Elite – Return to Lave

Back in 1984 if you where around to play Elite, your adventure started out on Lave station which orbited the planet Lave. Which as we all know “is most famous for its vast rain forests and the Lavian tree grub.”

Fast forward to 2017 and I’m once again in the Lave vicinity reminiscing about the old days of knocking about the Lave, Leesti and Riedquat systems. So with that in mind I kicked off the old Beeb emulator and got a side by side comparison view of the station.

The lush beauty of Lave as seen from space.

Lave, circa 1984
Lave, circa 1984
Lave, circa 2017
Lave, circa 2017
Lave, tourist information
Lave, tourist information

Humble Bundle – Freedom Bundle

There’s a great bundle currently running on the Humble Bundle site at the moment with a number of really great games (and the Stanley Parable to keep thing balanced *snigger* ) 

For $30 dollars there are some great games there, but as you can see from the screenshot above. Some of them are starting to run out of keys. So get your skates on if you want to take part.

And that it’s helping some great charities is just the icing on the cake.

What’s behind the Asp cockpit door ?

I’m a big Elite fan and if you’ve ever used either the external camera or are fortunate enough to own a VR headset you will have noticed there is a visible door behind you on a number of ships.

So naturally you get to wondering what’s behind said door, so I decided to take a look.

You’d be surprised at the amount of room you need to work back the distance of a Asp cockpit. I’ll not be trying this in an Anaconda anytime soon.

Boardgame Night – Friday 13th May

It has been awhile since I had a board-game night and as such I’ve decided to have one this coming Friday should anyone fancy braving the horrors of north of the north-side up in Drogheda.

It’s a slightly later kick-off than normal since it’s an after-work affair; so a start of around 7.30pm is on the cards. The plan this time is to play “The season of the witch” an expansion for Mansions of Madness which seems the sort of game to play on Friday 13th.

A bright young Miskatonic University student has disappeared, having checked in to an infamous Arkham boarding house to study its reported supernatural properties. Now, as the celebration of Walpurgis Eve approaches, you and your fellow investigators are tasked with venturing into the decaying Witch House and solving a mystery that has plagued Arkham for generations. But are you prepared to face the horrors that await you?

So if any of you are feeling brave come join us…

Server initial layout

Typically when approaching a problem like a client/server architect I like to start at the backend to get a basic framework established so that come time to begin to work on the client aspect there’s something to action against.

So after mulling this around in my head I’ve settled on the follow approach for structuring the backend.

The lay of the land. 
The lay of the land. 

To begin with on the server I’ve defined the classes illustrated above. Each of which is responsible for a particular area within the overall application. A quick rundown of the elements is below. 

Application class

This class represents the main program thread and is responsible for setting up the various components used by the system. 

SocketMgr class

The SocketMgr class handles the UDP socket created to receive client requests. We’re using UDP since it’s a lightweight transport suitable for shifting small packets quickly. Since this is a connection-less transport the SocketMgr passes the requests it receives to the ClientMgr which maintains client state. 

ClientMgr class

The ClientMgr class handles the allocation of data to the currently connected clients, each of which state is held in a collection of Client objects stored by the class. 

Client class

This class identifies a unique remote device ‘connected’ to the server, they will also contain a reference to World Entity instance which represents the user in game.

World class

This the model space for the game storing at items within it, including the player avatars. These are represented by Entity class instances. 

Entity class

At it’s most basic this represents any actionable item within the game. 

The plan here is to keep these nicely decoupled such that for example on the client the World class can be easily included to maintain a local client copy of the current server world state (or thereabouts).

I’m a lazy programmer, so reuse reuse reuse.

Everyone needs a hobby

Like the title says everyone needs a hobby to keep them out of mischief.

To that end I’ve decided to try my hand at writing a simple game, nothing fancy mind you.
Now I’ve not thought this out so as they say “Fail to plan, plan to fail”, so I’d expect this to ever go anywhere. But its about the journey and the journeys outline is as follows:

  • Support multiple users, I’m aiming for say 32 concurrent players.
  • Either first or third person perspective.
  • RPG, role-playing games are what I play so I guess that’s what I’ll try to do.

There are quite a number of game engine frameworks such as Unity, Unreal Engine and CryEngine for example which are what any sane individual would use. But in this case I think I’m going to veer towards Ogre, its not as complete a solution as the others but for my purposes that’s a plus.

So with kernel of an idea I better get started.

Blizzard responds to calls for ‘vanilla’ servers.

So Blizzard have released a response on the calls for ‘vanilla’ servers, while it smacks of PR speech such that nothing is committed to its also not an out right rejection which seemed to be the previous stance.

We wanted to let you know that we’ve been closely following the Nostalrius discussion and we appreciate your constructive thoughts and suggestions.

Our silence on this subject definitely doesn’t reflect our level of engagement and passion around this topic. We hear you. Many of us across Blizzard and the WoW Dev team have been passionate players ever since classic WoW. In fact, I personally work at Blizzard because of my love for classic WoW.

We have been discussing classic servers for years – it’s a topic every BlizzCon – and especially over the past few weeks. From active internal team discussions to after-hours meetings with leadership, this subject has been highly debated. Some of our current thoughts:

Why not just let Nostalrius continue the way it was? The honest answer is, failure to protect against intellectual property infringement would damage Blizzard’s rights. This applies to anything that uses WoW’s IP, including unofficial servers. And while we’ve looked into the possibility – there is not a clear legal path to protect Blizzard’s IP and grant an operating license to a pirate server.

We explored options for developing classic servers and none could be executed without great difficulty. If we could push a button and all of this would be created, we would. However, there are tremendous operational challenges to integrating classic servers, not to mention the ongoing support of multiple live versions for every aspect of WoW.

So what can we do to capture that nostalgia of when WoW first launched? Over the years we have talked about a “pristine realm”. In essence that would turn off all leveling acceleration including character transfers, heirloom gear, character boosts, Recruit-A-Friend bonuses, WoW Token, and access to cross realm zones, as well as group finder. We aren’t sure whether this version of a clean slate is something that would appeal to the community and it’s still an open topic of discussion.

One other note – we’ve recently been in contact with some of the folks who operated Nostalrius. They obviously care deeply about the game, and we look forward to more conversations with them in the coming weeks.

You, the Blizzard community, are the most dedicated, passionate players out there. We thank you for your constructive thoughts and suggestions. We are listening.

J. Allen Brack

— http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20743584206#1

Cliffs of Moher

While I was down in Clare which is in the south of the country I took the opportunity to go out to the Cliffs of Moher.

With its rugged scenery its easy to understand why Ireland is often used as a location for features like Game of Thrones and Starwars.

Here are the views I got on the day of the cliffs. If you’re ever in the area it’s well worth taking the time to go out to them.

Legacy server among World of Warcraft community

Since we’re all a bit long in the tooth around these parts, its not unfair to assume that most of us have played World of Warcraft either at launch or soon there after. It’s this version of the game, along with the initial expansion “The Burning Crusade” some claim represents the World of Warcraft at its height in terms of game-play. 

So while subsequent expansions may have added new content and features some would argue that social aspects and challenge offered by the game where greatly diminished.

The following video illustrates the problems which arose reasonably well. 

 

Its from tapping into this mindset that the recently Nostalrius server had managed to maintain an active player base of 150,000 players. But with such a large active player base it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Blizzard forced the shuttering of such a server infringing on their IP.

But it does show that an appetite for such a service exists and with that in mind a change.org petition (link below) has started to try to encourage Blizzard to rethink their stance on legacy servers. Either by working with third-party community servers (unlikely) or by providing their own “legacy” server(s).

Change.org – Legacy server among World of Warcraft community

As an additional side note if 200k signatures are reached, then Mark Kern the team lead on the initial World of Warcraft release has promised to personally deliver the petition.