned anything over the last three years, it’s to never put a release date on a piece of software.

Stay tuned, and get in touch with us if you’re looking to showcase your technical artistic ability.

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Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from the Freecon team. Hope you everybody had an awesome 2013!

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The Past Year

Hey guys, so I’m not very good at keeping this blog up to date, as you can see. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve posted!

I just wanted to post up an update talking about what’s been going on. The game is still undergoing development, it’s my life goal to see this thing get pushed out and 1v1 MelKaven into the ground! So when I get home, I’ll post up some screenshots. To summarize what has gone down…

In November I started working on moving from Kauai to somewhere else. Early December, I had figured out that I wanted to live in Los Angeles and found some jobs in the area that were interested. Flew out and interviewed with them and chose the startup that I now work at as the best pick. Currently write software for controlling commercial UAVs! You ever get pizza delivered to your house via drone in the future… Yeah, that’s us. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve learned so much from the people I’ve met.

For Freecon, I’ve spent most of my time working on the architecture and cleaning up the code. Now that I’m in the field, I’ve learned a lot about creating a project that’s maintainable and easy to pick up. Got some developers that are interested in helping finish up the cool features, but they’ve all said they don’t want to touch a gross codebase. Aside from that (10 months approx sunk into that), colonies are up and running for the most part. I need some textures for tiles and some sprites for buildings. Once I get those, I’ll be in a good position to release some screenshots of that. Currently using some in-place textures that I can’t really show off (because they are ugly!).

Dependency injection, unit tests, modular front-end, linux support… These are all things I’ve been working on. With XNA being discontinued, I’ve spent time looking into other options. I’m looking forward to getting all of this legwork behind me so that I can push out a game for everybody to play!

Get yo’ Freecon!

-Free

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Database Driven Port UI

Been quiet on the blog for a while, I should probably update it! Here’s a screenshot of the port UI with the ability to purchase ships. All of the text and stats can be tweaked by admins on-the-fly. Everything is piped down from the server, which stores everything in a NoSQL database. It’s very slick!
 Port UI

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PreAlpha has Begun

Spent a few hours today working with the inhouse PreAlpha testers finding bugs. Probably crashed a good two dozen times throughout the course of the test, so we’ve got our work cut out for us to work out these bugs. Stay tuned though, because this Alpha train ain’t stoppin!

 Inhouse PreAlpha

 Docking And Stuff

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Video Update

Here’s a nice video update of the game so far. Very ugly projectiles, sorry about that. We were stress testing how many particles we could have on screen (something like 100,000). Anyway, here’s a video of the game!

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Hardware Failure

This week we have had some issues with our web host. There was hardware failure on their end and the backups that they had were not of SQL. As such, the latest backup of posts that I had on my machine was from February. Because of this issue, we’ve lost nearly 5 months of posts on the forums. We’re looking at transferring to another host, but that’s around ~$150 to get all setup again. Bad news for us. The good news is that all of the Alpha signups have been backed up, and the other sites had daily backups so we’ve had no issues with content being lost there! Not 100% on the wiki, but everything looks in check so far. :)

Most of the posts on the forums are already written down for us Developers. As such, any ideas that have been posted should be retained. If you notice that something you posted that you really want implemented is missing, feel free to post it again. I apologize for the inconvenience. Wish we weren’t all poor college students! Nice things cost lots of money though, so that’s for the future. Depending on how our host resolves this issue, we may start up another kickstarter to get funds for a new server.

This does not affect development in any way and you should be expecting Alpha right around the corner!

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NPCs, HUD Updates, Health… Too much to list!

Hey guys. Haven’t been keeping up with the blog so much these past few weeks. We have been coding a lot and getting a ton done on the code. You might think that the less posts there are here, the more dead this project seems. But it’s the opposite! Means I’m spending more time working on pushing everything out.

Here’s a cool screenshot that shows some of the new improvements. We’ve implemented some new ships, awesome HUD updates, loads of serverside stuff, health, NPCs, ports… I really don’t know where to start. Should be more frequent on here as we roll incrementally closer to Alpha!

 ZY Variant Barge

 SM Fighter

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Art of War

So in a game like this, the bottom line is that you compete with players. Basically, you want to kill the sh*t out of everybody. So that’s exactly what you can do now. :D

And the best part about this is that bullets are handled serverside, so latency will not matter nearly as much as in *that other game* and bullets will show up 100% of the time**

** Freecon is not responsible for your internet sucking.

And without further adieu, here’s your screenshot.

 The Sun

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Warping Complete (Mostly)

Hey guys, so Ilaan and I spent all day getting warping to work. Mostly works now. Bit buggy, but we’re going to fix that. Here are some screenshots. Don’t mind that the 2nd one I’m outside of the system, that’s because we currently don’t adjust the clients position on warp. So because systems are variable sized, you can end up outside accidentally. It works though! :D YESSSSS! Only took 20k lines of code.

 Fix the chat Mel Border is broke
I also update the sprites on the minimap for planets. What do you think about that?

I’ll upload a video tomorrow. That’s a lot more impressive! One more screenshot if you hit the break. Continue reading

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